It’s true that the modern home today requires a steady supply of fresh water for many normal functions. There are many uses for water, some of which we barely give thought to, such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, laundry, drinking water, and a host of others.
Most homes get fresh water from one of two principal sources: a water well, or a municipal water district. Homes that get water from a well typically pay less for it than getting it from a municipal water supply. For homes that utilize well water however, it is critically important that the well pump be reliable.
A well pump is a mechanical unit, and as with any mechanical device, it is possible for a well pump to malfunction as well. Should a pump fail, it can be both inconvenient and costly for a homeowner. When these pumps do malfunction, it is important that they be repaired or replaced as quickly as possible to ensure the well continues to operate. By understanding the steps you need to take to fix the pump when it malfunctions, you can save money over having it serviced by a technician.
Several things can cause pump failure, such as being an undersized pump, operating on too low a voltage, it is set too deep in the well, or it runs too often. Let’s take a closer look at one of these potential problems: The pump motor runs too much.
The Pressure Switch
When the pump motor starts and stops continually, first take a look at the pressure switch. The pressure switch setting could be wrong. Reset the switch. Now check to see if the problem is solved. If this doesn’t work, the switch may be defective, and need to be replaced.
Check the Check Valve
The check valve is another thing to look at. If left open, the check valve can cause the pump to continually run and not shut off. The check valve – as with the pressure switch, will need to be replaced if it is found to be defective.
The Storage Tank – Is It Too Small?
When the storage tank is too small, it may also cause premature well pump failure. The primary purpose of the storage tank is to help extend the life of the pump. When a storage tank is too small for the job, it forces the pump motor to work harder – stopping and starting more frequently – causing excessive wear and tear on the unit. It’s the constant on and off that causes the pump to fail before its time.
The solution is to purchase a larger tank to prevent overworking the pump. A small tank that is undersized will cause frequent short operations of the pump. A tank with a larger capacity however, will thus require the pump to come on less frequently, and thus extend its life.
When you are calculating the size tank you need, follow this general rule of thumb: size the tank for one gallon of drawdown for each gallon of pump capacity. By sizing the storage tank this way, you can minimize the start and stops, and run the pump for the right amount of time.