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WATER PUMPS, TANKS, TESTS, WELLS, REPAIRS
WATER CONSERVATION MEASURES
WATER CONTAMINANT LEVELS
WATER FILTERS, HOME USE
WATER HAMMER NOISE DIAGNOSE & CURE
WATER ODORS, CAUSE CURE
WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE
WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER TANK REPAIR PROCEDURES
WATER TANK: USES, TROUBLESHOOTING
WATER TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT
WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT CHOICES
WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS
WELL CHLORINATION & DISINFECTION
WELL FLOW RATE
WELL WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS
WELL YIELD IMPROVEMENT
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
This article describes how to adjust building water pressure by setting the water pump cut-in and cut-out pressure on the well water pump pressure control switch. In six brief tutorials we explain how to set and adjust a typical pump pressure control switch, how to make sure that the system is safe, and what water pressure settings to use. We also point to our article on how to adjust building municipal or community water pressure at a building.
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Water Well Pump Pressure Control Switch Adjustment: how to set the water pump cut-in and cut-out pressures
Here we are discussing setting the water pressures at which a water pump will turn on (to get more water) and off (to stop pumping water from the water source into the water tank). Water pumps use a pressure control that specifies the pump cut-in (turn on) and cut-out (turn off) water pressures.
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Watch out: SAFETY WARNING OF FATAL SHOCK HAZARD: if you remove the cover of the pump pressure control switch you can get access to the two nuts that adjust the operating pressures of the water pump.
But watch out! There are also live electrical contacts exposed in this area. If you touch them, especially being near water piping, there is a serious risk of death by electrocution. Watch what you touch, or have a professional plumber or electrician do this job for you.
If the water pump apparent "short cycle" is say 1-3 minutes this may be all your system can provide. If however something has changed, and the pump used to run longer, say 2-5 minutes, I suspect loss of air in the pressure tank or an internal problem in the tank (like a hole in the bladder if it's a "captive air" pressure tank). The problem of lost air in the water pressure tank along with how to correct that condition are discussed beginning at SIGNS OF AIR LOSS.
If the "short cycle" is very short, clicking on and off, there could be a different problem with the pump control pressure switch or with a dirty, clogged water filter if one is installed on the system. Dirty water filters as a source of rapid pump on-off cycling are discussed at CAUSES OF SHORT CYCLING.
If you want to set up the cut-out pressure on your pump control, while leaving the "cut-in" down where it is, you'll also get a longer "off" cycle, but if you set the cut-out pressure too high, the pump will just run forever since it can't reach that high pressure. This is easy to figure out since if you set it too high the pump will just keep running. (Then turn it off electrically and set the cutout pressure a bit lower.)
In sum, it might be possible to improve this condition by adjusting the pump control which sets the cut-in water pressure (to start the water pump) and the cut-out water pressure (to stop the pump).
Usually this isn't going to help with pump short cycling but adjusting the water pump can give a longer on-cycle for the pump and it can increase the water system pressure up to a point.
If you ask the pump for more pressure than it can deliver it will simply keep running without ever reaching the cut-out pressure you've specified. If your pump short-cycling behavior has recently gotten worse, don't try to fix it by adjusting the pump pressures, go on to look at other problems like loss of the air charge in the water tank or a defective or clogged pump control or water filter.
The article links below explain exactly how to set the water pump pressure switch, where the adjustments are located (the large and small nut found under the switch cover), which way to turn the nuts to increase or decrease the pump cut-in and cut-out pressures, and other pressure switch troubleshooting and repair procedures.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
For article loading speed we have moved our questions and answers about how to adjust or set the well pump or water pump pressure control switch to WATER PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL ADJUSTMENT FAQs - a separate article.
Questions & answers or comments about Setting the Water Pump Pressure Switch and Improving Water Pressure.
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