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10 Reasons Why Water Pump Keep Running Constantly

By Albert G. Croley
1.8K views 2 mins read

When I looked at that electricity bill, I thought they made a mistake.

They’ve probably sent me the electricity bill for Elon Musk to run Tesla.

But no, it has my name on it.

Now I can understand why they say numbers can be scary.

Interrupting my thoughts, my wife suddenly asked me, – Honey, why water pump keep running constantly, though I tried to turn it off?

At once, every confusion went away. So, that’s why I’m getting the ‘extra bulk’ electricity bill? Later on, I heard that it’s not much of an uncommon issue and can happen to anyone.

Well, I guess you’re on that list too. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here, would you?

So, here’s the deal.

I’ll tell you why your water pump keeps running and how you should fix it ASAP, okay?

Let’s get started, then.

Key Takeaways
Too many running appliances, losing prime, faulty pressure settings, pipe leakage, and dropped water levels are some of the reasons for a water pump running constantly.
This issue can be prevented by regular inspection, fixing leaky pipes, monitoring air and water pressure, and installing a demand pump.

How Does the Water Pump Work?

It’s your water pump that pushes the water for your home’s faucets and appliances. There are basically two types of water pumps out there.

The first one is the centrifugal pump, which you’re using at home right now. The other one is the positive displacement pump. It’s mostly used in industries.

When it comes to the centrifugal pumps, there’s an impeller within that spin to create pressure. However, the positive displacement pumps are more into trapping and releasing a certain amount of water with each rotation.

Both of these pumps are usually connected to the pressure pump.

The pressurized water in the tank ensures water flows consistently, whether the pump is on or not. Once you turn on your tap, there’s a pressure drop, which triggers the pump to turn on and fill up the tank again.

Should You Attempt to DIY Well Pump Repair?

You better decide this based on three things – your skills, comfort level, and how severe the problem is. Let me break that down a bit more for you:

  • If it’s a simple issue like resetting a tripped breaker or something of a similar difficulty level, you can do it on your own.
  • If you’re an experienced individual who’s comfortable with plumbing, the well pump system, and electric work, give it a shot. But don’t jump in if you’re not completely confident about this.

10 Common Causes & Solutions to Keep Running a Water Pump Constantly

Clearly, your machine is not made of adamantium, which will keep running for ages without a drop.

But if it’s still doing so, there’s probably a reason, and trust me, it’s often not good. So, here are some possible reasons (and how you can deal with them):

1. Too Many Running Appliances

Have you checked if one or a few of your appliances are always running?

Well, that can be a reason for having a pump that won’t stop running. This can be anything like a turned-on faucet you don’t know about or a toilet flush that’s continuously running. All these can create a constant demand for water and keep your water pump constantly running.

The Solution

  • Step 1: Turn off the main water line and check if the water pump is running continuously even after that.
  • Step 2: If the running water pump doesn’t stop, turn on the water line again and check if any plumbing fixtures are leaking or damaged. Fix them if you find any.

2. Pump With Lost Prime

Do you have a jet pump system that is set above ground? Or is it the submersible pump system that is usually installed underground?

If you’ve got the first one, there’s a chance that your well water pump might have lost its prime. Without it, the pump won’t be able to pull out and allow water to go into your water line.

This will force the pump to run continuously and cause damage to the pump. Usually, it’s the leaks in the suction line that make the pump lose its prime.

The Solution

  • Step 1: Shut off the pump ASAP. This will keep your water pump safe from more damage.
  • Step 2: Prime the pump. You can try it yourself. But if you’re finding it challenging, it’s better to call the professionals for the job. Plus, they can detect easily if there’s a leak in your suction line.

3. Faulty Pressure Setting

If your well pump is running without a break, there’s a high chance the pressure setting is incorrect.

When you’ve set the cut-off and the pressure setting is too close, the pump might keep turning on and off on its own. This will cause the pump to run until you fix the issue.

The Solution

  • Step 1: Turn off the power and stop the operation of the water pump.
  • Step 2: Get a wrench or screwdriver to adjust the cut-off and cut-on pressure. Make sure you adjust the pressure settings as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Step 3: Consult a professional if you’re landing in incorrect pressure settings again.

4. Faulty Pressure Switch

Issues with the pressure switch can also be a reason here. The pressure control switch basically regulates the pressure levels of a pump.

pressure control switch
Pressure Control Switch

It’s designed to maintain water pressure, which makes your pump turn on and off.

But this pressure switch can be faulty as well, often over a burned contact point or clogged tubing. Something like this can make your pump run continuously.

The Solution

  • Step 1: Test the pressure switch and see if there is any physical damage to the switch.
  • Step 2: Check out the electrical connections to see if there is any corrosion or something.
  • Step 3: Replace the switch if there is any visible damage.
  • Step 4: Try adjusting cut-off and cut-on pressure settings if there is no physical damage.

5. The ‘Check Valve’ Issue

It’s the check valve that prevents the water from flowing back into the well or water source when the pump is turned off. But once this part starts having issues, it can let the water go back into the well and lead to continuous pump operation.

The Solution

  • Step 1: Look for damage and debris in the check valve.
  • Step 2: Test it with a gentle tap or push. Usually, it moves effortlessly. But if you feel it’s not opening properly, probably the valve is triggering the break-less operation of your water pump.
  • Step 3: Once you’re sure the valve is the reason why your water pump is running all the time, it’s better to replace it and let a professional handle it.

6. The Pressure Tank Issue

Probably it’s the waterlogged pressure tank that is making your pump run day and night. Also, there’s an air bladder in every pressure tank, and sometimes water can fill it up.

