Copper tubing on pressure control switch (C) Daniel FriedmanWell Water Pump Diagnostic FAQs
Problems with the well pump

InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

Well water pump diagnostic FAQs:

this article provides answers to frequently-asked questions about how to diagnose problems with the water pump bring well water to a building or boosting water pressur at a building.

If the well pump runs too often, is noisy, seems weak, runs intermittently with no apparent reason, or is otherwise misbehaving, these questions will help sort out what's wrong.

Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved.

Problems with well pumps, well pumps that run too often (short cycling), well pumps that won't stop running, noisy well pump, well pumps won't start

Question: The water pump keeps running and won't shut off, what do I do now?

I lose pressure seconds after turning the well water pump off. When the water pump is running it only gets to 25 to 30 psi and stay srunning all the time. The pump never satisfies pressure switch so I turn the pump off to avoid damaging it. Any idea of what I can do? - Arthur

I live in a mobile home with a point well system (2"). Today the pump kept running while I was sprinkling the garden. It did shut off when I turned the water off. Usually it cycles on & off while the water is running. Any suggestions? - Sharon 9/1/12


Arthur and Sharon:

When a well pump keeps on running - just won't stop on its own, you will want to follow the well pump diagnostic steps at WATER PUMP WONT STOP RUNNING.

The cause of a well pump that keeps on running could be any of a number of problems that we list in the reference I gave above, but because you are also losing water pressure, it sounds as if there may be a loss of water supply in the well itself or a serious leak in the well piping.

Question: The water pump keeps running and I hear water running, I may have damaged the pressure gauge

I have a 285ft well. Sometimes the pump goes on when no water is being used in the house. Tonight, after running the outside sprinklers, the pump kept going on. When I went to check the guage, I could hear water running. All water was off in the house and outside. I turned off the valve which is between the pipe to the well and the bladder tank and the noise stopped.

What could be leaking? I opened the valve up and the running water noise slowly subsided. I also made the mistake of shutting off that valve before I turned of the pump and the pressure gauge went crazy. After turning everything back on the gauge shows the pump shutting off at 80psi and on at just below 60psi. Always went between 40-60. Did I blow the gauge? - Doug


Doug: Indeed the sequence of closing the valve between a water pump and the tank and pressure control switch that control that pump turning on and off will make the pump "go crazy" rapidly turning itself on and off - risking pump damage. If you caught it quickly and turned off the pump you're probably OK. But wild gauge pressure oscillations might have damaged the gauge. If the gauge is not behaving normally just replace it.


See INTERMITTENT CYCLING WATER PUMPS for a procedure to figure out why the well pump goes on when no water is being used in the house.

Question: Problem with loss of pump prime, water pressure drops, supply to house shut off

800 gal reservoir is full to ground level and impeller style pump is on basement floor. I installed a new foot valve in the well. Pump is three yrs. old. Pressure set between 40/50 psi
Tank bladder at 38 psi.

When pressure gauge shows 50 psi and I isolate the house with a gate valve, the pressure gauge drops below 40 psi and the pump starts but 40% of the time it doesn't deliver any water and at this point I need to open a tap near the pump before the water flows again. When I open this tap I hear air for a few seconds before water starts to run from the tap and at this point the pump will start delivering water.
Whats my trouble and your response................. thanks, Shep

(Mar 23, 2014) Clinton said:

we have a shallow (about 10') hand dug older well and have installed a newer pump similar to the old pump we replaced, installed new lines from the pump to the supply lines to the house and primed the pump by filling the pump housing and lines, however we did not fill the supply line coming from the well to the house, and the pump is working, but not drawing water from the well.

we filled the line from the pump to the supply line, but not the supply line that runs from the well to the house under the ground. My question is, does the supply line running under the ground from the well to the house need to be filled with water in order to properly prime the pump and draw water from the well? the well has water.

Reply: check for a bad foot valve, check valve, well piping leak


regarding "the pressure gauge drops below 40 psi and the pump starts but 40% of the time it doesn't deliver any water and at this point I need to open a tap near the pump before the water flows again. When I open this tap I hear air for a few seconds before water starts to run from the tap and at this point the pump will start delivering water. "

and your title, indeed it sounds as if the pump is losing prime. If you're sure the foot valve is good, I'd look for an air or water leak in the piping between the pump and the foot valve bottom.

If I understand correctly, "and I isolate the house with a gate valve" means you are closing the valve feeding the house from the pressure tank - thus making sure no water is being run in the house that might drop down the pressure you see at the pump and tank = correct procedure for this diagnosis.

See the more complete diagnostic checklist for water pressure or flow loss at WATER PRESSURE PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS TABLE.


Yeah, with a one-line jet pump you will best results if you can get it filled. The alternative is to keep priming the pump, letting it run until its sound changes (indicating it's got air inside the impeller), stopping it, then re-priming. It's for this reason that I like the "garden hose" pump prime method. Don't run the pump dry as it may be damage.

See PRIME the PUMP using a GARDEN HOSE for how I use a hose (which of course is only useful if you either have a close-by neighbor with water OR you can fill a 5gallon bucket and siphon-feed the pump prime that way.

Question: my well pump has been running more often that it should and has been louder ...

Pump has been running more often than it should & it has been louder than usual. Never lostany pressure just a little noise. Two days ago the breaker tripped. I reset the breaker and it has been fine. Again no pressure lost. This morning lost pressure and now have no water to the house at all. I checked the breaker and it was not tripped. Where do I start? - Michele S. 3/15/12

(Mar 6, 2014) Paula said:

I am moving into a house that has been vacant for several years. Prior to the house being vacated, the well was operational; however, the water pressure was not consistent. It would cycle from good pressure for 15 minutes or so to low pressure for 3-5 minutes and back to good pressure.
So now it is several years down the road. I had the electricity turned on, and when I flipped the breaker I heard a sound like the electric kicking on in the control box. After about 10 seconds it clicked off. Then back on after 10-15 seconds. Then off after 5-10 seconds. And so on. It never tripped the breaker. I did flip the breaker to keep it from cycling on and off. Just wondering where to start and what to look at/have looked at.


Michelle, several problems can cause well pump short cycling on and off too often, though the most common one is a water-logged pressure tank. See WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING for steps in diagnosing and fixing this trouble.


what are we seeing now Paula - no water or intermittent water?

If the switch is not turning on the pump that's one diagnostic route;

If the switch turns on the pump but you are not getting water that's a different one.

For those sorts of trouble see WATER PUMP DIAGNOSTIC TABLE

If you've got water, rapid clicking on and off of the pressure switch, if the pump is a submersible unit in the well, could be telling you the pressure tank is waterlogged. see the WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING link given above.

If you lose water for a time that could be a well flow problem OR a pressure switch clog problem. For that trouble see WATER PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL REPAIR

Paula's follow-up:

No water, no pressure. I don't believe the pump is coming on. I know nothing about wells (obviously) and am wondering if there is something to look for in a situation where everything has been off for several years. The pump is submersible (I am guessing because there is electrical wiring at the well cap). I don't believe there is any water in the pressure tank...the pressure guage reads 0 and the tank sounds hollow/empty when I knock on it.


No water, and pump won't start: I'd start by calling a licensed plumber who has experience with pump and pump control repairs; s/he will doubtless confirm the presence of electrical power, check the pump control switch, then check the pump wiring and possibly the pump motor. To check yourself see NO WATER PRESSURE

Question: pump won't start: my well pump doesn't run it just hums, how can I fix it?

I have a approx. 10 year old well pump that hasn't been ran in about 2 years. The motor ohms out good but just hums. Is there an easy way to break it free from not running for an extended period. And will just taking the pump out and turning the impeller by hand and then cycling power to run it back in to free it up cause any kind of water logging or vapor locking of water side? - Ken 3/18/12


Ken the motor could be frozen - it may be freed by a complete disassembly and cleaning of the pump motor. OR the problem could be a broken or jammed pump impeller. If you disconnect the impeller assembly from the pump motor you can see which part is jammed, and what to replace.

If the pump motor and impeller will both spin by hand (power disconnected so you don't get killed), then the problem could be a bad pump motor start capacitor if your pump uses one. See CAPACITORS for HARD STARTING MOTORS for details.

