Need help identifying my well components

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Old 09-21-20, 06:22 PM
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Need help identifying my well components

Hello all. I am very new here and sorry if I will sound like a rookie or someone who knows pretty much nothing. I am currently a full time police officer by trade, but trying to repair around my house anything I can do myself.

I've been having some small issues with my private well for some time. The latest and most significant issue is I believe refers as water hammer. Pretty much anytime I turn on water in my house, I can hear hammering sounds coming from pressure switch (which is outside of the house next to the well). What would be first place to check? Should I drain pressure tank?

And speaking of pressure tank, i noticed that i have one huge tank and one smaller tank. I guess smaller one is pressure tank? If that is the case, what is the bigger tank? I also have water softener and I think iron filter system, which I am planning to replace for new ones as my current ones seem to be old and water softener does not appear to be working. I also have a tank for chlorine, which actually does appear to be working.

Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it and really want to get started on sort of private well rebuild project.

 

Last edited by PJmax; 09-21-20 at 07:21 PM. Reason: labeled picture
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Old 09-21-20, 07:23 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

I added labeling to your picture as it makes the discussion easier.

A & B look like salt tanks for the softener.
C looks like the softener.
D is the pressure tank.
E looks like a liquid chlorine tank.
F looks like a filter.

Your pressure tank should eliminate hammering. It needs to be charged to a few PSI's under the pump turn on pressure. Is there an air fitting on it ? You may be able to add air directly to that tank.
 
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Last edited by PJmax; 09-21-20 at 08:10 PM.
  #3  
Old 09-22-20, 12:45 AM
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A

F is a holding tank.

Assuming E is some type of chlorine injector, you can see the chemical injector on the upper section of pipe then going to holding tank F which has a clean out valve at bottom right.

A picture further back to see what is on top of the tanks would help.

I dont understand why you would have two salt brine tanks!

Is everything hooked up, are you adding chemicals/salt to what is listed?
 
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Old 09-22-20, 07:26 AM
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Thanks for your help. I really really appreciate it. From what I observed, maybe I am wrong, D is a pressure tank, F is a holding tank, A is chlorine tank, B and C are water softener system, E maybe iron eliminator. A is chlorine for sure as I have to add chlorine there once in awhile, B is where I add salt, although it seems my softnener is not working. D seem to be pressure tank as thatís where water goes first after the pump. It also goes to F tank at the same time it goes to D. Now why would there be two tanks? Isnít it better to just have one pressure tank to supply water to house? Everything is hooked up, seems that pump turns on too often, and salt does not evaporate, but everything else seems to be working.
 
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Old 09-22-20, 02:26 PM
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hi pahan Ė

Iím no expert and I stink at trying to follow piping in pictures - but I think F is most likely a Mixing Tank.

They are sometimes used to provide greater contact time with a chemical after a chemical is injected, and before the water is used in the house. So for example, if the chemical is chlorine, then the chlorine would have more contact time, that is more time to do its job before the water is passed on to the other filters and to the house.

To me it looks like an injection tube stuck down into the pipe between D and F in the picture. If that is in fact the chlorine injection tube, then that would seem to make sense to me, since I think thatís where you are supposed to inject the chlorine, that is, right after the pressure tank.

If your pressure tank is low on air, that can cause your pump to come on, and then off, too fast. That cycle would repeat. If itís low on air it doesnít take much water to raise the tank pressure and so your pump gets to the high pressure fast and so shuts off. Then when you use some water the pressure quickly drops to the low pressure and the pump turns on Ė but then it hits the high pressure quickly again and shuts off and the cycle continues.

I donít know how you add air to your pressure tank (D). If there is a model number on the tank then maybe a manual online would describe how. With diaphragm tanks (they separate the air and water in the tank with a diaphragm) there is a valve on the tank that you can put an air pump on, like a tire, and add air. You can also put a tire gauge on the valve and read the pressure just like a tire. But I donít think you have that kind of pressure tank.

Maybe one of the guys here knows how to check that type of tank you have. The air pressure in the tank should be 2 psi below the pressure switch cut-in pressure. So, for example, if your pressure switch is a 30-50 switch, the tank pressure should be set to 28 psi.

Also, I donít see a pressure gauge on your system. That seems strange. I think you really need a gauge for proper maintenance.
 
