Problem with well not delivering water

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wrote:

Thanks all for the good input. I appreciate knowing something about the possibilities when I finally reach the well contractor. I have a couple of calls in to him, but it is a small town rural area and he doesn't seem to be getting his calls. Possibly he has gone hunting and did not leave an "out of office" message. It is a weekend place, so service calls mean time off work, yada yada.
To clarify a few items:
1 - I first suspected the mechainical relay in the pressure switch. I opened the box and cleaned the contacts. They seem to be working fine, at least they are getting the pump turned on.
2 - I did check the power at the well head. I did not have a voltage meter, but used a simple outlet tester (pencil style chirper) to determine there was juice in the line. If somehow only 110/120 was getting down to the pump, is it possible it would only pump partway up the piping?
3 - We have high iron content in the water (partial reason for the treatment). I wondered if there had been a small leak in the steel pipe (yes it is steel, at least the top few sections that I have seen) that might have been plugged with oxidized iron. Perhaps the bleach then dissolved or loosened the "plug" enough to cause it to open?
4 - To the responder that concluded the pump is shot... I guess anything is possible, but when my car doesn't start I don't immediately shop for a new car ;-)
5 - I was having a tough time figuring out how the pressure could have gone to zero in our system - at least a reason associated with the well failure. Sounds like the two events need to be researched separately. As for the valve that prevents the water from flowing bck from the pressure tank to the well - is that something I can access and check myself? 'Fraid I have no clue about that unless it is integrated into the pressure tank?
6 - to the person who asked about the strength of the bleach used: We used a standard 5.5% product, mixed with water. According to our well report we have about 200' of water in a 6" column, and we used 8 cups of bleach. I guess that could be an overdose if the water level had dropped, but I have no reason to suspect that is the case.
Thanks again
Does the pump have a control box, or is it a 2 wire pump? Is there anything that would indicate if the pump is 120 or 240 volts? If you have galvanized piping down the well, it's possible that it rotted and broke, but I still don't see anything that you did that would have caused it to happen. There may be a check valve before the pressure tank, and one or more down in the well
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If i'ts a 240V pump, which it almost certainly is for this application, there is no way it could be getting 120V. The pump runs off two out of phase hot legs that give 240V and there is no neutral.
I'd go buy a VOM. You can get cheap basic ones for $15 at radio shack or many tool places, home centers, Sears, etc. If it's a 2 wire plus ground 240V pump and you have 240V at the wires going down the well, then you know it's time to pull the pump.

Considering the symptoms and sequence of events, that would explain things. However what the probability of that actually happening and opening a hole sufficient to result in no water, I don't know, but would think it would be low.
It's also possible the chlorine attacked the electrical system at some point, ie, got into the motor, causing resistance in a connection, etc.

Normally the check valve is located in the pump. That;s why I said if the pressure went to 0 overnight without any water usage, it's a strong indication that there is a leak in the well piping and such a leak would totally explain what you are seeing and hearing.

Doesn't seem like a lot of bleach. I strongly suspect that you're going to find that whatever happened, it was destined to happen pretty soon anyway. The bleach may have only accelerated it. It might actually be a good thing, because if something is corroded, you may have found it sooner, before the pipe breaks off from the pump, etc.

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On Oct 14, 5:20 am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Again, grateful for all the good info. I reached the contractor today, and he described a few other possible scenarios. He touched on many items already mentioned here. His additions (from memory - not the best record)
- the "starter condenser" might be working but the "run condenser" is shot. Hope that terminology is accurate. - the recirculating of the water back down the well pipe might have dislodged accumulated oxidation on the casing, and the pump inlet screen could be fouled.
There were a few other items to track as well. We are arranging to meet there as soon as I can spare a day from work, and he will start to diagnose. Will post back to the group once we find the problem, just for interest's sake.
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wrote:

Again, grateful for all the good info. I reached the contractor today, and he described a few other possible scenarios. He touched on many items already mentioned here. His additions (from memory - not the best record)
- the "starter condenser" might be working but the "run condenser" is shot. Hope that terminology is accurate.
If you have a control box, this stuff can be diagnosed right there. If you don't, it's built into the pump, and it needs to be pulled
- the recirculating of the water back down the well pipe might have dislodged accumulated oxidation on the casing, and the pump inlet screen could be fouled.
There were a few other items to track as well. We are arranging to meet there as soon as I can spare a day from work, and he will start to diagnose. Will post back to the group once we find the problem, just for interest's sake.
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Well, after a diagnostic visit and some work, we are back up and running. It appears that the pump was toast, and the frequent cycling of it as we ran the water out durignthe "shock" caused it to finally give up the ghost. Our local well guy got us a good 2 HP replacement pump, had it installed in three hours, and we have taps that work again. It's embarrassing how quickly hauling water from a creek gets *really* old fast.
Our best guess is that the prior pump was in the well since the mid-90's. It was a 5 HP, which our guy says may have been detrimental, since it would cycle on/off faster to service our pressure tank. Regardless, it seems it was on borrowed time.
As for the dropping of the pressure in the system, our guy was not quite sure how to ID that one. He mentioned that there might be a tiny leak in the pipe from the well to house, but we've never seen evidence of anything like that. This weekend, with the new pump installed, I spent several hours working in the "basement" beside the pressure tank. I tracked the pressure when I started, and with no water running anywhere, it was still static at the same pressure after almost 3 hours. So I'm thinking a slow leak would have altered the pressure in that time span (if it had lost ALL pressure overnight as we noted).
So, observations with the new pump in place: Almost undetectable operation. The 5 HP caused a pretty audible hum when charging the tank. Very loud click in the pressure switch. The prior unit clicked audibly, this one really snaps. (Switch unchanged, I attribute this to the new control box). Takes under 2 minutes to fill the pressure tank. Takes 4 minutes when an outdoor hose it running full bore. Opening a tap causes water to come out. Eureka!
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Thanks for the update. 5hp!!! that is a new one on me. Way overrate for residential use unless there is a _lot_ of irrigation being done.
Harry K
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