Photograph of a water pump pressure control switch with the cover onWater Pump Pressure Switch Noises
Humming, Clicking may be normal or may indicate trouble

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Water pump control switch noises:

This article describes the causes of noises heard at a water pump pressure control switch: humming or clicking. We warn that some noises may indicate trouble and the need for repair, including very frequent clicking or relay switch humming. A stuck pump relay can burn up the switch or even cause a fire.



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Water Pump Pressure Control Switch-Related Noise Diagnosis

Photo of a well pump pressure switchReader Question: humming water pressure pump control switch

My water Pump Pressure Switch seems to be emitting a low hum all of the time It sounds sort of like you hear around electrical transformers.

This is a new thing for the unit. My electric bill has also been high and my water pressure is intermittently low. I can make the hum stop by pressing on the plate that's connected to the springs. It sparks when I do this. Yikes! I suspect that the switch is stuck in the on position. What do you all think? Thanks! - James 11/27/12

(Feb 6, 2014) Ivan said:

The pump only hums. It was recently installed when the old one did the same thing. This is a water well. Could the Foot valve in the well be blocked causing the pump not to kick on

Reply:

James, the pressure control switch might click on and off, but humming?

First - make sure that the sound is coming from the switch itself and not from nearby water piping or from a nearby pump. Well pumps are not silent, and pump noise can be transmitted via water piping.

A mechanic's stethoscope can help make sure you've pinpointed the noise source.

Second - if you are convinced it's the switch, if tightening the electrical connections at the switch doesn't fix it (do this with power OFF) I would replace it promptly. The pump relay is an electromagnetic switch. If it is humming and vibrating it is probably failing and you're about to have

Watch out: I wouldn't keep pressing on the relay. There's live 120V or 240V in that switch - touching exposed wires or connectors is asking for a potentially fatal shock. Keep me posted, what we learn will help other readers.

Ivan:

When a water pump only hums - that is, it's not moving water - the problem could be a bad pump motor, bad motor start capacitor, low voltage, OR - indeed as you speculate - if the pump has lost prime (perhaps due to a leaky foot valve) it may also seem to be doing nothing but humming a monotone.

Try turning off the pump and priming it manually. Then close the priming opening and turn on the pump. If the pump sounds normal - even just briefly - that may confirm that it's running dry; sometimes you can recover water by repeat priming at the pump, but if the foot valve is bad, your pump will also keep losing prime. But that would be diagnostic.

WATCH OUT: don't let a pump keep running dry -chances are you'll damage it.

See PUMP / SWITCH NOISE FAQs

Also see ELECTRIC MOTOR NOISE DIAGNOSIS where we diagnose humming electric motors and motors that won't start.

Reader Question: Clicking: after replacing pump and pressure tank the pump switch keeps clicking

relay switch on water pressure device clicking when water is being used why and what is the fix please. - Anon 9/30/12

i replace my pump and pressure tank. but when i turn on my water. i here the pressure switch go click click click non stop when i turn on water - Jerry 11/16/12

Reply: normal vs. abnormal well pump relay switch clicking frequency

Jerry,

It is normal for the relay switch to "click" on and off when you are running water continuously. It's a sound that folks don't notice if the switch is right next to a (noisy) well pump, but when the well pump is submersible (located in the well) the pressure control switch click may be about all you hear. If the clicking is rapid - see my warning just above. If the click occurs say once every 30 seconds, that's normal. It's the pump switching on and off as pressure falls and rises.

Watch out: If the clicking pressure switch is switching the pump on and off very rapidly, say every second, TURN THE PUMP CIRCUIT OFF immediately to avoid damaging the equipment. Then check for a clogged water filter, a water valve that should be open is closed, or a waterlogged preside tank

Chattering Pressure Control Switch

Watch out: while a single on-off click is normal for pressure switch operation, a pump pressure control switch that buzzes or chatters is sick and needs repair or replacement.

Schneider, discussing maintenance of their Square-D pressure control switch series offers these explanations and cures for a chattering pressure control switch (adapted):

Reference: "Preventive Maintenance and Troubleshooting Guidelines for Class 9013F and 9013G Pressure Switches" (2007), Original source: Schneider Electric USA 8001 Knightdale Boulevard Knightdale, NC 27545 USA 1-888-SquareD (1-888-778-2733) www.us.SquareD.com

Chattering noises: in relays or switches used on HVAC equipment is discussed separately at CHATTERING RELAYS, HVAC EQUIPMENT

Or see CHATTERING RELAY CONTROL SWITCHES - home

Reader Question: My pump pressure control switch melted. The repairman said it was due to bugs. Now my well pump is noisy. Did the pressure switch meltdown make my pump get loud? Can I replace it with a quieter pump?

