New guy with well pump question

device-detection

#1

Just installed my Sense about 48 hours ago and now have discovered 2 items, the fridge and the well pump. The pump is not close to the house so it can’t be heard running. Based on the Sense app the pump is running (about) for 5 seconds every 30 seconds, over and over. There isn’t any water being used that I know of. Does this seem normal to anyone out there with a well pump or do I have something that needs looking at/fixed?

Mike


#2

I can’t believe that’s normal. I’ve had sense a couple months and it hasn’t detected my well, but within the first day of having it installed, I saw my usage shoot up about ~2000 watts any (and every) time water was used. It turned out to be a bad bladder in the pressure tank - cost me about $400 but saved me literally thousands in replacing a burned out pump - or at least put it off to a pumps more normal lifespan.

It also could be that you have a leak, if you’re sure it’s the well pump that’s running. the goats knocked the automatic fill float off the tank the other day and I notice my well cycling about every 45 minutes - so that was a good catch as well.

Even if you can’t hear it from the house, it should be easy enough in the well house. I can’t hear mine, but I can feel the vibration in the pump/pipes when it’s running, or watch the pressure gauge.

hope this helps!


#3

You definitely have a problem there, probably with your pressure tank. Frequent pump start ups and shorts runs are really tough on well pumps.

The first thing to check is the pressure in the pressure tank. There should be a tire valve somewhere on the tank. Using a tire pressure gauge, just depress the valve a bit to let some air out. If water flows out you have a broken bladder in the tank and it needs to be replaced. If no water comes out, shut power to the pump off and entirely drain your water pipes. The tank needs to be empty. Using the tire gauge, measure the remaining pressure in the tank. It should be around the low cut off setting of the pump switch minus a few psi. If low, pump it up with a compressor or a hand pump and the problem should be fixed. This is something that should be done regularly as part of routine maintenance.


#4

My well pump runs for abt 30 seconds but only when the pressure falls to the low turn on pressure which is set at adt 30 #. You can usually hear the pressure switch click when it turns on or off. Thereshould also be a pressure gauge on the tank which shows system pressure. You could use either of these ways to verify the pump is what Sense is showing as on.


#5

Yeah, something’s not right. I took time to turn off the pump and drain the water from the tank. Read zero pressure at the air valve. Took a bicycle hand pump and pumped for about 10 minutes and still no pressure. Couldn’t see or hear any leaks. A replacement tank is $600 (120 gal), ouch! The best price I can find for a new bladder is $200, so I’ll likely go that way. The owners manual has a procedure to check the bladder for leak that requires I put the tank on it’s side and see if water comes out the air valve. That will require shutting everything down and cutting/replacing a section of PVC pipe. Looks like a fun weekend. This Sense device is nothing but trouble, LOL. Before I installed it, I was living in ignorant bliss :smile:


#6

Here on our pressure system, water starts at the submerged pump, goes up to ground level and then through a check valve with a Schrader valve on the pump side of the check valve (to allow air to fill the pump pipe) and a pressure switch on the tank side. This allows air to refill the water line so the pump doesn’t start with a water head of up to 400 foot. The water then fills the pressure tank. About half way up the tank is a float valve. As water is used, the water level in the tank drops below the float valve and air is released, pressure drops and the lower pressure trips the pressure switch and turns on the pump. The air in the pump line refills the tank so it doesn’t get water locked.

  1. Check the Schrader valve that it lets air into the system. A little water might dribble out when the pump is on and you should here air flow through the valve just after pump off.
  2. Check the tank water level and if it is way above the float valve, that might have to be replaced.

If you well system is any different then mine… ummm, Never mind.

I have had to replace all parts of my pressure system and I usually find out the system went bad only after seeing my power bill. Sense should be able to catch it sooner than that.


#7

The bladder may be very hard to replace. I tried to go that route and was talked out of it. but my tank was only about $400 and I replaced it myself, easy peasy. Good luck!!


#8

It has been raining so I haven’t been able to work on the pump. One thing to note, as I stated above, I did add some air with a bicycle hand pump. At the time it didn’t seem to make a difference. After 24 hours I noticed in Sense that the well pump is running less, about every 2-3 minutes instead of every 30 seconds. I wonder if I just need to try adding more air. Once the rain stops I’ll try again.


#9

if you’re not sure what the pressure should be, I had a lot of luck by contacting the manufacture. My pump only runs a few times a day, only at specific times: if the shower is running, the dishwasher, watering stock, etc…

One day last week, I noticed it was cycling about every 40 minutes and it was because the goats had knocked the automatic waterer off their tank. 2-3 minutes is still too often, IME


#10

If having put some air in and its still cycling only slower, you have another problem in addition to the pressure tank.

You have a leak somewhere.


#11

I’ll check the bladder pressure tomorrow. If it’s okay I’ll then need to install a cutoff valve on the supply line near the pump that goes to the house (need one anyway) to see if I have a leak somewhere in the piping after the pump.


#12

Have you confirmed that what the device Sense has identified is in-fact your well pump? If your well pump is actually running 5 seconds out of 30 continuously, I’d say you have both a pump/tank problem (pressure relay broken or out of adjustment, need to add air to your tank, leaky bladder, etc.) AND you have a water leak somewhere.

Maybe you’ve already done this, but first thing I’d do is stand next to the pump and confirm it is running 5 seconds out of 30.


#13

Thanks bmchollan. I did confirm that it’s the well pump. Standing next to the pump with iPhone in hand :slightly_smiling_face:. As soon as it warms up I’ll check the bladder to see if it held pressure overnight. After that, I’ll look into the pressure relay and lastly, look for leaks in the line from the pump to the house (100’).


#14

also check your pressure gauge. I replaced that as well as during the tank replacement, I realized it was about 20lbs off. In my case, it was a $10 part and just a couple minutes to replace.


#15

Thanks for the reminder Becky. I replaced the well pump several years ago and at the time didn’t replace the broken pressure gauge. I’ll add it to the list :slight_smile:


#16

I may have missed it, but is it a submersible pump or above ground pump? If above ground pump it has a foot valve at the bottom of the well that has a check valve in it to keep the water from going back down the well from gravity. These do go bad and do exactly as you described. Pressure is lost and the pump cycles to keep up with the loss.


#17

mine is submersible


#18

Even submersible pumps have a check valve at the bottom. It’s purpose is to keep the column of water in the well pipe from draining back into well. If it’s leaking, that would cause this problem.

Also a common place for leaks is at the pitless adaptor where the well pipe transitions to the pipe from the house.


#19

It’s absolutely abnormal. My submersible runs only if I’ve used enough water to lower the tank pressure to <30. I just checked. Today is laundry day and the pump ran 7 times. Years ago, I ruined a pump because there was an undetected leak in the pipe running from my submersible 50 feet to my house. I had to dig a new trench for a new pipe (this time sleeved in a 4" pvc pipe) and put in a new pump. Very expensive mistake. The longer this goes on, the more at risk you are of burning out the pump.


#20

Sorry everyone, been in bed with the flu…

Haven’t been able to look at or work on the pump, maybe this weekend.

Lots of good ideas and I feel that I’ll be able to figure out now what’s going on. A bit of info on the pump that I neglected to include before; I have a shallow well pump that’s above ground (Flotec FP4122-08). I have no idea if there’s a check/foot valve at the bottom of the well. The well was in place when I moved here 30 years ago. I bet if there is a foot valve, it could easily be old and worn out. The well has a metal casing around the well pipe, so I’m assuming it’s not a driven well.