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Thread: Well pump pressure switch questions

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Well pump pressure switch questions

    I have my own well. My pump's pressure switch has been "sticking" and not working properly. I cleaned the contacts,, and all is fine for now.

    My current pressure switch cover doesn't have any markings as to what pressures it's for. Looking into the new ones, I see different ratings of pressure. My gauge usually reads in the 40-50 lb range.

    My questions;
    What rating should I look for in a replacement if needed?

    Can I buy a different rated one & increase the output pressure?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Do you have a pressure tank?

    It's been a few years, we got rural water in 2014, I had to replace my switch and bumped it up about ten pounds without any problems.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master



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    yes.

    i've not run across a new production switch that couldn't be adjusted.

    rarely have i seen one that didn't have 2 adjustments.

    1 adjustment for the pressure it takes to shut OFF (all have this and is a 'real' number. so set it to 50 or 40 or whatever psi)
    1 adjustment for how low the pressure drops before it turns ON (this is a relative or 'swing' and will follow the above setting)
    --(so if you have the pressure set to 60 and the swing to a drop of 10psi to 'trigger', that same 10psi drop will follow if you increase pressure later)

    good luck
    WebMonkey
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    A lot of times it's sticking because it's not set up correctly. Should be 2# +/- lower than your lower pressure tank's cut in pressure.
    I finally got sick of them and have a variable frequency drive now - love the thing!!!! We're pretty rural, so power fluctuations are not uncommon - the VFD takes that out of the equation.

    Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I run my deep well pump in the same range as yours. Just replaced it a few years ago, same problem. Our local hardware store is well supplied and has knowledgeable people, and sold me a Square D switch. It was factory set, but is adjustable if needed. I just left well enough alone.

  6. #6
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    I like a 20 lb swing and run mine to cut out at 60 on at 40. If you have sprinklers, you want them so the pump continues to run all through their cycle. Stopping and starting will cost you a bunch more. For the cost of the switch I would replace it as it will fail when you least need it to.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  7. #7
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    I recently went through an ongoing pressure switch problem. Three plumbers had looked at it over the years, no solution. I'm on a shared well, and pumping uphill to the neighbors at about a 80' rise, 340' total from static water level in the well.
    I called a well service when I thought we were having worse problems. He solved the years long problem in under an hour, for much less than a plumber charges. I learned a lesson from that. Well men for anything up to the pressure tank, and plumber for anything on the other side. I'm a true klutz at plumbing issues, and can turn a 20 minute job into a three day ordeal.
    I'd recommend consulting with a well man.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master 243winxb's Avatar
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    30/50 and 20/40 Two to choose from. Both are adjustable.

    When there is a problem, iron deposits block the hole where hose/line enters the pump body. Unscrew and remove the blockage with a screw driver. Or may need a new line?


    The output is government controled. Go with 30/50. Lately, the pressure setting will need adjusting.
    Instructions how to adjust should come with the new switch.
    Last edited by 243winxb; 07-22-2021 at 02:33 PM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master 243winxb's Avatar
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    My pump is above ground.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Two common switch ranges are 30-50psi and 40-60psi. I'll bet most hardware stores have one.
    If you have a captive air pressure tank set the air pressure in the tank to two (2) psi below the cut in. In the above examples the air pressure you want in your tank would be either 28 or 38 psi. If you set your air pressure higher than the cut in pressure of the switch you will have a short no water in the house moment, most noticeable while having a shower. With the pressure in the tank lower than the cut in switch rating the pump will start before your tank is completely empty.
    30-50psi is the switch I stocked and sold the most of while in business, and as others have said they are adjustable. If higher or lower pressure is needed it is an easy adjustment.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    + 1 for Post #8: the thing is plugged up. Post #7 can get expensive...

    Some, but not all, pressure switches have an orifice to prevent the starting surge from chattering. A 1/4 copper line helps smooth out the surge also, alas the whole rig catches rust. An old old switch can have its knife edge rounded over and the settings will wander. Usually the contacts fail first.

