We receive many phone calls every day from people who have bought a house with a pump or have had a pump installed and they don't understand the basics of pumps so when a problem occurs, they don't know what to do. This is a short list of a few things that you need to know about household pressure pumps and then some problems with a trouble shooting guide.
Things to know!
- All house pumps must be protected from rain, sun, dogs, ants, kids and frost and you can do this with a good quality pump base and weatherproof cover.
- The suction pipe from the tank to the pump must be the same or larger inside diameter as the pump inlet.
- Pump suction pipe should be flexible to allow for vibration and eliminate stress on the tank and the pump. Falcon connectors are a terrific way to achieve a perfect seal with no stress.
- All pressure pumps should be bolted/screwed to the polyslab base or concrete, don't just sit your pump on the ground.
- Always install an isolating ball valve on the outlet of the pump immediately after the controller or pressure switch. This is critical when you need to remove the pump for servicing or trouble shoot.
- Always use a "Falcon Connector" on the discharge or outlet side of the pump, this will eliminate any issues with vibration and it will make installation so much easier.
- Once your pump is installed, spray around the inside of the cover and on the Polyslab base with a surface bug spray. This will keep unwanted wriggly things out of the motor and the electronics.
- Before you plug the pump into the power point, you need to make sure that it is full of water. Pumps must not be started unless they are full of water. To fill them when the tank is higher than the pump, just open the discharge isolating ball valve, water should run through the pump.
- If the tank is below the level of the pump, fill the suction pipe and then screw the Falcon Connector onto the pump, open the priming port on the pump and fill it with water, put the priming port back in and secure it. Try the pump with the isolating ball valve closed, open it just a little bit and run the pump for a minute or two until the water comes out of the laundry sink tap. Turn on the shower and bleed off the air in the pipework, now open the isolating ball valve on the pump all the way. Once the pipework is full, the pump should turn itself off.
Trouble Shooting Problems
My pump turns on every 7 or 8 or 12 or 14 or 20 minutes for 15 seconds and it is annoying.
Household pressure pumps are designed to start when the pressure that is in the pipework falls, generally this is caused by you turning on a tap, flushing the toilet or, the dishwasher starting or some other outlet. When the pump turns on frequently and you have not turned on an outlet the problem is usually caused by a leak in the system. The frequency of the turning on could be as often as every 1-2 minutes or 1-2 hours or, anywhere in between. The leak could be a toilet cistern, a dripping tap, a hot water service over-pressure valve that is faulty, a pin hole in an internal pipe or any other leak. In 99% of cases it is a leak and not the pump.
The way to find out if it is a leak or the pump is simply to turn off the isolating ball valve on the outlet side of the pump, if the pump stays off, the problem is a leak in the pipework somewhere. Most electronic controllers have a small internal pressure tank of water that needs to be exhausted before the pump will start, this water volume may be as little as 20 millilitres. If you have a leaking fitting or pipe and it is leaking at a rate of 15 drops per minute, it will only take 20 minutes for the water to leak out and the pump to start, once the pump starts, it will run for about 12 seconds and then turn off, in 20 minutes it will do the same thing again.
Every time I turn on a tap the pump starts and as there are 5 of us in the house, that is a lot of starts, can I do anything to fix this?
All pumps with just an electronic controller will turn on every time that you turn on a tap, start the washing machine or, flush the toilet and this can be very expensive on power and pump replacements. The electronic controllers protect the pump from damage if the pump runs out of water and the help to provide a more constant pressure of water but there are downsides as well. Installing a 100 litre pressure (accumulator) tank after the pump and before the house will have a huge effect. With a 100L tank on my own house pump I can flush the toilet 6 litres, wash my hands 2 litres, wash the cats bowls 4 litres, fill the jug 1 litre, rinse some dishes 6 litres, fill the dogs water bowl 2 litres and water 3 outside plants 9 litres before the pump even turns on. That is 7 pump starts eliminated and lots of power saved. A pump on a house with 2 adults and 3 children and no pressure tank could easily turn on 100 times a day and that is 36,500 times per year. Put a 100L tank on the same house and the pump starts could go to 25 per day and only 9,125 per year. A pump with a 100L tank should last 4 times longer!