Water pump on/off every 3 seconds

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We have a deep well with a tank in the garage. If the water is running, the pump runs for about 1 second then cuts off for about 2 seconds, and repeats. Is this normal?
Recently it seems that if any water is running, the pressure elsewhere is a lot lower than it used to be.
Is there a problem with the water system, and can we fix it?
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It sounds like your tank is water logged. You need an air head at the top of the tank, this air compresses and evens out the pressure as the on/off cycles through. One solution is to drain the tank then pump up the tank to 20-30 pounds, then turn the water pump back on and see if this solves it. Another thing to consider is a holding tank with a bladder then this shouldn't happen..
Good luck, Rich

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scratch that. . . if they make bladder tanks that big it would cost him a fortune. just drain your tank then restart the pump and see what happens. that should remedy the on & off problem. may also fix the low pressure if not, there is a pressure switch on the tank w/ a guage, under the cover of the sw, there are 2 adjusting screws, 1 increases the CUT IN & CUT OUT PRESSURE & #2 ONLY ADJUSTS CUT OFF . there will be a diagram under the cover w/ instructions.
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On 09 Nov 2004 00:49:00 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Playintennis5274) wrote:

OK, it looks like the only way to drain the tank is to open a valve at the top of the tank which is similar to a tire stem and open a faucet out at the pump. I've got that going.
(dumb) Question: do I put the valve back in and close it off before I turn the pump back on, or should I fill the tank with water and then put the valve back in?
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041108 2131 - Jud McCranie posted:

Once the tank is emptied, put all the fittings back in and sealed properly with some thread compound and then, as already suggested, turn the pump back on and let the tank refill. The system should put some water into the tank along with a volume of air. Some say about half air and half water, and sometimes 2/3 water and 1/3 air. The air should be at the top. Usually you can tell by the sweat level on the outside of the tank. See that the sweat is about halfway up the tank when the pump has shut off. If this doesn't happen, then redrain the tank and use the other suggestion of putting some air pressure into the tank, 20 to 30 pounds was suggested, and then turn the pump back on again and fill the tank until the pump shuts off. Then check the sweat level again. There has to be a volume of air in the top of the tank for the system to work properly. As already noted, your system has become waterlogged -- that is, the tank is full of water and no air pocket.
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wrote:

Thanks, it is working now. When it was cycling every 2 or 3 seconds, the pressure gauge was dropping very low very quickly and then going back up very quickly when the pump kicked on. The needle was bouncing around like mad. Now it cuts on when it gets down to 42 PSI and cuts off at about 56 PSI, and it moves gradually and takes several seconds to do it. I assume that 42/56 PSI settings are OK.
Tanks :-) to everyone who replied. You're the greatest!
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properly
back
Moment read the OP, thought of loss of the air cushion in the system. i.e. System was waterlogged. Don't know about yours but I remember some pumps (this was mainly on shallow well systems) that had a "Snifter Valve"; the purpose of which was to sniff in a little bit of air every time the pump ran to maintain the air reserve which is absolutely essential. Never had a system with a bladder inside the tank but understand if that ruptures it can also be a problem. Typical settings here for domestic were cut in at 20 lbs. cut out at 40lbs. The pressure switch that runs the pump usually being adjustable. To find out how read the instructions or figure it out from the switch which may be labelled.
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Never heard of that, and it sounds not only dumb but pointless, here is why. . . if you have a tank (no bladder ) 1/2 full w/ water and trapped (compressed ) air on top and your water outlet is on the bottom of the tank , HOW CAN THE AIR ESCAPE ? ? SOOOO WHY WOULD THEY NEED TO PUT A SPHINCTER VALVE ON ? ? ?
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Playintennis5274) wrote in message

If you are going to give advice, at least know what you are talking about. The snifter valve is a common, nay mandatory, part in any non-bladder tank set up. How does the air disappear?? It is absorbed a bit at a time into the water.
Harry K
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Hey Einstein. . could u pleeease highlight the part where i gave advice ? ? ? pretty sure that i asked a question. . .
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Playintennis5274) wrote in message

Try post #3 above. That was about as bad as the one I replied to.
Harry K
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Now that you have had a batch of wrong, not to say bad, information, here is the correct way.
1. You have a bladder tank as shown by the 'tire valve' on the top. The bladder has burst thus loosing your air bubble. 2. Proper way to drain and pre-charge the tank. a. Shut pump off. b. Open drain valve c. Open a faucet somewhere in the system to allow air into the tank. d. When empty close all open valves. e. Pump air into the tank until you have about 2 PSI -BELOW- the cut-in pressure, i.e., if pump starts at 30psi, you want 27-28 psi in the tank. f. Restart pump. g. Go around and open all faucets to release trapped air in the pipes.
You really should replace the tank - they aren't that expensive. There will be stagnant water trapped by the blown bladder that could be mixing with your supply.
Harry K
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(Harry K) wrote:

Entirely correct. Good post, Harry -- I just have one improvement to suggest below...

