I recently had to turn on the electric for a shared well in my name. I got a bill and it's as high as what my house bill is. The well is the only thing connected to the electric in the well house. We rewired it and replaced the pressure switch hoping to fix it.

Any suggestions what to do next?

Please keep in mind I know nothing about these, just want to relay info to my husband.

  • 3
    Is the well pump actually running constantly? What does the pressure gauge show? Normally it should cycle between 40 and 60 psi (though could be +/-10 depending on how it's set). Cycling fast usually indicates trouble with your pressure tank. Never reaching the high shut-off point indicates excessive water use -- could be a leak. You should try turning off the valve after the tank going to the house(es), and see if the pump shuts off, then hook up a garden hose to the sed valve that should be on the tank and run water from there to see if the pump acts normally.
    – gregmac
    Commented May 22, 2013 at 22:45
  • yes, its running constantly, 20 psi with 40/60 psi. shut all water valves off and its still running constantly
    – Beth Peden
    Commented May 22, 2013 at 23:02

4 Answers 4


If this is a submersible pump in a fairly shallow well and it is running continuously and only putting out 20psi, you have several possible problems:

  1. The impeller assembly is coming apart and there is excessive internal leakage in the pump.

  2. There is a leak in the pipe leading from the pump to the well-head, either the pipe has split, or the barb fitting nipple in the top of the pump has a hole corroded in it. The pump basically is recirculating the water back into the well.

  3. Submersible pumps with iron pipe to the wellhead that use a below frostline casing fitting have an o-ring in the slider coupling assembly that can rot and cause a leak back into the well.

  4. Not sure where the main water shutoff valves are. Are they in the pump house or at the residences? Any unexplained water bubbling out of the ground with quicksand like mud?

Note: A leaking foot valve will have one of two effects. On an above ground pump, you will lose prime, on a submersible, if there's air leakage, you get a slug of air into the system every time the pump starts (chugging faucets, etc).

  • 1
    sounds like #1 impeller is dead or worn and if it wasnt before with the pump running constantly it probably will be now.
    – UNECS
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 8:09
  • Bad/dirty check valve in pump? Commented May 23, 2013 at 16:24
  • No check valve problems. The check valve (foot valve) only operates when the pump is off, and when leaking, just means you get a slug of air into the system on pump start if there is a pinhole somewhere. Commented May 24, 2013 at 0:53
  • @UNECS in my case, there were nylon strings in the cold water that ended up in the filter, followed by an oil slick when it destroyed the motor seal. Nylon impeller, not sure if the impellers went or one of the bearings came apart. Commented May 24, 2013 at 0:59

I saw this at a house in NH -- crazy high electric bills caused by a corroded pipe nipple between the tank and the the pressure switch. The pump was running all the time, but since there was no pilot light or other indicator in the house, the only clue was that the water pressure and electric bills were unusually high. The pump was too small to trip the relief valve or (fortunately) burst anything.

I'd check the pressure switch first, with either a voltmeter or clip-on ammmeter, and watch the tank pressure to see what's going on. If the pump is running all the time and the water pressure is high, you have a stuck pressure switch. If the pump is running all the time but the water pressure is low (and never recovers to the point where the pump can shut off): it's a problem with the pump, check valve, or line between the pump and the tank. If the pump eventually shuts off but then starts up again even though nobody is using water: it's a bad check valve.

  • Correct, along with a busted line that was supposedly capped, it was 40 years old, I get it, I'm breaking down too.
    – Beth Peden
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 21:10

I am surprised no one mentioned at leak in the pipe from the well to the house(s). That can cause quite a bit of water usage. Look for water standing between the house and the well. It helps if you know roughly where the pipe runs. A couple years ago I hit almost 90 dollars in usage in one month. Normal is around 25 dollars.

From there either start digging down following the water or hire someone. Fixing the pipe is usually easy. A couple brass fittings and a short piece of replacement pipe is all that is needed.


I was paying $50-$75 a month for electricity, then I got married. All of a sudden, paying a $200+ electric bill, After about three years, of this, I found out that, My brother next door who is using central air(I don't use ac.) pays less than $150 a month.

I recently installed a new pressure switch, because of erratic pressure. while setting the pressure adjustment on the new pressure switch, I noticed that it would cycle, about every 5 to 10 minutes, with no faucet in the house on and no toilet running. I then searched for leaks, extensively and found no leaks. This made me suspect the check valve, between the pump and pressure tank.

BINGO!! It was so bad that I could blow through it both ways, WITH LUNG PRESSURE ONLY! After installing a new $16 check valve, for once I am actually looking forward to my next electric bill.

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