TROUBLE SHOOTING SUBMERSIBLE PUMPS and JET PUMPS

License #2214SWWM

 

 

Troubleshooting Tips - Submersible Pumps

Fuse overload or circuit breaker trips when motor is started

 

CAUSE OF TROUBLE HOW TO CHECK HOW TO CORRECT
1. Incorrect line voltage  Check the line voltage terminals in the control box (or connection box) with a voltmeter. Make sure the voltage is within the min/max range prescribed by the manufacturer.

If the voltage is incorrect, contact the power company to have it corrected.

2. Defective control box: 
    a. Defective wiring

 

 

Check all motor and power-line wiring in the control box, following the wiring diagram inside the box.  See that all connections are tight and no short circuits exist due to worn insulation, crossed wires, etc.

 Rewire any incorrect circuits. Tighten loose connections. Replace worn wires.

    b. Incorrect components

 

 

Check all control box components to see that they are the type and size specified for the pump in the manufacturer's literature. In previous service work the wrong components may have been installed. 

Replace any incorrect component with the size and type recommended by the manufacturer.

   

c. Defective starting capacitor (skip for 2-wire models)

 

 

 

Using an ohmmeter, X1000 scale, determine the resistance across the disconnected starting capacitor. When contact is made, the ohmmeter needle should jump toward 0, and then drift back slowly towards infinity.  No movement indicates an open capacitor, low resistance means the capacitor is shorted. 

Replace defective starting capacitor

  d. Defective relay (skip for 2-wire models)

 

Using an ohmmeter, check the relay coil and contacts.  Their resistance should be as shown in the manufacturer's literature.

If coil resistance is incorrect or the contacts are defective, replace the relay.  

3. Incorrectly wired pressure switch

 

Check the wiring at the pressure switch

 

Make sure all line, load and ground connections in the switch match the diagram.

 

4. Defective motor winding or cable:
   a. Shortened or open motor winding

 

 

 

 

Check the resistance of the motor winding by using an ohmmeter on the proper terminals in the control box (see manufacturer's wiring diagram). The resistance should match the ohms specified in the data sheet.  If it's too low the motor winding may be shorted.  If the ohmmeter needle doesn't move, indicating high or infinite resistance, there is an open circuit in the motor winding or cable.

If the motor winding is defective - shorted or open, the pump must be pulled and the motor should be repaired. 

  b. Grounded cable or winding

 

 

Ground one lead of the ohmmeter onto the drop pipe or well casing, then touch the other lead to each motor wire terminal. If the ohmmeter moves appreciably when this is done, there is a ground in either the cable or the motor winding.

Pull the pump and inspect the cable for damage. Replace damaged cable. If cable checks OK, the motor winding is grounded.

5.  Pump locked

 

Check the line amps before the trip. If amps are twice normal, or higher, the pump is probably locked.  

Pull pump, disassemble from motor and check which one is locked.  Replace one or both if defective.

 

Pump operates but delivers too little or no water

CAUSE OF TROUBLE HOW TO CHECK HOW TO CORRECT
1.  Pump may be air locked

 

Stop and start the pump several times, waiting about one minute between cycles. If the pump resumes it's normal delivery, air lock was the trouble.  

If this test fails to correct the trouble proceed as below.

2.  Water level in the well is too low

 

Well production may be too low for the pump capacity. Restrict the low of pump output, then wait for the well to recover, and start pump.

If partial restriction corrects trouble, leave valve or cock at the restricted setting.  Otherwise lower pump in well if depth is sufficient.  Do not lower if sand clogging might occur.  

3. Discharge line check valve installed backwards. Examine check valve on the discharge line to make sure that the arrow indicating direction of flow points in the right direction.

Reverse the valve if necessary.

4.  Leak in drop pipe Raise the pipe and examine for leaks.

Replace the damaged section of drop pipe.

5.  Pump check valve jammed by drop pipe

 

 

When pump is pulled after completing Step 4 above, examine connection of drop pipe to pump outlet. If the threaded section of drop pipe has been screwed in too far, it may be jamming the pump's check valve in the closed position.  

Unscrew the drop pipe and cut off the portion of threads.

6.  Pump intake screen blocked The intake screen on the pump may be blocked by sand or mud. Examine the screen.

Clean the screen and when reinstalling the pump, make sure it is located several feet above the well bottom - preferably 10 feet or more. 

7. Pump parts are worn

 

 

Abrasives in the water may result in excessive wear on the impeller, casing and other close-clearance parts. Before pulling the pump, reduce setting on the pressure switch to see if the pump shuts off. If it does, worn parts are probably at fault. 

Pull the pump and replace the worn components.

8.  Motor shaft uncoupled

 

Coupling between motor and pump shaft may have worn out or worked loose. Inspect for this after pulling the pump and looking for worn components, as in Step 7 above. 

Tighten all connections, setscrews, etc. Replace parts if worn out. 

 

Pump starts too frequently

CAUSE OF TROUBLE HOW TO CHECK HOW TO CORRECT
1.  Pressure switch defective or out of adjustment Check the setting on the pressure switch and examine for defects.

