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WATER PUMPS, TANKS, TESTS, WELLS, REPAIRS
WATER CONSERVATION MEASURES
WATER CONTAMINANT LEVELS
WATER FILTERS, HOME USE
WATER HAMMER NOISE DIAGNOSE & CURE
WATER ODORS, CAUSE CURE
WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE
WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER TANK REPAIR PROCEDURES
WATER TANK: USES, TROUBLESHOOTING
WATER TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT
WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT CHOICES
WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS
WELL CHLORINATION & DISINFECTION
WELL FLOW RATE
WELL WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS
WELL YIELD IMPROVEMENT
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
This article describes how to adjust building water pressure by setting the water pump cut-in and cut-out pressure on the well water pump pressure control switch. We also point to our article on how to adjust building municipal or community water pressure at a building.Contact Us by email if you are having trouble finding the information you need.
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It has the practical effect of raising or lowering the operating pressure range of the switch.
Usually the larger nut in the pump pressure control switch (green arrow in our photo at left) adjusts the pump cut-on ("cut-in") AND pump cut-off pressures simultaneously. This is the left-hand spring (and nut) in our photo and is pointed-to by the green arrow.
That means that whatever the gap is between the cut-on pressure and the cut-off pressure, that gap is maintained, but the entire operating range of the pump is raised or lowered.
Turning the large nut clockwise RAISES BOTH the cut-on and cut-off pressures. So turning the large nut clockwise shifts the whole operating pressure range of the pump UP to HIGHER pressures.
Conversely, turning the large nut counter-clockwise will lower the whole pump operating range. This is the simplest adjustment to make.
Photo (left) courtesy of a reader.
The smaller nut atop the smaller spring in the pump pressure switch: changes the differential between cut-in and cut-out pressure. It has the practical effect of raising or lowering the cut OFF pressure only.
This nut is used to narrow or widen the gap between the pump cut-on and pump cut-off
pressures. This is the right-hand spring (and nut) in our photo - pointed to by the red arrow.
Which nut to turn in the pump pressure switch control, and which direction to turn it, are usually visible on a label inside the pressure switch cover. Above we show photos of a common Square D water pump pressure control switch (Schneider Electric) and the label with pump control adjustment details. [Click to enlarge].
Here are Example Pump Pressure Switch Adjustment Instructions from Square-D Pressure Control
On a Square-D Pumptrol® 9013FSF-2 pump pressure switch, for example, Square D tells us that we
Which Way do I turn the Larger Range Nut on the Pressure Control Switch
Which Way do I turn the Smaller (Differential) Nut on the Pressure Control Switch?
Watch out: After adjusting nut#2 you may need to check the actual operating water pressures in your system and adjust nut#1 to be sure that you are not pushing the cut-out (upper pressure) so high that the water pump never turns off (dangerous).
Especially if the well pump is a submersible (hidden and silent down inside the actual well) you may not realize that the pump motor is not shutting off. This can burst a pipe, burst a water tank, cause in-building leaks (especially at pressures over 70 psi), or burn up the well pump. You may be best to leave this adjustment screw alone.
In sum, the "Range" nut shifts the whole operating range of the pressure control up or down, but keeps the gap between cut-in and cut-out the same. The "Differential" nut widens or narrows the gap between the cut-in and cut-out pressures. But messing with the gap also shifts the operating pressure of the control so you may have to re-visit the range - or leave this nut alone.
How to increase the well pump cut-in pressure without setting the cut-out pressure too high
Reader asked: We have a well and have been experiencing intermittent low water pressure.
I checked the pump and it cuts in at 25 PSI and cuts off at 65 PSI. But the diagram on the inside of the pump switch cover indicates that it should be cutting in at 40 PSI and out at 60 PSI. It has a maximum PSI of 80.
How do I get the well pump to cut in at 40 PSI instead of 25 PSI? I believe this would give us adequate water pressure at all times.