(Feb 3, 2014) Donna Giles said:

we have a well and the pump froze up. so we purchased a new pump we made sure that there is water in the well. we wired in the new pump put it in and it would not start . we pulled the pump checked the wiring and made sure that the pump worked. it started fine .we put in back in the well and it will not start. what could the problem be?


his question makes me a bit nervous.

IF I've got this right, when you connect the pump while it's out of the well it runs, but when it's in the well it does not.

You could have an electrical short or improper wire connections at the well or in the well - which sounds like a hazard.

Or it could be that your out-of-well test did not run the pump through the pressure control switch. If the problem is in the pressure switch or its pressure sensor that could leave the pump "off".

Is your pressure switch turning on the pump?

Question: how much electricity does my well pump use?

how can i find out how much electricity my well head and pressure tank are using? The well pump is 1/2 horsepower. The pressure tank has no label or information on it. I am in the process of installing a back-up generator and I need to know the amount of power consumed at start up by these systems. - Anon. 3/5/12

Reply: some ways to figure out how much electricity an appliance or well pump is actually using

Anon, here are several approaches to finding out just how much electricity your well pump or any other electrical appliance in your home is actually using:

  1. You can record the information on the data tag for your pump motor, noting the RLA figure. See DEFINITIONS of ELECTRICAL TERMS and understand amps, current, volts, watts, and you can calculate the theoretical electricity use.
  2. You can turn off every single electrical thing in your building except the well pump, then watch your electric meter spin. That timing or LCD readout combined with the meter specifications from your electric company can give you a good idea how much electrical power the pump is actually using when it's operating. To that you'll need to monitor how often and for how long the motor runs during an average month.
  3. You can also measure the pump's current draw using a clamp-on ammeter.
  4. You can also rent or buy electrical use metering equipment that you'd hook into the circuit.

To compare the energy efficiency of different versions of a home appliance such as an air conditioner, refrigerator, or heat pump, see SEER RATINGS & OTHER DEFINITIONS.

Question: How to preserve or mothball a submersible well pump for later use

What needs to be done to save a used submersible well pump for later use?

Reply: tips for preserving and storing submersible well pumps:

Jim assuming the pump was previously running and there's no question about the condition of its motor, the minimum is to be sure that the pump is drained of water and stored in a cool dry place.

A more extensive job could include disassembly and inspection/cleaning of the pump impeller assembly to remove any mineral deposits, debris, crud, and to be sure that it is not damaged

Question: At our cabin he well is only used a few times a year - power otherwise left off; lost water pressure

I have a question about a well problem at a cabin in the mountains. The well is only used a few times a year and the power is turned off during the periods of non use. The water has been without problems for years.

More recently the pressure seemed to surge at one point then the next time we used the cabin the water would come on, run for 4 or 5 minutes then the pressure would drop to zero. Then a few minutes later the water would be at full pressure then 4 or 5 minutes later it would drop to zero flow. I turned off the water and when I returned to the cabin again it was the same except this time after three of the above cycles the pressure dropped to zero and didn’t come back.

The next time I returned to the cabin there was no water at all. I replaced the pressure switch and there is no water flow. I noticed something odd, about every minute, the cabin lights would dim slightly for 5 to 10 seconds then return to normal. So, I measured the voltage at the pressure switch and it’s 240 volts then when the light’s dim the voltage drops to 232 volts. When I turn off the well braker the lights stop dimming. When the pressure switch was replaced water freely came up out of the fitting telling me two things, there was water in pipes of the house and the well probably still had a prime. - Well Pump Problems 6/22/12


Well Pump Problems:

Dimming lights sounds like a motor that is seizing and drawing high current. Especially if that's a new condition. Check the current draw on the well circuit and figure you've either got a wiring short or a seized pump motor.

Question: well pump noise - noisy well pump or horrible sounds coming from the water pump

The pump keeps running & making a loud noise - Ron 7/10/12


Ron, some well pumps are just noisy to begin with, depending on the motor and bearing quality (and cost) of the pump itself. But if your pump has changed in the volume or type of noise it is making here are some common sources of that sound:

  • Lost water pump prime: the water pump noise will be louder when the pump has lost prime or partially lost prime - there's air in the impeller or pump assembly. Often we hear more noise from a jet pump at the beginning of its cycle. A lost prime or partly lost prime could be due to a bad foot valve, check valve, or a leak in well piping.
    Watch out: if you keep running a well pump dry it may be damaged.
  • Damaged water pump impeller: a broken pump impeller or debris inside the impeller aseembly can make a horrible noise when the well pump runs
  • Damaged water pump bearings: worn or damaged bearings at the well pump impeller or motor can also make the pump noise increase
  • Loose pump motor mounts: the water pump may be vibrating and bouncing around on its mounts - fix this promptly to avoid a plumbing leak, electrical hazrd, etc.
  • Pump motor humming and trouble starting: if the pump motor hums but does not start, the motor may be seizing, may need replacement, or a start/run capacitor may need replacement. See CAPACITORS for HARD STARTING MOTORS
  • Also see NOISE, PLUMBING CHECKLIST where we discuss and describe a range of sources of noises in the plumbing system including from well pumps.

Question: well pump is very loud on my sprinkler system

I have a well pump that provides water for my inground sprinkling system (there is no tank). The pump is VERY loud and it seems like the pressure has been gradually decreasing over the past few years. Is there any regular maintenance I could/should do on it? - Bill 7/11/12


Bill, check for the pump noise problems I've described just above. I'd add that running a water pump with no pressure tank makes the pump work harder and may lead to shorter pump life.

Question: Summer cabin well pump won't start, can I use solar power to run my well pump?

Can I use solar power to run my well pump? I had a solar power hookup but now the pump has stopped running. Gary 7/13/12

We have a summer cabin in the mtns. Two yrs ago we had a deep well submersible pump put in our well. At this time there are no componets to the well pump. We have the wiring to the pump and that is all. When power was applied at the time the pump was put in, all worked well. The system has not been used since then. We tried to start the pump with solar power from the cabin (extension cord) the pump would not start. My question is, why wont the pump work now, when it did two yrs ago? Thanks for any info. - Gary 7/15/12

Reply: yes but ...


About using solar power to run the well pump:

First check that all of the wiring is intact, continuous, without shorts or breaks.
Then check the voltage delivered by your solar converter as well as its current capability (amps) against the pump specs. And if your well pump uses a separate start relay (separate from the pump pressure control switch at the water pressure tank) check for a bad start/run capacitor. There are also resistance tests that with power off can tell you if the pump itself has frozen up.

Question: submersible well pump will not start - it has power

My submersible pump will not start. It is getting power to it but it wont come on. I tested it before putting it in the well and it was fine but now I cant get it to come on. Power is there at the pump but it just wont come on. What is wrong with it. Its only a couple years old. - Joe 8//3/12


Joe, check the amps - current draw when your pump switch sends current to the pump; If there is no current then there is an open break in the wiring; high current sounds like a seized motor.

Similarly, with power OFF and the pump wires disconnected from the circuit above ground you can use a VOM to check for a short, open wire, in the pump circuit and motor.

Unfortunately, unless you find a wire damaged or bad switch above ground it probably means pulling the pump and wiring again. See WATER PUMP WIRING DAMAGE

Question: black oil came out of my water pump

Turned on pump before hooking to tank, looks like black oil came out, what did I do wrong? - Michael 7/29/12


Michael, I agree it sounds odd to get oil coming out of a water pump; sometimes however when we've been hooking up new plumbing fittings and equipment, the first time we turn things on we see solder paste and oxidized debris in the flush-out of the system. It's a good idea to flush out the water system after working on it. YOu may not have done anything wrong.

Question: well pump circuit breaker trips repeatedly

The circuit breaker for my well puump has tripped twice today. Well pump is 20 years old. This occurred both times when we had outside spigots open for watering flowers. - Dean 7/1/12


Watch out: for electrical shorts, fire hazards, shock hazrds - if a breaker keeps tripping, leave that circuit off until it's properly diagnosed and repaired.

Circuit breaker trips could be due to a pump motor that is seizing, or a fault in the circuit, wiring, or control switch.