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Old 09-22-20, 03:08 PM
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but I think F is most likely a Mixing Tank.
F is a holding tank.
Yep, same thing different name, if chlorine injector it serves to allow prolonged contact so iron can oxidize and fall out which is what the valve in bottom right corner is for!
 
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Old 09-22-20, 03:55 PM
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Yeah, there is chlorine injector line between these two tanks. I just took a 2-3 minute video of the well system. On top of the pressure tank, there is a valve under cover, it is included in the video too. Is that where I can check for pressure and add air if needed? If my pressure switch is 30 50, then I need to keep my pressure tank at 28, correct? One more thing, I replaced the pressure switch several years ago and previous switch had a manufacturer label 30 50, so I used new switch with same default settings, but I am not sure if previous homeowner adjusted settings on that switch or kept default 30-50.

Video of well

Another thing, I took a video of the gauge reading while only washing machine working in the house. It appears the pressure is going down pretty fast.

Video of gauge
 
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Old 09-22-20, 04:34 PM
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That pressure gauge doesn't appear to be dropping fast. Looks like about normal.
Was the pump running at that point ?

If the pump wasn't running..... the pressure was slowly coming down to turn on.
If the pump was running.... the pump is not keeping up with the load.

Usually.... when the tank has no or very low internal air pressure and you use the water...... the gauge plummets immediately. That gauge was not acting like a low pressure problem.
 
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Old 09-22-20, 04:48 PM
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It wasn't running when pressure was coming, so I guess overall then pressure seems about right, but to possibly solve the thumping or hammering noise, i still should check pressure of the pressure tank, right?

And to make sure I am doing it right, I turn off pump breaker, drain tanks from the bottom drain valve, check pressure on the valve that is on the top of pressure tank and it should be 28. If it is below then add air to get it to be 28, is that right?
 
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Old 09-22-20, 05:23 PM
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LOL ĖWell I typed all of the below before posts #8and #9 so Iíll read them after I eat lol!

Yep, that valve on top is where you would check and add air if needed. As you were filling the washing machine the pressure dropped but I think you may be right, the drop was fast. You have quite a few gallons storage there so I think the pressure drop should be pretty slow for just a washing machine. Could be wrong.

But I think that could be because your pressure tank actually does need air. In order to check the air pressure in the pressure tank you have to drain the water from your pressure tank and get the gauge pressure down to zero. If you donít get rid of the water pressure in the pressure tank, you wonít be measuring the true air pressure.

I only have one tank with a drain right at the tee on the tank bottom. It looks like to me you have to drain the water from the pressure tank using the drain at the holding tank. When that gets the pressure down to zero I think you would be OK to then check the pressure tank air pressure.

You should close the valve separating the house from that system. It looks like that would be the valve on the output pipe from the softener. Also you should bypass the softener when you do this. If there is a valve on the output of tank F you could close that instead but it doesnít look like there is a valve in that location.

I think you could assume the 30-50 switch is actually an OK 30-50 switch so if you make sure that pressure tank is set to 28 Ė and test, I think you would be doing the correct thing. You would be able to tell if something is wrong after you set the tank pressure correctly and then use the system.


 
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Old 09-22-20, 06:35 PM
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Thanks. I'll try to do all that tomorrow. What's interesting is I don't think the big tank has the valve on top like the smaller pressure tank has, so I don't even know if the big one has air in it or not. What is unfortunately is after the big tank, there is no switch to cut the water, unless I cut it after iron filtration (or whatever that one is). I think what I'll do is drain the system and then block water switch that is located between pressure tank and big tank. That way I should get pretty accurate readings on the pressure tank.
 
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Old 09-23-20, 02:58 AM
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What's interesting is I don't think the big tank has the valve on top like the smaller pressure tank has
Tank F?

It does not have any type of bladder!
 
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Old 09-23-20, 07:53 AM
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pahan-

As Marq1 indicates there wonít be any air in the tank F, because tank F is a holding tank and is not supposed to have air in it. So there shouldnít be an air valve on tank F. In other words, you only need the one pressure tank Ė tank D in this case - to supply the air cushion for the entire system.

When you drain the system if you donít shut the water off to the house you will drain the water from the pipes and other appliances in the house. Might not hurt but Iím pretty sure you are supposed to use the shutoff to isolate the house.

