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Old 10-13-2017, 08:46 PM   #1
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Water pump cycling on/off

Dry camping at Talladega this week and found an “issue” where the water pump would cycle on/off about 3-4 times a minute. It only stays on for well under a second. All the outlets are shut off and no leakage can be seen.

My water fill system is the single line one where you move a valve between two positions...one to fill the FW tank and the other to use an external water source. When I filled the tank prior to settle up camp I left the valve in the “tank fill” position. When I moved it to external position the cycling stopped.

All is good now but I’m curious about the reason for this to happen.

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Old 10-13-2017, 09:35 PM   #2
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More than likely air in the system..
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Old 10-13-2017, 09:41 PM   #3
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When mine was in shop in August for slide issue, I had this problem too. They found 'dirt' in the aerator/faucet of bathroom faucet, and some in kitchen faucet. When it was cleaned out, the short cycling stopped.
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Old 10-13-2017, 10:36 PM   #4
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Could also be tiny pieces of 'crap' in the pump that allow water to flow back into the tank.
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Old 10-13-2017, 10:50 PM   #5
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Your FILL/CITY valve is basically a 3-way valve. I'm guessing that in the FILL position, the valve is leaking just a little bit back into the FW tank, dropping the pressure. So the pump starts and repressurizes the system and shuts off. A little more water leaks back into the FW tank through the valve and drops the pressure. Then the pump starts and pumps it back up. Repeat.

Could be two causes: 1) It's possible that you didn't have the valve FULLY in the FILL position, allowing the leak-by, or 2) the valve leaks by even in the full FILL position.

(I can fill my FW tank from my AF connection by putting the 3-way valve halfway between the FW position and the AF position.)

When you go back to the CITY position, the valve stops leaking.
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Old 10-14-2017, 12:23 PM   #6
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Check the fitting on the backside of the pump.


Quote:
Originally Posted by emm-dee View Post
Dry camping at Talladega this week and found an “issue” where the water pump would cycle on/off about 3-4 times a minute. It only stays on for well under a second. All the outlets are shut off and no leakage can be seen.

My water fill system is the single line one where you move a valve between two positions...one to fill the FW tank and the other to use an external water source. When I filled the tank prior to settle up camp I left the valve in the “tank fill” position. When I moved it to external position the cycling stopped.

All is good now but I’m curious about the reason for this to happen.

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Old 10-14-2017, 12:59 PM   #7
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All good recommendations from previous responders:
1) junk in the lines: every so often I get a small piece of sheet plastic (like a black baggie) stuck in the faucet aerator on my outdoor kitchen. Can't imagine where it's coming from, but that kind of plastic trash could bugger the pump check valve.
2) air in the system: compared to water, air compresses easily....a spongy spring. It's possible that you have air trapped in, for example, the outdoor shower system. Take a moment and make sure you have solid water flow at all valves (sinks, showers, toilet) to minimize any air in the system. The pump can handle a little air, but I know that when I start dry, fill the tank and hot water heater, then turn on the pump, it runs continuously until I draw on at least several of these.
2-a) Be sure your outdoor (and indoor) shower is actually OFF. MANY people use the temp shutoff on the shower head then forget to turn off the hot and cold valves. This will inevitably leak water from the shower head, and because it's outside, you may not notice the leak.
3) pump check valve - or pressure switch - failures: crud in your water (think of your shower head at home) can attach to anything. A particle of calcium or similar would allow the check valve to leak. And ultimately, the sensor for water pressure could be failing or crudded up with junk so it's not sensing properly. Obviously it works, but it may not be working as it should. If you find yourself at this point of the repair effort, you may want to remove the pump and clean it with CLR or similar and examine it carefully. Once you reach this point, if you don't find a definitive answer, you might want to just replace it. Make sure you have a supply of hose clamps to reinstall the pump.

One other test: crack open your hot water heater's high pressure blow off valve and make sure water...not air...comes out. It's unlikely, but an air bubble in the top of the hot water heater would be a soft spring for the pump, and the pump would struggle to maintain pressure enough to trigger the pressure shutoff switch in the pump.
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Old 10-14-2017, 01:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babock View Post
More than likely air in the system..
X2
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Old 10-14-2017, 01:05 PM   #9
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Air bubble shouldn't cause this in this kind of time frame. In fact people purposely ADD air bubbles (accumulators) so the pump doesn't run as often; usually done so it won't run at night.

Of course, in the accumulators the air is usually separated from the water. If not, some air can dissolve in the water and lower the pressure;. But this takes a lot more time than what the OP is experiencing. My old well tank had a snifter valve to add air to the tank to replace the air that dissolved, but it took days to dissolve.

Now, if he had a bubble in the HWH and the overpressure valve was leaking, that could cause his problem. But he said it stopped when he moved his fill valve back to CITY.

So air by itself, should not cause rapid cycling of the pump.
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Old 10-14-2017, 06:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockfordroo View Post
Air bubble shouldn't cause this in this kind of time frame. In fact people purposely ADD air bubbles (accumulators) so the pump doesn't run as often; usually done so it won't run at night.
I would agree except for the fact that I just read about someone who was able to correct the same problem by bleeding his system, especially the hot water side. Could have been the water heater...I don't remember.

Typically accumulators use air bladders but there are some that do use an air pocket.
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