According to the information on your website adjusting the mainspring will change both the cut in and cut off pressures and adjusting the differential will adjust only the cut off pressure. Apparently, there is no way to adjust only the cut in pressure? Thanks for your help. - L.W.
Reply: Here is how to change the cut-in pressure without pushing the cut-out pressure too high
A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds additional clues that help accurately diagnose a water pressure or pump problem.
And your cause of inadequate water pressure might be due to more than just the static pressure capability of the pump. For example, the pump's maximum flow rate in gpm could be inadequate, or you could have a partly closed water valve or clogged water pipe. Put another way, many homes that operate between 30 and 50 psi have very good water pressure and flow rate at the fixtures. So if you don't there may be another problem besides the pressure switch settings.
That said, here are some things to consider:
Most pump pressure controls are tricky to adjust in the way you mentioned, but you should be able to set the cut-in to a higher number and then adjust the cut-in - cut-out pressure differential to keep the cut-out pressure from being too high. That will cause your well pump to turn sooner when you start running water (and will cycle it more often, a factor in pump wear).
At PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL ADJUSTMENT we explain that the smaller nut on the pump control switch adjusts the differential or gap between cut in and cut out and the larger nut raises the cut-in pressure (as well as cut off).
In other words you can set the cut in pressure higher and then narrow the differential so that the cut-off pressure is not dangerously high or above what the pump can reach.
Watch out: don't run the water pressure control with too narrow a differential between the cut-in and cut-out or the pump may just sit there short-cycling until you burn up the motor. If your pump is staying on for less than 30 seconds (I prefer longer), you may be heading for trouble.
Watch out: setting the cut-out water pressure too high can cause the pump to never turn off or at high pressures you may find leaks at fixtures. And high water pressure that exceeds the rated water tank pressure can burst the tank - a very dangerous event. Also make sure your pressure tank has a relief valve installed.
Finally, I suspect that after you have increased the pump cut-in or cut-on pressure to a higher number, say 30 psi, if you will find that this does not fix your water pressure problem.
The fact that your low water pressure is intermittent might in fact point to a problem with the well flow rate itself.
Once the well pump turns on and presuming you are running water continuously, especially if more than one fixture is running, you may see that your pump runs continuously until you turn the water off. If this is the case, it's not the starting water pressure setting that is at fault, it's the pump or piping or well that is limiting the water flow rate.
If I'm right that means that the water flow rate through the system, from well through pump and pipes, elbows, valves, etc. is just not enough, and further diagnosis is in order.
Follow-up and Water Pressure Problem Solved:
Looks like I will call a plumber. I adjusted the mainspring to raise the cut-in/cut-out range but there was no change.
The water pump switch was faulty and had to be replaced. Also the line going into the water tank was clogged and had to be rodded out. Working fine now.
The homeowner attempted to adjust the pressure control switch for the water pump. When he turned the adjusting nut the water pump behavior and water pressure did not change. That observation led to calling a plumber who replaced the pressure control switch - which solved the water pressure problem.
Continue reading at PUMP PRESSURE SWITCH STANDARD (PSI) SETTINGS or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
Suggested citation for this web page
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: my pump cannot reach the cut-out pressure setting - my pump runs all the time
I have replaced the Pressure swtch and I can not acheive cutout, pump continues to run. Switch is adjusted very low for cutout. The units cuts in about 26-28 psi. but exceeds the desired 50 -60 psi cutout. - BK 6/6/11
I had to put a new pressure switch on, the pump was running all the time and it burn the points up. The new one is letting the pump run all the time too, when the pump is running the water pressure keeps going up and down, until there is a small amount of water coming out. I'll turn the pump off and back on then the pressure will come back up and if it runs about a couple of minutes it will do the same thing again. I have no leaks, could this be the water tank?
