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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Default submersible pump goes on and off

    My well pump is set to kick on at 40psi and off at 60. It kicks off at 60psi and doesn't do anything until it drops to 40, say 4 or 5 flushes of the toilet or a long shower, but when it drops to 40 it doesn't stay on until it gets back up to 60, it goes on for about 3 seconds and then shuts of for 20, then the cycle repeats until 60psi is reached, when it shuts off for good.

    My tank, when dry, has 37psi in it. I don't know what could be causing this problem. It just started this morning when my wife was in the shower. It was fine last night for two loads of laundry and one baby bath.

    I haven't got the foggiest idea. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Fayette County, Ohio
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    Default Re: submersible pump goes on and off

    It could be the pressure switch. The contacts may be burnt. It could also be a break in the wires to the pump. I would suggest replacing the pressure switch first to see if that takes care of the problem.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Default Re: submersible pump goes on and off

    If I shut the power to the pump off for 30 minutes or so, then kick it on, the pump runs for about 30 seconds before starting the 3 off 15 on cycle.

    I'm beginning to wonder if it could be a well supply issue.

    Any thoughts?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: submersible pump goes on and off

    Usually if you have low water you get a lot of air in the lines.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  5. #5
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    Feb 2009
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    Default Re: submersible pump goes on and off

    So I changed the pressure switch, which took about 30 minutes. I had the pump off that entire time. I switched the pump on and it ran for about 15 seconds before starting up with the 2 or 3 on and 15 off thing. I then shut it off for 10 minutes and then on and it ran for about 5 seconds.

    Is there any way this might be a problem with my well refilling?

    Otherwise I'm still at a loss.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: submersible pump goes on and off

    You could always drop a weighted line down the well to check water level.

    My best guess at this point is that you have a pump motor problem.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Default Re: submersible pump goes on and off

    Is the pressure switch cycling (can you see what the contacts are doing?), or do you just hear that the pump is starting and stopping?

    If the pressure switch stays "on" but the pump appears to be cycling, then there could be a problem either with the motor or the starting capacitor circuit (usually a gray box between the pressure switch and the wellhead).

    If there's a failure of the pump motor, it could manifest itself this way: starting capacitor kicks in and makes the motor turn; when motor reaches speed the capacitor kicks out (as it's supposed to). Since the running winding of the motor is bad, it can't keep the motor turning. A few seconds later, because the motor isn't turning, the capacitor kicks in again and makes it go for a few seconds more.

    That is just a wild guess based on a rudimentary understanding of how pump motors work. I'm no expert, but I can conceive that it *could* be the problem.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    5

    Default Re: submersible pump goes on and off

    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    Is the pressure switch cycling (can you see what the contacts are doing?), or do you just hear that the pump is starting and stopping?

    If the pressure switch stays "on" but the pump appears to be cycling, then there could be a problem either with the motor or the starting capacitor circuit (usually a gray box between the pressure switch and the wellhead).

    If there's a failure of the pump motor, it could manifest itself this way: starting capacitor kicks in and makes the motor turn; when motor reaches speed the capacitor kicks out (as it's supposed to). Since the running winding of the motor is bad, it can't keep the motor turning. A few seconds later, because the motor isn't turning, the capacitor kicks in again and makes it go for a few seconds more.

    That is just a wild guess based on a rudimentary understanding of how pump motors work. I'm no expert, but I can conceive that it *could* be the problem.
    The switch only cycles when it hits 40 and 60 psi. at 40 it flips, causing the pump to start cycling, and 60 it's flips shutting the pump off again until it gets down to 40. or at least it did.. I'll explain below...

    There are two boxes, a gray box that has the on and off switch for the pump... This works fine.

    There is a blue box that has "goulds sumbersible pump" written on it. this is the box that makes the noise that lets me know the pump has kicked on.

    Now, the pump is going on for about a second, then off for two or three, then on for a second... the tank is no longer filling, it's stuck at 40 psi...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    1,131

    Default Re: submersible pump goes on and off

    Is this a jet-pump or a submersible pump?

    If a submersible (down in the well as opposed to an above-ground jet-pump)...is it a two-wire pump (120V) or a three-wire pump (230V)?

    When you say the pump is on and then off.........how are you determining the difference between on and off? If it's an above-board jet pump....I'm sure it's becasue you can hear the motor.

    But if it's a submersible.....can you actually hear the pump when it runs or are you determining on & off by the sound of water entering the tank?
    ------------------

    OKay....never mind the above. You posted while I was typing. Will digest what you offered for a bit.
    Last edited by goldhiller; 02-16-2009 at 10:25 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: submersible pump goes on and off

    This is tough from afar.

    How handy are you? <G> Nebulous question, I realize.

    Point being that the first thing that has to be determined is if the pump is functional or not.....or if there is something preventing it from functioning. I suspect the blue box you refer to is the pump control box for the/a 3-wire submersible pump. There is a starting capacitor inside it for the pump. This capacitor may be shot. They don't last forever.

    Is there a pipe union or similar between the the supply line from the well pump and where the supply line enters the pressure tank? Maybe your system is plumbed with black poly tube and hose clamps instead (can't see from here). In either instance the objective is to disconnect the well-pump line before it enters the pressure tank and then ask the pump to run. Catch the water in a bucket or similar. When you do this.........will the pump continue to run.....or does it act the same? On,off, on, off in short bursts?

    This disconnect of the incoming water line will/should also cause your pressure tank to expel all of its water/empty itself. Once it is empty of all water, put a tire gauge on the Shrader valve (tire valve) of the tank and tell us what psi the gauge shows when the tank is empty of water. Use the tire gauge and don't rely on what the installed gauge is telling you this time. It might be stuck/giving you an erroneous reading.
    Last edited by goldhiller; 02-16-2009 at 11:12 PM.

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