Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Well Pump Repair Issues in Salem?
- 2 What Factors Cause Premature Well Pump Failure in Salem?
- 3 How Much Does Well Pump Repair Usually Cost in Salem?
- 4 How to Avoid Costly Well Pump Repairs in Salem?
- 5 When Do You Need Permits for Well Pump Repair in Salem?
What Are the Most Common Well Pump Repair Issues in Salem?
Understanding common well problems begins with understanding how a well, and its pump, work. When a well is at rest, the level of the water should match the groundwater level of the aquifer in which it sits. When the well pump is working, the water level drops as water is being pulled or pushed up by the pump and distributed to whatever water source was turned on. Water from the aquifer then refills the well replacing the water that has been pumped out. A more detailed understanding of a water well is provided by the State of Oregon.
Like other types of plumbing, at any given time, the well or pump may have a problem. Some common well pump repair issues found in the Salem area include:
Pump Pressure Switch Problems
Located on the well pressure tank, the pressure switch tells the pump when to increase the pressure in your tank. Typically, most tanks are set around 40 PSI (pounds per square inch). Inside the switch is a spring. As the spring weakens with age, the switch can go bad. Similarly, other electrical components can also deteriorate or malfunction. It could also simply be that the pressure needs to be readjusted.
Clogged Sediment Filter
While this is not a pump part, it can affect how well the pump can work. Your water quality will determine how often the sediment filter needs to be cleaned. Customarily, this filter should be cleaned every six months, but in some cases, a clean-out could be required more often. A clean filter will not only keep your water clean but can also help in maintaining your maximum water pressure and allow your pump to continue working smoothly.
Poor Installation or Wrong Pump Type
There are many types of well pumps. A standard pressure well pump, while continuing to provide water, may fluctuate in water pressure from one part of the day to another. A constant pressure pump or variable speed pump will provide more consistent water pressure. An experienced and reliable water pump service technician can aid you in choosing the proper pump for your well and install it properly. However, a plumber not trained in well pump plumbing could incorrectly install a pump. While it may seem to work properly at first, that pump could fail prematurely.
Not Receiving Any Water?
There are a few reasons you may not receive any water despite the fact there is water in your well. Some are related to the water pump itself, but there are other reasons too. First, check your circuit breaker. Your water pump should be on its own circuit. Reset the switch to make sure that isn’t the problem.
If the circuit seems to be in working order, then check your pump control box for its reset button and try that. If your pump still isn’t producing water, then it is time to have the plumber out to check other potential problems. It could be your pump is failing, or it could be a burst pipe somewhere along the line.
What Factors Cause Premature Well Pump Failure in Salem?
Depending upon the type of well pump you have, it should last around 10 years. Some have a shorter lifespan, some longer. While you go through your daily routine, you may take the fact you have fresh, running water for granted. But, when one day the water stops, it will be a problem. If your well pump stops working before its estimated lifespan, there could be other issues in play.
Not all wells have a sediment filter, but they should. In recent years, wildfires have added to the contamination problem of water including in private wells. While the City of Salem continues to offer safe drinking water meeting more than 120 drinking water standards as set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Oregon Health Authority, private well water is not under their control. The minerals that can accumulate resulting in poor water quality can also clog and burn out a pump if left unchecked.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, all of Oregon is being affected by drought including Salem. Drought will affect the local aquifers and in turn affect your well. The deeper your well, the better off you will be. But if you continue to try to utilize water when there is little, or none, available it will cause your well pump to burn out prematurely. With the ongoing drought, any well should be equipped with a low water cutoff switch. If your well does not have a switch, you should consider having the plumber out to install one. The switch works on a sensor. When the water level of your well runs low, the switch will turn off the motor until a preset level of water is achieved. This prevents the well pump from burning out.
How Much Does Well Pump Repair Usually Cost in Salem?
The average cost for repairing a well pump in Salem is around $800, but there are a lot of variables. Often a well pump repair will cost quite a bit less. But needing a whole new pump will run you even more. The size of the well, most importantly the depth, can affect the cost. So can its location. The pump type itself will also affect the cost of repairs or replacement as can the condition of the other components of the well.
Well Size and Location
While newer wells dug in and around Salem measure between 200 and 400 feet in depth, some older ones can be on the shallow side. Depending upon the location and how deep the water aquifer is, a well could also be dug deeper. Some pumps are located underground, and older ones may not be well-marked, requiring more time to locate the exact location and to reach the access point.
The well depth can determine the type of pump needed. A submersible pump is used in a deep well. It is installed inside of the well and pushes water to the surface. A shallow well calls for a jet pump which is located close to the well but not inside of it. A jet pump forms suction through a pipe and pulls water upward to the surface. The cost of a jet pump tends to be a bit more affordable than a submersible pump and so are its repairs, as it is easier to access.
A solar pump will cost more upfront as you are investing in the solar system including the panels. But it will save you a lot in the long run through the limited use of electricity. If it is time to replace your pump, a solar pump is something to be considered. You may also qualify for state tax credits by going solar.
Condition of Other Well Elements
When having your well pump repaired, your plumber will likely check out other parts of the well system including the pipes and the pressure tank. If your pump is wearing out, so could other elements which may need to be replaced, increasing the cost of your well pump repair.
How to Avoid Costly Well Pump Repairs in Salem?
The best way to avoid costly well pump repair is by lowering the chance of premature failure. Having your well pump checked on an annual basis is a great place to start. But you should also pay attention to potential warning signs that your pump isn’t working as it should. Some of those signs of impending well pump failure include:
- A higher than usual electricity bill
- Gurgling or spitting water emitting from the faucet due to air in the pipes
- Lower than customary water pressure
- Short cycling of your pump lasting less than a minute
- Unusual pump sounds
- Murky or cloudy water
Any one of the above can be a sign that your well pump is starting to show signs of failure. Those unusual sounds coming from the pump or well are most likely due to parts that are wearing out. Air in the water and/or low water pressure are also signs that the pump is wearing out and not working as it once was. Murky water may or may not be related to the pump itself because it could also mean there is a leaky pipe or worse, a leak in the well itself. The rise in your electricity bill may be a sign that your pump is working overtime.
Depending upon the type of pump and how well it is made, a well pump should last between eight and 15 years. As your pump is nearing what would commonly be a reliable life, you can make one of two choices:
- Continue to be aware of potential signs of failure and wait for something to go wrong. That usually happens at the worst possible time and emergency repairs will cost you more than a scheduled appointment for service.
- Be grateful that your pump has provided you with water for its average lifespan and schedule a replacement appointment at a time convenient for you.
When Do You Need Permits for Well Pump Repair in Salem?
Salem follows Oregon Specialty Codes when it comes to building codes and repair work. While some of the more minor plumbing repairs may not require a permit, some well pump repair and replacement may. A local Salem plumber specializing in well pump repair should be knowledgeable about the need for permits. However, if you have any questions, you can contact Salem’s Building Department.