Pump runs for about a minute then loses pressure

aprejeanMarch 16, 2013

I am new to hydroponics and just built a continuous drip system with 6 buckets. I have a 300gph TotalPond fountain pump at the bottom of my 18 gallon reservoir. It comes up a 24 inch riser and into a 7 foot horizontal 1/2 inch pvc manifold with 1/4 drip tubes. When I power up the system, I get great pressure, equal to all tubes, and then after two minutes the pressure drops. If I bump the pump on the bottom of the reservoir (holding the riser) then it pumps again for 30 seconds and drops again. I am pretty sure the system is air tight, and cannot figure this out.

I had a larger 550gph pump which was doing the same thing. I returned it thinking that it was defective, so I don't think the problem is the vertical rise. The current pump is rated for 6 feet and I only have a 3 foot rise.

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I will let someone else describe your problem here, but my thinking is that the pump you have isn't made to create "pressure" but instead its purpose is to move large volumes of water. You probably need a different type of pump

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 6:56PM
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It's the back-pressure of the water in the manifold that makes it stop working. You need a different pump or a re-designed system. If your reservoir were taller, you could have a higher water level and make the pump not have to push water so far upward.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 8:48PM
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The pump wants to move more water and you are restricting it too much. I've had this same problem. Try putting a tee in the line a few inches above where the pump hooks up underneath the waterline. Allow the tee to split the water with half going to the system/drip lines and the other half going directly back into the reservoir. This will allow that pump to move more water like it wants and you should get better pressure plus your nutrients/water will get mixed well. Another alternative is to have the end of the 1/2" manifold loop back into the reservoir instead of dead ending. Mine was not continuous drip, but ran a few min each hour.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 11:50PM
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Thanks for the advice and explanation. I will add a tee and let you know the results.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 12:36AM
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make sure you have a valve on one of the T lines so you can adjust the flow.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 11:26AM
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