Why Is My Well Water Pulsating?

Well Water Pulsating

Pulsating Well Water: What To Do

If you have a private water well, you have a fantastic resource to provide your family with many years of excellent water with minimal upkeep. Nevertheless, sometimes homeowners wait until a minor issue becomes a significant problem. One of the tell-tale signs that can portend more significant issues is pulsating or sputtering faucets. Don’t let the pulsing continue, as prolonged water surges like this can damage your well components, water lines, and plumbing fixtures.

What Causes Pulsating/Sputtering Faucets?

A faucet that sputters out water instead of a steady stream is often caused by air in the plumbing. This air can be introduced by a restriction in your plumbing, improper calibration of well system components, a worn-out pressure tank, or even a leak in your water well system. If you have a tank that is quick cycling—going on and off multiple times per minute—this could indicate your pump is starting and stopping unnecessarily. This short cycling can burn out a pump, rub on the wire, and even split your water line.

Short cycling is when a pump turns on and off too rapidly. Not only can short cycling result in pump failure, but it can harm the rest of your system as well. Short cycling can occur for several reasons.

Well Water Pulsating

One of the most common reasons for short cycling is a loss of air in the water pressure tank. This is especially common in older, non-bladder pressure tanks. For these older tanks, the solution to this problem entails repairing the water tank air volume control. If you have a more modern tank, your tank’s bladder may be damaged, which means it won’t be able to hold pressure properly and will need replacing. If the tank is damaged in any way, replacing it as soon as possible should be a priority, so the rest of your system doesn’t become stressed.

Short cycling can occur because of your pump’s components, such as the pressure switch and check valve. You will want to examine these parts for wear and tear. The settings on your pressure switch may need to be readjusted, or the switch could need replacement if damaged. A failed check valve means your system will not hold pressure when the pump shuts off, meaning this part may need replacement.

A leak in the home can cause this water well problem, so the well pump continuously runs. Corrosion of the water well casing, liner, or screen causes holes, allowing water of undesirable quality to enter the well. Look for leaking toilet flush valves, reverse osmosis systems, iron filters, and other backwashing filter systems that may malfunction.

What Should I Do About Pulsating/Sputtering Faucets?

A well water pump that pulsates is usually an indicator of insufficient pressure in a pressure tank. An internal air bladder and an external electrical pressure switch regulate the air pressure inside a tank. If either is worn out or not working, this can cause a pulsating water flow due to water surging in the pipes. 

If you are a “DIYer,” there are some things you can check before you call someone. If the kitchen faucet is the only household faucet that runs slowly, look for clogged cartridges, blocked faucet aerators, and potential clogs in under-sink supply hoses. A low-flow kitchen faucet, designed to flow at a lower rate to save water, may also be the reason. Low water pressure in a kitchen faucet is often fixed by cleaning the aerator and changing the cartridge. Sediment buildup is common in all faucets, so they should be maintained regularly. Reduced water pressure in kitchen faucets is common due to sediment clogging the aerator or problems with the faucet’s cartridge. Furthermore, you will want to check all filters—sediment, reverse osmosis, etc.

If you’ve tested your pump’s components and are in working order, something as simple as a leak in your system may be responsible for your pump’s malfunctioning. It’s essential to look for damp spots around your system.

If you are still unsure of the problem or which repair part you need, give the professionals at C&J a call, and we can help you out!