There is nothing quite as fulfilling as having your own well, especially a deep well. Asides the minimal cost for the fresh clean water, you are never bothered when state or municipal water services fail. However, all these come with a price. You now have more water technology that need to be maintained and repaired. Routine well pump maintenance is extremely important. Any moving parts require regular checks in order to keep them running efficiently. You should have a maintenance program since that is the surest way of reducing any potential system failure. This also prolongs the life of the system and lowers repair history and associated cost.
Important Checks in Well Pump Maintenance
To keep your well in good working condition, you have to carry out these two routine checks:
- Water Level Measurement – conduct regular checks on the level of water in the well using a dip tube, sonic sounder, or water well sounder.
- Water Quality Measurement – changes in water quality is easily detected by routine sampling. Some of the red flags in water quality changes include: odor, scaling, taste, clarity, or color. However, it is important to note that not all water quality changes are detectable by the senses.
Well Pump Problems and Symptoms
Some of the commonly reported complaints with well pumping systems include:
- A pump that never runs.
- A running pump but there is no water that comes out.
- The water delivered is insufficient.
- A pump that comes on too frequently.
- Pulsating effect when the water is coming out.
- Failure of the pressure switch to cut-out.
- Poor water pressure.
- The pump runs non-stop.
The symptoms of well pump failure include the following:
- Reduced well yield.
- Gas dissolved in water.
- Sediments in the water.
- Changes in the quality of the water.
Possible Causes of Well Pump Failure Symptoms
Some of the causes of the symptoms of well pump failure include the following:
- A well design or construction that is improper.
- A worn out impeller or a leaking system.
- Buildup of slime or mineral scale.
- Continuous over-pumping of the well.
- Well casing, screen, and liner corrosion.
- A failed casing seal or annulus.
- A dissolved methane or carbon dioxide in the water.
- Bacteria buildup.
How to Diagnose Well Pump Problems
1. Loss of Power
Loss of power is a common problem in well pumping systems. Such a problem forces you to rely only on the water that is held in the pressure tank. A possible cause of power outage could be a complete power outage or simply a breaker that just blew. To solve the problem, open the electrical box and check whether the breaker tripped. If it is off turn it on and if the problem persists turn it off and call a professional.
2. Lack of Water
A low water table might result in lack of water. This could be due to a drought or dry spell. A common sign of a low water table include spitting or sputtering water from the tap, murky or muddy water, or change in water taste. A solution to this would be to lower the pump a little deeper or simply wait for the rain to fall.
3. Pump size
A pump that is not of proper size to meet your household needs can be a problem. If not sure of about pump sizing with respect to your household needs then it is wise to seek professional assistance. The expert needs to check your plumbing system, the number of faucets available, and the number of appliances in the household.
4. Water Pump Overworking
An overworked well pump results in serious problems in your well. The pressure tank helps take away some of the workload that would otherwise be handled by the pump. Eliminate potential well problems by choosing a pressure tank that is sized to meet your household water needs. Always remember that a pump that pumps a few times a day will always work longer than one circulates non-stop or several times in a day.
5. Water Sediments
Sediments such as dirt, small stones, hard water minerals, and other debris block water flow and might cause the pump to stop working completely. They abrasive effect caused by these components damage the bearings and other pump components. This is difficult to tell but the common repair to a broken part is through a replacement of the pressure tank or the pressure switch.
6. Pressure Switch
The pressure switch requires some routine maintenance and these can be carried out without any professional assistance. Always turn off the breaker in the electrical box before working on the pressure switch.
Follow these steps when checking the pressure switch:
- Remove the plastic or metal cover from the pressure switch.
- Tear apart the switch relay if the pump had completely failed and check out whether there is any burning or pitting on the contacts. If there are signs of burning you have to replace the entire pressure switch. If not, clean the contacts using sandpaper or an emery cloth till a shiny metal is revealed on all contacts.
- Adjust the nut located in the switch relay according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Carry out the pressure switch maintenance on a bi-annual basis.
7. Pump Controller
A faulty pump controller has to be replaced and this does not take brains to accomplish. The first step is to remove the screw located at pump control cover’s bottom, lift it off and disconnect it. Take this to the store and purchase an exact replacement. Connect the new cover into pace and then start the pump. If you buy the same brand then there is no need to rewire it. The pump controller is normally located in the house close to the pressure tank and in other cases inside the well pump, in which case it requires an expert to replace.
A Final Word
Well pumps might encounter some serious problems which might not be mentioned above. These include: bad pressure pump, a pump that runs non-stop, a dead well, and many others. All these need to be diagnosed as well. If not sure about what to do seek expert advice.