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bunker45
Well Pump question

I have a well to supply my house with water. Lately it has been running quite a bit, for a short time and turning off, then turning back on. (when water is being used)

If you are taking a shower, the water almost pulsates, from strong stream to weak stream. I cleaned the inline filter, thought that may have been the problem, but that didn't change it.

The pump turns off at 50 psi, and turns back on at 35 psi. When using water, this PSI drops pretty quick, almost like the tank is not filling completely up. There is an air chuck like on a bicycle, do I need to add air to the tank? I remember my grandfather doing that to their pump at times, but I don't remember why.

Thanks a bunch
Chuck Ruffing
Clyde, Ohio

bp21901
Re: Well Pump question

http://advice.thisoldhouse.com/showthread.php?t=7836&highlight=pressure+tank

Here is a link to a previous thread on pressure tanks...

Sorry, didn't have a lot of time to get into details on this post, others will be along to help out I'm sure but I thought this may get you started. Hope this helps.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Well Pump question

If you have an old style bladderless pressure tank, it is probably water logged and you will need to add air.
If it is a bladder type tank it is likely that the bladder has failed and will need to be replaced. You can try emptying it and pump the pressure up to 33 lbs and refill. If it holds the bladder is OK and it only need air but if you get back into the same situation in a short period of time you will need to replace the bladder tank.
Jack

Blue RidgeParkway
Re: Well Pump question
bunker45 wrote:

I have a well to supply my house with water. Lately it has been running quite a bit, for a short time and turning off, then turning back on. (when water is being used)

If you are taking a shower, the water almost pulsates, from strong stream to weak stream. I cleaned the inline filter, thought that may have been the problem, but that didn't change it.

The pump turns off at 50 psi, and turns back on at 35 psi. When using water, this PSI drops pretty quick, almost like the tank is not filling completely up. There is an air chuck like on a bicycle, do I need to add air to the tank? I remember my grandfather doing that to their pump at times, but I don't remember why.

Thanks a bunch
Chuck Ruffing
Clyde, Ohio

From what you describe sounds like short cycling.

This site has a lot of good information that will help you identify parts of your system, and diagnose your issue (click on link): http://www.inspect-ny.com/water/pumprepair.htm

then navigate to this section (click on link): http://www.inspect-ny.com/water/watertank.htm and read about short cycling (water pressure pulses).

Then read this section on the causes of short cycling of a water pump: http://www.inspect-ny.com/water/ShortCycleCause.htm

Signs of air loss: http://www.inspect-ny.com/water/WaterTankAirLoss.htm

Water tank air, how to add: http://www.inspect-ny.com/water/WaterTankAir.htm

If you don't know how to find your pump pressure gauge, pressure controls, switches and controls, see the section on Controls & Switches on Water Pumps & Tanks: http://www.inspect-ny.com/water/WaterPumpControls.htm

There are a lot of possibilities as to what can cause short cycling besides air loss, and even if you are losing air it may not be that you need a new bladder or air tank, so replacing it is not necessarily going to correct your complaint.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Well Pump question
Blue RidgeParkway wrote:

From what you describe sounds like short cycling.

This site has a lot of good information that will help you identify parts of your system, and diagnose your issue (click on link): http://www.inspect-ny.com/water/pumprepair.htm

then navigate to this section (click on link): http://www.inspect-ny.com/water/watertank.htm and read about short cycling (water pressure pulses).

Then read this section on the causes of short cycling of a water pump: http://www.inspect-ny.com/water/ShortCycleCause.htm

Signs of air loss: http://www.inspect-ny.com/water/WaterTankAirLoss.htm

Water tank air, how to add: http://www.inspect-ny.com/water/WaterTankAir.htm

If you don't know how to find your pump pressure gauge, pressure controls, switches and controls, see the section on Controls & Switches on Water Pumps & Tanks: http://www.inspect-ny.com/water/WaterPumpControls.htm

There are a lot of possibilities as to what can cause short cycling besides air loss, and even if you are losing air it may not be that you need a new bladder or air tank, so replacing it is not necessarily going to correct your complaint.

The symptoms posted by th OP point only to a pressure tank problem. No one said the tank had to be replaced. Both types of tanks were referenced and a test and/or solutions suggested.
Jack

goldhiller
Re: Well Pump question
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

The symptoms posted by th OP point only to a pressure tank problem. No one said the tank had to be replaced. Both types of tanks were referenced and a test and/or solutions suggested.
Jack

Evidently.....you don't understand, Jack. When you have all day to Google ad-infinitum.....every problem posted has some obscure/extremely unlikely cause & resolution.....no matter how simple & classic the symptoms. ;)

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Well Pump question

Hay Goldie,
I have a question for you. Are you aware of any inexpensive monitors you can hook up to say the pressure switch to record time on/off for a well pump with perhaps a computer interface?
Jack

goldhiller
Re: Well Pump question

No, I'm not familiar with any such critter as I've never had reason to monitor for an extended period of time. I'm pretty sure there are such critters out there, though. $$$, probably...or more $$$ than I'd wish to spend for a one-time deal or infrequent usage.

