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Common Water Well Problems – Understanding the Warning Signs

Common Water Well Problems – Understanding the Warning Signs

Installing a private well is one of the most effective ways of ensuring a continuous supply of water to your home. Installing a private well is an ideal solution for people who hate the taste of chlorine in city water.

Water well problems can render your well useless. If you ignore a well problem and fail to move swiftly to address it, it can snowball into a major issue.

Water well problems can have a range of causes. Many well owners know the importance of periodic maintenance and repairs, but miss subtle signs of water well problems, and thus fail to consult their water well contractor in a timely manner.

Here are some common signs of water well problems.

Air in the Water Pipes

Does your faucet spit and sputter with inconsistent water flow everytime you turn it on? This is one of the most common water well problems. This is caused by trapped air in the high points of the water supply system. To force the trapped air out, turn on every faucet and appliance in your house.

Let your appliances and faucets run for 10 minutes. This should force water bubbles out of your water pipes. If, however, this does not work, you may have a low water table or a damaged well pump drop pipe. These are serious well problems and require the immediate attention of a professional who specializes in well pump replacement in Petaluma.

Inadequate Water Pressure

From a stuck check valve or faulty gate to a leaking pressure tank, there are a number of water well problems that can cause low water pressure.

Iron bacteria build-up on either the pump or well screen can cause a clog. A build-up of iron bacteria in the pipe nipple leading to the pressure switch will negatively impact its capability to accurately sense the pressure. To remove the build-up of iron bacteria, clean your well with a special solution designed to get rid of slime, scale, and iron bacteria.

Water pressure issues can sometimes be rectified by adjusting the pressure switch to raise the pressure. This can be done only when the well pump and well are designed to operate at the higher pressure without any difficulties. Before things get from bad to worse, consult a water well professional.

The Well is Pumping Sand

There can be two reasons why your well is pumping sand. Either your well screen has degraded and is allowing sand or silt to enter the pump or the water level has dropped and your pump is sucking in sand and sediment (a common issue with pumps situated near the bottom).

A professionally installed sand and sediment trapper or a 60 mesh filter screen with an automatic purge valve can usually resolve the problem.

Well Pump and Pressure Switch Short Cycling

Some common causes of well pump short cycling are water pump control switch problems, loss of air charge, water leaks, a faulty check valve, and blocked water supply piping. Some of these issues can cause your well pump to operate 24 hours a day.

In many cases, short cycling happens when the pressure tank loses its captive air pressure. To check if this is the problem, turn off power to your pump. Leave the water running until there is no pressure left. Using a tire pressure gauge, check the Schrader valve.

The pressure should be two PSI less than the cut-in or lower pressure. If,for example, your well turns on at 30 PSI, the pressure should be 28 PSI.

Sky-high Electricity Bills 

Sky-high electricity bills can indicate a worn-out/clogged pump. Over time, pumps become blocked with sand or bacteria. A clogged pump has to work harder than usual. It draws more power, causing a sudden, inexplicable surge in your electricity bills.

If your pump is working fine, there is a possibility that your check valve has gone bad, allowing water from the pressure tank to flow back into your well. When the pressure switch senses pressure drop, it turns on the pump again. The on and off cycle occurs every few minutes, causing your pump to run almost 24 hours a day.

A Change in Water Quality

A sudden and inexplicable change in your water quality can indicate a problem with the casing, well shaft, drop pipe or pump. If you have a lot of sand or sediment in your water or smell odors, there is a strong possibility that surface water has penetrated or leaked into your well.

Whatever the problem, get your water tested. If you notice a considerable drop in your water quality or water pressure, reach out to your well water professional or a licensed pump contractor without wasting any time.

Well Maintenance Tips

  • Store paints, fertilizers, pesticides, motor oil and other products containing toxic chemicals away from your well
  • Hire certified or licensed water well contractors for maintenance
  • Check the well cover or well cap on top of the casing at regular intervals. Damaged casings should be replaced as soon as possible
  • Prevent back-siphonage. To prevent accidental pesticide spills around your well, install a concrete mixing and loading pad. Pesticides should be mixed and loaded on the pad
  • Avoid piling leaves or debris around your well
  • Be careful not to damage the casing when mowing around your well
  • Store your well records related to maintenance and installation in a safe place

Weeks Drilling & Pump Co. is a top-rated drilling contractor in Petaluma. We know everything there is to know about wells and pumps. We believe in doing things right the first time. To discuss your project with our team, call 707-823-3184.