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Q&A on which way to turn the large & small adjustment nuts

  • PRESSURE SWITCH NUT ADJUSTMENT FAQs - CONTENTS: Q&A on Which way to turn the pump pressure control switch adjustment nuts to adjust water pump cut in or cut off pressure or both. How to set the Range & Differential nuts on a typical pump pressure control switch using the Schneider Electric Square-D Pumptrol switch as an example. Details of one-nut and two-nut pressure control switch settings.
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How to adjust the pump pressure control switch using the Square-D Pumptrol™ as an example:

This article describes how to adjust building water pressure by setting the water pump cut-in and cut-out pressure on the well water pump pressure control switch. We explain which adjustment nuts to turn and in which direction to change pump cut-in pressure or cut-our pressure settings.

This article series also includes information on how to adjust building municipal or community water pressure at a building.



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Pressure Control Switch Adjustment Nut FAQs

Pump control switch adjustment (C) Daniel Friedman

These questions and answers abouit how to adjust the control nuts in a water pressure control switch were posted originally at PRESSURE SWITCH NUT ADJUSTMENTS - topic home.

Please also see WATER PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL ADJUSTMENT FAQs for additional questions & answers about the pressure control switch. There we've sorted the remarks into subtopics, or you can use the on-page search feature of your browser.

Question: we don't have the money to hire someone - how do we do pump switch adjustment ourselves

thank for the information. we don't have the money to hire some one to do this it is the well itself so how do i do it ourselves - Mike 7/29/12

Reply:

Mike:

Try reviewing the article PRESSURE SWITCH NUT ADJUSTMENTS where the details of the water pump pressure control switch adjustment are described; if your switch does not match the one described then you just need to know the switch brand and model in order to go to the manufacturer to obtain the exact adjustment instructions.

Watch out: messing with a pump pressure control switch exposes live electrical connections - you can be killed if you touch live wires. Another catastrophe to avoid is setting the pressure too high, causing leaks or worse, a burst water tank that could injure anyone nearby.

Question: my pump cannot reach the cut-out pressure setting - my pump runs all the time

I have replaced the Pressure switch and I can not achieve cutout, pump continues to run. Switch is adjusted very low for cutout. The units cuts in about 26-28 psi. but exceeds the desired 50 -60 psi cutout. - BK 6/6/11

I had to put a new pressure switch on, the pump was running all the time and it burn the points up. The new one is letting the pump run all the time too, when the pump is running the water pressure keeps going up and down, until there is a small amount of water coming out. I'll turn the pump off and back on then the pressure will come back up and if it runs about a couple of minutes it will do the same thing again. I have no leaks, could this be the water tank?
I need help - Ed 6/18/12

My pump does not exceed 32psi and constantly runs then fails to cut back on even though pressure drops below 20psi. Only way to start it is to manually connect the flow switch to engage the pump. - Jack Nelson 7/7/12

Reply:

BK: Well pump won't stop running: try setting your pressure control to turn on at 20 psi and off at 40 psi. That should be achievable by most well pumps unless the pump itself is damaged. Once you have the pump operating normally in that pressure range you can try increasing the cut out, or both cut-in and cut-out gradually. Don't operate the pump too close to the highest cut-out pressure that it can attain, since there is the risk that when you're not watching the system may through wear or other factors leave the pump running until it burns up.

Jack, if the pump does not start at pressures below the cut- in point of 20 psi, the switch may be bad. But the pump running continuously and never delivering cutoff pressure is something else _ such as lost well water flow rate or a well piping leak or someone has lest a faucet open in the home.

See WATER PUMP WONT STOP RUNNING

On 2017-07-07 by (mod) re: is it harmful to let the water pump run continuously

Excellent question, Jim.

The answer depends on your specific pump motor and what on-interval or "duty cycle" it is designed to support. Some pumps can run all day without griping while other models may overheat and ultimately fail.

Please take a look at WATER PUMP DUTY CYCLE http://inspectapedia.com/water/Water_Pump_Duty_Cycle.php and let me know what you think after reading that.

Daniel

On 2017-07-07 by Anonymous

@danjoefriedman,
Is the continuously running pump under the sprinkler scenario a harmful condition?

On 2017-07-07 by (mod) re: sprinkler system makes the pump run continuously

Jim,

My guess is that there isn't something further that you can do, because the rate at which you are drawing water exceeds the flow rate of your well or the pumping rate of your pump. When that happens the pump will simply run continuously. You could reduce the flow demand of your sprinkler system by partly closing its supply valve but that may not work for you as it also means that sprinkler distance will be reduced

On 2017-07-06 by Jim

I recently adjusted my air pressure and my cut in and cut pressures. The tank air pressure is 26 psi, the cut in pressure is 30 psi and the cut out pressure is 55 psi. The pressure switch is a 30-50 psi switch. When I am running my sprinkler system the water pressure does not get above 50 psi and the pump runs continuously. What should I do to get the pump to cycle properly?

On 2017-06-26 by Ralph M

When the air bladder in the pressure tank is set at 28/psi and the cut-in pressure switch is at 30/psi and the cut-off is at 50/psi the pump when reaching 50/psi in the pressure tank begins to rapidly cycle on/off about 15 times and then finally cuts out. WHY?

On 2017-06-25 by Anonymous

My well pump should cycle 30 seconds min acording to county code and it only cycles for 10 seconds why?

