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Getting Pumped …

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Oh joy of joys! Yesterday our well pump stopped working. I called the pump service folks to diagnose the issue, but they couldn’t get me on the schedule until Tuesday. Ugh.

So, instead of working the FC, or anything else, I have been taking crash courses in learning how the our well pump system works (thank YouTube) at the wiring/capacitor/relay/switch level. After exploring the box with my voltmeter, in the pump control box I diagnosed a bad capacitor, so that was progress, but couldn’t readily locate one near me for sale, so I ended up buying a new pump control box and rewiring it in place. That went well (unintended pun). The pump started, but doesn’t continue running (starting the pump differs from running the pump amperage wise).

My next idea was to check out the box below the pump. It contained two switches, controlled by different mechanisms, that turns on and off the electricity to the pump control box. It’s a box I’ve never opened (never needed to open). I was pretty shocked at the condition of the connectors; the leads are corroded and/or bad (see closeup). It may be the case that the corrosion is effecting the ability to feed the pump with enough amperage. So, Friday morning’s task is to locate new switches, then redo the wiring in the box. Fingers crossed this works!

Thankfully, we have access to the neighbor’s well, via multiple hoses, so we can fill pots with water, keep our cows watered, and water the garden.


Upper right box is the new one (cover off). Lower left box is the next project.




5 Comments on “Getting Pumped …

  1. Chadwick

    That sounds like a mess. Just the other day I was thinking about our well. Need to get our 2nd well wired up for backup and pasture water. Well issues also get me thinking how a cistern might actually be a great idea. There is more complexity with a cistern setup, but it seems like a nice safety to buy you some time with certain well issues. Good luck! Sounds like good neighbors though.

  2. David Eilers Post author

    Yep, a mess. The good news is that I found the two switches, so I can replace and rewire the whole box .. that is this afternoon’s project.

    We have 300 gallon cistern, in part because our well is set up to water the front 1.5 acres or so of grass (initially that was pasture .. our back 2+ acres of pasture receives pressurized seasonal irrigation water). The cistern allows the well pump to water the front property, while also provided the secondary pump access to the cistern water (for example, you can shower while the irrigation is running).

    So, when you fire up the front property irrigation, it starts the well pump. While the irrigation is running, the well pump can detect if the cistern is too low and, through the secondary pump, will prioritize filling that, while providing minimal water to the irrigation. When the cistern is full, the secondary pump shuts down filling of the cistern (and then switches to filling any house needs), while irrigation returns to being fully powered by the well pump.

    So, there is some complexity.I wouldn’t mind having a much larger cistern, but it wouldn’t fit well in the shop, which is where the irrigation pump, cistern, water softener, and filters are located.

  3. JohnfromSC

    Dave, Those connectors emind me of a well control I had, that took an indirect lightning hit. I also lost my pump to another hit. I suggest you look into lightning surge protection for the pump if it isn’t too expensive these days. Kind regards.

  4. David Eilers Post author

    John: I’ll look into it (once I solve the other issues, lol.

    Kurt: I bought a whole new pump control box, so now I have an extra relay. I replaced all the wiring in the box with the two switches. But, that didn’t solve the problem either. We now believe it to be the pump itself, so I will be calling on Monday AM to get someone over here.

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