Well guys...I need some guidance about a well. I am feeling quite defeated.

Roy G

Roy
Senior User
Peter, if you don't get the pump to turn on I would suspect something wrong with the switch or connections. If you wire the pump to power without the switch, you will burn out the pump since it won't turn off. I'm surprised that you have a 3/4 hp pump if it is 250' down the well. My pump is also 250' down my well, but it is 1 1/2 hp.

Roy G
 

spartyon8

Peter
User
Peter, if you don't get the pump to turn on I would suspect something wrong with the switch or connections. If you wire the pump to power without the switch, you will burn out the pump since it won't turn off. I'm surprised that you have a 3/4 hp pump if it is 250' down the well. My pump is also 250' down my well, but it is 1 1/2 hp.

Roy G
I thought the same but the original pump from 1986 was a 1/2hp and performed quite “well” all these years. I still upped to 3/4 thinking that way.
 

Oka

Board of Directors, Vice President
Casey
Staff member
Corporate Member
Here are a couple of thing to try. If you can take a 220 motor similar amps, and hook it up @ the well head. If that motor works, then likely not the supply electricity. Also, check the controller if there is one or the solenoid switch. The wiring to the motor in the well should be tested as well, this requires pulling the pump.
If that is ok, the line is dirty/clogged or the pump is clogged or bad.
If you pull the motor you will be able to tell..
Checks valves the flapper kind I have never seen clog. The spring type design they can, so you can look at which kind do you have.
The last thing the well itself may have gotten too much silt in it. In which case it would need to be cleaned. There are companies that do this (at least on the west coast where all my experience with wells come from).
Wells are pretty easy, not a lot to check on.
 

Bernhard

Bernhard
User
Your math here is slightly flawed my friend. If you drop an empty pump and pipe into the well it may displace the water up the column causing a theoretical 6" x 200 foot of water column. This may calculate to 300 gals but remove the 2" diameter of air and tubing (which is where the 200 ' or so is based on) and you end up with more like 160 gals. Now im not sure if thats enough water to pump it up and out as I mentioned. The well may not be able to recover enough to compensate for that loss causing a no flow situation. Just a theory.
Nope, it is correct: Information given-250ft deep well, water level 30ft from grade> water column ~220ft, so take off another 20 ft to account for variation in diameter, thickness of casing wall and other incidentals.
Also, the water level in the pump piping is 'available water' so why would you exclude it??
And just for fun, assuming a 1" pump piping, that only contains about 0.0408gal/ft, so adding some to account for wall thickness, it amounts to about 12 gal or less; not a significant amount. If indeed, the pump uses a 2" pipe -which is a bit unusual for residentil systems, than the volume is about 45gal. But as I mentioned, the water column in the well casing and the water column in the pump piping is the same (equilibrating as the pump/pipe is lowered). If there indeed would be air trapped in there, the pump would float after a certain depth and it would be quite impossible to lower it down in excess of 200ft.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
Here are a couple of thing to try. If you can take a 220 motor similar amps, and hook it up @ the well head. If that motor works, then likely not the supply electricity. Also, check the controller if there is one or the solenoid switch. The wiring to the motor in the well should be tested as well, this requires pulling the pump.
If that is ok, the line is dirty/clogged or the pump is clogged or bad.
If you pull the motor you will be able to tell..
Checks valves the flapper kind I have never seen clog. The spring type design they can, so you can look at which kind do you have.
The last thing the well itself may have gotten too much silt in it. In which case it would need to be cleaned. There are companies that do this (at least on the west coast where all my experience with wells come from).
Wells are pretty easy, not a lot to check on.
Have you checked the continuity of the wires going down the well with pump installed? You could have a break in the wires when they are tensioned, while on the surface, they make contact. Having installed many pumps in previous lifetime, we always did a run test of pump before dropping it back down into the well. Then if pump didn't run while in the well, check continuity. Because all three pumps (old one, Lowes, and HD ) don't run when installed in the well, the problem is down the hole wiring. You should get a reading of less than eight ohms. If not, then you have a break in the wiring. I know this won't make you feel any better, but I have a shop made winch for pulling pumps using the safety rope. PS most likely the old pump is still good. We quit installing "dime store pumps" (Lowes, Tractor Supply, HD) many years ago. Last pump I installed in church next door, cost me right at a grand. Neighbor lost a pump motor to lightening a couple years back. We bought a pump from HD, robbed the motor and added it to his existing pump. If the wires are frayed, with pump out of the well, you can run wires thru your hand and feel any abrasion of insulation. Your well has what is called a liner in it. The area between the hole and the four inch pipe is packed with gravel. Four inch pipe has holes bored in it to allow water to enter.
 

