In this comprehensive article, we are going to take you through How to tell if your well pump is going bad, warning signs of a struggling pump and troubleshooting a well pump correctly, and in the end, we will answer all the frequently asked questions.
However, it is up to you to maintain and always repair your well pump to keep that dependable water supply running through your faucets.
Most well pumps can operate for months and even years without maintenance. That’s why many well pump users don’t realize the need for routine maintenance until when it’s too late.
First, Here’s a quick summary:)
How to Tell if Your Well Pump is Going Bad
- Cloudy or Muddy Water.
- Low Water Pressure.
- High Electric Bills.
- Poor Tasting Water.
- Noisy Spitting Faucets.
- Your Pump is Running Constantly.
- No Water from Well or Dry Well.
Lets Dive in….
1. Cloudy or Muddy Water
This sign indicate a failing well pump that is unable to filter out silt before pumping the water up the surface, once you see cloudy or muddy water starting to appear on your pumped water, this is a clear sign that the pump is wearing out at a very high rate because of friction of the sand and silt.
2. Low Water Pressure
The most common indicator of a struggling well water pump is when you start experiencing low water pressure in your faucets and showers. This is usually caused by iron bacteria clogging the nipple pipe leading to the pressure switch.
These iron bacteria affect the pressure switch negatively and incorrectly sense the pressure. Therefore, there is need to test your well water for iron bacteria.
If you find traces of iron in water, then your well pump and screen are likely clogged with high iron bacteria. To restore the well pump to a better condition, the pump and well should be cleaned to remove slime, iron bacteria and scales.
3. High Electric Bills
If your power usage for each month is creeping up and there’s no other apparent reason, and your well pump is running day in day out, this usually happens when the well pump is malfunctioning, maybe the pressure switch needs replacement/adjustment or the water-level in the well might be low.
Another common cause is when the pump is blocked with silt, sand or iron bacteria. As a result, the pump is forced to work much harder to draw water to fill up the pressure tank.
4. Poor Tasting Water
Well water can be contaminated by decaying organic waste, bacteria, sand, and silt.
These usually creates an off taste and even an odor that is not pleasing but not dangerous to human and animal consumption.
Still, corroded plumbing pipes can cause water to smell and taste rusty, the best way out is to test your drinking water with a Well Water test Kit.
Recommended: Best Well Water Test kits of 2020
5. Noisy Spitting Faucets
When dealing with spitting faucets issues caused by air in the plumbing system, first, check for a leaking pressure tank bladder that always causes a sporadic air spurt in the water system.
Secondly, check for a malfunctioning well pump and finally inspect for cracks or breaks in the water pipes above the pump.
6. Your Pump is Running Constantly
If your well pump is running non-stop, this can be a sign that your well pump is struggling to draw water from the well to fill up the pressure tank.
7. Strange or rapid clicking noises coming from the tank
Water pressure tank contains a bladder that is full of air and sometimes the bladder leaks or loses air Due to this you may hear rapid clicking sounds emanating from the pressure nozzle near the pressure tank.
This air escaping from the bladder may affect the well pump negatively, making it to get into a non-ending stop-start and start-stop cycle. So, it is advisable to inform your plumbing expert to come and access the problem.
8. Well Pressure Tank
This Pressure well tank is mostly located in the basement and is used to hold water that is being pumped from the well for consistent home-usage.
If your holding tank is small but your family need is high, the well pump will be forced to run-constantly to keep the tank filled all the time, causing it to burn out. It’s thus advisable to install a larger tank in order to protect your well pump.
9. No Water from Well or Dry Well
Drought seasons may cause the well to run dry and affect the pressure tank to run low on water thus sending a “call signal” to your well pump and cause your it to run on a dry well, causing the pump to burn out.
A low water cutoff system is a must-have. This will always sense when the water is running below the set levels and prevent the pump from overheating and getting burnt out.
Nothing is meant to last forever, right! A top high-quality and properly maintained well pump has an average lifespan of 16-23 years. After years and years of service, the parts inside the pump will begin to wear down.
Top signs of well pump failure
- Sudden change in water quality, the water is often coupled with silt, sediments, and sand.
- High iron bacteria in the water or sulfate-reducing bacteria.
