Importance of Finding out your Well Pump’s Life Expectancy
A well pump is a pump that extracts water from your well into your home. Back in the day, homeowners had to manually draw water from a well with a bucket and a crank.
Fortunately, modern well systems come equipped with electromechanical well pump to quickly draw water from the well into the house. In today’s article, we will be touching on pump maintenance and how long does a well pump last.
Common Types of Pumps
The first thing you need to know is the types of well pumps available in the market. The three common well pumps you may come across are centrifugal well pumps, submersible pumps, and jet pumps.
As the name suggests, this type of pump uses centrifugal force to suck water from the aquifer into your home. This type of water system only needs a single pipe and is more effective for shallow wells.
Centrifugal pumps are not suitable for deep wells that are below 25 feet underground.
Submersible Well Pumps
This is the most efficient type of well pump and also the most popular. A submersible well pump only turns on when its needed, rather than constantly drawing water into the home.
A spinning impeller within the pump is used to draw water in and through to the surface. Submersible pumps are also very versatile as they can be used in both shallow and deep well applications.
Jet pumps are usually combined with a pressure tank to draw water from both deep and shallow wells. A shallow well will use a single pipe to draw water while deep wells require a two-pipe system.
Two-pipe jet pumps are powerful enough to draw water from more than 100 feet below the ground.
How Long Does a Well Pump Last on Average?
Many well pumps that service homes with moderate water usage can be expected to last up to 15 years. However, submersible pumps in well may need to be replaced after 8 to 10 years.
Factors Affecting a Well Pump’s Lifespan
Here are a few factors that play a role in your well pump’s life expectancy:
One of the biggest influencers of well pump lifespan is the quality of the parts they’re made up of. Off-brand products may seem like a better deal at the time, they are usually not better long-term solutions.
Cheaper well pumps tend to be made with cheaper and less durable materials, which may damage or spoil faster with daily operation.
In addition to the component quality, the pump’s power supply will also affect the pump’s lifespan. Having voltages that are too high or too low can significantly reduce a pump’s lifespan and you even run the risk of destroying it.
Phase imbalances or loss can also have a similar detrimental effect. This is why it is important that your pump is supplied with the best power function and quality.
The quality of water supply will depend on your local environment, including rock type, soil type, and possible pollution. Obviously, the pump will have a longer life expectancy if it services pure and clear water all the time.
But we know that that is rarely the case as the water in your aquifer will have sediment and sand. The more sediment there is in your water, the faster the internal components will wear out.
High mineral content can also cause faster wear and tear to the well water system, potentially leading to clogged well pumps, chambers, and ports.
The temperature of your well water is not something that homeowners have control over. But it’s still worth knowing how temperature can affect your pump’s lifespan
. High water temperatures will decrease the motor quality of the pump and affect the plastic components in the water system. Not all components within the system are intended to be used at elevated temperatures.
However, there are certain pump systems available on the market that are designed to be used with higher water temperatures. This is something worth looking into if you live in an area with higher water temperatures.
Water Pump Duty Cycle
A pump’s duty cycle is the duration it needs to run at a time, and this could also play an important role in the overall lifespan of a pump. Well pumps that run on an intermittent duty cycle when needed tend to last longer compared to well pumps on a continuous duty cycle.
This is common sense since the motor will be required to work less frequently and won’t be worn out as quickly.
Water System Installation
Poor installation can result in early issues with a well pump. Here are a few things to look out for when fitting your pump:
- Correct type and pipe size used.
- Pipe’s pressure rating is accurate.
- Pump meets the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Pump hasn’t incurred damages during shipping.
- Electronic components are properly waterproofed.
- Pump designed to withstand corrosion and sediment.
- Flow sleeve used to allow motor to cool properly.
- Proper wire size is selected.
- Check valves installed in suitable locations in the pipe.
Signs To Know When it’s Time for a Well Pump Service
Different well pumps have different wear and tear rates, but here are a few observable signs that can indicate when your well pump needs servicing:
Low water pressure – A malfunctioning well pump motor could lead to changes in pressure throughout your home. Since well pumps run on electric motors, you will certainly notice a difference in your water pressure if the motor fails.
Spitting faucet – A leaking tank may allow air into the water line and result in “spitting” faucets. While this is more of a nuisance than a plumbing emergency, frequent occurrences could shorten the life of your well pump if left unchecked.
High electric bills – Problems with your home well’s pump system can reduce energy efficiency and raise your electricity bills. If you noticed that your utility bill is climbing month over month, then it may be worthwhile to contact a professional to do an inspection.
