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Troubleshooting

Having a bit of trouble with your product? We're here to help. Here are some common topics we are asked about.

Please note that these guides are general in nature. Please refer to your instruction manual for specific information regarding your product.

  • Submersible Well Pumps
    • Fuses Blow or Circuit Breaker Trips When Motor is Started

      Cause of Trouble

      What to Check

      How to Correct

      Incorrect line voltage

      Check line voltage terminals in control box or connection box if 2-wire model, with voltmeter. Make sure that voltage is within the minimum-maximum range prescribed by manufacturer.

      If the voltage is incorrect, contact the power company to have it corrected.

      Defective control box:
      a) Defective wiring (skip for 2-wire models)

      Check all motor and power line wiring in control box, following the wiring diagram found inside box. Check that all connections are tight and no short circuits exist due to worn insulation, crossed wires, etc.

      Rewire any incorrect circuits. Tighten loose connections. Replace worn wires.

      b) Incorrect components

      Check all control box components to insure they are correct type and size specific for your pump with manufacturer's literature. Check previous service work to see if correct components were installed.

      Replace any incorrect component with the size and type recommended by the manufacturer.

      c) Defective starting capacitor
      (skip for 2-wire models)

      Using an ohmmeter, determine resistance across starting capacitor. When contact is made, the ohmmeter needle should jump at once, then move up slowly. No movement indicates an open capacitor or defective relay points. No resistance means the capacitor is shorted.

      Replace defective starting capacitor.

      d) Defective relay
      (skip for 2-wire models)

      Using an ohmmeter, check relay coil. Its resistance should be as shown in the manufacturer's literature. Recheck ohmmeter reading across starting capacitor. A good capacitor and no needle movement indicates defective relay points.

      If coil resistance is incorrect or points defective, replace relay.

      Defective pressure switch

      Check voltage across pressure switch points. If less than line voltage determined in #1 above, the switch points are causing low voltage by imperfect contact.

      Clean points with a mild abrasive cloth or replace pressure switch.

      Pump in crooked well

      Wedged into a crooked well the motor and pump may become misaligned resulting in a locked rotor.

      Pull pump and straighten well.

      Defective motor winding or cable:
      a) Shorted or open motor winding

      Check resistance of motor winding by using an ohmmeter on proper terminals in control box (see manufacturer's wiring diagram). Resistance should match ohms specified in manufacturer's data sheet. If too low, motor winding may be shorted; if high or infinite resistance, check for open circuit in motor winding.

      If the motor winding is defective, shorted or open, the pump must be pulled and the motor repaired.

      b) Grounded cable or wiring

      Ground one lead of ohmmeter to drop pipe or shell casing, touch other lead to each motor wire terminal. If needle moves appreciable, there is a good ground in either cable or motor winding.

      Pull the pump and inspect the cable for damage. Replace damaged cable. If cable checks OK, the motor winding is grounded.

      Pump sand-locked

      Make pump run backwards by interchanging main and start winding (black and red) motor leads at control box.

      Pull pump, disassemble and clean. Before replacing, make sure sand has settled in well. If well is chronically sandy submersible should not be used.


    • Pump Operates But Delivers Little or No Water

      Cause of Trouble

      How to Check

      How to Correct

      Pump may be air locked

      Stop and start pump several times, waiting between cycles. If pump resumes normal delivery, air lock was trouble.

      If this test fails to correct the trouble, proceed as below.

      Water level in well too low

      Well production may be too low for pump capacity. Restrict flow of pump output, wait for well to recover and start pump.

      If partial restriction corrects trouble, leave valve or cock at restricted setting. Otherwise, lower pump in well if depth is sufficient. Do not lower if sand clogging might occur.

      Discharge line check valve installed backward

      Examine check valve on discharge lien to make sure arrow indicating direction of flow points in right direction.

      Reverse valve if necessary.

      Leak in drop pipe

      Raise pipe and examine for leaks.

      Replace damaged section of drop pipe.

      Pump check valve jammed by drop pipe

      When pump is pulled after completing #4 above, examine drop pipe connection to pump outlet. If threaded section of drop pipe has been screwed in too far, it may be jamming the check valve in the closed position.

      Unscrew drop pipe and cut off portion of threads.

      Pump intake screen blocked

      The intake screen on the pump may be locked by sand or mud. Examine.

      Clean screen. Make sure pump is re-installed several feet above well bottom, preferably 10 feet or more.

      Pump parts worn

      Presence of abrasives in water may result in excessive wear on impeller, casing and other close-clearance parts. Before pulling pump, reduce setting on pressure switch to see if pump shuts off. If it does, check for worn parts.