Question: Shallow well pump keeps shutting off

My shallow well pump shuts off after 15 seconds. Looks like no water is getting to the tank. When the pump shuts down the water flow stops.
I disassembled the pressure switch, cleaned contacts and diaphragm and made sure the hose for the sensor was clear of debris.
Same problem.
Next I removed the tank and let the pump run for a few minutes. It didn't get overly hot and kept on pumping.
So it looks like the tank diaphragm is stuck.

My question is - Could it still be a defective pressure switch or is it definitely the tank?
Thanks - Mike 7/13/12

In reference to my (the) last comment.
I connected the tank to a garden hose from my house water supply and the tank filled up!
So it's either the pump or the pressure switch.


Mike regarding your good steps in well pump diagnosis,

"I connected the tank to a garden hose from my house water supply and the tank filled up!
So it's either the pump or the pressure switch." earlier you said "When the pump shuts down the water flow stops. " which to me indicates that the pressure tank had no charge - it could have been waterlogged and thus full, so no water would enter, but if it had zero air, it would not function to push water into the house when the pump was not running.

Check the pressure tank - and its air charge.

Question: water keeps kicking off (or turning on and off)

(Feb 25, 2014) Kathy Kerr said:

Have well water. Water keeps kicking off. New pressure switch, correct amount of pressure in tank. What's wrong? DESPERATE!

Have not taken pump out of well. Have not checked the well at all except to look down in and saw water. Have only checked pressure switch to pressure tank and made sure there is 28# of pressure in pressure tank.

(Mar 28, 2014) cherese said:

hi, I have an artesian well. my pump keeps coming on then off every 2 mins. when we checked we have no water coming into the tank. I know it's prob a problem in the well itself but what could it be?


Kathy & Cherese,, in the event that the problem may not be the pump (though as yet I wouldn't rule out a wiring problem) you may want to take a look at


Or see WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR where we begin diagnosis of a broader range of problems. The live link to that article is in the left column near the top of this page.

Cherese I'm a little confused in that an artesian well sends water to the surface without pump pressure;

Anyway, if you are no longer obtaining water from the well the problem could be in the piping

- a disconnected or leaky well pipe
- a dirt or soil clog
- a check valve failure and clog

or in the well

- dropped water level, loss of artsian flow, or a fallen or failed well spool or seal inside the well

- or something else we've not thought of

Question: the well pump runs but no water comes out, prime has not been lost

Above ground pump two line. it has water comong out of the primer plug when removed. i replace the plug and turn on the pump no water. cloged jets? - Fred 8/1/12


Fred, I agree that it sounds as if the problem is not a lost prime at the pump; but quite a few other problems can explain no water, such as

  • a damaged pump impeller - this can look the same as a pump that lacks adequate lift capacity for your well
  • a leaky or broken well pipe
  • a well that has gone dry

Fred: if the pump was working OK Previously I doubt that the root problem is "weakness" in the pump, and more likely guess that its impeller was damaged or there is a partial clog. But if the pump never worked well then your well guy's suggestion sounds quite reasonable.

Reader follow-up

Well i had a well man look at it and he got us water. He said the pump was week and a cheep one. A new good one would be over $500. No charge this time. thanks for your help. - Fred


Fred if the pump were "weak and cheap" since new, I don't understand why it used to work but now no longer does. Perhaps the pump has become damaged as I described above.

Question: we find water on the floor under our well pump

Our water pump is working fine (knock on wood) but there is some water on the floor underneath/next to the pump. Normally our basements leaks when a big rain storm hits, but it hasn't rained that much to warrant this much water on the floor. I.E.: it's not drying up like it normally does. Is this a sign that our water pump is on it's way out? If so, how much does it cost to replace a water pump that is connected to a private well? - Stephanie 8/14/12



First wipe off all of the wet components and surfaces so that you can see where water is coming from.

Next, when the pump is running, look for leaks at the pump assembly or piping fittings nearby; also look for leaks at or around the water pressure tank

If you don't see any active water leaks watch for condensation forming and dripping off of the piping, pump, or water pressure tank.

I would not replace the pump before you have an accurate diagnosis of what's going on. It would be a mistake to replace the pump only to find that the problem was a plumbing pipe connection leak.

Question: well pump runs but water pressure won't get past 30 psi

(Mar 29, 2014) Anonymous said:

my house runs from well water and bought a new pump and new lines and all that but for some reason not getting no water preasure pass 30 and it is like there is air in the line and done everything I can think of to get it out so woundering what I am doing wrong need some advice plese


When the pump runs and delivers water but can't pressuize the water tank enough to shut off the pump, and water pressure reading is low as you describe I'd look for

- a damaged pump impeller

- low voltage to the pump

- a leak in the well piping

- low water in the well

Conversely if the pressure reading on the gauge doesn't change as the pump turns on and off, or if the pump switch doesn't seem to be turning off the pump or turning on the pump when it should, I'd guess the pressure switch or its sensing tube is debris clogged and is not sensing water pressure - change the switch itself and also tube or small diameter pipe nipple on which the switch mounts. You may also need to replace the pressure gauge.


Water used to recover overnight but now the pump won't start and we have no water

5/16/14 David said:

I used to be able to just wait overnight or so and restart the pump and everything was fine. Now, IF the pump starts up (which it won't right now)the flow is abt. 1/2 of what it used to be and trickles down to nothing. This is a Sta-right 1.5 hp motor/pump. Sounds like it's an electrical problem. Any ideas from you pros?



It sounds as if your well recovery rate has been slowing for some time. If a pump is run continuously without water it's likely to be damaged. So you may be facing a double problem: low flow rate in the well and a damaged pump.

Question: irrigaion system water flow rate problem

(Feb 23, 2014) edmond said:
Low water rate on irrigation system from a shallow well


Edmond, if the problem is a low flow well, see WELL YIELD IMPROVEMENT

otherwise search InspectApdia for WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR

Question: need a water pressure booster pump?

(July 22, 2014) Stan Johnson said:

Have a well with a 3/4 hp submersible 10 gpm pump on it and a 30/50 pressure switch. The pipe(3" I believe) runs ~3500 feet with about a 50' rise.
Flow at outside hydrant is 7-8 gpm but only getting about 21 psi at the house. Putting in a booster pump and pressure tank along with a filtration system that includes an ozone injector, catalytic carbon filter and water softener. Should we first put a 40/60 pressure switch at the well?

When the water gets to the house, it will first go to a sediment filter and the the ozone injector, carbon filter and water softener. For optimum results, where should the booster pump go in that line, should it also have a 40/60 pressure switch and should the pressure tank be in line right after the booster pump?



Best results in my OPINION might be obtained by installing a booster pump and water pressure tank on the house side of all of the other water treatment equipment you describe. In that case you can still choose either pressure switch operating range depending on your building needs, height, pipe conditions.

Question: need a cheap flow test on my well


What's a way to test well flow rate by just using cheap methods like lowering a float into the well and seeing how quickly the water level drops when the pump runs?

I realize this is not the whole accurate well flow story.



I agree that an accurate well flow test is one that is performed over 24-hours, though you can certainly get an idea of what's going on with a well using a short interval test too.

To test a well flow rate without strings, floats, weights and physical measuarements, a well driller uses an adjustable-rate pump that can be used to pump water for a longer interval to determine the accurate well flow rate. Usually that's done at the time a well is first drilled but could be done later as well.

Watch out: if you just monitor the drop in well water level in the casing when the pump is running you are mostly measuring the rate at which your pump draws water out of the well, affected partly by the water flowing into the well during that interval - the recovery rate. The results are ambiguous.

Question: well not used for 7 years, low yield, should we drill a new well for our irrigation system?

(Oct 8, 2014) LauraC said:
We recently had someone test a well in a house we just purchased. Our understanding is that the well has not been used for more than 7 years. We would like to use the well for irrigation for a fairly small yard. The people who tested it said it only yields 4gpm and that is not enough to supply a pump or irrigation and that we should have a new well drilled. This doesn't fit with what I am reading on your page. Am I misunderstanding something?



If the true 24 hour flow rate of your well is 4 gpm, your irrigation system is limited to a maximum water flow rate of the same number. That's 4x60=240 gallons an hour. The adequacy of that water volume for your needs depends on the area to be irrigated, planting types, soil properties, and climate as well as the irrigation method. Delivering water directly to plant roots such as is done in Israel is orders of magnitude more efficient than rubnning a lawn sprinkler. In sum, as Mark Cramer says, ... It depends.