Bernhard

Bernhard
User
I didn’t check the original pump as I had checked and replaced everything up to that point. I DID open the spigot outside which is the first outlet in the house. I didn’t check continuity as I read correct voltage at switch, well head and at pump. I am assuming if all three read the correct voltage that the wiring was fine. I will check that first thing when I get home.
The thought behind testing for continuity of pump and wire (after disconnecting from ground and line voltage) is to confirm the integrity of the wires to the pump.

Have you checked the continuity of the wires going down the well with pump installed? You could have a break in the wires when they are tensioned, while on the surface, they make contact. Having installed many pumps in previous lifetime, we always did a run test of pump before dropping it back down into the well. Then if pump didn't run while in the well, check continuity. Because all three pumps (old one, Lowes, and HD ) don't run when installed in the well, the problem is down the hole wiring. You should get a reading of less than eight ohms. If not, then you have a break in the wiring. I know this won't make you feel any better, but I have a shop made winch for pulling pumps using the safety rope. PS most likely the old pump is still good. We quit installing "dime store pumps" (Lowes, Tractor Supply, HD) many years ago. Last pump I installed in church next door, cost me right at a grand. Neighbor lost a pump motor to lightening a couple years back. We bought a pump from HD, robbed the motor and added it to his existing pump.
Yep, mentioned that, too. Quick and easy to do.
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Staff member
Corporate Member
Peter, if you don't get the pump to turn on I would suspect something wrong with the switch or connections. If you wire the pump to power without the switch, you will burn out the pump since it won't turn off. I'm surprised that you have a 3/4 hp pump if it is 250' down the well. My pump is also 250' down my well, but it is 1 1/2 hp.

Roy G
Depth of the well is irrelevant to pump HP. Static water level and well flow capability (which should be described on the well casing plate) determine required HP to pump the water. If the static level is 30 feet then that is the initial head pressure the pump has to overcome regardless of the pump depth, which only serves as a function of the available reserve of water. Well static depth will be increased as the pump draws water out, but if the pump is properly sized, it would never draw down to the depth of the pump given the reserves available. Example: Well has a flow capability of 2 GPM (quite low for a 6" well). At static level described, a smaller pump would be recommended and prudent so as to prevent running the well dry. If the flow capability of the well is 10-20 GPM, a larger pump would be allowed.
As for the connections, I've found fire ants to be the bane of my well pump. They like to get into the contacts and short them out. But if you say you have current to the pump, then that's not your problem. Just be sure both legs of the pump leads are hot and that it's wired for the supplied voltage. Hoping to see a solution to you problem soon.
 

kooshball

David
Corporate Member
Depth of the well is irrelevant to pump HP. Static water level and well flow capability (which should be described on the well casing plate) determine required HP to pump the water. If the static level is 30 feet then that is the initial head pressure the pump has to overcome regardless of the pump depth, which only serves as a function of the available reserve of water. Well static depth will be increased as the pump draws water out, but if the pump is properly sized, it would never draw down to the depth of the pump given the reserves available. Example: Well has a flow capability of 2 GPM (quite low for a 6" well). At static level described, a smaller pump would be recommended and prudent so as to prevent running the well dry. If the flow capability of the well is 10-20 GPM, a larger pump would be allowed.
As for the connections, I've found fire ants to be the bane of my well pump. They like to get into the contacts and short them out. But if you say you have current to the pump, then that's not your problem. Just be sure both legs of the pump leads are hot and that it's wired for the supplied voltage. Hoping to see a solution to you problem soon.
Pump curves are your friend as Dennis said but you need to know the recharge rate and static water level to correct the right pump so it doesn’t overtake the well.

