If you rely on a private well for your home's water supply, having a properly functioning water pump is essential. However, wells and pumps require regular maintenance and occasional repairs to keep everything running smoothly. Learning to identify common well pump problems can help you address issues quickly and make informed decisions about necessary repairs or replacements. Here are some of the most frequent well pump problems homeowners face in the Tampa Bay area, along with solutions to get your water flowing again.
Loss of Water Pressure
One of the first signs of a well pump problem is loss of water pressure in your home. Low water pressure from faucets and shower heads usually indicates an issue with your well pump or pressure tank. Here are some possible causes:
Failing Well Pump
Over time, wear and tear can cause components in the well pump to fail. Issues like broken impellers, leaking seals, and bad bearings will reduce pump performance. Replacing the pump entirely is usually required when multiple parts are worn out.
Drop in Static Water Level
If the static water level in your well drops below the pump intake, it will suck air and water pressure will decrease. Lower rainfall levels or high usage can draw down the aquifer. You may need to lower the pump deeper into the well.
Cracks, pinholes, and loose fittings in the pipes connecting the well to your home can leak water and air pockets that reduce pressure. Inspect above-ground pipes carefully and call a well contractor to check the submersible piping in the well. Replacing worn pipes will resolve leaks.
Malfunctioning Pressure Tank
An improperly functioning pressure tank can cause intermittent water flow and pressure loss. The tank may need recharging with air, draining of sediment, or replacement if it's old. Annual pressure tank inspections help avoid this issue.
Clogged Pipes or Screens
Mineral scale, sediment, and bacteria growth can restrict flow through well components like pipes, screens, and the pump itself. Professional cleaning or replacements may be required to remove clogs and restore full pressure.
Pump Cycling On and Off Frequently
Frequent on/off cycling of your well pump often signals a problem with the pressure tank. Here are some typical reasons:
Water Logged Pressure Tank
If the rubber bladder inside the tank leaks or ruptures, water can saturate the air pocket. This prevents the tank from maintaining pressure between pump cycles. Draining excess water and replacing the damaged bladder or entire tank will resolve water logging issues.
Undersized Pressure Tank
As water usage needs grow in a household, an older pressure tank may become too small. This causes short run times and frequent pump cycling. Adding an additional tank or installing a larger one can provide needed capacity.
Excessive Water Use
High demand from large leaks, irrigation systems, or high occupancy can exceed the pressure tank's capacity and make the pump cycle too frequently. Identifying and reducing excessive flows will allow the tank to function properly.
Faulty Pressure Switch
Malfunctioning pressure switches that control pump operation can cause short cycling. Replace old or damaged switches and adjust to the proper cut-in and cut-out pressure settings to prevent rapid on/off cycles.
Pump Running Continuously Without Shutting Off
If your well pump runs non-stop with no shut off period, you likely have a tank issue or plumbing crossover. Some possibilities include:
Leaking Foot Valve
The foot valve at the bottom of the submersible piping can leak, allowing water to drain out of the pipes back into the well. This will cause the pump to run continuously while trying to refill the system. Replacing the foot valve will stop constant pumping.
Cross Connection in Plumbing
Under certain conditions, water pressure differentials can cause a crossover between the home's plumbing and well system. This feeds water back to the well and makes the pump run excessively. A plumbing inspection is needed to identify and remove any cross connections.
Stuck Pressure Switch
Mechanical malfunctions or mineral buildup can prevent the pressure switch from shutting off at its high setting. The pump continues running until the switch is repaired or replaced.
Undersized Well Pump
If your pump cannot meet the water demand, it will run non-stop while struggling to keep up. A larger pump, reduced usage, or second pump may be needed to provide adequate flow rates. Continuous pumping will wear out an undersized pump quicker.
Pump Turning On and Off With No Water Delivery
Having your well pump cycle with no water coming from the faucets indicates a problem between the pump itself and your home's plumbing. Some potential issues are:
Leaking or Burst Pipe
Cracks and ruptures in the discharge pipe going to your home will lead to air or water leaks underground. This allows the pump to pressurize the line between the well and your house, but no water reaches the faucets. Identifying and replacing burst sections of pipe will resolve the issue.
Faulty wiring that powers the well pump can cause electricity supply problems that prevent water flow. Above ground wiring issues are easy to identify and repair. Submersible pumps may require a qualified well contractor to test and troubleshoot the electrical components.
Debris Stuck in Impellers
Small pebbles, sand, or bits of scale that fall down the well can become lodged in the pump impeller. This allows the impeller to spin freely without moving water. The pump and piping will need to be pulled up and cleaned out. Installation of a sanitary well seal can prevent debris from entering the well.
Frozen Discharge Pipes
In very cold weather, the pipes between the well and your home can freeze. The pump will still pressurize the line, but any water pushed up gets blocked by ice in the pipes. Carefully thawing pipes with a heated cloth or light bulb will restore flow. Burying discharge pipes below frost line prevents freezing.
How to Extend the Life of Your Well Pump
Taking proactive maintenance steps can maximize the life expectancy of your well pump and avoid unexpected breakdowns. Here are some ways to keep your pump in good operating condition:
Conduct Annual Inspections - Have a qualified well professional perform a visual check of all well components and water quality tests each year. They can catch issues early before they cause pump failures.
Maintain Consistent Water Usage - Avoid rapid on/off cycling by spacing out water usage, upgrading undersized equipment, and fixing plumbing leaks. Steady operation is best for pump longevity.
Install Surge Protection - Electrical surges from lightning or grid spikes can damage pump motors. High quality surge protectors or lightning arrestors will safeguard the pump from power fluctuations.
Keep Sediment Out of Well - Proper well construction and maintaining a sanitary seal prevents sand, grit and debris from entering the well and damaging the pump. Schedule professional well rehabilitation if sediment becomes an issue.
Lubricate Motors Regularly - For pumps with motor lubrication ports, adding fresh lubricant every 1-2 years as recommended keeps the motor running cool and efficient. Letting lubricant reservoirs go dry can lead to burnout.
Replace Pump After 10-15 Years - Even with great care, typical pump life expectancy is 10-15 years. Reactive replacement costs much more than proactive pump replacement once you surpass that normal lifespan.
Water Treatment Solutions from Aqua Wise in Tampa Bay
Issues like hard water scale, iron staining, sediment, and bacteria can lead to clogged plumbing, stained fixtures, and accelerated pump wear. Aqua Wise provides customized whole house water treatment systems that address your specific water quality problems. Systems like the AquaSoft Water Softener prevent scale buildup, while the AquaGuard Disinfection System eliminates bacteria for cleaner water throughout your home.
Protect your investment in your well, plumbing, appliances, and pump equipment with professional water treatment from Aqua Wise. We offer:
Free on-site water testing to analyze your water and identify solutions
Whole house systems starting at just $2,495 installed
Professional installation by certified technicians
Ongoing service and maintenance plans
Customer satisfaction guaranteed
You worked hard to establish your homestead with a private well. Don’t let pump problems and water quality issues ruin your system. With Aqua Wise's treatment systems, you can stop problems before they start and keep your well pumping for years to come. Schedule your free water test today!