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Why Is My Well Pump Short Cycling?

by Nick Marr on Aug 4, 2020

Your well pump is an essential piece of kit that is often overlooked until something goes wrong with it. Unless you want to draw water by hand you’ll need to fix or replace it quickly.

To know the difference, you need to know a few facts about your pump, such as why it is short cycling. Then, you’ll know when to repair it and when to find new mine dewatering pumps from a professional supplier.

What Is Short Cycling

In essence, your pump is turning on and off frequently.  Usually, it will turn on when you operate a faucet, telling it water is needed. As soon as the faucet is shut off, the pump switches off. However, if you turn the faucet on and the water comes out intermittently, your pump is short cycling.

What Causes Short Cycling

The most common cause of short cycling is air, specifically a lack of air in the water pressure tank. This is exceptionally common in older tanks that don’t have bladders. Take a look at the condensation line in your pump, if it’s in the top 30% of your tank then you don’t have enough air in the tank and that’s why your well pump is short cycling.

Before you can fix it you’ll need to check your air volume control valve. If it’s dirty it will prevent air from being drawn into the tank, reducing air pressure and causing the pump to switch on and off. Clean the valve and, after refitting it to the tank, put additional air in the tank through it. You’ll need to use a pump to push the air in, a bicycle one will do effectively.

Of course, you’ll need to drain a little of the water out of the tank to make room for the air. Now try your well pump and see if it is working properly again.

Control Switch

Another issue that can occur is the pump control switch. This is what tells the pump to turn on and off. If it is dirty then the connections can fail to respond properly, causing short cycling. It’s a good idea to clean the switch and, if this doesn’t do the trick, replace it.

This is usually a cheap part and can transform the operation of your well pump.

Water Supply Issue

If the above solutions haven’t solved your problem you’ll need to look at blockages in the water pipes. Even a partial clog in your pipes will increase the water pressure, this tells the pump there is an issue and it shuts off, until the pressure drops. It will then restart, cycling over and over again while you experience intermittent water flow.

Before you check the water pipes with a camera, take a look at the water filter, it’s likely to be clogged.

Excess Air

Too little air is an issue but so is too much! It’s known as overcharging. It can cause damage to the water tank and the pump. You’ll want to drain the water, reset the air pressure, and then refill the water. It should solve the issue.

If none of these works you need to contact the professionals.

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