Well Pump Starts, Then Shuts Down Quickly

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum' started by 1victorianfarmhouse, Jul 26, 2019.

Help Support House Repair Talk by donating:

  1. Jul 26, 2019 #1

    1victorianfarmhouse

    1victorianfarmhouse

    1victorianfarmhouse

    Established Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    16
    I figured I'd post this here and see what the experts say to see if I can conclusively narrow down the problem and fix it myself before calling anybody.

    New well pump bought from Speedbump and installed by local pros a few years ago, November 2016. New pressure tank also installed then. Been working fine until yesterday...

    Came home from work and had no water come out of the faucet. Checked the well pressure and found the gauge pressure at about 10 psi. Checked the breaker switch at the fusebox, it was not set off. Flipped the breaker off then back on, and watched the pressure rise to about 30 psi, then stop and start falling back to about 10 psi within about 30 seconds, where it stays unless I flip the breaker again.

    Sent Speedbump a message, since he's always been really helpful, and found out he's now retired. But he was still nice enough to send a note with his thoughts..... He opines that the well pipe may have cracked and that's why the well isn't holding pressure and is shutting down. When I had the new pump put in, the installers checked out the pipe and thought it was good enough to reuse.

    Since I really need to not spend additional money right now calling someone to come out and take a look unless I know I can't do the repair myself, I wanted to see if there are any other thoughts out there as to a possible problem with the well switch or pressure tank first, which is easier to fix. I haven't heard back from Speedbump, but I'm sure he'll reply to my email too.

    As always, thanks for any suggestions!

    Vince
     
  2. Jul 26, 2019 #2

    hornetd

    hornetd

    hornetd

    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    162
    A simple temporary fix would be to install a check valve just before the pressure tank so that the water cannot leak back into the well piping. I emphasis temporary because the pump will work a lot harder pumping enough water to fill the pressure tank with some of it leaking out of the well pump pipe into the well casing. That won't just raise your electrical bill it will also cause excessive wear on the pump. How much wear will depend on how badly the well pipe is leaking now and how much worse it gets later. WARNING: My father was a plumber. I'm an electrician.

    --
    Tom Horne
     
    zannej and Michael Armstrong like this.
  3. Jul 26, 2019 #3

    1victorianfarmhouse

    1victorianfarmhouse

    1victorianfarmhouse

    Established Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    16
    Hi Tom, Thanks for the quick reply! I don't think the water is even getting up to the level of the ground or pressure tank. I, novice that I am, thought the pressure tank just held air to pressurize the system. When I replaced the tank back in 2016, there was no water in the tank. The pump does not cycle on and off when I flip the breaker; it just goes on once, gets pressure up to 30, then shuts off and the pressure drops off in about 10-15 seconds. It doesn't cycle back and forth trying to get or keep the pressure up. This is what has me thinking there may be a problem above ground.
     
    zannej likes this.
  4. Jul 26, 2019 #4

    Michael Armstrong

    Michael Armstrong

    Michael Armstrong

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2019
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    NW Washington
    I've done a lot of work on well systems like that, and I'm puzzled. If the pressure drops, the pressure switch should cut on. Even if the well pipe were leaking, the pressure is still getting lower, and the switch should cut on. So, if it doesn't, the switch is bad. Or, the gauge is bad. But if the gauge were bad, the switch and pump would be working OK, you'd have water, and we wouldn't be having this conversation. Turning the breaker off and on and off shouldn't affect anything, since the presence of power only affects operations when the switch is closed. But if the switch contacts are cruddy (technical term), and they close but don't make good contact, just cutting power and turning it back on might effect a good closure. I'd open up the switch to watch the contacts and see what's really happening to start with, but right now my money is on the switch. How old is it?

    Say Hi to Speedbump for me.
     
    zannej likes this.
  5. Jul 26, 2019 #5

    hornetd

    hornetd

    hornetd

    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    162
    I think that you better get your advice from Michael Armstrong as it sounds like he knows what he's about. Since you need a plumber, and I'm a pretty good electrician, that indicates to me that you still need a plumber.

    --
    Tom Horne
     
    zannej likes this.
  6. Jul 26, 2019 #6

    Michael Armstrong

    Michael Armstrong

    Michael Armstrong

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2019
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    NW Washington
    I would say a d*mned good electrician. I'm a pretty good troubleshooter and moderately clumsy DIYer.
     
    zannej likes this.
  7. Jul 27, 2019 #7

    1victorianfarmhouse

    1victorianfarmhouse

    1victorianfarmhouse

    Established Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    16
    It's late and I'm tired. But here's what happened, which I only figured out when I went to use the main level bathroom. The main level bathroom toilet tank didn't seal after I flushed it, and drained the system of water. Once sealed again, I flipped the breaker and pressure shot up to 50 psi and it's been fine ever since this morning. Thanks for all the great suggestions and comments!
     
  8. Jul 27, 2019 #8

    JoeD

    JoeD

    JoeD

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,656
    Likes Received:
    308
    The pump must have some sort of auto shut off that detects running too long and shuts the pump down. Flipping the breaker reset it. Normally the pump would have just kept on running.
     
  9. Jul 27, 2019 #9

    Puddlesx5

    Puddlesx5

    Puddlesx5

    Hearder of Turds

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2010
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    19
    Is this a 2 or 3 wire pump? A 3 wire pump will have a control box mounted somewhere near the pressure switch. It seems you have 2 problems
    Not holding pressure
    Drawing too many amps

    The pressure is cracked coupling,bad check valve,or hole in the pipe.

    The electrical could be a blown capacitor. If you have a 3 wire pump that is located in the control box. A 2 wire it is in the pump itself.
    Barring any broken wires the capacitor is a quick fix for a 3 wire pump.
     
  10. Jul 27, 2019 #10

    Michael Armstrong

    Michael Armstrong

    Michael Armstrong

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2019
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    NW Washington
    I apologize. Should have added a "shut off valve to house" in my previous post to isolate problem to the well/pump side.
     

Share This Page