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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Pensacola Florida

    Help with diagnosing well issues!

    My name is Charles and I live in Pensacola FL. About three years ago I had a well contractor install a three horse pump and well. Shortly (with in a year) I started having the breaker in the control box trip. This occurred every month or so and the installer said the it was caused by the frequent electrical storms that we have. He said not to worry about it and since this is an irrigation well I did not worry bout it. Now I am having major issues.

    First some basics. Where I live water is not very deep and it is good quality water. We hit water bearing sand at 45 feet which continued till 135 feet where we hit a clay layer. The pump was set at 115 feet. The casing is 4 inch and the well is 2 inch. it produced 50 gallons a minute when installed. The pump itself is supposed to be all stainless and had a foreign sounding name Groundfos I think. It was supposed to be top of the line. it was installed with a air bladder tank and had a control box. inside the box was one capacitor, the breaker (attached to one leg) and a terminal block. The pump uses four wires: ground, start windings and the two power legs. There is a 40/60 pressure switch attached. The pump circuit runs through a 30 amp 240v breaker.

    The problem started when late one evening I heard the pump running when it shouldn't be. When I got close I could smell an electrical issue. Since it was dark I just shut off the main breaker which was hot. The next day I started checking and found one side of the main breaker was fried. I ran continuity checks on the other parts: pressure switch, control box breaker and associated wiring between main breaker and pump wiring. all looked and checked good.

    I replaced the main breaker and started up the pump. It started and pumped up to 60 psi and shut off. I opened a two inch valve to drain and drop the pressure. At 40 psi it kicked back on but I immediately noticed it was making a very audible vibration noise and I could feel the vibration in the well head. It was barely maintaining 45 psi. I shut off the valve and the pump was unable to gain pressure. I shut off the main breaker. I turned the breaker back on after a few minutes and it immediately pumped up to 60 psi and shut off. It was then I noticed the tank pressure was plummeting straight down. It kicked back on at 40 but again had the vibration. I shut off the main breaker and I shut off the main line leaving the tank and well. I started it back up and it pumped quietly up to 60, shut off and then quickly started dropping pressure. I shut the main breaker off and it went straight to zero in less than two minutes. Having isolated the well I knew that there was supposed to be some type of valve that stopped this from happening. Of course that was not all of my problems.

    The inability to pump after the initial pump and the vibration was my next problem. I started by taking amp readings when it was pumping normally. I discovered that one leg was pulling around 17 amps. The other leg was pulling around 12 amps (best I can remember now) the start leg was around 5 amps and never shut off as I thought it should. At 60 psi the pump shut off and all current ceased. At 40 psi it restarted with vibration and I noticed the start windings are now pulling around 8 amps and the associated run windings have dropped in amps. The other run leg remains consistent at around 17 amps. I duplicated this test numerous time with identical results. I will be happy to do it again with exact amperage draws if needed.

    I next started it up with enough irrigation running to not allow it to reach 60 psi but stay at around 50 psi. The well ran for thirty minutes with me monitoring it with no issues other than the start windings remaining energized the whole time.

    I obviously have problems and I hope someone can help me!

    I forgot to mention that my original contractor passed away and his son has been putting me off for a month now. A call to a second well contractor said it wasn't a big problem and for $4000 he could install a new pump. That can't be the only solution.
    Last edited by Darkman; 07-05-2017 at 03:28 AM.

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