Well pump hook up.

I was using the water today to de-ice some tools when the water slowed way down then stopped. I am intimate with the well and it's hook ups from previous experiences. I hooked all of it up myself and have had to trouble shoot it before. ,There is a sub box by the house where the well hooks up and I I assumed the problem was. Sometimes the pump would throw the breaker, sometimes just slow it way down.
In the freezing cold, I worked around for some time double checking connections in there, swapping breakers, and moving breakers, just troubleshooting. I decided the problem was either with the wire or with the pump itself rather than the sub box. Praying that the pump was OK, I performed further trouble shooting on the circuit. The pump is a 220v hook up. When hooked up properly, it throws the breaker. When the ground is removed, the pump and water work perfectly and are working now. .
I assume that this means the bare wire is touching one of the hot wires somewhere inside the jacketed romex. Does that sound right?
The darn thing is a single run directly to the well pump 150ft underground. I have yet to make a full visual inspection of the above ground part but don't expect to find anything visual with the Romex style wire. What risk do I run with running the pump without that ground? I assume that the pump will have to be pulled from 150ft down to replace the wire which could be unpleasant. Ideas?
Lawrence
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If lifting the ground wire causes the pump to function, that ground wire must be "electrically live". You should be able to test it to ground with a meter or test light. If you have "Romex" running down the well to the pump, it's a good bet that it has failed, since it's not designed or approved for such usage. I would recommend replacing it with proper well pump cable
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The wire is the style that is rated to be buried so it has the extra insulation around the wires though it is the Romex style. not designed exclusively for wells i'm afraid. It is also my guess that the wire has failed and plan to make a close visual inspection of the above ground part tomorrow. The driller will have to be called in, I'm afraid, to replace that cable. I learned a lot this time around so far as what to expect in a drilling bid. cause I will be mad if I have to have a working pump pulled up with 150 feet of casing.
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The wire is the style that is rated to be buried so it has the extra insulation around the wires though it is the Romex style. not designed exclusively for wells i'm afraid. It is also my guess that the wire has failed and plan to make a close visual inspection of the above ground part tomorrow. The driller will have to be called in, I'm afraid, to replace that cable. I learned a lot this time around so far as what to expect in a drilling bid. cause I will be mad if I have to have a working pump pulled up with 150 feet of casing.
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You don't pull the casing up at all. What's pulled is the pump and the pipe connected to it. I recently had a well installed and the wiring method they used was conduit from the controller to the well head with individual wires within it. Those individual wires were also taped to the well pipe on the way to the pump. They were not installed as a direct run to the pump either. They are spliced at the well head and can be disconnected for obvious reasons.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

If the OP disconnects the pump wires at the well head he can check whether the wires down the well are the problem or the wires from the house to the well. Or the well head connections.
--
bud--

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..
I don't think it is hooked up above ground except at the sub box. Standards are low where i live in the boonies of northern MN. The county wants to know when you drill a well but there is no permit or inspection and no money for such things.
I was there when the well was installed and hooked up and, as memory serves. watched them run the wire right down into the trench to the pump. An inspection of the wire today reveal no visual problem but the wire runs from the sub box does indeed go directly into the hole where the well output pipe comes out I do not think it hooks up at the well head but I intend to look.
The drilling crew was fine but the hook up crew were a bunch of clowns like you wouldn't believe. they showed up with no food or water and seem to have expected to go real fast taking no breaks. they crossed the wire at the pressure tank switch and of course it threw the breaker. Well these clowns pulled the pump out of the ground three time thinking it was the pump. then they told me my electric was bad and just left and never called back, believe it.
I called in an electrician, my neighbor, who had it going in one second and he said that he would bill the driller. that was back in '02 but I can see how pulling the wire up and down would damage it. The well and water have been good otherwise. I have seen the pump but don't know if I have the confidence to do it myself. As i recall they hook up the pipe with a special tool that goes down below the frost line. does this sound right?
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I don't think it is hooked up above ground except at the sub box. Standards are low where i live in the boonies of northern MN. The county wants to know when you drill a well but there is no permit or inspection and no money for such things.
I was there when the well was installed and hooked up and, as memory serves. watched them run the wire right down into the trench to the pump. An inspection of the wire today reveal no visual problem but the wire runs from the sub box does indeed go directly into the hole where the well output pipe comes out I do not think it hooks up at the well head but I intend to look.
The drilling crew was fine but the hook up crew were a bunch of clowns like you wouldn't believe. they showed up with no food or water and seem to have expected to go real fast taking no breaks. they crossed the wire at the pressure tank switch and of course it threw the breaker. Well these clowns pulled the pump out of the ground three time thinking it was the pump. then they told me my electric was bad and just left and never called back, believe it.
I called in an electrician, my neighbor, who had it going in one second and he said that he would bill the driller. that was back in '02 but I can see how pulling the wire up and down would damage it. The well and water have been good otherwise. I have seen the pump but don't know if I have the confidence to do it myself. As i recall they hook up the pipe with a special tool that goes down below the frost line. does this sound right?
It is possible that the only connection is an under water splice right at the pump.
The underground fitting that's below the frost line is a right angle fitting that goes through the well casing. Part of it is attached to the pipe going down the well. That part slips down into a fixed part, which is fastened through the casing. It's called a pitless adapter. To remove the well pipe, you thread a pipe into the top of the adapter, and just yank it up.
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On Mon, 06 Dec 2010 14:48:42 -0800, Lawrence wrote:

