So to begin, we have a deep submersible well pump. We noticed that our water pressure was getting weaker and weaker. At first I believe it was because of the well house not being properly insulated causing a freeze. I came to this conclusion because we started having water issues when it started to get really cold out and the well pressure would be at its lowest during the coldest parts of the night. After a few days of the pressure weakening, I decided to reinsulate everything. Even after that, still no luck. At this point, we have no water coming into the house. I realized the pump wasn't turning on and was causing a humming sound near the control box. I opened it up and saw a burnt "relay/contactor". Once I replaced it, viola, we had water again. But this time, the pressure gauge was reading 0 PSI. Even tho we are getting decent water pressure to the house. The water pressure was noticeably weaker then before the freeze.

My main concern is, what could cause the relay to get burnt out like that? Is my pressure gauge faulty? I just want to be able to care for my well proactively before something bad and expensive happens.

  • 2
    What burned on the contactor the contacts or the coil? I suspect the pressure gauge froze. Once pressure gauges get freeze damaged the are never correct again, replace it. Is this a new install? Why didn’t your freeze problem exist in prior years?
    – Tyson
    Nov 23, 2018 at 0:05
  • We just recently moved into the house so this is new for us
    – Steve
    Nov 24, 2018 at 4:15
  • Did you ever get this resolved? If so, please give a check-mark to the answer that helped you the most, or write up your own answer explaining what you did to get it fixed and give yourself a check mark. That will help others with this kind of problem know that this has a resolution and is a good place to look for their answer.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 27, 2020 at 23:55

3 Answers 3



Winter is the lowest recharge rate for the local aquifer. If you are dropping the water table, the pump has to lift further.

Things to try:

  • Shut off all demand in the house.

Does the pump cycle? It shouldn't. Might cycle very rarely if the foot valve isn't sealing tight.

How does the pressure compare to normal. (You've replace the broken gauge, right?)

If the well never turns off, and the pressure is low, cut the power to the well. If the pressure drops fairly quickly, then either the foot valve is shot, or there is a leak between the pump and the house.

Given that it's been cold, a cracked pipe near the top of the well could be dropping some of of water back down. Open the top while the well is running, and listen. Shine a light down.

Well bores sometimes collapse. If the pump is partially blocked, it would explain the low pressure.

Finally: Well pumps do wear out, although in household use 30-50 year isn't uncommon.


good job at getting it running again. I have seen contactors fail in a short period of time when the pressure tank bladder failed also if there is a starting capicator in that control box it can be failing causing the above problems with wiring and contactors, As for the pressure gauge these are bordon tube gauges a bent hollow tube filled with water, the gauge works because the outside of the tube has a different force than the inside once the gauge freezes it usually distorts the gauge to the point it won't work, so it is time for a new gauge. You should be looking into the start / run capacitor that may be the root cause of the damage to the contactor/ wiring .


If the well pump is running longer and not producing pressure in the storage tank, assuming every thing else is OK, could indicate that the pump's impeller and/or inlet screens are getting plugged with dirt or mud or that the pump is in need of replacement. It could also mean that the well itself where the water flows through the openings in the wells side walls are becoming blocked with the same dirt/mud. These items can only be fixed by pulling the pump out of the well and having them checked by a well person or well driller. If the well pump has been installed for a number of years, the burnt relay contacts could be normal due it's age and the constant on/off action of the pump. These relays do wear and need replaced occasionally. The pressure gauge is an inexpensive indicator of pressure and if it is frozen at a zero reading, it needs to be replaced.

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