On the troubleshooting side, you make have some worn / compromised sections of wire as things seem to behave differently when the pump is under water vs when you “bench tested” the wires.

Good luck
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Staff member
Corporate Member
I wouldn't have believed it if it hadn't happened to me, but I once had a submerged pump continue to run with one leg bare (240v) until the wire was worn completely in two. No torque arrester and spacers improperly spaced.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
Did you manually push in contacts on pressure switch? Use a screw driver to do this. If so, did you se an arc on both make and break? If not, voltage isn't going down the hole to the pump. Could be either broken wire, or defective pump. Dennis, in our area, guess what we call a well that yields 2 gallons per minute - A GUSHER! Very few wells around here, till you cross the creek and get into the hard rock, yield more than a gallon per minute. We have a 1500 gallon storage tank with booster pump to service houses and church.
 

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
I was hoping to find someone here with a little knowledge about wells. I am a fairly handy person and this has me feeling quite down as I cannot figure it out. We have had no water for 3 days now. Long story short, after all the rain from last week our well quit working Saturday afternoon. I was asleep (Benadryl and allergies...YAY!) when my wife came home and started flipping circuit breakers. I sprang up quick and asked what she was doing and she said we had no water. The following is what I have done in order up to this point.

1. I checked the breaker panel and the circuit was fine. I reset it anyway just in case.
2. I checked the pressure switch (not lever model for low pressure cutoff) and it appeared fine. I checked pressure in the tank (28psi for our 30/50 switch). All appeared fine but I replaced the switch anyway as I have had them play games
30/50 is low, I have a 40/60 and will go 50/70 at some point. But here is the question: if you have 28psi at the tank and you open a valve (faucet) water must be delivered, unless you have a blockage in the line following the tank. If your pump is running, it should fill the tank back to 50psi. Can you hear the pump running, or feel a slight vibration in pipeline? Most systems have a check valve at the inlet of the pump, have you looked if that has perhaps failed in a closed position?

First thing to check is if there is pressure in the tank and you open anything following the tank, you must have water flow. So either your pressure gauge is kaput, or there is a blockage.

with me in the past. Still, pump won't kick on.
3. I measure voltage at the switch and at the pump, both had steady 240v service.
4. I figure it must be the pump then. I pulled the pump out (shoulders feeling the burn) and replace with a cheap Lowes submersible pump (2wire + ground 3/4hp submersible). Turn the breaker on, nothing. Still showing 240v at the well. Pulled the pump (feeling like Arnold now) and test for voltage AT THE PUMP and still showing 240v there.
5. I return the Lowe's pump thinking that it might be DOA as my experience with HD/Lowes is a roll of the dice for some items. Grabbed a HD Everbuilt pump with the same specs, install and flip breaker...still nothing.
6. I check all lines with air and they appear clear, I can see water about 30' down in the well pipe and our pump is down around 2-250' so I am pretty sure the well isn't dry.

I am at a loss. I called a few plumbing places and they had nothing to say other than we need to send a tech out. I understand but with both my wife and I as teachers, we are not looking forward to that kind of bill. Anyone have an idea as to what it might be? Maybe I am overlooking something.
 

joec

joe
User
Speaking of wells, here is a story of a well drilling bum I dealt with in the past. I used to be in the equipment rental business. I had a bum that rented from me and I had to take him to court. A story came out in the paper, after I had won my case with him, about his business dealings. Apparently a single lady hired him to install a shallow well at her house. He came out, installed the well, hooked up the pump and got paid. After he left, the lady tried to use the pump and no water came out. She called the guy and he said it needed to be primed and came back out. While she was in the house, he screwed the pump off the top of the well pipe, loaded it in his truck and left. After finally getting someone new out to fix her well, they figured out that he had driven a 3' piece of pipe into the ground, hooked up the pump and that was it. Zero chance of it pumping any water.
 

