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Copper theft / pump pressure switch

ethicalpaul
ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,756
edited September 2020 in Plumbing
Hi all!
So I bought my mom a house in Ulster Co, NY for her golden years and it was closing this morning. I went to do the walkthrough this morning and found the water wasn't working. I went into the basement to see what was up, and found a broken window, pipe insulation on the floor and crudely cut 3/4" copper pipe ends!

They really picked the wrong house because almost everything was already pex from some remodels. They took about 30 feet going to/from the water heater, and they took about 6 feet coming from the pressure tank to the water softener. I asked for a cash credit at the close to let the deal go through and so that I could fix it myself and the seller was probably thrilled and accepted. I have the house.

After the closing I wanted to see if I could make sure I could get things up and running rather quickly because tonight I'm flying to Michigan and then immediately driving my mother and her dog the 12 hours to her new house. Now I have a repair to do after all that :sweat_smile:

So really my only question is the pressure switch on the pressure tank. The well has a submerged pump and what looks to be a common pressure switch. The thieves cut the pipe just past the tank (there was no valve there), and closed the valve that is between the pump and the tank.

The switch seems to have a nice feature that I imagine is universal where it has what seems to be a double actuating set of springs. So the pump won't run under two cases: 1. If there is enough pressure, and 2. If there is no/little pressure.

I think the 2nd case would be for my situation, where there is a massive leak and no one wants the pump to keep running when there is a massive leak. Does this sound right? So basically after I re-plumb things, I have to manually put the lever in the "in-between" zone where the actuators make contact and let the water run to bleed out the air, and then close the faucet(s) and then continue to manually hold it until a certain amount of pressure builds in the tank again.

Does this sound right? Thanks all I'll be checking this discussion while on the road from Michigan to NY




1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,340
    That looks like a plain vanilla pressure switch to me -- and the contacts should close on reducing pressure and stay closed until the pressure rises to some higher pressure as the pump runs. 30 psi close and 50 psi open is common, but it depends on the house. I don't think I've ever seen one which had to be manually reclosed below a certain very low pressure.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.
    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    ethicalpaul
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,142
    edited September 2020
    Do you have a picture of the control with the cover removed?

    Any info on the inside of the cover?

    Note; I agree with Jamie.
    They all have 2 springs for adjustment purposes.
    Maybe that is what you are seeing.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,142
    Also, just a note to consider, you do not to isolate the pump from the pressure switch like it appears to be.
    They might have had the brain cells left to shut off the power to the well.
  • Robert_25
    Robert_25 Member Posts: 291
    Square D makes a pressure switch that needs to be manually reset if the pressure drops to a very low number, and I am pretty sure that is what you have - the tell is the small lever on the side of the switch.
    ethicalpaulSolid_Fuel_ManZmanrick in Alaska
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 2,643
    Or maybe it is above the cut out pressure since the valve to the tank is closed.
    ethicalpaul
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,340
    Wasn't aware of that variant, @Robert_25 . Thank you.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.
    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,756
    JUGHNE said:
    Do you have a picture of the control with the cover removed? Any info on the inside of the cover? Note; I agree with Jamie. They all have 2 springs for adjustment purposes. Maybe that is what you are seeing.
    I stupidly didn’t get that pic but I’ll definitely circle back with it
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,142
    I do believe, Robert, you are correct.
    And I do not think the copper thieves shut the pump off, (gave them too much credit for smarts), this switch shut it off or else it would still be pumping the basement full.

    There was a discussion on the wall about shutting down an irrigation pump when it ran out of water. I recalled some form of switch but not much for details.
    This was for a church camp that had a flowing spring cistern.
    A pump would run until it ran out of water and then shut down.
    Someone would have to go up the hill to reset the switch/lever which would restart the pump as the static water level recovered.

    Paul, when you return could you post the model number of that switch?

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,756
    JUGHNE said:
    Also, just a note to consider, you do not to isolate the pump from the pressure switch like it appears to be. They might have had the brain cells left to shut off the power to the well.
    Thank you. Can you restate that first sentence? I can’t quite parse your meaning.

    the power was still at the switch. I think they just let the water out onto the floor. There were puddles. The pressure tank was/is empty. I’m just glad the pump stopped.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,756
    Robert_25 said:
    Square D makes a pressure switch that needs to be manually reset if the pressure drops to a very low number, and I am pretty sure that is what you have - the tell is the small lever on the side of the switch.
    Thank you so much! Great eye! Mine does have the lever. The switch is definitely open with zero pressure on it. I can move the lever to make contact and briefly run the pump. I only did that to test it because the valve is closed and I don’t want to stress the pump.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,756
    mattmia2 said:
    Or maybe it is above the cut out pressure since the valve to the tank is closed.
    The tank is definitely empty and at zero psi if I believe the gauge.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,756
    JUGHNE said:
    I do believe, Robert, you are correct. And I do not think the copper thieves shut the pump off, (gave them too much credit for smarts), this switch shut it off or else it would still be pumping the basement full. There was a discussion on the wall about shutting down an irrigation pump when it ran out of water. I recalled some form of switch but not much for details. This was for a church camp that had a flowing spring cistern. A pump would run until it ran out of water and then shut down. Someone would have to go up the hill to reset the switch/lever which would restart the pump as the static water level recovered. Paul, when you return could you post the model number of that switch?
    Most certainly I will, thank you
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,756
    Side note: Newark TSA will let you take a one-handed PEX tool through security 😅


