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Photograph of a 1-line jet pump (shallow well) and water softener Water Pump Runs on and on
Diagnostic FAQs #3

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FAQs for a water pump won't stop running:

Questions & answers help diagnose & fix a water pump that doesn't shut off: this article series explains how to diagnose & repair a bore hole or well water water pump that keeps on running and won't shut off.



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Why does my water pump keep running on and on?

Photo of a water pressure gauge showing pressure below pump cut-inIf you hate reading FAQs, even though your question may be answered here, please see the lead article on this topic at WATER PUMP WONT STOP RUNNING where we explain what to do if the well or water pump won't stop running.

Question: pump works once then when it starts again it won't shut off until i drain primer tank of air and water

(Aug 17, 2014) dave said:

i have a shallow well pump. it works once then when it starts again it won't shut off until i drain primer tank of air and water then it pumps normal. i switched air control, same problem it will pump fine until it sits for 1/2 hour or so. it worked fine last year in my cabin.

Reply:

Dave

Some guesses:

The well flow rate is limited - so that half hour shut-off allows the well to recover water. Watch out this can damage the pump impeller or bearings.

The pressure switch is defective

Debris clogs the pressure switch sensing port or the tube on which the switch mounts - conducting water pressure to the switch

There is a water leak or water running somewhere

Question: cistern sometimes overflows

(Aug 21, 2014) Doug said:
My 500' well produces 1gpm, pumped into a 300 gallon plastic cistern in the house. Within the first year, the cistern overflowed once, then went back to normal service (the pump switching off when water neared the top of the cistern). 8 years later it did it again, once. The switch seems to be working ok again, but we've manually cut power most of the day, load up in the morning and evening, and watch that the switch-off is back to normal. What's going on?

Reply: comments on the Pump Tec protection device

A 1 gpm flow rate well is rather marginal and surely subject to loss of water flow - that could be the problem. A delay in pumping may allow the well to recover. I'd add a pump protection switch.

Reader follow-up:

(Aug 25, 2014) Doug said:
We have Pumptec pump protection system for Franklin submersible pump. I might not have been clear in my prior email. The cistern overflowed, flooded the room. The problem was not in a low-flow well, it was in the pump's failing to turn off.

I thought it was either a malfunction in the Pumptec or the failure of some switch mechanism that stops the pump when the cistern's nearly full. The pump always goes off when the water reaches a certain height in the cistern...except for those two times, 8 years apart, when the room flooded.

Reply:

Thanks for the clarification, Doug, now I'm more worried.

According to PumpTec

"our pump protection unit uses a microcomputer to continuously monitor power and line voltage to provide
protection against dry well conditions, waterlogged tank, high or low line voltage, and mud or sand clogging. "

In other words the control is designed to protect the pump from running dry or excessive cycling on and off - nothing in that addresses having *too much* water.

I take it you're pumping the cistern at high water level because the cistern is not located where it can have a simple gravity-operated high-water or overflow drain?

Mevertheless, if the pump is having some problem that trips the protector, that would indeed shut down the pump.

Question: new pump won't turn off

(Oct 18, 2014) Anonymous said:

My well pump had a leaking valve. The pump would run every half an hour with no leaks in the house. I called a well man, he told me I needed a pump, he pulled the old one and showed me there was no water in the line, which he said meant the water was draining back into the tank when the pump stopped. He then installed a new pump, blew air into the well.

When he started the pump it wouldn't shut off, he manually shut of the pressure switch. He said then it on in the morning and everything will be fine, of coarse he got his $1400. I did that and it was fine all day as he said., that evening I was using the water , the pump started running and wouldn't shut off. I called and he said I need a new well ?

I done get it, never a problem until he put the new pump in. Any thoughts on this are really appreciated !

Reply:

When a new pump is installed and won't turn off

TURN IT OFF to avoid damaging the pump; then let the installer start some diagnostics such as

- a well piping leak

- water running somewhere

- improper control settings or wiring

- no water in the well

Question: pump runs a long time and frequently at pressure higher than the control switch wants

(Oct 27, 2014) Mike said:


My shallow well pump runs often and for a long time. Shuts off when gauge reads 70 psi. I have never adjusted the factory pressure setting of 30 - 50 psi.

