It's become something of a saying in our household, as my parents and I have been saying those three words for quite awhile =P
It started a day or two before we went on vacation to North Carolina last year. When we were running water, it would - with no warning - go from a strong flow to a weak trickle, and then stop entirely. This happened when washing dishes/clothes, watering plants, taking a shower, and so on. When it happened, if there was another family member in the house, whoever was running water would have to yell "Hit the breaker!" (or something similar). After that, they would have to wait for them to go the basement and flip the button/switch for the water pump (and later on, the circuit breaker controlling the pump, which is when the saying actually came around) to restore the water pressure...until the next time it went out.
This was especially troublesome when washing dishes or clothes, as you don't want the water pressure to just go down like that all of a sudden. This was a problem for Mom when running the dishwasher or washing machine, as she would have to stay there the entire time in the event the water pressure went down again.
The problem first happened when our well's pump reached the end of its life and went bad, so we had no choice but to replace it. One thing that was found when replacing it was that a wire was worn bare in one spot - it apparently got caught between something and had its insulation rubbed off - but it was not considered to have caused this problem, given its age.
A second pump was put in after that, and we thought this problem would be fixed...but we were wrong: almost every day, at least once, the water flow had suddenly stopped, and one of us (usually me, if I was home) had to run to the basement and press a button on the pump to restore the water pressure. A few months later, we thought that maybe the switch was causing this problem and had replaced it with a new one. This time, however, the water just trickled constantly instead of stopping entirely when the problem occurred, and a switch (instead of a button, as it was a different model) had to be flipped to fix this. Rather than immediately restore the water pressure, it took a few seconds between turning it off and on to work properly, but even turning off any running water for 10-15 seconds also worked. Eventually we just started using the circuit breaker in the laundry room for this, as it was quicker to get to and easier to find.
A few months ago, since this problem still wasn't solved, we thought that maybe our well was collapsing, since nothing else we tried had worked...but if it were collapsing, why did the use of a button/switch/breaker fix this? If anything, the problem should have gradually become worse over time...but it didn't get any worse than when it had started, so that couldn't be it.
On Wednesday of this week, Dad and Pappy put in a third pump, and it had the same problem as the second one...which meant the pump wasn't causing the problem, either - or so it seemed. We were out of water until around 9:00 PM, when they finally figured out the problem, putting an end to this nuisance once and for all. From what Pappy told me, it turns out that - with the second and third pumps - the space between two check valves in both of the pumps was too short. This caused those valves to either come into contact with or bump up against each other, temporarily locking them in place and causing the water flow to shut off until they could be separated (by turning off any running water or messing with the switch/button/breaker). How did they fix this? All they did was put a piece of pipe in between those check valves, which ensured that there would be more than enough room for them to operate without bumping into each other.
We won't have to worry about the water pressure going out all of a sudden anymore, and that's a great thing to know =D
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