One problem Iíve had, when I forgot to close the valve to the house when I drained the pressure tank, is that when the water runs backwards out of the house and through my sediment filter as it is draining. it is running backwards through the sediment filter and does like a cleaning and throws out loose sediment backwards in the pipes. Iím pretty sure that happened. Not sure if that hurt anything but I was scratching my head for a while till I figured out what was going on.

Anyway, it just seems to me you donít want water running backwards through filters. That could be wrong but I wouldnít take a chance.
 
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Old 09-23-20, 10:23 AM
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Again thank you very much for your help. It helped a lot. Today I blocked water flow between iron filtering and water softener (as there is no cut off switch anywhere before or after big tank). I turned off breaker for water pump, then drained the big tank. It took some time, but not too long. Then I blocked water flow between pressure tank and big tank. Then I checked the pressure on the pressure tank and it was only 16. I added air to 28 psi.

Then I put power back on water pump and pressure tank filled out pretty fast. I then allowed water flow to the big tank and the pump worked only 5 seconds or so. I expected more to fill the big tank up. I then opened flow between water softener and iron filtering and again pump only worked couple seconds.

That is it so far. I'll let you know if water hammering stops or not and if water pump turns on less or the same. Thank you again.
 
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Old 09-23-20, 01:59 PM
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pahan-

Sure thing. Good luck! Weíll all keep fingers crossed.
 
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Old 09-25-20, 03:58 PM
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So it seems like overall nothing changed. It might be that the hammering is not happening as often as it happened before. But once in awhile i still get it. I don't even know what next thing i should do. Maybe I can change pressure switch settings from 30 - 50 to 35 - 55? Not sure what it will do though.

My iron filtering system is definitely not working. When I rotate the wheel, it just get stuck at whatever step I set it to. For example, I set it overnight at drain, but instead of moving to the next step, it kept it at drain throughout the night, causing my pump to turn on many times throughout the night and in the morning it still stayed at drain. For the iron and salt issues, do you think I should just upgrade those for a new system?
 
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Old 09-26-20, 07:39 AM
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Hi pahan -

Iím no expert (I know I repeat myself Ėlol) but I do know that they make rebuild kits for filter control valves. I never used a kit myself but it doesnít seem too complicated for a DIYíer, and everything you hear says it is in fact a DIY job. The kits sure are a lot cheaper than a new valve. I look likes your softener might have the Fleck 5600 valve. Here is an example of a rebuild kit:

https://www.amazon.com/Fleck-5600-SO.../dp/B018A39EIW

I canít see the valve on your iron filter, but the idea would be the same: find a rebuild kit for the valve. It sounds like you put your iron filter manually in backwash and the valve got stuck and never moved to the next stage. A rebuild kit might do the trick.

About the water hammer:

(1) If you are using a 30-50 switch I think your water pressure is low enough. At least my understanding is that you reduce the house pressure to 50 as one means of dealing with water hammer Ė but you are already at 50 max.

(2) Are you sure thatís water hammer? I thought water hammer usually occurs when you shut something off. If the sound is actually coming from the pressure switch, then I think that would be another problem. Is the sound really more like a chatter than banging? Certain problems can cause a pressure switch to chatter.

I had a problem once where somehow the tank air pressure and switch cut-in setting were such that it would sound like a woodpecker for a few seconds when the pump turned on. I fooled with the tank air pressure and the problem disappeared.
 
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Old 09-27-20, 06:40 AM
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Two tanks connected to the system in the same fashion, like with a nipple at the bottom, and with the same percentage of air in them, will behave in the same way.

Tanks D and F could conceivably both function as pressure tanks. With the proper amount of air inside each, the two tanks together are better for the pump which then does not have to start and stop that often,

If the larger tank, or any tank, were completely full of water, then no water would go in or out during normal well pump operation except with a second pipe going into that tank and perhaps an additional, recirculating, pump to be able to establish a loop flow in and out.
 
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Old 09-27-20, 08:20 AM
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Allan Ė

I think tank F actually has a pipe coming out of the top (at least thatís what it looks like at point 1:03 in the first video in post #7) and a pipe from the pump going into the bottom, which I think indicates that in that setup F is more properly called a Retention Tank or Contact Tank.