My pump does not exceed 32psi and constantly runs then fails to cut back on even though pressure drops below 20psi. Only way to start it is to manually connect the flow switch to engage the pump. - Jack Nelson 7/7/12
BK: Well pump won't stop running: try setting your pressure control to turn on at 20 psi and off at 40 psi. That should be achievable by most well pumps unless the pump itself is damaged. Once you have the pump operating normally in that pressure range you can try increasing the cut out, or both cut-in and cut-out gradually. Don't operate the pump too close to the highest cut-out pressure that it can attain, since there is the risk that when you're not watching the system may through wear or other factors leave the pump running until it burns up.
Jack, if the pump does not start at pressures below the cut- in point of 20 psi, the switch may be bad. But the pump running continuously and never delivering cutoff pressure is something else _ such as lost well water flow rate or a well piping leak or someone has lest a faucet open in the home.
Question: pump won't stop running and got very hot - my well pump won't turn off
Pump has worked fine until today for some reason it kept running after the 'timer' stopped. I didn't notice for a while and by the time I got to the pump, it was really hot. I killed the power and water/steam shot out of a PVC pipe on the bottom. If I plug it in, it won't stop running. I turned the timer on and tried to send water to a sprinkler zone to no avail. Please help! - pumpwontstop 6/17/11
I have been having a problem with my well for a couple years now with it staying running.
If your well pump won't stop running and it is delivering water then I suspect that the pump is unable to reach the cut-off pressure.
That can happen for a variety of reasons like loss of water in the well, a well piping leak, water running somewhere that you didn't realize, a pressure switch set too high, or a damaged pressure sensor component of the pressure control switch.
See WATER PUMP WONT STOP RUNNING for a thorough diagnostic procedure
Hi Mike. It sounds as if perhaps you are losing well prime back down into the well - could be a bad foot valve - or a leak in the well piping.
Followup from Mike:
the pump is in the well about 600 ft down how do i find a leak that far down or where is the foot valve in the pump? thank you for answering me fast
Mike, first establish that there is a leak, and in what segment of the whole system it exists - say in the building vs between the water pressure tank and the bottom of the well. If it appears that the leak is in the well piping and if the leak is in the well piping that's in the well itself (as opposed to between well and building) you're in luck because you can pull the whole well piping and pump (use a professional to do this) to find and repair the leak as well as replace the foot valve. If the leak is between house and well then unfortunately excavation is in order.
Question: water pressure is low but the water pump won't come on
Pump won't come on: I just changed the pressure control switch and it will not turn on by itself. the water pressure is very low but the pump never comes on. - BigEd 7/16/11
The pump will not come on. There is no water pressure. I have a Square D Pump Pressure Control Switch. The contacts will not stay down/connnected. When forced to on postion they bounce right back into off ppostion. Any advice would be helpful. - Wilson 7/31/11
My water pressure is very low after one or two loads of laundry. The pressure gets down to less than 15 and the pump still has not pumped. I am not sure how low it gets before it pumps. Whan I get up the next morning it is back up to 45. What might be the cause of this problem? Is it the pump pressure switch or something else. I hear it running all the time. Any advice would be helpful - Mark 8/31/11
We are losing water pressure at any/all faucets/toilets/etc randomly- water will be running fine, and then it will slack off to nothing, then within 30sec to 1 minute, water will come back one and be fine. This happens at least once a day. This also just started happening once we replaced the entire reserve tank and pressure gauge and switch (we had a drip from our old tank, and a plumber came in a replaced the whole thing). Now he tells me he thinks this new problem is the well pump....seems very convenient to have 2 major things go bad at exactly the same time. What do you think? - Meg 9/2/11
if the pump pressure control switch has electrical power and won't stay in the "on" position, that suggests that the pressure diaphraghm of the switch is indicating pressure at or above the cutoff point. If in fact there is no or low water pressure in the system then perhaps the pressure sensing end of the switch or its mounting tube is debris clogged. R&R the switch and mounting tube.
what you describe sounds like your well recovery rate is poor, perhaps seasonally during hot dry weather. Under WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS (links at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article ), see the article titled "How Much Water is In the Well?" for help in investigating that question.
