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Short cycling pressure switch or water pump

 
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Our water froze today while all faucets were running. Water came back on but at the pressure switch it keeps clicking, like it’s constantly cycling. If I shut all the water off it stops. When I turn 1 or all faucets on - click click click click.  The water flow even sounds like the clicks.
Any advice? Can’t keep water off or it will freeze again.
Hot water still not running. Maybe part of the issue? Ice stuck somewhere?
Any ideas?
 
pioneer
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Hi Amanda,

We need a bit more information to help you.  What is your setup?  Well? pump? pressure tank?  etc.? supply lines? how deep?  Do you have a pressure gauge at or near the pressure switch?  If so, what is the pressure doing when you hear the clicking?  There are several folks here that may be able to help once you get a bit more info.

Sincerely,

Ralph
 
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The first major issue is getting the hot water thawed out and running again. Once it is thawed out, then it has to be protected from freezing again at all costs.

For the former problem, I like to heat water to near boiling temperature and use cups of water to thaw pipes. It really works fast, and yet prevents your house from burning down since there is no open flames. A hair dryer also works, but is slower, and electricity is often hard to get at in some frozen pipe spots.

To prevent freeze ups again, adding insulation, spray foam, putting an electric space heater in the area, or opening up cabinets and doors all allow more heat to an area.

++++++++++++++++

The first issue you mentioned most likely is a loose fitting. Since you said "pressure switch" it tells me it is a rural setting, and since you mention it is clicking as water flows, I am betting you have a jet pump and not deep water pump. I have had this issue on a submersible pump to a lesser degree.

What happens is, as the pipes freeze, most likely at an elbow, tee or other joint, they expand by 11%, so the metal band clamps holding the fitting together, stretch. When the water is thawed, they stay that way and can loosen, allowing a bit of air to get into the system. For me, the water would drain back down my well so that every time the pump would shut off, it caused short-cycling. I think you will find, you have a loose clamp on the fitting where the water froze. You will probably be able to here a little whistle or air pulsing noise where the air leak is. I like to reheat the pipe and fitting with a hair dryer to get the black pipe and fitting softer, then tighten the clamp to get it nice and tight.
 
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Amanda Pennington wrote:Our water froze today while all faucets were running. Water came back on but at the pressure switch it keeps clicking, like it’s constantly cycling. If I shut all the water off it stops. When I turn 1 or all faucets on - click click click click.  The water flow even sounds like the clicks.
Any advice? Can’t keep water off or it will freeze again.
Hot water still not running. Maybe part of the issue? Ice stuck somewhere?
Any ideas?


Hi Amanda,  Without more info that Ralph asked about its hard to pinpoint your situation however I do know that without a pressure tank this is exactly what happens. Water can only flow with the pressure from the tank or from the pump itself. If you do have a pressure tank (as I suspect you do) then perhaps there is something wrong with it. Once everything is thawed out and you still have the same issue with no apparent leaks anywhere, drain the system and see if there is any air in the tank with a tire guage (valve should be at the top)
 
Amanda Pennington
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Thanks for the replies- I used a heat lamp on the water lines on the water heater. After awhile hot water started flowing and the clicking stopped!! Thank God!!
 
Gerry Parent
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Amanda,  Thank you for the update and happy that you have water again!
If your pipes are not insulated, then perhaps it would be good insurance to do as many as you can with those insulating noodles. Not only do they help with preventing the pipes from freezing but also from sweating in the summer time. The hot water lines will also benefit with insulation by keeping them from loosing all their heat and lessening the time you need to keep the hot water tap turned on until the hot water starts flowing.
 
Ralph Kettell
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Amanda Pennington wrote:Thanks for the replies- I used a heat lamp on the water lines on the water heater. After awhile hot water started flowing and the clicking stopped!! Thank God!!



I am so glad to hear it.

 
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It almost sounds as if you are using your hot water heater as a storage tank,
Short cycling happens because you have too large of a pump / too small of a storage tank, or the storage tank is waterlogged.
To set your storage tank for best efficiency fill the air bladder / air space to 2 PSI  less than the low pressure cut in (I.E. if your pressure valve cycles between 35 and 50 PSI set the pressure in the air bladder to 33 PSI).
Set it when the water is at its low point! You're trying to achieve maximum volume drop between cycles, forcing the pump to run as long as possible for every start cycle.
 
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