Private Well Owner? What To Try When Your Well Pump Stops Working

Posted on: 6 March 2018

Estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggest that more than 15 million homes in the United States are currently served by private water wells. While somewhat expensive to drill and initially outfit with the water pump, pressure tank and electrical controls necessary to bring the water into the home, private water wells usually require little in the way of additional maintenance through decades of use. But if and when they do stop functioning correctly, homeowners can use these tips to help diagnose the problem.  

Determine the extent of the problem

The first step in repairing a water well that isn't functioning properly is to determine whether it is performing poorly or has completely stopped all pumping action.

To do this, turn on a cold water faucet and see if any water flows out. It is important to check the cold water faucet and not the hot one, because the hot one may continue to work due to pressure from the stored water in the water heater.

When no water flows from the faucet

If the water does not flow, homeowners should shut the tap off and look at their home's electrical panel to see if power to the well pump is switched off. Well pumps can also be victims of lightning damage during an electrical storm. If the problem with the well occurs immediately or shortly after a thunderstorm, homeowners will want to have their well evaluated by a professional well pump contractor.

Well pumps are covered under some home insurance policies, so it is important to check with your insurance agent if lightning is suspected as the cause of the pump's failure to operate. 

When the water flow is slow or intermittent

If the water flows, but only in a slow or intermittent dribble, the pump may be still working, but struggling to operate. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including: 

  • an issue with the pressure tank 
  • a faulty pump controller component
  • a problem with the electrical switch

Listening to the water well pump is also important in helping to determine the problem. If the pump is clicking on and off normally, yet the pressure to the faucet is slow or intermittent, the problem may be a water pipe break between the pump and the home, instead of a pump issue. 

Homeowners should remember to always disconnect all electrical power to their well pump before checking the components to avoid the potential for experiencing a dangerous or deadly electrical shock. 

To learn more about how your well pump operates or to schedule servicing to help avoid potential outages, contact a reputable well pump repair contractor like Jamison  Well Drilling Inc.