      Pull pump and replace worn components.

      Motor shaft loose

      Coupling between motor and pump shaft may have worked loose. Inspect after pulling pump and looking for worn components as in #7 above.

      Tighten all connections, set screws, etc.

    • Pump Starts Too Frequently

      Cause of Trouble

      How to Check

      How to Correct

      Pressure switch defective or out of adjustment

      Check pressure setting switch and examine for defects.

      Reduce pressure setting or replace switch.

      Leak in pressure tank above water level

      Apply soap solution to entire tank surface check for bubbles indicating air escaping.

      Repair or replace tank.

      Leak in plumbing system

      Examine service line to house and distribution branches for leaks.

      Repair leaks.

      Discharge line check valve leaking.

      Remove and examine.

      Replace if defective.

      Air volume control plugged.

      Remove and inspect air volume control.

      Clean or replace.

      Snifter valve plugged

      Remove and inspect snifter valve.

      Clean or replace.

    • Fuses Blow When Motor is Running

      Cause of Trouble

      What to Check

      How to Correct

      Incorrect voltage

      Check line voltage terminals in control box or connection box if 2-wire model, with voltmeter. Make sure that voltage is within the minimum-maximum range prescribed by manufacturer.

      If the voltage is incorrect, contact the power company to have it corrected.

      Overheated overload protection box.

      If sunlight or other source of heat has made box too hot, circuit breakers may trip or fuses blow. If box is hot to the touch, this may be the problem.

      Ventilate or shade box, or remove the source of heat.

      Defective control box components (skip this for 2-wire models)

      Using an ohmmeter, determine the resistance across the running capacitor. When contact is made, the ohmmeter needle should jump at once, then move up more slowly. No movement indicates an open capacitor (or defective relay points), no resistance means that the capacitor is shorted.
      Using an ohmmeter, check the relay coil. Its resistance should be as shown in the manufacturer's literature. Recheck ohmmeter reading across running capacitor. With a good capacitor, no movements of the needle indicates relay points.

      Replace defective components.

      Defective motor winding or cable

      Check the resistance of the motor winding by using an ohmmeter on the proper terminals in the control box (see manufacturer's wiring diagram). The resistance should match the ohms specified in the manufacturer's data sheet. If too low, the motor winding may be shorted. If the ohmmeter needle does not move, indicating high or infinite resistance, there is an open circuit in the motor winding.
      Ground one lead of the ohmmeter onto the drop pipe or shell casing, then touch the other lead to each motor wire terminal. If the ohmmeter needle moves appreciably when this is done, there is a ground in either the cable or the motor winding.

      If neither cable or winding is defective, shorted, grounded or open - pump must be pulled and serviced.

      Pump becomes sand-locked

      If the fuses blow while the pump is operating, sand or grit may have become wedged in the impeller, causing the rotor to lock. To check this, pull the pump.

      Pull pump, disassemble and clean. Before replacing, make sure that sand has settled in well. If well is chronically sandy, a submersible should not be used.

    • Pump Will Not Shut Off

      Cause of Trouble

      How to Check

      How to Correct

      Defective pressure switch

      Arcing may have caused pressure switch points to 'weld' in closed position. Examine points and other parts of switch for defects.

      Clean points or replace switch.

      Water level in well too low

      Well production may be too low for pump capacity. Restrict flow of pump output, wait for well to recover and start pump.

      If partial restriction corrects trouble, leave valve or cock at restricted setting. Otherwise, lower pump in well if depth is sufficient. Do not lower if sand clogging might occur.

      Leak in drop line

      Raise pipe and examine for leaks.

      Replace damaged section of drop pipe.

      Pump parts worn

      The presence of abrasives in the water may result in wear on the impeller, casing and other close-clearance parts. Before pulling the pump, reduce setting on pressure switch to see if pump shuts off. If it does, worn parts are probably at fault.

      Pull pump and replace worn components.

      Pump becomes sand locked

      If the fuses blow while the pump is operating, sand or grit may have become wedged in the impeller, causing the rotor to lock. To check this, pull the pump.

      Pull pump, disassemble and clean. Before replacing, make sure that sand has settled in well. If well is chronically sandy, a submersible should not be used.

    • Motor Does Not Start But Fuses Do Not Blow

      Cause of Trouble

      How to Check

      How to Correct

      Overload protection out

      Check fuses or circuit breaker to see that they are operable.

      If fuses are blown, replace. If breaker is tripped, reset.

      No power

      Check power supply to control box (or overload protection box) by placing a voltmeter across incoming power lines. Voltage should be approximate nominal line voltage.

      If no power is reaching box, contact power company for service.