It seems to me pahansís setup exactly matches the setup depicted in the diagram on the link below (up to the carbon filter in the diagram), so there would not be any air associated with tank F. It should be 100% full of water.

Spads-Commercial Systems


 
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Old 09-28-20, 05:50 AM
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Thanks for all your help. I'll try to get a video of the pump at the time it makes hammering noise to see if it is actually water hammering or something else.

What concerns me with replacing the water softener valve is I replaced the valve with a bit newer renewed valve. When I turn the wheel on that one, it goes through everything, but even after year of use, the salt tank is still full of salt. So I don't know if I did not set it up properly or if there are other issues. Perhaps I need to youtube the heck out of it and make sure it's all properly set up. Last time I messed with it was probably 3 years ago.
 
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Old 09-28-20, 06:24 AM
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do you think I should just upgrade those for a new system?
I can just imagine the frustration in trying to figure out somebody else's older system.

I guess the real question is how old is the equipment?

Nothing lasts forever and rebuilding may or may not get you to where you need to be, it might behoove you to get a fresh water sample and do some investigation into what new equipment might cost.
 
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Old 09-28-20, 07:01 AM
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I was able to get some sounds on the video. But this time the pump only did it for like one second. Sometimes these sounds last 2-4 seconds.

Here is the Video

I also noticed that it appears that pump starts pumping when PSI level reaches about 33 instead of 30. Should i change pressure switch's default settings?
 
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Old 09-28-20, 08:55 AM
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pahan -

I noticed that your gauge quickly jumps up past 40 when the pump turns on. It looks like it might immediately jump up to 45 or so Ė but I canít tell from the video. I donít know what happens after that but I think that is an indication that something is wrong. Iím pretty sure Ė but not 100% sure. I think the pressure should increase smoothly when the pump turns ON, up to the cut-off pressure.

It sounds to me like your switch might be having problems. It sounds like the first noise in the video is the switch closing the contacts. But I donít know what the sound is after that. Does that sound disappear? I donít think itís a rushing water sound Ė but I could be wrong. Sounds more like the switch going crazy.

I donít trust one gauge. I have bad gauges and they can throw you off on a tangent. I put a gauge on the boiler drain at my pressure tank and compare that to the gauge near the pressure switch. You can buy a gauge to screw on the boiler drain at HD etc. and they are pretty cheap. But I donít see a boiler drain on your Contact tank F. I donít see threads. Does that drain just dump out water on the ground?

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Water-So...H100/308724108

You could always just buy a new pressure gauge to replace the one you have now in that same position if you want to do troubleshooting.

I canít see in the videos but there should be some short piece of water pipe going in to the pressure switch. If that gets clogged (which can happen) the switch will have a hard time reading pressure and you get erratic switch action.

Iím thinking this might just be case where there is a mismatch between the air pressure in the pressure tank D and the pressure switch setting (as you suspect). But if it were me I would want to get a true reading of the system pressure before I made any more adjustments to the pressure switch or tank air pressure Ė so therefore I would want to make sure my gauge was accurate.

If the tank air is 28 and the cut-in on the pressure switch is really 33 then I think you would see something erratic on startup.

Just me 2 cents (but I repeat again Ėlol, Iím not an expert but Iíve messed with my system successfully over the years).


 
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Old 09-28-20, 02:36 PM
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pahan-

I just noticed that you have a low pressure cutoff switch. It has that little lever sticking out. Iím pretty sure those are only used in cases where there is a good change that the water pressure from the well has the possibility of running very low. The low pressure cutoff switch protects the pump by shutting off if the pressure drops 10 psi below the cut-in pressure. Then you have to manually reset the switch if it shuts off.

You donít have the problem of the switch shutting OFF, but since that type of switch may indicate the previous owner was having a low pressure problem, I wonder if sometimes on startup there is a low pressure problem but not 10 psi below the cut-in pressure. Thatís just a WAG.

I forgot that you have a jet pump (my pump is submersible) and so you will hear more noise when the pump runs. So I think what you were actually pointing out in that short video was something that sounded like a loud click after the pump starts. I think that would be the contacts closing but Ö I donít know how we would hear the pump run BEFORE that click. The pump canít run before the contacts close. Maybe that sound has something to do with the low pressure cutoff design.

