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 How to burn out a well pump?
Author: Fixitangel (NC)

A 240 volt submerged well pump was replaced 3 years ago. It has 10 ga. 3 wire hookup conductor. This pump failed and I was asked to look into it. At the pressure switch, I saw a jumper wire across one set of contacts ( 1st time for me). Aparrently the previous homeowner wanted a 120 volt outlet for an RV out by the wellhead, and instead of running a dedicated wire out to the outlet, had "borrowed" 1 leg of the 240 volt well pump feed and the neutral to supply it. I know this way of rigging screams of numerous code violations. Is it safe to bet that this could have caused the pump to give out; or is 3 years "acceptable" life expectancy for a well pump? Many Sincere Thanks to All.

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: LemonPlumber (FL)

Only thing is to be sure the pump motor is the failure.Believe you may find impedance wire as problem.how many times the motor over heat lasts longer than the wire ? If it is a variable speed motor bet it is still good.Not so the wires.Sorry you said three wire.Pull the pump.Is the wire the only pull ?Borrowing short term amps may not effect the pump motor.Did you try testing the existing amp draw?

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: North Carolina Plumber (NC)

There should not be a neutral to borrow from in the switch housing. Granted a pump should last more than 3 years, but if the pump was of questionable quality to begin with, and pumping any sand or rock dust, then that might be the life span of it.

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: hj

It should not have been a "jumper" wire, but rather a tap off one of the terminals, and where did he get the neutral from since a 220/240 motor does NOT have a neutral wire? The only repercussions for tapping off one leg would have been if the total load on that leg exceeded the circuit breaker's rating it should have tripped.

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: SMSPlumbing (PA)

The only thing I can think, is this guy put a jumper on the contacts would have given constant voltage to one line going to the well head. This means that it is sending half of the power to the pump at all times. Very bad way of getting power out to his RV. If the pump was running non stop on 115 volts and then jumping to 240 when called for, I would assume this would shorten the life. Was his electric bill high? I would imagine

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: RWP (SD)

There are two ways to ruin a submersible water pump fast.

1) Do not give it enough electricity.

2) Do not have the proper amount of air in the pressure tank so it starts and stops
many times while water is being used.

This one was starved for power.

An RV draws quite a bit of power as the batteries are being charged. I know I live in one full time as I vagabond my way around this great country of ours. No more winter weather for me. My batteries are charged strictly with solar.

- - - - - - - - - -

Retired after 50 years of plumbing and heating.

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: hj

As long as it was a "true" 220/240 volt pump, it would make no difference to the pump, whether it was getting NO power, or power to one side. NOTHING would happen at the pump until the second leg was energized. IT was NOT getting "120 volts to the pump continuously". Nor do we know if this was REALLY a jumper until we saw a picture of the actual wire.

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: hj

quote; An RV draws quite a bit of power as the batteries are being charged.

What are you charging, A Tesla roadster? Battery chargers do NOT "draw quite a bit of power" and he did not say anything about a charger anyway. I got the impression it was to power the RV directly, and that would NOT take a lot of power as long as he did not try to run the A/C unit.

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: Fixitangel (NC)

Thanks HJ. I stand corrected, there is only a ground wire, not a neutral for the outlet. Thanks for clarifying. It was indeed a jumper wire 3" long 12ga. It effectively shorted one set of contacts, which changed the normal DPST pressure switch to a SPST. Upon further inspection, we found the static bladder pressure was only 6 PSI. Houston.. I think we found a problem. Happy Thanksgiving.

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: Fixitangel (NC)

Seems your #2 was closer to the real problem.. static bladder pressure was only 6 psi. The poor pump probably got beat to death (or the wire broke) from the high duty cycle. Thanks for all your help.

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: hj

The only logical reason for actually "jumping" a set of contacts would be because it was burnt and NOT completing the ciruit when the switch operated.

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: LemonPlumber (FL)

???relay ???the motor is not starting on the amps of the breakers or the wires.nore is it running at less.once started less is ok.used jumped short of sort?

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: Paul48 (CT)

Lemon....I have no idea what you just said. If we were talking,would you say it the same way?

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: hj

quote; If we were talking,would you say it the same way?

Probaby, because I have been trying for a long time to get him to re-read what he writes before he sends it and it always comes out the same way.

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: LemonPlumber (FL)

HJ.the pump has a open leg and switches with the second closed?The used, borrowed the normally closed leg?we have in effect partially powered the motor?where is the used 120 negative discharged?



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: hj

quote; we have in effect partially powered the motor?

You need to learn more about electricity before you start making a diagnosis. There is NO "power" used when the circuit is NOT complete. Water heaters ONLY "break" the power to one side of the elements but they are NOT, to use your words, "partially powered", otherwise they would ALWAYS overheat the way they do when an element shorts out and bypasses the thermostat. In fact, there are MANY 220/240 applications where the controller only interupts one leg of the power line, and they also are not "partially powered ".



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: LemonPlumber (FL)

I can jump the use of a leg on any 220/240 circuit.providing 110/120 amperage and still amperage/impedance bleed to the second leg of 220/240.why can I draw 120 from 240?Why is the use not welcome?Generally the neutral of switched ground is impeded path way.the connection point point bleeds to the none use path.ohm burn the point heats as the travel fails!!!!With the use of capacitors on the well controls this is burst, not just failure.

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: hj

quote; providing 110/120 amperage and still amperage/impedance bleed to the second leg of 220/240.why can I draw 120 from 240?Why is the use not welcome

IF I can understand what you wrote, then;
1. it is 110/115/120 VOLTS, not amperage.
2. There is no "bleed" to the second leg unless there is a "fault" of some kind.
3. You can draw 120 from a 240 line because 240 is composed of TWO out of phase 120 volt lines, but even then you MUST have a neutral to complete the 120 circuit.
4. Splitting it is NOT recommenced because you have an out of balance load, but as long as the 120 draw is "minimal" it will NOT overload that side of the circuit breaker and interrupt the complete circuit.

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 Re: How to burn out a well pump?
Author: LemonPlumber (FL)

HJ the element cannot bypass the stat?The switch leg of any 220 240 volt when common grounded to 120/110 can.Learn what?you are quoting electrical use whole sale and the use is item line defined.you cannot have negative power where a start box is used!!!!and the use of a current positive through the amperage breaker is set as a minimum to protect.please post any address where you used 220 power after the return leg negative, to feed any 120 source!



Edited 1 times.

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