Navitron Renewable Energy and Sustainability Forum

Green Building and Design => Rainwater Harvesting / Grey Water Recovery & Processing => Topic started by: chris wills on February 16, 2019, 05:36:01 PM



Title: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on February 16, 2019, 05:36:01 PM

(https://i.postimg.cc/06kXgysJ/IMG-5572.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/06kXgysJ)

I have had a rainwater harvesting system for the last 10 years now, all has been OK, only a few minor hiccups.
I have just noticed though that the pump is drawing from the mains and not the rain tank. Maybe its the pump not being able to draw the water?
I checked the floatation valve in the tank best I could, seems to still have the ball going back and forth.
What should I do, get the pump serviced or something else?

As always I appreciate your help guys.
Picture above of the pump, cored in my garage.


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: paul149 on February 16, 2019, 06:49:35 PM
Need to check 'what' actually tells the pump 'where' to draw water from first, do you have a low level sensor in your storage tank that calls for mains water in time of drought?
More details needed on system to diagnose further really!

Paul m.


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: ecogeorge on February 16, 2019, 10:37:50 PM
Need to check 'what' actually tells the pump 'where' to draw water from first, do you have a low level sensor in your storage tank that calls for mains water in time of drought?
More details needed on system to diagnose further really!

Paul m.
Agree what tells the pump there is enough rainwater , surely if it is demanding mains only it thinks there  is  no rain water (even if there is ) must be a sensor to measure rainwater , or is it stuck on mains  ?? need a schematic or wiring diagram.
Is it a make / model we can google ?
George.


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on February 17, 2019, 10:40:15 AM
Here is a picture of the pump system, it has a floating switch in the tank which tells it to take mains or rainwater.
To be honest the tank has never been empty in 10 years, so really i don't need it I guess.
Is there a way to bypass it as a trial or disconnect it?
I did look at the floatation valve yesterday, the ball in there seems to be moving, but it could be faulty.

Anything you need please let me know.


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on February 17, 2019, 11:19:08 AM
Here is the schematics under the blue cover on the pump, this includes the mains and the flotation switch.
What would happen if I disconnected the floatation switch, would then only draw rain or mains?


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: ecogeorge on February 17, 2019, 11:47:25 AM
2nd picture is just a 3 way valve assembly.
My money is on float switch failed -but it could be 3 way valve not switching.

In the tank can you trace the float switch cable back to where it is wired in . Can you  see if it is 2 or 3 wires . (photo of connections). Usually float switches have normally open (NO ) and normally closed (NC)  options.
Do you have a multi meter to check conductivity ? (touch 2 probes and it beeps) . Are you willing to test it? we'll tell you how when you tell us float switch wires.
rgds George


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: ecogeorge on February 17, 2019, 11:50:17 AM
Sorry -just reread your last post to see that float switch is connected to 3 way valve .-is it 2 wires only going to the float switch ??
George


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on February 17, 2019, 12:16:58 PM
There is 3 wires going to the float switch, live, neutral and earth.
Is that OK?


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: ecogeorge on February 17, 2019, 12:26:31 PM
Ok we don't know whether your float switch works by being open circuit when in raised position or closed circuit when in raised position.
BUT -we can try a couple things ..........

TURN POWER OFF
Disconnect one of the float switch wires (ignore the earth wire) -turn power back on does the pump take rainwater ??
If this does nothing ...

TURN POWER OFF
remove both float switch wires (live and neutral) and replace with a link - in other words connect one terminal directly to the other with a link of wire a couple inches long .Turn power on -does this pump now take rainwater ??
Report back .
George.


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on February 17, 2019, 02:28:59 PM
OK, so I removed one of the float wires, in fact I tried it on each one in turn just to be sure.
Also I turned off the mains water feed so I knew where it was coming from.
The result was that after it used up all the remaining mains water it no longer pulled any rain through, no nothing changed there.