On 2017-06-17 by (mod) re: pump runs when no water is being used

I suspect a leaking well piping. We have a good diagnostic article for the problem you describe that can be found by using the search box just about to look for

PUMP RUNS FOR NO REASON

On 2017-06-17 by (mod)

If no water is running anywhere, I will look for a leak in the world piping or a failed foot valve

On 2017-06-17 by Ralph Day

The system is losing pressure fast and I do not know why

My pump is coming on every minute for a short period, even when no water in the house is running

On 2017-05-20 by (mod) re: water pressure falls off after a minute

That sounds more likely you are suffering from a well with a very poor floor and will recover. I think he's hit with a pressure then the switch with simply not call or water outrun and you would have no water

On 2017-05-20 by david

my water pressure starts out strong but drops off after about 1 minute then no water at all i have 30 psi could this be relay

On 2017-05-19 by (mod) re: cut in pressure is too low

Probably need to adjust the range or larger nut first then the smaller not only the details in the article PRESSURE SWITCH NUT ADJUSTMENTS .

Let us know how that works for you

On 2017-05-19 by Terry

My cut-in pressure is too low 8 psi. I have the cut-out pressure set at 45 psi. How do I raise the cut-in pressure up to about 25 psi?
The differencial nut is backed off so the spring is loose. The range nut changes the cut-out pressure but the cut-in pressure never changes.
Thank you

On 2017-05-09 by (mod) re: system loses pressure quickly when water is running & pump runs more often

William

Typical cut-in / cut-out pressures are 20/40 or 30/50. 20/50 is not unusual. If you are losing pressure quickly I suspect your water pressure tank is waterlogged - use the search box just above to find and check out these diagnosis and repair articles

WATER TANK AIR, HOW TO ADD

WELL PUMP SHORT CYCLING CAUSES

On 2017-05-09 by William Poston

Mt tank pressure seems to be at a cut on of 20psi and cut off of 50psi. Seems to lose pressure rather quickly when water running and cycle more than it used to. Any idea what normal cut on/cut off is supposed to be?

On 2017-04-06 by (mod) re: typical pump cut in and cut out pressure settings

Jason there are two very typical setting pairs: 20/40 psi or 30/50 psi

The lower number is the "on" or CUT IN pressure (and your pressure tank should be precharged to 2 psi below that)
The higher number is the "off" or CUT OUT pressure

On 2017-04-06 20:53:34.719009 by Jason

What should the high and low pressure be set at for on/off of the pump

On 2017-01-30 by (mod) re: interchangeable pressure control switches?

Yes

On 2017-01-30 by Anonymous

Can you replace a one screw switch with a two screw relay switch

On 2017-01-15 by Anonymous

How do turn up pressure and turn up when it needs to come on

On 2017-01-09 by justinsayn8

my pump will not restart by itself after emptying the pressure, just runs the pressure out till there's no water coming out. I have to go manually turn it on. Then when the pressure is full It Turns Off, but not before it flutters off and on about 10 times.. this is a brand-new problem after I had to replace a piece of pipe that burst during a freeze.

On 2016-11-08 by Rahman

Hi. Thanks for the info.
My Cut-in pressure is very low, and when i tighten the big nut more, the pump runs forever (or really long time, and I'm worried about bursting the tank). I have loosened the small nut, and there is no room too loosen it anymore!
Whats could be the problem here?

On 2016-09-28 by (mod) re: pump runs continuously - may have damaged pump

Stuart:

Indeed a pump running dry continuously is likely to be damaged and could need replacement. In my opinion, IF the pump is still able to reach the CUT OFF pressure reliably and consistently, I'd not replace it.

On 2016-09-28 16:07:26.366930 by stuart renouf

had a issue with low water pressure then no water pump runs all the time replaced the switch and drained the system to get rid of excess air in tank (when drained pump off had a lot of air in tank so removed excess air reset the system replaced switch and I get 10 to 15lbs water pressure and pump will not shut off is my pump gone ? I have a in ground submersible do I have to replace the pump?

On 2016-08-29 by (mod) re: water stops for 10 seconds every few minutes

Pete

Watch the pressure gauge: if you see the pressure fall below the pressure switch CUT IN pressure then the switch is not responding, perhaps due to debris clogging; replace it.

On 2016-08-28 by Pete Ottesen

My water will run fine and then stop for ten seconds about every ten minutes

On 2016-08-27 by (mod) re pump turns on but won't turn off

Richard

Please search InspectApedia.com for PUMP WON'T STOP RUNNING to read how to diagnose and fix the problem.

On 2016-08-27 by Richard J,

pump comes on but don't turn off

On 2016-08-20 18:44:03.283696 by (mod)

Gene:

Check first for a blockage that would cause the pump to immediately reach cut-off pressure; monitor the actual system pressure to see what's happening. And yes a debris-clogged pressure switch can fail to respond properly to actual pressure.

On 2016-08-20 14:33:23.480603 by GenePiv

I have a water pump that is used for my lawn sprinklers. It normally turns on and off by means of a Hunter controller. When the pump is turned on it maintains a pressure of 50 until the timer turns it off and the zones have finished their timed cycles. Between the pump and the timer is a relay and on the pump itself is a pressure switch.

During the time that the pump is on it is supposed to stay on and not cycle off until the time timed cycle is complete. My problem is that the pump,turns on what the hunter controller tells it to but shuts down right away. I'm am wondering if that is a pressure switch proble. The pump and switch are about 15 years old. Thanks

On 2016-08-15 by (mod) re: no power to pump - adjust the switch setting?

