Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Well Pump Repair Issues in Austin?
- 2 What Factors Cause Premature Well Pump Failure in Austin?
- 3 How Much Does Well Pump Repair Usually Cost in Austin?
- 4 How to Avoid Costly Well Pump Repairs in Austin?
- 5 When Do You Need Permits for Well Pump Repair in Austin?
What Are the Most Common Well Pump Repair Issues in Austin?
Everyone living in Austin, Texas knows it’s often humid and subtropical here. That doesn’t stop the possibility of plumbing problems being prevalent in the area, sometimes directly related to low water issues.
Well pumps are being used more often in Austin for the very reason of not having to depend on water lines when droughts or inclement weather happen. While Austin does charge a monthly fee now for well pumps, it’s all the more important to keep them maintained.
Doing this is sometimes a challenge for residents who think most issues can repair themselves. Low water levels in the pumps are one thing that can mislead on what’s really going on. Sometimes, it just means low water from lack of rain. Many other times, it means the pump is failing.
Other times, it might mean the well itself has a problem needing repair. One thing about pump failure, though, is it’s usually due to a related problem, creating a cascade effect.
Pressure switches typically go out, forcing the pump to work hard, hence burning out quickly. The first signs of a pump failure are seeing dirty water coming out of the taps, plus low water pressure for a long period of time.
All of these mechanical issues are usually preventable with some simple awareness of unusual pump activity. Residents should do everything they can to make sure the pump doesn’t fail only a short time after installation.
What Factors Cause Premature Well Pump Failure in Austin?
Numerous signs can indicate well pump failure much earlier than residents ever think. The basic thought by most Austin residents is, when a well pump is put in, it’s expected to run well without issues for at least the first year.
Things can easily go wrong mere weeks after the installation is completed. Major signs something is amiss are unexplained power outages, or even flooding around the property.
Other, more mechanical things can also cause early pump failure:
Sediment and Other Contaminants in the Water
Another thing causing early pump failure is too much sediment in the water or just hard water in general. It’s a tough problem to scope out because residents don’t always notice the signs, or just think it’ll correct itself.
Despite Austin having exceptionally healthy water, contaminants can still get into water supplies. When sediment gets into the well pump, it can cause clogging in the pipes. Worst of all, contaminants like this have a corrosive quality and can also ruin the bearings in the pump.
Any signs of hard water should require an inspection to avoid early well pump failure too soon. Using water softeners is usually an effective remedy.
Undersized Well Tank
The tank that holds the water for the well pump could also be a major problem in causing the pump to fail quickly. Most well tanks are located in a resident’s basement, though sometimes initially purchased too small.
Having a tank too small means it won’t hold the amount of water a family might use. As a result, the pump runs harder to keep up with the demands, leading to burnout.
Droughts Causing Low Water Levels
Since Austin can have long dry spells during the summer (and even into fall or winter), it’s a good idea to keep a close watch on the well pump’s water level. Low water tables are a significant problem sometimes caused by droughts.
A low water table isn’t always caused by a drought. Still, Austin is more vulnerable to overly dry conditions. We see many cases like this, something potentially amended by using a low water cutoff switch.
Not many residents bother to invest in these as a preventative, often leading to the pumps failing sooner than ever expected.
Occasional Lightning Strikes
Austin frequently has thunderstorms that can generate dangerous lightning. A lightning strike isn’t overly common here, albeit certainly possible. If lightning hits a well pump, it could cause some serious damage, including blowing out the pump.
The trouble with this is well pumps sometimes keep working for a couple of days after being struck by lightning. Then it just stops working altogether, requiring an emergency call for repair.
To find out if the well was struck by lightning, our team has to pull the pump out of the ground for an inspection.
How Much Does Well Pump Repair Usually Cost in Austin?
Based on all the variables involved in well pump repair, there isn’t a way to give a definitive answer on what a resident might pay. Basic averages are available, however, for most common repair jobs.
