well pump breaker tripping...

texas_fireJune 25, 2008


I did some quick thread searches and some googling, but need to ask for some advice in parallel with other efforts to solve the problem, (i.e., calling local well installer).

Well pump installed a few months ago, late March 08. Ran fine, filled pool (6000 gallons). Normal daily use for veggine garden and laundry.

It is a Gould 7GS20. It was wired into the main panel below my meter, outdoors on a pole. Everything in conduit.

Well, this week, coincidently septic system is being installed. Yesterday they successfully used the hose to fill the septic tank, maybe 1000 gallons +/-. Today they used the hose to wet down the outer base of the septic tank as they backfilled. My son was taking a shower at the same time and the water quit flowing. I checked the panel and the 30 amp breaker. It was tripped. I reset and it seemed OK for a moment but then it again stopped flowing. This time I payed more attention and watched the breaker closely. I reset. A few seconds later I heard a buzzing sound and then it tripped. I called the well guys and explained it, they had me turn the detroit pressure switch from auto to off and the turn the breake ron, it stayed on and did not trip. None of the overload trips in the pump control box at the well head seem to have tripped. i pushed the 2 red buttons on the bottom of the box but they seemed to not have tripped, no resistance felt as it would maybe show during reset. he said mayb it is the breaker, THQL2130 GE. I ran to big box orange store and bought 2 more. Killed power, check with a meter and swapped out carefully, after I marked bad suspect one with an "x" so not to get them confused. Still doies the same thing and I carefully watched it all with the panel cover off and the trip is accompanied by a fast flash behind the 30A breaker. No smoke seen, no deytection of melting or burning. Just a microsecond bright flash.

ANyway, I have left a voicemail and phone message fore them to get me a service call ASAP tomorrow. My veggie garden is looking so good, I'd hate it to all die....

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One possiblity that the excavation for the septic system has resulted in the water table being disturbed and sand/silt/etc has accumulated in the pump impeller housing, causing increased resistance to the pump motor. Enough increased resistance would cause the motor to draw enough current to trip the breaker.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 1:41PM
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Well, it sounds like you've eliminated one of the least likely sources of the problem: the circuit breaker. (The great majority of the time a breaker trips, it is simply doing the job it's intended to do.)

An obvious follow-up question: In putting in the new septic system, was any digging done close to the wire run? And even if the digging itself wasn't close to the wire, was there heavy equipment on or around the run?

Since the breaker stopped tripping when you switched the pressure valve from auto to off, you might want to start there.

Does the switch have three positions (on, start and auto) or only two? If it has a "start" or "on" position, will the pump run and deliver water with the switch set to on? Or does the breaker trip when the pump starts or tries to start?

(Note that you should be careful not to run the pump too long with the system closed while the pressure switch is "bypassed" since it's possible to build up too much pressure. Watch the pressure guage!)

Another tack is to disconnect the electrical feeds from the pressure switch to the pump and see if the breaker trips when the switch is placed on "auto". If that happens, the switch or the wiring to the switch may be the source of the short.

Also, is it possible that the well ran dry? (Keep in mind that 6,000 gallons may have been available in March but a couple of thousand gallons were all that was available now. Some parts of the country have been pretty dry lately. While most pumps are designed to protect against running dry, I think it's still a factor that should be considered.)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 2:00PM
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