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
Your math here is slightly flawed my friend. If you drop an empty pump and pipe into the well it may displace the water up the column causing a theoretical 6" x 200 foot of water column. This may calculate to 300 gals but remove the 2" diameter of air and tubing (which is where the 200 ' or so is based on) and you end up with more like 160 gals. Now im not sure if thats enough water to pump it up and out as I mentioned. The well may not be able to recover enough to compensate for that loss causing a no flow situation. Just a theory.
(6 x 6 x 3.142 - 2 X 2 x 3.142)/4 x 198 x 12 = close to 60,000 cubic inches.

60,000/231 = 260 gallons

Now if that was in millimeters, and meters and liters, I could have done it without a calculator in 30 seconds.
 

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
Speaking of wells, here is a story of a well drilling bum I dealt with in the past. I used to be in the equipment rental business. I had a bum that rented from me and I had to take him to court. A story came out in the paper, after I had won my case with him, about his business dealings. Apparently a single lady hired him to install a shallow well at her house. He came out, installed the well, hooked up the pump and got paid. After he left, the lady tried to use the pump and no water came out. She called the guy and he said it needed to be primed and came back out. While she was in the house, he screwed the pump off the top of the well pipe, loaded it in his truck and left. After finally getting someone new out to fix her well, they figured out that he had driven a 3' piece of pipe into the ground, hooked up the pump and that was it. Zero chance of it pumping any water.
With respect to the Sandhills in NC, I had my first well done, by a reputable company and a guy doing this for 14 years. So I left them at it, but unfortunately about 90% through the process I got involved and found out how little they knew. They did not even have the equipment to do the necessary testing Moore County regulations specify. They had no idea how to specify a pump. I spent about $3,000 in equipment after they left to clean up my water to the house.

Got the most reputable guy out here, who seems to be the best, has done this for his entire life and he is in his late 60's. Was considering putting in a second well. When I started asking him technical questions, his answer was basically: "This is what I have being doing my whole life, so either you let me do it, or you find someone else."
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Staff member
Corporate Member
Speaking of wells, here is a story of a well drilling bum I dealt with in the past. I used to be in the equipment rental business. I had a bum that rented from me and I had to take him to court. A story came out in the paper, after I had won my case with him, about his business dealings. Apparently a single lady hired him to install a shallow well at her house. He came out, installed the well, hooked up the pump and got paid. After he left, the lady tried to use the pump and no water came out. She called the guy and he said it needed to be primed and came back out. While she was in the house, he screwed the pump off the top of the well pipe, loaded it in his truck and left. After finally getting someone new out to fix her well, they figured out that he had driven a 3' piece of pipe into the ground, hooked up the pump and that was it. Zero chance of it pumping any water.
IIRC, well drillers must be licensed in this state. I'd be calling the appropriate licensing agency about this as well as the Attorney General.
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Staff member
Corporate Member
30/50 is low, I have a 40/60 and will go 50/70 at some point. But here is the question: if you have 28psi at the tank and you open a valve (faucet) water must be delivered, unless you have a blockage in the line following the tank. If your pump is running, it should fill the tank back to 50psi. Can you hear the pump running, or feel a slight vibration in pipeline? Most systems have a check valve at the inlet of the pump, have you looked if that has perhaps failed in a closed position?

First thing to check is if there is pressure in the tank and you open anything following the tank, you must have water flow. So either your pressure gauge is kaput, or there is a blockage.
This is probably a Captain Obvious question, but when you say you have 28psi at the tank, is it a bladder tank and are you checking that at the bladder? Because that pressure reading only tells you the air pressure in the bladder and not the water pressure in the tank, as they do not cross over. 28 psi would be about right for bladder pressure on a 30/50 switch setting but if the pup isn't working then you will have 0 psi on the water itself.
 

Ecr1

Chuck
Senior User
Just to clarify did you replace wire and piping or reuse existing. I would take pipe apart at well casing pull it up about ten feet and turn it on to see if it pumps water.
 

Our Sponsors

LATEST FOR SALE LISTINGS

Top