This ultimately prevents the tank from holding air and maintaining the pressure properly. And the result? You get a constantly running well pump.

The Solution

  • Step 1: Turn off the power and open a faucet to relieve pressure in your plumbing system.
  • Step 2: Check the air pressure inside the pressure tank with a tire pressure gauge.
  • Step 3: If the air pressure is lower than the manufacturer’s recommendations, the tank has been waterlogged. In that case, drain all the water from your pressure tank and restore the air pressure properly.
  • Step 4: Once the air pressure is restored, close its drain valve and turn the water pump back on.

7. Dropped Water Level

There’s no way a pump can function properly if it’s not getting enough water regularly. This is basically known as the flow rate. If the water level goes down, this flow rate will go down as well, eventually giving you a continuously running pump.

This mostly happens when the water table in your area has dropped or there’s a local drought going on. And increased demand for reliable water supply can also be a reason here.

The Solution

  • Step 1: Call in a professional to check if the dropped water level is the actual reason.
  • Step 2: Install a pressure booster system, as that will help you maintain the water pressure even under high demand.

8. Pipe Leakages

You’ve already got some ideas on this one, don’t you?

Leakages Pipe
Leakages Pipe

Usually, a pump turns after reaching a certain pressure. But with a leak in your pipes, the pump may not shut at all, as it won’t reach that adequate pressure level.

So, this can be a reason for your pump’s continuous running, too. Plus, leaked pipes can lead to water waste as well.

The Solution

  • Step 1: Shut off different water lines in your house and check if the pump is still running.
  • Step 2:  Observe the water pipes and find out the leak. Once you find that, fix the issue yourself if it’s a minor leak.
  • Step 3: For major leaks and invisible leaks, I’d say you better call a professional.

9. Damaged Pump

With time, well pumps can also work less effectively, just like any other equipment out there. But it can happen sooner if there’s mechanical damage to the pump.

With something like this, the machine won’t be able to raise enough pressure. This will prevent the pump from turning itself off.

The Solution

It’s better to leave this one to a professional unless you have similar experience handling damaged pumps.

10. Electrical Problems

You never know when any faulty wiring connection will turn your pump into the train from ‘Unstoppable’. Even tripped circuit breakers can contribute to a water pump issue like this. So, it’s a must to address these problems to get the pump back to its normal action.

The Solution

  • Step 1: Check the electrical connections first to make sure the pump is getting the required power.
  • Step 2: Detect the loose, damaged, and corroded connections, as they can mess with the electrical flow.
  • Step 3: Tighten the loose connections, and if any component needs to be replaced, consult a professional.

Preventative Measures & Maintenance Tips

Probably all you can think about right now is consistent water pressure. Yes, the supply of water matters.

But to keep that on point, you need to look into how the pump works and what it needs to keep working properly. So, here are a few tips you might find handy while dealing with a water pump:

  • Ensure inspecting the pressure tank and the water pump every year to detect potential problems.
  • Monitor the tank’s air pressure and water pressure regularly. Make sure it’s not less than what the manufacturer recommends.
  • Test your well water and check the mineral content status. High mineral levels trigger buildup and restrict water flow. This will lead to pressure changes and make the pump work harder.
  • Check for leaks regularly. Don’t underestimate even the smallest leaks, as they can cause water wastage.
  • Don’t delay in repairing leaks. The longer you’ll take, the harder the pump will have to work.
  • Pressure switch settings drifting over time are nothing unusual. So, make sure to get it checked by a professional regularly.
  • When you’re facing frequent pressure fluctuations due to excessive water usage, consider getting a demand pump. This machine can reduce unnecessary cycling.

Reasons Why You Should Hire a Professional Electrician

You can’t handle all the problems on your own. But what about the pump’s issues? Well, before you think you can handle it all, let me tell you why you should really leave things in the hands of a professional:


Water and electricity can be a dangerous combination, and a water pump works with both of them. So, to keep yourself on the safer side, I’d say you better let a professional fix the issue, especially when it’s a major one.

Accuracy of Diagnosis

Clearly, a professional can detect the issue faster than a pair of inexperienced eyes. So, when it’s a matter of faulty electrical wiring or a pressure switch, a professional can pinpoint it more accurately.

Proper Repairing

There’s no way to deny that fixing an electric machine like a water pump requires specialized knowledge and tools. A professional electrician has it both. Plus, they’re more aware of the building codes and safety standards.

Warranty Protection

Trying to fix things on your own can void the pump’s warranty. So, when you’re letting a professional electrician handle it, he can pull this off without messing up the warranty coverage. And thus saving you from all the hassles.

Final Thoughts

I hope now you’ve found your reason why water pump keep running constantly, though you don’t want it to.

Well, this blog has given all the potential ones and the fixes. Now all you have to do is try the right fix and make sure you’re following the maintenance tips I’ve mentioned.

One more thing, don’t try to fix everything on your own. As far as I can remember, I’ve already told you when you need to call the pro for it.

So make sure to stick to that for a good deal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long is too long for a water pump to run?

It’s okay for a pump to run for 6 to 8 hours in a row. But running for more than that can trigger numerous issues.

Can a well pump overheat?

Yes, a well pump can overheat, just like most machines. And this mainly happens from overrunning.

Is it bad for a well pump to cycle on and off?

Yes, it is! In fact, it puts extra pressure on the pump’s internal components. This short cycling issue can end up in costly repair if not fixed in time.

Can you leave a water pump running all night?

You better not. If it’s running for more than 8 hours, the internal components can heat up and damage the pump.

Is short cycling bad for well pump?

Yes, it is. This will do nothing but overheat the components and damage the pump.

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