Informational Guide

Well Pump Runs But No Water Pressure?

Well pump runs but no water pressure? We help you understand why this happens and what you can do to fix it as quickly as possible.

by Josh Mitchell

Well pumps are still used worldwide and are regarded as a reliable way to get fresh water into your home. Unfortunately, even the best well pumps aren’t perfect, they can develop issues, and it's important to know how to fix them quickly to get the water flowing again.  

Your well pump running but having no water pressure in your home is a common issue faced by many well pump owners. This guide will help you understand why this happens and what you can do to fix it as quickly as possible.  

There is nothing worse than having no water pressure in your home. It makes it basically impossible to shower or do any of the day-to-day things you just need to live everyday life. It’s even more frustrating when you know your pump is running, but there's still no water pressure.  

There are two things you need to do; understand the problem and understand how to fix it. There isn’t one answer or solution, but here’s a comprehensive guide of what to do when your well pump is cycling without any water running:  

Electricity Problems  

Often, the issue with the well pump has to do with the power source. It may have been accidentally turned off, or there may have been external factors like a power surge that have tripped the circuit breaker. This will prevent the pump from starting and mean you have no water pressure in your home.  

You should start by checking the well switch near your pressure tank to make sure it’s on. You should then check the circuit breaker to see if it’s been tripped. This is simple enough to reset, but if you notice it happening frequently, then you should consult a professional for their diagnosis. You then need to check the pressure switch on the pressure tank. If this is faulty, then it won’t signal the pump to start, and no water will be drawn upwards.  

To replace a faulty pressure switch, you need to remove the cover and use a screwdriver to pull back the wires, making sure you keep them all in the same order. Put a new pressure switch on and reattach all the wires before replacing the cover. This is simple to do yourself, and you shouldn’t need any professional help.  

Bad Pressure Tank  

Your pressure tank is used to regulate the air in your pipes and give enough pressure so water can be drawn up and flow into your home. If you have no water pressure in your home, it’s likely that your pressure tank has gone bad. It’s worth noting that a damaged pressure tank can also cause your water to spit from the tank.  

To check your pressure tank, you should look at the air valve. Remove the cover and depress the air valve and see if any water comes out. If it does, it means that water has gotten into your pressure tank and needs to be replaced. You can also try to move the pressure tank by pushing the top of it.

If it doesn’t move or is clearly top-heavy, then it needs to be replaced. You can replace the pressure tank by unscrewing it, lifting it off, and attaching the new one. Make sure you replace it with a similar model that fits.  

Well Pump Loses Its Prime 

Your well pump needs to be able to draw water to the surface, and for this it needs to be primed. Your drop pipe needs to be filled with water so that there's sufficient suction and pressure for water to be drawn upwards. Without this, there won’t be any pressure, and the water won't make it into your home.  

A well pump can naturally lose its prime if it is left inactive for a while, making it a common issue for those with holiday homes. It can also be caused by a leak in the drop pipe, which allows air in and ruins the pressure equilibrium. If you suspect that your well pump has lost its prime, then you need to turn it off, or it can start to overheat and cause all kinds of issues for the mechanism.  

To reprime your well pump, you need to disconnect the well pump from all power sources. Then you should remove the prime plug from the top of the pump and open the release valves to let out the pressure. Take a hose and run water through the valve where the prime plug was until it flows correctly. You may have to repeat these steps several times before it’s fully primed.  

Clogged Or Faulty Pressure Switch  

A pressure switch is vital for a working well pump. It monitors the pressure levels in the water tank, indirectly keeping a gauge on how much water is in there. When the water level drops below a certain point, the pressure switch causes the well pump to turn on, and water is drawn upwards. This allows you consistent access to fresh water without having to have the pump running constantly.  

Your pressure switch is usually damaged because some blockage has occurred in the tube. This throws off the sensor and stops it from being able to switch your pump on or off. It may also just be an old faulty switch which needs to be replaced.  

You can check and remove any debris from your pressure switch tube by disconnecting one side and removing anything visible. You can replace the pressure switch by removing the cover and wiring and attaching a replacement. You need to move quickly when your pressure switch goes bad, and it might be worth consulting a professional.  

Clogged sediment filter 

Water is very rarely completely pure, and when you're drawing it from under the ground, it usually has some sand, minerals, or sediment. Over time, these impurities will clog up within your pump and stop it from working correctly. A filter is used to help remove most of the sediment from the water before it enters your pipes, but this filter can also become clogged. This then stops water from flowing as it should and can impact the pressure of the water coming into your home.  

Your sediment filter is usually housed separately from your pump, and therefore you should be able to access it simply enough. Make sure your pump is disconnected from your power supply, remove the cover, and replace the sediment filter. These will typically need to be replaced every 1-2 years, but it depends on the water quality in your area.  

Temporary overuse of water supply  

Well pumps are reliant on the supply of water, and this is influenced by the water table in your area.

If there isn’t enough water to be drawn, then there won’t be enough for you and your family, and the water pressure will be poor. 

In hot conditions or during a drought, the water table may drop, and your pump will not be able to direct water upwards.  

Well Pump Runs But No Water Pressure

You can solve this by installing your well pump deeper underground or leaving it for a few days to allow the water supply to replenish itself. Remember, don’t let your pump run when there's no water, or it can damage the mechanism.  

Other Common Problems With Well Pumps 

There are a few other common issues with well pumps that many owners find they have to deal with. These include: 

  • Well Pump Constantly Running 
    Well pumps are not designed to run constantly, and it actually puts too much of a strain on the mechanism if this happens. Your well pump should have a running cycle that lasts 1-2 minutes, and this should only be triggered by the pressure switch. If your well pump is constantly running, it means the pressure is too low, or the pressure switch is broken. It’s also possible that you have a leak in the system somewhere, impacting the pressure.  
  • Well Pump Runs Few Seconds Then Stops 
    Your well pump should not just switch on and then suddenly off because it’s not completing an entire cycle. This essentially means that it isn’t drawing up enough water or that the water isn't reaching your tank. This usually occurs when the pump is cycled too frequently and generally means your capacitor in the control box or the pump motor is bad. You can usually check the control box easily because it’s located on the outside of your well pump. If the electrics are working correctly, then you’ll need to examine the well pump motor.  
Other Common Problems With Well Pumps

People also Ask (FAQs)

How much does the electricity cost to run a well pump?  

The exact cost of running a well pump will depend on the average electricity costs in your area and the well pump you have. On average, you should expect it to cost about 10-20 cents an hour to run, which equates to about $150 a month.

Solar well pumps are much cheaper to run as they don’t require an external power source but are more expensive to install.  

Can you run a well pump without a pressure switch or tank? 

It is possible to run a well pump without a pressure tank or switch, but it is much less efficient. This will mean your pump runs 24/7 because there is no switch to turn it off, and the mechanism wears out much more quickly. 

Can a 240v well pump run on 120v? 

No, the well pump will not have enough power to create the pressure needed to operate effectively.  

How do you remove air from a water pump? 

Remove the priming plug from the top of the water pump and switch the unit on. Keep going until the sound of air bleeding from the water pump stops, and then replace the prime plug.  

Conclusion

Having an uninterrupted water supply is important, and it is often only when it goes wrong, we even think about it. Well pumps are great, but there are times they’ll be running, and there's no water pressure in your home.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you understand why this happens and given you some tips on how to get the water flowing again quickly.  

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.

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Blog
  4. /
  5. Water Pumps
  6. /
  7. Well Pump Runs But No Water Pressure (Causes + How To Fix)
Top