# Well pump ends up overwhelmed. How can I solve this?

I have moved into a house with a well. Occasionally if too many water uses occur the pressure tank is expended and it trips the switch to off and it stops running. If I go down and reprime the pressure tank it kicks back up and works.

The pressure tank pressure is set to 30 at the moment and the bladder on my last measurement is 28 psi. I'm not entirely sure what this indicates. I haven't lived in a house with a well since I was a child and clearly it wasn't something as a kid I would think about. I know what to do when it happens but my wife definitely doesn't as she is a city girl and we now live way out in the country. I have to travel sometimes so I want to do what I can to mitigate this.

– JACK
Commented Jan 12, 2020 at 20:01
• water flow is already pretty light when showering. Would this still be a good solution?
– Rig
Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 15:27

Help your wife to become at least something of a country person by letting her fix it while you (patiently and nicely) explain what needs to be done. Either of you should write down notes and/or take video or pictures, it being the modern era, to help with doing it unassisted. Then practice a few times without your help to build confidence and figure out what else might need to be written down or videoed.

With the pressure off the water side of the system, the tank (assuming a modern bladder-type tank) should be a few pounds below the "cut-in" or start pressure of the pump. So, if the 26 PSI (I evidently misread that - 28 might want to be adjusted to 27) measurement was with the water side drained/no pressure, that's roughly correct. The point of this difference is to allow water to keep flowing to the house as the pump is being started.

The exact nature of your problem may affect the right solution to solving it.

A flow restrictor as Jack suggests is one approach, to limit the water taken out of the tank to a rate the pump or well can keep up with.

If the problem is the speed the pump can provide water at, pumps can be replaced with pumps of greater capacity. You can also provide a larger, or additional pressure tank to increase the stored capacity for temporary loads.

If the problem is the speed the well can provide water at, that's a MUCH more expensive problem to solve, and far more unknown. Drilling deeper can cause more problems than it solves, depending on the specific (and somewhat unknown) details of the hydro-geology at that exact point, for instance.

• Currently the water pressure switch is set to 30 given what I have observed. My understanding after some reading is that the bladder pressure should be a couple PSI below that so I set it to 28. Would that be incorrect? I know how to reprime it and everything but I'd prefer to not have to do that if someone flushes the toilet while the brand new highly efficient washer is running a load of laundry. My understanding is the well is in pretty good shape so I might need a higher volume pump or pressure tank?
– Rig
Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 14:55
• The bladder pressure is fine. Since you are de priming you may be exceeding the wells capacity and drawing air causing the pump to de prime. See ecnerwal’s last paragraph. It could be your pump is worn and not pumping the rated volume. but to consistently be tripping something is wrong unless hours long showers (may be a safety to protect the pump). I would try limiting the flow as jack and this answer suggest. Normally 5 gallon per minute is required and flow testing is required for 3 hours below 5gpm usually has to be identified. Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 18:04
• ...depending on WHY it's stopping, dropping the tank another PSI or so may have no effect, or may help. You can get some idea if you sit there and watch the gauge as someone else flushes toilets, etc. When it hits the starting setpoint, the pump takes finite time to get started pumping water. If the 2PSI buffer you have now does not give enough water (thus time) when heavy use is happening, some additional buffer can help, since when you hit the end of the bladder, the pressure drops suddenly. Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 23:40