8 Signs of Well Pump Failure Plus Trouble Shooting Techniques

In this article, I will discuss the Signs of Well Pump Failure. Unfortunately, most well pump owners don’t do a routine maintenance on their pumps. Some well pumps can work properly for years without any issues. Hence, most users may not realize when the pump is failing. As a result, they’re caught off guard.

But that shouldn’t be the case. Therefore, you must conduct routine maintenance and do timely repairs of your pump to ensure uninterrupted water supply. Below, we’ll provide you common signs of well pump failure.

Let’s Get Started!

Details: Signs of Well Pump Failure

The following are signs of well pump failure

  • Low water pressure
  • Noisy clicking sounds from the pressure tank
  • High electricity bills
  • Bad tasting water
  • Cloudy water coming from the faucets
  • Low Water Table
  • Undersized pump
  • Sputtering Water

Let’s discuss these Well Pump Failure signs in more detail;

1. Low water pressure

One major sign of well pump failure is low water pressure on your showers and faucet. Although other factors like plumbing leaks can cause a reduction in water pressure, pump failure shouldn’t be ignored.

You need to understand that, iron bacteria stick to well pumps, pipes, and other plumbing fixtures. As a result, they cause a negative change in your water pressure.

You should know that, iron bacteria are tiny living organisms that occur naturally in well water, surface water, and soil. These bacteria are a combination of iron and oxygen and they manifest in form of rust, slimy material, and bacterial cells. These elements can stick to your well pump causing it to malfunction.

Therefore, you need to buy a water test kit or have experts inspect your well. If they confirm presence of iron in the well water, then it’s highly likely the iron bacteria has blocked the well pump and its screen.

Read: Best Water Pressure Gauge

2. Noisy clicking sounds from the pressure tank

The pressure tank features bladder with air. This bladder can lose its air. Hence, you’ll hear the pressure tank switch producing continuous clicking noise.

You should understand that the released air finds its way into the pressure tank. As result, you’ll notice the pump starting and stopping more frequently. Thus, the motor gets strained.

Frequent release of air into the pressure tank can have devastating effect on the functioning and lifespan of your well pump.

3. High electricity bills

If you’ve noticed that your electricity bill is skyrocketing each month, and there’s no other obvious reason, then you should suspect the well pump, especially if it’s running continuously. A failing pump can cause high electricity bills. Therefore, it’s crucial that you adjust or replace the pressure switch. Alternatively, you call an expert to have a look at your pump and well.

4. Bad tasting or smelling water

Although other issue like corroded plumbing system can make water to taste or smell unpleasant, a failing well pump can be a major culprit.

Contamination of well water by harmless bacteria like decaying organic waste, sand, and silt can cause unpleasant tastes and odors. Although these are harmless to humans and animals, they can be annoying. Smelling or unpleasant water taste may indicate pump failure. Therefore, the best approach is to contact a certified laboratory to have the water tested.

5. Cloudy water coming from the faucets

Cloudy water or even muddy water coming out of the faucet from the pumped well water is a clear indication that something is wrong. Cloudy or muddy water is a warning sign that your well pump is failing at a very first rate. The sand or the silt gets into the pump and since the pump is unable to filter out the debris, a lot of friction occurs. This eventually brings serious issues to your well pump.

6. Low Water Table

During drought,  the well may experience low water levels. Hence, you’ll notice spitting or sputtering of water from your faucet. This indicates the pump is struggling.  Thus, you’ll notice that The water is muddy or have unpleasant taste. This could be a temporary situation. However, you might need to invest in a submersible well pump that has the ability to draw water from deeper depths (more than 400 feet).

7. Undersized pump

When the pump is undersized, it means that it’s overworking to deliver the high household water demand. Undersized pump means that the size of the well pump doesn’t fit the household’s water needs.

Therefore, if your small well pump pumps water throughout the day without stopping, it’s likely that it will run into problems. The pump is working for many hours and it might not deliver over the long term.

8. Sputtering Water

When you turn on your faucet and you notice water spitting out, there could be an issue worth investigating. Sputtering water can manifest as a result of pump failure or leaks in the plumbing system. Thus, you’ll need to call an expert to check whether it’s leaking pipes or a defective well pump.

How to Tell If Well Pump Is Bad

So, how will you tell if your well pump is going bad? Consider the following factors

If you notice an abrupt change in the quality of your well water like unpleasant tastes, smell, or color. Then something might be wrong with the well pump. Call an expert to inspect the pump and the well.

