Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Well Pump Repair Issues in Wilmington?
- 2 What Factors Cause Premature Well Pump Failure in Wilmington?
- 3 How Much Does Well Pump Repair Usually Cost in Wilmington?
- 4 How to Avoid Costly Well Pump Repairs in Wilmington?
- 5 When Do You Need Permits for Well Pump Repair in Wilmington?
What Are the Most Common Well Pump Repair Issues in Wilmington?
Located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River, Wilmington is a beautiful coastal city in North Carolina. It has a large historical district, and while there is a robust city water system, many homes in the area use private wells instead of city water. There are several common problems residents run into with their well pumps that require our professional repair services, some that are seen in wells no matter where they are located, and some that are more unique to the area.
- Wilmington, along with all of North Carolina, has a rich agricultural history. Unfortunately, this leads to problems such as constant runoff that brings chemicals and other pollutants into contact with wells, leading to contamination of the water.
- Due to close proximity to the coast, water levels can fluctuate and lead to water pump problems. Additionally, large volumes of rainfall can cause water levels to fluctuate as well, particularly during the hurricane season.
- 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 Wilmington and across the country.
- Sandy or cloudy water can occur due to the close proximity to the coast, both because of high levels of sand in the area, as well as saltwater contaminating groundwater sources.
- Inadequate water flow or pressure often occurs when the well is not drilled properly. It can also be due to a pressure switch that is malfunctioning or a bad check valve. Additionally, a complete lack of water is often caused by a well pump that has broken down and will likely need to be replaced.
What Factors Cause Premature Well Pump Failure in Wilmington?
Depending on the type of well pump you have, there are a few different things that can cause it to fail and need to be replaced earlier than expected.
- Incorrectly sized pressure tank: It is important to make sure your pressure tank is the proper size to meet the water demands of your household. If the tank is too small or exceeds the capacity of the well, it can cause your well pump to short cycle, meaning it turns on and off too frequently. This increases the energy used by the pump, as well as excessive heat, causing damage to the pump.
- Leaking pressure tank: If your pressure tank is leaking, it can allow air to infiltrate your water line, which will cause your faucets to “sputter” when you turn them on. This is not a plumbing emergency, but if it is not fixed, it can decrease the life of your well pump.
- Water sediment levels: Sediment in the water acts as an abrasive and wears down the bearings and other moving parts of your pump. Since Wilmington is located right along the Atlantic Coast, there is a higher risk of saltwater intrusion. Sediment from agricultural runoff is also higher in this area.
- Motor quality and size: Similar to an incorrectly sized pressure tank, a pump motor that is too small may not be able to meet the water demands of your household, and a pump motor that is too big can lead to over-pumping. Additionally, if the wires and electrical connections are not properly sized, it can cause the voltage to drop, preventing your pump from starting, or the voltage can spike, causing the pump to be overloaded and trip the circuit. And like most things, quality is important. A poor-quality motor is more likely to fail prematurely compared to a well-constructed pump motor.
- A bad check valve or a malfunctioning pressure switch can lead to low water pressure, but besides being inconvenient, it can also damage your well pump. If the check valve gets stuck open, it can cause the pump to spin backwards, which puts a significant amount of stress on the pump and motor.
- Pump’s duty cycle: How often your pump runs during the day, known as the duty cycle, can cause early failure of your well pump if it is not in line with the capacity of the motor. A pump that is on continuously, will typically have a much shorter life, particularly if it exceeds the recommendations from the manufacturer. And if the pump is being triggered to turn on and off too rapidly, the water flowing through it will not have a chance to cool down because the motor itself will exert too much energy that does not level off. Ideally, a pump should run for a minimum of one to two minutes to prevent this issue.
- Low water table: If the water table is too low, it can cause your well to go dry, and if your pump is not turned off, this will cause the life of your pump to decrease, as it works harder as it continues to try and pump water that is not there.
How Much Does Well Pump Repair Usually Cost in Wilmington?
The cost of well pump repair can vary based on a few different factors. On average, well pump repair costs in Wilmington are between $157 and $1,278. These costs do not account for any contractor fees or any tax on materials. On average, contractor fees can add between $84.84 and $106.05 to your costs. Sales tax, which, when state, county, and city taxes are combined, is currently 7% in Wilmington, will also add to your costs. Here are some of the factors that can influence your well pump repair costs.
Type of Pump
Depending on what type of well pump you have, your repair costs may be more expensive. Jet pumps, since they are typically located near or above the surface, are less expensive because they are easier to access. Submersible pumps are located deep underground, making repairs difficult and more expensive. A solar pump, or a hand pump, is not very common in Wilmington, so if you have an older well with a hand pump, or a previous owner tried to use a solar pump, repairs will typically be more expensive due to limited availability.
Depth of Well
Deeper wells are more expensive to perform repairs on due to the types of pump needed, as well as being more difficult to access. In deeper wells, a submersible pump is often used, which can be difficult to reach since, as the name suggests, they are submerged in the water deep in the well. Typically, in a shallow well, a jet pump is used, and these are often located near the surface, sometimes above ground, making them easier and less expensive to repair.
Age and Condition
Older pumps, or pumps that are in poor condition, are generally more expensive to repair. Pumps that are not well maintained can lead to problems that extend into the pressure tank and the well. And depending on how old your pump is, or how extensive the repairs are, you may need to replace your pump completely, and this can be very expensive. For example, the installation of a jet pump for a shallow well can cost, on average, between $706.42 and $838.81. Repairs or replacements to the pressure tank can be very expensive, particularly since those repairs involve breaking the water seal, which will require additional permits, as well as water sample testing.
How to Avoid Costly Well Pump Repairs in Wilmington?
The most important thing you can do to avoid expensive well pump repairs is to have regular well pump maintenance done. Regular maintenance by our team can prevent many problems from occurring, but it will also detect problems earlier, hopefully before they become more extensive, which will in turn, cause them to be more expensive. There are several things that should be done as part of your annual maintenance, as well as throughout the rest of the year.
- Annual maintenance should include a bacterial and nitrate test. Additionally, any time there is a change in taste, odor, or appearance of your water, it should be tested. In Wilmington, you should also test your water for lead and arsenic, if it was not tested during construction, or if there are changes in your water. North Carolina also recommends testing your water every five years for pesticides and other volatile organic compounds.
- Check the well cover or well cap periodically to make sure there is no damage. Additionally, be careful when mowing or working around your well so that you do not damage the cover or cap and potentially contaminate your water.
- Make sure things such as leaves and snow are not piled around your well. Hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and motor oil, should not be kept near your well either. And there should be a proper separation between the well and any buildings, waste systems, or chemical storage facilities.
- Do not allow back-siphonage to occur. If you are mixing fertilizers, pesticides, or other chemicals, you should never place the hose inside the tank or container, as this can potentially allow hazardous chemicals to contaminate your water supply.
- Check for any changes in the area around your well, to the well itself, or to your water. This includes depressions in the soil around the well, which can indicate a leak that is eroding the soil and can lead to a sinkhole if not addressed promptly.
- Finally, you should always use plumbers like us 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 Wilmington?
Provided you are only repairing or replacing the well pump, and you do not need to break or open the well seal, according to New Hanover County, a permit is not required. Any new well construction, or repairs that involve the water well, do require permits prior to any work being done. Additionally, if you are doing any repairs involving the well, including relocation or abandonment, you are required to have a well contractor like us that has been certified by the state of North Carolina present.