Home » How Long Should A Well Water Pump Run?

How Long Should A Well Water Pump Run?

Updated on September 5, 2022

A well pump will run until it fills the water tank in your home. The water tank is connected with well pump and signals the pump to turn on/off depending on the water level in the tank.

Having said this, it is important to know how long the well pump should run continuously to avoid any danger. It depends on pump type. Some pumps are designed for longer operations, while most have a maximum continuous running time of 2 hours before they need to cool off. Some latest models stop running after a fixed time to avoid overheating. Most private well systems for homes have this type of pump.

Moreover, well pumps are water cooled. They need water to stay cool and function properly. If the water level in your well falls below the pump’s propeller, there is a high chance that it can go bad.

Your pump’s operator manual mentions working times, maintenance needs, and pump capacity.

Hence, the exact time your well pump will run depends on your tank’s size, drawdown from the tank, pressure setting on the pump, and volume of water in your well.

What to do if my pump runs too much?

If you see that your pump runs too much or turns on/off frequently, you need to check your well water tank and pump’s pressure setting. Analyze why the water level is fluctuating in the tank. The setting on your well pump could have been disturbed. You need to adjust the settings. The well pump may have lost the prime, or the pressure control switch is faulty.

There can be a running appliance in your home that’s continuously drawing water. The well piping can leak, forcing the pump to go on/off often.

How often should a well pump cycle?

It depends on water usage, tank size, and motor power. You can’t control pump cycles because you can’t control the water usgae, especially if you have kids at home. Well experts recommend minimum pump cycles to increase its lifespan and functionality.

The well pump cycle time is between 30 seconds to 2 minutes if everything in your well water system works optimally.

Why is my pump cycling on and off frequently?

It is known as short-cycling and happens when you use too much water at once, more than what your pump can handle. For example, running all the taps at your home or using all the appliances at once. Sprinklers often cause this problem because it uses a lot of water at one time.

Why does the well pump burn when it runs for long?

When the water level falls below the pump’s propeller, it overheats. This results in extra heat generation and no cooling because there is no water inside the pump to cool it. The pump burns as a result.

Why is my Well Pump Running too loud?

A well pump can run loud due to various reasons. An overburdened pump can wear out too soon than expected, making it run louder. If your pump is running louder, call a professional or diagnose the problem yourself.

What is the effect of excessive cycling on a well pump?

When a well pump starts, it generates a surge of energy that heats it up. Excessive cycling, let’s say for 300-400 times a day, doesn’t let the pump cool down. Motor is either air or liquid cooled, keeping the pump cool at normal cycling.

But when the motor starts too often without getting the chance to cool down, it affects not only the pump but everything in well system. The pressure switches, starters, relays and capacitors are all affected by frequent pump cycling. Moreover, the motor should run for an ample time after starting so it gets enough time to cool off.

Why is my well pump not shutting off?

Well pumps are designed to turn off automatically after the water in pressure tank reaches a certain level. However, you may see that your pump runs longer and may not shut-off. The main reason behind is a leak in the system or an open faucet. The continuous water flow is causing a low water level in the tank, which forces the pump to run longer.

How long can a submersible well pump run?

Submersible pumps can run as long as they remain submersed in water. They are water cooled pumps and does not heat up until the water level go below the pump. However, the sediment in water can clog the pump if it runs for too long. Moreover, extended running time hikes up electricity bill.

What are the signs that a well pump has gone bad?

  • A drop in water pressure is the biggest telltale sign that your pump is going bad. However, it may also indicate blockage in system or a depleted water level in the well. Get your well system inspected to diagnose the problem.
  • Another symptom is air in well water lines. You may see faucets coughing for 3-4 times when you open them after some time.
  • Sudden sediment in well water may also indicate that pump has gone bad. However, sediment can enter water due to various reasons.
  • You pump starts running louder than usual. It will make screeching, banging or hissing sounds.
  • Frequent cycling indicates that something is wrong with your well pump.
  • A sudden increase in electricity bills warrants well pump inspection.


  • Roy Jones

    Roy lives in Anderson, Texas, and has been a part of various certified well drilling firms. He has extensive 20 years of working experience in water wells maintenance, repair, and drinking quality. Roy has been guiding neighbors on well issues and writes to educate private well owners about various well water issues.

Leave a Comment