Photograph of water pump electrical switch How to Find & Turn Off Electricity to the Water Pump

  • WATER PUMP ELECTRICAL SWITCHES - CONTENTS: How to Find the Water Pump Switch, How to Turn Off Power to the Pump, how to turn off power safely, what to do in an emergency. What are the on-off controls, switches, valves found on water tanks and water pumps, what do they do, when are they used, how are they repaired?
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about finding and using the electrical switch(es) that turn the well pump on or off.

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Water pump & well pump electrical power - main switch:

This article describes how to find the main power switch on a well pump or water pump. In an emergency you may need to turn this switch off to avoid costly damage to the pump motor or its controls or to avoid an unsafe condition.

We explain when the electrical power switch is used and we give advice about how to turn off the well pump in an emergency if you cannot find the local water pump switch itself.

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Photograph of a water pressure tank air valve Safety and shock warnings on the cover of a Square D Pumptrol pressure control switch (C) Daniel Friedman & Schneider Electric

Most water pumps can be turned off electrically at two locations: a switch located near the water pump or tank, such as shown the photo here and as the silver-colored electrical switch at left in this close up photo and also at the building's main electrical panel (where hopefully you have labeled the water pump circuit breaker or fuse).

In an emergency such as a burst water pipe or when you are repairing water system components and need to turn off the water pump, you can usually simply switch the pump power switch to the "off" position.

To avoid flood damage to unoccupied buildings especially in freezing climates, we often leave water pumps turned off both at the water valve and the pump electrical switch when a building is going to be left unoccupied and un-monitored.

But watch out! If the building is heated by a hot water or steam system, it may be necessary to guarantee that makeup water can be added to the heating boiler (automatically or manually) during the heating season.

Leaving the water turned "off" during winter risks loss of heat or boiler or building damage if the boiler can't be kept properly supplied with water. In these cases we may send a dedicated water line to the heating boiler and install valves to turn off water to the remaining building areas as a step in reducing the risk of water damage due to burst water piping or fixture leaks.

Photograph of a water pressure tank air valve

This photo shows what appears to be a Square-D control panel with a lever along the box right side. To turn off power to this pump the lever is pulled down to the "OFF" position. In this installation we may not see an ordinary wall mounted electrical toggle switch like those shown earlier in this article.

You'll notice a couple of questionable installation details here that suggest amateur and maybe not so safe workmanship: none of the electrical wiring has been secured to the wall and it looks a bit sloppy, and we also see that an electrical outlet has been connected and fed out of the pump control switch - possibly making improper use of this switch and the pump circuit.

Safety warnings DO NOT TOUCH any electrical switch if you are standing in water or on wet ground since you could get shocked or even killed. If, for example, there is a puddle around the pump's electrical switch, we'd prefer to go to the electrical panel (presumably at a more dry location) to shut down electricity to the water pump. If all of the floors are wet we might have to use a dry wooden stick or broom handle to carefully push the pump switch to the off position if we didn't want to touch it directly.

What if We Cannot Find the Switch to Turn Off the Water Pump?

Some water pump installations omit an ordinary wall switch to turn off power to the pump, particularly if the water tank and pump controls are installed close to the main electrical panel. Actually this is probably a violation of the U.S. and Canadian electrical codes since circuit breakers and individual fuses are not intended to serve as equipment operating switches. You can see an installation like this in this photo where we found no pump control electrical switches except in the electrical panel visible in the photo's upper left corner.

Or a separate heavy duty pump relay switch may be installed and no local visible toggle power switch may be present. Pump relays are discussed at WATER PUMP RELAY SWITCH.

Water pump fuse panels: Other water pump installations use a local fuse panel dedicated to the water pump. On these installations the water pump may be switched off by pulling a lever on the side of the fuse box.

Safety warning live voltage is inside of all of these pump switches - and is a shock hazard. When you don't see an ordinary wall switch to turn off the water pump you're probably safer going to the electrical panel where you can turn off power to the water pump by switching off the appropriate circuit breaker or pulling the appropriate fuse.


Continue reading at WATER PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL SWITCH or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.


Or see WATER PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL REPAIR to diagnose pressure switch problems or to replace the pressure switch contact relay parts or diaphragm.

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