It seems to me something very strange here.
 
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Old 09-28-20, 02:43 PM
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This is new low pressure switch. I replaced it because the previous switch (that actually did not have cut-off switch) was making the same noises. You are right, the noise appear to be the contacts inside the switch. But what's strange is it seems that sometimes the switch goes in and out of the contact for several seconds instead of stead cut in and then cut out when pressure is reached.

So with that been said, since previous switch had the same problem with contacts going in and out every milliseconds or so for 2-3 seconds, what would be the problem? Perhaps like you said earlier, maybe something to do with the pressure pipe or hose that is going in the switch, although it appeared to be fine.

I think I will replace the gauge that is attached to the pump. It does not look to be broken, but you never know, besides the glass on it has a crack and display is very yellow, so it is time to replace it anyway

On the water softener side, the controls are working, but the brine tank or whatever that tank called where you have to drop off salt, it was full of water and only half of it had salt. My guess is I have to re-check hardness level etc. and re-adjust settings on the valve controller.
 
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Old 09-28-20, 03:03 PM
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And to answer your question, yeah, my drain under tank F just dumps everything on the ground)

The sound I was always talking about is the contact inside the switch sound. The fact that its not closing contact and says that way until pressure is full, but instead goes in and out for several seconds and only then contact stays until pressure is full.
 
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Old 09-29-20, 08:53 AM
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pahan-

I had a problem once where the opening into the pressure tank had some kind of buildup in it. Even though the air in the tank was OK I would get erratic switch operation because of that. I think you could also check the following, as these can cause switch problems:

(1) The pipe into the pressure tank should not be smaller than the discharge pipe from the pump. It looks like in your pics it is OK but I can’t tell.

(2) I can’t tell if your pressure tank is on a union. If it is on a union you could disconnect the tank and see if there is any blockage in the pipe going into the tank.

(3) I think you already did this, but the air pressure in the pressure tank has to be checked with the tank emptied or else you will be measuring water pressure.

(4) Probably not the problem but low voltage at the pressure switch can also cause erratic switch operation. If you have a voltage meter I don’t think it would be difficult to check the voltage at the switch and eliminate that as the problem.

(5 Also, I think that the pressure tank is not supposed to me more than 3 to 4 feet away from the pressure switch or there can be pressure fluctuation problems. I’m wondering if that could be the problem in your case. It seems to me that if you follow the discharge pipe out of the pump and up to the pressure tank – is that more than 4 feet? I think that’s the way you would measure that. Looks like it may be a little long – but I’m not good at reading pics. Maybe it’s OK. I’ve had a switch over 6 feet from the tank (not my doing) and it was fine. So maybe that’s barking up the wrong tree.

(6) I don’t know how you are testing turning the switch ON/OFF, that is, where you are draining water from to hit the cut-in pressure. But, it looks to me like you could isolate the pressure tank from the Contact tank and the rest of the house, by shutting off that valve on the vertical pipe right before the injector. Looks like you could then drain water from other pipes and so you would be testing just the cyclical action of filling and draining the pressure tank. It shouldn’t make a difference but who knows.

(7) Also, in your testing, when the pump comes on, the pump should run for at least a minute before it hits the cut-off pressure. The gauge needle should go up smoothly until the cut-off is reached and you should hear a click from the switch and the pump should shut off. If you still keep running water the needle should drop smoothly back down to the cut-in pressure, the switch should click as it turns on, and the cycle should repeat.




 
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Old 09-29-20, 02:40 PM
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<<< something very strange >>>

<<< should I upgrade >>>

You have a lot of unknowns that need to be found and fixed one at a time.

Some folks upgrade it all so they can hire someone else to fix it in one fell swoop instead of DIY troubleshoot it one aspect at a time.

Project #1. Have you checked the neck pipe under the pressure tank D for obstruction?

Project #2: Have you checked the pressure switch and its connection to the rest of the plumbing system for obstruction?

Project #3: Immediately after you have seen or heard the pump cycle back off, draw water from any faucet until the pump cycles on. Then immediately shut off the pump. How many gallons did you get? Add ten PSI of air to the pressure tank D. Turn the pump back on. Wait for the pump to finish and then draw water again this time slowly until the pump cycles on yet again. How much water did you get, namely did you get somewhat more or somewhat less or roughly the same as last time? Report back before adding yet more air.