Tom, I may be mis-understanding, but changing the pressure setting will not have anything to do with whether or not the pressure control switch is receiving electrical power.

On 2016-08-15 by Tom O'D

My pressure switch reads 60 psi. My switch is a Sq.D 9013FSG 30-50. I am not getting any power to turn it on, Can I raise the cut on/cut off with the main (larger spring)? Thank you.

On 2016-08-08 by (mod)

See the article PRESSURE SWITCH NUT ADJUSTMENTS

and also search our site to read this one

WATER PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL ADJUSTMENT

give complete detail about the adjustment screws for a water pump pressure control switch.

You'll see that there are estimates for about how much pressure is represented by one turn of the adjustment nuts (against spring pressure of course, so you'll need to re-tighten until the slack is gone;

When the system operates observe its pressure and behavior and that will help you see what further direction you want to adjust the two adjustment nuts.

On 2016-08-07 18:51:31.321535 by Russ

On my pressure pump adjustments is it safe to back both nuts all the way off (loose) and start over I've been trying to get it for a week n its at no water then 60psi ? I'm bot sure your info is greatly appreciated thnx

On 2016-08-06 15:28:33.167053 by (mod)

Chuck, please search InspectApedia.com for WATER PUMP WON'T STOP RUNNING to read how to diagnose and cure this problem.

On 2016-08-06 by Chuck

My pressure switch goes to 30lb and stays there and jet pump keeps running . How do i fix this problem.

On 2016-07-04 by (mod) re: factory pre-set pressure control switch settings

Usually the valve comes factory pre-set to cut-in at either 30 psi or 40 psi. The article PRESSURE SWITCH NUT ADJUSTMENTS gives details of how to set the cut-in and cut-out; they are not quite independent adjustments.

On 2016-07-04 by john

I meant the flow rate. i only closed one valve when i changed the switch, the main line in to the house. I will check that again. I didn't check the cut in pressures before I made the change, just assuming it was set correctly. thanks.
if I increase just the cut on pressure, does that mean I risk short cycling and therefore pump life?

On 2016-07-04 by (mod) re: pressure vs flow rate of water

John: are we talking "pressure" - (measure when no water is running) - or "flow rate" (that normal people call "pressure" but is really flow rate in gpm) ?

A poor cold water flow while there is good hot water flow means it's not a system problem but a valve that's partly closed or a pipe that's partly blocked somewhere in the system.

Another possibility is that the switch you replaced was actually set to a higher cut-in pressure than you realized.

On 2016-07-04 by john

I recently replaced the pressure switch and now experience a lower cold water pressure. the cut on/cut off looks like it is working properly at 40/60. pressure tank is at 38 lbs and the cycle ran for about 60 seconds.any suggestions? I used the same pressure switch when i replaced it. thanks.

On 2016-07-02 by (mod) re: effect of too small a difference between pump cut-in and cut-out pressure on the control switch

Sure, Margo, though a too-small gap between cut-in and cut-out can cause short cycling and shorter pump and switch life.

On 2016-07-01 by margo

I would like to know if it is possible to set the cut in cut off at 40 50

On 2016-06-16 by (mod) re: replacing a switch may not fix short on off pump cycling rate

Eric please search InspectApedia for WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING to read the causes, diagnosis, and cure of this problem. Don't just replace the switch as the most likely problem is a waterlogged pressure tank.

On 2016-06-16 by Eric

Why is my water pump surge on n off. Do i need to adjust the pressure switch

On 2016-05-02 by Gary Corban

My pump cut on is at 30psi & the cut off is at 75psi. I let off on the small nut all the way till there is no tension at all on the spring & it still doesn't cut off till 75psi.
The larger nut works fine.
Not sure what to do.
75psi seems very very high.

On 2016-04-26 by rocky

My pump runs for 20 seconds then shut off. Is this too short of time for it to run or should it run for about a minute

My pump does not hold pressure and I have to add air constantly to the bladder. Also sometimes it runs constantly and will not shut off. What is my problem? I don't have the money for a p!number. Please help

On 2015-12-13 by Anonymous

is there a problem with my pumptrol (normal 20/40) while it is running on 20/32 only?

On 2015-12-06 by (mod) check for a water logged pressure tank if pump turns on and off frequently

Frequent cycling is usually a water logged pressure tamk. Also check the spread between cut in and cut out pressures

On 2015-12-06 by jlx

Darn this is one complicated simple thing had an actual repairman herre didnt fix it and been trying to adjust the,m nuts myself but only thing being adjusted is my nuttyness level. so now i am monitoring the pump (as we have a smallleak upstairs) and listen to it while it runs (its right behind me so easy to monitor) and adjust them screws a little everytime. problem is it runs to often.

On 2015-11-24 by (mod) can the spring in the adjustment nuts be replaced?

In principle certainly.
However the replacement kits I've seen didin't include that part; you may have to buy a whole new switch (typically under $30. USD)

On 2015-11-24 by ed

can the spring in the adjustment nuts be replaced?

On 2015-09-15 by andy

anybody can help us fixed our problem, is it the adjustment regarding pressure switch please advice us what to do.

thank you

On 2015-09-15 by andy

Hi! i have a question regarding our jet pump,our problem is that the pump is on running situation but their is no water deliver to the tank,please advice us what to do before we proceed to the next step.

thank you very much

andy

On 2015-08-20 by Frank

Hi after messing with both nuts my pump pressure guage is reading less than 10 psi please help

On 2015-08-18 by (mod)

Good going Gene

On 2015-08-17 18:22:49.344355 by Gene

It took several adjustments to fine tune (I also bought a new gauge), but I think I've got it set very close to what it was before. The factory settings for the switch sure aren't even close to being right though. Thanks to danjoefriedman for responding!