    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    mattmia2Solid_Fuel_ManCLamb
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,491
    What kinda homeowner diy pex tool is that?    :p
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    SuperTechethicalpaulSolid_Fuel_Man
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,142
    By not isolating the pressure control from the pump, I mean that the pump should "feel" the pressure it has on it.

    I usually see the pump line coming to the tee at the tank, with the house supply and tank connected to the same tee.
    Then there is a supply valve to the house in that line.
    This way you can shut down the house supply, the tank and pump remain under pressure. The pump would pump up to the cut out of the pressure switch.
    The standard pump switch would start the pump if connected as yours is. The pump would dead head and build possibly enough pressure to rupture its piping.
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,756
    Thanks @JUGHNE that makes sense. I did my jet pump in CT that way and yes this one seems weird. I’ll address it but probably after this weekend 🙂
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,503
    @ethicalpaul

    Watch out for the grounding electrode conductor clamped to that copper they cut off. If you work on that get some auto jumper cables and clamp on to the ground wire. Clamp the other end to the pipe coming from the well if it's metal. I would hate to see u get hurt on that
    mattmia2ratioethicalpaul
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,252
    Yes, square D makes that switch with the lever which automatically shuts off the pump when the pressure drops to near 0. You are correct!

    That ground wire really serves(d) no purpose. Plastic polyethylene pipe to the well, and PEX elsewhere electrically isolates the plumbing system. Code only calls for a water service to be a secondary ground electrode if you have a metallic (steel or copper) water service, you have a plastic one. 

    I greatly prefer the PEX crush ring method of connecting, that Appollo cinch ring tool that TSA took from you is a last resort for tight spaces. 

    The crush rings, sometimes referred to as crimp rings are black copper and the tool crushes the ring over the pex. Same fittings are used, you can buy the tool at HD/Lowes. Should be about $60. 


    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    ethicalpaul
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 1,556
    Sorry to hear about the theft. You're a good son, @ethicalpaul. Safe travels!
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
    Larry Weingartenethicalpaul
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,433

    Side note: Newark TSA will let you take a one-handed PEX tool through security 😅


    That might not look like much of a security threat. Ill bet if you clamp it on someones nose they will do whatever you like.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    CanuckerethicalpaulCTOilHeat
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,756
    You all have been so helpful and it’s appreciated!! 

    We arrived at the house at 10am after driving all night after mom picked me up in Detroit at 10:30pm in her packed SUV.

    We unloaded the car, got some lunch and I hit Home Depot at 1pm. It’s now 3:30 and I’m sitting on the porch with running water in the house!

    notes:

    - I know the “clamp” pex is less well thought of but it’s what I started with and I like it. I have appreciated being able to remove them occasionally. When one fails I’ll let you know! 🙂

    - the tsa didn’t take my pex tool, they let it through. But they asked me what it was and checked with a supervisor (I didn’t mind buying the fittings and pex but I didn’t want to buy another tool, that’s why I flew it to Michigan with me so I’d have it when we got to her house)

    - I checked to make sure the pressure tank was empty and at the factory-set air bladder pressure of 38psi before I started the pump

    - Moving the lever, the pump started right up with a beautiful hum I could feel in the supply line and then it cycled for me great at 40/60

    - that ground clamp was kind of ridiculous. It was isolated by upstream pex anyway, but I guess it was grounded to the electric water heater. Not sure that was doing anything 



    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    mattmia2Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,282
    Hello there @ethicalpaul . Sorry to hear about your troubles. But still, Congratulations on the new house for your dad.

    The pressure switch that you have is called a low pressure/low water cutoff switch.
    It is designed to shut off the pump if the pressure in your house drops at least ten pounds below the switches set cut in pressure. or, to put it more plainly. When the pump is set to turn on.
    That little lever you have been using is what you pull up on manually anytime the pressure and or water in your well drops. This is used as a safety precaution for your pump.
    You should only need to use this lever when the power goes out or your well water drops below the pump. My guess is you will not need to use it very often.
    I think the general model number other then the one pictured is a square - D - brand, model M4.???
    Im sure that you tube will have a video showing more about it.
    Again. Congrats on the new house and best of luck .
    ethicalpaul
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