Adjust the pressure setting or replace switch.

2.  Leak in pressure tank above water level

 

 

For discharge or bladder captive air tanks, drain the tank and check the pre-charge pressure. It should be equal to or 2 psig below pump cut-in pressure. If lower, check welds, braze joints, mechanical joints and valve core with a soap solution.  DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REPAIR BY WELDING.   Replace tank
3.  Leak in plumbing system Examine the service line to the house and distribution branches for leaks. Repair leaks
4.  Discharge line check valve leaking Remove and examine. Replace if defective
5.  Air volume control plugged Remove and inspect the air volume control. Clean or replace
6.  Snifter valve plugged Remove and inspect the snifter valve. Clean or replace
7.  Captive air tank has lost charge Check tank. Recharge or replace tank

 

Fuse, overload or circuit breaker trips when pump motor is running

CAUSE OF TROUBLE HOW TO CHECK HOW TO CORRECT
1.  Incorrect voltage

 

 

Check the line voltage terminals in the control box or connection box in the case of 2 wire models, with a voltmeter. Make sure the voltage is within the min-max range prescribed by the manufacturer.  

If the voltage is incorrect, contact the power company for service.  

2.  Overheated control or starter

 

If sunlight or other sources of heat makes the box too hot, overload may trip and fuses may blow.  If the box is hot to the touch, this may be the problem.   Ventilate or shade the box, or remove it from the source of heat.
3.  Defective control box components (skip this for 2 wire models)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using an ohmmeter, X1000 scale, determine the resistance across the disconnected running capacitor. When contact is made the ohmmeter needle should jump toward 0, and then drift back towards infinity.  No movement indicates an open capacitor; low resistance means the capacitor is shortened. 

Using an ohmmeter, check the relay coil, its resistance should be shown in the manufacturer's literature. Check amps in red motor lead with the motor running. If amps are much higher than the manufacturer specifies, the start relay contacts are failing to open. If amps are lower, the run capacitor is defective or the motor is overloaded.  

Replace defective components

 

 

 

4.  Defective motor winding or cable

 

 

 

 

Check resistance of the motor winding by using an ohmmeter on the proper terminals in the control box.  See the manufacturer's wiring diagram.  The resistance should match the ohms specified in the manufacturer's data sheet.  If too low the motor winding may be shorted. If the ohmmeter needle doesn't move, indicating high or infinite resistance, there is an open circuit in the motor winding.  Ground one lead of the ohmmeter onto the drop line or well casing, then touch the other lead to each motor wire terminal. If the ohmmeter needle moves appreciably when this is done, there is a ground in either the cable or the motor winding.  If neither cable or winding is defective, shorted, grounded or open, the well pump must be pulled and serviced.  

 

5.  Pump is overloading

 

If the fuses blow or overloads trip while the well pump is operating, check line amps. If more than 5% above the manufacturer's nameplate value, the pump is overloading, which indicates a defective well pump and / or motor.   Pull pump, disassemble from motor and replace one or both if defective. 

 

Pump won't shut off

CAUSE OF TROUBLE HOW TO CHECK HOW TO CORRECT
1.  Defective pressure switch Check the pressure switch to insure contacts are open at the correct pressure. Adjust or replace switch
2.  Water level in the well is too low

 

Well production in the well may be too low for the pump capacity.  Restrict the flow of pump output, wait for the well to recover and then try starting the pump again.  If partial restriction corrects the trouble leave the cock or valve at the restricted setting. Otherwise lower the pump into the well if depth is sufficient. Do not lower if sand clogging might occur.  
3.  Leak in drop line Raise the pipe and examine it for leaks. Replace the damaged section of the drop pipe.
4.  Submersible pump parts are worn

 

 

The presence of abrasives in the water may result in excessive wear on the impeller, casing and other close-clearance parts.  Before pulling the pump, reduce setting on the pressure switch to see if the pump shuts off.  If it does, worn parts are probably at fault.   Pull the submersible pump and replace worn components.  

 

Motor does not start, but fuses don't blow

CAUSE OF TROUBLE HOW TO CHECK HOW TO CORRECT
1.  Overload protection is tripped Check overloads and circuit breaker to see if they are operable. Reset overloads or circuit breaker
2.  No power

 

Check power supply to the control box (or overload protection box), by placing a voltmeter across the incoming power lines.  Voltage should approximate nominal line voltage. If no power is reaching the box, contact the power company for service. 
3.  Defective pressure switch

 

Check whether contacts are closed and the same voltage is present between load terminals as line terminals.  If the line voltage is not on the line terminals, replace the switch.
4.  Defective control box

 

 

 

Examine the winding in the control box to make sure all the contacts are tight.  With a voltmeter check voltage at the line and motor terminals. If no voltage is shown at terminals, wiring is defective from pressure switch or in the control box.  With a voltmeter, check voltage across the pressure switch while the switch is closed. If the voltage drop is equal to the line voltage, the switch is not making contact.   Correct faulty wiring or tighten loose contacts. You may also try cleaning the contacts or replace the switch.

