Submersible pumps are commonly used in residential and commercial water wells and are prized for their reliability. Unfortunately, they can still suffer from malfunctions caused by poor maintenance or bad luck, leaving your well useless.
If your well's submersible pump isn't delivering any water to the surface, the problem may be caused by a number of underlying issues. Here are three potential reasons your submersible well pump cannot effectively pump water to the surface:
Damaged Drop Pipe
The drop pipe is the pipe that connects your well's submersible pump to surface-level plumbing. If your submersible pump appears to be functioning normally but no water is reaching the surface, the drop pipe may be damaged, allowing water to leak out of the pipe and back into the well before it can be collected and used.
This is more likely to occur if your well pump is relatively old. Older pumps are frequently fitted with galvanized steel drop pipes, which are vulnerable to corrosion once their anti-rust coatings start to wear out.
Newer pumps are generally fitted with PVC plastic pipes, which are immune to corrosion and therefore less likely to leak. However, they can still be damaged or dislodged by well cave-ins, earth tremors, or improper maintenance. Flexible PVC pipes may also be damaged by excessive water pressure, which can cause them to crack or become disconnected from the pump itself.
Replacing a damaged drop pipe is usually more cost-effective than repairing it, but this can be a hazardous job. Call in a well pump repair service to replace the damaged pipe for you.
Blocked Intake Filters
Submersible well pumps are fitted with filter screens inside their intakes. These screens prevent sediment, soil, and other solid debris from entering the pump, where they can damage the pump's impeller and contaminate your water supply. Over time, these screens can become clogged with large amounts of debris, preventing water from passing through them and into your pump.
If your submersible pump is not delivering water, and you know your well water contains significant quantities of sediment, blocked filters may be the cause of your well woes. Don't try to force water through the filters by running your pump at high-pressure levels, as this can seriously damage the pump's impeller.
The pump will need to be brought to the surface, where its filters can be removed and thoroughly cleaned, ideally by pump repair professionals.
Damaged Pressure Switch
If your submersible pump is not running at all, a damaged pressure switch may be the culprit. Pressure switches automatically deactivate the pump when internal water pressure is too high or too low. This prevents the pump from running without water when well water levels are low and prevents overpressurization that can damage pump components.
If the pressure switch has become damaged, it may stop functioning correctly, preventing your pump from activating even when pressure levels are normal. Older pumps may have rusty pressure switches that become locked in place. Sediment can also coat the switch's electrical contacts, preventing proper functioning.
Fortunately, dirty pressure switches are easy to clean, and replacement switches usually aren't expensive. If you are familiar with basic submersible pump functionality, you can bring the pump to the surface and clean or replace a malfunctioning switch yourself. If you are not comfortable with DIY pressure switch repair, call in the professionals.