Your well pump contains a pressure switch, which is the device inside the pump that controls when the pump turns on and how long it runs. An issue with the switch can cause it to shut down even when water isn't flowing at the preset capacity, or it may continue running even though the water pressure needs have already been met. The following are a few symptoms that it is time to have your pressure switch repaired or replaced.
1. Failure to Run
Loss of water pressure or complete interruption in flow from a faucet or tap can indicate that the pressure switch has failed. Sometimes the problem is intermittent and you may have a sputtering faucet that is blowing air mixed in with the water. In some cases, the pressure switch may be operating at a reduced capacity, which means you have consistent water but it is at a lower amount of water pressure than you are accustomed to. Water may seem to just trickle from the faucet or the pressure may be insufficient for operating a pop-up sprinkler head in the yard.
2. Constant Running
It's also possible for the opposite issue to occur when a pressure switch starts to fail. Instead of the pump shutting down, it runs constantly and does not shut off at all. This is typically a sign of a partially operating switch that is attempting to regulate the pressure up to the correct level but is unable to do so. Turn off the well pump if this occurs, as the constant running wastes electricity and it can cause the entire pump to burn out. It is much less expensive to replace a bad switch rather than the entire pump.
3. Repeated Cycling
A combination of shutting down and running can occur in the form of repeated cycling, which is often the result of a failing pressure switch. When this happens, the pump may run a few minutes, shut down for a moment or two, and then start right back up again. This process can continue non-stop or just for a short period of time every time you use the water in the house. Shutting down the pump until repairs can be made is the best option, otherwise, the constant cycling may wear out other components in the pump.
Contact a well pump repair service if you suspect issues with your pressure switch. A repair now will cost much less than a full pump replacement.