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This article describes how a water pump pressure control switch works and how to diagnose problems with the building water supply that seem to be traced to the pump control, switch, or to other underlying issues with a water pump, well, piping or other controls.
This article series describes how to repair a water presure control switch that sticks on, off, or chatters or is otherwise not working properly, causing loss of water pressure or irregular in cycling on and off. If wea€™ve traced a pump control problem to the water tank or water pump pressure switch itself with some certainty, we will often just replace the switch. A Wea€™ll need to do some water pump switch diagnosis a€“ here are a few ideas that may help getting a recalcitrant pump control switch working again. If your pump control is properly adjusted then it should be turning the pump on and off nicely at the pre-set pressures. Watch out: If your well pump won't stop running, you should probably turn power to the pump off to avoid burning up the pump motor.
If the water pump will not turn OFF, see WATER PUMP WONT STOP RUNNING for detailed diagnostic and repair procedures. If the water tank pressure gauge reads a low number, say below the pump's cut-in pressure, try tapping the gauge gently to see if the indicator needle moves. Watch out: The same sediment that clogs pump control switches also clogs water pressure gauges.
In that case, run some water in the building, watch the gauge pressure fall to below the pump's cut-in pressure, and then we should hear the pump turn on. If the water pump is in the well (a submersible well pump) you won't hear it running, but you can hear the pump relay click in and out (close or open) and you can see the water pressure change at the gauge when the water pump is running. If the pump runs and water pressure is present in the building but the water pressure gauge pressure never changes, it's probably the water pressure gauge that needs replacement. If the water pressure gauge stays low (below the pump; cut-in pressure, try tapping on the side of the pressure control switch housing itself. In our pump control drawing (left) the red arrow points to a pump pressure control switch bypass lever.
Provided that you also have electrical power at the switch, the well pump should turn on if you lift this lever. If your well water is high in iron, sediment, or minerals, we find that sometimes the small diameter pipe that mounts the pressure control switch onto the water line, water pump, or water tank will clog with these materials.
You can see the small diameter mounting pipe that connects the bottom of this pressure switch to the building water supply piping right at the bottom of the water tank. InA  our experience often when there is enough debris to clog the pressure control switch mounting pipe then the same debris also clogs the still smaller opening in the bottom of the pressure switch itself.
Watch out: the pressure sensing diaphragm on the bottom of the pump pressure switch is the mechanism that senses water pressure. Debris can clog the tubing connecting (or mounting) the pressure control switch to the water tank or water piping, preventing the pressure switch from responding properly to changes in water pressure. Our photo (left) shows a copper tube running from a two-line jet pump (photo center) to the bottom of a pressure control switch (the gray box at lower left). The small diameter of this tubing and still smaller diameter of the pump switch orifice makes clogging easy if your well water is high in sediment or minerals. We see a similar problem affecting water pressure gauges on private water systems: debris or mineral deposits can clog the pressure sensing orifice on the water pressure gauge, causing it to fail to respond at all, or to respond inaccurately to changes in water pressure. When we find a clogged water pump pressure switch or the tubing connected to it, or a clogged water pressure gauge, we replace those items. Thanks to reader Bob Hartman-Berrier for explaining a more subtle problem with pressure control switch tubing - wrong (too-small) diameter, causing a leaky fitting, preventing the pressure control switch from properly responding to changes in water pressure.
The tubing connecting a pressure switch may be steel (a rigid small-diameter mounting pipe), flexible copper (connected with flare fittings), or flexible plastic (connected using special brass connectors. For a proper fit and thus for the pump pressure switch to sense the water pressure in the plumbing system, the internal diameter of the pressure tube must match the fittings to which it attaches. I was also worried about "priming" the pressure sensing tube and the pressure switch diaphragm, thinking that because any air in the tube is compressible and that the diaphragm wouldn't be activated because the air would keep compressing.A  This was a mistake.
I changed the hose (more-or-less proper ID), plugged in the pump and - miracle of miracles - the switch turned on.A  Its been running fine since then, and we've had plenty of water and pressure.
If as long as wea€™re taking the switch off to check these things Ia€™d check out that opening on the switch bottom as well.
In a pinch ita€™s good to know that you may be able to clean the water pump control switch right up and get it working again. Be careful about poking anything into the threaded opening which connects the pressure switch to the water pump or water tank. It's possible to remove all of the phillips-head screws you see in this photo of the underside of a pump pressure control switch, to expose the diaphragm, and to clean out the whole mechanism. Since a new pressure switch is not very costly, and since we have to take the switch off to diagnose it anyway, if on removing and inspecting the pump pressure switch we think it was clogged, Ia€™ll often just replace it. If the pump pressure control switch contacts are burned we can sometimes get it working again for a while by first, turning off electrical power as we described above, and then using a file, carefully cleaning all touching-surfaces the switch contacts. We sometimes use fine sandpaper anyway, but in either case be careful not to leave grit and debris in the switch or ita€™ll fail again that much sooner. Watch out: do NOT try working on a pump control switch without first removing electrical power - you could be killed by electrical shock.