On 2015-08-17 by (mod) re: adjust the range nut on the Pumptrol Square D FSG2J20C Ppressure control switch

Gene,

Adjust the RANGE nut first (explained in PRESSURE SWITCH NUT ADJUSTMENTS), then try fine tuning with the second nut

On 2015-08-17 by Gene

I replaced my old well pump switch 20/40 with a new one (Pumptrol Square D FSG2J20CP). I also cleaned out the pressure rod. The range on the switch doesn't seem to be right at all. It certainly doesn't seem to be a difference of 20psi. I adjusted both the range and differential, unfortunately in the wrong order

. I can clearly hear the pump and I know the cycle isn’t long enough. The gauge I have has it roughly cutting in at 25 and off at 40. Any ideas on how I can correct the problem?

On 2015-08-06 by (mod) re: signs of a debris clogged Pumptrol Square D FSG2J20CP

Jason

Look for a debris-clogged pressure control switch - or debris clogged pressure tube between switch and tank. Watch out: if your water tank does not include a pressure relief valve the installation is unsafe and someone could be injured (or worse) if a tank or pipe bursts.

On 2015-08-06 by Jason

What would cause a pressure gauge to shoot up to 100 psi from 70 psi just before the pump shuts off?

The pump comes on at 20 psi. I would expect the pressure switch would cut off the pump at 40 psi (given the cut-on psi of 20), but it goes until it hits 65-70psi then rockets up to 90-100psi before shutting off. Is my gauge bad? Bladder bad? Pressure switch bad?

On 2015-07-26 by (mod) re: maximum safe water pressure

John

As long as the pressure is under 70 psi you are probably below the limits of your water pressure tank - though you should check that by taking a look at the tank's installation manual (or give me the brand and model and we'll help research it).

You should also have a pressure relief valve installed at the water tank tee.

The article PRESSURE SWITCH NUT ADJUSTMENTS describes how to adjust the large and small pressure switch nuts, what each does and how they relate. Take another look and let me know if that leaves you with questions. Chances are the switch you have is fine but needs re-adjustment, as long as its adjustment range (per its specs) meets your needs.

At pressures over 70 (or slightly higher) there is a second risk of recurrent leaks at plumbing fixtures or piping. At high pressures the risk is a burst pressure tank and injuring someone nearby.

On 2015-07-26 by John E.

My pump controls (amongst other things) our shower and the ice maker in the fridge. To keep the ice maker working I have to have high pressure (50 ++). I got this by screwing down the large nut on my pressure switch. Eventually. I also fiddled with the small nut. Probably a mistake.

Anyway, currently the pump cuts on at about 23 but doesn't go off until well over 60 (my guage is 0-60). Although good for making ice, I fear this is bad for my pressure tank. I tried changing nuts 1 and 2, but now nut 2 no longer touches the spring and the pressure is still 60+. Is the whole switch screwed or can I still get it. right. Please.

On 2015-06-19 by Kg

We had to put on a new pressure switch. It will come on when the pressure drops to 40 but it only builds to about 57 and the pump just keeps running. We've checked no water is turned on any where. Does anyone know what the problem might be

On 2015-05-31 by Jim

I replaced a pressure gauge which was faulty. Now it i cutting in at forty psi and cutting out at fifty psi. How can I get the cut in back to 30

On 2015-05-21 by Bill

The risk is fully understood. Handle removal and labeling is part of the configuration. Just to be clear, the valve is between the tank T and the pressure switch. As mentioned earlier, the only valve between the pump and the tank is the check valve that prevents back flow toward the pump and maintains the pump prime. This check valve is positioned between the tank T and the pvc fitting at the house end of the pvc supply line from the well.

On 2015-05-20 by (mod) re: no shutoff between pump and pressure tank

It's uncommon to see a shutoff valve between pump and pressure tank, in part because unless you've got other special controls installed, the absence of the air cushion in the tank can cause horrible short-cycling of the pump that in turn damages it. You know that but the next occupant may not. I'd label the valve or remove its handle when it's not needed.

On 2015-05-20 by Bill

I agree and was surprised to encounter a half-dead-on-arrival water pressure switch. I called Square D (Schneider Electric) customer service and they directed me to a local distributor to begin the process for getting a warranty replacement.

Answer-to-Questions: A-t-Q.1) The water pressure switch is not sensing water tank pressure when that ball valve is closed. However, the water pressure gauge is providing an accurate reading, having established that the water pressure gauge is functional and accurate via the automotive pressure gauge reading at the tank top. (See discussion in earlier post.) When the gauge read 61 psi, the safety switch on the nearby wall (actually right behind the water pressure tank and within reach without taking any steps) was turned to the off position.

This ball valve (between the water pressure switch and the tank T) is always open except when trouble shooting, such as described at PRESSURE SWITCH NUT ADJUSTMENTS, or to avoid draining the water pressure tank when changing out the water pressure switch. A-t-Q.2)

Probably, if the pump has an overload cut-off capability. In the case at hand, the only valve between the submersible pump and the water pressure tank is the check-valve between the pvc adapter and the tank T. Additionally, the pressure relief valve should begin to open if the water pressure approaches 75 psi.

