Why Does my Well Water Stop and Start? (Explained)

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Your well water stops and starts because the foot or check valve, which is supposed to prevent the well pressure tank from sending water back into the tank after it has built up with water pressure, has failed. It is either the valve is clogged or it has stopped working properly.

Groundwater well with pvc pipe and system electric deep well sub

What are the Signs That Your Well Pump is Going Out?

In as much as there isn’t a lot of signs to indicate that your well pump is going bad, I have highlighted some of the common indicators. These include:

  • Burning shower water
  • Rapid clicking sounds from the tank
  • Motor failure
  • Spitting faucets
  • Dirty water
  • Poor tasting or smelling water
  • High electricity bill

Burning shower water

An unexpected scalding hot water from your shower whenever someone else flushes the toilet or runs a kitchen tap could be another sign that your well pump is damaged.

This is common especially if your home is built with two or three handle tub and shower valves that do not have pressure balancing spools. Therefore, in case there is a pressure drop, more hot water than cold water will be released.

Rapid clicking noise from the tank

Another sign your well pump is going out is well you begin to hear constant or rapid clicking sounds from the pressure switch. The clicking sounds are usually air that has escaped into the pressure tank due to a failed pressure tank bladder. This malfunction can drastically reduce the life span of your well pump.

Therefore, should know it is time to call your plumber once you start to hear the noise.

Motor failure

Well pumps use electric motors to run. Therefore, if you notice fluctuations in your water pressure, one reason could be the motor has failed. Meaning it is time to replace your well pump.

Sputtering Water

A damaged well pump will always spit water. This means that you won’t be able to get enough water into your home because the well pump is unable to pull water out of the well properly.

Dirty water

If you start to see discolored water, then you should know that this is a sign of a broken water pump.

The high amount of sand or other sediments that might have found their way into the well pump causes a broken water pump. Well pumps are not designed to pump water with silt.

Poor tasting or smelling water

Some of the common hardware issues such as old corroded well pumps can cause water to taste bad or smell.

Once these issues occur, suddenly the well will be contaminated by harmless bacteria, decaying organs, or sand causing further damage. Change the pump before it’s too late.

High utility bill

Another sign that your well pump is going bad is the high electricity bill that is creeping month after month. This is an indicator that your well pump is operating continuously.

If the pump is clogged by either silt or other sediments, it will run for a longer period of time.

What Causes Well Water to Stop and Start Again?

A failed check valve, a malfunctioning pump motor, or captive air pressure escaping from the pressure tank can cause your well water to stop and start again.

If your well water pump doesn’t run until the tank’s captive pressure is up to a certain predestined level then shuts off, it could be a sign that it is damaged.

Normally, after the pump has shut off, the pressure in the tank pushes water through the system until water drops to a lower level (always predetermined), then the motor kicks in again.

But if it doesn’t, then there is a motor malfunction or breakdown, hence the continuous stops and starts.

What’s more, the pressure tank is usually fitted with an air valve and an internal separator between the water and the air in the tank and the water

. If either ceases to work properly, it can interfere with maintaining satisfactory pressure, causing the motor to run frequently.

Another reason is the failed check valve. The purpose of the check valve is always to prevent the pressure in the well tank from sending water back down into the well especially after a build-up.

So, if the valve is damaged or fails, water will stream back down the well, causing the pressure switch to turn the pump on again.

In other words, it will enable water to leak back into the well from the building’s system. The pressure in the water tank will eventually drop, forcing the pump to operate strangely.

Moreover, if you check your pressure tank, you will see that there’s a shot pipe stem or gauge or valve or relay set up off the main water line.

If it stops working properly or gets clogged, it will cause the well water to start and stop again since the pressure would drop very low before the pump kicked in again.

Another common issue that will cause well water to stop and start again is if there are any leaks in your home.

Leaks occurring from any place on the system such as hidden plumbing leak, water line leak, or leak in the piping within the well itself could also cause this water well problem. They cause the tank’s pressure to decrease fast, independent of actual water usage.

Therefore, it is important to check out any possible leakages such as leaking toilet flush valves, iron filters, and backwashing filter systems.

If your water pressure tank is too far away from the pressure control switch, you may also notice an on/off cycle with your well water.

While most pressure tanks will function practically anywhere, positioning them too far away from the control switch may cause pressure switch bounce and fast water pump on-off cycling at the start or the end of a water pump working cycle.

An overcharged air in the water pressure tank might also cause the well water to stop and restart.

If you overcharge a full water tank, you increase the volume of air above the water-bladder while decreasing the volume of water in the tank, resulting in a shorter pump on-cycle.

Finally, a damaged water tank bladder will cause on/off cycling. Because the water pressure tank can only hold a tiny amount of water, a collapsed bladder will force the water pump to cycle quickly.

And this will only be true until the stuck-up bladder reaches the pump’s shut-off pressure.

artesian well water pump

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Well Pump?

On average, you will need between $900 – $2,500 to replace a well pump.

However, the cost of replacing a well pump will depend on the type of the well pump, the size, and the installation required. For instance;

A shallow well pump costs around $200+

A deep well pump costs around $300+

Deep well submersible around $400 to over $500+

On the other hand, installation may cost anything from hundreds to thousands of dollars. This is due to various factors such as the equipment needed, the depth of the well, the type of the pump, your location, or even the terrain of your yard.

But above all, reaching out to a professional contractor is the best way to get accurate pricing details.