Why Is My Well Pump Is Cycling On And Off Repeatedly?

Well pumps can face a lot of issues if not maintained. One of the common well pump issues is short cycling for which you may need to consult a well pump service. Here is what to know before you do.

A Short Cycling Well Pump

Well pumps tend to operate without any problem for the most part, but there are a lot of issues that follow suit, especially if the pump is too old and hasn’t been maintained in a long time.

If you see that the water supply is halted, even though the pump is still on and cycling away, then that is an alarming sign. Sometimes, the pump will turn off suddenly and then start up again, but the result is the same. You’re not getting any water in your pressure tank or directly in your taps and faucets.

This issue is known as short cycling, and it’s a very serious issue, because if there’s no water in the storage tank, then things can take a detrimental turn.

Why Does It Happen?

Now that you know what short cycling is, you need to understand its causes. Here are some situations in which your well pump can short cycle.

There’s Loss Of Air In The Pump

This is a problem with a lot of obsolete pressure tanks and those that don’t have an air bladder. There needs to be an adequate amount of air in the well pump to be able to function properly and if there’s not, then the pump can get jammed and this is what allows short cycling to take place.

To rectify this issue, you might need to drain out your pressure tank and let sufficient air enter the system. Once that is done, you can fire up the pump and you’ll see that it performs way more smoothly than before. However, it’s better if this is done by a professional.

Blocked Pipes

Another very common issue with well pumps that can cause them to short cycle is the clogging of pipes leading up and down the pump. Since well pumps are used in wells, the pipes are always at risk of getting clogged with either sand or sediment particles.

Also, if you don’t maintain the pump as often, then this can be a problem and it can lead to short cycling of the pump, therefore you must keep an eye out for the pipes and if there’s a slight change in the water pressure or if it’s murky in the taps, then you need to get the pipes checked.

Volume Control Valve Issue

Water is free-flowing by nature, so to prevent the water from sloshing back into the well, well pumps are equipped with check valves. Check valves control the back pressure and allow the water to surge forward rather than backward.

However, the check valve can get faulty over time and you might need to change it, otherwise, short cycling will be an issue. A faulty check valve can turn an efficient pump into a useless one.


You Need air in the well pump to be able to function properly, but that doesn’t mean that you can allow all of the air to be inside. Sometimes, an abundance of air can cause short cycling as well and it can also cause air to be trapped in the pipes.

This ultimately causes disruption in the water supply and it can also lead to murky water and spitting of water in the taps. So, to rectify this problem, you need to ensure that your well pump has an air leaking outlet to let the excess air out.

Control Switch Issue

The control switch of the well pump is an integral part of the assembly and after some time, it’s bound to fail. This can be identified by the change in the pressure of water or that the incoming water is too much or too low because the control switch controls how much water needs to be pumped from the well and if it’s faulty, then it won’t perform efficiently. The easiest solution to this problem is to change the control switch.

While you’re at it, you might want to check the tubing of the switch as well, because chances are that it is also clogged, which is causing the problem in the first place.

Solutions For A Short Cycling Pump

Some on-the-spot solutions were already discussed above, but here are more things that you need to look out for, if you don’t want your well pump to turn on and off repeatedly.

Call In A Professional

Sometimes, getting your hands dirty isn’t an option. That might be because you’re not knowledgeable about well pumps and you don’t want to add to the heap of problems, so having a professional look at your pump is the best way to go about this issue.

If you experience anything mentioned above, then you need to call in a well pump repair Berkeley County expert. They will take a look at your pump, determine the issue, and give a solution in no time.

Maintain The Pump Regularly

It’s one of the biggest and most effective tips you can implement. Maintaining a pump is necessary, even if you don’t feel like it. There are a lot of things that can go wrong if you don’t maintain your well pump from time to time, especially if you use it regularly.

So, take some time out to schedule well water system inspection so that everything is tightly screwed on and there isn’t any air leakage or trapping in the pump. You’ll thank yourself in the future.

Don’t Let The Pipe Get Clogged

This is also another thing you can do which will significantly decrease the chances of your pump getting short-cycled. Pipes can get clogged, so if you have a loose sand well and are always finding sediments in the water, then it’s better to case the well for good so that no sediments can find their way into the water.

Casing the well is not something easy, but you’ll need to do it if you want to break free from the problem of changing your pipes every so often. It’s a one-time thing and you’ll take a satisfying breath after the fact.

Get The Right-Sized Pump

You might think that all well pumps are the same and you can get any pump for your well. That’s not the case at all. Every pump and size is different and each pump caters to different well sizes, water capacities, and more.

This is also another reason why your pump starts and stops out of the blue. You need to get a well pump that is in sync with your well specifications and the amount of water you need pumped daily. A pump retailer or service will help you out in this regard.


Now you know why your well pump suddenly turns on and off, all the while performing inefficiently. Get to the bottom of the problem and solve all of the water-related issues by consulting an expert. If after an inspection, the expert suggests a replacement, you should consider it because the well pump might keep requiring repairs too frequently. Therefore, a well pump replacement WV would be a wise decision.

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