This psi was never reached, as the power to the pump was turned off at the electric line safety switch when the psi hit 61.

On 2015-05-19 by (mod) unusual to get a brand new but bad pressure control switch

That sounds right, Bill but it's rather unusual to get a brand new but bad pressure control switch.

I didn't quite understand in your note " 2) There is a ball valve on the 1/4" pipe between the water pressure switch and the tank T. That valve was turned off once the cut-in took place. The pressure tank filled to 61 psi (as read on the water pressure gauge and verified with the automotive tire pressure gauge per test 1) above),..."

If you close a valve between the pressure switch and the tank, how is the switch sensing tank water pressure?
If you close a valve between the pump outlet and the tank (which sounds dangerous) wouldn't the pump turn off immediately as without the buffer (and air charge) of a pressure tank there would be no place to send water?

On 2015-05-19

by Bill

Before pursuing mod's suggestions, the following two tests were performed:

1) To prove the water pressure gauge OK, a dial type automobile tire pressure gauge was used (directly, at the top) on the well pressure tank. It tracked the water pressure gauge correctly, so we now know that gauge is OK.

2) There is a ball valve on the 1/4" pipe between the water pressure switch and the tank T. That valve was turned off once the cut-in took place.

The pressure tank filled to 61 psi (as read on the water pressure gauge and verified with the automotive tire pressure gauge per test 1) above), at which time the 220v electric line safety switch (2 pole, single throw) on the nearby wall was turned off, which simultaneously turned the well pump off.

The water pressure held, so the check valve works OK, and the pump is capable of "lifting" the water from the well to the water pressure tank, as was the case prior to the upgrade. (The well is 85 feet deep and the pump is set at 70 feet.) Next, the water pressure tank was drained and refilled in normal use mode (by flushing a toilet) and the water pressure switch reverted to its troublesome ways of cutting-out near 55 psi.

This seems to point to the pressure switch being faulty. Reply comments would be appreciated. Thanks!

On 2015-05-18 by (mod) Check the pump itself for a damaged impeller

Bill

Check the pump itself for a damaged impeller; check also for low voltage, and for leaks in the piping system. Finally, compare the pump capacity and lift height of the water with the pump specifications.

On 2015-05-18 by Bill

The well pressure tank was upgraded from Well-X-Trol WX-202 to WX-203 and the Square D pressure switch was upgraded from 30/50 to 40/60 w/ automatic low pressure cut-off. The increased tank size was recommended by a water treatment professional and the increased psi range is to meet the operating spec for an ozone device on the laundry cold water supply. The tank arrived pre-charged at 39 psi. The main T and all fittings have been changed out and replaced with same size lead free parts.

The cut-in (range) is set at 41 psi and it reliably functions at this set-point after many cycles. The cycles are normal in the sense that no run-away situations have occurred with the Gould 10 gpm submersible pump. The cut-out, however, will not reach 61 psi, which is the desired set-point. Instead it hovers around 55 psi despite several attempts at increasing (clock-wise) the differential setting. There is little room left to compress the differential spring any further. Thoughts on the probable cause would be appreciated. Thanks!

On 2015-03-30 by Anonymous

replaced my pressure switch and gauge on my well tank . it is a 30/50 switch tank has 28 psi in it .my pressure will only go to 7 /8 psi?/ what do I need to do to get the pressure back up?

On 2015-03-09 by (mod) re: variations in pressure switch controls

You were correct, Andy, and we thanked you and edited the article PRESSURE SWITCH NUT ADJUSTMENTS to remove confusing text about the smaller or differential adjustment nut.

In fact typically loosening the smaller nut completely would narrow the differential and would probably make a pump short cycle on and off. But we have also had reports from readers using a Gould's pressure switch in which loosing the differential too much simply left the pump running indefinitely.

So not all pressure switches will behave identically.

Comments:

(July 10, 2014) louie brown said:
This information is awesome i learned alot thank you .

Question: pump won't stop running and got very hot - my well pump won't turn off

Pump has worked fine until today for some reason it kept running after the 'timer' stopped. I didn't notice for a while and by the time I got to the pump, it was really hot. I killed the power and water/steam shot out of a PVC pipe on the bottom. If I plug it in, it won't stop running. I turned the timer on and tried to send water to a sprinkler zone to no avail. Please help! - pumpwontstop 6/17/11

I have been having a problem with my well for a couple years now with it staying running.
I hired a well guy and he told me it was a 30 year old system and it needed to be replaced,
so i started to replace things and it has fixed some problems, but has cause others.

We replaced the air tank, pressure control switch, the run capacitor, and the start cylinder.
When we turn it on after about 4 hours it will run for 5 to 10 min, but if we let it sit off

for 8 hours or even 10 hours it will run for 15 to 20 min. I have no clue what is going on and seeing if someone could help. Also as I was down at the well, and it was turned on their was some sloshing in the system as it starts and turns off. If you need any more details just ask. - Mike 7/25/12

Reply:

If your well pump won't stop running and it is delivering water then I suspect that the pump is unable to reach the cut-off pressure.

That can happen for a variety of reasons like loss of water in the well, a well piping leak, water running somewhere that you didn't realize, a pressure switch set too high, or a damaged pressure sensor component of the pressure control switch.

See WATER PUMP WONT STOP RUNNING for a thorough diagnostic procedure

Ed:

If the pump runs all the time even when you turn OFF water from the pressure tank into the building, then since you've excluded the control itself:

- the pressure sensing port on the pressure switch may not be seeing actual water pressure if the small diameter tube or pipe feeding pressure to the switch is clogged

- you may have a leak in well piping in the well or in the ground between house and well.