How to Extend the Life of a Well Water Pump?
All types of well pump will need to be replaced eventually, but there are several steps you can take to extend the life of your water pump and get better value for money.
Schedule Annual Inspections
Getting your water pump inspected once a year is a great way to identify and diagnose issues early on before they start to cause major effect on the well pump itself.
An inspection specialist will be able to help you examine the mechanical functions of the pump and check the overall structure of the well system to identify any issues.
A number of tests will be conducted to check the flow rate and water quality. If any parts are found to be worn out, they will also be able to recommend suitable well pump components.
Check Pressure Tank
Other than checking your well pump, you should also check your pressure tank and ensure that the switch is working properly to produce the right water pressure. A poorly operating switch may mean that your pressure tank isn’t able to hold enough water.
Issues in your pressure tank can lead to problems with the well pump as the pump will need to work harder to constantly replenish the tank. This will eventually lead to premature wear and inefficient use of energy.
Install a Sediment Filter before a Water Pump
A well pump with a sediment filter installed before will last much longer since it isn’t exposed to high sediment that could lead to its damage.
The sediment filter will prevent sediment entering your pump, pressure tank, motor, pipes, as well as other well components. These filters are designed to remove sand, dirt, dust, rust, and other large particles present in the water.
Perform Well Pump Maintenance
While replacing and changing worn or faulty components in your water pump is important, there are also other aspects of maintenance that you need to perform, such as lubricating the water pump.
Pump lubricants are typically required for above-groundwater pump motors and how often a pump needs to be lubricated will depend on the type of water pump you have.
For more information, it is better for you to refer to your well pump’s user manual as all well pumps are different and may have varying maintenance requirements.
Install High Quality Components
Regardless of whether the well pump you have is a jet pump, submersible pump, or centrifugal pump, it is important that you purchase high quality well pumps and components that are designed to handle your daily water usage and pressure.
Important components within the well system including the pressure tank, the check valves, float switch, and even the piping, can also affect how long your water pump will last.
That’s why it is important that you make sure every element of your well system is made with high quality materials designed to withstand high level of water usage.
Address Issues Immediately
There are many components within the well system and some parts may stop working eventually. Hence, it is recommended for you to replace any worn or broken part immediately once you have detected the issue.
Certain problems with water flow can be an indication that the water well pump is no longer working properly and you may need to hire a contractor to fix it.
Signs When You Need a New Well Pump
As discussed in the section earlier, a well pump can last approximately 15-20 years with proper maintenance. However, owning a home with a well means that you’ll eventually have to replace your well pump. Here are a few signs that could mean that you need a new well pump.
No Water At All
If you turn on a faucet or flush a toilet and notice there’s no water coming in at all, then it’s a definite sign that there’s something wrong with your well pump. You can try to troubleshoot the issue with the following:
- Check your circuit breaker and make sure that there is power supply to your well pump. Turn the pump off, reset the breaker, and turn the water pump back on.
- Pressure tank has shut off and needs to be reset.
- Plumbing failure, such as a broken pipe, will lead to a flooded section in your yard and your water pump is running continuously.
- A drought has caused your well to run dry.
A Reduction in Water Pressure
When you notice a decrease in your typical water pressure when you turn the tap on, it could be a sign that your pump isn’t drawing as much water up as it did before and is beginning to fail.
Or it could indicate that your well pump is undersized, perhaps you added a new bathroom, installed a dishwasher or have a larger water heater that has created a larger water demand. A decrease in water pressure could also be:
- There’s a hole in the pressure tank or mechanisms are going out in it.
- Iron bacteria buildup in the pipes slowing down water pressure. This is common in areas where water have high iron content. If this is the case, you can check if the problem affects all faucets, otherwise it may be a localized problem.
Faucet Spitting out Air
If there are air bubbles spitting out of your faucet and the water is not flowing consistently, it may indicate that the pump is pulling air up instead of water.
This could also be a sign that your pump isn’t functioning efficiently and may be about fail soon. Here are a few plausible reasons why you experience a spitting faucet:
- A crack in the pipe connecting the pump to your home. It’s recommended to engage a plumber or well pump repair specialist to fix it.
- Water table or water level in the well has dropped below the pump. This may mean that you need to dig a deeper well
Dirty Well Water
Dirt, sand, or sediment coming out of your water is a clear indication that you need to get your well pump fixed immediately. The pump may be too large for your well and it’s pulling up silt and sand up from the bottom.
The pump suction may also be placed too far down the well and needs to be relocated. Or your pump’s filter screen has gotten torn or damaged.