Did 2nd option and again the same


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: knighty on February 17, 2019, 02:46:52 PM
those 2 ways valves are a bit naff... they're a normal replacement part on central heating etc..

see the leaver sticking out the side of it? - if you move that you can switch it manually, move that leaver and see if it starts using the rain water :-)


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on February 17, 2019, 02:58:23 PM
Tried the lever previously, usually its in the down position which moves it to auto and the up is manual.
Has no affect at this time.

Question - is it worth replacing the 2 way valve system and where can I get one......any links please?


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: ecogeorge on February 17, 2019, 07:05:52 PM
Not sure if others agree but i'm suggesting its not the float switch.
Do it pump rainwater and mains or just pump  rainwater and mains at mains pressure ??
If so can you confirm you have power ??
Sounds like its the  motorised valve not switching but as knighty says you've tried that .
Please confirm if  the pump  runs ??
George
PS -Where in the country are you ?


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on February 17, 2019, 07:22:18 PM
Hi George, it pumps the mains water no problem, to all the toilets and the washing machine and outside taps. I know its not pumping rain water, because I have shut down the mains supply and as soon as the mains water has been used, its then that the pump will not send any more water to fill the toilets etc.
I have full power, its all normal there and the pump runs fine, no funny noise coming from there.
I am based in west wales, close to Swansea.


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: ecogeorge on February 17, 2019, 07:53:48 PM
The fact that you have  disconnected the float switch (made it NO ) and  linked it out (made it closed - NC ) proves its not the float switch. It's got to be the 3 way valve not changing state.
I guess try a new valve or even just the motorised bit -but would prefer to prove things with a meter.
I am puzzled it does not pump when the valve is manually switched .
Do you know a local electrician ? do you have a wiring diagram ?

Just a thought try linking the float switch out as before and switch the valve manually ...........
George


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on February 17, 2019, 08:49:34 PM
In its default mode with the switch down it is set in automatic, this is using the floatation valve.
When you manually push it up it forces the system to get main water and not rain water unfortunately.
I did try as you said linking and then pushing the lever up, but of course I am telling it to get mains.

I don't have a wiring diagram, could try and get one. How do I test it with a meter?
Any ideas where to buy a motorised bit or valve unit? Maybe i just need to clean it or something else


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: ecogeorge on February 17, 2019, 09:51:38 PM
Valve spec here ...........
http://www.ambient-instal.ro/en/3-way-threaded-spring-return/

Spare actuator here .........

https://www.intellisys.it/sf25-spare-part.html
BUT reluctant to make you spend  money where it is not proved .........

Getting out of my depth here , but would love to help fault find with a meter ........... local friendly sparky ??


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: knighty on February 17, 2019, 09:53:22 PM
is it just for your toilets etc.?

if you've never run out before... I'd just bypass the valve so it's always rain water... remove the point of failure

or put a manual valve on it so you can always switch to mains if you need to


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on February 19, 2019, 08:41:34 PM
This may be a good idea actually at least to try and see if its not the pump.
Can you show me how to do this please and which kind of switch to use?


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: knighty on February 20, 2019, 09:29:10 AM
I meant remove the valve and connect the rain water supply straight into the pump, disconnecting the mains water supply

I've looked but can't see a decent looking 3 way manual valve

if you want the option to change between mains and rainwater... you could swap the valve out for a T piece and put a manual valve on each input?


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on February 20, 2019, 02:16:38 PM
Thanks, I will give it a go at the weekend, at least this will confirm that the pump is OK and it is the fault of the valve or electrics of the switch.


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: ecogeorge on February 20, 2019, 08:19:50 PM
Crazy thought that doesn't solve anything -swop mains and rainwater pipes (if possible) -short term answer but will use rainwater only .
George.


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on February 21, 2019, 01:07:03 PM
Maybe I could try this too, good thought, will have to check the fittings at the weekend. Hopefully I will find something wrong with the 3 way as I dissassemble it and get that Eureka moment!
If you could give me a step by step electrical testing method that would be good.


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: Iain on February 21, 2019, 03:09:37 PM
Hi
If the pipes are fairly secure just turn the 3 way valve around. just reverse the "A" "B" sides. The nuts and olives will stay on the pipes, just undo and spin the valve 180 degrees.
5 minute job and easy to reverse.

