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How to Test a Well Pressure Switch

Does your home have a private water well? If the water isn’t flowing from the tap in your home, the problem could be related to the well pressure switch. There are several reasons a well might stop working correctly, but often it’s due to a breakdown in the pump equipment. Well pump pressure switch troubleshooting may help you get to the bottom of the issue and restore water flow to your tap.

Keep reading to learn how a pressure switch works on a well pump and the simple troubleshooting steps to identify the problem. Even a nonprofessional can tackle this task, but if you’d like expert assistance, turn to the pros at your local Mr. Rooter® Plumbing.

Why Isn’t Water Flowing from the Tap?

Perhaps you hopped in the shower to find there wasn’t even a trickle coming from the showerhead. Or you stumbled to the sink first thing in the morning for a glass of water only to be met by an empty tap. It’s a frustrating experience and you need to solve the problem right away so your household can run as usual. Understanding how a pressure switch works on the well pump can help you identify the problem quickly.

The well pump delivers clean water from your well to your home for drinking, bathing, and running appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine. The pressure switch’s role is to tell the pump when to turn on and off. It works by monitoring the pressure in the pressure tank, opening and closing to provide the necessary water when the set pressure point is met. When you turn on a faucet or water-using appliance in the home, the system's pressure drops below the setpoint, which activates the pressure tank switch and allows water to flow into the system. Then, when you turn off the faucet or appliance, the pressure increases to the setpoint, turning off the switch and water flow.

Did the Pressure Tank Switch Go Bad?

Many homeowners do not realize the pressure tank switch requires maintenance from time to time to keep it doing its job within the well pump system. For this reason, the switch may wear out sooner than it should. Testing the pressure tank switch can help you figure out if the switch is indeed the problem, or if there is something else preventing water from flowing to your home’s plumbing.

Steps for Well Pump Pressure Tank Switch Troubleshooting

Before you begin testing the well pressure tank switch, go to the electrical box to turn off the circuit breaker that supplies power to the pressure tank switch and well pump. The pressure tank switch and well pump will be wired together on the same breaker, so if you see a label that reads "water pump" or "well," you've found the right breaker to shut off.

Once you are certain the power to the pressure tank switch is off, follow these steps to test the well pressure tank switch:

  1. Remove the metal or plastic cover from the pressure switch. You may need a screwdriver to remove a couple of screws first.
  2. Check and clean the switch relay contacts. Examine the four contacts for burning or pitting on the surface. If you see signs of damage, you may need to replace the pressure switch. If not, use a piece of fine-grit sandpaper or an emery board to clean away any dirt or debris until you reveal the shiny metal.
  3. Make sure the wires are making full contact and are firmly secured by their screws.
  4. Find the pressure adjustment nut, typically located near the front of the compartment next to the switch relay contacts. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions, which may be located inside the switch cover, and use a wrench to adjust the nut accordingly.

Performing these steps each year can be a great way to stay on top of maintenance for your pressure tank. Regular maintenance may help you to avoid pressure switch problems altogether, especially if your pressure tank switch is in a high-humidity zone, like a basement.

Let the Pros Solve Your Well Pump Woes

If you’ve determined you need to replace the well pump pressure tank switch or that the problem is related to a different component within the system, you can count on your local Mr. Rooter to help. The truth is that even the most experienced DIYers often need assistance with pressure tank issues. You can save time and hassle by calling in a professional plumber.

At Mr. Rooter, our knowledgeable team of licensed plumbers has the tools and skills required to identify the problem and restore your pressure tank to optimal working condition as quickly as possible. Call us at (855) 591-0128 or request an appointment for an estimate online for your pressure switch replacement or well system repair.

Once the water is flowing from your tap again, you may realize it's the perfect time to upgrade your shower. Get bathroom remodel shower ideas from our friends at Mr. Handyman. Just like Mr. Rooter, Mr. Handyman is part of the Neighbourly® community of home service professionals.