Diagnosing A Well Pump That Won'T Shut Down

Posted on: 25 September 2020

Residential wells can be a clean and economical way to supply drinking water to homes that do not have access to a municipal water supply. In most cases, wells can run for years (or even decades) with minimal maintenance and attention required. The long life of most wells doesn't make it any less disheartening when they eventually fail, of course.

Under normal circumstances, your well's pump should run only for short intervals. When your pump seems to be running continuously, it may be a sign of an impending. Keep reading to discover what it may mean if your pump seems to be cycling for much too long.

Well Pumps, Pressure Tanks, and Pressure Switches

For most residential well designs, your pump does not directly supply water to your home's plumbing. Instead, the pump feeds into a pressure tank located in your basement or a utility closet. As the tank fills, the water pressure in the tank increases. A pressure switch on the tank controls your pump, turning it on when the pressure falls too low and turning it off once it reaches the maximum pressure level.

These components work together not only to provide you with water but also to ensure that you have adequate water pressure at every fixture in your house. When your pump runs continuously, that's an indication that the pump cannot fill your pressure tank to its upper cut-off point. Not only does this waste energy, but it can also drastically reduce available water pressure in your home.

Common Causes For Insufficient Pressure

Before suspecting your pump, always confirm that you don't have a problem elsewhere in your home's plumbing. Leaks after the pressure tank can cause high-demand conditions, forcing the pump to run continuously to supply enough water. You can also check to ensure that your pressure tank's switch is operating correctly.

Once you've ruled out these problems, it's time to begin to consider a failure with your well or pump. If you are experiencing sputtering or dirty water along with a pump that won't shut off, then your water level may be too low. Low water levels can be ephemeral situations created by droughts, or they can be longer-term issues. A plumber may be able to lower your pump to reach the water table.

Failing or overworked water pumps can sometimes produce long cycle conditions, as well. In these cases, the pump runs non-stop because it cannot produce sufficient water pressure to fill your pressure tank. If your pump can no longer supply your home's water demands, then you will need to consider installing a new pump.

It's crucial never to ignore water pumps that run for too long. Not only are you wasting energy and water, but continuous operation can wear out your pump much more quickly. Working with a plumber to diagnose and repair the problem can ensure that a failing pump does not interrupt your home's supply of clean drinking water.


Avoiding Plumbing Problems

After we purchased a brand new place, I was blown away with how many plumbing problems it had. It seemed like every time we turned around, there was another issues with a sink, a toilet, or a shower. After doing a little research, we discovered that the home had been having trouble with plumbing for quite some time, and we knew that we needed to fix things. We decided to have a professional plumber come in and completely overhaul our system, and that decision was absolutely the right one to make. This blog is dedicated to avoiding plumbing issues the first time around.

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