The majority of well water pump issues boil down to two types of problems: plumbing or electrical. Making a service call can cost you some serious money. Also, some service providers use inferior parts, which can lead to only temporary fixes.
Here's a quick guide to help you tackle the most common well water problems.
Where's the Water?
When your well water pump fails, your water source will go dry. If you turn on a sink or open a hose valve only to discover that no water flows, your well water pump has likely malfunctioned.
Is your well water pump receiving power?
This is the first question you should address when assessing a well water pump issue. On most well water pump systems, power is supplied in two areas: near the pressure tank and the circuit breaker.
Pressure Tank: make sure that the switch located near the pressure tank has been inadvertently switched off. You should toggle the switch several times when you check the switch.
Circuit Breakers: similar to an electrical panel, your well water pump has a small breaker box with fuses that connect to circuits. If overloaded, these circuits can be "tripped," which will shut off power to your well water pump. Just like the pressure tank switch, toggle the circuit breaker several times.
If these quick fixes don't work, you will need to check one more potential trouble spot before you can attempt a repair.
Is your well water electrical supply line still "hot"?
Supply Line: your well water pump's electrical supply line can also be a potential issue. To check whether the supply line is still "hot" (has electrical power running through it) you will need to check it with an electrical tester. These devices are simple to use and very accurate. If your well water pump is still receiving power but not functioning properly, you will need to cut the power before you attempt to repair the pressure tank switch or circuit breaker.
If you lack basic electrical skills, you should not attempt to repair the electrical systems on your own.
Why's the Water Inconsistent?
Another common well water pump problem is an inconsistent stream of water. For instance, you might notice that water initially gushes out of your faucets, only to quickly dissipate into a weak dribble. These problems are almost always symptomatic of pressure tank issues.
Is there water in your pressure tank?
Pressure Tank: your pressure tank is designed to displace water in the well with air, which forces it into your supply lines. The device has water at the base of the tank, which keeps your supply lines prime and an air bladder on top, which keeps pressure in your lines. Over time, water can sometimes leach into your pressure tank's air bladder, which can compromise the critical pressure balance need to draw water from your well.
You can test if water has breached your pressure tank by unscrewing the air pressure release valve and depressing the valve with a screw driver. If air doesn't hiss out of the valve and/or you notice that water mists out of the valve, you will know that water has breached the air bladder. Unfortunately, the cost of repairing and replacing the air bladder will be comparable to replacing the tank with a new system. Thus, you will need to purchase a new pressure tank.
In some real estate markets, a water well is an important feature. Having access to your own water supply can be a source of pride for a homeowner or an essential feature for a small business owner. However, a water well can require expertise to troubleshoot unique electrical and plumbing problems.
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