Last Updated on February 02, 2020
Understanding how to diagnose a bad water pump is pretty important especially when you have your water system. Water pumps sure do last a long time but eventually, they will start developing problems. To keep water supply in your home steady and dependable you need to not only maintain but also repair your water pump. Most people hardly maintain their water pumps because they are designed to operate for years with minimum problems.
This comprehensive article will help you understand how to diagnose a bad water pump, the critical warning signs that you should look out for, and how to troubleshoot a water pump. This includes all types of water pumps such as the inground pool pump, combination sump pump, sewage pump, well pump, and batter sump pump.
Diagnosing a bad water pump
1. Low water pressure
Your water pressure decreasing significantly should be an early sign of a water pump struggling. The decrease I pressure is usually caused by iron bacteria clogging in the pipes. The first step should be to test your water for bacteria. If there is a presence of iron bacteria, then your water pump is most likely clogged. Now, dealing with a clogged water pump sounds rather hard when it is easy. All you need to do is clean your pump properly removing all the slime, scales, and iron bacteria.
When dealing with well pumps, the low water pressure could also be an indication of little water in the well. You should immediately check the water level in your well and ensure that there is sufficient water to be pumped. If the well is running dry, then look for other water alternatives or increase the depth of your well. Do not, however, power on your well pump because you run the risk of permanently damaging it because there is no water to pump.
2. Water pump running constantly
Water pumps are designed to run for some time and then stop once they complete the task. If, however, your water pump keeps on running constantly then it is unable to fill up its pressure tank. This is a clear sign that your well is struggling to draw in water. Usually, one of the components is not functioning properly and you need a professional to come and fix the problem. From my experience, it is usually the impeller struggling to draw in water especially if it is a centrifugal water pump.
For example, sump pumps are automated to switch off immediately the water level goes down. In this case, if the sump pump remains running throughout, then it has a mechanical problem that needs to be fixed before it can cause permanent damage. Ensure you switch off your water pump and disconnect it from the power source once you realize it has been running constantly for a long period.
3. High electric bill
You have probably been using your water pump for a while now and your electricity bill is almost constant. If you notice a sudden increase in power usage every month, then something is probably wrong with your water pump. This is usually because your pump is blocked with iron bacteria, sand, or silt. The pump is therefore forced to use more power and work harder to draw in enough water to fill the pressure tank.
This is a very common indicator for a bad well pump. When well pumps start malfunctioning, the amount of power they consume is significantly high and rises gradually over time. Usually, it indicates that the well is running low or the pressure switch needs replacement. Dealing with this issue immediately will ensure your entire pump does not get damaged. The pressure switch does not cost a lot of money to replace when compared to the cost of buying a new well pump.
4. Strange clicking noises
Water pumps usually include a water pressure tank which contains a bladder full of air. When this bladder leaks and starts losing air, you will hear clicking noises that you are not accustomed to hearing. Your water pump will start and stop frequently thus indicating that there is a malfunction in the system.
The strange clicking noses may also be an indication that there is a problem with the pump motor. Essentially, the pump motor converts electric energy into magnetic energy. In doing so, the impeller can spin and push water out of the pipe. The pump motor is vital and should be checked out immediately you hear the clicking noises.
Water pumps are designed to last for long periods but certainly not forever. At some point, water pumps are bound to simply stop working or malfunction frequently. At this point, you will need to buy a new water pump and get rid of the old one. Repairing will only be a temporary solution and will cost you more in the long run.
Well pumps, for example, are designed to last between 16 to 23 years. This is quite a long period considering the amount of work it does per day. With well pumps, however, you will need the help of a professional to replace then especially if you have a deep well.
You must buy quality water pumps to ensure they last for longer periods with minimal servicing. Do extensive research before choosing which water pump to buy. It is also important that you get a warranty in case there are defects or malfunctions shortly.
Troubleshooting water pumps
Just because you woke up in the morning and realized your water pump is not working should not be an indication that you need to buy a new one. There are so many components that could affect your pump and ground it or stop it from working efficiently. You must learn the following troubleshooting techniques.
Your water pump could be shut down completely due to increased power usage or a power surge. Check your electrical circuit and ensure that it has not tripped thereby cutting power from your water pump. Then you need to locate your circuit breaker and switch it off and then on again. Some of the time the circuit breaker appears to be on when in reality it isn’t. Before you go running to the experts who cost a lot of money, ensure that you check your power correctly.
2. Pressure switch
Well pumps have what is known as the pressure switch mounted near the pressure tank on a quarter-inch tube. It senses when the water pressure drops and powers up the pump to fill the pressure tank. If the switch is damaged, then the well pump will not power up and you will have no water. You need to remove the cover and gently bang below the tube using a screwdriver. If you see sparks, then you need to replace your pressure switch. However, the absence of sparks is an indication that your controller is the problem and it needs replacement.
Sometimes, your water pump might just be overworking especially if the pressure tank is small. Try reducing the amount of work the pump is doing and observe the changes. A pump that is only used just a few times a day to pump water will last significantly longer than a pump working on and off throughout the entire day. The pump size may also not be capable of performing the job. In this case, you will have to buy a new water pump that is capable of performing that particular duty.
You may also have the wrong type of water pump. For example, a sump pump and a sewage pump perform almost the same function but are entirely different. A sewage pump can pump solids without getting clogged while the sump pump cannot handle any type of debris.
You must test your water periodically to ensure it does not damage your water pump. Sediments in water act as an abrasive and cause major wear and tear on your entire pump assembly. Small stones, hard water minerals, dirt, and other debris could lead to your pump not working entirely.
Water testing can be done by yourself or professionals every six months to ensure you do not damage your water pumps. After carrying out the different tests, the water can be fixed and some elements such as the iron and debris removed entirely.
This article was written to help you learn how to diagnose a bad water pump early enough so that you can fix it. Sometimes troubleshooting will not work and you will have to call in the experts. Diagnosing the problem early enough will ensure that your water pump is not permanently damaged. You must do extensive research before replacing your water pump especially if it was acquired in the recent past.