5 gpm is a common minimum standard for delivering drinking water to homes. That figure does NOT include using that same 5gpm source for any sort of irrigation. So unless your irrigation needs are either very modest or are highly efficient and sophisticatednMark and I would probably say yes, you misunderstood flow rates, your well is rather marginal for irrigation.

Before drilling a new well, however, look into companies offering methods to increase the yield of the present one and into alternative irrigation methods for your (unstated ) irrigation requirements.

Question: less water after installing a pumpsaver device

(Dec 1, 2014) Anonymous said:
I had a pumpsaver plus installed, now it seem I have less water.


A pump saver device, of which there are several device types using different methods, is designed to protect the pump from damage if well flow rate is poor, by preventing the pump from running ifmtherenismnomwater or by recycling water through a tailpiece as pump runs - until the well recovers.msomimwould look at the well flow rate to understand your issue with water delivery rate.

Question: well pump piping hook-up troubles

(Apr 10, 2014) ashok said:

i have 2 water lines connected to an above ground water pump which is attached to a tank. last winter i could not get water and i checked the pump and found it had a crack at the impeller housing.

I got a used pump and attached the lines to it. The pump works fine but is not pulling any water. also there is no place to pour water to prime the pump so i installed a T with a shut off nut. I did pour plenty of water in this T at times i get some pressure , maybe for a second and then nothing. I am wondering if i may have switched the pipes supply to discharge or vice versa. please advice


Ashok, you might have switched lines, or the same freezing that cracked the pump may have cracked a well line leading to leaks or loss of prime. Check out our alternative methods for how to prime the well pump by starting at


in the More Reading links above. Keep me posted.

Question: well runs out of water

(May 17, 2014) David said:

I used to be able to just wait overnight or so and restart the pump and everything was fine. Now, IF the pump starts up (which it won't right now)the flow is abt. 1/2 of what it used to be and trickles down to nothing. This is a Sta-right 1.5 hp motor/pump. Sounds like it's an electrical problem. Any ideas from you pros?



It sounds as if your well recovery rate has been slowing for some time. If a pump is run continuously without water it's likely to be damaged. So you may be facing a double problem: low flow rate in the well and a damaged pump.

Take a look at the diagnostics at

Question: flushing water noise coming fromwell pump

(May 25, 2014) Carol said:

When water is continually running such as sprinkler is on, the noise of water flushing coming out from my well water pump. Is it normal?


Not sure from just the info in your query. Perhaps the well is running out and the pump is sending up some air

Question: well pump trips the circuit breaker

(May 27, 2014) Anonymous said:

breaker trips after ten seconds

(Aug 25, 2014) ken said:

I have a dead short in the well that knocks out the breaker as soon as I pull the breaker

(Aug 27, 2014) joan said:

ive replaced my pressure switch several times and it still keeps shorting out and my water shuts off


Most likely the water Pump or its control or wiring is shorted or motor is failing and drawing high current.


Leave electrical power off on the tripping circuit and call a licensed electrician for diagnostic help and repair.

The short could be in the motor, the pump control switch, or in damaged wires anywhere between house and your well pump motor.

Joan if the pressure switch is shorting out I'd be looking for damaged or shorted electrical wiring or a shorted or seized pump motor

Watch out: you describe an unsafe condition: shut off the system until a proper diagnosis and repair can be made.

Question: lost all water pressure

(June 3, 2014) Karen Galvin said:

HELP! water just stopped. replaced control box, fuses are good. Where do I go from here? An electrician or well person? I live 25 miles East of Sterling, CO - not a lot of help out this way. I've been without water for almost a week.


Karen, this diagnostic article should get you going

Question: lost water pressure after a power outage

(June 5, 2014) Dan said:

Had a power outage, then ran out of water. Power came back on and full water pressure. 2 showers and a load of wash later, water stopped. Breakers not tripped.?


Look for well pump or piping losing prime or well pump / wiring damaged by lightning.

Question: sprinkler system runs out of water; irrigation well troubles

(June 7, 2014) Chuck said:

My sprinkler system is run off a water storage tank and a pump. Two days ago I turned the system on and everything was working. I came back an hour later to change the areas recieving water. The pump was running but no water was coming out the sprinklers. Today I cleaned the intake tube, which wasn't really dirty, turned the system on and all I get is a puddle that forms around the sprinkler heads. It seems to me the pump isn't generating enough pressure. Yet it sounds like it's working prefectly. Any ideas on what to try next?

(June 12, 2014) Jay said:

Had good water pressure then turned on one of the zones for sprinkler which had leak in line which is repaired but still no water at all not sure what to do next

(Aug 26, 2014) Link said:

I have a shallow irrigation well. The pump directly feeds an array of sprinkler heads. There is no water and no noise (normally you can hear the pump). How do I go about troubleshooting? Or is this something I'll need a pro for?

Assuming pump needs replaced, what's a reasonable cost? Thanks.


Commonly sprinkler systems run into a low well flow rate problem, especially in dry weather or when the water table is lower at your well. At that point the pump impeller may be damaged and even when water returns in the well the pump can't develop pressure.

Check also for a leak in the well piping.


Diagnostics for pumps that won't start are given in the More Reading links above

Perhaps our pump diagnostic table will work better for you


Question: well pump hums, well pump won't start

(July 17, 2014) John said:

Motor only hums when plugged in.

(Aug 13, 2014) raykan said:

Pump not starting unless you spin fan by hand


John, look for a seized pump motor or bearing or impeller or a bad motor start capacitor

Raykan: your pump probably needs a start capacitor replacement

Question: well pump won't shut off - water pump keeps running

(July 5, 2014) sue j said:

We hooked a hose up to our well pump in the basement and we have great pressure but the pump will not shut down it keeps on running until we shut it down we spend more time in the basement turning it on and shutting it off just so we can get water up to the house.we have to fill buckets to use the toilet and its getting frustrating.

(July 21, 2014) ron said:

The pump is not cutting off and the is getting hot some times

(Aug 1, 2014) Lauren said:

My well pump keeps running , My electric bill is through the roof!



In the More Reading links above please see the article titled


where we suggest some diagnostic steps to find and fix the trouble you report. Keep me posted and let me know if that material is unclear


Turn off power, let the well recover for 3-6 hours, then try power on again.

Look also foe piping leaks or a switch cut out pressure set too high.


In the More Reading links just above you'll want to read the diagnostics in the article titled


Question: pump runs but no water

(June 23, 2014) Anonymous said:

pump runs but won't pump water?


Anon if a pump motor runs but no water is delivered there are several different directions of possible expanation:

no water in the well

Loss of prime in the system

damaged pump impeller or parts

well piping leak or disconnected in the well

Question: jet pump pulling from 30 feet - pump stays on too long on well, OK on city water

(June 17, 2014) walt said:

I got a jet pump pulling water from a 30 feet well.The pump stays on for a long time and is pumping to a pressure tank but never reaches the right pressure to cut off the pump. when the pump is switched to the city water it immediately reaches the required pressure and switches off, It never does this when switched to hauling water from the well.what could be wrong for the pump not to reach its pressure when pumping from the well.


Walt your description suggests that there is a problem with the well flow rate (low flow into the well) or well piping (such as a leak out).

Question: slow pressure loss until no water at all

(June 9, 2014) charles said:

my well pump slowly lost pressure until no water worked at all. the relay in my control box would do nothing but "chatter". i replaced capaciter and i have 240 volts all the way to the control box. could the coil be bad?


Sounds like a low flow rate well - provided the pump was continuing to run.

Question: delivered water into well, today it's all gone

(july 17, 2014) adam said:

Had 1700 gallons of water delivered to tank yesterday as well seemed dry, today, all 1700 gallons is gone is it a leak or could it be something else?



Unfortunately, if the 1700 gallons was pumped down into your well, and was gone the next day, and presuming no one lewft water running at a rate sufficiently to run out so much water over night, indeed that was probably a total loss - you were back-feeding an exhausted aquifer.

If you have a large cistern or water storage tank and the 1700 gallons was pumped into such a container, either there's a leak in the container or in its piping system.

