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We recently lost water pressure and we're on a well pump. Not sure if it's relevant, but earlier in the day I noticed my main breaker (the one the pump is on) was thrown. This main breaker powers a shop and our well pump. I reset the breaker, and about a minute or two later it had thrown again. I reset it a second time and it thus far it hasn't thrown again. Even after operating the shop garage door, lights, etc.

Later in the evening, even after running water for at least a few minutes, we noticed no water pressure.

I've replaced the pressure switch as well as made sure the psi in the water pressure tank was full.

Still, no water pressure.

Does this mean that our pump is bad? I'm new to all of this well pump business, but from what I'm read thus far, the most common issue is the switch or the tank.

Any advice is much appreciated. I know pumps are expensive so here's to hoping that's the not the problem.

Thanks

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  • First of all, please just don't throw parts at this w/o diagnosing it. That said, you should get an "amp clamp" style meter and put it over one of the hots to the pump and see what the current draw is and compare it to what it should be., If 240, you'll want to do this on both hots (separately of course). Hate to say it, but let's think this thru: The only thing that actually draws power is the pump itself, the breaker doesn't nor does the pressure switch. ....sooooo my bet is the pump has gone bad, but only testing with an a amp clamp can confirm. Aug 14, 2023 at 11:48
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    Is the pump on the surface or down the well?
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 14, 2023 at 12:38
  • Can you clarify what you mean by the "main breaker your pump is on"? Is the pump on its own breaker in a subpanel that also powers the shop and that this is the breaker that tripped, or does it mean that the shop & the pump are all on one single breaker (in a sub or main panel) and that this is the one that tripped. A picture of the panel & the tripped breaker, edited into your question, would be informative.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 14, 2023 at 13:49

1 Answer 1

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Sounds like you reset the breaker until the pump was good and burned out. Or at least overheated and blew its thermal fuse, if it has one.

Time to repair/replace, most likely. How DIY that is or isn't depends on the details of your well, and you.

Incidentally, the situation you describe of one breaker powering the pump and a shop is highly likely to mean you've got a larger breaker than the pump should have - they are normally installed, per manufacturer instructions (which makes doing it that way part of code) on a dedicated breaker serving only the pump. An oversized breaker increases the odds of damaging the pump in the case of a fault condition.

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  • OP indicated "main breaker" - I read that as "main subpanel breaker" for the panel powering the shop & the well and presumed the well was on its own breaker. Not sure which of us is correct - I hadn't even considered the possibility you came up with. Maybe the OP will clarify... Otherwise, I'd agree with your answer - +1.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 14, 2023 at 13:47
  • Shop utility circuits + well pump is exactly where my mind went. If a subpanel main breaker pops without the individual pump breaker going, we have a different problem. This could be a 20A feeding the pump in the corner of the shop that someone got clever and added some outlets and lights to.
    – KMJ
    Aug 14, 2023 at 14:42
  • I can't see much liklihood of a pump fault that takes a minute or two to blow; blowing a (example) 20A pump breaker blowing a (example) 40 sub-panel main instead. Main breakers blowing first tends to be in a case of a dead short when it happens at all. Unless it's a FPE/Zinsco fire-starter breaker that just won't blow at all feeding the pump.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 14, 2023 at 15:25

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