One water well with one pump feeding two houses, directly from the pump to each house. Each house has a tank and pressure switch. The well pump is connected to a three way switch. The other leads go to each of the pressure switches. When the switch is toggled one way the electric is being charged to one hose and when it’s switched the other way the second house is paying for electric. The middle position is off. Here is the problem. If the pressure switch is activated on house “1” the pump will turn on as they use water and fill both tanks. But, if house 1 is not using water and house 2 is, then house 2 will run out of water until house 1 calls for water. How do we fix this problem?

  • # 2 pressure switch not working or not getting power(broken wire).
    – crip659
    Oct 27, 2022 at 0:01
  • did you check if the pressure switch #2 is working
    – Traveler
    Oct 27, 2022 at 0:17
  • 1
    Does flipping the (hokey) switch change this behavior? If I understand your description correctly, it should, but house 1 would have the same problem as house 2 does now. I sand by "trash the hokey mess and meter the usage."
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 27, 2022 at 0:32
  • Who's your electric utility? Oct 27, 2022 at 1:17

3 Answers 3


Sounds like a hokey setup, and evidently broken (and house 1 gets to pay for all the pumping.)

Trash the hokey setup and put in two water meters and a KWh meter for the pump. That way each house pays the portion of the electric bill for the pump that corresponds to their actual water usage, without the hokey, which would not do that even if the setup was working (since either house calling for water would fill both houses' tanks.)

Fairly sure that without some major engineering that I'm doubting was done, the connection of the pump to both houses' electrical systems likely constitutes a code violation, but I'll leave knowing exactly how to the line voltage folks. I think it could be done right, but I very much doubt it was.


Well this is an interesting problem. First off you can't use a "three way" switch here, you need a transfer switch.

Next you need to only feed water to whoever is supplying the electricity, so some sore to solenoid valves to control that also connected to the transfer switch that control where the water from the pump goes to based on which way the transfer switch points.

And then you probably need some way to automatically switch the transfer switch to the appropriate side, so the thirsty side gets served, this probably means you need an extra pole on the transfer switch.

The other suggestions involving water meters and a separate energy meter for the pump will probably prove more reliable.


I would suggest you get two water meters and set one in each line for each home. It will then only measure the water used by that home. You will need a check in each line to prevent backflow. At this point you should add a small bladder to the pump circuit and place the pressure switch at the pump. A larger bladder will not hurt but will probably only help. The bladder will keep the pump from short cycling.

You then rewire and feed the pump with a seperate metered power feed from the electrical company. You then read the water meters when the bill comes in and you can ratio who owes what. Realize if somebody used a lot of water there water meter will show that. Time between reading the meters is not critical just read them both at the same time. Water meters are not that expensive, possibly less then $50.00 in the US. Electrical will be more depending on how much you can do and what you have to hire done.

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