Rural homes depend on well water and a motorized pump that delivers the water from the well into the house. Wells aren't always deep in the ground, and shallow wells usually utilize a jet water pump system for water delivery. Do you have a jet water pump system, or a shallow well you suspect has a jet pump? Is your pump running, delivering water, and then abruptly shutting off?
There are a few potential reasons that your jet water pump is cycling off too quickly. You will likely want to call in a well pumps technician for the actual fix, but here are some general diagnosis guidelines.
Voltage Too Low
A pump that cycles off too quickly could be shutting down early due to thermal overload, which is a fail-safe to prevent the pump from burning out. Thermal overload occurs because the voltage going into the pump is lower than what the pump actually requires for proper functioning.
You can check the voltage yourself if you have a voltmeter or multimeter and a lot of electrical experience. Compare the base voltage to the pump voltage, and if the difference is significant, then you likely have a wiring issue.
Don't know what those directions meant? Leave the tests to the well pump technician. A wet environment is not the best place to experiment with your electrical skills.
Misplaced or Broken Pressure Switch
The pressure switch is attached to the water pump's tank and tells the pump when more water is needed – or when to shut off the water supply. A malfunctioning or misadjusted pressure switch can cause a wide range of operational issues, including the pump shutting off prematurely.
You can test whether the pressure switch is working pretty easily. Locate the switch, using your owner's manual for assistance if needed, and then gently tap the switch with the end of a screwdriver. Did the pump spring to action? Your switch is at least working, though it could still be on the fritz. Did the pump do nothing? You likely have a broken switch.
This is another electricity-meets-water repair so call in a professional for diagnosis and parts replacement if you don't have electrical experience. If you do have electrical experience, turn off the electrical supply to the pump, remove the wires connecting the switch to the tank, and take the switch in to the hardware store to find a matching replacement model. Hook the new switch up, turn power back on, and check your pump's functionality.
For more information, or if you need help with any repairs, contact a local pump company like Down Right Drilling & Pump Inc.