Having an onsite well can be immensely beneficial, especially if you live in an area with water restrictions or if you live too far away from the city to use the municipal water. That doesn't mean, however, that access to your well water will be consistent and trouble free. If you turned on your faucet and nothing but air comes out, here are two things that could be preventing the water from getting to your home.
Malfunctioning Well Pump
In most cases, the cause of your water woes will be a malfunctioning well pump. These devices pull water up from the ground and send it to your home. Although well pumps are designed to last anywhere from 8 to 15 years, they can clock out early or develop problems if they're not well maintained or are damaged by environmental elements. Thus, if you're experiencing a problem with your water supply, it's best to check the pump first to see if it's the source of the issue.
Start by checking the circuit breaker to ensure it's still active. Sometimes power surges caused by something in the home or an unstable electrical grid can trip the circuit breaker, shutting off your well pump. Simply resetting the breaker (or replacing it as necessary) will get the system functioning again.
If the power is on and the pump is still not working, the next thing to inspect is the pressure tank. This device controls the amount of pressure in the water line to ensure the liquid is pulled out of the well and reaches its destination. If the tank is not working right, it can prevent the well pump from turning on when it's supposed to.
The pressure should read over 20 psi but below 60 psi. If the reading is outside the minimum/maximum bounds, that could be affecting the water flow. It may also be an indication that either the pressure switch is going bad or the pressure tank is waterlogged. While you can easily replace a pressure switch, you may want to have a professional take a look at your pressure tank and fix it if necessary.
If that doesn't work either, then the problem may be the pump itself. However, because of its location, it's best to have a well pump specialist inspect the device to determine what may be wrong.
Broken Water Pipes
Another reason you may not be getting any water in your home from the well is because a pipe has broken somewhere in the system. This can happen to any pipe in the system but is more likely to occur with pipes that are exposed to the elements or that are near a tree (tree roots often invade cracks in pipes, eventually breaking them).
If you're lucky, the leak will be obvious. For instance, you may notice flooding in the area where the pipe has broken. It may be more difficult to tell whether something is damaged if the pipes are located underground. However, a well pump that is working overtime despite there being no water flow to the home is a good indicator there is an issue with the pipes.
You'll need to have your pipes inspected in this instance. Most plumbing companies have camera gear they can send down a pipe to see what's going on, so you won't have to dig up your yard to find the leak. However, you do need to prepare your budget for a major repair if the company does find that something is broken underground.
There are a few other issues that could be causing an unexpected drought in your home. Consult with a water well contractor for more ideas on how to diagnose the problem and suggestions on fixing the problem.