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Priming A Pump

07/24/2012 3:42 PM

I've forgotten some details about restoring pressure to the pump after an outage, it's been that long. Afaik you hold the lever and run the pump manually until it hits 40 psi, then let it hold the normal pressure; it cuts in thereafter when needed.

Instead, when I let go the lever after reaching 40 psi, the pressure continues to climb. This time it settled at 60 psi. We let it drift down to 50 psi, then tried running the water. The pump cut in at 42 psi and brought it back to 60 again.

I'm pretty sure the normal pressure is at 40. I'd like to get it there, but not sure how to go about it...? There's water on three floors here, and I seem to recall we had to run water upstairs to get it adjusted - why is that?

Last week we had a 5 hour outage, and after priming the pump and having it go over 60 of its own accord, I found my garden hose burst in three places.

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#1

Re: priming a pump

07/24/2012 4:13 PM

Hey there Art,

60 PSI does not sound out of the ordinary for 3 floors.

I have a 2 story off a well and mine cuts in at 40PSI and out at 62PSI.

I can't imagine that a 5 hour outage would do anything to increase the operating pressure 20PSI.

Was the pressure switch adjusted during or after the outage?

You should have adjusting screws under the cover of the pressure switch to adjust pressure and differential.

Watch the electric contacts though, on most press switches, these are close to the press adjustment screws - don't get zapped.

You most likely had to run water upstairs to get air out of the pipes.

I know this will sound like a dumb question given that you and I both garden but did you leave your hose on (under pressure) in direct sunlight on a hot day?

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#4
In reply to #1

Re: priming a pump

07/24/2012 7:58 PM

Thanks KJK that is just what I needed to know... I've been watching it for a couple hours and it cuts in at 42 and out at 62, so this must be normal pressure after all. The pressure at the tap also seems as usual.

I did look at the adjusting screws, but of course nothing's labeled and indeed, I'm not fond of the shocks.

The hose is a mystery then... it certainly was left on in direct sunlight on a hot day, but I've never seen anything like this before. There were gashes where it broke, and maybe a foot or so of bulging and messed up hose around each break. They are old hoses, granted, but they sure looked like they were burst by significant force. There's a slow leak at the nozzle end, so all the water may have run out during the outage, and maybe the water rushing into the empty (and hot) hose was enough to burst it?

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: priming a pump

07/24/2012 8:52 PM

"The hose is a mystery then"

Maybe that's were the air went. And left in the sun maybe it blew up like a baloon in those spots.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: priming a pump

07/24/2012 10:26 PM

It certainly did blow up.

Hose bomb... could we replicate it, I wonder. (Not in my yard, in your yard, Lyn. At the LynDoor hose bomb test facility. )

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: priming a pump

07/24/2012 11:53 PM

Or it could be that the Lyn-Door Industries goon squad sabotaged your idle hose to gain a few more sales in their industrial consumer hose division.

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#12
In reply to #8

Re: priming a pump

07/25/2012 11:17 AM

Now that you mention it, this is the third puncture-related incident in the last two months. The first two were tires (brand new deck screw in the first one; a file snapped in two did the second one). The goon squad could be on a puncturing rampage, doing the dirty in the dead of night.

But whether goons or not, I see the Grand Law of Threes has been fulfilled by the exploding hose, therefore I might stop expecting the third flat tire. It's all good, I tell you....

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#10
In reply to #4

Re: priming a pump

07/25/2012 10:01 AM

A pressure range of 20 psi is a normal factory setting. A pressure of 42 to 62 is quite reasonable and acceptable for most houshold uses. I could tell you how to adjust these switches if you like. A burst pipe indicates there are potentially problems with the points on the pressure switch (PS). Turn off the power and remove the cover from the PS. If you move the cutout switch that you use to restart the pump you will see the contacts open and close. Take a piece of emery or nail file and file off the carbon on these points. Sometimes on well used switches these points will stick closed and allow the pump to keep running. That may be the cause of the burst pipe. A second problem may have occurred with debris settling in the sensing tube that connects to the PS. Sometimes a power outage will allow debris and biofilms to slough into the water. If the sensing tube clogs, the pump could keep running. Assure it is clean.

Cutoff switches are good most of the time. Occasionally, a well could run out of water. The cutoff switch will open the points and shut off the pump to protect it from burning out (that is the main purpose of the cutoff switch). However, if the pump were to be running at the time the well went dry and no water usage downstream, the cutoff switch will detect a pressure higher than the cutout pressure. Then that cutoff switch will not activate and your pump will run with no water. It could burn out the pump or damage the impellers with no water running. I would replace the cutoff pressure switch with a standard PS without the cutoff and install a Pumptec. These devices are a bit more money but do work and have an auto restart. They measure amp/volt loads and any drop will cause a trip, like no water. They also trip on high amp/volt loads, like a broken impeller could cause.

Replace your pipe with at least 100 psi CSA/UL certified. FYI

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: priming a pump

07/25/2012 11:05 AM

Kevin,

This description of the switch maintenance is much appreciated. I have no doubt it's overdue for some maintenance in any case, so I will plan to do this during the summer.

Thanks!

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#2

Re: Priming A Pump

07/24/2012 5:52 PM

restarting a pump after it sets idle will loosen up rust in the pump. the pressure switch could have picked up rust particals thowing it out of adjustment. i would'nt worry too much about it. it should fix it's self over time. meanwhile, enjoy the extra pressure.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Priming A Pump

07/24/2012 7:28 PM

Good point, DD, but I would follow up on that thought. The pressure line from the pump to the switch could easily get clogged. It is good practice to undo it from the switch and let it flush out, should get a good spray from that. Be ready to shove it right back on before you get something electric too wet!

If it's clogged, undo it from the pump end and clear the fitting from the pump, the line, and then test again.

If it were to get fully clogged, the pump would run all the time and make max pressure.

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Priming A Pump

07/24/2012 8:02 PM

Thanks mike,

I'll keep that in mind if there's any further trouble.

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#9

Re: Priming A Pump

07/25/2012 9:34 AM

IMO, if the garden hose is old and has been exposed to the hot hot sun and UV, there's no doubt in my mind that a momentary pressure surge could split the hose when you restarted up the pump, especially if the isolation valves on the discharge side were wide open.....you really should open them very slowly upon restarting your pump.

A lot depends on what type of pump you have as well as its operating head ratings.

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