My Well Pump was kicking on & off every 20 minutes (like clockwork) because of a slow drop in water pressure. I had a Well Contractor come out who found no leaks in the pipe and replaced all of the couplings and also replaced the Check Valve on the well pump which corrected the problem for 2 or 3 days but now we have exactly the same problem. I Have three Questions:

  1. If the check valve is good on a well pump, & no leaks in the pipe going down to the check valve on the pump will there be water in the pipe as you pull it up.

  2. If a bad check valve has been replaced and the water pressure was good for two or three days after replacing the Check Valve and then had the same problem as before the Check Valve was replaced. Then is it more likely that the pressure rating for the check valve was less than for the water pump or is it more likely that the new check valve was defective or could there be another issue that is causing losing water pressure and having the water pump kick on every 20 minutes like clockwork.

  3. How critical is it for the well pump to cycle off & on every 20 minutes? Is it an immediate problem that has to be fixed or is a week or two not a big issue.

Also to answer the Question from "HoneyDo" "Did the Contractor test the pump" I did not see him test it, although he did check the Check Valve and thought that it was best to replace because of the wear and tear on the spring although he said that he was surprised that externally it did not look that bad.

  • Can you please edit a bit for readability? I had to give up reading it, a bit of a wall of text. Perhaps split into a few logical paragraphs or add some bullet lists
    – Ack
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 21:54
  • You don't mention that the contractor checked the pump. I know it's running but that doesn't mean it's consistently producing the pressure you need. After 30 years I would have another contractor out, check the pump and ask him those questions.
    – HoneyDo
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 22:06
  • ...have you tried shutting off the main water valve from the pressure tank to the house, to determine if the "slow drop in pressure" is in fact on the well/pump side of the system at all, rather than in the house plumbing? Also: Have you contacted the contractor and mentioned this has occured?
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 12:30
  • If you find an answer helpful please give it an upvote if it did the trick accept the answer with the green check mark so others will be able to find an answer to smear questions.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


Depending on conditions in your well or the care of your well contractor, the check valve might have gotten something (new, or old) caught in it. You could certainly try running the well flat out for a while to attempt to dislodge/flush that out.

It sounds like your contractor couldn't find the issue and just threw parts at it. i.e. "replaced all the couplings" is "fixing what hardly ever breaks."

  1. Yes, pipe would be full of water if the check valve at the pump (submersible pump implied in this question) and pipe are good.
  2. It's hard to say for sure. Low pressure ratings on a well check valve would be surprising, frankly. Some issue with sand or debris in the well sticking the valve open is my go-to guess, but it's a guess. A defective valve would normally not work for 2-3 days before being defective.
  3. 3: Every 20 minutes is annoying and a waste of power, but not the dire situation that every minute or two is.
  • I agree if you run the pump flat out for an hour or more you may flush a build up of sand out of the well, I do this any time I pull a pump or jet to clean things up. Flat out means multiple faucets open, the water may get dirty but it will settle down in a day this the sand and dirt getting pumped and may be part of the problem. Every 20 minutes won’t over heat the pump but waste of power+
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 13:28
  • Remove aerators from faucets (so they don't get clogged themselves) and/or mostly run it out hoses or other unrestricted outlets.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 13:50
  • Thank you Ecnerwal and Ed Beal for responding with your answers. I was not sure about to low a pressure rating for the check valve although I would agree with Ecnerwal that it would be unlikely and also agree about a defective check valve working and then become defective in 2 or 3 days but was not sure. I feel better about running the pump every 20 minutes. I will try flushing out the well - because I do not see how a leak in the water line to the house could have a leak and stop leaking and then start leaking again after 2-3 days. Thank you all very much & hope the flush will work.
    – Abe
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 15:54

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