A well pump pressure switch is a switch you can use to cut pressure on your well pump on and off. Now and then, you might need to increase or decrease pressure to improve how water is delivered to the different areas of your home.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about your pump’s pressure switch, including how to adjust it.
Fortunately, adjusting your well pump pressure switch isn’t a complicated process, so you can take care of it in just a few simple steps.
1. Turn off the power to your well pump. Since you’ll be working with electrical components, you want to eliminate the risk of an electric shock.
2. Remove the switch’s cover to reveal its inner workings. You’ll see a small and a large spring, each with a nut on top.
3. Turn the nut on top of the larger spring counterclockwise to lower the cut-on and cut-off pressures. If you need to raise both pressures, you can turn it clockwise. A general rule of thumb is that 1 rotation will adjust your pressure 2-3 PSI.
4. If you’re adjusting your cut-on pressure, you’ll also need to change the air charge in your pressure tank, which should be 2 PSI lower than the cut-on PSI.
If you follow these steps carefully, you should be able to adjust your well pressure easily. If your pressure still isn’t ideal or it seems like the problem might be getting worse, it might be time to call a professional to rectify the issue.
It’s unlikely you’ll need to adjust the smaller spring, which is your square D, or differential. The only instance you’d need to do this is if you’re changing your cut-off pressure.
However, unless you’re directed to do so by a professional or know your way around a pump, you shouldn’t touch the differential at all.
However, if you need to make any adjustments to it, you can follow these steps.
1. Cut off power to your well pump to avoid any risk of electric shock.
2. Remove the cover and double check the factory presets that should be listed on the inside of the cover.
3. Locate the smaller of the two springs, or square D.
4. Carefully twist the square D nut counterclockwise to lower the cut-off pressure or clockwise to increase the cut-off pressure.
Again, you should take care when doing this because adjusting it improperly could cause your pump to run continuously. This is a surefire way to shorten your pump’s lifespan.
However, if you’re confident in your skills to make this type of adjustment, you can give it a shot. Just make sure you proceed carefully.
The easiest way to find out what your well pressure switch should be set at is by removing the switch’s cover and taking a look at the back. There, you’ll find the manufacturer presets, which will tell you what your settings should be.
However, typically, you’ll base your pressure settings on your preferences and the size of your home. Variations in settings will affect your water pressure and the efficiency of your other fixtures.
In general, if you want lower water pressure or have a single-story home, go for a low PSI. The standard for lower pressure is 30 PSI for cut-on and 50 PSI for cut-off.
However, if you have a larger home or fixtures on multiple floors, you’ll want a higher pressure setting. The standard for higher pressure is 40 PSI for cut-on and 60 PSI for cut-off.
This will ensure your toilets flush and your faucets and showers run sufficiently.
Other things to consider are:
- The age of your plumbing
- How many people live in your home
- How many fixtures are in your home
Resetting your well pressure switch is a pretty quick task that shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes. It’s simpler than adjusting the pressure switch and doesn’t require you to remove any components.
1. Go around your house and shut off any appliances that might use water. This includes refrigerators with ice makers that run automatically.
2. Locate your pressure switch. It’ll probably be a small gray box attached to the pipe connected to your tank.
3. Find the small lever on the side. This is your reset lever. It has three positions: Auto, Start, and Off.
4. Move the reset lever up to the Start position, or about 30 degrees if you can’t see the markings. At this point, you’ll start to hear water move from the well into the tank.
5. Keep an eye on the pressure gauge and hold the reset lever in the same position until the gauge reads 40 PSI (or 30 PSI if you’re going for a lower pressure).
6. Once it hits 40 PSI, let the switch go back to the Auto position. The pump will continue to run until its cut-off pressure, which will be either 60 or 50, depending on what you set your cut-on pressure to.
Difference Between a 30 50 and 40 60 Pressure Switch
There are two standard presets for well pressure switches: 30/50 and 40/60 PSI. The first number is the pressure level that will cause your well system to turn on, and the second is the pressure level that will trigger your system to cut off.
The settings directly affect how much water pressure you’ll get in your house.
Both 30/50 and 40/60 switches are suitable for basic residential wells, including jet, submersible, and reciprocating pumps. That said, 30/50 switches are better suited for smaller residences, while 40/60 switches are equipped to service larger or multi-story homes.
30/50 switches tend to be better for older plumbing than 40/60 switches. This is because older plumbing doesn’t stand up to high water pressure as well as modern plumbing, so lower water pressure is preferable to avoid damaging your pipes.
Most switches are adjustable. So, if you buy a 30/50 switch, you should be able to adjust it to 40/60 if necessary. However, you’ll need to check the maximum pressure your pump can withstand first.
For example, if your pump can only tolerate 50 pounds of pressure, you won’t be able to set your switch to 40/60.
There are several telltale signs that will indicate your pressure switch is bad. The most common indicators that your switch is bad include:
- The pump continues to run despite reaching the cut-off pressure
- The pump doesn’t turn on when it should
- Your toilets won’t flush, or your water won’t run
- Your water pressure is low
- Your pump cycles on and off even when you’re not using any fixtures
However, before you get to work resetting your pressure switch, be aware that, although these are common signs of a failing pressure switch, they could indicate many other problems.
For example, if you tap the tube under your pressure switch with a screwdriver’s handle and you see a spark, the issue is your switch. However, if you don’t see a spark, it could be an issue with your controller or a bad connection in the tube.
And remember, before you start poking around inside your switch to find the problem, always turn off the power to the switch first.