- you may have a damaged pump impeller that is not developing enough pressure to reach switch cutoff

- or something else

Hi Mike. It sounds as if perhaps you are losing well prime back down into the well - could be a bad foot valve - or a leak in the well piping.

Is the pump in the well or above ground? If above ground, is it a one line or two line jet pump?

Followup from Mike:

the pump is in the well about 600 ft down how do i find a leak that far down or where is the foot valve in the pump? thank you for answering me fast

Reply:

Mike, first establish that there is a leak, and in what segment of the whole system it exists - say in the building vs between the water pressure tank and the bottom of the well.

If it appears that the leak is in the well piping and if the leak is in the well piping that's in the well itself (as opposed to between well and building) you're in luck because you can pull the whole well piping and pump (use a professional to do this) to find and repair the leak as well as replace the foot valve. If the leak is between house and well then unfortunately excavation is in order.

If the leak in the well pipe is in the well and is between the water surface and well top, you'll hear or even see water squirting out of the leak when the pump is running; if it's under-water you may never see it without pulling the line.

All of this means that you start by determining that the leak is between house and well.

Search InspectApedia for

"find leak in well piping" to find our diagnostic article

Question: water pressure is low but the water pump won't come on

Pump won't come on: I just changed the pressure control switch and it will not turn on by itself. the water pressure is very low but the pump never comes on. - BigEd 7/16/11

The pump will not come on. There is no water pressure. I have a Square D Pump Pressure Control Switch. The contacts will not stay down/connnected. When forced to on postion they bounce right back into off ppostion. Any advice would be helpful. - Wilson 7/31/11

My water pressure is very low after one or two loads of laundry. The pressure gets down to less than 15 and the pump still has not pumped. I am not sure how low it gets before it pumps. Whan I get up the next morning it is back up to 45. What might be the cause of this problem? Is it the pump pressure switch or something else. I hear it running all the time. Any advice would be helpful - Mark 8/31/11

We are losing water pressure at any/all faucets/toilets/etc randomly- water will be running fine, and then it will slack off to nothing, then within 30sec to 1 minute, water will come back one and be fine. This happens at least once a day. This also just started happening once we replaced the entire reserve tank and pressure gauge and switch (we had a drip from our old tank, and a plumber came in a replaced the whole thing). Now he tells me he thinks this new problem is the well pump....seems very convenient to have 2 major things go bad at exactly the same time. What do you think? - Meg 9/2/11

Reply:

Big Ed

Sometimes changing the switch but mounting it on the existing 1/8" support pipe or connector to the pump or piping leaves a clogged component in place so that the switch doesn't properly sense the actual water pressure.

If your switch is properly wired and there is power to the pump, that clogging could be the problem.

Wilson

if the pump pressure control switch has electrical power and won't stay in the "on" position, that suggests that the pressure diaphraghm of the switch is indicating pressure at or above the cutoff point. If in fact there is no or low water pressure in the system then perhaps the pressure sensing end of the switch or its mounting tube is debris clogged. R&R the switch and mounting tube.

In a different direction, if someone messed with the adjustment nuts on the pressure switch they could have left it in an improper setting position.

Mark:

what you describe sounds like your well recovery rate is poor, perhaps seasonally during hot dry weather. Under WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS (links at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article ), see the article titled "How Much Water is In the Well?" for help in investigating that question.

Meg

I too tend to look first at work that was just recently done, or what was just changed, when debugging a building problem that has just shown up.

I tend not to start by blaming the pump, though there could be an indirect cause there: if the plumbing changes increased the water usage rate or the rate at which the pump was asked to operate, a pump motor that was overheating (failing) might on occasion turn itself off on thermal reset then reset and begin again automagically.

But before replacing the pump I'd look more closely at the pressure control switch; for example, if the plumbing work stirred up debris in the system, crud could be blocking the pressure sensing input of the pressure control switch, causing it to misbehave. You could try removing the switch, replacing or cleaning the small diameter mounting tube for that device (where water flows up to push on the switch bottom), and if necessary replace the switch.

See the water pressure loss diagnostic steps at WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR (article link at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article )

Keep us posted - it'll help other readers.

Question: Goulds jet pump 3/4 hp, pump always comes on right away when water runs

i have a jrs7 goulds jet pump 3/4 hp, recently i have been encountering a problem which i cant seem to rectify. my pump is set that immediately when any tap is opened it will come on and cut off when closed. it will run for the period while the water is being used but, the pressure however drops sometimes while in use to 0 psi on the guage resulting in the pump cutting off immediately and no water is being delivered. i have changed the pressure switch and am still experiencing the problem. the thing no matter what i try while it is off it will not come back on until it feels like it then the guage will build back up to 45 psi and it will run for a while and then do the same again. please help - Shawn White 7/23/11

Reply:

Shawn, if a pump always comes on immediately when you open a faucet and shuts off when you close the faucet, your water pressure tank is water logged - it's lost its air charge. See the article titled WATER TANK AIR, HOW TO ADD (links at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article )

You might also have a problem of sediment clogging at the pressure sensing switch and gauge both - even if you replaced the switch if its mounting tube were clogged the problem would continue.

