Recognizing The Symptoms Of Pressure Switch Trouble

Well pump failures have the potential to be terrifying. Not only are you left without fresh water for your home, but you may be facing a repair bill that can be quite costly. While it's easy to imagine a worst-case scenario requiring a pump replacement, there are less frightening reasons that your water well may have stopped working.

The pressure switch is one common cause of problems. Luckily, these components are relatively simple to replace, and the repair may only cost you a few hundred dollars. Keep reading to learn how this critical part works and what you can do to recognize the signs of failure.

Pressure Switches Explained

Your home's well does not run continuously. Even when you have a faucet turned on, the pump may remain idle. Your well system achieves this magical feat through the use of a pressure tank and pressure switch. While the pump runs, the pressure tank fills with water until an internal air bladder reaches a set pressure point. Once the tank reaches the target pressure, the pressure switch deactivates the pump.

This system exists to both protect your pump from wear and provide adequate water pressure for your home. The air pressure in the tank pushes water into your pipes, providing a steady supply to your showers, sinks, and other fixtures. As the tank empties, the pressure drops. Once the pressure falls below a set level, the pressure switch turns the pump back on and begins to refill the tank.

Spotting a Bad Switch

It should be apparent that the operation of your well pump system relies on a correctly operating pressure switch. If your switch fails to detect low pressure, your tank will eventually drain, and you will lose water pressure entirely. On the other hand, a switch that won't shut off can overpressurize the tank and cause leaks from the release valve.

In general, faulty pressure switches can produce a variety of problems, from short-cycling your pump to over- and under-pressurizing your tank. In most cases, pressure switch failures are the result of corroded or failing wire contacts. After disconnecting the power to the switch at the breaker, you can remove the cover and inspect the internal wiring for visible signs of trouble.

Repairing Faulty Switches

If you suspect a wiring problem and you can safely disconnect the power, then you can attempt to clean up the wire contacts on the switch. Annually inspecting and cleaning your contacts can be an excellent form of preventative maintenance, as well. If this doesn't fix the problem, then a professional well pump technician can help you to diagnose the issue and replace the switch if needed.

To learn more, contact a well pump repair contractor.