If you have a private well, the good news is that you have the benefits of low-cost, fresh and clean water for your family. Unfortunately, you’re also responsible for any problems that may arise with your well pump or water system. There may come a day when you turn on the spigot, and there’s no water, or it just sputters. While there are many potential causes for a no-water emergency, the first place to troubleshoot is your well pump.
About Your Water Well Pump
If you live in New England, chances are your well is equipped with a submersible well pump, which is placed underwater within the well. When you turn on the faucet, water is drawn down from your pressure tank, and an electrical signal is sent to turn on the well pump to replenish your tank.
There are several problems you might encounter that may indicate a pump problem, such as decreased water pressure, dirty water at the faucet, odd noises, or air coming from the faucet. Unusually high electric bills may be a signal that the pump is running continuously to maintain water pressure. Anything that puts a strain on the well pump can cause a premature failure.
Other Well Pump Problems
While these are common problems, there are other problems to be aware of that may be a bit less obvious and may require investigation to diagnose.
When troubleshooting, consider:
• Power Outage – Sometimes, a problem can be as simple as a blown breaker. Always check the power first. If the breaker is blown, fixing it may be as simple as switching it back on. If the power is on, and you still have no water, shut the power off to prevent further damage and call your well water contractor.
• Drought or Dry Spell – If you’ve noticed spitting and sputtering you may be suffering from lack of water due to drought. Other signs of a lower water table include murky, muddy or a “funny tasting” water coming from your faucet. Long periods of dry weather can lower the water table, or it could mean your pump is at the wrong depth.
• Is The Pump Correctly Sized? – Pump size is determined by the size of your system, the number of fixtures and appliances that use water in your home and your families peak demand. If you’ve recently added a bathroom or new appliances that use water, you may need to increase the pump size to return to a normal flow.
• Check Your Pressure Tank – Along with your well pump; your system also uses a pressurized tank to store that distribute water throughout your home. If the pressure tank is not working, then the well pump isn’t either. They work hand in hand. First, check the pressure switch. This is a built-in failsafe that can shut off in the event of a catastrophic failure like a burst pipe. The switch is found at the top of the feed line from the pump to the tank. It is quickly reset, and this can often solve the problem.
Avoiding Well Pump Problems
Your pump is designed to last 25 years with proper care. The best way to avoid problems is to schedule an annual maintenance inspection with your well water contractor. An annual inspection is an inexpensive insurance against a failure when you least want it. We will inspect all the lines, the pump, the pressure tank and motor. A little maintenance will ensure your family years of plentiful, safe, clean drinking water! It’s a smart investment.