I too tend to look first at work that was just recently done, or what was just changed, when debugging a building problem that has just shown up.
Question: Goulds jet pump 3/4 hp, pump always comes on right away when water runs
i have a jrs7 goulds jet pump 3/4 hp, recently i have been encountering a problem which i cant seem to rectify. my pump is set that immediately when any tap is opened it will come on and cut off when closed. it will run for the period while the water is being used but, the pressure however drops sometimes while in use to 0 psi on the guage resulting in the pump cutting off immediately and no water is being delivered. i have changed the pressure switch and am still experiencing the problem. the thing no matter what i try while it is off it will not come back on until it feels like it then the guage will build back up to 45 psi and it will run for a while and then do the same again. please help - Shawn White 7/23/11
Shawn, if a pump always comes on immediately when you open a faucet and shuts off when you close the faucet, your water pressure tank is water logged - it's lost its air charge. See the article titled WATER TANK AIR, HOW TO ADD (links above at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article )
Question: pump runs out of water, recovers in 5-10 minutes, gauge and switch kicks on/off at pressures different than our switch settings
My well is not quite a year old, we have always had plenty of water and pressure. we have been watering trees in yard, now for some reson our pup runs out of water. It recovers with in 5 to 10 min . The guage kicks on at 40 ps and should kick off at 60 or so. It kicks on fine but kicks out at 50 , is it the pressure switch? If I hold the switch down manually it pups and kicks out at 60 or 65 - Shaun Aden 8/4/11
Shaun the pump might still be actually going off at 60 if the gauge is clogged with debris and reading inaccurately. Else if no one "adjusted" the switch and it's cutting off early it's time to replace it.
Question: Reverse Osmose system installed, need more house pressure - RO works at 39 PSI
Great site! I installed an RO system to replace an old RO that failed because of pressure (new permeate pump booster). After I did this I wanted to increase house pressure, thought I'll boost the air tank from 30 psi to 50 psi, then I pulled the pressure line on the jet pump to clean. What a nightmare! water everywhere, crud from the sensor, got it all back together, turned it on a start-stop cylcling! Turned out the tank pressure was to high without adjusting the pressure switch. After all the helpful info here I just started dropping the tank pressure down to 39 and the problem was solved! Thanks guys, next I might try raising the cut in cut off. - Alan McKee 8/17/11
Alan, glad our water pressure articles were helpful. Indeed the pressure tank air charge is not what determines house water pressure - that's controlled by the pressure control switch, as you observed.
Question: pressure goes up higher than pressure control switch setting
After turning off the power to my well pump and pressure switch and bleed the water pressure down to 25 psi; I returned about 10 minutes later and the pressure had gone back to 80 PSI. This is a 30/50 psi switch. Why would the pressure go back without the power to the pump and switch being on? Thanks - Steve Holloway 8/19/11
It's embarrassing to keep guessing at the same cause for so many problems, but if the pressure gauge is accurate and working properly I suspect the pressure switch is not getting a good indication of system water pressure - check for debris clogging.
Question: Square D pressure switch set 30-50, can I eliminate the low pressure cut-in?
I Have suare D switch 30-50 lb. with low pressure shut off. It causes me a lot of trouble when I fill large livestock tanks,can I modify the switch to eliminate the low pressure shut off feature or must i replace the switch. thanks - Mike Jones 8/22/11
Question: pump cuts in at 28 psi and out at 42 - gauge immediately drops to 30 psi!