Pump is a Wayne SWS50. Could my pressurizer tank be the cause?

(Jan 4, 2015) Dave said:
Why won't my F&W well water pump build more then 27 psi so it will shut off?

Reply:

Dave,

Most likely the reason your pump won't shut off is one of those listed in WATER PUMP WONT STOP RUNNING. Please take another look at the article's diagnostic list and let me know if anything you read there is unclear or seems incomplete. In that event I'll be glad to work further on the material and to asssist you. - ed.

Question: ZDS pump in my bore hole with no pressure tank: pump won't turn off when we turn off water

1 Feb 2015 Anonymous said:
I've got a ZDS pump in my bore hole and it requires no pressure vessel. We have had the filter and back wash system moved. Since the move the pump will not switch off when we turn the water off. If I turn the incoming stop tap off then the pump stop. If I turn the stop tap off to the backwash tank it carries on. The pipe work has been fitted with an inverted " U". Could it be air any ideas I think it may be air trapping in the "U"?

Reply:

I suspect the pump's pressure and flow sensing control is debris clogged or has failed.

ZDS Innovation sells pumps throughout much of U.K. Europe, and some of Scandanavia. You might want to contact the company - nearest office to you or through their contact information I can give just below:

ZCS Innovation pumps:
ZDS srl - Via Grecia 8 - 35127 Padova Z.I. - Italy - Company Registration Number: PD – 402204 - Tel: +390497994854 - Email: info@zdsgroup.com
Wegsite: http://www.zdsgroup.com/

Question: jet pump loses prime when the pump runs

(Feb 8, 2015) Les said:

My jet pump primes and shuts off,holds pressure till water is ran, when pump turns on and loses prime. There is stll pressure at the priming plug when opened. Where do i check for leaks?

Reply:

Les:

If the system is holding power until water is run that argues against a leak in the well piping or a bad foot valve.

But losing prime when the pump runs suggests air is entering the system somewhere or water is leaking out. I'm confused by these contraditions.

Are you saying that when the pump runs no water is delivered ?

General suggestion: if an above-ground pump is losing prime when the pump runs, look for a crack or leak in the pump housing itself, or look for an intermittent-failing check valve between the pump intake and the well foot valve.

Question: water pump and piping frozen, now can't prime the pump

(Feb 14, 2015) pat said:

Have a deep well jet pump. froze and broke a line in house. repaired line, and now I cannot get pump to build prime. motor runs and I can get water to gurgle out prime but cannot get it to build pressure

21 Feb 2015 Jedff said:

Can below freezing weather affect a well pump to keep running but pumping no water. Will hot water pored on the exposed pipes inside the well building help to unfreeze the pipes?

Reply:

Pat:

A couple of possibilities, all of them aggravating:

- if the pump ran for a long time dry - no water coming through it because the lines were frozen - you could have damaged the impeller assembly.

- if that is not the case then the previously-working system could have been masking a bad foot valve.

Start with the suggestions
at WATER PUMP PRIMING PROCEDURE

Jed

A frozen pipe between pump or well and house can cause the pump to run on.

Watch out: Turn the water pump off immediately to reduce chances of ruining the pump.

Yes if your heating effort happens to warm a pipe that's frozen that might bail you out. If that works, ads heat and fix cold air drafts in that location.

Question: devices to shut off a pump when it runs too long?

22 Feb 2015 Steve said:

Are there any devices that measure well pump run time and shut off when time is exceeded? Preferably with a manual reset to allow pump to run again?

Reply:

Steve, there is a variety of methods for well pump protection.