Question: pump runs out of water, recovers in 5-10 minutes, gauge and switch kicks on/off at pressures different than our switch settings

My well is not quite a year old, we have always had plenty of water and pressure. we have been watering trees in yard, now for some reson our pup runs out of water. It recovers with in 5 to 10 min . The guage kicks on at 40 ps and should kick off at 60 or so. It kicks on fine but kicks out at 50 , is it the pressure switch? If I hold the switch down manually it pups and kicks out at 60 or 65 - Shaun Aden 8/4/11

Reply:

Shaun the pump might still be actually going off at 60 if the gauge is clogged with debris and reading inaccurately. Else if no one "adjusted" the switch and it's cutting off early it's time to replace it.

Question: Reverse Osmose system installed, need more house pressure - RO works at 39 PSI

Great site! I installed an RO system to replace an old RO that failed because of pressure (new permeate pump booster). After I did this I wanted to increase house pressure, thought I'll boost the air tank from 30 psi to 50 psi, then I pulled the pressure line on the jet pump to clean. What a nightmare! water everywhere, crud from the sensor, got it all back together, turned it on a start-stop cylcling! Turned out the tank pressure was to high without adjusting the pressure switch. After all the helpful info here I just started dropping the tank pressure down to 39 and the problem was solved! Thanks guys, next I might try raising the cut in cut off. - Alan McKee 8/17/11

Reply:

Alan, glad our water pressure articles were helpful. Indeed the pressure tank air charge is not what determines house water pressure - that's controlled by the pressure control switch, as you observed.

Question: pressure goes up higher than pressure control switch setting

After turning off the power to my well pump and pressure switch and bleed the water pressure down to 25 psi; I returned about 10 minutes later and the pressure had gone back to 80 PSI. This is a 30/50 psi switch. Why would the pressure go back without the power to the pump and switch being on? Thanks - Steve Holloway 8/19/11

Reply:

It's embarrassing to keep guessing at the same cause for so many problems, but if the pressure gauge is accurate and working properly I suspect the pressure switch is not getting a good indication of system water pressure - check for debris clogging.

Question: Square D pressure switch set 30-50, can I eliminate the low pressure cut-in?

I Have suare D switch 30-50 lb. with low pressure shut off. It causes me a lot of trouble when I fill large livestock tanks,can I modify the switch to eliminate the low pressure shut off feature or must i replace the switch. thanks - Mike Jones 8/22/11

Reply:

Mike,

I'm not sure what trouble you're having with the pressure control switch, and that those details might be diagnostic.

If the pump is short cycling that's usually a pressure tank problem not a switch problem.

If the switch is burning up while staying "on" you might need to go to a two-switch system in which the Square-D switch switches on a heavy duty relay that turns on and off the pump.

Question: pump cuts in at 28 psi and out at 42 - gauge immediately drops to 30 psi!

First of all, my apologies if this question has already been asked and answered, I'm new to the site. I believe I have a short cycling problem. This is a cottage application. The pump cuts in at 28 psi and charges to about 42 psi and then cuts out. When the pump cuts out the pressure on the gauge drops immediately to 30 psi. Then of course after a short water usage the pump cuts in and repeats the above.

The cycle used to be charge up to 42 psi, cut out and settle at 40 psi, draw down to 30 psi and then the pump would cut in. This problem started after I needed to replace a foot valve in the cistern. Do you think it's a pressure problem in my bladder tank? If so, how can I return it the original cycle described above.

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide. - Dan Lowry 8/27/11

Reply:

Dan that sounds like short cycling to me. I've often seen that a pressure gauge reads higher when the pump is running and drops at pump shutoff. But when you add that running just a few gallons of water turns the pump back on, that suggests that the tank has lost its air charge. If your tank really has an internal bladder, that's not supposed to happen. So if you have indeed lost the air charge, the bladder may be torn or damaged.

Question: I'm having trouble getting the right settings on the pressure control switch

I have just replaced all parts between the well pump and the pipe going into the house, reason was I had a leak and a broken check valve so the system was sucking in air and letting the water reside back down into the well.

My issue now is, that I have a cut in at 38 PSI, and should have a 20 PSI delta, however the Presure Switch does not turn off until 66 PSI. I have adjusted the big nut to get the cut in down to 38, used to be higher, however I an not able to get the pump to turn off at 58 / 60 PSI. The little nut is released to the point where the spring is almost loose, any suggestions or do I have a "Old" faulty pressure switch and need to replace it?

I have put in new pressure tank and the pump runs approx 3 min from when it kicks in at 38 PSI, to it has put pressure on the systems to 66 PSI, however if we have 2 faucets open at the same time the system struggles to get to 66 PSI - Thomas 9/1/11

Here is a little info I gathered, from what I have read mine system seems like it has some poor adjustments:
I have a Square D 9013FSQ2 Pressure Switch I checked my cut-in which is 58lbs and cut-out at 69 lbs and i put a tire guage on my pressure tank and it read 70 lbs seems a little crazy. I have a submersible pump at a depth of 120'. I am going to replace the pressure switch since I feel that is my breaker popping problem. But with these readings I have bad adjustments. it has been like this for almost 11 years now, just dont want future problems. Could someone help me with what all these settings should be and best way to adjust them. I like higher pressure for watering lawn etc. but dont want problems. - David 11/5/11

Reply:

Thomas I wonder if you carried the adjustment too far. Typically residential switches run 20/40 or 30/50 psi.

Check the labels and instructions that are on your switch to be double sure it works the same way as the models I've described above.

