If you live in the country (as opposed to in the city), you likely depend on a well for your home’s water supply. Unlike in generations past when water was brought to the surface of the well by a hand pump and carried to the house in a bucket, today’s wells are equipped with motorized pumps that deliver water right to your faucets without the labor involved in decades past. However, when the well pump breaks down, your water supply becomes inaccessible.

While modern well pumps can last for 20 years or longer, they have many more mechanical parts than traditional hand pumps. If you rely on a well pump for your water, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with common well pump issues and how to fix them.

Common well pump repair issues and how to fix them

1. No or little water pressure. No one wants to take a shower or wash dishes with just a slight trickle of water coming out of the faucet. If that’s what is happening when you turn on the water, you may only need to adjust the pressure switch. To do this, turn off of the electrical power to the pump. Then, find the air pressure tank atop of the well pump and attach a tire pressure gauge to the tank. This will allow you to measure the pressure and see if you need to adjust the switch. A pressure of 20 to 28 psi is normal for a well pump. If the pressure is less than that a quick adjustment with a wrench on the pressure switch can boost the pressure.

2. Short cycling. In well repair parlance, short cycling is when the well pump cuts off and on repeatedly. To the person trying to access the water, that means a surge of water from the faucet followed immediately by a trickle, followed again by a surge.

3. No water is coming out at all. If you turn on the faucet and get no water at all, it may be a problem with the power source. The first place you should look is to make sure that the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped and that the pump is getting electricity.

4. Discolored water. Discolored water is a sign of mineral deposits in the water. Depending on your part of the country, your well water could have traces of magnesium, iron or calcium. There are ways to filter and treat the water, depending on the type of mineral, so that the water won’t discolor your fixtures and/or look unappetizing in the glass.

Well pump trouble can take many forms. If you have discolored water, low or absent water pressure or a pump that short cycles, your well pump likely needs to be repaired. If you’ve checked all of the easy fixes and still aren’t getting the water pressure and service you expect from your system, it’s time to call in a repair person who specializes in residential wells, like David Cannon Well Drilling. He or she will have your well pump running smoothly again in no time.