Well pump woes

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Well pump woes

Postby Guest » Thu Jan 05, 2006 6:27 pm

I have a well problem. Let me give you the setup.
Wire runs from a 30 amp breaker to the pressure switch (pumptrol). Wire runs from pressure switch to small fuse box, then out of the basement wall to the pump, the type of which I am uncertain.
Water storage tank is a HOYT.
Now, at the fuse box there are two fuses: the top one is a 15 amp, and the bottom is a 30 amp.
This doesn't seem right. The wiring is twelve guage (too low for thirty amp).

I've lived in this house for five years. It was built in the 70s.The previous owners (several over the years) did some wacky stuff in regards to plumbing and wiring. I wouldn't put it past one of them to have blown a fuse and just stuck whatever fuse they could find into the fuse box, regardless of whether it is a fifteen amp or thirty amp.

Here's my problems and questions:
1. The 15 amp fuse keeps burning out.

2. I don't know what type of pump is out there, so I can't look up the fuse rating for it. I have changed the fuse to a 30 amp fuse to help find out if I have other problems, since the 15's now burn out immediately. I shut the system off to prevent a fire in case I have made a mistake. ( this is all within the last several hours)

3. I can't find directions on how to change out a pressure switch. I know how to properly install the wiring, but I am a little weary about the water aspect.
With the 30 amp fuse in, no breakers kick and no fuses burn. Problem now is that the tank is either empty, and the pressure reads 0.

4. Should I try to put air into the tank with a compressor first, or change out the pressure switch?

5. If I have to change the pressure switch, do I need to completely empty the tank first?

6. When I remove the pressure switch, will water come shooting out? I noticed the nut is threaded with a teflon type tape, so I have been hesitant to just remove and replace it.

Sorry about the rambling, but I do a lot of studying before asking questions. I've been back and forth between Lowes, Home Depot, and the internet all day trying to find out as much as possible. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.

Postby cobrablade » Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:12 pm

I didn't realize that I wasn't logged in when I posted the above post. Anyway, here's the case:
I pulled off the well cap, and the wiring appears fine for as far down as I can see. No scorching, no insulation cracks, and no grounding out. This is a two wire submersible pump.

Right now the pressure guage at the tank reads 0. When I checked the valve stem, I have water coming out, and the guage reads 0 also.

I put the 15 amp fuse back in, and it burned out again.

The well contractors that I've spoken to tell me that the wells in my area are about 200-300 ft deep.

To replace the pump, if that's what is needed, will run me between $1200 and $1500. (which sucks since a 1hp submersible is $337 at Lowes)

Should I replace the pressure switch (what do I need to do in order to do this?)

Should I replace the tank?

I really can't afford to have someone come out and replace the pump, if that's the problem.

Two days without water, wife is getting cranky.
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Postby Gary Slusser » Fri Jan 06, 2006 11:29 pm

You turn off the power to the pump. You shut off the water valve to the house. You drain the tank; but it sounds as if you have a bad bladder/rank or you wouldn't get water when checking the air pressure. You remove the wiring form the switch and mark where they go then remove the switch form the nipple it is screwed on to. The unblock the nipple if it is blocked. Then put the new switch on and rewire it and turn on the power to the pump. If you blow fuses there is a cause, and it is electrical and there is a short somewhere... probably in the pump motor but it could be the cable down the well shorting into water etc.. If so then the cable has to be replaced or repaired if possible, and in many cases repair shouldn't be done.

Anyone that knows pumps can check the electrical stuff out to tell if there's a short etc. by doing simple electrical checks with a meter.
Gary Slusser
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Postby cobrablade » Sat Jan 07, 2006 12:10 pm


Well, I had to have the pump replaced. They came and did it yesterday. My current pressure switch is ok for now, and the tank apparently isn't the bladder type. I'll replace those later.
My well ended up being about 250 ft. It had a 3/4 horse pump in it. It lasted 34 years, so I can't complain.

Thanks for your help. I've bookmarked this page. You seem like a handy person to know, and helpful too! :wink:
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Postby cobrablade » Sat Jan 07, 2006 12:12 pm

I did also change out the fuse box. The fuses were supposed to be two 15 amp fuses, not a 15 and a 30.
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Postby speedbump » Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:29 pm

There certainly isn't any shame for a pump that lasted 34 years. I would replace that fuse box with a breaker box. Then you won't have to go hunting fuses someday.

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