First of all, my apologies if this question has already been asked and answered, I'm new to the site. I believe I have a short cycling problem. This is a cottage application. The pump cuts in at 28 psi and charges to about 42 psi and then cuts out. When the pump cuts out the pressure on the gauge drops immediately to 30 psi. Then of course after a short water usage the pump cuts in and repeats the above. The cycle used to be charge up to 42 psi, cut out and settle at 40 psi, draw down to 30 psi and then the pump would cut in. This problem started after I needed to replace a foot valve in the cistern. Do you think it's a pressure problem in my bladder tank? If so, how can I return it the original cycle described above. Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide. - Dan Lowry 8/27/11
Dan that sounds like short cycling to me. I've often seen that a pressure gauge reads higher when the pump is running and drops at pump shutoff. But when you add that running just a few gallons of water turns the pump back on, that suggests that the tank has lost its air charge. If your tank really has an internal bladder, that's not supposed to happen. So if you have indeed lost the air charge, the bladder may be torn or damaged.
Question: I'm having trouble getting the right settings on the pressure control switch
I have just replaced all parts between the well pump and the pipe going into the house, reason was I had a leak and a broken check valve so the system was sucking in air and letting the water reside back down into the well.
Here is a little info I gathered, from what I have read mine system seems like it has some poor adjustments:
Thomas I wonder if you carried the adjustment too far. Typically residential switches run 20/40 or 30/50 psi.
Question: Pump pressure goes up to 70 psi then immediately falls to 40 psi, many times a minute
when I flush the toilet my well pump cycles on to 70 lbs then right off and drops to 40 lbs and back on to 70 lbs then drops down to 40lbs and back on to 70 lbs it does this 21 or 22 times in a matter of just a couple of minutes then it stays at 40 or 39 lbs. I think it's doing this the whole time the toilet is filling back up? What would cause this?? - Jim Gale 10/17/11
what can be wrong with my well i put a new pressurer swithch the blader tank is good not lossing air but pump cut on and off ever two min what do i have to do to fix the problem - Anon 3/1/12
The pump is new and the pressure tank is old and the pressure switch is new. I run the water the pump clicks on and off every 10 seconds. I can see condensation line above the half way line on the tank. Whats the problem? - Rep 6/5/12
My switch cycles constantly and finally (sticks and holds contact. Is this an air pressure problem in my water tank? - Martin 7/19/12
My well is for outdoor irrigation only and has a very small (maybe 3-5 gallon?) bladder tank and pressure switch set-up. When I turn on a hose the pump clicks on and then off immediately, just a few seconds then the water pressure from the hose dwindles down and then the pump kicks back on just for a second and right back off so I get a burst of water then the dwindling again & it just keeps going like that. Isn't the point of the pressure switch & bladder tank to make the pump stay on while water is running, keeping the pressure constant? What adjustment to the pressure switch should I make....increase or decrease the cut-on or cut-off point? - Jen 7/20/12
Everyone above and Martin, I'm not 100% sure of course, but I don't think it's an air problem.
Jen when the pump turns on and then immediately off it's as if there is no air in the pressure tank - so as water is not very compressible, the system reaches cutoff pressure immediately. If the irrigation system draws water fast enough, or if the pressure tank has an air charge, the symptom you describe should not occur.
Take a look at WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING. I think your water tank may be waterlogged.
Question: lost water pressure, came back on its own, plumber replaced presure switch.
