If you have well water and the water pressure in your home drops, your pump may not be working correctly, but in other cases, the problem may be something else. Luckily, ascertaining the root of the problem is relatively easy. Simply, take yourself through these troubleshooting tips:
1. Make sure the pump has power
Before you panic, make sure your pump has power. Is it switched on? Is the pressure control switch on? If both are on, check the breaker and make sure that is on as well.
If your breaker is on but your pump is submerged in the well and you cannot see it, listen for the sound of its running motor. Alternatively, you can have an electrician test how much power is being used on the circuit to estimate if the pump is running or not.
In some cases, resupplying the pump with power solves the issue, but in other cases, you need to do more troubleshooting.
2. Prime the pump if it has no water in it
If you have a submerged pump (under water in the well), it will automatically have water in it so you can skip this step. If your pump sits outside of the well, check to see if there is water inside of the pump.
Pumps that are not submerged typically need water in them to function correctly. If there is no water in your pump, turn it off immediately. That prevents the motor from burning out.
Then, try priming your pump. To prime your pump, connect a hose to the pump's intake valve. In most cases, as you don't have water at your house, you will need to attach a long hose from a neighbour's tap—with permission, of course.
Turn on the hose, fill the pump with water, and then, run back to the neighbour's house to turn off the tap. Go into your home and turn on one of your taps.
When you turn on your water, you essentially request water pressure from your pump. If your pump turns on and pushes water to your tap, priming has fixed the issue. If priming doesn't fix the issue, continue to the next step.
3. See if the pump is pushing out water
If the pump is running but no water is coming through it, it may have internal damage. If you can hear the motor but cannot see water moving through the pump, call a pump repair specialist to look at it. The issue could be with a critical part like the impeller (a disc that helps to move water through the pump), or it could be as simple as a worn out seal that needs to be replaced.
4. Check for a leak in your water pipes
If the pump has power, doesn't need to be primed and seems to be able to pump out water, your water pressure issue may not be related to your pump. Instead, you may have a leak in one of your pipes.
If your pump is working perfectly, it sends water into the home, where it travels through pipes to your taps. If some of the pipes have a leak, some of the water will be diverted through that hole, and you will experience lower-than-normal water pressure.
To find a leak, walk through your home and listen carefully. Primarily listen near the walls in and behind bathroom fixtures and kitchen sinks. If you hear the sound of running water in your walls, you have a leak. In this case, you need a plumber rather than a pump repair person.
5. Consider your well flow rate
If the issue cannot be traced to your pump or to a leaky pipe, you may have an issue with your well. In order to work properly, your pump needs to move water out of the well at a similar speed as the water moves into the well.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to tell how quickly groundwater is flowing into your well. If you recently put in a new pump, it could be running so efficiently that your well needs time to catch up. In other cases, dry weather may be preventing the well from filling up quickly. If either of these scenarios seem likely, contact a pump repair person to see what you should do. In some cases, you can simply change the pressure setting on your pump, but in other cases, you may need to get a replacement pump that is more in line with the speed at which your well fills.