Reader Kudos: U.S.A., Portugal, Spain, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, U.K. readers welcomed

(Nov 18, 2012) Ruairi Dunne said:

Every now and then you find a gem of a website and this is one. I work in maintenance and have recently encountered pump problems with different specialists with different suggestions and solutions but no resolution. I'm hoping with access to my new pump bible I'll get answers and solutions. Antecipate my frequent requests for help. Cheers from Portugal

Reply:

Rialto,

Thank you for the nice comment. We work hard to provide accurate, unbiasd information. Any questions or content suggestions you may have will help us in that objective.

(Aug 10, 2012) Frank said:

Excellent website!! Great source of information, written in a clear, easy to understand manner. Was able to troubleshoot a problem myself and save lots of money by not having to call in a plumber. Thank you!!

Reply:

Frank, thanks so much for the nice comment. We work hard to provide clear and accurate information, without any bias. It's really gratifying to hear that our info was helpful. We also welcome questions from readers as that helps us figure out where more research and information are needed.

Thanks again, Daniel (editor)

Question: My water pump won't stop running.

Mar 10, 2015) Dan said:
My water pump won't stop running. The pressure switch cut in/cut out is 30/50. Pump and pressure bladder tank were installed about 1 1/2 years ago and worked fine. A couple of months ago, I noticed the pump wasn't shutting off. I replaced the pressure switch and it worked for a while.

Then issue started again with pump continuing to run. I've dropped the cut out pressure on a number of occasions until it is at about 42 psi. Just cleaned out the pressure line between the pump and the switch. Also topped up my pressure tank to 28 psi but nothing changed.

Tried upping the cut out but pump will not build pressure above 42 psi. I have some sediment issues so was wondering what I should try next. Take the pump apart and clean it or take the connection to the pressure tank apart and check for sediment. Any thoughts?

Reply:

Have you watched for signs of a leak in the well piping or a leaky foot valve?

Question:

(May 24, 2015) shadetreeplumber said:
I have a 1hp deep well pump that won't quit running. I shut the supply line to the house thinking I had an underground leak, still not shutting off, so I concluded the issue was at the pump (which I replaced last year)After some research I changed the pressure switch and gauge, still no solution.

Still more research, I changed the foot valve and jet pump, still no help. I've gotten it up to 40 PSI once or twice and it shuts off, but as soon as I turn the supply line on back to the house, it kicks back on and won't shut off(even with supply to house off)

I'm now convinced after more research that there is rust or debris inside the pump. my question is do I have to take it all apart and crack the casing on the pump from the motor to properly clean it and get it working properly? is it possible that I bought a faulty foot valve?

Reply:

Shampoo

See our articles on PUMP SHORT CYCLING CAUSES - live links above

Question:

(June 11, 2015) HELPP said:
So the night before last out of the blue we had ZERO water pressure!! none at all!! no running water in the house!! before that everything was fine!! we took off the old pressure control switch and it was full of mud and stuff. we replaced it with a new switch and we are now getting 20psi.

Our pressure has always been at 40 not 20. We ran water and the pressure went down to like 17-18 and once we stop running water it goes back up to 20 but that's as far as it goes. we can hear the pump outside continually running but nothing is changing pressure wise. We turned off our well pump and our hot water heater because we didn't want anything to become damaged. What should we do in a case like this? What could be causing this to happen?

Reply:

Help:

Sounds like low water in the well or perhaps a cracked well casing sending debris and mud into your pressure control switch and system

Question: pump keeps running, cannot reach the cut-out or "stop" pressure limit

(June 21, 2015) shampoo said:
i have a pentax 2horse power water pump,after installation, the pump worked for a day and stopped.when the tech check it he said the stator was burn out,so it was replaced on re-instalation, the pump was not shutting off so he adjusted the pressure switch but when the output of the pump was lock off the pump is still going on and off

Reply:

Shadetree

If a pump cannot reach cut-off pressure I suspect (generalizing from the detailed article WATER PUMP WONT STOP RUNNING)

1. water is running or there is a leak somewhere including in well piping in the well or between well and building

2. low water in the well

3. a damaged pump impeller assembly or clogging therein

4. Low voltage

5. a bad pump pressure switch or switch pressure sensing port is clogged and the system is not properly sensing pressure: check the water system pressure independently

Question: description of repair for well in which water level dropped

6 July 2015 Joni said:

This happened to our well yesterday. I did look on this link for help. Today I wanted to comment after the repairs.
First of all a well that was installed in 1984. Making it a 31 yr old well.