If the pressure control contact point surfaces are burned, it may interfere with the pump turning on. Diagnosing Water Pump Short Cycling on and off: If your water pump is clicking on and off too often or quite rapidly see SHORT CYCLING.
Continue reading at WATER PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL REPLACE or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below.
Or see PUMP PRESSURE SWITCH REPAIR KIT to replace contact points or diaphragm in a pressure control switch.
It might be normal to hear a noise at the pressure tank when the pump is running, as water is flowing into the tank. It sounds as if the contact switch points may be burned; take a look, or try replacing the switch.
Janice if your water pressure is dropping to zero, the problem sounds like more than just adjusting the pressure control switch.
Before trying to adjust the pressure control switch I'd check out the well flow rate itself.
Pressure control switch isna€™t turning on the pump - when using the manual cut in switch the pump isna€™t turning on either, however, if you manually use a screwdriver and push the contacts down you can get the pump to engage. I realize there could be another problem, such as with the pump itself, but I'd start by replacing the pressure switch. I'd try replacing the switch and making sure the little tube on which it mounts is also unblocked by rust or debris. If the pump cuts off very quickly I suspect the water tank is water-logged - it's lost its air charge. Archie, you need to run water until pressure in the pressure tank drops below the cut-in pressure set in the control. Hello, I just moved into a new house and my water will be running fine then all of a sudden I will have none. John and Kevin: the sensor port on the bottom of your pressure control switch may be clogged - try replacing the switch and the mounting tube as well. Try first checking system water pressure at an independent location using a test gauge at a nearby hose bib.
Indeed without a more sophisticated well pump controller that monitors current draw, we can't tell the difference betweeen a well that has run out of water and a well whose foot valve screen has become debris clogged, not allowing water to enter the pump. A clogged sensor port on the bottom of the pressure control switch can cause the problem you describe. Question: do I pre-pressurize the empty water tank air charge or add water then air pressure?
On most pump and tank systems if the water tank is a bladderless system and if the air charge is too low, you can add air after water is in the tank as well. I have read up on pressure switches but dont really think this is the problem because my pump is running and most problems I read about have to do with pumps not running.

Jamie, double check that the gauge 10 psi is really correct - that is, that house pressure is indeed abnormally low - or use a separate external water pressure gauge to check. Lost air charge in the water tank won't lower the pressure the pump delivers - but it will cause the pump to short cycle on and off too often.
If pressure really is low and the pump is running (probably constantly if power is on to it) then I'd look for a damaged pump, low voltage to the pump, or a well piping leak, or low water in the well that is simply not returning water to the building.
If you shut off the system for a few hours or longer and then the pump is able to develop pressure I suspect the problem is the well flow rate.
My pump waters the yard and sometimes the pump will kick off when a circuit tries to start.
My question is why the pressure switch keeps shutting down and needs to be manually turned back on.
We have always had good water pressure in the past and were able to use several faucets or hoses at one time. Do you have any suggestions as to what we are doing wrong, how to adjust to stop this from happening?
If the sensor port on the switch doesn't feel the water pressure correctly that can cause the trouble you describe. The way it's set right now (this new switch), it shouldn't run because it's settings (the Large spring adjustment) and the differential are completely different on the old switch compared to this new one! Not to mention this place we live in, we may as well live in another dimension since whoever built it, did so bassackwards, lol! Also, regarding what you said about clogging, would it be possible for ice in the pipes to cause this? WATCH OUT for getting electrocuted working on electrical wiring - make sure and confirm by test that power is off before you touch anything. That scary message out of the way, if electrical wiring to a water pump control switch is not damaged say by overheating, nicks, cuts in insulation, etc.
Read the instructions that come with the switch, including warnings about wiring safety; also, regardless of whether or not a person is competent or knows how to make electrical wiring connections, note that in some jurisdictions that work is by local code something required to be done by a licensed electrician, and inspected by the electrical inspector. Jim, unless all of the wiring, junction boxes, and electrical controls planned for your hook-up are rated for outdoor use and weather exposure your installation will be unsave and risks electrocuting someone.
Anon, please see the diagnostic suggestions at NO WATER PRESSURE and let me know if questions remain.
Jet pump works fine but when I started it up this year is does something that it did not do previously.