Question: well pump won't pump water

(July 31, 2014) Henri Picard said:

Small well pump connected to river. Pump will not pump, so I changed the pressure switch. It still will not pump. But if I by-pass the pressure switch, the pump works perfectly, but will not stop of course.
Any idea what the problem is?



Your comment suggests that the pump and its wiring are OK, which leaves the pressure switch OR the ability of the switch to accurately sense system pressure. If you changed the switch and wired it correctly but it won't turn on the pump, and assuming you've checked for power, I suspect the switch is not sensing water pressure - e.g. if the mounting tube is clogged or the switch is not in the proper place.

Reader follow-up:

... thanks for your response. Not certain what you mean by "the switch is not in the proper place". I have changed the switch twice before and it has never been a problem. When I first replaced this last pressure switch; the pump would give me water for about 5 minutes and then the water pressure would drop to zero. If I then did not use the pump for a few hours; I could then get water but again for only 5 minutes. I checked the air pressure in the tank and it is 20 pounds.


IF the switch worked in the location previously you're OK. Some installers might mount the pressure sensor too far from the pressure tank or on piping that can be turned off by control valves - interfering with its operation.

The latter part of your comment certainly suggests a very low flow well - recovering during the time you don't use it - in fact it sounds inadequate.

I add that

Some pressure control switches include a pump protection feature that will shut down the switch if the pump is drawing air. Some such switches have a manual re-set lever.


The fact that you've changed the switch twice suggests a systemic problem: switch burnups from short-cycling or dirt/debris clogging for example.

Reader follow-up:

From Henri, the pressure switch has a small metal lever on it's side to turn the switch on and off. it makes it easier to prime the pump when I put it in the river in the spring.

From your comment; "Some pressure control switches include a pump protection feature that will shut down the switch if the pump is drawing air. Some such switches have a manual re-set lever."
When I by-pass the switch, to pump works very well. Would it still do that if there was drawing air?
Thanks for being here because I live in the country and it is a long way to a water pump company and I would not want to have to pay for a service call.

I am not a mechanical type of person, but your comments made me think. I took off the small clear plastic hose that goes to the pressure switch; I took the fittings off and noticed rust. So I cleaned it up and the pump now works.
The only problem is that the pump come on every 5 seconds. It starts with good pressure but then diminishes for 5 seconds down to almost no pressure and then starts again. If I turned up the cut-off screw would that work? My pressure tank is a very small one, probably the smallest tank available.


No Henri, you're quite right. If the pump were pumping air, that is not able to obtain water, it would misbehave regardless of the use of the pressure switch or direct-wiring to turn on the unit. If the pump provides water at good pressure when you omit the pressure control switch then we think the pump and wires to the pump are OK and we're back to the switch.

The small plastic hose that goes to the pump is how it senses water pressure. If your system is under pressure and you disconnect one end of the hose you ought to see water squirting out of the supply pipe. If you don't, either there's a valve closed or something is clogged.

Re Henri's last update - running pump but short cycling:

DO NOT try to fix that by changing the pressure switch cut-in/cut-out adjustment.

The problem is a short-cycling pump, caused by one of several possible problems (such as a waterlogged pressure tank or a piping leak) discussed in these two articles found in More Reading links above


Reader follow-up:

(Aug 3, 2014) Henri Picard said:

Mr. Friedman, thank you so much for your comments. I am not mechanically minded and had no idea what to do to remedy my pump problem. But with your comments and direction I was able to read the articles you recommended, and after having read them many times, I was able to solve the short-cycle problem

Question: pump for river water, cloggd foot valve

(July 31, 2014) Anonymous said:

The pump is pumping water from the river. Yesterday I pulled up the foot valve and brushed it to clean it. When I changed the pressure switch I had to take off that small clear plastic hose that goes to the switch and I let it run. Does it help to mention that this pump is a small one half horse power and it is over 40 years old.


Indeed the same debris that clogs a foot valve can clog the small diameter tube through which water pressure is transmitted to the pump pressure control switch.

Question: issues with my well water

(Aug 9, 2014) Danny Robertson said:

Hello. I am having some issues with my well water. The well has been there since 1973 when my wife’s parents bought the property and built their house. They have never had water problems with the well other than a pump dying or a stuck toilet running them out of water. I know that it is about 28 feet. I have a deep well submersible pump. I don't know for sure what the brand or specs are for the pump itself. We have been experiencing low water pressure or running out of water. I just replaced my pressure tank and pressure switch this past Wednesday. My wife's parents live behind us so I counted the number of fixtures that we have and that they have including outside faucets. We each had 13 for a total of 26 fixtures.

I bought an 86 gallon pressure tank from Menard's and I also bought another Square D 30/50 pressure switch to replace the same model that was already installed. The water supply pipe coming into my house is 3/4 inch. I reduced the pressure tank from its 1 1/4 inch outlet down to 1 inch for the T connections. I increased the size from 3/4 inch at the valve of the incoming pipe to 1 inch to go to the T and then reduced from 1 inch back to 3/4 inch to my house supply. I have a water softener and a whole house water filter installed.

The water was fine once I got the new pressure tank and pressure switch installed and all of the pipe connections completed. There is a valve next to the pump that we can turn the water off to my in-laws house. Our well serviceman put it in late this spring / early this summer so we could troubleshoot water problems by turning the water off to my in-laws house. That valve was off because my in-laws were on vacation. My wife showered Thursday morning and so did I with no problems. She told me that her parents were back home and asked me to turn their water back on. I did and my father-in-law called me a little later and said that they did not have any water and asked me if I had put a check valve in. I said yes I did and it dawned on me before he told me that we can’t have the check valve there because it will not allow the lines to be pressurized before the check valve.

Last night I removed the check valve and checked their water and it was fine. My son was taking a shower last night and banged on the wall to ask me to fix the water because it had just shut off. I turned the pump off and saw that the pressure gauge was at 0 psi. I called the in-laws and asked if they were using water. They had started a load of laundry and then turned it off because of low or no water. My wife went downstairs and turned the pump back on and the water came back up a little bit – enough for my son to quickly finish his shower. I turned the in-laws water off at the valve by the pump for the night. This morning my wife showered with no problems and then I showered. I had good water pressure for most of my shower and then I heard like air bubbles in the line, the water pressure lessened, and then no water what so ever. Very frustrating!

I can rule out the pressure tank and pressure switch since they are new. I figure that it is either a leaking pipe in the ground, a pump that is bad or going bad, or our well is running out of water. I think that if the well was running out of water I wouldn’t just all of a sudden run out of water in the shower. The water pressure would just diminish to a trickle instead of stopping suddenly. I also think that if there was a leaking pipe there would be a spot of ground that was saturated. My power supply is two 15 amp screw in fuses with a lever to turn the electricity on and off.

There is also a metal box on the exterior wall that has the electrical wires going from it to the pump and from it to the pressure switch. I don’t know what this box is for. Can someone tell me?
Does anybody have any suggestions on how to troubleshoot this?
Thank you so much for any suggestions and your time.


Danny I am a bit overwhelmed by the message length and lost my way through it.

But if the bottom line question is what's that second box, your pump may be a submersible unit - in the well. Higher horsepower submersibles are often operated by a separate heavy duty relay that is itself switched by the pump pressure control switch.

In the More Reading article links just above

click on


Question: well pump wiring confusion

(Aug 10, 2014) dana said:

I'm getting 120 power on both wires to the well and from the house, I then went out and bought a well pump figuring that was the problem and it still does not work. What may the problem be?


If there is proper electrical voltage and a pump doesn't run when temporarily wired directly I suspect either a damaged pump or mis-wiring. If the pump is not wired directly but is being controlled through the pressure switch then the switch may not be turning on the pump.

Question: ran the well dry, now no water, what's wrong? new well runs out of water

(Aug 12, 2014) Barbara said:

I pumped my well dry by leaving a faucet on. I have primed it, turned the breaker back on and nothing happens? Any suggestions?

(Aug 14, 2014) Anonymous said:

We'll is new insuffient water flow. Only pumps between ten and fifteen min. Then water stops

(Aug 17, 2014) Patricia said:

We ve just drilled for a new well and got water at 140 feet. We have been running the pump for 1 hr each day for the past
2 days to get clear water. This morning nothing happened when water was switched on. What could the problem be?