Hmm, I'm in northern MN boonies too and I don't think our county even ask for notification - let alone there being any permits or whatnot :-)
I think if it was me I'd chop the wires at the well-head to check for a top-side problem and solder them again afterwards if necessary - that seems like an easy test to try before messing with the well itself.

Hmm, can't help there I'm afraid - we're lucky and our well is only 80' and has a top-side pump, so just about everything that might go wrong with it I can get at easily (the well's pushing 25 years now and the pump/ motor getting on for 35, but it's all still running nicely)
cheers
Jules
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On Sat, 4 Dec 2010 15:10:24 -0800 (PST), Lawrence

If the pump is working and all it needs is wire replaced, then be happy instead of mad. Getting the pump pulled up for service is just part of having well water.
Edward
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Lawrence wrote:

One of the hot wires could also be shorting to ground. One way would be if the insulation is worn through touching metal. The motor might be going bad also. Removing the ground wire eliminates the return path to the breaker box for the current. That return path is essential for the breakers to function properly. You have a potentially deadly situation. Any metal connected to the well could be hot.
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On 12/4/2010 5:35 PM, Lawrence wrote:

Pulling a pump that shallow and either fixing the wire or replacing it is a fairly easy job. I had guys here and in no time flat they were pulling 20 feet at a time, unscrewing it and making one pile of pipe and pulling the wire out into the lawn. I'd say it took about 5 minutes at the very most for each 20 foot section. And maybe a minute or so more to put it back down the well again. If you can, find a company that doesn't drill wells, only fixes them.
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It's even faster if the pipe is poly. There's nothing to disconnect,except the wires under the well cap, just grab the pitless adapter, yank it up, and start dragging poly across the lawn
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On 12/5/2010 7:46 AM, RBM wrote:

I didn't even think of that since I've never seen it. Mine is in the 600 to 700' range. I suppose if it was only 150' of poly I'd get a friend to help and do it ourselves.
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Exactly, I pulled my 165' system with the wife and one kid. What you have needs at least a jig to hold it
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<stuff snipped>

Sounds exactly right. It sounds like pump pulling time. I'd be very curious as to what failed. As another poster noted, the startup "kick" puts enough kinetic energy into the assembly to work a connector loose or abrade the insulation to the failure point. Most wiring problems in wells that I've heard of involved waterproof splices and connectors that weren't really waterproof. Your problem sounds different.
Stuff like this makes me appreciate the NASA guys who get robotic gear to work from a million miles away. At least you can reach your "not quite failed" pump yet. Consider yourself lucky to have a failure mode where you can work around the problem long enough to research possible solutions and not just have to "do it" to get back to a functional state. I hate those kind of problems. "Your whammis is dead, and if you don't get a new California approved one right away, you're going to die too!"
How old is the pump? Is it also time to replace it since you're going to be down there anyway . . .?
-- Bobby G.
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the pump was installed in 2002. It has been reliable.
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