Iain


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on February 21, 2019, 04:07:54 PM
This is an image and description of the pump setup, can you clarify your idea please?



Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: paul149 on February 21, 2019, 04:52:38 PM
Gotta say " I wonder where the physical Air break is between the rain water supply and the Town main and any obligatiary NR valves?"


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: Iain on February 21, 2019, 05:01:38 PM
Hi

Quote
If the pipes are fairly secure just turn the 3 way valve around. just reverse the "A" "B" sides. The nuts and olives will stay on the pipes, just undo and spin the valve 180 degrees.
5 minute job and easy to reverse.


Quote
can you clarify your idea please?

No sorry won't work on yours. most 3 way valves have the 2 similar pipes opposite so the valve just reverses.
Won't work easily on yours.


Quote
Gotta say " I wonder where the physical Air break is between the rain water supply and the Town main and any obligatiary NR valves?"

Got to agree, there should be an air break between the 2 supplies.

Iain


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: ecogeorge on February 21, 2019, 10:27:01 PM
Gotta say " I wonder where the physical Air break is between the rain water supply and the Town main and any obligatiary NR valves?"

*
I too thought that but didn't want to confuse the situation........ :(


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: Iain on February 22, 2019, 06:05:25 AM
Hi


Gotta say " I wonder where the physical Air break is between the rain water supply and the Town main and any obligatiary NR valves?"


Just been thinking again, Seems strange to have mains pressure as an input to a diverter valve and pump.
I wonder if there is a header tank somewhere for the mains to fill. Probably the house colt water header tank. Then the low pressure "mains" would then feed the pump. This would then give the air break. Although ideally I think there should be a wier arrangement incorporated
Like this


Iain


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on February 22, 2019, 08:01:20 AM
The tank under the pump is always filled with mains water and the idea is that it switches over when the rain water runs out.
It was all installed as recommended instructions.
My issue now is the fact it pulls through only mains.


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: knighty on February 22, 2019, 10:29:34 AM
if the valve is knackered you have nothing to lose... take the cover off, there's normally a little motor with a gear on it which works the valve

you could turn/move it by hand and then jam it in place?


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on February 23, 2019, 12:09:08 PM
So...after hours of fault finding, here is what I found.
All this was done with the flotation switch turned off:

1. The valve is fine, i took it off the pump system and it when i manually move the switch, it works fine between rain and mains, so no issues there, you can see the ball moving fine between the 2 positions.
2. Put it all back together and disconnected the rain inlet, switched it to mains and works fine, however with the rain vent now open and drawing in air it did not like this, when I put my hand over the rain inlet pipe on the 3 way, it drew the mains no problem and filled all the toilets, washing machine etc.
3. Then I put a blanking plug on the rain inlet and all good.

My conclusion is there is a draw of air somewhere along the hose and this is what is stopping the rain coming through. I doubt the pump likes to pull any air when attempting to get the rain

Next steps - take up all the rain hose and I may replace it, anyone know of a good flexible hose?


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: knighty on February 23, 2019, 02:18:08 PM
even if there's air in the rain water pipe.... the pump should keep sucking on it and ignore the mains water?   the float should control the valve which controls where the water comes from?

can you make the valve work via electric?


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on February 25, 2019, 07:34:44 AM
Here's a stranger thing.

I disconnected the rain pipe and then manually put the system into mains only, it struggles to draw the water up the tube.
If I put the palm of my hand over the pipe where the rain water was, it works and begin to draw the water.
This would kind of suggest that the impeller is either not good enough to draw up the water when there is air present or the valve is not quite closing correctly and is drawing air.
Any thoughts?


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: knighty on February 25, 2019, 09:31:42 AM
sounds like the valve isn't closing properly to me

I haven't seen a valve quite like your before... but if it's the same internally as a standard valve is simply moves a small rubber ball (on a stick) to block the port that you don't want to use

they don;t work very well if there's much of a pressure difference between the different ports - the ball can't seal well enough for that

I'd remove the valve and join the rain water supply directly to it, see how well ti works then.  if you've never run out of rain water before you should be ok?.... guess if you do run out or frain water you could top the rain water tank up a bit with your house pipe?