When [the water pump] reaches the max pressure and shuts off, it starts again for 4-5 seconds the shuts off. Possibly burned contacts, debris clogging a sensor port on the switch, water running in the building, or something else I've not thought-of. Booster pump connected to municipal system will not cut in automatically must be manually turned on and then off, WHY ? If the pressure switch is a model including a safety cutout it may be shutting down because someone set the cutout higher than the pump can attain. The pressure gauge, mounted on supply piping or on the water tank, will read the system water pressure as it varies with pump on or off.
This sounds like an anti-scald valve problem unless water pressure is varying for both hot and cold simultaneously. I changed pressure switch and it operates correctly, water pressure continues to build after contacters open? Either you've got an artesian well at high pressure, some other pressurized water source, or the pump is mis wired and not turning off.
If the pressure falls below the cut-in and the switch does not turn on the pump I suspect a debris clogged or otherwise failing pump switch. Sounds as if the pump protector is detecting low water in the well - doing its job, or else you've got a defective control installatin. Is there a lubricant that can be applied to the switch contacts to make them less likely to stick? Watch out: I would not for a minute modify a pump pressure control switch with lubricant thinking I was fixing a problem.
Thanks to reader Bob Hartman-Berrier for discussing the diagnosis of a pressure switch that would not turn the pump on, traced to a switch tubing fit problem. WATER PUMP LIFE EXPECTANCY - Well Pumps: Life Expectancy of Water Pumps, how long should a water pump last?
WELL LIFE EXPECTANCY - Life Expectancy of Wells & Water Tanks, how long should a water well and its components last?
Water pressure tanks - how to diagnose the need for air, how to add air, stop water pump short cycling to avoid damage - water storage water pressure tank safety.
Water Supply & Drain Piping, water and drain pipe types, inspection, diagnosis, repairs, problem materials, clogging, etc. Our recommended books about building & mechanical systems design, inspection, problem diagnosis, and repair, and about indoor environment and IAQ testing, diagnosis, and cleanup are at the InspectAPedia Bookstore.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Different car manufacturers have different distance recommendations but all agree that you should not exceed the vehicles recommendation.  If your timing belt fails, your engine becomes completely immobile, and can cost a lot of money. Carter Mobile Repairs attends to 20 – 30 timing belt failures a year throughout the Perth Metro. If you can’t remember if your timing belt has been replaced contact the team at Carter Mobile Repairs before it’s too late. Ready to get cost estimates for your big project? Trying to figure out which tile solution is going to be the most cost-effective? We describe the diagnostic steps to take if a water pump won't turn on, won't turn off, or a switch that is burned, corroded or damaged. We discuss how to diagnose problems with the water pump control and how to fix them by correcting an underlying problem, by replacing a bad pressure control switch, or by replacing switch parts such as bad contacts or diaphragm. But beware, we once replaced a pump control switch when the problem was a clogged filter which was causing the pump to cycle on and off erratically. Working around electricity and plumbing is particularly dangerous because of the increased chance of touching a live electrical wire while touching grounded plumbing piping. When you buy this control it is usually set at the proper cut-in and cut-out pressures - check the box. If the switch is behaving erratically or not coming on or not shutting off at all, there could be various explanations, some of which have nothing to do with the switch itself.
Causes of continued pump operation include lost water supply in the well, well piping leaks, well pump defects, or an improperly-adjusted pressure control switch that has called for higher water pressure than the pump can achieve. If the pump runs and then stops normally, having built up pressure into the building to the normal cut-off level, chances are you were previously drawing water faster than the well could recover. Since this is below our water pump cut-in pressure which was set to a little over 20 psi, the pump should have cut on. It could be a dirty or burned electrical contact, a loose electrical connection, or debris clogging the diaphragm of the pressure sensor (or something else we haven't thought of). Turn the switch back off and proceed to diagnose why the switch was not turning the well pump on and off automatically. Other pressure control switches may be bolted right to the pump motor and may use a flexible plastic or copper tube to transmit water pressure to the switch. Ita€™s this small opening that permits water to press against a diaphragm in the bottom of the pressure switch and thus allows the switch to sense the water pressure.
If the diaphragm has developed a tear or old the switch may leak water and it certainly won't work. The result may be intermittent failure of the switch to turn the pump on or off, or it may result in a hard failure to turn the pump on or off.
This is the tube that carries water pressure (pressurizing air in the tubing) to the bottom of the pressure control switch.
There was an extreme amount of mineral buildup inside the pump where the copper tubing initially comes out to travel to the pressure switch.

A well pump pressure gauge that does not respond to pressure changes is potentially unsafe as it could lead to excessive pressurization of the water tank and building piping. The volume of air at higher pressure will be reduced, but the air pressure and water pressure will always be the same. We do this by unscrewing the connecting pipe from the bottom of the pressure switch, and looking inside of the opening into which that pipe was connected.
While it is possible to clean or even file these surfaces to get the switch working again as an emergency temporary fix, the switch needs to be replaced.
