Take a bit of time to check the health of your well pump and all the parts that get that water from the ground to your house. You’ll likely be saving yourself some unnecessary repairs and replacements when you notice elements that aren’t working their best or issues that could become a major expense.
Here are some of the more common pressure tank issues homeowners run into that you can easily fix yourself, along with some insights to help you understand more complicated problems that you’ll need the extended knowledge of a plumber for.
Pressure Switch Maintenance
The pressure switch located near the bottom of your pressure tank requires periodic maintenance and is the most common culprit of problems with pumping your well water. Troubleshooting your well water problems is best started with the pressure switch
As with anything in your home that has power running through it, you should turn off the breaker in your electrical box to the pressure tank and well pump before working on it. It could be set up as one large breaker of 30 amps or more or a double circuit breaker with two lower amperages in tandem on the panelboard. The pressure tank and well pump should be wired on the same breaker, so if you find a label for “well” or “water pump,” that should be the power shut-off for the pressure tank, too.
Once you’re sure the power is off to the pressure tank — you can test with a non-contact voltage tester --follow these steps to perform basic maintenance on your pressure switch:
This is a great maintenance task to do on a bi-annual basis, especially if your pressure pump is in a high-humidity area like the basement. If you were trying to get your water supply back to your house with the pressure switch maintenance and it didn’t seem to do the trick, you may need a new pressure switch.
Pressure Switch ReplacementSwitches are available in three different pressure ranges: 40 to 60 psi, 30 to 50 psi and 20 to 40 psi. Your pressure tank was designed to work properly with only one of these ranges, so be sure to check which range is right for your tank. You can usually find this information printed on the inside of the switch cover.
Here are the step-by-step directions to replace your pressure switch:
If neither of these quick fixes got your system running again, you may have an issue with your pressure tank or water pump. A tank or pump failure can be caused by a number of factors: age, low-quality components, running without water, constant cycling or a clogged intake valve. Water pumps and pressure tanks don’t need much in the way of maintenance, but they do need the right environment to reach their life expectancy.
Even the most seasoned do-it-yourselfer backs off from water pump replacement or pressure tank issues. A submersible pump needs to be pulled up a long way from your well, and once it’s up, you may not be too sure what you’re going to do with it. Someone trained in water pump technology will be able to make a repair or recognize the time has come for a replacement. Even above-ground jet pumps contain a number of components that aren’t easy to troubleshoot without training and experience.
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