We have a well and the water coming out of my kitchen faucet just stopped dead so what do I do now?

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When you rely on your own water from a well rather than a municipal water source, your water is free, but it comes into your home thanks to equipment that needs to be maintained. That equipment includes a submersible well pump and related parts, like a relay pressure switch and pressure tank. Your well pump has a lifespan of up to 30 years, but it or any of its components can malfunction for a number of reasons, from normal wear to a lightning hit during a storm. If your water flow simply stopped cold, you might need a new pump or simply a new part.

A submersible well pump is part of a larger system that includes many components. Among those likely to have a problem is the relay switch, which sends starts the process of delivering water to the tank inside your home. Experts at your pump service company will be able to pinpoint the problem and correct it. If you don’t already have a relationship with this kind of contractor, it’s essential that you develop one. A full service company will also handle any water treatment or filtering equipment in your basement; this equipment benefits from annual check-ups.

In The Know

While equipment sometimes simply breaks down and stops, be aware of the warning signs that a pump is failing or another issue has developed that needs investigating:

  • Your water pressure significantly drops for no apparent reason; this could mean that the pump isn't pushing enough water out of the well to fill your pressure tank.
  • Your water starts to come out when you open a faucet, but then stops; this could signal a problem with the relay switch.
  • You hear your well pump constantly cycle on and off; this could be a warning that it’s on its last legs or that the relay is malfunctioning.

There are many other possibilities for reduced water pressure, including pipes that have been clogged by sediment or mineral deposits (a likely scenario if you have very hard water). Your plumber should be able to check the pressure at different faucets around your house to see if the problem is isolated.

Also, if you have water treatment equipment to soften it (remove hard minerals) or to remove radon, for instance, you’ll want to ask your water pump company to look for a malfunction or a sediment build-up in that equipment, which can reduce water pressure or even completely stop the flow.

Photo Courtesy of Grohe: Grandera Collection.