I had a Plummer come to my house on the week-end since I had lost pressure for my water. When the plumber arrived the pressure was restored but since the system was 21 years old, I decided to have him replace the switch. If I remember I had a 20-40 pressure switch that was adjusted to 40-55 so that when taking a shower we would not notice the low pressure. When the plumber installed the new pressure switch 30-50 I asked him to adjust the pressure and that is what he did. He adjusted the pressure with the bigger nut as explained in the WEB site, so now the cut-in pressure is about 32 and the cut out is about 58-60. The problem is that when someone is taking a shower the cut-in rating is to low so the pressure is down. What steps can be done to increase the cut-in pressure but keeping to cut-out pressure to about 60…. So I could have something like 42-60 or so if possible. Thank you - Andre 10/25/11
Question: Pump Turns Off Randomly; pressure switch clicks clicks then finally turns on
We have a relatively new well at our hunting camp/farm, about the same time the pressure switch went bad and needed replaced, ever since it was replaced (almost 2 years now) the water will go off for no apparent reason, then someone has to go to the basement and flip the switch off (water can be heard flowing at this point) then flip it back on and the pump begins to run again. It is fine for several hours and again the same thing happens. Is the low pressure cut-on set too low? - Anon 12/6/11
It is a new switch doing this and the old switch had been suffering from the same problem. "click,click,click,click, then it finally sticks or maintains contact and the pump fills up the tank and stops. My tank is in my house (pier and beam) and about 40-50' from the well so meaning my water tank is probably 3' above the level of my well if that has anything that could be a problem. I think the switch is sensing pressure surges and shutting on and off sporadically. I know this will eventually wear on the contacts much less possibly do damage to the submersible motor. Anon 7/20/12
Check for a clogged pressure sensor or tube feeding pressure to the switch
Question: new well and pressure switch 2 years ago, now water turns off for no reason;
We have a relatively new well at our hunting camp/farm, about the same time the pressure switch went bad and needed replaced, ever since it was replaced (almost 2 years now) the water will go off for no apparent reason, then someone has to go to the basement and flip the switch off (water can be heard flowing at this point) then flip it back on and the pump begins to run again. It is fine for several hours and again the same thing happens. Is the low pressure cut-on set too low? - Gene Doverspike 12/6/11
Check for a debris clogged pressure sensor; check for a thermal overload problem with the pump motor.
Question: I'd like to get the cut-on at 60 and cut-off at 70.
I just rebuilt a Sta-Rite water pump (JBMG-41S)(2hp). It had never been serviced and had alot of iron build-up. The shaft had seized. After cleaning it out and putting new seals, it was still able to run ok so I reinstalled it. Then it seemed there was a problem with the pressure switch. I cleaned out the pipes connecting to it and cleaned the switch itself but I wasn't able to get to a setting that wasn't cycling too quickly. I then looked at the air pressure in the pressure tank.
This system is installed in an old 6 floor apartment building. The city supply is about 45psi I wanted to get a cut-on pressure of about 55psi and a cut-off at about 75. The pressure tank (Challenger pc266r - 85 gallon) turned out to be over-charged. I'm not sure what the pressure was at but it was over 60psi. I let out the air until it got to around 51. Now, cut-on pressure was around 55 and the pump was staying on for around 10 minutes before it reached 70psi but even with the differential nut unscrewed all the way I couldn't get the pump to turn off at 75psi. I finally unscrewed the main nut and the pump went off but now the cut-on pressure was slightly lower.
Ben, please take another look at the details in the article above about adjusting the pump pressure control switch. You'll see that the two adjustments (on switches that have two) do not operate independently, so changing one can require fine tuning the other. The larger nut shifts the whole cut-in/cut-out pressure range up or down, while the smaller nut changes the width of that range - the differential between cut in and cut out.
Question: I can't find the pressure control switch differential nut
I do see the cut in big spring and nut, but i couldnt find the differential cut off nut, is this indicating that my pump is a very old one? - Old Pump 5/9/12
Old Pump: sounds more as if you are describing a different type of pressure control switch that does not give all of the adjustments we describe - the switch may or may not be the same age as the pump itself.
Question: my pump would not stop running - the tech says I need a new drilled well
My pump began running non stop and when the well person came out they said they were able to set psi to 38 and the pump would shut off correctly however most likely the jet is plugged or a hole in casing for it to change suddenly and It will eventually just quit. Does this sound correct. It is now functioning fine at 38 psi but I am concerned since winter is coming and I shoul get a well drilled now. I am not planning in investing in repair if it needs repair because it's an old 2" - Amanda 8/26/12
Amanda I don't understand the question you are asking. A hole in a well casing may admit dirt and contaminants and might speed up clogging of the well screen on a foot valve or pump pickup; But some more accurate diagnosis is needed before drilling a new well.
