well pump cycles on and off-is it the pressure switch?

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Our water is cycling on and off--15 seconds on, 15 seconds off. It's been doing this for 2 days and the cycles are getting shorter: when it started it was closer to 25 sec. It's a submersible pump, if that makes a difference. The welll belongs to my Fil, and he does alll his own electrical and plumbing work. He doesn't know why it's doing this. Any ideas greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance--Elizabeth P.

-- Elizabeth in E TX (kimprice@peoplescom.net), February 08, 2001


We have a very old pressure tank that fills with water over time and this sounds like what happens when we are at the point of needing to drain the water out because there is no longer enough air in it. This, of course, is not normal but we put up with it until we can afford to replace it with a new one. My husband has to drain it about every 2 - 2 1/2 months. Maybe this is your problem - our well pump is newer and submersible.

-- Terry-NW Ohio (aunt_tm@hotmail.com), February 08, 2001.

Sounds like you have lost the air charge in your tank(water logged). If you have a galvanized tank you can let air in the top of the tank by switching your pump off, draining water from the tank while opening the plug in the top of the tank to let air in. Secure the plug and switch the pump on and you should be in good shape.

-- Eric Simms (ourfamilyfarm@email.msn.com), February 08, 2001.

My husband every so often has to drain our pressure tank of water and use a small compressor and put air in it. We also have a submersible.

-- diane (gardiacaprines@yahoo.com), February 08, 2001.

Thanks Eric, I was just on my way to get my husband to explain to Elizabeth the process of draining the water.

-- Terry-NW Ohio (aunt_tm@hotmail.com), February 08, 2001.

Hi, one other thing that you might check is for a small leak on the water line. Usually a small leak will let the pressure drop slowly, depending on the size of the leak, till the pump has to come back on to increase the pressure to satisfy the pressure switch. Good luck....Rory and Sandra

-- Rory (S.E. Tx) (rory@readynet.net), February 08, 2001.

Elizabeth I agree the tank is waterlogged, if it is a bladder type tank turn the pump breaker off or pull the fuse and drain the water, then add air through the valve on top of the tank, should be about 38 pounds. If it's an air type tank their may be a fitting about half way down on the tank that has a float inside the tank, that will open when the water is drained past that point to let air in, if no fitting, then drain and add air to tank. If this continues to be a problem and you do not have a bladder type tank their is a weep fitting 20' down the well that drains water from the top joint of pipe to keep air in the tank this could be pluged, I would not pull the plug in the top of the tank if it leaked when you put it back in it would only compound the problem.

-- Kevin in SC MO (rosewd@fidnet.com), February 08, 2001.

Press the valve stem on top of tank. If water comes out the bladder is busted. Adding air is a very temporary fix,if it's busted you need a new pressure tank. The bigger tank the better because your pump will switch on less often with a bigger tank and this will help the pump last longer. Just my thoughts, good luck.

-- Don (hihilldon@yahoo.com), February 08, 2001.

I hope that you got your problem fixed by now, but I thought that I would add my two cents worth. We had this happen to us one winter. The pressure tank was a galvanized one and it turned out to be waterlogged as others have mentioned. With ours the water was also backing up at the pump and it seems to me that we had to have the pump pulled to thaw things out. The plumber recommended draining out the tank once a year. Good luck, Tami in WI

-- Tami in WI (windridg@chorus.net), February 09, 2001.

It may be a crack or break in the well pipe. If possible to take a look into well to see if line break is visible. If this is the problem then you will have to pull unit to repair. I have had, A waterlogged tank..A split steel pipe..A cracked plastic pipe and a plastic threaded fitting to crack. This was at four different homesteads and the pump would cycle as you state.

Please post reply as to the fix. Thank You JR

-- JR (jr3star@earthlink.net), February 09, 2001.

Elizabeth, our pump was cycling on and off a lot. I found out we had a hole in the bladder tank which is supposed equalize the water pressure. you need to replace the tank otherwise you'll make the same mistake we did. eventually we burned up the pump in the well and had to have a new one installed at $1000. The tanks cost around $200, that was in 1993, prices have changed but the savings of buying a tank verses have a new pump is obvious. Good luck and hope it's not to late to save some money. terry

-- terry (EberhardTesun@aol.com), February 10, 2001.

I have a submersible and 80 gal pressure tank and lately I've noticed when doing laundry that my pump seems to be cycling off and on way too fast...is this normal?.......I checked the pressure in the tank and it's at the recommended range...no water, only air coming out, but when I turn on my sink or run a hose the water pressure drops radidly and the pump kicks on....pressures up then shuts off. It just seems to cycle way too fast. With the rapid rise in electricity prices here in W.WA I want to make sure it's ok. Tnx for any help.

-- Kent in WA (kent@premier1.net), February 14, 2001.

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