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I have a well and pressure tank (Well-X-Trol WX-250). Upon troubleshooting low water pressure in our home, I discovered that our pressure tank is never filling and our well pump is running constantly.

  • The pressure gauge at the front of the WX-250 normally shows a constant 27 PSI. This drops to 0 when the power is turned off to the pump, and drops to 10-15 when a faucet is turned on inside the house.

  • Initially the air pressure inside the WX-250 was around 10 PSI. I increased this to the recommended 38 PSI but it seems to not have had an impact.

  • I'm sure water isn't going into the pressure tank. When I turn off the power to the pump and open the valve from the tank, no water comes out.

Is my problem with the well pump or with the pressure tank? Could I have a blockage in the pipe that connects to the pressure tank?

  • Submersible pump (in the well) or suction pump/jet pump (pump in the house)? – Ecnerwal May 23 '15 at 21:47
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Allowing for the possibility that it could be otherwise as diagnosis via internet is imperfect....

I see both a pump problem and a check valve problem here. While they may be located in the same place (if your only check valve is on the pump - which is the way mine is set up) they are not the same thing...though I also see another possibility that would do both.

  • Pump problem - pressure not getting above 27 PSI, or 15 with a faucet open.
  • Check valve problem - when you shut off the pump the pressure drops to zero - unless you are using water, the pressure should stay at 27 if it was pumped up to 27. When you only had 10 PSI in the tank, there should have been some water storage - when raised to 38, no water could possibly make it into the tank, since that's designed for 40/60 PSI operation and won't take any water until the the water is over 38 PSI.

The third possibility - you have a leak in the pipe above the pump and check valve - so the pressure is limited, and the water drains away from the leak without the check valve being to blame. If you can go and listen at the top of the well while someone else turns the pump on, you might actually hear this leak, if its in the well above waterline. Or you might have a recently soggy spot in the yard if it's after the pipe leaves the well.

While I don't think it's to blame in this problem, I'd also suggest rechecking your tank pre-charge to see if it has stayed at 38 PSI or started to fall again. Often when the precharge becomes low it's not simply a matter of needing to add air - it's a failure in the bladder or diaphragm.

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    You were right on! I pulled out the pump. It was 60 feet deep, and there were three 20' sections of PVC pipe between the surface and the pump. As we were pulling it up you could see water pouring out of both of the couplings between these sections. I figured that had to be the issue and I replaced everything between the pump and the water line that runs to the house - fittings, check valve, seal, etc. I fired it up and the pressure tank filled right away, the pump cut off when it reached 65 PSI, and our water pressure is better than ever! – OffTheRadar May 24 '15 at 2:57
  • @OffTheRadar You may find a lower power bill in a month or two, as well. – Ecnerwal May 24 '15 at 3:00

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