Well pumps have been used for generations and were one of the first ways people had to access clean water. These days we don’t have to pump by hand, and there are modern electrical pumps available to make it as effortless as possible.
There are a wide variety of well pumps available on the market to suit all situations. There are jet pumps for deep wells and non-submersible pumps for shallow wells. However, even the best well pumps won’t last forever, and it’s important to know what to realistically expect from yours.
Taking the time to look after your well pump will help to prolong its life. This guide will help explain how long a well pump lasts and what you can do to help it last longer.
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Factors That Affect The Life Of A Well Pump
Before we go into the detail of how long a well pump lasts, it's worth talking about the factors that will impact the device's longevity.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
A well pump is dependent on the motor within it, and the quality of the motor varies massively depending on the exact model and specifications. A well-constructed motor with high-quality components and the right lubrication will last a lot longer than a cheap alternative.
Trace amounts of sediment can be found in most water, and over time it will build up within the well pump. Sand can have a significant impact on your well pump because of its abrasive qualities. It can damage your motor, the components and everything within the pump.
Sediment build-up can knock years off the life of your well pump.
How your well pump is installed is as important as the pump itself. If it’s not installed correctly and doesn’t have the correct valves, or proper electricals in the right place, then it won't function correctly. This will lead to the well pump breaking down a lot sooner than usual.
Well pumps aren’t designed to last forever, and the frequency of use will impact how long it lasts. If you’re only using the pump for 2-3 cycles a day, then it should last a lot longer than a well pump which is used continuously. It’s worth considering how often you need to use the well pump so you can select the right model.
2 Vs. 3 wire
2-Wire well pumps have all the wiring within the pump itself, whereas 3 wire well pumps need a separate control box for the pump to operate. This means if the pump stops working, it's a lot easier to troubleshoot with the 3 wire because it's separate from the pump, but with a 2 wire, you'll need to take the whole pump up and check it all over.
Upthrust And Downthrust
Upthrust and downthrust occur when the pressure in the well pump is too high or too low. If you keep the pressure of the pump balanced, you can limit the wear and tear and help extend the life of the device.
How Long Does A Well Pump Typically Last? (Life Expectancy)
You should expect a good well pump to last 8-15 years if it’s maintained correctly. The exact lifespan of the well pump depends on the factors listed above and how well you look after the device. A submersible pump should last longer than a non-submersible because there is less impact on the device. This reduces the wear and tear and makes it less likely the pump will stop working prematurely.
For your well pump to last over 10 years, it will need regular maintenance. You may need to replace different components within the well pump, and you should check it thoroughly every 6 months (or more frequently if possible).
A well pump pressure switch can often be the first thing to go bad. This should last as long as the pump itself, but some people find they need to be replaced every 5 years.
Signs Of A Failing Well Pump (When To Replace It)
Throughout the life of your well pump, you should keep a close eye on it so you can tell if it’s starting to fail. This helps you take action early, so you aren’t left in a situation where you have no clean water for an extended period of time. Here are some of the key signs that it’s failing:
How To Extend The Life Of Your Well Pump (Tips & Techniques)
As with most equipment, the effort you put in will determine how long it lasts. Here are some tips on how to make your well pump last longer:
- 1Install A Smart Tank
A smart tank allows you to regulate the pressure more effectively and lowers the number of cycles needed. This helps protect your well pump by limiting how much work it has to do.
- 2Check Your Valves
Your valves allow your well pump to stay primed, and without them, it will lose pressure or has to work harder to regain it. A valve should be used on every pump, shallow or deep, and an additional check valve should be added every 250 feet down you go.
- 3Check For Leaks
Leaks will stop your well pump from operating effectively and cause it to lose its prime. By checking the pipes and connections regularly for leaks, you can identify problems early and replace individual components rather than the whole well pump.
- 4Install A Sediment Filter
A filter can be installed to remove any sand or other sediment from the water supply before reaching the pump. This helps to protect the inner mechanism and the components from abrasion, helping your pump to last longer. This is particularly useful for above-ground well pumps.
- 5Prime The Well Pump
Your well pump needs to be primed to work effectively. Read our full guide here about how to prime a well pump.
- 6Use A Float Switch
A float switch will literally float on the top of the water, and as the water level goes down to a certain level, it will automatically switch the pump off. This helps limit the cycles the well pump needs to run and helps extend the life of the device.
People also Ask (FAQs)
How much does it cost to replace a well pump and pressure tank?
It will typically cost between $500 and $2000 to fully replace your well pump and pressure tank, depending on the exact size and specifications.
Can I replace my well pump myself? How long does it take to do?
You can replace a well pump yourself. The trickiest part is getting the mechanism out of the ground. It will take between ½ a day and a day to complete the work.
How can you test a well pump?
How long can a well pump run continuously?
Your well pump can deliver water continuously for about 30 minutes, but this will vary depending on the type of pump you have.
Well pumps aren’t designed to last forever, but if you put in the work, then you should get a decade or more from them. It’s all about being vigilant and maintaining the device effectively, looking for issues, and taking action to resolve them quickly before it turns into something more.
Hopefully, this article has given you all the information you need to understand why well pumps fail and how to spot the tell-tale signs ahead of time.
Josh enjoys researching, testing and diving into home improvement & DIY products. He has a passion for tools, learning new skills and fixing the everyday problems that arise around the house.