I suspect that either your pump was damaged by running dry or a safety switch in the system requires manual re-set.


A "new" water well that runs out of water is marginal - has an inadequate flow rate. Ask your well driller for a consult about increasing well yield, drilling further, installing storage tanks or further diagnosis.

in more reading above see WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR

Particia, look for

  • Debris-clogged pump or controls
  • Drop in the water table
  • Exhausted the well flow rate
  • A leak in well piping between well and house

Start by making sure the pump actually runs. Then check for debris or damaged pump impeller.

Question: well is running out of water

(Aug 12, 2014) Jeb Bassett said:

Our well seems to be running out of water. Sonar said the water was 186 ft down. We ran the hose, and it stopped shortly at 201 ft which is where I was told the pump was. So, in 15 feet, we ran out, and it recovered at less than 1GPM.
Now the interesting part. The well cap says the hole is 300 ft deep. That means the pump is sitting 100 feet above the bottom. The speculation is that the contractor was cutting costs when he put is so high up.

Regardless, my question is, if I lowered the pump another 95 feet, will I get a higher recovery rate because I now have 95 feet more surface area in the well column for the water to wick into or have I just increased my reservoir, with no effect on the recovery rate? Personally, I thought if I create more of a void in the well, more water will have a chance to enter and fill it.


Lowering the pump down into the aquifer can indeed give more water volume (95 ft. x about 1.5 gallons per foot) but if the well flow rate is poor or nil that's a band-aid repair since as you suggest that doesn't impact the recovery rate.

You might want to review our articles about increasing well yield

Reader follow-up:

(Aug 13, 2014) Jeb Bassett said:

Thanks ... . If I understand you right, the water that is available below the pump or in the adjoining rock fissures will not cause my well column to fill up above its current level. Is that because the water only will not rise above the water table? Is the water table defined as the first level in a well where water begins to wick into the drilled hole?



you need to measure the actual bore depth, and it'd be smart to ask the contractor why the well is 100 feet up from teh well bottom - if that's the case.

Question: water tank not leaking but we have no water

(Aug 12, 2014) Anonymous said:

Tank will hold air but not pull water from below


The problem will thus more likely be in the well, pump, or piping. Start by determining if the pump is running at all.

Question: well water suddently got muddy and we lost water pressure

(Aug 18, 2014) dave said:

All of a sudden our well water became muddy for house water and irrigation. Plus, water pressure in kitchen became low at the same time.



Could be the well water level and flow rate have dropped - irrigation will surely stress a marginal flow rate well.

Could also be a leak or hole in the well casing

Or a leak in the well piping anywhere between house and bottom of the well

Or nearby drilling or blasting may have affected your aquifer and the rock fissures around your well

Question: pump not working after lightning strike

9/3/14 Anonymous said:

pressure switch is in gauged but pump dose not run. when i take a screw driver and pry it apart the light in the well house goes off, the as i release or let the points come back together the light comes back on. we had a lightening strike last night and i am sure that has something to do with the action. I wonder if it got the pump motor?


You want an electrician to check the wiring and pump motor - some of that can be done without pulling the pump. Meanwhile leave the system off.

Question: pump starts and stops at random times

9/6/14 Anonymous said:

My water stops in shower at sink or hose at random times and starts back after a min or 2. This has been going on for more then a year. The water may stop 2 times a day or twice a week just random


Please see the diagnosis procedure at WATER PUMP INTERMITTENT CYCLING

Question: pump switch not responding properly to change in water pressure

9/7/14 Mick said:

I've just relocated our household water pump (Davey XJ50). It is drawing water and delivering to the house and pressure is rising to about 35psi before cutting off, (normal, i believe). The pressure then drops back down to about 15psi without any taps on and the pump kicks in again at that point. It rises back up to 35, cuts off and drops to 15psi. I thought it might be air in the system, so i've turned on all taps until they ran smoothly, (no spurting), but issue continued. This cycle continues so pump is nearly running continuously. I have turned it off to diagnose. Any ideas?


Mick, look for a bad foot valve or a leak between pump and well pipe end.

Question: the home inspector burned up our well pump motor

9/9/2014 Patti Haines said:

We recently had our well inspected as part of a house sale. The company, which we were reluctant to used, ran the well at 15 gallons per minute in an attempt to run it dry. We objected saying, first of all, we're in a drought, and secondly, the well is used only for outside irrigation of our garden. They continued and, you guessed it, the pump burned up. Is this a normal way to check a well?


Well geez. What idiots. I figure if a pump was left running dry whoever did that owes you for a new well pump.

It is reasonable for a home inspector to operate equipment, including a well pump, and even reasonable to "waste" a significant volume of water in the course of determining whether or not the septic system is working. And in some cases one might run a pump and measure water volume to determine the true well flow rate though that's not usually something done by a home inspector as such as test, properly executed would run for 24 hours.

In my OPINION the inspector ought to have paid attention and if water flow stopped, s/he ought to have promptly shut off the pump. If that was done then that test would not cause a ruined well pump.

Keep in mind that as your well ran out of water, it's quite possible, even likely depending on how much water was run before it ran out (you should give me that data), that the pump has run dry previously - as is common on a well with a poor flow rate. If no pump protection switch or tailpiece in the well was installed, the equipment was not protected from damage. In that circumstance, a pump might have been nearly ruined to start with and one more aggressive test could have pushed it over the edge, disclosing an existing problem.

In sum, a lot depends on exactly what the inspector did. I would agree that if someone left a pump running dry for more than a minute or so there is good risk that it would be damaged.

Question: home inspector tried to run the well dry - what's the proper well test procedure?

(Sept 8, 2014) Patti Haines said:

We recently had our well inspected as part of a house sale. The company, which we were reluctant to used, ran the well at 15 gallons per minute in an attempt to run it dry. We objected saying, first of all, we're in a drought, and secondly, the well is used only for outside irrigation of our garden. They continued and, you guessed it, the pump burned up. Is this a normal way to check a well?


Well geez. What idiots. I figure if a pump was left running dry whoever did that owes you for a new well pump.

It is reasonable for a home inspector to operate equipment, including a well pump, and even reasonable to "waste" a significant volume of water in the course of determining whether or not the septic system is working. And in some cases one might run a pump and measure water volume to determine the true well flow rate though that's not usually something done by a home inspector as such as test, properly executed would run for 24 hours.

In my OPINION the inspector ought to have paid attention and if water flow stopped, s/he ought to have promptly shut off the pump. If that was done then that test would not cause a ruined well pump.

Keep in mind that as your well ran out of water, it's quite possible, even likely depending on how much water was run before it ran out (you should give me that data), that the pump has run dry previously - as is common on a well with a poor flow rate. If no pump protection switch or tailpiece in the well was installed, the equipment was not protected from damage. In that circumstance, a pump might have been nearly ruined to start with and one more aggressive test could have pushed it over the edge, disclosing an existing problem.

In sum, a lot depends on exactly what the inspector did. I would agree that if someone left a pump running dry for more than a minute or so there is good risk that it would be damaged.

Question: Jacuzzi 7JH pump leaks

(Sept 11, 2014) George said:

My water pump itself is leaking. It is a Jacuzzi 7JH model. I cannot really see where the leak is coming from. Any help will be truly appreciated.



Since to repair a leaky pump most likely it'll need to be removed anyway, I'd pull the pump.

But first see if you can work with a good light and mirror to look around - since spotting the actual water exit point might save you some time.

Turn off power so you don't get shocked. Don't work alone.

Now, if you couldn't see a darn thing, pull the pump and then, presuming it's been leaking for a time, most likely a careful visual inspection will show mineral deposits or stains where the leak was occurring.


(Sept 14, 2014) janet c said:

new parts, new pipe line,new toilet thingy, tore aprt storage tank,..the bottom fixture still is leaking,right help?

(Sept 15, 2014) Anonymous said:

wires possible crossed. Not getting full currency to pump

(Sept 18, 2014) Malou said:

Water pump won't start. We seldom use it like once a month. We have it repaired. According to them it dried up. They filled something with water and it's again working. Can you tell me which part of the well pump system did they fill with water? Thanks.

(Sept 23, 2014) joe said:

my well pump stops runing. still has power according to electrician. switch put in on position and still not runing.



