A dead well pump can be an unwelcome repair to face. With the average cost of repair approaching four figures, it's one of the more costly issues you'll need to deal with as a homeowner. Unfortunately, a lack of clean water is hardly a problem you can ignore for long. However, dry faucets don't necessarily mean you're dealing with a failed pump or a dry well.

How Does Your Home's Well Work?

Residential wells have come a long way throughout their history, but they're still relatively straightforward to understand. By learning a bit about how your well functions, you can see where potential failures might lead to problems that prevent your pump from supplying water. Many of these issues are less expensive to deal with than a pump replacement.

Typical residential wells consist of an enclosed shaft with the pump sitting at either the bottom or the top. Shallow wells use jet pumps located above the water level, while deep wells use submersible pumps installed below the waterline. Deep wells commonly use a screen with a gravel pack at the bottom to increase surface area for better flow.

Well systems use a pressure tank and switch installed in the home to smooth delivery from the pump. With a standard design, your pump runs until the pressure switch detects a preset maximum level. Fixtures and appliances in your home then draw water from the tank until it reaches the switch's lower limit, at which point the pump begins to refill the pressure tank.

Why Aren't You Getting Any Water?

If you aren't receiving water from your well, there are four likely causes, listed here in order of increasing likelihood:

  • Dry well
  • Failed pump
  • Pressure tank failure
  • Pressure switch issues
  • Electrical problems

Fortunately, the most common problems tend to be cheaper and easier to resolve. Your pump runs on electricity, so a tripped breaker or another issue with its circuit can stop it from working. A pump that repeatedly trips its breaker may be failing, however. If you flip the breaker back on and it trips again relatively quickly, avoid using your water and call in a plumber for further diagnosis.

Issues with the pressure tank or switch can also prevent you from receiving water. A switch that won't turn on prevents the tank from filling, ultimately stopping your well dead in its tracks. Plumbers can typically diagnose and repair switch problems quickly and cheaply. Pressure tanks that are more than a decade old can also suffer from issues and occasionally require replacement.

If none of these failures are responsible for you having no water from your well, then your pump may be failing, or you may have an issue with the water level in your well. You'll need a plumber with residential well experience to correctly diagnose and resolve the issue.