Finding and fixing problems with water well systems is like detective work – sometimes the clues are obvious and sometimes not, but knowing what to look for is key, said troubleshooting expert Mark Campbell at the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) 2009 Ground Water Expo and Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
In a workshop titled, “Troubleshooting Common Water System
Problems,” Campbell, of ITT Residential & Commercial Water, said that experience
has taught him the most common water system problems and why they occur, so
that he can zero in on effective solutions.
He divides most water system problems into two broad
categories – electrical or mechanical.
“Based on my experience, if I had to choose which category
of problems are most common, I’d say about 70 percent of are electrical
involving the motor, wires or control systems,” Campbell said. While electrical
problems often are pretty straightforward to diagnose and fix, that is not
always the case, such as with a submersible pump cable that has an open splice.
“On the mechanical side, problems can be as simple as a
waterlogged pressure tank or as difficult as water hammer,” he said.
Interestingly, the most misdiagnosed water well system problems
in his view have nothing to do with a defective or broken well component.
Rather, it’s incorrect product selection.
“For instance, if the wrong size pump is used, the symptom
is not enough water to keep up with demand. However, there’s nothing wrong with
anything except an incorrect pump selection to start with,” Campbell said.
“Another example would be a well owner who complains that
the pump runs all the time when the problem is that the contractor has
undersized the pressure tank. The only real cure is a properly sized tank,” he
Too often incorrect product selection results from
contractors trying to keep costs down.
“We continually struggle with contractors over the price
sensitivity issue,” he said. “We have contractors who do things the way their
daddy did. What I try to accomplish in factory school is get contractors to
consider new methods of getting the job done instead of automatically relying
on their traditional approaches.”
The common problems most often correctly diagnosed are malfunctioning
control boxes or pressure switches.
Because so many problems revolve around the well’s
electrical components, Campbell has a ready answer when asked his primary
troubleshooting tip to water well system contractors.
“That’s an easy answer: Learn about electricity, get a good
meter, and learn how to use it,” he said.
Troubleshooting Common Water System Problems
December 17, 2009