However....I can think of a pretty easy way to do this with a piece of software I have loaded; Cool Edit. It's an audio recording and editing program. If a guy was to hook up a radio or similar (old style with mechanical on/off switch & capable of running off line power.. instead of batteries only) so that it received power only when the pressure switch tripped on.....and then hooked up from the radio's earphone jack to the mic input on the puter........it would then have something to record while the radio was on and only while the radio was on. Leave this hooked up for as long as you wish to monitor (limited only by available hard-drive space) and then take a look at the end result. Time on and time off would be easy to see and it would give you those times by simply highlighting each "on" and "off" frame.

(This approach shouldn't theoretically eat up alot of HD space when the pump is idle as there would no incoming data to record. Also, you can set the bit-rate sampling on the recording to very low as you don't really need a quality recording and this would also save on HD space. YOu could also direct the save to a larger external HD if you desired.)

I like to think I could putz around and have this sorta thing set up and running within an hour or less, maybe.

PS- A guy might be able to use some manner of remote transmitter plugged into the radio's earphone jack and a receiver device plugged into the puter's mic input jack so the puter could be kept some distance from the actual location.....but I've never looked for such devices so can't tell you where to find them.

If you'd like a copy of this particular program......let me know and we'll get it worked out. Just discovered that CE (by Syntrillium) apparently is no more as they were bought up by Adobe and the CE program was put to sleep, so to speak. That's what a Google tells me....and if you read it on the web, it has to be true, right?? There are many other such programs out there, I'm sure.... but this one does everything I've ever needed and has a relatively small footprint, too.

Or you could try a Google for- free old version Cool Edit - and see what you find. There may be some old trial versions out there yet that will run for 30 days without registration.

PSS- Got me curious, ya did. Here's a free open source audio recording and editing program. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ Should be capable of what you need to do. Google - open source free audio record edit - may lead you to even more programs.

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bunker45
Re: Well Pump question

Thanks for the help guys. The attached links helped much. Through testing and such, I am sure the bladder has a tear in it. I will be replacing the tank next week. Thanks for the help.
chuck

ed21
Re: Well Pump question

One thing to consider is that builders often undersize tanks for the first cost of the item. It may pay to see if a larger tank is recommended. It will be easier on your pump if the larger size tank is needed.

Blue RidgeParkway
Re: Well Pump question
bunker45 wrote:

Thanks for the help guys. The attached links helped much. Through testing and such, I am sure the bladder has a tear in it. I will be replacing the tank next week. Thanks for the help.
chuck

chuck,

You're welcome, and am glad you found the linkS helpful.

if you had water spurting out of the shrader valve at the top of a bladder tank that's a given. but the symptoms as first described could have been bad pressure switch or bad settings and a leaking check valve. also could have been from a pressure tank being over charged.

One more thing though, your differential is 15...(cut on 35 cut off 50). Most pumps and tanks are set up for a 20 differential, and the only times I'm familiar with that differential being intentionally set lower than 18-20 is when you have a choke or pump control valve or a slow start speed pump, point being is that when you do intentionally have a 15 differential you usually have a reason for it (unless its a bad pressure switch or someone messed around with the wrong screw setting one screw adjusts the pressure up or down both cut-in and cut-out equally with the same differential, the other screw only adjusts the cut-off presure usually only +/- 5-10 psi) if this was done on purpose (15 differential for a pump flow control valve) then USUALLY you also are supposed to charge your bladder tank with LESS pressure - so the usual tank manufacturer recommendation of letting the air charge in the empty tank to be 2 psi lower than the cut-on pressure switch setting would actually be needed to be charged even lower like 5-7 lbs lower than the cut-on pressure so you'd need to keep that in mind if that is the case. if somebody did this to compensate for a bad checkvalve , now would be the time to replace the bad checkvalve too. dirty contacts in the switch can be cleaned. don't do any adjustments on the pressure switch or try to clean the contacts unless you've verified power is off and confirmed with a meter.

having the tank charge too high will reduce the volume of water that can be in the tank and decrease the drawdown time.

when the differential is less you also decrease the drawdown time.

less drawdown means the pump will have to cycle even for less water volume use - it also means the cycle will be shorter so not able to keep running for continuous use.

having the charge too high in the bladder tank will cause the bladder to fail sooner.

even if your old set up didn't have one you should also have a pressure release valve installed. its something used to be skipped with residential systems with bladder tanks (and often overlooked by DIYers replacing old style tanks with bladder tanks) but shouldn't be. pressure switch contacts have been known to weld closed and tanks have exploded. the little diaphrams in the pressure switches can fail to.

a new pressure switch cost about $20 (unless you've got the kind with a lever out the side if you do say so because these have to be reset a special way) a pressure release valve even less.

a bladder replacement or a bladder tank replacement is an ideal time to replace a pressure switch if necessary to do so, and an ideal time to add a pressure release valve if the prior set up did not have one.

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