In the More Reading links above you want to read the article titled



Provided that the pump and controls do have electrical power, and the pump won't turn on, I'd look at the diagnostic suggestions starting at

Question: liquid in the switch box

(Sept 26, 2014) Bob Babinski said:

My relay switch box is full of a strange liquid. Dangerous?


Bob I don't know what control you are describing.

Watch out: for electrocution hazards if electrical components are wet or in water

Question: pump or control noises

(Sept 30, 2014) their is a loud bang noise under my house when my pump kicks off said:

their is a loud bang noise under my house when my pump kicks off sometimes when a have not used the water

(Oct 1, 2014) Anonymous said:

Has humming noise in pump part

(Oct 1, 2014) Donnie Bouknight said:

humming in pump and water spurts in side house


See the diagnosis & repair advice at WATER PRESSURE SWITCH NOISES - what causes humming or clicking noises at a building water pressure control switch: diagnosis, warnings, advice


(Oct 4, 2014) Chuck said:

2" well - about 168' - worked well - plenty of water for 23 years - up to May of this year. The well now comes on with great pressure but quickly drops from 50 to 30 and then gradual decline to about 5. When turned off about 3 minutes back up to pressure. We've been told there appears nothing wrong with the pump or bladder.

When cleaned with a wire - ran fairly well till put on the higher sprinklers - now back to the above on the lesser sprinklers. Well is in a location - which is somewhat difficult to get to - due to fruit trees, etc. We've had plenty of rain so we've not used the pump very much since early May - problem started about a month ago when we turned it on to let it run for a bit.

(Oct 4, 2014) Gary said:

Bladder type pressure tank gains pressure to about 70 lbs within a few days of adjusting it to 2 lbs below cut in = 38lbs using a 40 - 60 switch - why does it gain and need readjusting ? the pressure in the home is then constantly going up and down during use



Look for a water leak *into* the boiler system, such as from a leaky tankless coil or a bad water feed valve.

Question: no water pressure

(Oct 11, 2014) char said:

hardly any pressure of water in our showers etc. we have well water with a pressure tank.

(Nov 22, 2014) sherri said:

I woke up this morning to no water, i have a sump pump, what could be wrong.

(Nov 29, 2014) Anonymous said:

no water to house

12/17/14 Tim Wright said:

I had good water pressure and all of sudden. I had very little pressure

The pump is in about 80 feet of water.But the pump is about 20 years old too




(Oct 15, 2014) Bonobos Marcos said:

I was having issues with low pressure on all of my water devices. After much struggling and attempting to do it myself I learned that for these big jobs on the home I needed to hire a professional. One thing I recommend when looking for a company is to check all their online reviews and make sure they are insured for the job they are performing.

(Oct 22, 2014) Ron said:

I have a 30 foot shallow well with a 3/4 hp jet pump.It is about 2years old.Recently the water coming out of the faucets looks aerated , lots of tiny bubbles.The pump still holds prime.There must be a air leak.

(Oct 31, 2014) Marilynn said:

we have a shallow pump that was running fine. replaced the pump and holding tank. now, when we run water into the house, the water will run for a couple minutes, slowly loses pressure and then we lose water. sometimes if we keep turning the water on and off, eventually it will continue to run. but then after not using the water, the same problem above happens again



Is it possible that the new pump operates at a faster rate and is exhausting the water in the well?

Question: pump shuts on and off

(Nov 3, 2014) Anonymous said:

pump runs for 5 min then stops for about 5 min

(Nov 20, 2014) Anonymous said:

my pump keep shuting off all the time can only get like 2 min of water at a time pump will kick on and then right back off

(Nov 21, 2014) Anonymous said:

pressure comes and goes not steady.


Without more details we don't know that the behaviour you describe is abnormal

I would start with the diagnostics at WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING found at More Reading just above.

Question: pump does not stop reliably

(Nov 23, 2014) Anonymous said:

My well will start and pump fine but as soon as I shut the water off it no longer pumps. The pump runs and has not lost prime but no water. If I then simply gibe the pipe feeding into the well a little bump the water starts flowing again?


Sounds like a totally water logged pressure tank or possibly a debris clogged pressure switch, or both.

Question: pressure falls then stops

(Nov 27, 2014) Shawn said:

my water pressure decreases then water flow stops completely, my well is 260 feel deep and we have had plenty of rain. I have a whole house water filter and treatment system, I turned the water off at the filter and replaced the filter when I turned the water back on the filter housing did not fill. left for about an hour and half came back had water. I know it is some where is the area from the pump to the water filter housing which would include the pressure tank. I hope it is not my well. the pump is about 20 years old. any ideas


Shawn this sounds as if the pressure switch is not coming on when it should. When the pressure is quite low or stopped, try rapping on the switch - if it turns on the pump you may then need the switch replaced.


(Nov 28, 2014) Anonymous said:

yesterday, i forget to switch off the motor pump which pumps water to 2nd floor tank was filled with little water, the motor pump was for 30 min running without water. Now when the tank is filled with water it is not pumping the water upward why ? can you solve the problem


Anon if the water pump ran dry for 30 minutes the impeller assembly may have been damaged.

That scenario may also hae temporarily exhausted water in the well.

Question: sudden loss of water pressure: how to fix it

(Dec 17, 2014) Tim Wright said:
I had good water pressure and all of sudden. I had very little pressure

The pump is in about 80 feet of water.But the pump is about 20 years old too



in the More Reading links above you will find help at either of these two diagnostic articles



Question: well piping freezes from cold air at vent

(Dec 30, 2014) L. Dodge said:

My well is 300 feet deep. Pump is at 280 feet. The well breathes as the barometer changes. When the weather gets down about zero cold air is pulled in to the well casing causing the line and pressure switch to freeze. How can I repair this problem without using a lightbulb to thaw it in the well casing?



Normally the well water supply piping is protected from freezing by locating it sufficiently deep that it is below the frost line. I would start not by assuming that the problem is cold air entering the well vent but rather an exposure of well piping to freezing conditions by inadequate depth.

(Dec 30, 2014) L Dodge said:
The well casing is 2 feet above the ground. the hose and switch are 8 feet down in the casing suspended by the control switch wire. It should not be freezing, but it does. What do you think?

(Dec 30, 2014) DanJoeFriedman (mod) said:
I agree that if 8 feet is well below the frost line in your area the piping should not be freezing. (IMO It's a bit odd putting the pressure switch in the well though we've come across it before. )

Is it possible that the pump is short cycling, drawing freezing air frequently into the well casing?

Question: water pressure goes away for an hour or so when we do laundry

(Dec 30, 2014) heidi said:
we bought this house last December. we didn't know of any well problems but once we moved in if we do more then 3 loads of wash or run the dish washer we do not have any water coming out of our faucets?

So not sure where to start to fix the problem. and don't want to get hit with a huge bill to fix it. if you have any suggestions I am willing to try anything at this point. for a year we have been just dealing with it but its getting old!! it also takes hour or 2 before we get water back


(Dec 31, 2014) DanJoeFriedman (mod) said:
Heidi in the More Reading links above see the suggestions at WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSUPIS & REPAIR.

Most likely your well is running out of water.


Question: trouble setting the cut out and cut in nuts on the pump control

8 Jan 2015 Jeff said:

My pressure tank brand is unknown. No label etc. It does have a sticker that says it was pre-charged to 28 PSI so I assume it is intended to be used with a 30-50 psi pressure switch. The pressure switch is a D-Square Pumptrol 9013 FSG 9 SER B that based on the label on the inside of the cover was factory set at 40-60. I have no idea what sort of pump is in the well. The system was installed by the builder 16+ years ago. No manuals or docs were provided so I cannot be certain that everything was left at factory defaults.

Recently I have noticed that the pump seemed to be cycling more frequently, around 1 a minute during showers. I have spent a few hours looking into this and learning about pressure tanks and switches. I tried adjusting the pressure switch based on some information I found on this site and others. While doing this I discovered that no mater how I adjust the switch I cannot get the pressure to "remain" at anything more than 44 psi. What I am seeing is:

1. I turn on a faucet.
2. When the pressure reaches 30 psi (after I made adjustments) pump cuts in as expected.
3. The pressure increases to approx. 45 (as per the pressure gauge) then the needle quickly shots up to around 60-70
4. The switch shuts off.
5. Pressure fairly quickly (within a few seconds) drops down to 44 psi
6. At 44 psi it slows dramatically then continues to decrease at a normal (depending on how many faucets I have open etc) rate until it once again gets down to 30 and the cycle repeats.