An average total for well pump repair here in Austin is generally between $1,200 to $3,700. It might be as little as $50 if just fixing a simple pipe clog. Or, it could run much higher if having to repair a more sophisticated well pump, particularly a submersible type.
Other factors can affect the final cost, such as:
Is It a Jet Pump or a Submersible Pump?
A submersible pump is usually a more expensive type of well pump. Many residents choose to go with jet pumps because they have a more reasonable cost. Those are usually cheaper to fix, including ones that are placed at a more shallow level (or even above ground).
A submersible pump needs to be pulled up from the ground, hence making repairs more time-consuming. Most of this involves the labor time pulling it out of the ground, not including placing it back.
A Problem With the Pressure Tank
Separate from the pump itself is the pressure tank, another mechanism that can easily go out. The pressure tank is what delivers the water to the pump. Its failure can create a cascade effect, burning this and the pump out at the same time.
Expect to double the repair costs if this scenario happens.
A More Sophisticated Well Pump
Technology continues to advance on how well pumps function. Ones made to run on solar power (or even double drop jet pumps) can become very expensive to fix due to their complexity.
Fixing a solar-powered well pump alone is going to have additional costs due to fixing the solar panels bringing the well pump power.
How to Avoid Costly Well Pump Repairs in Austin?
Opinions always vary on how often a well pump should be inspected. From the eyes of the CDC, they say it’s essential to have it inspected annually to avoid any potential contaminants getting into the water, including mechanical problems.
When our team does an inspection, we check for various things to ensure the well pump doesn’t fail down the road. Take a look at a few things we look at to help Austin residents prevent possibly expensive repair bills:
Water Spitting Out of Faucets
Checking for what’s going on in the house can make a big difference in catching well pump failure in the act. A major sign is water spitting out of the taps inside a resident’s home.
Sometimes this might mean a hole in the water pipe, causing the sputtering due to excessive air.
Along with low water pressure issues, water functionality in the home is where we start to help prevent major repair jobs down the road.
Checking the Well Cap
A simple well cap or cover on the pump is important for preventing future repair bills. These caps sometimes end up not being fastened on correctly, leading to the pump working overtime again.
During our careful inspection, we’ll look at the well cap and make sure it’s on correctly. It may also be that the cover is simply worn due to corrosion or age. Replacing them and making sure they’re on tight blocks any future mechanical failure chain reactions.
Excessively High Electric Bills
If a resident shows us their electric bill and how high it is for water usage, it’s a sure sign of developing well pump failure. Seeing this evidence is one of the best ways to prevent future repairs since it never corrects on its own.
High water bills mean the pump is running all the time, something definitely not normal. All water pumps should only be operating two to three times per day at the most.
Don’t Attempt DIY Repairs
Another thing we see far too often is residents attempting to do DIY fixes on their well pumps. No doubt it’s a temptation when seeing something potentially simple to fix.
It’s best not to since a lot can go wrong virtually overnight. Well pumps are complicated mechanisms, with sometimes tricky wiring work involved. We always check the wiring on well pumps to make sure insects haven’t been nibbling away on them.
Just remember that working with a complex electrical unit like a well pump needs a full inspection by professionals. One little thing not fixed correctly could create a domino effect of bringing a massive repair bill when least expected.
When Do You Need Permits for Well Pump Repair in Austin?
Nearly every U.S. city requires a permit before a well pump is installed or repaired. Austin is one of those, with serious, detailed attention required to get one properly installed. A Water Well Ordinance demands necessary backflow prevention controls be put in place for water wells, including proper permitting.
To get a permit, go through the Austin Water page for the city’s main website. An Advance Notice of Water Well Activity Form needs to be filled out first, then a Water Well Registration Form needs to be turned in. Both of these give all the preliminary details needed to set up the well pump design and installation.
On the main permit, residents need to fill out the name of the licensee and the employer. The contractor also needs to provide information on their licensing, endorsements, or certifications. They need to print and sign their name at the bottom.
Yet another form needs to be filled out, which is the Wastewater Metering Application. It ensures the contractor doing the work is following all local codes and ordinances correctly.