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Diagnose & fix water pump problems:
Here we explain how to diagnose and repair no water pressure, low water pressure, water system noises, or just about any other well pump trouble diagnosis & repair, including: how to diagnose lost water pressure, how to fix pressure control switch problems or adjust the pressure control, & how to diagnos & fix problems with the well pump itself: well pumps that run too often, won't stop, won't start
This article series describes how to diagnose and repair all types of well water pump problems and includes questions and answers from and to homeowners who lost well water pressure. We outline how to diagnose and fix bad water pressure (and link to articles in greater depth). We describe tracing a water pressure problem to the pump pressure control switch or to a bad water pressure tank (and what to do about it).
And we list common water quantity (run out of water) or flow (pressure) problems and solutions Page top illustration of a water pump, tank, controls & water well is used with permission of Carson Dunlop Associates.
In this article and in more depth in arrticles linked-to, the basics process of diagnosis and the costs of the repair are explained. Consumer advice on saving money on well repair costs
includes a review of the parts and labor costs of a typical well pump and pressure tank replacement case.
Bad or No well water pressure?
See WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR for a step by step detailed guide to diagnosing and correcting bad water pressure or total loss of water pressure. Before changing a water pump or control, we need to know why the water pressure or water flow is poor.
Loss of well water pressure means that the pressure with which water enters a plumbing fixture has become too slow, or is sometimes too slow or weak in water flow rate, or water flow may stop entirely.
See WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR where we describe Water Pump Problems? How to Diagnose & Repair Poor or No Water Pressure.
Details on how to repair the well water pump pressure control switch are discussed
at WATER PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL SWITCH REPAIR or adjustment. The illustration at page top is courtesy of Carson Dunlop, Inc. in Toronto.
How to boost well water pressure in a building by installing a pressure booster pump and pressure tank is discussed in detail at WATER PRESSURE BOOSTER PUMP
Well recovery rate, yield, flow rate: if the building water supply stops and takes minutes to hours to recover,
you may have problem with the well flow rate. But the problem of lost water supply and pressure could be
more mechanical: a bad well pump.
The well pump, in turn, could have been damaged or hastened to the end of its
life by a bad water pressure tank which has caused well pump short-cycling. Short cycling of the pump motor can burn up
the pump relay control.
Readers of this document should also see
WATER PRESSURE TANKS - how to diagnose the need for air, how to add air,
stop water pump short cycling to avoid damage - water storage water pressure tank safety.
Loss of Well Water Pressure or Poor Water Supply - Diagnosis & Repair Guide
Questions & Answers about pump, water tank, well piping, & well repairs
The following is an actual case of a correspondent who lost water pressure and called a well and plumbing contractor who
made several repairs. At the end of the repair water pressure and supply were restored but the owner had a bit of
"sticker shock" when he saw the bill. He wrote to ask our opinion. Our reply, which follows the owner's note below,
reviews the diagnosis, repair, and repair costs for this well pump and water tank replacement project.
We have a private well with the same components shown on your diagram (well pump, pressure tank, pressure switch etc..)
We recently experienced loss of water pressure and actually a lack of any water flow at all from our faucets in our house.
As we waited 30 min to 1 hr, the water would return and run normal for several hours, only to return to no water again. This went on for about 24 hours.
We contacted the well contractor shown on our well cap. He quickly determine the bladder in the pressure tank was ruptured by just shaking the water tank.
After installing a new $600 dollar tank, the well contractor waited for the water pump to come on. It didn't. Then the contractor sold us a new well pump.
The total bill: $2000 and some change.
1. Is this a fair price for repair of a water pressure tank or pump or both? Did the contractor make the right repair? Was we overcharged?
2. Can we check his prognosis by inspecting the replaced tank and pump?
Diagnostic Questions & Answers About Well Water Pump and Tank Pressure, Flow, or Water Supply Equipment & Piping Repair or Replacement
Categories of Well Water Pressure & Equipment Questions & Answers
We have sorted reader questions and their answers about how to diagnose problems with private water supply systems into the following rough categories:
PRESSURE CONTROL SWITCH PROBLEMS with water pressure or well pumps traced to the well pump pressure control switch: short cycling, pump won't start, pump won't stop, wrong cut-in pressure, wrong cut off pressure
WELL FLOW RATE - water quantity problems. If your well runs out of water check this article where we discuss the ability of a water well to deliver water, at what rate water can be pumped out of the well, and how to improve the well yield or flow rate.