No mater how much I adjust the cut-off and cut-in this pattern of spiking up when the pressure hits 44psi then settling back down to 44 and behaving normally. I can adjust the settings so that it short cycles every second or so and I can lower the cut-in to very low levels but no matter what I do it always settles back down to 44 psi one the pump cuts out.
It almost seems like there is a blow off valve or something like this that quickly purges air when it gets above 44 psi. There are no leaks that I can find.


Curious, Jeff. I agree.

Try first making an independent pressure measurement by adding a pressure gauge on the system - see


for some easy methods.

Question: pump for 3 minuts then I have to turn off the circuit breaker

9 Jan 2015 Anonymous said:
I have a water pump that pumps water for 3 mins then I have 2 shut breaker off for 5 mins then fine again



Do you think the problem is an overheating circuit or pump that is tripping the breaker or a problem that the pump is exhausting water in the well?

I can't from this alone klnow whether the well is running out of water or the pump is overheating but as a 5 minute recovery period is enough to get the water on again I suspect an over-heating pump motor. Measuring current draw on the pump circuit might diagnose this trouble.


Question: pump won't stop

(Jan 10, 2015) Julie said:
Well water pump won't cut off


Julie to diagnose and fix the pump-runs-on problem, under the WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE links at More Reading above, see the article titled


Question: pump runs but no pressure

(Jan 10, 2015) Anonymous said:
pump runs but no pressure no water



You want to review the pump-won't-stop- diagnosis at


bryanflake said:
I am a home repair rookie and need all the help I can get. My pump system went haywire and then stopped altogether. I am hoping to find someone who knows a thing or two about pump systems. This situation is so bad for me that I don't really understand what is wrong.



Give your plumbing company a call and ask for a technician or plumber who has experience with private pump and well systems.

To be familiar with common reasons why a water pump won't run,


Question: water returns after turning pump power off for an hour

(Mar 10, 2015) Anonymous said:
my well water supply will have no water. after turning off the electric supply for an hour or so the water supply returns to normal. Also the motor seems to run for a long period before it turns off.


Sounds as if your well is running dry.

Question: well pump runs but water pressure won't build up

(Apr 8, 2015) Anonymous said:
pump is running but not building pressure

(Apr 12, 2015) eric said:
Pump runs constantly, but system not coming up to pressure. sometimes goes above 30 psi, but takes forever to get there. disassembled pump and impeller looks good. Line to pressure switch clogged, replaced. Tank pressurized to 30 psi (was 0 psi). All this and no change. It is a Goulds J5 jet pump with a pusher line for deep well. Closing pump discharge valve does nothing. Could pusher line have a crack in it? Confused! System maintains pressure with pump discharge valve closed. No visible leaks.


I apologize for overwhelming readers with choices of where to look:

for a pump that won't shut off, in More Reading above see



Take a look at WATER PRESSURE PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS TABLE in the More Reading article links above

Could be no water in the well, a well piping leak, or a damaged pump impeller

Question: loss of water pressure traced to broken pump wire inside the well

(Apr 8, 2015) eileen driscoll said:
a month ago my water stopped. company came out and said it was a broken wire in well. worked for couple weeks then the circuit breaker for wellpump would blow every now and then. noidea why. now once again i have no water. Any ideas?



An experienced well installer or electrician can measure the current draw on the circuit - a step that can indicate a failing well pump, and can also check for a short in the wiring. That's where I'd start.

Question: there is no electrical power to our pump, what's wrong?

(Apr 11, 2015) barbara said:
we have no electrity to our pump what could be wrong and how to fix



Start at the pump switch: assure that power is on; check the main panel for a tripped breaker or fuse; if power is on and no fuse is tripped then check the pump pressure switch itself: some pump pressure control switches include a pump protection circuit that shut the pump off if it is running too long or seems to be running dry (which can ruin the pump motor).

Some of those switches need to be manually re-set. If your switch has a metal lever on one side that may be the control: check the instructions for your particular pump switch or tell us the brand and model.

If that doesn't get the pump going, I'd suggest calling an electrician as I'm a bit worried about shock hazards if you start taking things apart or messing with wiring. The problem could be a broken wire, bad pump switch, or a seized pump motor.

Question: how do I find the well?

(Apr 13, 2015) carlos trujillo said:
Can someone can tell me how i can find the well ,i did buy this house in 2005 never ask to the previus owner , and i hava no idea how to find the well pump ..thank you





For advice on how to find the well

Question: we have water pressure but the pressure tank doesn't fill up

(Apr 24, 2015) Anonymous said:
Well tank does not fill with water. Can get water out of spigot and pressure on tank gauge reads 60 psi


See WATER TANK BLADDERS & CAPTIVE AIR where the diagnostic routines include discussion of a water tank internal bladder that has collapsed and stuck to itself, preventing water from entering the tank. Other clogs at the tank entry can also cause that problem.

Question: difficulty priming the well pump used for irrigation

(Apr 25, 2015) Mike said:
Have a well that is 100 ft. deep. I use it for outside watering. Tried priming with city water and nothing. Took off the pressure gauge by pump and funneled 10 pitchers of water down and only heard gurgeling. Put pressure gauge back on and nothing. What needs to be looked at?


If you are trying to prime a 2-line jet pump at which there is no check valve right at the pump, and if in the well at the bottom of well piping the foot valve has failed, you may find priming the pump is impossible - pouring water into the piping and pump just sends that water down into the well. Ask your well service company for help: I suspect you'll find a failed foot valve or a leak in well piping.

Question: recurrent basement flooding from broken water pump

(Apr 30, 2015) Anonymous said:
My water pump at home keeps leaking and flooding my basement. What do I do?


Anon it sounds as if you need a more experienced plumber to properly diagnose the causes of leaks at the well pump and thus basement floods. I can't guess from your question alone where the problem may lie, for example at bad piping connections or in the pump assembly itself. You need to first see where the leaks are occurring.

Question: water pressure has recently become so high that we are getting leaks.

(May 2, 2015) Anonymous said:
Have lived in house over twenty years always had OK pressure, but recently or pressure is so strong it is breaking some of our older piping. Is something wrong with pump or well don't hear it running or pressure tank



Watch out: I agree that some diagnosis is needed: urgently. If the system is pumping to abnormally high water pressure that is an unsafe condition: a burst pipe or water tank could injure a bystander. It sounds as if the pump pressure controls switch is not working properly. The pressure control switch pressure sensing port or mounting tube may be debris clogged or the switch pressure sensor could be broken - in that case the damaged parts or the entire switch simply need replacement.

Question: why does my lake water pump no longer deliver water?

(May 13, 2015) Brenda said:
What would be the problem when the pump is not pulling water from the lake and there isn't any pressure?


Electrical power to the pump is off
Failed pump motor
failed pump control
pump disconnected
pump intake screen clogged
piping leaky or disconnected enroute

See WATER PRESSURE PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS TABLE for a complete catalog of possible explanations

Question: water pressure is slow to build and sometimes drops to zero

(May 18, 2015) Ivan Cloutier said:
We had a broken pipe.It's now repaired but seems the pressure is slow building up & sometimes drops
to zero.Then I start it up again & then we get sand in the lines.I have to flush all the lines.
Any Idea what it could be


If you are using a water pump and well system I'd be looking for a problem with the pump or pump controls or well piping. But from your brief description I suspect a leak in well piping.

At INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: you 'll find a complete index to diagnostic articles for weak or lost water pressure.

Water Pressure & Water Pump Article Series Contents


Continue reading at WATER PRESSURE PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS TABLE for table listing causes & cures for well pump or water pressure problems, or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.


Suggested citation for this web page

WATER PUMP DIAGNOSTIC FAQs at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

More Reading

Green link shows where you are in this article series.


OR use the Search Box found below at Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Click to Show or Hide FAQs

Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia

Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.

Search the InspectApedia website

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...

Technical Reviewers & References

Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman

Click to Show or Hide Citations & References