Question: pump runs forever if the cut-out pressure is raised above 38
I have a Goulds 1/2 hp J5 deep well pump with a 20 gal pressure tank. I am operating with a differential of 14 psi (20/34 cut-in/out). Due to well limitations, the maximum pressure generated by the pump is 38 psi (pump runs forever if the cut-out pressure is raised above 38).
Question: is the pressure switch setting causing short cycling of the pump?
my airbladder tank pressure came pre set at 38psi but the pressure switch is 20/40 is this causing the switch to cycle on off on off? second question, there does not seem to be water in the tank,why? i get water from the spigot with pressure and the guage jumps right from 20 to 40 and back again. why? - Patty 9/17/12
Reply: pressure tank [starting pressure at installation] should be 2 psi below the cut in pressure of the pump
Question: we don't have the money to hire someone - how do we do pump switch adjustment ourselves
thank for the information. we dont have the money to hire some one to do this it is the well itself so how do i do it ourselves - Mike 7/29/12
Watch out: messing with a pump pressure control switch exposes live electrical connections - you can be killed if you touch live wires. Another catastrophe to avoid is setting the pressure too high, causing leaks or worse, a burst water tank that could injure anyone nearby.
Question: Xtrol pressure tank and everything set to 28 psi, multiple pressure tanks, pump won't shut off
The reading at the second tank is 30 psi. pump never stopped until automatic shut-off kicked in due to heat (ran straight more than 5 mins.) When it stopped, its gauge read 40 psi, the gauge on the last tank read 30 psi. I have water at the toilet. It filled the toilet tanks about 5-6 flushes and then the pressure at the second tank read 20 psi and then the pump kicks in.
Antoine, without a sketch I don't have a clear understanding of your installation. It sounds as if you may be installing pressure tanks in series, or in parallel, maybe feeding different building areas - I just don't know.
But in general, if a pressure control switch is set higher than a pump can achieve, the pump will never shut off. We offer diagnostics for this problem at WATER PUMP WONT STOP RUNNING.
Also take a close look at exactly where your pressure control switch is located - it needs to be near the tank whose pressure it is to sense.
Finally, check that the pressure control switch sensor port has not become debris clogged - that will prevent proper pressure sensing. The fix is to replace the switch.
Question: low water pressure after replacing a pressure control switch
Replaced the pressure control switch on a 30/50 unit as well as pressure gauge. Water pressure has been very low since. Turns on at 30 and shuts off at 50 so its working. Had no water pressure problem before replacing. Replaced once we found a leak that tied back to the pressure switch. Do I need to adjust pressure on/off or is it the pump? - Eric Det 10/9/12
Eric, if the pump turns on at 30 and off at 50 psi, then your pump, control, and water pressure are normal. I suspect that we're mixing up water pressure - something you measure with a guage when no water is running - and water flow rate - how fast and hard does water come out of the tap.
Bad water flow rate (that people may indeed loosely call call "water pressure") can be caused by lots of different problems ranging from a poor well flow rate or clogged building piping to simply clogged strainers and shower heads.
Take a look at WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS for WELLS
Question: after replacing pump and pressure tank the pump switch keeps clicking
relay switch on water pressure device clicking when water is being used why and what is the fix please. - Anon 9/30/12
i replace my pump and pressure tank. but when i turn on my water. i here the pressure switch go click click click non stop when i turn on water - Jerry 11/16/12
It is normal for the relay switch to "click" on and off when you are running water continuously. It's a sound that folks don't notice if the swithc is right next to a (noisy) well pump, but when the well pump is submersible (located in the well) the pressure control switch click may be about all you hear. If the clicking is rapid - see my warning just above. If the click occurs say once every 30 seconds, that's normal. It's the pump switching on and off as pressure falls and rises.
Question: humming water pressure pump control switch
My water Pump Pressure Switch seems to be emitting a low hum all of the time It sounds sort of like you hear around electrical transformers. This is a new thing for the unit. My electric bill has also been high and my water pressure is intermittently low. I can make the hum stop by pressing on the plate that's connected to the springs. It sparks when I do this. Yikes! I suspect that the switch is stuck in the on position. What do you all think? Thanks! - James 11/27/12
James, the pressure control switch might click on and off, but humming?
