Well pump advice. Yes another one, LOL

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by farmrbrown, Apr 15, 2018 at 9:22 AM.

  1. farmrbrown

    farmrbrown nobody

    Jun 24, 2012
    I appreciate y'all and even though I've learned a lot, we all could use some help now and then.

    Before I pull mine and start spending time and money, I wanted to get some feedback.
    This may be long, but I like to be thorough with all the details.

    The short version is - my pressure is also stuck at 20 psi. There are other threads like that, ya know.
    I found this out this weekend after numerous complaints from my wife.
    I also found the source for my sky high electric bill which I'll explain later.
    Anyway, I replaced the pressure switch, cleaned out ant debris in the 1/4" nipple, and made sure the pressure tank bladder was 38 psi for the 40/60 switch.

    After all that, no change, still at 20 psi.
    I shut the breaker off because this discovery means my pump has been running 24/7, possibly since December. :eek::mad:
    I made sure no one touched a thing and later
    rechecked the pressure, and it had dropped to less than 10psi. I think that's as low as this gauge will go so it may have been 5 or zero.
    So, before I left it alone, I turned the pump back on and checked the resistance on the motor.
    It was about 4.8 ohms.

    Here's what I think, but if someone can make me wrong AND save me a bunch of time and money, I will be eternally grateful. LOL

    My pump MAY be wore out. BUT the ohm reading seemed pretty normal to me, so I'm hoping it's still good although it is 25 or 30 years old.
    The leak down has me thinking another way, that there is a crack or hole in the 1 inch pipe coming up from it or the foot valve.

    *For the last 3 months I've been trying to track down a huge spike in my electric bill. We had some "houseguests" for 2 of those months, my wife's granddaughter and boyfriend, so with a 30 day lag on the usage, it snuck up on me.
    I found my water heater timer had burned out, took it out completely. I also replaced the water heater thermostats because the bill didn't budge.
    I also found a slightly burned wire in my breaker box leading to their bedroom. They had used an electric heater in there b because they were too lazy to help me keep the wood stove burning.
    My wife was caring for my mother and I was running our household by myself for 2 months.

    I FINALLY tracked down what was using 2 or 3 times what this house ever used for the last 30 years.
    The well pump has been running constantly.
    Now, I checked with some pump websites and they said constant on/off cycling is more harmful than steady low pressure running, so I'm hoping that ohm reading means what I think it does.

    Can y'all tell me something that I missed, or offer better advice than to pull this sucker out 300 ft and start looking for a pipe problem?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. farmrbrown

    farmrbrown nobody

    Jun 24, 2012
    I'm doing a 2nd leak down test this morning because my wife had flushed a toilet yesterday in the middle of that test.
    So far it is holding at 20 psi, breaker off and 20 minutes later. I'm going to wait and see after 1 hour.

    My 2nd leak down test is different this morning.
    1 hour later and the pressure is holding at 20 psi.

    I think I have a hole/crack in my 1 inch pipe in the well or the pump is wore out.

    Looks like I have a big job this week.........:(
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018 at 9:57 AM

  3. damoc

    damoc Well-Known Member

    Jul 14, 2007
    single phase 240 110? if its a 3 phase pump running in reverse it could cause what you are describing
    but that does not just happen.leak down test do you have a check valve somewhere that may be making it inaccurate?check and inspect all wire,fuse,circuit breaker for short or open circuit that may be happening on load/running but unfortunately it sounds like a small leak in the pipe or pitless or maybe pump problem.ohm reading can still be good (good motor) but wet end (actual pump)could have issues like bearing wore out which normally manifests as tripped breaker or blown fuse or just wore out.

    sounds like pulling the pump is the way to go at 30 yo

    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018 at 11:04 AM
  4. In The Woods

    In The Woods Well-Known Member

    Apr 27, 2017
    NW Penna
    Yes - time to pull the pump.

    It’s either the pump is worn out or a leak in the line somewhere - either way you are pulling the pump.

    It doesn’t matter If the pump is drawing the correct amount of current - if the impellers are worn it will not pump but not put a strain on the motor.

    And....especially if you feel the pump has been running continuously for 2-3 months it makes it even more likely that it is worn out and needs replaced. That pump owes you nothing at this point being in service for so many years. Pull it, change out the pump, and inspect the lines. At the age of the system I would be inclined to replace it all - hose, wire - everything that is dropped down into the well.
    gilberte and Alice In TX/MO like this.
  5. farmrbrown

    farmrbrown nobody

    Jun 24, 2012
    Thanks for the input and I haven't decided when I'm going to take this task on yet, so I'm still welcoming any feedback and advice. It may be a week to a month before I act on it.........unless I wake up with no water one day soon. :eek:

    Sorry, I didn't expound on the pump specs before.
    It was put in when my mom owned the house so I don't know the precise make and model. But back then Lowes was about the only building supply house around and most everything in the house was bought there. So, I'm guessing it's 1/2 hp - 1 hp deep week pump, and I do know it's 220v single phase, 2 power lines and a ground wire.

    I'm in agreement that for it's age, it served it's time. The first 10 years it was rarely used as this was a vacation home and under construction. We ran on a temporary power pole and stayed maybe a month or two out of the year. The next ten years it was officially a permitted home but still used mainly during the summer months.
    In 2005, I bought it and it's been permanently occupied. So it may have about 1/2 of those 30+ years of full time use.
    About 10 years ago we did have a similar problem - lower pressure and then one day, nothing.
    I called a well company and they came out and pulled it, and I think they replaced both the wires and pipes when they put it back in. Fortunately the pump was still good. It had broken the PVC coupling right at the bottom where it goes into the pump.
    It had cracked first ( low pressure) and then finally broke completely causing no water pressure at all. IIRC, the reason may have been no "donut" or cushion at the bottom and the movement of the motor torquing at start up eventually stressed the connection until it failed.
    Another time later I found a leak at the top and fixed it but it was a while before any symptoms showed.

    I guess what I'm saying is, even if it is still functioning ok when I pull it this time, I realize that putting in a new one now makes more sense than gambling one more time on an old one. When my neighbor was alive I helped him twice pull his and repair shorted wires. The 2nd time I thought it might be wise to replace them 100%. We already had it more than 1/2 way out, but Jack said, "Nah".
    I think his was caused by that same problem of no rubber donut at the bottom and the wires banging around against the casing. Could have been lightening, I dunno.

    This is one of those jobs that you want to do right and not have to do over, that's for sure. And having a spare on hand even if it's old, isn't a bad thing either.
    But man oh man............I hate plumbing. :(
  6. CIW

    CIW Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2007
    I think replacing everything that goes down the hole is prudent. Especially if you want to regain piece of mind. Too many variables.
    And I don't like plumbing either.
    Sometimes you just need to clear the table and start over.
    We've had good luck with Grundfos pumps. All stainless. No plastic parts. Good guarantee. Built for heavy use.
    Also, boot the power wires in a piece of hose and zip tie them to the down pipe. Slip a donut around the pump before dropping it down the well casing. Using sch. 80 pvc helps also.
    flewism likes this.
  7. flewism

    flewism Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2007
    Monroe Co MI
    30 year old, deep well pump really, I only get 10-12 years out of mine. House was built in '90 we are on the third.
  8. ticndig

    ticndig Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2014
    sounds like a worn impeller . if you knew the rated amperage you could test before pulling . low amps =worn impeller . high amps = bad bearings .
  9. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

    Jul 12, 2006
    Eastern North Carolina
    Look on the bright side.
    You'll be working on the clean, "incoming" end of the plumbing system.
    crehberg likes this.