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on February 25, 2019, 10:15:11 AM
Yes I think this is my next attempt, keep it simple.
Many thanks - will keep you all posted.



Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on March 01, 2019, 01:42:34 PM
Had a bit of a nightmare today in my pump saga, the connecting piece between the pump (black plastic) and the 3 way valve broke.
I connected it back to the mains so the pumps now out of the loop, for now.
Im trying to get a replacement, any ideas where I could get one?

With the broken 3 way and this part I am also having the dilemma of getting a new pump, maybe a submersible one, my wife always moaned of the noise anyway.
What the score with them? Any recommendations


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on March 01, 2019, 01:59:44 PM
this is a view of the pump


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: merkland on March 02, 2019, 10:33:42 AM
Why would you need a new pump? Going by the pictures you have  posted it looks as if it would be a simple job to fit a new pipe between pump and 3 way valve, pipe does not need to be plastic you could possibly use a piece 22mm copper with suitable fittings. The other connection to the pump is a copper pipe!

merkland.


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on March 02, 2019, 12:06:42 PM
Afraid not. The 3 way valve was the start of the problem. Itís not pulling rain water through.
To replace it is about £100 and to top it all I broke the inlet to the pump


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on March 02, 2019, 01:28:09 PM
The inlet pipe is 1" 1/4 size, I need a fitting to go over this and then I was going to put into a 22mm quick fit, any suggestions?


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: offthegridandy on March 02, 2019, 05:31:50 PM
Hi Chris,

Machine Mart sell pumps that are supplied with those plastic fittings. To save the pump I'd try Machine Mart to get replacement pump fittings.  It is sometimes recommended that the pump connects 1st to some flexible pipe to eliminate vibrations.

 As regards the valve I would see how far I could strip it and clean it up before junking it, nothing to loose!  If the actuator rarely ever is called upon to move, it may simply be (full of Sheeet) grunged about around the spindle and a simple clean up job might do it.

Good luck.

Andy


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: knighty on March 02, 2019, 09:21:52 PM
you could get an adapter to screw straight onto the pump and join it to the rain water?

you might be best off taking the pump and rain water pipe to a plumbing center and asking them for the right connections... you might need a couple joining together :-)


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on March 03, 2019, 07:58:30 AM
Thankyou for your feedback guys, forgot about machine mart, I did take the bits to a few plumb centres yesterday but no luck.
The plastic part that went into the pump also contained the non-return valve, picture attached, so I assume this is required to stop the pump running dry. I have located one on eBay here:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/UK-BSP-Brass-Non-Return-Valve-Spring-Check-Various-Sizes-1-2-to-2/222962481369?var=521767852365

Then from the valve, reduced to 3/4inch:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NEW-BRASS-plumbing-pipe-reducing-bush-Male-X-Female-BSP-You-choose-size/110635084750?var=410017337148

Then from the reducer to a speedfit 3/4 to 22mm:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SPEEDFIT-22MM-X-3-4-BSP-BRASS-MALE-COUPLER-22MC-3-4/300731735429

Any thoughts



I really do appreciate all your comments, you have been so helpful.


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: knighty on March 03, 2019, 10:48:35 PM
those parts lppk right to me... are you going to swap the rain water flexi pipe for 22 plastic or copper pipe?


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on March 04, 2019, 07:50:34 AM
I was only planning about a run of 2 metres in 22mm plastic and then connected onto the inch bore rainwater pipe.
I donít see any point of replacing the rainwater pipe at this stage.


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: knighty on March 04, 2019, 08:42:57 AM
cool, was just checking, otherwise your connectors would be wrong :-o


Title: Re: Rainwater pump is calling for mains only
Post by: chris wills on March 04, 2019, 09:40:35 AM
I managed to pickup a brass compression fitting yesterday from B&Q, so now just awaiting delivery of the non-return valve and reducer.