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This article describes the causes of noises heard at a water pump pressure control switch: humming or clicking. We warn that some noises may indicate trouble and the need for repair, including very frequent clicking or relay switch humming. A stuck pump relay can burn up the switch or even cause a fire.
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Reader Question: humming water pressure pump control switch
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
(Feb 6, 2014) Ivan said:
The pump only hums. It was recently installed when the old one did the same thing. This is a water well. Could the Foot valve in the well be blocked causing the pump not to kick on
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.
A mechanic's stethoscope can help make sure you've pinpointed the noise source.
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.
When a water pump only hums - that is, it's not moving water - the problem could be a bad pump motor, bad motor start capacitor, low voltage, OR - indeed as you speculate - if the pump has lost prime (perhaps due to a leaky foot valve) it may also seem to be doing nothing but humming a monotone.
Try turning off the pump and priming it manually. Then close the priming opening and turn on the pump. If the pump sounds normal - even just briefly - that may confirm that it's running dry; sometimes you can recover water by repeat priming at the pump, but if the foot valve is bad, your pump will also keep losing prime. But that would be diagnostic.
WATCH OUT: don't let a pump keep running dry -chances are you'll damage it.
Also see ELECTRIC MOTOR NOISE DIAGNOSIS where we diagnose humming electric motors and motors that won't start.
Reader Question: Clicking: 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
Reply: normal vs. abnormal well pump relay switch clicking frequency
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 switch 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.
Reader Question: My pump pressure control switch melted. The repairman said it was due to bugs. Now my well pump is noisy. Did the pressure switch meltdown make my pump get loud? Can I replace it with a quieter pump?
I must confess that I don't know much about well systems. Unfortunately, a well is where my water comes from for my house. I say unfortunately because it seems I’m always having problems and never had such hassles when having had city water.
The system is almost 10 years old and the upkeep seems to be constant and expensive.
Recently, one evening, while I was out of my house for a few hours, the system's pressure switch literally melted. I turned off the well system when I got home and waited 'till next morning to call the company who services the system.They came out and replaced the switch box.
They said it was likely caused by some bugs getting inside it which makes it malfunction. I have been told to make sure to place moth balls around this box and to spray bug spray. They tell me this unfortunately is a common problem and that there doesn’t seem to be any remedy available. Well, this strikes me as an expensive situation.
Since the melt down and replacement, my system seems extra loud. Every time the pump goes on (I have a 7 gallon draw down) I can hear it all throughout the house and it’s especially loud in the room that the system is closest to. I doubt anyone could sleep in that room because of the noise.
I don’t remember the system being so loud before this happened.
Do you have any thoughts about this scenario? And do you know of any pumps (submersible) that are not loud, and do you know what they would cost?? - E., North Port FL
Reply: A shorted electrical circuit or switch might damage a pump; a damaged pump or a well with limited water capacity might lead to a burned-up the pressure control switch
A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds additional clues that help accurately diagnose a problem. That said, here are some things to consider:
It might be diagnostic to think back to
You can replace a noisy above ground pump with a quieter model, and if your pump motor or the actual impeller assembly are loud due to damage or wear, it's a good time to think about that step.
If you convert an above-ground well pump to a submersible pump sysem you won't hear the pump motor at all, just a little click when the pump relay switch turns the pump on or off. In fact you might notice previously masked (by pump noise) sounds of water entering the pressure tank.
Some typical well pump repair or replacement costs are discussed at WELL PUMP / TANK REPLACEMENT COSTS.
Continue reading at ELECTRIC MOTOR NOISE DIAGNOSIS or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
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