- A sudden change in water quality such as odor, color or taste, slime buildup in the pump and toilet.
- Contamination from man-made sources like industrial chemicals.
- An increase in hardness, manganese, iron, and sulfate, always do a routine of water test.
How to correct well water warning signs:
- Have your well water analyzed after every six months to ensure it is safe for drinking.
- Try to identify the contamination and remove the cause.
- Routinely calculate the Langelier saturation index to know the water’s corrosion threats.
- Install a water treatment system to remove silt and sand in the well, before it reaches the pressure tank.
- Install aeration and degassing system to remove excess gasses in water.
- Inspect the piping system for any corrosion threats.
Troubleshooting well pump problems
You wake up one morning and realize your well pump has stopped working or pumping water to your pressure tank.
That should not mean you have to purchase a brand new pump or dig another new well.
A well pump system includes many components of which one can stop working and affect the pump from working properly or ground it entirely.
Below are some easy techniques that you can use to troubleshoot your well pump before calling in an expert.
A power surge or increased power usage can trigger the power circuit and shut down the whole system completely.
So, before doing anything, you need to verify if the electrical circuit has tripped. Power shut down is a common problem in well pumps.
Locate where the circuit breaker is, switch it off and on again; sometimes it looks as if it is on when it isn’t.
Another common problem that you need to check keenly is the pressure tank functionality; less air pressure inside the tank can send an incorrect signal to the pressure button to switch on the pressure tank.
The right pressure inside the tank should always be two psi less than the required setting at which the pressure switch comes on.
A well pump that has black or brown elements and rusty sediments in the pumped water requires a system treatment to correct the problem.
Minerals like manganese can leave black marking/stains on your clothes and a brownish coating inside deep freezers and fridges. Iron bacteria are prone to grow inside your toilet tank and stains utensils.
Kindly note, faucet filters or under-counters are not able to remove these minerals; you can contact your local water specialist to fix this problem.
Well pump keeps turning on and off:
This a common condition called “waterlogged.” For a pressure system to operate correctly; there must be a certain amount of air in the pressure tank.
When you turn on the pump, the water in the tank compresses the air in the pressure tank as it begins to fill with water.
As the water volume increases in the tank, the air is compressed further, building pressure inside the tank, so every time you open a faucet the pressure inside the tank forces water through the pipe system and out the faucet.
Over time the amount of air required inside the tank to operate appropriately will decrease, and water will be left inside the tank.
In this scenario, water cannot be compressed to build up pressure that tells the pump to shut off. So when you open a faucet the little amount of water left will reduce the pressure in the tank and the switch will signal the pump to start again.
As long as your tank contains less air and too much water inside the tank, the pump will continue the never-ending cycle of on and off every second.
This is a very hard task for the pump and it can cause serious problems.
To correct the problem, you need to call the people who installed your water pump and explain the problem to them.
How Long Does Well Pump Last
Why submersible pump trip:
Pump tripping is a common thing mostly on old well pumps, the probable reasons might be a worn out bearing that expose shaft when the motors start.
The current might be too high for the circuit breaker or an eroded seal caused by sand frictions allows water to penetrate through the motor housing and short circuit.
If your submersible pump is an inexpensive model, the best option is to replace it with a new pump than having someone to dismantle and fix it because it’s very difficult to seal properly when outside the factory.
Air bubbles in well water
It is a common occurrence to see air bubbles appear in a glass of water drawn from your kitchen faucet.
However, whenever you see a large number of bubbles similar to effervescence appear in your glass this can be from natural occurrence and mechanical reasons.
Although they pose no health risk, water testing is required to establish the reason.
Naturally Occurring Bubbles
Pressure and temperature are the two main factors of gasses that are released into your well water in the form of small bubbles.
This natural occurring of bubbles is due to pressure from the bedrock well which is high, and when the water is pumped up straight to the tank, the pressure reduces forming small bubbles in the process.
In most cases, these bubbles are nothing to worry about.
Mechanical Causes Of Air Bubbles
When the water level inside the well run down/low this will allow air bubbles to form in the well pump as it draws water.
One of the best ways in the short term to prevent this from happening is to reduce the volume of water used in the home.
Homeowners are advised to install a well drawdown cutoff system that will prevent over pumping and motor from overheating, cause well pump stopped working.
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