Should a Well Pump Run Constantly?

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Residential well water systems have a pump that pulls water from your well and into a pressure tank inside your house. Well pumps are designed to fill your pressure tank, at which point they are supposed to shut off until more water is needed in the tank. If your well pump runs constantly, there is a problem that you should investigate.

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Discovering why your well pump is running continuously is important for several reasons. A constantly running well pump causes high energy bills, and if the pump runs long enough, it will break down prematurely. It may also be a sign of other problems with your well or plumbing system. Some well pump problems are easy to take care of, while others require the assistance of a plumber.

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Tip

No, a well pump shouldn't run constantly; if it does, there's a problem with the water system. Well pumps are designed to run for a time and then shut off once the pressure tank is filled.

Running Toilet or Sink

Toilet tanks are designed in such a way that once the tank fills after flushing, the water running to the toilet should shut off. If your toilet tank is not working correctly and the water continues to run, this causes a demand on your water tank, which will cause the well pump to continue to run. Additionally, if you have a sink or shower faucet that drips constantly despite the tap being in the off position, this will also cause the well pump to run continuously. Adjust or replace your toilet fill valve or flapper or change the washer in your sink or shower faucet, and your well pump may shut off and begin operating normally again.

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Loss of Prime

If your system features an above-ground jet pump, there is always the possibility of it losing prime if the intake pipe on the system runs low on water or runs out altogether. Without water in the intake pipe, the pump can't generate enough suction to pull water out of the well and into the house. Losing prime is usually the result of a long period of inactivity or a leak in the suction line. If you suspect that your pump has lost prime, turn it off immediately, as running dry can overheat the pump and permanently damage it. Call a plumber who will be able to prime your pump and fix any underlying problems.

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Faulty Pressure Control Switch

All water pressure tanks have a pressure control switch that monitors and regulates the pressure in the well pump. This controls the water pressure that causes the tank to turn on and off. If the switch is faulty or clogged, the pump won't get a message from the control switch to shut off and will run nonstop. This problem can be solved by unclogging the switch or replacing it. You can fix the pump yourself if you have the skills or contact a plumber.

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Leaks in the Water System

A leak in the well pump system can strain the pump capacity. Leaks can occur in the drop pipe, which is connected to a submersible well pump. Even a small hole can prevent water from traveling the pipe to the pump as designed. This will cause the pump to not be able to build up sufficient pressure and will keep it running. Leaks in the pipes from the pump to the home will also cause similar problems. A plumber can determine where the leaks are located in the system and fix them.

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Water Level Drop

A decrease in water level can also be the cause of a well pump running constantly. If there is a drop in the water table in your area because of drought or increased water demand, the flow rate will be off. This will cause your well pump to run constantly. A plumber can assess the situation and make adjustments as needed.

Broken Well Pump

The well pump itself may simply be broken or wearing out. All mechanical devices have a point at which they break and require replacement. If a plumber rules out other causes of your well pump running constantly, a broken pump may be the problem.

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