Raised well pump cutoff from 45 to 50 PSI, pump dead in 24 hr.

Yesterday morning I was fixing a leak in a shower drain in a rental home. The tenants complained of low water pressure at the shower heads. A check of the well system determined that the cut-in pressure was about 30 PSI and the cutoff was about 45 PSI. Letting all the water drain out of the tank and I estimated the well tank pre-charge at about 26 PSI. I raised the cutoff pressure to about 50 PSI and noticed better flow at the shower heads.
Today around 3 PM I get a call from the owner telling me that the well pump is dead.
I don't know anymore details but will fill them in as I get them. I feel my actions must have caused the death of this pump. So assuming the tenants did not leave the water running and burn out the pump what likely happened?
What would be fair compensation for my costumer?
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That depends on how old the pump is and what it was rated for. If you raised the cutoff pressure to 59 psi and the pump wasn't capable of meeting that pressure, it would run continuously regardless of water usage by the tenant.
It wouldn't seem that running 24 hours would damage the motor or pump as long as there was water in the line, but as you haven't inpected it yet, we don't know what's wrong. Could be a breaker trip from running the pump off an undersized electrical line.

I think it's far to early to talk about compensation until you understand what the problem is.
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Perhaps the pressuretrol is sticking. Try jumping it out or bypassing it to see if the pump comes on. Maybe when you raised the settings it caused a "dead" spot.
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That depends on just how elaborate it was. If a headpiece and mask were included, that would easily double the price. Was this for a gala ball or Halloween?
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On Apr 7, 10:00 am, "Stormin Mormon"

Assuming that 50 PSI is within the spec range of the well pump, which would seem almost certain, and you verified that the pump still cycled on and off properly before leaving, then I'd say you don't owe them anything.
However, I'd also question the basic concept of raising the cut-off pressure doing much at all to help with increased shower performance. It would, on occasion, help for a few seconds, when the tank happens to be sitting at the new 5psi higher pressure before someone turns on the shower. But unless the pump is constantly cycling with the shower running, it won't have any effect once the pump kicks on. Also, if you raised the cut-off, why not also raise the cut-in from 30 psi?
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wrote:

.
Many pump controllers adjust both cut-in/out with the same screw. As to shower performance, raising it 5psi would have very little difference except at the top end as you pointed out. Mine is set 30/50 and the shower performance at th bottom end (30-40) is pretty poor - gets you wet but no "needle" effect. I keep meaning to set to 40/60 which makes a _big_ difference.
Harry K
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Well, was increasing the set points of the well pump within the authorized scope of work you were engaged in by the property owner ?
Did you tale apart the shower heads to make sure that they were not simply clogged up with either mineral build up or sediment before assuming that it was low well pump pressure ?
There were other ways to deal with such a complaint besides turning up the dial on the pump... How old are the shower heads ? Lower flow rate heads are probably available, less water out of the shower head means less demand on the well pump... Did you duplicate the conditions where the tenants of the house claim the low water pressure in the shower happens ? Sometimes people will say they have low water pressure where it is borderline but fail to explain that they were trying to shower at the same time the dishwasher was washing dishes and a load of laundry was going in the washing machine...
I would say that fixing the leaking shower drain was one thing, the work that you were authorized to do... Investigating and/or repairing the shower head itself in the shower could have been justified by its adjacent location to the authorized repairs -- adjusting the settings on the well pump, not really... That is beyond the scope of repairing the shower and you should have called the owner of the property to obtain authorization/consent to include it within the scope of your approved repairs... Sounds to me like you have fallen prey to the ages old: "Hey, while you are here can you figure out why..." situation...
I mean you never know why a well pump is having problems keeping up with demand... It could be an issue with the cut-off settings, it could be an issue with the pump unit itself (sediment clogging, motor giving out, weak operation because of frayed wiring) or the well could be giving out due to problems with the water table (if the well in question was sunk early on in a given area it might not be deep enough anymore with all the other wells drawing off the aquifer), so you really should have informed the property owner of a suspected issue with the well and that the tenants are complaining to you of a water pressure issue that they may not have previously communicated to their landlord prior to telling you during your repair of the leak...
~~ Evan
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