 
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Old 10-02-20, 05:29 AM
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Thanks for your help. Can you elaborate how to check pipes or connections for obstructions? The Project 3 one seems pretty easy, I"ll try to do it soon and will let you know the outcome.
 
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Old 10-04-20, 06:25 PM
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A little update. Today I decided to change out my gauge since it was old and cracked. It looks like with new gauge it gets to about 43 psi instead of 50. Is it because gauge possibly new and needs some time to adjust or maybe it is faulty? In the video it looks like pump started when psi dropped to like 27, but I looked at it later and it looks like pump starts at around 29 or 30 psi on the gauge.

What do you think? Should I keep checking gauge for now? Should I try to adjust the switch?

Video of gauge
 
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Old 10-06-20, 08:30 AM
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pahan Ė

I donít think there is any way your system is operating correctly. The needle on your gauge is jumping around like crazy. Iím almost 100% sure that shouldnít happen. It looks like the switch properly turned ON and OFF in the ballpark 30-50, but when the pump is running that needle should be going up smoothly to the cut-off point, like it did when it dropped down to the cut-in point.

You have a new gauge and a new switch so I would rule those out. Did you make sure the pressure hose which goes into the bottom of your pressure switch was clear and not clogged when you installed the new pressure switch? That gauge seems to be seeing a pressure that is jumping up and down like crazy. I donít think that is your pressure switch chattering or anything like that. It just seems like some kind of turbulence.

If the pipe going into your pressure tank is clogged or too small I think that can happen.

You would have to disconnect your pressure tank to see if the opening going into the tank is clogged in some way. If there is no union or way to disconnect the tank (see note on picture), then unfortunately the only way to do it would be to cut the PVC, check the tank, and then redo the PVC Ė rather extreme. (They should always put the pressure tank on a union.)

When I checked my tank (it was on a union I installed) I used a coat hanger and was able to pull out a lot of crud. After that the system read the pressure much better but I think there are probably better ways to do it than with a coat hanger.

Of course, there is no way to know whether the problem is in fact the flow into the tank. If I understand your connections there are several turns and fittings between the discharge point on the pump (point 1) and the tank. The path is 1-2-3-4-tank. Most of the setups Iíve seen donít seem to have as many fittings and turns from the pump discharge to the tank. But I donít know if that would actually be the problem.

Unfortunately I think the only way to test that theory, which would be extreme, would be to cut and redo the PVC to have a shorter straight shot to the tank from the pump discharge- and that may turn out to yield nothing.

The path from the discharge to the tank (1-2-3-4-tank) cannot have a pipe reduction is size anywhere along that path or that can cause a problem.

I donít think this would yield any surprises, but you could observe your pressure switch with the cover off, while you are doing that test that you did in the last video where your gauge needle is going crazy when the pump runs. I think you would just see the contacts remaining closed during that interval.


 
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Old 10-09-20, 04:21 PM
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Thanks for your help. I guess my next step would be to cut down pipes and use unions. I might also have to do some researching and maybe there is a way to thorough clean out pressure and capacity tanks.
 
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Old 10-12-20, 11:59 AM
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pahan -

Itís a shame there isnít some way to eliminate everything else, because maybe there is nothing really wrong with the pressure tank at all. But it just doesnít look like with where your valves and gauges are situated there is any way to isolate the problem with more testing Ė assuming that gauge going crazy when the pump runs is an indication of a real problem. I think that crazy gauge really does indicate a problem Ė and it could just be the gauge and switch are too far from the pressure tank, but how to prove that without cutting and moving things is beyond me. A real bummer!

If it were me, as one last sanity test, I would wait until the pump reached the cut-off pressure and stopped, and everything was idle and all water shut off. I would then partially open that drain on tank F and watch the gauge needle slowing go down to the cut-in pressure and the pump turn ON. Then without touching anything observe what the gauge does after that. It should go up slowly and smoothly to the cut-off and the pump shuts OFF. If it jumps around crazy while building up the pressure like on the video - that is not right.

I would also double check the pipe size going into the pressure tank. It looks like in the picture it could be smaller than the pipe coming out of the pump and going to the pressure tank. If thatís the case that would certainly cause a problem. But maybe itís just the picture.
 
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