The problem was: The well pump kept running and would not stop.

Usually it runs to 50-55 and kicks off after its pumped up water to well. Called a lic. well service local and they first did a diagnoise on problem .

They did said since the pump runs, they need to check the level to see if pump is submerged or how far to water. Hopefully we can extend a stick/ line to add depth to the well. Worse scenerio is its dry. Conclusion: Well was dry at pump level.(drought in Ca) but he measured water line at 132 ft. It was not far from having water, BUT THAT wouldn't last. Said the bottom of our well is 218 ft. So he added 2 sticks. Also after this... he did a test run.

AT THIS point had it ran correctly. The cost was going to be around $600. The pump was acting up.It ran and ran. So they pulled up pump and installed a new pump, also the first tubing down into the well had a crack remember these are 31 yrs old. So they replaced with new (what looked like pcv piping all the way from start. They had a team out here most the day trail and error trying to make it more cost efficient, but we needed the new pump Our old one ws 5 hrp. and new is 5 hrp as well.

My well feels so much better this evening. No problems. cost for my fix was $3,900 But overall I am thankful. I heard if the well went dry, it would take nearly a year for an appt for a new dig / for new well and new location. And the cost Im told for a new well is 15-20k and the drilling $6k Thats my story. Hopefully no one has a cracked casing and pump gone bad and water level dry as I did today.

Reply:

Joni what is not quite clear from your story is the presence or absence of a cracked well casing. If the well casing is cracked anywhere that should be repaired not only to protect the water level in the well but to keep contaminants from leaking into it. If the casing is cracked a repair is the insertion of a well sleeve.

This article series answers just about any question you may have about pumps, wells, and drinking water. Even before performing water quantity, quality, equipment function tests, there is an enormous amount we can determine about a building's water supply just by looking at the equipment.

Question: diagnosing a cracked well casing as a reason the pump won't stop?

(July 6, 2015) Joni said:

This happened to our well yesterday. I did look on this link for help. Today I wanted to comment after the repairs.

First of all a well that was installed in 1984. Making it a 31 yr old well. The problem was: The well pump kept running and would not stop. Usually it runs to 50-55 and kicks off after its pumped up water to well. Called a lic. well service local and they first did a diagnoise on problem .

They did said since the pump runs, they need to check the level to see if pump is submerged or how far to water. Hopefully we can extend a stick/ line to add depth to the well. Worse scenerio is its dry. Conclusion: Well was dry at pump level.(drought in Ca) but he measured water line at 132 ft. It was not far from having water, BUT THAT wouldn't last.

Said the bottom of our well is 218 ft. So he added 2 sticks. Also after this... he did a test run. AT THIS point had it ran correctly. The cost was going to be around $600. The pump was acting up.It ran and ran. So they pulled up pump and installed a new pump, also the first tubing down into the well had a crack remember these are 31 yrs old.

So they replaced with new (what looked like pcv piping all the way from start. They had a team out here most the day trail and error trying to make it more cost efficient, but we needed the new pump Our old one ws 5 hrp. and new is 5 hrp as well. My well feels so much better this evening.

No problems. Cost for my fix was $3,900 But overall I am thankful. I heard if the well went dry, it would take nearly a year for an appt for a new dig / for new well and new location. And the cost Im told for a new well is 15-20k and the drilling $6k Thats my story. Hopefully no one has a cracked casing and pump gone bad and water level dry as I did today.

Reply:

Joni what is not quite clear from your story is the presence or absence of a cracked well casing. If the well casing is cracked anywhere that should be repaired not only to protect the water level in the well but to keep contaminants from leaking into it. If the casing is cracked a repair is the insertion of a well sleeve.