If you hear air gurgling then there may be a leak in your well line causing the pump to also send air into the tank. I am guessing in that direction because at the end of a pump cycle even if the pressure sensor of the switch is not working properly I wouldn't expect pressure sense to drop so far as to fall below the cut-in right at the END of the pump cycle. We have a pressure control switch lever (as shown above) that we need to re-gauge if we run two faucets (or demand too much water) at one time. It sounds as if the well pump is not keeping up with the water flow rate demand in the building.
Also replace or clean out the switch mounting tube so we're sure it's properly sensing water pressure. I checked the pressure tank and found that if I move the Maintained Manual Cut-in Lever or Manual Cut Out Lever I will get my pressure and water back.
But when actual pressure drops to zero very quickly I suspect a waterlogged pressure tank or a clogged pressure switch sensor that is not sensing pressure correctly. So could this be the pressure tank being saturated even though I have the right psi in tank. This can also occur if the well has run out of water or the well screen is clogged, causing the motor to overheat or causing damage to the pump impeller or bearings. Recently, the pressure switch will shut off when we use two or more water sources ( hose, sink, shower etc ) and I have to reset it by lifting the manual over ride lever on the side of the pressure switch slightly until pump kicks back on. The differential on the old switch seems set lower (nut-wise), and a little more-so lower on the large spring, all compared to the new switch we recently bought to replace. It has been really cold outside, and a few times we had to use a Torpedo Heater to thaw some of them out. Even if water still seems to be flowing through the faucets, and the small pipe beneath the switch, could the possible presence of ice cause this as if it were a clog? Pressure is higher but now we run out of water when showering or flushing the toilet and doing the dishes. If you mean that the pressure switch is not responding to changes in water pressure then perhaps the switch mounting tube or bottom sensor port are debris clogged. I wouldn't try replacing just the contacts, nor does the manufacturer recommend sanding or filing burned contact points.
A few months ago I had a new automic water pump control fitted (I think this is also call a pressure compensator).
For example if the tank's air charge pressure is above the pressure switch cut-in pressure then the switch will never turn on the pump.
The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively.
What’s worse is that there is no pre-warning, if the belt breaks, most engines are interference fit, which could cause serious engine damages. Drivers are often left stranded, which is why we offer a no cost towing service to our workshop.
Carter Mobile Repairs can address all of your timing belt concerns providing you with honest advice and repair options that are available to you. How to Find & Adjust the Water Pump Pressure Control Switch, what the pump pressure switch looks like, where is it located on the water system?Pumptrol 20-40, 30-50, or 40-60 pressure switch operation.
But other problems can leave a pump running forever, such as a damaged impeller, a leak in water piping, or very high in-building use, or loss of water in the well.
Just as a connection in a pressure switch may be loose or dirty or bad, the same could be true of a pump motor. The repair kit discussed at PRESSRURE SWITCH REPAIR KIT may solve this problem or you can simply replace the switch. The pressure will drop to zero and we need to engage it in order to get the water working again. The contacts close briefly, pump just starts to turn, then everything stops and pressure falls.
This seems to happen at random and I was wondering if this was likely to be caused by a bad pressure control switch?
On occasion we see a clog or damaged tank bladder interfering with water exiting the tank but I wouldn't think that would be pressure-dependent.
If you add too much air typically the excess air will flow out at the nearest faucet when you next run water. Now if we use outside hose and kitchen sink, it will shut down within a minute or so, sometimes almost immediately.
Where at first it kept shutting off at like 38psi, then lowered after some fiddling, to about 43psi. Just a little concern that the switch will be exposed to the rain when it is blowing from that direction. The other hose bibs located farther away from the pump house do not seem to cause this problem, and the low pressure switch functions properly. So far this works & seems to be a solution but I am afraid that one day it will not restart! What are the controls, switches, valves found on water tanks and water pumps, what do they do, how are they repaired? Now I know why - ever since that date when they come do their yearly check up they knock out this sediment [using the awl to open the tubing so that the pressure switch can accurately sense the water pressure in the system].
Because the pressure control switch was a new one, investigation eventually turned to a possible problem with the plastic tubing connecting the switch to the water tank. Now the VERY new replacement will never Cut In (engage) on like it's supposed to after dropping in pressure. We are still trying to figure out how to get the thing to Cut In after the pressure gets to a certain point, say like when taking a shower, so the water doesn't keep cutting off.
Trying to adjust the pressure switch does nothing - what else could cause temperature change? Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home.
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If you press the valve down and get water, then you've most likely got a ruptured bladder in your tank. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material. We replaced the grey control box on the wall next to the pressure tank and have also pulled the pump to make sure it was working properly. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Tapping on the pressure tank gives me hollow sound at top half and solid near bottom which leads me to believe it is not logged.

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