WATER PUMP WIRING DAMAGE - nicks, cuts, short circuits, lightning strikes, damaged well pump wiring can cause tripped circuit breakers, blown fuses, low water pressure, slow pumping, or complete loss of water pressure
WATER TANK DIAGNOSTIC FAQs - series of diagnostic questions help sort out where the water pressure, flow, or water pump problem lies: with the water pump, water tank, the well, or elsewhere.
WATER TANK SIZE & VOLUME. - how to calculate the volume of water in a water pressure tank. If your well flow rate is very poor, one option is to install a larger or multiple water tanks used not just for pressure regulation but for water storage.
WELL FLOW RATE - how we determine just how much water a well can deliver and at what rate (gpm), and
Reader Question: how to use a volt meter or VOM or DMM to test the well pump
(Mar 13, 2015) Quin said:
How do I test my pump still in the well with a volt meter. What do I put meter on and what wires
A clamp-on ammeter, in the hands of someone who knows how to use it safely - as there are electrocution, shock, death hazards when working with electricity - can measure the current drawn by a submersible pump when it's running.
Abnormally high current drawn by the water pump (one needs to know the pump brand and model and its data for making comparisons) can tell us that the pump motor is binding or that the foot valve strainer is clogged;
Abnormally low current draw by the well pump can mean a broken impeller or a pump running in air;
Shorted or open wires to the pump are found at its supply connections in the pump control or relay and should have already blown a fuse; but it may also be possible to detect a winding short in the pump motor itself.
That's as far as I can safely go in giving advice. First we don't have any information whatsoever about what you have installed, controls, switches, fuses, type of pump, location, etc, and second, I worry that if you are not familiar with using a volt meter you could be injured.
It's worth noting that well pump control companies sell pump pressure controls that include diagnostic circuitry. Typically these controls monitor the current draw of the pump and can often determine that a submersible well pump is running dry (well is running out of water) or has failing bearings (running hot) or has other defects. Those same principles are what an expert well service company or electrician will use to interpret the voltage draw of your pump.
Well Pump Pressure Control Switch Problem Diagnosis Questions
A Guide to Building Water Pressure by Adjusting or Repairing the Water Pump Pressure Control Switch or the Water Pressure Tank
Reader Question: how do I set the well pump pressure control switch on and off or cut-in/cut-out pressures?
I am not sure how to adjust the well pump pressure control switch - what are those two adjustment nuts and which way do I turn them to change the water pressure settings?
How to Adjust Water Pump Pressure: The detailed, step by step procedure for inspecting and adjusting the water pressure control switch is
discussed in detail
at WATER PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL ADJUSTMENT.
Diagnose & fix water pressure problems: Two good starting points for diagnosing all building water pressure problems are
Diagnosing Water Pump Short Cycling on and off: If your water pump is clicking on and off too often or quite rapidly
see SHORT CYCLING.
Diagnosing Water Pressure Drops without explanation when the pump stops,
see WATER PRESSURE FALLS SLOWLY, ERRATIC PUMP: bad pressure control switch, building water running or leak, bad pressure gauge, bad check valve, bad foot valve.
Diagnosing & Repairing a Water Pressure Control or Water Pump Control Switch: We discuss diagnosing and repairing a water pressure control switch that sticks "on" or "off" or simply won't operate,
at WATER PUMP PRESSURE SWITCH REPAIRS.
How to boost water pressure in a building by installing a pressure booster pump and pressure tank is discussed in detail
at WATER PRESSURE BOOSTER PUMP
Reader Question: please explain the cause of and cure for pressure switch clogging
We had an issue with water pressure ( water would stop flowing for 20 sec at a time) in a house we are renting. The owner called the local well drilling co. They replaced the pressure switch which was clogged with iron. Is this a wear and tear issue or a water quality issue or something else. - Sue460@ptd.net 9/7/2012
Sue, thanks for the important question - it gives us a chance to clarify the problem with debris clogging at well pump pressure control switches and pressure gauges.
Debris in the water supply or sometimes rust in water piping can clog the small pressure sensor port on the bottom of a pressure control switch, causing it to fail to operate properly - that is, the debris prevents accurate sensing of actual water pressure so the switch may fail to turn a pump on or off as it should. In the "turn-off" case the result could be very dangerous as over pressurizing the water system could burst a pipe or even a pressure tank, injuring a bystander and flooding a building.
