Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Well Pump Repair Issues in Windham?
- 2 What Factors Cause Premature Well Pump Failure in Windham?
- 3 How Much Does Well Pump Repair Usually Cost in Windham?
- 4 How to Avoid Costly Well Pump Repairs in Windham?
- 5 When Do You Need Permits for Well Pump Repair in Windham?
What Are the Most Common Well Pump Repair Issues in Windham?
Located just north of Portland, Windham, Maine is known as the gateway to the beautiful Sebago Lakes Region. While the nearby city of Portland has a robust water system, many homes in Windham use private wells instead of city water. There are several common problems residents can encounter with their well pumps that require professional repair services. Some are common no matter where your well is located, but there are some that are more unique to the area.
- Windham was originally settled by farmers, and still has many farms and agricultural areas. Unfortunately, this can lead to problems such as agricultural runoff which brings chemicals and other pollutants into contact with private wells, and can contaminate the water.
- Windham sees a large amount of precipitation every year, both snow and rain. Large volumes of rainfall, or melting snow, can cause water levels to fluctuate and cause your well pump to malfunction.
- Incorrect sizing of the water tank or electrical wires, as well as poor quality materials being used, are all common problems seen in wells in Windham, and across the country.
- Increased development of homes around the Sebago Lakes can cause increased runoff and sediment in the groundwater. Additionally, many of these homes are used year-round instead of only being used seasonally, which puts strain on the homes’ septic systems and threatens the water quality.
- Inadequate water flow or poor water pressure can often occur when the well is drilled improperly. It can also be a result of a pressure switch that is malfunctioning or a bad check valve. Additionally, a complete lack of water is most often caused by a well pump that has broken down and likely needs to be replaced.
What Factors Cause Premature Well Pump Failure in Windham?
Depending on what kind of well pump you have, there are a few different things that can cause it to fail early and require replacement earlier than expected.
- Incorrectly sized pressure tank: The size of your pressure tank should be appropriate to meet the water demands of your household. A tank that is too small or one that is too big, can cause your well pump to turn on and off too frequently, also known as short cycling. This increases the energy used by the pump, which produces excessive heat and causes damage to the pump.
- Leaking pressure tank: If your pressure tank has a leak, air can infiltrate your water line, which will cause you to have “spitting” faucets when you turn them on. While this is not a plumbing emergency, if it is not fixed promptly, it can decrease the life of your well pump.
- Water sediment levels: Sediment in the water acts as an abrasive, wearing down the bearings as well as the other moving parts of your pump. Sediment from runoff from increased development around the lakes in the area is high, particularly as many septic systems are aging and homes are transitioning from vacation homes to year-round homes.
- Motor quality and size: Similar to an incorrectly sized pressure tank, a pump motor should also be sized appropriately for the water demands of your household. A motor that is too small may not be able to meet the water demands of your household, and one that is too big can lead to over-pumping. Additionally, if appropriately sized wires and electrical connections are not used, it can either cause the voltage to drop, which can prevent your pump from starting, or it can cause the voltage to spike, which will cause the pump to become overloaded and trip the circuit. And like most things, quality is important. A motor that is poorly constructed is more likely to fail prematurely compared to a well-constructed pump motor. Additionally, a bad check valve or a malfunctioning pressure switch can both lead to low water pressure, which is not only inconvenient but can also damage your well pump. For example, if the check valve gets stuck open, the pump can actually spin backward, which puts a significant amount of stress on both the pump and the motor.
- Pump’s duty cycle: How frequently your pump runs during the day, which is also known as the duty cycle, can cause your well pump to fail early if it is not in line with the capacity of the motor. A pump that runs continuously will usually have a much shorter life, particularly if it exceeds the manufacturer’s recommendations. And if the pump is being triggered to turn on and off too rapidly, the motor will exert too much energy without leveling off, and the water flowing through it will not have a chance to cool down. Ideally, a pump should run for at least one to two minutes in order to prevent this issue.
