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Well pump stuck by lightning? HELP!!

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  • Well pump stuck by lightning? HELP!!

    Hi all we need some help!!! Here in the northeast we had some pretty nasty storms roll through and it appears for the second time in 8 years our well has been struck by lightning and it has fried our pump! I just think it is really, really bad luck that lightning would actually strike that same spot twice and I wanted to see if there could be an alternative explanation. The well company wouldn’t even come check the equipment to see if there was another cause, they insisted the pump is dead but this is a very expensive service call and we really can’t afford to keep doing this. The holding tanks are empty and it appears there is no water coming into the house (is there another way to check aside from rapping the tank?). Resetting the circuit doesn’t fix the problem as well. If anyone has any advice we could sure use it. Thanks so much. You can even email me at supermarketinca@yahoo.com!

  • #2
    Re: Well pump stuck by lightning? HELP!!

    It sounds like you need a new pump. Since it was struck by lightning once already, it was acting as a conductor and attracting the electricity in the air, so it happening again isn't that far-fetched at all.
    The only way to be sure is to test the pump motor, if your well company won't come out to diagnose it, then call another well company.

    p.s.: Covering the well-head and wires with a plastic cover may help prevent this from happening again.
    Last edited by Service Guy; 06-23-2008, 05:50 PM.
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    • #3
      Re: Well pump stuck by lightning? HELP!!

      So were would the wires to cover come out? The actual pump is 600 feet down in the ground!

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      • #4
        Re: Well pump stuck by lightning? HELP!!

        There is usually an exposed wellcasing where the pump resides and the pipes and wires run from the ground up out of.
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        • #5
          Re: Well pump stuck by lightning? HELP!!

          I agree if you have power to the top of the casing you likely need a new pump.

          Mark
          "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

          I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

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          • #6
            Re: Well pump stuck by lightning? HELP!!

            Could easily happen. Could happen within a month. Alot of pump manufacturers put suppressors in the pump to help with strikes. Also, you might want to talk to an electrician to help better protect the next pump.

            Been awhile since I've done it, so I need to read up. But I don't think there is a test to be performed at the top of the well. Ohming it out doesn't tell you the condition of the pump(I think). It can tell you if you have a break in the wire. Break in the wire, pull it. Bad pump, pull it. So they will probably have to pull it.

            And if there gonna pull it, you're better off replacing the pump right then. The well person knows this from experience and is probably the reason they are telling you to do so. Don't skimp on the wire either. Any doubt, replace it. Good luck.

            J.C.

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            • #7
              Re: Well pump stuck by lightning? HELP!!

              check with your homeowners insurance to see if they will cover the cost
              Charlie

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              • #8
                Re: Well pump stuck by lightning? HELP!!

                what was happening with our years ago it was the best ground on the place and it would "ground out" in the well,

                we added a lighting arrestor in the boxes, (usually if it a good strike it will blow the arrestor apart) but it may save the pump, install ground rods and if you have steel casing bond the casing and so on, what your wanting to do is give the electricity some place to dissipate before it gets to the well,

                years ago in our pasture fence, we had all wood posts, and when lighting would strike the barbed wire we would have 10 or so wood posts blow up by the power of the lighting strike, when I took over from my dad, I started to put a steel T post in about ever 10 wooded posts, and since then I have had nearly no wood posts blown out or cattle killed from the lighting hitting the fences, as it was given some place to go,

                it may be wise to have a electrician look the place over and suggest or install ground rods if needed and do some bonding (connecting the metal to ground in areas), to drain off the power,
                Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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                • #9
                  Re: Well pump stuck by lightning? HELP!!

                  You can't get a better ground than one that goes 600' into the earth.

                  Is the casing metal?

                  How many buckets do you have? You might want to put some out in the driveway the next time it rains.

                  In all seriousness it sounds like you only hope is a new pump. Having an electrician look at the installation and address any grounding issues might help, but my thinking is whatever you put in the circuit (if it's in the house) will not protect against a hit to equipment installed outside, and even if it did it would be overloaded by a direct hit and probably not save the pump.
                  ---------------
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                  • #10
                    Re: Well pump stuck by lightning? HELP!!

                    Well, if your hard up for cash, you could pull the pump yourself. You'd save some cash and get one helluva workout. I have never pulled a 600 footer but I had a foreman enjoy watching me pull a 250 footer once...

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                    • #11
                      Re: Well pump stuck by lightning? HELP!!

                      A) Check your home owner's insurance for storm damage to well systems.

                      B) Get an electrician or someone that knows some about electrical equipment (Good HAM radio guy-gal) to come by and take some electrical measurements. Is the system grounded properly? Is there power to the pump?

                      C) If the above checks out, then most likely you'll end up needing a new pump.

                      D) Normally well casing is iron and threaded together. That makes one awesome grounding rod if there is one. If you do have iron well casing, you might want to try to get a huge grounding clamp (depending on diameter) and use it as a ground rod for all of the water system. If that won't work, then drive a 5/8 or 3/4 x 8 foot ground rod into the ground in a good location and run a good heavy copper wire from it to the ground connection for the pump controller.

                      You might want to also look into a hard wired electrical surge suppressor for the the pump and controller. A good electrician can supply and install it for you and it is good insurance for the pump.

                      Do make sure you don't have other storm damage there. Sometimes electrical wiring, switches, receptacles, appliances and more get damaged by lightning and aren't found out about for some time. Again, I really would try to have an electrician come by for safety reasons. He/she can write up a report for your insurance company. Some if not all damage really should be covered if you have basic storm damage coverage. Also, be tuff, but nice with your insurance company and agent. You have the option to terminate and go with another company. Sometimes it pays to remind your agent and claims adjuster of this. If you haven't filed a storm damage claim in the past 5 years they should be willing to work with you. It's not like your house burned down and you need $100,000 plus to totally rebuild it.

                      By the way a good trained dog can sniff for burned electrical wires and devices. They do stink and dogs hate the smell of such.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Well pump stuck by lightning? HELP!!

                        You can check the condition of the pump with a good multi meter. Check for open windings across the pump leads. that will tell you if the motor windings are burned out, which if the pump quit working after the storm is the most likely scenario. Is the pump a two or three wire capacitor start motor? The lightning may have just fried the pump control station (if it has one) At any rate after replacing the pump, make sure to install a lightning arrestor.
                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          Re: Well pump stuck by lightning? HELP!!

                          Franklin Electric's Website is pheomenal with quite a bit of troubleshooting info for well contols and pumps. They offer step by step procedures for testing the control as well as the pump outlined very well. personally I would check the control box first. Many times these get fried with the lightning strikes before the pump. Also call your insurance as someone before me wrote. MANY times this is convered by HO insurance, in which case you may only have to pay a resonable deductable.

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