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What Causes Well Pump Short Cycling?

Posted on 31 August 2020

Having issues with a well pump frequently cycling on and off, or even doing so nonstop? This is generally an indication that there is a problem with the pump that you must resolve. It is in your best interest to get a plumbing professional out to your property to investigate the problem, as a failure to correct it could result in significant and expensive damage to the equipment.

Here are just a few examples of some of the most common causes of well pump short cycling and actions you can take to resolve the problem.

Insufficient air charge

This is the most common reason for short cycling in a water pump, especially if your pressure tank is an older, non-bladder variant. If the condensation line is located in the upper 70 percent of the tank, this means you don't have enough air reserve, which will be the reason you're experiencing short cycling. You'll need to inspect the air volume control valve. Clean off any debris you see on it, and check to see if there are any leaks. Use the water tank air inlet valve and a bicycle pump to pump air into the tank. You may need to remove some water from the tank before doing this to create more room for air. If this was the problem, performing this step should get your pump operating normally again.

Too much air

In some circumstances you can have the opposite problem and actually have too much air in the system, a problem referred to as "overcharging." This is most likely to occur in captive air water tanks, as they do not feature a process for removing excess air. Overcharging can result in damage to the bladder or water tank. The best way to fix an overcharged system is to shut it down, remove the water and then reset the air charge to manufacturer specifications.

Blocked pipes

Pipe blockages can occur in the water supply, causing short cycling. If a pipe gets plugged up, pressure increases rapidly. Your first check should be the water filter. If you see it's dirty or blocked, you should clean or replace it and see if that restores function.

Problems with the control switch

If you know you have the proper amount of air in the system and the problem doesn't appear to be a blockage, you should check the pressure control switch, as it could be clogged or simply faulty. This is most likely to occur if the water is full of debris, or has a very high mineral content. You may need to replace that switch in some cases before you're able to restore normal function.

If you've been having problems with well pump short cycling, we encourage you to contact our plumbing professionals at PipeMasters. We look forward to assisting you: info@pipemasters.ca or (289) 404-9063.

PipeMasters is part of Oakridge Plumbing Ontario Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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