short cycling well pump

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by stirfamily, Jan 9, 2005.

  1. stirfamily

    stirfamily Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our well pump has started to short cycle. We have a bladder type tank and DH seems to think it is that control box thingy that is going bad. My question is what is that thing called and where can I get a new one?

    Thanks
    Karen in NE Indiana
     
  2. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    The switch device is called a pressure switch. That is not your problem! You have most likey a defective bladder tank. The bladder could have ruptured. Other than that you could have a check valve between the pump and the bladder tank and a small leak has developed on the pump side of the check valve.
     

  3. shelbynteg

    shelbynteg Well-Known Member

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    Our well pump short cycles when we have too much water in the tank, and not enough air (Our tank is pre-bladder), so I agree, the tanks is likely the problem.
     
  4. Bruce in NE

    Bruce in NE Well-Known Member

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    I would also go with the bad check valve, since I had to have mine replaced a few months ago. But you're not going to know for sure til you get a plumber out. Don't assume it's the tank til you know for sure.
     
  5. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I can assist in determining the fault if you want to attempt to repair the system yourself. I need to know if you have a jet pump or a submersible one. I want to know the size and age (approximate) of the bladder tank. Do you see any visible leaks(slow drips) near the bladder tank and the pressure switch? Awaiting to hear from you. :)
     
  6. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Ours DID do that when the switch was going out. Like most problems, fix things one at a time until you get the right one fixed. This is called Troubleshooting, and people charge big bucks for doing it. :haha:
     
  7. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    A better and cheaper way to troubleshoot is to find the problem and then fix the problem. Like agmantoo said, short cycling can be different things. For instance is it just running more often than usual? Is starting and stopping very quickly? One would indicate a different problem than the other.
     
  8. BobK

    BobK Well-Known Member

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    I would check the tank for being waterlogged...first suspect. Check valves can be checked for signs and sounds of water running back into the well. Swithces can go bad but not as often as tanks getting waterlogged. If you look at your pressure gauge and notice that there is no dynamic range...gos up and down real fast when water is being used it most likely is a waterlogged tank.

    good luck!
     
  9. Shagbarkmtcatle

    Shagbarkmtcatle Hillybilly cattle slaves

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    When you say short cycling, do you mean you are getting a pulsation at your faucets? If that is what you are experiencing, then it is a pressure tank problem. If you have a old style steel tank without a bladder, you can inject air into the tank to correct the problem. If you have a molded bladder pressure tank, the tank must be replaced. A pressure switch cannot cause pulsation in your water. A partial waterlogged tank with a slow leak, faucet or wc, can cause this also. Example, at a recent customer's house, they had a frozen waterline on the exterior of their house they were not aware of, which gave them this affect of a short cycling pump. The most poplar problem however is a waterlogged tank and a pressure tank with a bladder has to be replaced.

    Laura Lynn
     
  10. stirfamily

    stirfamily Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Pump is running and stopping quickly, then the tank will kind of sigh and the length of running time gets more back to normal.
    There is no pulsations at the faucets and water pressure is good.
    I'm not sure what type of pump we have only know it is a Flint and Walling and our well is very deep. The system is 25 years old.

    Karen in NE Indiana
     
  11. Shagbarkmtcatle

    Shagbarkmtcatle Hillybilly cattle slaves

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    I would need more info. If your pump is short cycling, then it will continue to short cycle and not stop. There are too many variables in your answer for me to tell what the problem is. If your pump is down in your well, then it is a submersible pump. If the pump is located in your basement or a well house, then it's a jet pump. At this time, that doesn't seem to have any bearing on your problem though.
     
  12. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Pump is running and stopping quickly, then the tank will kind of sigh and the length of running time gets more back to normal.

