How long do well pumps generally last?
The average lifespan of a well pump is generally around eight to 15 years. However, where your pump will fall in that pretty wide age range depends on many factors.
The single largest factor in your pump’s life expectancy is the frequency of your pump’s duty cycle. The number of times a day your pump runs can increase wear and tear on the motor, which will inevitably shorten its life. Your pump may have to run more if your water tank in the house is too small, making it harder for your pump to keep up with demand. Other factors that can determine how long your well pump lasts include the level of motor quality, the levels of sediment in the water and how high your water table is.
If your home uses well water for drinking water and more, you’re in good company. According to a 2017 U.S. Census American Housing Survey, over 13 million residents around the United States use private wells. If you’re one of them, you might be wondering if your pump is nearing the end of its life span. Or you may have just replaced your well pump and are wondering what to keep an eye on as it ages.
Either way, keep reading. We’ll take you through some signs your pump is going bad and the potential costs and effort involved in replacing the pump for your well.
How to know if your well pump is going bad
Your well pump might not show you a lot of signs that something is going wrong until it fails altogether. However, there are a few signs you should be aware of to protect your water supply. First, you should be familiar with how the well pump functions.
Your system is made up of two basic parts: the pressure tank and the well pump. While the pump brings the water out of the well, the pressure tank stores that water and determines your home’s water pressure. It’s not uncommon to think your pump is going bad when the pressure tank is actually the culprit. It’s worth taking a look at both areas to be sure, though.
Some signs your pump or pressure tank is failing include:
- Dirty water: If you see sediment in your water, your water pump might be at risk. Pumps aren’t designed to handle sediment particles. If sediment is in your water table, or being pulled in because your pump is too large or located in the wrong part of your well, it will damage your pump as it cycles through and shortens the pump’s life.
- Changes in water pressure: Water-pressure inconsistency isn’t always a sign that your pump is going bad, but if you notice frequent changes, it’s worth checking on the pump. Well pumps have an electric pump motor, and if it fails, the change to your pressure will be noticeable.
- Clicking or noisy pressure tank: There is a bladder of air located in your pressure tank. If it begins to leak air, you might hear noises coming from the pressure switch located by the pressure tank. Losing air from the bladder will also make your pump start and stop more often, which can be hard on your pump and shorten its life.
- Air spurts from your faucets: If your faucets begin “spitting” due to air spurts, this is another sign your pressure tank bladder is leaking air. The air is getting into the waterline, causing bubbles to surface and your faucet to spit.
- Surprise scalding: Have you ever been in the shower and experienced a nasty surprise wave of hot water when someone flushes the toilet? You may have an issue with your pressure tank. You most likely notice it because you have multiple shower valves with more than one handle. One-handled valves are able to balance the pressure, but with two or three valves, when you have a drop in pressure in your pressure tank, it brings through more hot water than cold water.
- Rotten smells: If your water faucets start to smell like bad eggs, you may have a problem with your pump. Often the smell is due to sediment getting pulled into your water system from the well.
- Increased costs: Having a failing pump or pressure tank will cause your home to run less efficiently, which means high electric bills. If your bill has increased and you don’t know why, it might be time to have your well pump inspected for any issues.
The best way to ensure your pump runs well for as long as possible is good maintenance. There are several things you can do regularly to keep an eye on your well pump. First, keep the manual that comes with it and take a look at any special maintenance instructions it includes. It’s also good to have the pump checked by a professional on a regular basis.
You should also keep an eye out for any leaks and broken or dried-out seals, keep the cooling fan clean of dirt and debris, and make sure to lubricate any moving parts every once in a while.
How much does it cost to replace a well pump?
Water well pumps can cost anywhere from $200 to $500, depending on the type of pump you need. There are three common types of well pumps:
- Shallow-well jet pumps — for example, a centrifugal pump — are the least expensive, coming in around $200 on average. This is because with a shallow well, the pumps sit in the well house. However, you may have additional costs around weatherproofing exposed pipes or installing an insulated bag.
- Deep-well jet pumps cost about $300. They are less expensive than the submersible well pumps but not considered to be as reliable.
- A deep-well submersible pump costs between $400 and $500, depending on the horsepower you need. If you install a submersible pump, it will also require installing check valves to keep backflow from getting into the pump, and that will increase your costs as well.
The actual pump is only the beginning of what needs to be considered when budgeting for a well pump replacement. Most people will require professional water-system installation. Even those who want to do it themselves often need a plumber to inspect the pump initially to confirm that it’s what needs to be replaced.
How hard is it to replace a well pump?
Replacing your well pump can be a complicated process. Typically, the installation process is best left to a professional so that you don’t see a disruption to your water supply. Replacing the pump involves working with both your electrical system and plumbing.
Even the simplest replacement process will require special equipment that most people don’t have on hand. Depending on the type and depth of the well and the terrain of your property where the well sits, it could become an even more complicated and costly process.
Protect your home plumbing system from costly repairs with Cinch
Plumbing issues of any kind can be a costly pain for homeowners. While well pumps aren’t covered under a home warranty by Cinch Home Services, our Built-in Systems and Complete Home protection plans do cover your home’s plumbing, including drain and sewage stoppages, plumbing line equipment, sump pumps, water heaters and more.
With a Cinch warranty, you can have peace of mind that when something goes wrong, you’ll have access to one of our experts and that the problem will be solved without headaches. We back our work with a 180-day workmanship guarantee and promise you won’t get lost in the fine print. Our warranties are upfront, so you know what you’re getting from day one. Request your free quote today.