      Defective control box

      Examine wiring in control box to make sure all connections are tight. With a voltmeter, check voltage at motor wire terminals. If no voltage is shown at terminals, wiring is defective in control box

      Correct faulty wiring or tighten loose contacts.

      Defective pressure switch

      With voltmeter, check voltage across pressure switch while the switch is closed. If the voltage drop is equal to the line voltage, the switch is not making contact.

      Clean points or replace switch.

  • Jet Pumps
    • Pump Won't Start or Run

      Cause of Trouble

      How to check

      How to correct

      Blown fuse

      Check to see if fuse is OK.

      If blown, replace with fuse of proper size.

      Low line voltage

      Use voltmeter to check pressure switch or terminals nearest pump.

      If voltage under recommended minimum, check wire size from main switch on property. If OK, contact power company.

      Loose, broken or incorrect wiring

      Check wiring circuit on diagram. See that all connections are tight and no short circuits exist because of worn insulation, crossed wires, etc.

      Rewire any incorrect circuits. Tighten connections, replace defective wires.

      Defective motor

      Check to see that switch is closed.

      Repair or take to motor service station.

      Defective pressure switch

      Check switch setting. Examine switch contacts for dirt or excessive water.

      Adjust switch settings. Clean contacts with emery cloth if dirty.

      Tubing to pressure switch closed

      Remove tubing and blow through it.

      Clean or replace if plugged.

      Impeller or seal

      Turn off power. Using a screwdriver, try to turn impeller or motor.

      If impeller will not turn, remove housing to locate source of binding.

      Defective start capacitor

      Use an ohmmeter to check resistance across capacitor. Needle should jump when contact is made. No movement means an open capacitor; no resistance means capacitor is shorted.

      Replace capacitor or take motor to service stations.

      Motor shorted out

      If fuse is blown when pump is started (and external wiring is OK), motor is shorted.

      Replace motor.

    • Motor Overheats and Overload Trips Out

      Cause of Trouble

      How to Check

      How to Correct

      Incorrect line voltage

      Use voltmeter to check at pressure switch or terminals nearest pump.

      If voltage under recommended minimum, check size of wiring from main switch on property. If OK, contact power company.

      Motor wired incorrectly

      Check motor wiring diagram

      Reconnect for proper voltage as per wiring diagram.

      Inadequate ventilation

      Check air temperature where pump is located. If over 100º F overload may be tripping on external heat.

      Provide adequate ventilation or move pump.

      Prolonged low pressure delivery

      Continuous operation at very low pressure places heavy overload on pump. This can cause overload protection to trip.

      Install globe valve on discharge line and throttle to increase pressure.

    • Pump Starts and Stops Too Often

      Cause of Trouble

      How to Check

      How to Correct

      Leak in pressure tank

      Apply soapy water to entire surface above water line. If bubbles appear, air is leaking from tank.

      Repair leaks or replace tank.

      Defective air volume control

      This will lead to waterlogged tank. Make sure control is operating properly. If not, remove and examine for plugging.

      Clean or replace defective control.

      Faulty pressure switch

      Check switch setting. Examine switch contacts for dirt or excessive wear.

      Adjust switch settings. Clean contacts with emery cloth if dirty.

      Leak on discharge side of system

      Make sure all fixtures in plumbing system are shut off. Then, check all units (especially ball cocks) for leaks. Listen for noise of water running.

      Repair leaks as necessary.

      Leak on suction side of system

      On shallow well units, install pressure gauge on suction side. On deep well systems, attach a pressure gauge to the pump. Close the discharge line valve. Then, using a bicycle pump or air compressor, apply about 30 PSI pressure to the system. If the system will not hold this pressure when the compressor is shut off, there is a leak on the suction side.

      Make sure above ground connections are tight. Then, repeat test. If necessary, pull piping and repair leak.

      Leak in foot valve

      Pull piping and examine foot valve.

      Repair or replace defective valve.

    • Pump Won't Shut Off

      Cause of Trouble

      How to Check

      How to Correct

      Wrong pressure switch setting or setting 'drift'

      Lower switch setting. If pump shuts off, this was the trouble.

      Adjust switch to proper setting.

      Defective pressure switch

      Arcing may have caused switch contacts to 'weld' together in closed position. Examine points and other parts of switch for defects.

      Replace switch if defective.

      Tubing to pressure switch plugged

      Remove tubing and blow through it.

      Clean or replace if plugged.

      Loss of prime

      When no water is delivered, check prime of pump and well piping.

      Re-prime if necessary.

      Low well level

      Check well depth against pump performance table to make sure pump and ejector are properly sized.

      If undersized, replace pump or ejector.

