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Well pump


Jason Miller

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After 2 successful notifications from my leak sensor under the kitchen upstairs (I was luckily home both times) it got me wondering about killing water at the house if I am not home. I'm on a well and currently have a switch that kills power to the well pump, mounted in my utility room. My question is, could a standard on/off switch handle this or do I need something more heavy duty? 

IMG_20190428_163629.jpg

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Can you access the pump motor and read the specs?  See the switch capability specs below.

Motor operating noise could be a problem for the insteon switch (dual band or not), so you'll also want to put a filter some kind on the pump motor if the motor is close (in wire feet) to the switch. I've used the XPNR for motor noise successfully before. Easy to install.

Here's the specs for the 2477 S

        image.png.8bafafa1dabd4533c8b211ba6a3f3160.png

 

Paul

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Does your utility room contain an electrical panel, and perhaps a pressure switch that controls the pump?  If that's the case, my guess would be that your existing switch doesn't actually supply power to the pump, but rather to a control relay that sends power to the pump.  If so, within the electrical panel you should find the pressure switch is wired in series with your on/off switch.  That would mean that there is only a small current flow controlled by the switch.  

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More than likely you'll need a high-current high-voltage switch -- preferably a normally-closed relay version.

The switch body is red, which is a giveaway -- and if you look closely at the metal strip, it's stamped with "20A" meaning it's a full 20 amp rated switch.  Submersible well pumps are usually run at 240VAC, in order to reduce the voltage drop on the very long cable down the well shaft.  Plus, the powered "thing" is a motor.  Any one of those three would pretty much disqualify the 2477S.

When you replace such a critical item in your home, you need to give some serious thought to how to handle failure.  Failures can happen in many ways -- we all like to think that the only way it'll go wrong is if Insteon had a manufacturing defect, and the part fails.  But it's actually more likely that it'll fail in other ways -- a runaway program on the ISY... noise on the electrical line... etc.  So you need to consider what to do, or what to tell the kids or the spouse to do ('cause Murphy's law dictates that you'll be out of town when it fails, of course).   And that something shouldn't be to pull the switch out of the wall and replace it.  Not sure what other choices you have, but I'd design a custom control box, with a high-current HVAC contactor, LED indicators, a switch to bypass the insteon micro on/off that I'd use to control the contactor, and detailed drawings of the circuit for a contractor or electrician to read to figure out how to bypass the entire box if the relay fails.

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2 hours ago, mwester said:

More than likely you'll need a high-current high-voltage switch -- preferably a normally-closed relay version.

The switch body is red, which is a giveaway -- and if you look closely at the metal strip, it's stamped with "20A" meaning it's a full 20 amp rated switch.  Submersible well pumps are usually run at 240VAC, in order to reduce the voltage drop on the very long cable down the well shaft.  Plus, the powered "thing" is a motor.  Any one of those three would pretty much disqualify the 2477S.

When you replace such a critical item in your home, you need to give some serious thought to how to handle failure.  Failures can happen in many ways -- we all like to think that the only way it'll go wrong is if Insteon had a manufacturing defect, and the part fails.  But it's actually more likely that it'll fail in other ways -- a runaway program on the ISY... noise on the electrical line... etc.  So you need to consider what to do, or what to tell the kids or the spouse to do ('cause Murphy's law dictates that you'll be out of town when it fails, of course).   And that something shouldn't be to pull the switch out of the wall and replace it.  Not sure what other choices you have, but I'd design a custom control box, with a high-current HVAC contactor, LED indicators, a switch to bypass the insteon micro on/off that I'd use to control the contactor, and detailed drawings of the circuit for a contractor or electrician to read to figure out how to bypass the entire box if the relay fails.

I installed  a variable speed, constant pressure Grundfos pump into my well. The largest 120vac pump I could get, was 1/2 HP and at 150 deep will barely lift water to pressurise my house. Yeah I had to buy hundreds of dollars of "monster" conductor cable. :( So I can say for fairly sure that his pump will be 240V or else he would need a second stage.
Motors can have 20-30 times the startup current (locked rotor amps) than running and when you break voltage to them 10-20 times the supplied voltage kick-back. In the case of a well pump there should always be a load on it to absorb the inductive voltage "kick-back" so that may not be a problem.

IOW: I doubt there will be an Insteon switch capable of handling this and a relay/contactor will be required for sure unless he has some  softstart pump (mine is and runs fine from a On/Off plug-in module) or  it has a control circuit input. Electrical devices usually require a convenience switch and a SwitchLinc is not going to do this.

I have to reinforce  your warnings to the OP . Get an educated electrician.

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specs say "1hp motor 120vac only".  I'm not sure what that means for a 240vac motor except I suppose you just can't use it for that.  Not exactly sure what electrical reason there is for a 240vac motor of any size being off the board when other 240vac (or 277vac) loads are OK.  But if that switch directly switches power to your well pump, I'm thinking you don't have a very big well pump.  My pump has a 40amp 240vac dedicated breaker with the only switching aside from the circuit breaker is the pump controller.  The pump controller has low voltage control connections on it to allow for external control.

A multimeter answers your voltage question real quick.   With the switch off, measure from each of the two connections on the switch to ground.  If they are both 120vac, then you have a 240v hookup.  If only one is 120vac and the other is 0, then you have 120vac.  Also, if one wire is white and the other a color (black usually), then it should be 120vac, though it doesn't rule out someone using improper wire colors.

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15 hours ago, tibbar said:

I successfully use Aeotec Zwave switch   with my submerged 240v well pump.

Not only I can turn it on or off but also can monitor power draw.

 

I like that.  Very reasonably priced and high capacity.  The OP could just leave the manual switch as is and put this device elsewhere on the circuit having both manual cut-off as well as an automated/remote one.

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This Aeotec heavy duty switch looks great. I am having my electrician review it now as well, to ensure it will work. Admittedly, I want to have a way to "bypass it" so if the switch fails, I can override it. He is looking at a solution to this, like a manual pull that would send it another route, thus, bypassing this switch, in the event it fails, I will still be able to have power. I'll keep everyone updated.

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On 5/1/2019 at 9:46 AM, Jason Miller said:

Admittedly, I want to have a way to "bypass it" so if the switch fails, I can override it. He is looking at a solution to this, like a manual pull that would send it another route, thus, bypassing this switch, in the event it fails, I will still be able to have power.

Easiest way to bypass the Z-Wave is to install it to a standard box, add a double-pole switch which bypasses the Aeotec switch.

Aeotec-bypass.png

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The bypass above takes it out of the circuit all together, like it isn't there at all.  If your concern for bypass is manual shut off only, then leaving your current switch in the loop is all that is needed.  If you want ability to manually shut off and manually turn it on, then leave both your current switch in the loop and add the switch above.  So throwing the switch shown above makes it just like you have it now with the ability to flip your other switch on/off and have it behave the same.

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