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Troubleshooting Submersible Well Pumps 101: Water Well Pump Does Not Start

Is your submersible well pump not starting?

I have outlined some troubleshooting steps below to help investigate the possible cause.

Caution! Electricity can be very dangerous, especially if you are inexperienced. Always use caution working with electricity and turn off power supply breakers when testing components within the electrical system. If you are not 100% confident you can perform any of these tests safely, call a professional.

1. Check for blown fuses and tripped breakers.

2. Check the Voltage. Voltage needs to be at +/- 10% of motor rating. Check that sufficient power is getting through the system by reading voltage at the pressure switch, control box, and at any other components that power is running through. If you find that your power is too high or low at the power panel you may need to contact the power company.

3. Check Pressure Switch. Give the pressure switch a comprehensive visual examination for defects and wear. Look for deformation, burned or melted components, or a lot of blackness. Keep in mind that the pressure switch is a key element to a properly working system and they are relatively inexpensive. I recommend replacing them rather than trying to repair them. Check the nipple or tube leading to the switch for sediment or debris (the power must be disconnected and all system pressure relieved prior to checking). Check that the contacts are opening and closing properly by turning on the system. For example, the contacts will close at 40 PSI and open at 60 PSI on a 40/60 switch.

4. Check the Control Panel. GIve the Control Panel a visual exam for obvious signs of defects and wear. Look for loose connections, burnt or melted components. Your previous check of the voltage at the control panel may have already led you to the conclusion that this may be where your problem lies.

Click here for video: How to Troubleshoot Franklin Electric Control Boxes (1.5 - 15 HP)

Click here for video: RE: How to Troubleshoot Franklin Electric Control Boxes (1.5 - 15 HP)

Click here for video: How to Troubleshoot a QD Control Box

5. Check Splice Connections. Check all electrical splice connections for corrosion and other obvious signs that power is not getting to the pump. Normally, there will be a splice connection at the top of the well between the submersible cable and the UF or THHN, where the wire enters the home, and between the pump motor and the submersible cable. Obviously, the connection at the pump motor can’t be checked unless the pump is pulled out of the well.

6. Check the Pump and Motor. If the troubleshooting in the 5 steps above do not resolve your problem, it may be time to replace the pump and motor. Upon pulling the pump and motor you can check the splice connection at the motor. There are a number of procedures for checking out whether you have a defective pump and/or motor. The Franklin Electric AIM (Application - Installation - Maintenance) Manual is what I recommend to help you or your pump technician determine the cause of the problem. Click here for a link to the manual on the RC Worst website.

Click here for video: Troubleshooting 4" Submersible Motor: Insulation & Windings Resistance

Have a question about your well pump? You can live chat with us at, call 855.329.4519, or email to reach an industry expert.