      Plugged ejector

      Remove ejector and inspect.

      Clean and reinstall if dirty.

    • Pump Operates But Delivers Little or No Water

      Cause of Trouble

      How to Check

      How to Correct

      Low line voltage

      Use voltmeter to check at pressure switch or terminals nearest pump.

      If voltage under recommended minimum, check size of wiring from main switch on property. If OK, contact power company.

      System incompletely primed

      When no water is delivered, check prime of pump and well piping.

      Re-prime if necessary.

      Air lock in suction line

      Check horizontal piping between well and pump. If it does not pitch upward from well to pump, an air lock may form.

      Rearrange piping to eliminate air lock.

      Undersized piping

      If system delivery is low, the discharge piping and/or plumbing lines may be undersized. Re-figure friction loss.

      Replace undersized piping or install pump with higher capacity.

      Leak in air volume control or tubing

      Disconnect air volume control tubing at pump and plug hole. If capacity increases, a leak exists in the tubing of control.

      Tighten all fittings and replace control if necessary.

      Pressure regulating valve stuck or incorrectly set (deep well only)

      Check valve setting. Inspect valve for defects.

      Reset, clean or replace valve as needed.

      Leak on suction side of system

      On shallow well units, install pressure gauge on suction side. On deep well systems, attach a pressure gauge to the pump. Close the discharge line valve. Then, using a bicycle pump or air compressor, apply about 30 PSI pressure to the system. If the system will not hold this pressure when the compressor is shut off, there is a leak on the suction side.

      Make sure above ground connections are tight. Then repeat test. If necessary, pull piping and repair leak.

      Low well level

      Check well depth against pump performance table to make sure pump and ejector are properly sized.

      If undersized, replace pump or ejector.

      Wrong pump/ejector combination

      Check pump and ejector models against manufacturer's performance tables.

      Replace ejector if wrong model is being used.

      Low well capacity

      Shut off pump and allow well to recover. Restart pump and note whether delivery drops after continuous operation.

      If well is 'weak', lower ejector (deep well), use a tail pipe (deep well) or switch from shallow well to deep well equipment.

      Plugged ejector

      Remove ejector and inspect.

      Clean and re-install if dirty.

      Defective or plugged foot valve and/or strainer

      Pull foot valve and inspect. Partial clogging will reduce delivery. Complete clogging will result in no water flow. A defective foot valve may cause pump to lose prime, resulting in no delivery.

      Clean, repair or replace as needed.

      Worn or defective pump parts or plugged impeller

      Low delivery may result from wear on impeller or other pump parts. Disassemble and inspect.

      Replace worn parts or entire pump. Clean parts if required.

  • Lawn Sprinkler/Irrigation Pumps
    • Little or No Discharge

      What to Check

      How to Correct

      Casing not initially filled with water

      Fill pump casing.

      Total head too high

      Shorten suction lift and/or change head. 

    • Pump Will Not Deliver Water or Develop Pressure

      What to Check

      How to Correct

      No priming water in casing

      Fill pump casing.

      Mechanical seal is leaking

      Replace. (see Rotary Seal Replacement Instructions)

      Leak in suction line

      Repair or replace.

      Discharge line is closed and priming air has nowhere to go

      Open.

      Suction line (or valve) is closed

      Open.

      Pump is down

      Replace worn parts.

      Foot valve is leaking

      Replace foot valve.

      Suction screen clogged

      Clean or replace.

    • Loss of Suction

      What to Check

      How to Correct

      Air leak in suction line

      Repair or replace.

      Suction lift too high

      Lower suction lift, install foot valve and prime.

      Insufficient inlet pressure or suction head

      Increase inlet pressure by adding more water to tank or increasing back pressure.

      Clogged foot valve or strainer

      Unclog.

    • Pump Vibrates or Makes Excessive Noise

      What to Check

      How to Correct

      Improperly wired

      Check wiring diagram on motor.

      Blown fuse or open circuit breaker

      Replace fuse or close circuit breaker.

      Loose or broken wiring

      Tighten connections, replace broken wiring.

      Stone or foreign object lodged in impeller

      Disassemble pump and remove foreign object.

      Motor shorted out

      Replace.

      Thermal overload has opened circuit

      Allow unit to cool, restart after reason for overload has been determined.

    • Pump Will Not Start or Run

      What to Check

      How to Correct

      Improperly wired

      Check wiring diagram on motor.

      Blown fuse or open circuit breaker

      Replace fuse or close circuit breaker.

      Loose or broken wiring

      Tighten connections, replace broken wiring

      Stone or foreign object lodged in impeller

      Disassemble pump and remove foreign object.