 

Troubleshooting Tips - Jet Pumps

Pump won't start or run

CAUSE OF TROUBLE HOW TO CHECK HOW TO CORRECT
1.  Blown fuse Check to see if the fuse is OK If blown, replace with a fuse of proper size.
2.  Low line voltage

 

Use voltmeter to check pressure switch or terminals nearest to the pump.  If voltage is under the recommended minimum, check the wiring from the main switch on the property.  If OK, contact the power company.
3.  Loose, broken or incorrect wiring

 

Check the wiring circuit against the diagram. See that all connections are tight and that no short circuits exist because of worn insulation, crossed wires, etc.  Rewire any incorrect circuits and tighten connections, replace defective wires.
4.  Defective motor Check to see that the switch is closed.  Repair or take it to the motor service station
5.  Defective pressure switch Check the switch setting. Examine the switch contacts for dirt or excessive wear.  Adjust switch settings. Clean contacts with an emery cloth if it's dirty. 
6.  Tubing to the pressure switch is plugged Remove the tubing and blow through it. Clean or replace if it's plugged.
7.  Impeller or seal Turn off the power, then use a screwdriver to try to turn the impeller or motor.  If the impeller won't turn, remove housing and locate the source of binding.
8.  Defective start capacitor

 

Use an ohmmeter to check resistance across a capacitor. The needle should jump when contact is made. No movement means an open capacitor; no resistance means the capacitor is shorted.   Replace the capacitor or take the motor to the service station. 
9.  Motor shorted out If fuse blows when pump is started (and the external wiring is OK), the motor is shorted.  Replace the motor.

 

Motor overheats and overload trips out

CAUSE OF TROUBLE HOW TO CHECK HOW TO CORRECT
1.  Incorrect line voltage

 

Use a voltmeter to check at pressure switch or terminals nearest pump.

 

If voltage is under the recommended minimum, check size of wiring from the main switch on property. If it is OK then contact the power company.  
2.  Motor is wired incorrectly Check the motor wiring diagram Reconnect for proper voltage as per the wiring diagram.
3.  Inadequate ventilation

 

Check the air temperature where the pump is located.  If over 100 degrees F, overload may be tripped on external heat.  Provide adequate ventilation or move the pump.
4.  Prolonged low pressure delivery

 

Continuous operation at very low pressure places heavy overload on pump.  This can cause overload protection to trip.  Install the globe valve on the discharge line and throttle it to reduce flow and to increase the pressure.  

 

Pump starts and stops too often

CAUSE OF TROUBLE HOW TO CHECK HOW TO CORRECT
1.  Leak in pressure tank

 

 

 

For discharge or bladder captive air tanks, drain the tank and check the pre-charge pressure. It should be equal to or 2 psig below pump cut-in pressure.  If it's lower check welds, braze joints, mechanical joints and valve core with a soap solution. If it's defective, replace.  DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REPAIR BY WELDING.

Replace the tank. 

2.  Defective air volume control

 

This will lead to a water-logged tank.  Make sure the control is operating properly. If not, remove and examine for plugging.   Clean or replace the defective control.
3.  Faulty pressure switch Check the switch setting.  Examine the switch contacts for dirt or excessive wear.   Adjust the switch settings. Clean the contacts with an emery cloth if dirty. 
4.  Leak on discharge side of system

 

Make sure all of the fixtures in the plumbing system are shut off.  Then check all of the units (especially ball cocks) for leaks.  Listen for the noise of water running.   Repair leaks as necessary.
5.  Leak on the suction side of the system

 

 

 

On shallow well units install the pressure gauge on suction side.  On the deep well systems, attach a pressure gauge to the pump.  Close the discharge line valve. Then, using a bicycle pump or air compressor, apply about 30 psi air pressure to the system.  If the system will not hold this pressure when the compressor is shut off, there is a leak on the suction side.   Make sure above ground connections are tight.  Then repeat the test. If necessary, pull the piping and repair the leak.  
6.  Leak in foot valve Pull the piping and then examine foot valve. Repair or replace the defective valve.

 

Pump won't shut off

CAUSE OF TROUBLE HOW TO CHECK HOW TO CORRECT
1.  Wrong pressure switch setting or setting "drift" Lower the switch setting.  If the pump shuts off, this was the trouble.   Adjust the switch to the proper setting.
2.  Defective pressure switch

 

Arcing may have caused the switch contacts to "weld" together in closed position.   Examine the points and other parts of the switch for defects. Replace the switch if it's defective.
3.  Tubing of pressure switch plugged Remove tubing and blow through it.  Clean or replace tubing if it's plugged.
4.  Loss of prime

 

When no water is being delivered, check the prime of the pump and well piping.

 

Re-prime if necessary.

 

5.  Low well level

 

Check the well depth against the pump performance table to make sure the pump and the ejector are properly sized.   If undersized, replace pump or ejector.
6.  Plugged ejector Remove the ejector and inspect it.   Clean and reinstall if dirty. 

 

 

 

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