    Some pressure switches have a low pressure cutout lever on the side of them, to shut off if the well goes dry. That would be a manual reset, holding the lever for a bit. When that style gets old, they lock out easily.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    MANY, MANY thanks all. I think I have the info I need now!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alstep View Post
    I run my deep well pump in the same range as yours. Just replaced it a few years ago, same problem. Our local hardware store is well supplied and has knowledgeable people, and sold me a Square D switch. It was factory set, but is adjustable if needed. I just left well enough alone.
    Replaced the exact same one last summer when my 400' pump died. Helped the guys take it out as the kids doing it were trying to do I by hand. I used my UTV and dragged it out for them. They were happy.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    Post #8 but sometimes its in the switch itself sometimes you can clean it out sometimes not.As for post #11 if those people work on well pumps regularly and don't have a way to pull a pump I'd get somebody else the next time.Did you put something on the casing to protect the pipe or just pull it on the sharp top edge?

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    When I was on a well mine was set IRC to peak at 55 and come on at 45. They do go bad as noted due to problems with iron and lime build up. The switches are not expensive and easily replaced, and sometimes the pressure gauge can crap out as well. Definitely get someone who is a "well" guy, they have the knowledge and experience to diagnose and fix the problem.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    May have missed it, not sure if you have a shallow well pump (above ground sucks the water up) or deep well ( pump is in the well pushes the water up as a simple explanation).

    I've only dealt with shallow well pumps, pressure ranges are more dependant on horsepower of the pump, most shallow well pumps are either 1/3 hp or 1/2 hp.

    30-50 psi for 1/3 hp.
    40-60 psi for 1/2 hp.

    That's recommended settings. I always raised the kick in pressure a little so I didn't see as big a swing in pressure.

    Didn't raise the kick out pressure because the hp wasn't there to get to the higher pressure without running forever.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 15meter View Post
    May have missed it, not sure if you have a shallow well pump (above ground sucks the water up) or deep well ( pump is in the well pushes the water up as a simple explanation).

    I've only dealt with shallow well pumps, pressure ranges are more dependant on horsepower of the pump, most shallow well pumps are either 1/3 hp or 1/2 hp.

    30-50 psi for 1/3 hp.
    40-60 psi for 1/2 hp.

    That's recommended settings. I always raised the kick in pressure a little so I didn't see as big a swing in pressure.

    Didn't raise the kick out pressure because the hp wasn't there to get to the higher pressure without running forever.
    What a difference regions make. I have never dealt with shallow well as we can freeze in any calendar month. Light residential pump is 1 horse, much more likely to see 1 1/4 horse.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    My well is a deep well, not a shallow one,, at the house. At my range,, we have a shallow one,, but it's used infrequently,,, vs. every day. I inherited the property,, and both wells were installed before I took ownership over a decade ago.

    I've cleaned the contacts & such,, which helped,, but I'm going to get a new pressure switch,, and swap them. As noted,, not expensive & well within my capabilities.

    Thanks again everyone!

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master








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    Quote Originally Posted by WebMonkey View Post
    yes.

    i've not run across a new production switch that couldn't be adjusted.

    rarely have i seen one that didn't have 2 adjustments.

    1 adjustment for the pressure it takes to shut OFF (all have this and is a 'real' number. so set it to 50 or 40 or whatever psi)
    1 adjustment for how low the pressure drops before it turns ON (this is a relative or 'swing' and will follow the above setting)
    --(so if you have the pressure set to 60 and the swing to a drop of 10psi to 'trigger', that same 10psi drop will follow if you increase pressure later)

    good luck
    ive got a wayne i bought last year. Went to adjust it and it has fixed settings and no way to change the. Bitched at the hardware store guy and he said there all going that way because they dont want people farting around with the cover off where they could get shocked and sue someone.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    The adjustment instructions are on the label inside the plastic cover on a Square D pressure switch. A 3/8" nut driver is needed- its 240 volts in there so please be careful. The ones with the on/off/ auto levers can drive you nuts if you are running a sprinkler system from your well/ pressure tank set up.
    Good advice above.

    Sent from my SM-A716U using Tapatalk

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