How Long Can A Well Pump Run Before Burning Out

How Long Can A Well Pump Run Before Burning Out?

If you have a well pump system in your house, you’ve stressed at one point about how long a well pump can run before burning out.

A top-quality well pump can run for almost 24 hours without any interruptions. Average-quality well pumps last for about 12-18 hours. If the pump is run continuously without any breaks, it’ll burn out quickly, resulting in damaged systems and expensive repairs.

This article covers all the details on how long a well pump can last before burning out and how to prevent the potential burnout, so keep reading!

How Does a Well Pump Work?

The structure of a well pumping system contains two types of pumps:

  • Submersible pumps
  • Jet pumps
How Does a Well Pump Work

Submersible pipes are located underground and immersed in water. Their job is to push the water up. Whereas jet pumps are non-submersible are remain above the ground. Jet pumps increase the pressure and help to draw out the draw to the surface level.

When a water outlet is turned on, the pumps send water to a tank where it’s stored temporarily and compressed. There’s an air chamber inside the tank, for which the pressure increases with more water entry.

The pressure switch then detects the pressure level inside the tank and switches the motor pump on and off accordingly.

How Long Does A Well Pump Run Before Running Out?

As we’ve mentioned already that well pump can run 24 hours straight, here are some of the most common causes of well pump burnout:

1. Damaged Air Chamber

The well’s tank system shows how frequently the well pump will function if there’s any damage in the air chamber inside the tank or water clogs inside the tank.

Due to more water and less volume of air, the tank can pump up water properly. The pump activates only repeatedly for a short time, resulting in burnout.

2. Defective Pressure Switch

A faulty pressure switch may cause the pumps to run too long and exhaust the motor.

3. Leaky Pipes

Malfunctioning and leaky pipes damage the system equally as a faulty pressure switch. The motor has to run longer and pump harder to send water to the tank if there’s leakage in the pipes. As a result, the pumps become worn out quickly.

4. Old Pump System

If you’ve been using the same pump system and motor for a long time without any repairs or upgrades, chances are they’ve worn out.

5. Overworked Motor

When the motor is kept on continuously without any breaks, the system can’t handle the workload for prolonged periods, leading to worn-out pumps.

6. Overheated System

Overheating can cause burnout. The motor can become overheated due to running for a long time or in a scorching environment.

Usually, the running time of pumps depends on the type of pump and motor and the quality of other mechanical parts. High-quality pumps can run for 24 hours without a break.

Nowadays, submersible pumps can run continuously for 24 hours without any pause. The only condition is that the pumps can’t run dry. They should always be immersed in water.

A well pump can function properly for up to ten years if regular maintenance is done. You should notice that no debris accumulates inside the pumps or the tanks. Malfunctioning pipes, overheated environments, and defective mechanical parts drastically shorten the well pumps’ lifespan.

Out of hundreds of different pumps and motor systems on the market, it’s difficult to say how long they can last. The burnout time varies from type to type.

That being said, you should go through the instruction manual thoroughly. It should contain maintenance details, including the duration of time the pump should be turned off. Follow the instructions properly, and your pumps will last longer.

How to Fix a Burnt Out Well Pump?

You have to identify the reason for burnout, as each cause requires a specific fix. Here are some ways to fix a burnt-out well pump:

  • Make sure the power switch is on. Check if the well’s circuit breaker has tripped or not. Reset the circuit if it has tripped. Regular tripping of the circuit breaker indicates a more significant problem within the pump, and you might need to call an expert.
  • Check the pressure switch for any defects. If it’s not functioning correctly, change it.
  • Rock the tank slightly to check for cracks in the air chamber inside the tank. If it’s too heavy, it means the air chamber has been damaged. Drain the tank and replace the air chamber.
  • Even after replacing the pressure switch, if the pumps don’t run properly, there might be problems with the pump controller. See if there are any defects in the pump controller. If so, then replace it.

Even after trying all these, if your pump still doesn’t run, or you can’t identify the problem, it’s better to call in a professional. Replacing your well pump system can be expensive, but it’s better than facing inconveniences repeatedly.

Video of Fixing Burnout Well Pump

Here’s a video to help you visualize how to fix worn-out well pumps. This might come in handy for you.

How to Prevent Well Pump Burn Out?

If you’re careful with your pumps and monitor them regularly, they’ll last longer, and you won’t have to go into the hassle of expensive repairs. You can do the following to help prevent well pump burnouts:

  • Don’t turn the pump on and off repeatedly. Also, don’t keep the pump running for long without any breaks. Maintain a routine for keeping the motor off for a specific time and stick to it.
  • Ensure the pump is always submerged in water and doesn’t run dry.
  • Add proper insulation to the pipes during winter to avoid blockage from frozen water.
  • Try to buy a good quality pump. Cheaper ones may end up costing you more money in the future.
  • Check the pump and pipeline regularly for any cracks or leaks. Clear debris or cloggings immediately when noticed.


Can I run my well pump for 24 hours?

Technically you can, but it’s generally advised not to do so. It’s better to take short breaks throughout the day.

What happens if a submersible pump runs dry?

If a submersible pump runs dry, it will cause damage to the motor and eventually cut off the water supply. So you must ensure that the submersible pump doesn’t dry out.

Can a submersible pipe be left out of water?

Not. The only time submersible pipes should be out of water is when they’re not in use.

In Conclusion

Usually, your well pump won’t fail you for a good 10-15 years, provided that you take good care of it. While most pumps can run 24 hours non-stop, it’s better to shut the engine for a few minutes throughout the day.

As a final tip, we suggest installing pumps with an automatic low-pressure shut-off feature as it’s an excellent way to prevent overheating and energy loss.

We hope this article has cleared your doubts regarding how long can a well pump run before burning out.

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