3 Simple Ways to Avoid Burning Out Your Well Pump
In most cases, a modern residential well can provide years of reliable service without extensive maintenance or repairs. That being said, regularly scheduled inspections can potentially save you thousands of dollars in the long run by detecting small problems that can turn into big problems later. Below, we’ll explore three common parts of your well system that can break down and cause premature failure of your well pump.
Before we delve into the ways your well pump can be damaged, it is helpful to take a quick look at the parts of your Raleigh well and see how the whole system works.
How Your Well Pump and Well Tank Work Together
First of all, there are two main types of well pumps. There are submersible pumps, which are located down (submersed) in the well water and work to push the water upwards. Then there are jet pumps, which work the opposite way. These are located above ground and pull the water up.
These pumps do not activate every time you run a faucet or turn on a shower. Instead, they pump water into a well tank, where it is stored and pressurized. There is an air bladder inside the well tank, and as more and more water is forced into the tank, the pressure increases.
That brings us to the pressure switch. The job of the pressure switch is to detect the level of pressure inside the well tank and turn the well pump on and off accordingly. For instance, when the pressure drops below 40 psi, the switch will trigger the well pump to turn on and pump more water into the well tank. When the pressure reaches 60psi, the switch will turn the pump off. The actual pressure settings can vary from system to system.
A Properly Functioning Well Tank
Essentially the whole point of the tank system is to limit how long and how often the well pump runs. When a pump runs for too long, it will overheat. When you turn it on and off a lot, it causes accelerated wear and tear. It’s really no different than a car engine in that regard.
Over time, every moving part of your well system can break down, but some items are much more expensive to replace than others. For instance, the air bladder inside your well tank can crack and allow water to get inside of it. When this happens, we refer to your tank as being “water logged,” and it should be replaced.
Your well tank needs sufficient space in it for air, so a tank that is water logged has too much water in it and too little room for air. Why does it matter? See the image above. A properly functioning well tank has a lot of air in it when the pump first cycles on. The tank can then be filled with a large amount of water before the pressure switch cycles the pump off. The volume of water between when the pump cycles on and off is called the “draw down.”
With a water logged tank, there is less air in the tank to begin with, because water has leaked into the bladder. See the image below.
1. Is Your Well Tank Water Logged?
With a smaller volume of air in the tank to begin with, only a small amount of water can be pumped into the tank before it reaches its maximum pressure and the pump switches off. This means the pump cycles more often, or “short cycles,” causing increased wear and tear, or in worst cases, burning out the pump entirely.
2. Is Your Pressure Switch Working Properly?
Like any mechanical part, your pressure switch can wear out and malfunction over time. A malfunctioning switch can cause the pump to run too often or too long and potentially burn out the motor. In addition, if the switch allows the pressure to go too high, it can put excess stress on the tank and pipes, potentially causing them to crack or even burst.
3. Are Any of Your Pipes Cracked or Leaking?
A water logged well tank, a broken pressure switch, and cracked or leaky pipes can all have the same effect on your well pump. If your pump is trying to pump water into a pressurized tank, and the pipe(s) leading to that tank are compromised, your pump obviously has to work harder. Putting too much stress on your pump can shorten its lifespan.
Hire a Licensed Well Contractor For a Yearly Inspection
Keeping an eye on your well tank, your pressure switch, and your pipes is a good place to start, but a yearly inspection from the licensed well contractors at A & T Well and Pump can keep your Raleigh well running reliably and efficiently. Call us today for fast, friendly, 24/7 service at (919) 291-4063 or fill out the form below.