It isn't odd for a pump to run continuously when multiple faucets are open - it's a function of the pump's ability to deliver water (gpm, or pump horsepower) AND the well flow rate.

Question: Pump pressure goes up to 70 psi then immediately falls to 40 psi, many times a minute

when I flush the toilet my well pump cycles on to 70 lbs then right off and drops to 40 lbs and back on to 70 lbs then drops down to 40lbs and back on to 70 lbs it does this 21 or 22 times in a matter of just a couple of minutes then it stays at 40 or 39 lbs. I think it's doing this the whole time the toilet is filling back up? What would cause this?? - Jim Gale 10/17/11

what can be wrong with my well i put a new pressurer swithch the blader tank is good not lossing air but pump cut on and off ever two min what do i have to do to fix the problem - Anon 3/1/12

The pump is new and the pressure tank is old and the pressure switch is new. I run the water the pump clicks on and off every 10 seconds. I can see condensation line above the half way line on the tank. Whats the problem? - Rep 6/5/12

My switch cycles constantly and finally (sticks and holds contact. Is this an air pressure problem in my water tank? - Martin 7/19/12

My well is for outdoor irrigation only and has a very small (maybe 3-5 gallon?) bladder tank and pressure switch set-up. When I turn on a hose the pump clicks on and then off immediately, just a few seconds then the water pressure from the hose dwindles down and then the pump kicks back on just for a second and right back off so I get a burst of water then the dwindling again & it just keeps going like that.

Isn't the point of the pressure switch & bladder tank to make the pump stay on while water is running, keeping the pressure constant? What adjustment to the pressure switch should I make....increase or decrease the cut-on or cut-off point? - Jen 7/20/12

Reply:

I'm not 100% sure of course, but I don't think it's an air problem.

Short cycling of a water pump describes the pump turning on and off too often when water is running, but not a sticky or misbehaving pressure switch.

Burned switch contacts, a failing switch, a loose connection in the wiring, or a dirt-clogged sensor port on the pressure control switch base or in the tube that conducts water pressure to the switch are more likely at fault.

Martin when you swapped in the new switch, if you left a clogged tube on which the switch mounts or that feeds water pressure to the switch, even the sensor port on the new one could be blocked as well.

I'd also check voltage levels.

And that the pressure tank is not waterlogged.

Jen when the pump turns on and then immediately off it's as if there is no air in the pressure tank - so as water is not very compressible, the system reaches cutoff pressure immediately. If the irrigation system draws water fast enough, or if the pressure tank has an air charge, the symptom you describe should not occur.

Take a look at WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING. I think your water tank may be waterlogged.

Question: lost water pressure, came back on its own, plumber replaced presure switch.

I had a Plummer come to my house on the week-end since I had lost pressure for my water. When the plumber arrived the pressure was restored but since the system was 21 years old, I decided to have him replace the switch. If I remember I had a 20-40 pressure switch that was adjusted to 40-55 so that when taking a shower we would not notice the low pressure.

When the plumber installed the new pressure switch 30-50 I asked him to adjust the pressure and that is what he did. He adjusted the pressure with the bigger nut as explained in the WEB site, so now the cut-in pressure is about 32 and the cut out is about 58-60.

The problem is that when someone is taking a shower the cut-in rating is to low so the pressure is down. What steps can be done to increase the cut-in pressure but keeping to cut-out pressure to about 60

So I could have something like 42-60 or so if possible. Thank you - Andre 10/25/11

Reply:

Andre:

Please take a look at the pressure switch adjustment information in PRESSURE SWITCH NUT ADJUSTMENTS.

You'll see there are two adjusting nuts in the control. Basically the larger nut shifts the whole operating pressure range (cut in and cut out) up or down while the smaller nut adjusts the differential between the cut in and cut out.

You can adjust the smaller nut to narrow the differential if you like - just don't make the cut-in too close to the cut-out or your pump may turn on and off too often and overheat.

Question: Pump Turns Off Randomly; pressure switch clicks clicks then finally turns on

We have a relatively new well at our hunting camp/farm, about the same time the pressure switch went bad and needed replaced, ever since it was replaced (almost 2 years now) the water will go off for no apparent reason, then someone has to go to the basement and flip the switch off (water can be heard flowing at this point) then flip it back on and the pump begins to run again. It is fine for several hours and again the same thing happens. Is the low pressure cut-on set too low? - Anon 12/6/11

It is a new switch doing this and the old switch had been suffering from the same problem. "click,click,click,click, then it finally sticks or maintains contact and the pump fills up the tank and stops.

My tank is in my house (pier and beam) and about 40-50' from the well so meaning my water tank is probably 3' above the level of my well if that has anything that could be a problem. I think the switch is sensing pressure surges and shutting on and off sporadically. I know this will eventually wear on the contacts much less possibly do damage to the submersible motor. Anon 7/20/12

Reply:

Check for a clogged pressure sensor or tube feeding pressure to the switch

Question: new well and pressure switch 2 years ago, now water turns off for no reason;

We have a relatively new well at our hunting camp/farm, about the same time the pressure switch went bad and needed replaced, ever since it was replaced (almost 2 years now) the water will go off for no apparent reason, then someone has to go to the basement and flip the switch off (water can be heard flowing at this point) then flip it back on and the pump begins to run again. It is fine for several hours and again the same thing happens. Is the low pressure cut-on set too low? - Gene Doverspike 12/6/11

Reply:

Check for a debris clogged pressure sensor; check for a thermal overload problem with the pump motor.

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