I'd do this just a bit differently:
d. Start pumping air into the tank. When the water stops coming out, close all open valves. You get it emptied faster and better that way.

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On Tue, 09 Nov 2004 16:17:40 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

I just repeated the process (in daylight this time) except that I pumped air into the tank. I was only able to get 11 PSI in the tank before putting water back in, but that should be better than what I did last night, and it will hold until we can do something about the tank. Of course, putting water back in compresses the air in the tank, and now it is at 44 PSI. The pump cuts on at 42 PSI and off at 57-58 PSI. Are those pressures OK?
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That depends. When you open a faucet, does the pressure drop to 42 psi, causing the pump to kick on? Or is 44 psi as low as it gets?
If 44 psi is as low as it gets, you need to either (a) let some air out of the tank, or (b) raise the cut-on setting to 45 or 46 psi. Otherwise, with the cut-on pressure set below the minimum pressure in the tank, the pump won't ever come on.
Or if you're asking if on at 42 / off at 58 is an OK combination of settings, sure. As long as you're happy with it. The "proper" on/off settings are a function of the capability of the pump, and your personal preference.
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On Tue, 09 Nov 2004 18:40:39 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

I should have been clearer. I'm using the inline gauge for the water pressure and a tire gauge for the air pressure. They may be a little off.
When the tank was empty (or almost), I closed all of the valves. There is one between the tank and the house but not between the tank and the pump. I put my tire pump on it and got it up to 11 PSI. Then I turned on the pump. Then the air pressure of the air at the top was 44 PSI. The pump cuts on when the water pressure gets down to 42 PSI and cuts off at 57-58 PSI.
Since then, I've looked at the air pressure as the water is used until the pump cuts on. The air pressure was 46PSI (was 44 before) and dropped to 41-42, while the water pressure dropped to 42 PSI and the pump cut on.
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(Doug Miller)

1. A standard setting on/off is 20psi difference. 20/40 (not common), 30/50 (very common), 40/60 which you have and is also common. 60 psi is generally regarded as the maximum recommended pressure for residences as higher pressures causes undue wear and tear on fixturs.
2. I don't understand why you could only get 11 psi in the empty tank. It will operate on that amount but the pump run time will be far off of optimum, running for shorter times and starting oftener. Starting is the hardest on the pump. The pump pre-charge just adjusts the system for best run time.
3. The guage reading you are getting are within the tolerances of whatever you are using. Best to use only one guage and adjust everything with it.
I don't want to fly on false colors here. I learned this as a shade tree operation when I became the default maintenance man on our community pump. Definitely not an expert.
Harry K
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On 9 Nov 2004 18:49:28 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Harry K) wrote:

Things seem to be working OK, except that the pressure for the shower is very low - even though the gauge goes from 42 to 56/57 PSI.

Basically because I gave up! It took me 10 minutes to get to 11 PSI (with the tank essentially empty), and the going was getting slower. Since the bladder is gone and there is no valve between the tank and the pump, I assume that I was having to pressurize a fairly big volume.
With water in the tank, the air pressure is 46 PSI. I suppose it should be higher, right?

Well, one gauge is in the water line and the other is my tire pressure gauge, so there is no easy way for me to do that.
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On Tue, 09 Nov 2004 23:40:18 -0500, Jud McCranie

What should the air pressure be? I could try pumping it up some more now that there is water in the tank.
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wrote:

Replying to the previous two posts:
Your pressures with water in the tank are correct. The pressure switch doesn't care a wit what your pre-charge is, it turns on and off when the tank reaches the settings. Yes, it is a common misunderstanding about the pre-charge, i.e., if I have 11 psi empty and pump shuts off at a 60 psi setting shouldn't I have 71 psi on the guage? No.
Re the low pressure in the shower: Not tank related I don't think. Sounds like you have a blockage in pipes or the fixtures. I suspect a partially clogged shower head. Not unusual for debris to be dislodged when working on a water system. Usually the debris will clog an aerator nozzle or shower head if not both.
Pre-charge can only be set with the pump off and the tank empty to get it right. Then set for 2 psi below cut-in. You are probably right that you are trying pressurize the entire plumbing system. It might help if you have a whole house shut off valve in the system, probably on the tank outlet, shut that before pressurizing. The pipes from the tank to the pump SHOULD be full of water so no shut off is needed. I say "should" because wierd conditions do exist.
Harry K
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