First - make sure that the sound is coming from the switch itself and not from nearby water piping or from a nearby pump. Well pumps are not silent, and pump noise can be transmitted via water piping.
Second - if you are convinced it's the switch, if tightening the electrical connections at the switch doesn't fix it (do this with power OFF) I would replace it promptly. The pump relay is an electromagnetic switch. If it is humming and vibrating it is probably failing and you're about to have
Watch out: I wouldn't keep pressing on the relay. There's live 120V or 240V in that switch - touching exposed wires or connectors is asking for a potentially fatal shock. Keep me posted, what we learn will help other readers.
I do see the cut in big spring and nut, but i couldnt find the differential cut off nut, is this indicating that my pump is a very old one? - Old Pump 5/9/12
Old Pump: sounds more as if you are describing a different type of pressure control switch that does not give all of the adjustments we describe - the switch may or may not be the same age as the pump itself.
Question: bad pump pressure control switch blew out a water line
(Apr 27, 2014) David said:
I found that my water pressure suddenly went 80 psi. It blew a water line. I adjusted it to 60-70, and can not get it to drop below 60 psi. Bad pressure switch?
David, you asked this question on several article pages (please just one would suffice) - we suggested replacing the pressure switch. Check also for debris clogging of the pressure sensing tube that connects to the switch.
Question: waterlogged pressure tank, pump keeps running
(May 20, 2014) Anonymous said:
How do i get the max out of my pressure
(June 1, 2014) Laniceguy said:
I have an 80 gal tank (old style) where air and water are not separated by membrane. Recently, I noticed the tank is not releasing air pressure and appears to be 'waterlogged'. I drained and changed switch (40-60) and it seems as though the switch never powers down. It's wired correctly. Is it possible that the condition of the tank (fiberglass, indoors, 12 years old now) has caused the submerged well pump to overwork and by not cutting off power, become weak? (I changed pressure switch thinking this might solve this problem, and the old switch has seen better days.. but also never cut off power to pump) Any advise would be great! Thanks
If the pump runs without shutting off you will want to read the "water pump won't stop running" diagnostic article at
Question: pump turns on as soon as spigot opened
(June 13, 2014) Anonymous said:
My pump comes on as soon as the water is opened and continues going on and off until the water is closed. What is the problem and how can I correct it
Before changing the pressure control switch setting I'd look at either having run the well out of water (pump can't send up enough water to reach the cut off pressure)
or the pump impeller is damaged (pump can't develop enough pressure to reach shutoff)
other explanations include well piping leaks or a damaged pressure control switch
Question: lost all water pressure
(July 8, 2014) tony said:
i have lost all water pressure. when i turn the mair valve off the press gauge will go up to 40psi. however when the valve is opened the gauge goes to 0..new pressure switch about 2 weeks old.
We give lost water pressure diagnostics at
For the case you describe, turning the main valve off is stopping output from the pressure tank into your building. As you see water pressure with the main valve off, that suggests that water is running in your building or there is a burst pipe - but that's just guessing from your brief question.
Question: burned up pressure switch contacts, pump short cycling
Have a water to air heat pump supplied by a 1hp jet pump. After inspection, the contacts on the pressure switch appeared burned. Replaced the switch, however, upon replacement, the pump began cycling every few seconds while the AC unit was running. Usually the pump runs continuously providing water to the system until the AC unit turns off. Afraid of burning up my pump if this continues. Possibly a bad bladder tank (it's a small one like that used in an irrigation system)?
Indeed D Paul, if a water pump is short cycling that can burn up the switch contacts as well as damage the pump itself.
IN the More Reading links above please see the article series WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING where we explain how to diagnose and fix the trouble. Your case might be a ruptured tank bladder or something else - as you'll read there.
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