    Please elaborate on the above statement as I remain unclear as to what is actually occuring.
    Since you have the Flint and Walling name I assume you read it from the pump therefore if you can see the pump it is an above ground pump and therefore a jet pump.
    The typical life of a bladder pump is 5 years plus. I doubt that the bladder tank is the original. If when the pump cycles off, you immediately turn on a faucet and catch the water in a bucket until the pump turns back on, how much water did you catch?
    Are there any cutoff valves in the system in the area of the pump and the bladder tank. Such as a valve between the pump and the bladder tank and possibly between the bladder tank and the plumbing to the home? Does the F & W pump have a water regulator mounted on the pump? It will be a mushroom looking device screwed into the F&W and connected to the plumbing to the bladder tank?
    Is there a working pressure gauge in the system?
     
  13. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ....................try this simple Test.......Turn OFF all water outlets both inside and outside watch your pressure gauge and note at what PSI the pump is activated by the pressure switch . Should be around 40 psi . When the pump is activated note the pressure as the pump is then turned off , this will be your Hi pressure........ Now , after the pump is OFF watch the pressure gauge and see what it DOES. ....If , the pressure starts to drop , and ALL outlets are closed , one of TWO things is happening , (1) you could have a leak outside , or (2) the check valve is allowing the water in both the p.tank and the piping all the way down the well bore to LEAK back into the casing below the pump . From the check valve all the way UP to and including the P.Tank is a closed system and Should NOT allow the pressure to Drop! IF , the pressure stays constant .....UNtil you turn on a spigot and the Pump is activated ....ALmost Immediately , afterwards then , most likely you have a defective bladder in your tank , fordy... :eek: :)
     
  14. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ................Let me also add , I formulated my response(s) to your problem based upon the fact that you stated in your second post that....." our well is very deep"....I'm assuming that "very deep" means that it would be atleast 200 feet or greater . A jet\suction pump....Normally , will not develop enough suction(lift) to bring water to the surface from a "deep" well , Which Means , that you , more than likely have a ....Submersible pump with a check valve between 1 and 1 1\2 horsepower . fordy... :)
     
  15. paden

    paden Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like too much help already but here is my two cents worth...

    Get a tire pressure guage and test the pressure in the tank. You are mainly making sure there is some air in it. If there is no air put in 2-3 psi lower than your pressure switch shuts off.

    If there is some air pressure turn the pump off and open the faucets to empty the tank. Once the tank is empty and some air pressure is in it, shake it. If you hear water in there or it remains full of water the bladder is bad. If the tank is small enough you can usually shake it with the system pressurized and listen for water sloshing. If it sloshes there is water inside the air end.

    Now your tank is tested.

    If your tank is ok, turn all faucets and water draws off. Turn the pump back on, watch the guage at the tank if it has one or wherever the pressure guage is. Note the cut out (turn off pressure) If the pressure holds and doesn't fall thats good. If it falls you have a broken line, leaking faucet or bad check valve. Most likely the check valve if you don't see watter bubbling out of the ground. Figure out where it is and replace it.

    If the pressure doesn't drop then your pressure switch may be bad. Just splurge for the $10 and buy a new one you can replace it in 5 minutes. Your problem should be fixed or at least evident at this point. Usually a pressure switch will just become sticky and forget to turn on so if it is still clicking back and forth it is probably ok.
     
  16. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A little more help:

    How big is the bladder tank? Is it a bladder or just a tank? What is the pressure reading on it? And so on, as the rest asked.

    Here is something else to consider, which no one else has mentioned. We have real hard water, minerals & scale. The pressure switch for our tank can get water to it. Normally no problem, but it is a very small 1/8" pipelet to the switch.

    Two times in my life that pipelet has plugged up with scale & rust, effectively blocking the switch. It will then act very erratically. It's a possibility.

    So far it sounds like you are very unfamiliar with water systems. Perhaps this would be a good time to hire a pro to look the system over, & ask questions. Be there, and learn from the guy.

    Don't just let this go unchecked, in the long run at the best it will shorten the life of your pump & cost you money.

    --->Paul
     
  17. stirfamily

    stirfamily Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks to everyone for their responses, but as you can probably tell, yes, very unfamiliar with this setup, sooo, will be calling a plumber today!

    Thanks!
    Karen in NE Indiana