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electrifier, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
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Experience:  Electrical contractor and electrical inspector for over 24 years with phone and networking expertise
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I have a submersible pump in my well and a pressure control

Resolved Question:

I have a submersible pump in my well and a pressure control box. My pressure tank fills to 40 psi, which is the cut off listed on the control box cover and the pump stops, but the control box circuit remains closed. Then seconds later the pump starts again and runs for a few seconds and stops again. This cycle continues over and over again. If I manually open the circuit (which I believe it should do automatically) and gives the pump a break then it seems to function properly for a short time, with the circuit opening itself at the proper time when the pressure reaches the cut off point.

I'm not sure if my pump has a short in it or if the circuit that stays closed is the problem.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  electrifier replied 7 years ago.
Is there power to the pump when it stops?
How do you know the control box circuit remains closed?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I have not checked if there is power to the pump. All I know is that the circuit did not open, but the pump did stop running. I can manually open the circuit with a toggle lever on the side of the pressure control box, which I can then visually observe. If the pump is running when I manually do this I can see the flash as it goes from closed to open circuit. I can only assume that when it is closed without the pump running that there is current going to the pump, but for some reason the pump chooses to not run, until it decides to.
Expert:  electrifier replied 7 years ago.
You need to check with a voltage meter to see if you have 240 volts on the load side of the control. We can't assume anything here, we need to know precisely what you have. The line side should have power all the time from the breaker. The load side only has power when the control is closed. Your only possible results are 0 volts or 240 volts. It will not be exactly 240 volts but it will be close to that. Let me know.
Is your tank a bladder tank or is it the older style without a bladder? Do you know the air pressure in the tank without the water pressure? Turn off the pump breaker and bleed down the pressure to get a true pressure reading of the air pressure.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I do not have a voltage meter, but by observing the pump and tripping the pressure control with the toggle lever, I know that there is easily enough voltage on the load side as the pump does pump water and since you said I could only have as results 0 volts or 240 volts. As to whether or not there is 240 volts of power from the breaker all of the time there has to be as the breaker does not trip.


That being said, the pressure control does have two boxes consisting of the box directly wired to the breaker (which is also where I disconnect the power when I bleed down the pressure to get a true pressure reading of the air pressure) and a second box located on top of the water pipe that has the toggle switch and the springs etc. At what point the voltage is severed, I would say has to be in the first box off of the breaker, but I don't know the function of this box other than a guess that it is the control to the entire system. Could it be that it is bad, or is that what you are trying to determine? How does it cut the power to the pump but the toggle lever mechanism does not open up.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

When was the last reply from me that you received? I now seem to be missing the one I received from you to which I replied back about 1 hour ago or more. Are we still working on this?


Expert:  electrifier replied 7 years ago.
I would assume the first box in the line is the disconnect at the well. This is a way to turn off the power at the pressure tank. The 2nd one with springs is the pressure switch. When the pump quits pumping I need to know if you have power after this pressure switch. If not I need to know where the power stops. Voltage meters are available at Home Depot for less than $15. In order to troubleshoot I need exact answers. If you bleed down the water system, turn off the power and let the water run down. What is the pressure in the valve at the top of the tank? Is it a bladder tank?
Please answer these questions. I need the answers to all of these questions.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

There is no disconnect at the well. The pressure tank is in the basement near my 150 amp electrical service box. The box that I called directly wired to the breaker, but it actually goes into a junction box and then to both a 1/2 hp service box Franklin Electric Co, Inc. Model(NNN) NNN-NNNN(the first box), and to the pressure switch.


When I was looking inside the 1/2 hp service box I noticed that one of the five male prongs on the lid was bent down so that it would not be able to fit into the female recepticle. I'm wondering if this may have been the whole problem I was trying to figure out. The thing is water was still being pumped since I first noticed a problem three days ago. One other thing is that when I finally did notice the problem the first thing I did was pull the cover on the 1/2 hp service box and then put the cover back on as I thought the lid may have come loose and was not making a full connection electrically. That first time putting the lid back on may have been when I bent the one prong. Either way when I put the lid back on it did the same thing.


The answers to your questions: I will need to purchase a voltage meter before I can answer that question. I do have a bladder tank and the valve pressure with no water in the bladder is 21 lbs.


Let me know if you have any ideas about what I found with the prong. Of the five prongs the one that was bend down was the outside one on the right side when looking at the inside of the lid, where a 1 1/2" x 4" cylinder and a GE 3ARR3J9V4 Relay are mounted above the horizontal line of five prongs.

Expert:  electrifier replied 7 years ago.
This box from your description sounds like a well control box. Where did you say the pressure switch is in the circuit? I suspect the pressure switch connects to 2 terminals in the control box, 2 wires in from the breaker and 3 wires out to the motor at the bottom of the well. The pressure switch does not control the pump directly. It is the switch for the pump motor control box, the Franklin box. Is this what you have actually?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I think we're getting closer to knowing what I have here. I just watched my pressure tank fill up. The pressure switch kept the circuit closed until the tank was full, but the motor control box shut the pump off quite a few times with the circuit closed. When the tank was finally full, at 54 psi, then the pressure switch opened the circuit. When the tank gets down to below 30 psi then the switch is closed to fill the tank.


This is the order of the circuit from the breaker: first to jct box, then to pressure switch, then to motor control box and then to the motor in the well. That means that the three wires to the motor would come from the motor control box. The pressure switch has two wires in from the breaker via the jct box and two wires to the motor control box. When the pump gets the tank filled to 40 psi is when the motor control box starts to stop the pump and fills it to 54 psi by constantly turning the motor on and off with the circuit closed during that entire time. The pump seems to run smoothly up to 40 psi.

Expert:  electrifier replied 7 years ago.
The cover on the pump control has some connections that make when the cover is installed. If one is bent over and doesn't make contact that's not good. Can you take a picture of the control and post it here for me?
I think the pressure switch is working fine. I think the motor is fine. I think the problem lies in the control box. I don't know if the contact not making is from a modification to the system or if it's something out of whack. I suspect it needs to be bent back to make contact properly. That's how they usually work. This control has the capacitors for start and run as required by the pump. This is why you have 3 wires going to the well pump from this box. It may be an overload built into the control that turns off and on repeatedly. How old is the control and pump? If you could measure the amperage of the motor we would have another answer. It may be drawing too much current and the control is preventing it from overheating. A clamp on amp meter on the 240 volt line feeding the system from the breaker would tell me what I need to know coupled with the motor information off the control box. Do you know anyone with a clamp on amp meter?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: I still need help.
How do I pay you?
Expert:  electrifier replied 6 years ago.
Hello and welcome back 10 months later. I am here to help you finish your question.
Where are you now with your problem?
I have only asked questions in the troubleshooting process and not given an answer so there is no ACCEPT button to pay me yet. When I give you an answer you will see the ACCEPT button appear.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
As we were in the process of working on the problem last spring, the problem manifested itself. The pump froze up completely, so I knew that my box had been fried earlier by the pump going bad. I then proceeded to replace it and I was back in business. After all of this happened I didn't bother to come back and finish our process as I did all of the work replacing the pump myself. Now I have come back to take care of paying you, finally.
Expert:  electrifier replied 6 years ago.
So a replaced control box solved the problem. Good deal. Thank you.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No, I replaced the froze up pump, which had fried the control box. I had replaced the control box and then the pump froze up. Luckily it didn't fry the new control box.
Expert:  electrifier replied 6 years ago.
That is great. Now you have your Answer and accept button.
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