The Day My Brain Saved Me $1,000

I called the well man, and he came over right away. Which is nice. He took off the top of the well, took some measurements on amperage usage on the pump, and told me I needed a new pump. Not nice. So I told him to come over tomorrow and do it, I’d figure out where to get the money one way or another.

After he left, my brain started working. I think this is largely due to my desire not to spend 100,000 pennies. After using plain old Vulcan logic, I figured that the well pump itself isn’t bad (although, likely had much of it’s life taken away…), because it’s still pumping water. Pretty astute observation, no? Also, when it’s working, the water surges high and low pressure. Constantly.

So I thought perhaps the pressure tank, which is sorta supposed to store a bunch of water pressure (thus it’s name) wasn’t working, and the pump had to turn on and off constantly. I figured that wouldn’t be good for a pump. I know if I were a well pump, 200 feet underground, that if I had to keep turning on and off every 2 seconds — I’d probably give up after a while and go on strike.

So I crawled under the house, and tested the air pressure gauge on the tank, and water squirted out. Not good, but at least it confirmed my suspicion. Maybe I should go into the well guy business. I hear it pays well.

So for now, I drained all the water out of the tank with a busted bladder, and allowed it to fill with air. Then I capped off the air valve and turned on the well again. Guess what? It’s working quite well. I know I need to replace the tank, but in the short term, it will function fairly well. I’ll probably get a new tank this weekend, instead of taking off work tomorrow and selling my liver on the black market for cash.

And, I’ll start saving money for a new well pump, because I think it’s really taken a beating this past week. And if I never have to replace the pump? Well, I’ll have saved up money you see, and that’s never a bad thing.

So my tip for the day? Use your brain. Sometimes it pays off.

4 thoughts on “The Day My Brain Saved Me $1,000

  1. Aren’t unexpected expenses fun? I got the estimate on fixing the Hooptie – 4 figures. Bleh.

    Want to come down here and try to fix it for me?

  2. It sounds like the well man was trying to screw you out of a grand for a part that wouldn’t have fixed anything. If his regular business is working with wells and you figured out what he couldn’t, thats not good.

  3. I’ll probably get a new tank this weekend. Yeah, and a new well guy – that should have been the first thing he checked. I’m curious as to what exactly his amp readings at the well were, because if the pump is pushing water and not tripping the breaker then it’s a pretty good bet that it’s working within parameters. If the pump is kicking on and off (indicated by fluctuating water pressure), then either you have a bad pressure head (tank), a bad pressure cutoff sensor (located on the front of the tank), or a bad relay (located in the electrical box next to the tank, usually). And, you can pull excess amps with a bad tank, because water is not compressible, and if the tank bladder is ruptured there is no place for the water to expand into your system, but because the pressure is low the sensor keeps telling the pump to push. And the pump is pushing water which has no place to go (even if a tap is open, the pump is pushing water faster than it can exist from the system resulting in back pressure). This will cause the pump to work harder, drawing more amps. Basic trouble shooting, if the pump is drawing excessive amps, but still pushing a large volume of water – either the pressure tank is bad or there’s blockage in the feed pipe. Any plumber should have known that.

    And the pump is probably just fine, Shawn. Immersion well pumps are pretty rugged, I doubt you measurably decreased it’s life expectancy – unless this has been going on for several months.

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