Question: the pump won't stop running and the water level in the water storage cistern doesn't fall - pump runs, has water, but no water is delivered

(July 10, 2015) Gary said:

I have a small 1/4 Hp pump supplied by a 600 Ltr tank alongside. The tank fills from the water supply pipe and has a float valve cutoff. Up until today this pump has been working fine, now it wont stop running. I had to switch it off. I am able to see inside the tank, and the water level does not drop after 20 mins of running, so there are no leaks.
All taps are off including the toilet cistern.

The pump delivers 1.5 Bar when running and works fine except it wont turn off?
Suggestions please..

Pity I cannot add fotos :(

Reply:

Gary,

I'd check or replace that float valve. First try lifting it up against its stop to see if that stops the pump.

I add that if a pump float switch is hovering right at the margin of pump cut-off and the well has run out of water or the pump has lost pumping capacity (say a damaged impeller) the same symptoms could occur.

If the pump runs, is in plenty of water, and no water is delivered I suspect a disconnected or blocked pipe or a damaged pump impeller assembly.

You can indeed send photos to us for comment or posting by using the email found at our page top or bottom CONTACT link.

Question: pump runs but no water is delivered

(Aug 4, 2015) Steve Anderson said:
Hi. My water pump motor is running but the pump is not and we have no pressure.Anyone got any good ideas?

Reply:

Broken impeller assembly
or
Complete loss of pump prime

Search InspectApedia for PRIME THE PUMP

Question: new pump but weak water pressure or no water pressure

(Sept 3, 2015) Anonymous said:
We put a new jet pump on the water system on Friday. The pump is above ground feeding into the pressure tank. It would turn on when the pressure went down, but wouldn’t turn off as it didn’t think it had enough pressure.

There was enough pressure to operate a shower but it wasn’t shutting off. Turned it off at the switch & went for a rethink.

On Monday night we readjusted the switch so it would turn off at 40 psi instead of the 50 psi the manufacturer set it for.

At 2am I got up to use washroom & the pump was running before I flushed the toilet. At 4am it was still running so I shut it off at the switch. It would not get above 30 psi.

The water table is at 15 feet or less. The pump is primed. We have a bladder-less pressure tank. There was a foot valve within 3 inches of the pump. Replaced this foot valve with one that is at least 2 feet from the pump. The well is over 40 feet from the pump Tried different pressure adjustments. Now won’t even get water into pressure tank.

(Aug 4, 2015) Steve Anderson said:
Hi. My water pump motor is running but the pump is not and we have no pressure.Anyone got any good ideas?

Reply:

If the pump won't turn off either the pressure sensor is bad (in which case you'd see abnormally high, and very unsafe, pressure, or the pump is not able to reach the cut-off pressure, perhaps because the pressure is set too high or because the water level in the well is deficient; more examples are in WATER PUMP WONT STOP RUNNING.

Let the well rest and recover for a few hours; then if the pump delivers water it's a good guess the problem is the well not the pump.

Question: no water in one of the two lines to my well

(Sept 10, 2015) clayton said:
I have two lines coming from my well to my trailer.the big pipe has water,but the smaller one doesnt.Ihear air in smaller pipe.What is wrong

Reply:

Sounds to me as if your well water level has fallen, the well recovery rate is poor, or there is a leak in your well piping. In a 2-line jet pump the smaller line sends water from the pump down into the well where the water squirts through a venturi tailpiece that in turn picks up more water so that the total water returning up the larger pipe brings back more than you sent down.

...


Continue reading at WATER PUMP WONT STOP RUNNING how to fix a pump that won't shut off, home page, or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see WATER PUMP PROTECTION SWITCH to shut off a pump to prevent burn-up

Or see WATER PUMP WONT STOP RUNNING how to fix a pump that won't shut off, home page

Or see WATER PUMP WONT STOP: FAQs - first set of Q&A on a pump that won't turn off

Or see WATER PUMP DIAGNOSTIC TABLE a concise guide to diagnosing and fixing water pumps

Or see WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE - home

Suggested citation for this web page

WATER PUMP WONT STOP: FAQs-3 at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to WATER SUPPLY, PUMPS TANKS WELLS

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