- Low water table: If the water table is too low, your well can potentially go dry, and if your pump is still running, it will shorten the life of your pump, because it is working harder as it continues to attempt to pump water that is not there.
How Much Does Well Pump Repair Usually Cost in Windham?
The cost to repair a well pump can vary based on a few different factors. On average, well pump repair costs in Windham are between $196 and $1,593. These costs do not account for any contractor fees or any tax on materials. On average, contractor fees can add between $105.72 and $132.15 to your costs. Neither Windham nor Cumberland County has a sales tax, but there is a state sales tax that is currently 5.5% in Maine, and this will also add to your costs. Here are some of the factors that can influence your well pump repair costs.
Type of Pump
Your costs may be more expensive based on what type of well pump you have. Jet pumps are generally less expensive to repair because they are typically located near or above the surface and are easier to access. Submersible pumps, on the other hand, can be more expensive because they are typically located deep underground, making them difficult to access, which makes repairs more difficult. Other types of well pumps, such as a solar pump or a hand pump, are not very common in Windham, so repairs can be more expensive due to limited availability.
Depth of Well
Deeper wells are generally much more expensive to perform repairs on than a shallow well. This is due, not only to the type of pump needed but also because they are more difficult to access. A submersible pump is often used in deeper wells, which can be difficult to reach since, as the name suggests, they are submersed in the water deep in the well. A jet pump is typically used in shallow wells, and these are often located near the surface, sometimes above ground, which makes them easier and thus, less expensive to repair.
Age and Condition
Pumps that are in poor condition, or are older, are typically more expensive to repair. A well pump that is not well maintained can lead to problems that extend into the pressure tank and the well. Depending on how extensive the repairs are, or how old your pump is, you may need to replace your pump completely, which can be very expensive. For example, installation of a jet pump for a shallow well up to 25 feet deep, can cost, on average, between $833 and $989.
How to Avoid Costly Well Pump Repairs in Windham?
The best way you can avoid expensive well pump repairs is by having regular well pump maintenance done. Not only can regular maintenance prevent many problems from occurring in the first place, but it will also detect potential problems sooner, preferably before they become more extensive, which will also cause them to be more expensive. There are quite a few things that you can, and should, do as part of your annual maintenance, as well as things you should check and be aware of throughout the rest of the year.
- Annual maintenance should include testing your water for bacteria and nitrates. Additionally, any time there is a change in the taste, smell, or color of your water, you have any work done on your well, or you are expecting a baby, you should have your water tested. The Maine Division of Environmental and Community Health recommends testing your water for arsenic, fluoride, uranium, radon, lead, and manganese, every five years. Also, if you are installing a water treatment system or replacing parts of an existing system, you are buying a new home, or your water has never been tested, you should have a comprehensive water test done.
- Check the well cover or well cap periodically to make sure it is not damaged. And be careful when you are mowing or working around your well so as not to damage the cover or cap, which can potentially contaminate your water.
- Ensure that things such as leaves and snow do not get piled around your well. Also, hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and motor oil, should never be kept near your well either. And there should be appropriate separation between the well and any buildings, waste systems, or chemical storage facilities, as well as your property line.
- If you are mixing fertilizers, pesticides, or other chemicals, you should never place the hose inside the tank or container, as back-siphonage can occur and this can potentially allow hazardous chemicals to contaminate your water supply.
- Check for any changes in the area around your well and to the well itself. This includes depressions in the soil around the well, which can indicate soil erosion caused by a leak, and this can lead to a sinkhole if not addressed promptly.
- Finally, you should always use plumbers who are certified or licensed water well drillers and pump installers to ensure your well pump is properly cared for.
When Do You Need Permits for Well Pump Repair in Windham?
Neither Windham, nor Cumberland County, nor the State of Maine, require permits for well pump repairs or installations. The Maine Well Drillers Commission licenses and regulates well drillers, as well as pump installers. Even though no permits are required, you should always use a pump installer who has been licensed by the state and is in good standing.