      Motor shorted out

      Replace.

      Thermal overload has opened circuit

      Allow unit to cool, restart after reason for overload has been determined.

    • Pump Leaks at Shaft

      What to Check

      How to Correct

      Worn mechanical seal

      Replace (see Rotary Seal Replacement Instructions)

  • Utility Pumps
    • Pump runs, but no water is discharged
      Possible Cause Corrective Action
      Hose kinked Straighten hose
      Defective pump Replace pump
      Discharge height too great Reduce discharge height
      Clogged inlet Clean inlet
    • Motor runs too hot
      Possible Cause Corrective Action
      Incorrect voltage Connect to 115 V outlet
      Restricted discharge hose Increase hose diameter to 3/4"
      Damaged pump Replace pump
      Discharge plugged or kinked Clean and straighten hose
    • Low flow rate
      Possible Cause Corrective Action
      Hose kinked Straighten hose
      Clogged impeller Clear obstruction
      Excessive hose length Reduce length of outlet hose
    • Pump will not run
      Possible Cause Corrective Action
      No power Verify that unit is plugged into 115 V outlet
      Motor overheated Motor has automatic thermal protector. Wait 15 minutes for motor to cool.
  • Sump Pumps
    • Do's and Don't's

      Don't put chemicals into the pump system such as acids, floor wax, paints or any de-greasing chemicals. Common household soaps and detergents are acceptable. Contact the manufacturer with any chemical questions.

      Don't flush any items that are not biodegradable such as paper towels, feminine hygiene products, condoms, or other items that could jam the pump impeller. A moderate amount of tissue paper in a system is acceptable.

      Don't use a discharge pipe smaller than the pump's discharge size.

      Don't use an extension cord with a sewage pump.

      Don't ever cut, splice or damage the power cord.

      Don't carry or lift the pump by the power cord.

      Do thoroughly read all installation material provided with the pump.

      Do inspect pump for any visible damage caused by shipping. Contact dealer if pump appears to be damaged.

      Do clean all built up debris in sewage pit if debris can obstruct the pump's initial start up. Be sure that the pump will have a hard, flat surface beneath it.

      Do be sure that the pit is large enough to allow proper clearance for the pump's float switch.

      Do always disconnect pump from power source before handling.

      Do always connect to a separately protected and properly grounded circuit.

      Do install a check valve and a union in the discharge line.

      Do drill a 3/16" (5 mm) weep hole between the check valve and the pump housing.

      Do consult manufacturer for clarifications or questions.

      Do consider a Two Pump System with an alarm where an installation may become overloaded or primary pump failure would result in property damage.

      Do keep all warranty information, installation instructions and receipts for future use.

      Do size the pump to the proper capacity of the home. In a Two Pump System, each pump should be sized to meet the home's pumping requirements.

      Do verify that the sewage pit is gas tight and well vented to prevent odors.

  • Sewage Pumps
    • Pump will not start or run
      Possible Cause Corrective Action
      Water level too low Water must be at appropriate level to activate switch.
      Blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker If blown, determine cause and then either replace with properly sized fuse, or reset breaker.
      Low line voltage Contact an electrician
      Defective motor Replace pump.
      Defective switch Replace switch.
      Clogged inlet screen Remove debris.
      Obstructed switch Remove obstruction to ensure free motion of switch.
    • Pump starts and stops too often
      Possible Cause Corrective Action
      Water is back-flowing into basin from discharge pipe Install check valve.
      Defective switch Replace switch.
      Check valve not functioning properly or leaking Be sure check valve is installed and operating properly. Replace check valve if necessary.
    • Pump shuts off and turns on independently of switch (trips thermal overload protection)
      Possible Cause Corrective Action
      Excessive water temperature Pump should not be used for water above 104°F (40°C).
      Defective switch Replace switch.
      Obstructed switch Remove obstruction to ensure free motion of switch.
      Discharge pipe is clogged Remove clog in discharge piping.
      Low line voltage Contact an electrician.
    • Pump is noisy or vibrates excessively
      Possible Cause Corrective Action
      Worn bearings Replace pump.
      Clogged or damaged impeller Where applicable, remove screen and volute, clean impeller or replace impeller.
      Piping attachment to building structure too rigid or too loose Install rubber coupling (not included) to isolate pump vibration from discharge piping.
    • Pump will not shut off
      Possible Cause Corrective Action
      Defective switch Replace switch.
      Obstructed switch Remove obstruction to ensure free motion of switch.
      Discharge pipe is clogged Remove clog in discharge piping.
      Water inflow exceeds pump capacity Re-check sizing calculations to determine proper pump size.