I must confess that I don't know much about well systems. Unfortunately, a well is where my water comes from for my house. I say unfortunately because it seems I’m always having problems and never had such hassles when having had city water.

The system is almost 10 years old and the upkeep seems to be constant and expensive.

Recently, one evening, while I was out of my house for a few hours, the system's pressure switch literally melted. I turned off the well system when I got home and waited 'till next morning to call the company who services the system.They came out and replaced the switch box.

They said it was likely caused by some bugs getting inside it which makes it malfunction. I have been told to make sure to place moth balls around this box and to spray bug spray. They tell me this unfortunately is a common problem and that there doesn’t seem to be any remedy available. Well, this strikes me as an expensive situation.

Since the melt down and replacement, my system seems extra loud. Every time the pump goes on (I have a 7 gallon draw down) I can hear it all throughout the house and it’s especially loud in the room that the system is closest to. I doubt anyone could sleep in that room because of the noise.

I don’t remember the system being so loud before this happened.

Do you have any thoughts about this scenario? And do you know of any pumps (submersible) that are not loud, and do you know what they would cost?? - E., North Port FL

Reply: A shorted electrical circuit or switch might damage a pump; a damaged pump or a well with limited water capacity might lead to a burned-up the pressure control switch

A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds additional clues that help accurately diagnose a problem. That said, here are some things to consider:

It might be diagnostic to think back to

You can replace a noisy above ground pump with a quieter model, and if your pump motor or the actual impeller assembly are loud due to damage or wear, it's a good time to think about that step.

If you convert an above-ground well pump to a submersible pump sysem you won't hear the pump motor at all, just a little click when the pump relay switch turns the pump on or off. In fact you might notice previously masked (by pump noise) sounds of water entering the pressure tank.

Some typical well pump repair or replacement costs are discussed
at  WELL PUMP / TANK REPLACEMENT COSTS.

Question: Square D pressure switch clicking noise is too loud - how can we block the sound?

2016/08/27 Bill S. said:

We have a 35 foot deep well with a submersible pump. My question is how or what can be done to reduce the noise (loud click on and off. when the pump turns on or off.
Our basement has a guest bedroom and the noise wakes up our guests.

We have had the square D switch replaced once by our plumber, who said to get a quiet switch would be very expensive if he could find one? Note we have two bathrooms and a full lawn irrigation system, so the switch does work a lot in the summer months. The loud on off sound is able to be noticed in our living room as well. This is a very solid custom built home. Do I need to put sound dreading material over the switch ? Thank You pbriverhs@mwt.net

This question was posted originally at WATER PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL

Reply: Things to check for loud pressure switch noise causes & suggestions for sound-reduction at the pump room around the pressure tank and control switch

Bill:

Watch out: if your water pump pressure control switch is making a very loud bang, pop, or similar noise when the contacts open or close the switch may be damaged or unsafe, or the line voltage may be incorrect. While a modest amount of spark or arcing at the pressure control switch is normal when the switch opens or closes, very loud noises or smoky arcing indicate that something more serious is happening. I'd check the pressure control switch and water tank and plumbing in that area. Check at the pressure switch for:

If you and your electrician and plumber are dead certain that the pump control switch is acting normally but the sound remains annoying, then let's look at sound control for the pump room:

You might look at some sound insulation techniques - see SOUND CONTROL in BUILDINGS at inspectapedia.com/BestPractices/Sound_Control_in_Buildings.php

and also SOUNDPROOFING MATERIAL PROPERTIES at inspectapedia.com/BestPractices/Soundproofing_Materials.php

But these switches are not normally very loud - to my hearing anyway. I'd look further at the switch mounting and location to see if its click is being amplified by a mount, sheet metal, tank contact or something that might be corrected.

I'd stay away from just wrapping the pump switch directly out of concern for

And I'd look instead at sound transmission between the pump room and the nearby areas.

See FLANKING SOUND CUTOFF at inspectapedia.com/BestPractices/Flanking_Sound_Transmission.php

See SOUND CONTROL for PLUMBING inspectapedia.com/BestPractices/Plumbing_Noise_Transmission.php

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Continue reading at WATER PUMP / SWITCH NOISE FAQs or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below.

Or see CHATTERING RELAY CONTROL SWITCHES

Or see ELECTRIC MOTOR NOISE DIAGNOSIS

Or see PLUMBING SYSTEM NOISE SOURCES

Or see PLUMBING NOISE CHECKLIST


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