If you depend on a well for your home's water supply, a problem with the pump can be a major inconvenience. Replacing a well pump is a big job you don't want to undertake until you've eliminated possible sources of the problem. Well pumps can cease to function for a variety of reasons, and not all of them mean you need a new one. Check these five possibilities before you replace your pump.
1. Check the Power Supply. The simplest troubleshooting fix for a well pump is to check that the power supply hasn't been interrupted. First, confirm that it isn't a fuse or circuit breaker problem, which can be quickly fixed. Next check all of the connections for loose wires or corrosion. Measure the voltage at the line terminals to make sure it reads within ten volts (plus or minus) of the voltage rating for your well pump.
2. Check the Pressure Switch. A faulty pressure switch can cause a variety of problems with your well pump, including failure of the motor to start up, starting up too often, or running all the time. Use a voltage meter, or multimeter, to test the pressure switch at both contacts; you may need to clean the connections or replace the switch to get the pump working again. In some cases, the problem is as simple as improper settings on the pressure switch.
3. Look for Leaky Pipes. If the pump motor keeps starting up too frequently, it's a good idea to check the pipes before you assume the problem is with the pump. Inspect all pipes for any sign of a leak that could be causing the pump to work overtime.
4. Look For a Clog. Inspect the pump screen for any debris that might be clogging it up, and clean it if necessary. Signs that the problem is with a clog in your pipes and not with the pump include problems with only one or two faucets while the rest are functioning. Rule out a plumbing problem before you look to the pump.
5. Inspect the Air Charge and Check Valve. Like the pressure switch, the air charge and the check valve can both be responsible for a failing well pump. A check valve that is stuck in either the open or closed position will cause problems and need to be replaced. If the air charge is not functioning, the tank can become waterlogged. Replace both parts if necessary.
6. Check the Water Level. Use a flashlight to check how high the water level is in the well. If the water is too low, the pump won't be able to do its job. In most cases, the water level will rise given time. In some cases, however, the well may need to be re-dug to access deeper water levels.
For more information, or if you would like professional assistance, contact T. W. Stanley & Son Well Pump & Plumbing Repair or a similar company.