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This article explains how to determine if repair work has been done correctly following lost water pressure. The basics process of well, pump, or water tank diagnosis and the costs of the repair are explained.
How to diagnose loss of water pressure or loss of water in a building. How to decide if water pump replacement is needed. How to decide if water tank replacement is necessary. Typical cost of various well, pump, and water tank repairs.
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.
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However given the sequence that you describe, we understand that you'd suspect that there was nothing wrong with the pressure tank and that the problem, all along, was the well pump.
If the contractor were skilled and diagnosed that a bad tank was hastening the demise of or even causing the demise of the well pump, it would be poor practice to replace only the pump.
Photo: a Red Lion two-line jet pump. [Click to enlarge any image]
While a more sophisticated analysis (perhaps using an ammeter to look at current on the pump circuit, for example), might have detected at the outset that it was the pump that needed replacing, it is very common in all trades for a repair person to first replace, among the possible causes of a problem, the items which are less costly and most accessible - in this case, the water pressure tank. (Presuming your pump is a submersible down in the well.)
First of all, there should be no leaks, anywhere, on the equipment which was repaired. If something was left wet, wipe it off and check for leaks. We don't pay my plumber if s/he leaves her/his work leaking. We call the boss.
Second, everything worked-on should be working normally to your eye and ear.
An expert plumber or well contractor can check the operation of your system by a combination of observation and electrical testing, such as measuring the amperage draw on the well pump circuit during pump operation. If these parameters are in normal range you should be ok insofar as the equipment is concerned. Your repair person should have made these checks. Ask him or her.
If you have been in the home for several years you should have an idea whether or not you've had a history of the well running out of water. You can understand more about your well and how the well itself is performing by noting its technical statistics such as well depth, water level, pump depth, static head, and well flow rate - topics we discuss at my website. If it is determined that you have a low-yield well, there are several solutions besides just drilling a new well - itself a shot in the dark.
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. The illustration at left is courtesy of Carson Dunlop, Inc. in Toronto.
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(Jan 28, 2012) Dave M said:
My well can't keep up with demand. I used to be able to water 2 zones, but now I can't even water 1. The pump is a submersible pump. I can hear it come on and fill the tanks. I use the metal arm on the side of the pump controller to fill the tanks. But as soon as I open one valve the pump comes on and the pressure drops fast. The pressure eventually drops below 20 psi and then the pump auto shuts off. Its like the pump can't keep up any more. Any suggestions. Thanks
(Aug 27, 2012) Barb said:
My well canno lomger support my irrigation, even with only 2 hoses running at once, I have only a trickle of water in the house. The well has plenty of water. Normally I can run 25gpm at full irrigation zone setting. this problem has been geting worse over the course of several moths. Once water is down to a trickle it takes many minutes, or even 1./2 hour for pressure to return to normal. Pump does not turn on often, it seldom turns on at all.
If the problem is a low flow well, see
(Aug 20, 2012) Kristy said:
Pressure tank gauge is set to 30/50 psi for cutin/cutout, but has been dropping to 20psi before the pump kicks in and stopping at 50psi. Could the pressure switch or gauge be going bad?
Chances are the switch is not sensing water pressure accurately because of clogging of its sensor port
x (Aug 12, 2014) Anonymous said:
I have to reset my well pump by turning the breaker off and then back on, any suggestions of what could cause that problem. As soon as I switch breaker the pump clicks back on immediately.
Your system may have a pump protection control that turns off the pump when it's running dry. Check that condition first.
(Nov 11, 2014) Tim said:
I put a new deep well pump and tank in teed it off to my shallow well I cant get any pressure above 20 -30 pounds it wouldn't build I put shut off values on the two wells to run one or the other cant get any pressure do I need to put in a check value in both line need help thanks
Tim if the pump is unable to reach cut-off pressure that points more likely to a different problem than one with a check valve; look for piping leaks, poor well flow rate, or a pump that's not working properly - perhaps a damaged impeller or low voltage.
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