Similarly, the same problem can cause a water pressure gauge to fail to properly register water pressure accurately. Often we can detect this by tapping the gauge and seeing its pressure reading suddenly change, after observing that the gauge reads an abnormally low pressure or when the gauge pressure reading simply doesn't change.
While these problems can be repaired by replacing the clogged pressure control switch or pressure gauge, the root problem is debris or rust in the system - a problem that can be addressed by installing water filtration ahead of these components.
So in response to your question, the underlying problem is inadequate water filtration, not a wear and tear issue - in my OPINION
Reader Question: water flow stops for 5 seconds at the start of the pump "on" cycle
When pressure in the tank drops to a set point, well kicks on and supply to the house is via well...or so that is my understanding. In the past, when this occurred you would notice a very brief fluctuation in the flow of water at any given outlet, I. e for about a second you could tell something had changed but water was always flowing. Over time this has changed gradually... To the point that now water stops flowing for a good 5 seconds, but then continues just fine. It's not a huge deal...but clearly something needs maintenance or repair. would prefer to do this now. - David Hicks 5/20/12
David, there may be a different problem in the case you describe, but I'd start by replacing the pressure control switch. If the pressure sensor port on the switch is debris or rust clogged, an early symptom is a delay in the switch's ability to respond to a drop in water pressure.
If the water tank is not waterlogged then try replacing the pressure switch and any pipe or tubing supplying water to its bottom sensor port.
Reader Question: Will excessive water use change the pump's operating pressure?
Just a question to educate myself with the operation of a residential well pump/tank system:
My tank is about 7 years old, was set to cut in at 40 psi and cut out at 60 psi, it cuts in at 2 psi below 40, so I'm OK there, but I noticed that it's cutting out at around 55-57 psi and then after a minute or so, settles at around 52 psi.
I had thought originally that it was cutting out at 60 psi after it was installed. Now, I was also wondering if excessive water usage for a period of time (ex: watering plants, or the grass) would contribute to what I'm seeing, or if I have an other issue to look at. The pump is about 10 years old, and we do have hard water (dissolved rust, manganese) with a whole house filter installed after the well tank. Thanks for any help with this. - Tony 7/10/12
Typical cut-in and cut-out are 20/40 or 30/50 psi for a pump pressure control switch. Tony if you set the pressure too high the risk is that the pump never turns off and burns up the pump motor, or at high pressures, say over 70 psi, faucets are likely to leak.
Hard water clogs pipes and can clog valves or other controls, but I'm not sure how it would change the pump on/off pressure. If you're in doubt about the switch itself I'd just replace it - it's not a costly part.
Well Tank Problems, Trouble With Water Pressure Following Water Pressure Tank Replacement or Relocation, etc.
For web page speed improvements we moved this section to a separate article Please see WATER TANK DIAGNOSTIC FAQs for a discussion of problems with the water pressure tank or well water tank that might actually explain problems blamed on the well pump.
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 closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
(Nov 22, 2014) Anonymous said:
A knowledge full article which clearly explain answers of many questions in mind.
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
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.
Class 9013 Square D Commercial Pressure Switches: Water Pump Pressure Control Switch Class 9013, Type F, G, Manual, Square D Company, 8001 Highway 64 East, Knightdale, NC 27545-9023, USA, (919) 266-3671, www.squared.com,
web search 02/24/2011, original source: stevenengineering.com/tech_support/PDFs/45COM.pdf. Quoting:
The Type FSG, FYG, FRG - PUMPTROL® Water Pump Pressure Switches are used to control Water Pump Pressure Switches are used to control
electrically driven water pumps and have the following features:
The Type FSG is the standard water pump switch, suitable for all types of pumps: jets, submersible,
The Type FYG is designed to meet higher horsepower and pressure requirements.
The Type FRG is reverse acting: the contacts open on falling pressure.
All are diaphragm actuated.
The Type G - PUMPTROL® Commercial/Light Industrial Pressure Switch is used to control electrically
driven water pumps and air compressors. It has higher electrical ratings for direct control of motors in
pump and compressor applications. The Type G switch is diaphragm actuated and has contacts that
open on rising pressure.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
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