If your pump is running continuously, you need to look for an urgent solution. A well pump shouldn’t run continuously.

No water flow to your faucet. This may mean there are issues with your pump or well. no water  can occur as a result water overuse especially during spring or summer. Drought periods can also lower the water table, making the pump unable to pump the water.

Poor water pressure is also an indication of malfunctioning pump. Have the well water tested to find out if there is presence of iron bacteria in the water. Iron bacteria can stick on your well pump causing the low water pressure.

Do you suspect the industries nearby could be contaminating your well water? Have seen your pump becoming ineffective? It’s possible that the contamination is contributing to the well pump failure.

Mineral build up on water appliances and faucets is an indication that your well has hard water. Very Hard water can affect your well pump.

Troubleshooting Well Pump Problems

You might wake up one morning and realize that your pump is no longer working. Although it may mean the pump has failed. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the pump has malfunctioned. Below, we’ll discuss simple techniques that can troubleshoot the well pump without the need of an expert.

  1. How to Deal With Discolored Water

If you notice, discolored or funny tastes in water like brown, yellow or black water and unpleasant smell like sulfur or any other weird smell conduct a water test.

You should also look out for black stains on clothes. Presence of black stains means your well water has manganese. You also need to checkout for iron bacteria. This manifest themselves in toilet tank.

After conducting, the water test and confirming presence of all these issues call a well expert to help fix all these issues.

2. Increased Power

An increase in power usage or power surge may affect the power circuit causing complete shutdown of a system. An increase in power can also affect the functionality of your well. Therefore, check the electrical circuit. Look at the circuit breaker switch it on and off.  After switching it on and off the pump should return to its normal functioning. However, if it doesn’t, call an expert to inspect it.

3. Issues with the Pressure Tank

Pressure tank functionality is an issue that affects most pump owners. The cause of this issue is lower air pressure inside the tank. Low air pressure can send wrong signal to the pressure switch button causing the tank to switch on or off when not intended.

Well Pump Works but No Water

If you’ve checked your well pump and it has no issues but it’s not able to draw water from the well, then the water may be much lower.

You can test the depth of the well water using a fishing string.

How Long Does a Well Pump Last?

With proper maintenance and routine checks, a well pump should last long. On average, most pumps have a lifespan of 16-23 years.

A submersible well pump life expectancy is about 15 years. Once this time lapses, it’s important to replace the pump.

The above ground pump can last 10-15 years.

However, if not well maintained, your well pump can fail before its time.in addition, at times its hard

Types of Well Pumps

In this section, we’ll discuss the types of well pumps available on the market today. Before choosing a well pump for your private well, you may want to know the model that would suit you best. Read this section and make an informed choice.

1. Submersible Well pumps

The submersible well pump is ideal for use in both shallow and deep wells. You can insert the pumps deep inside the well and they can help draw water from hundreds of feet below the ground. These underwater systems feature exceptional watertight properties that prevent any electrical contact with the well water. Therefore, if you a deep well, then submersible pump would be a perfect choice.

2. Centrifugal pumps

The Centrifugal pumps are Shallow Well Pumps that are ideal for well that are below 25 feet deep. This depth is effective and can help draw ample suction force to push water to the surface. The Centrifugal pump is easy to use and install. You only need one pipe that you would insert inside the well and connect it your plumbing system. Another benefit is that they are compact and inexpensive.

3. Jet Pumps

Jet pumps are available in three version. There’s the above ground jet pump, shallow, and deep well jet pumps.

Above Ground Well Pump

The above ground well pump is ideal for shallow wells and has a lifespan of about 10 years.

Deep Well Jet Pumps

Deep well jet pumps are the most powerful among all these pumps.  These ones are installed using two pipes. One as a suction and the other one diverts water back to the jet. These jet pumps are inserted deep into the well. The pump pushes water to the first pipe via the second pipe allowing the pump to push water from depths that are over 50 feet below the ground. Another great benefit of the deep well jet pump is that you can easily upgrade it, to draw water from depths that are more than 100 feet.

Shallow Well Jet Pump

The function and properties of a shallow well jet pump are almost the same with that of a submersible pump. A shallow well pump can draw water in wells that are about 25 feet.  The good thing with this pump is that it requires little maintenance and its budget friendly.


I hope that this article on signs of well pump failure has brought more insight. We’ve discussed common signs of well pump failure that most well pump owners experience. I’ve also discussed common trouble shooting techniques and types of well pumps to help you choose your favorite pump. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions please talk to me below.

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