Wells, Pumps, Drilling, & Septic Services for Central Indiana

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How to Clean a Well Pump

Municipal water is regularly tested to ensure its safety, but if you get your water from a private well, that job is your responsibility. Over 43 million Americans rely on these kinds of wells for their everyday water needs.

Cleaning your well helps maintain the quality of your drinking water. If you neglect it, you and your household could be at risk of developing a serious illness due to contaminated well water.

Wondering how to clean a well? Read on to learn how a professional does it and what signs indicate that your well system is due for maintenance.

How Well Pumps Work

Your well pump is one of the most important features of your well. Knowing how it works can aid you in the cleaning process. You know your pump needs cleaning when it stops working as it should.

Most wells contain a pump and a pressure tank. They work together to supply your home with water.

The pressure tank is full of compressed air. This allows water to flow through the pipes in your home. 

All pressure tanks feature a sensor that monitors the system’s air pressure. When it senses a drop in pressure, it activates the pump to fill the pressure tank.

A pump in need of cleaning will have a difficult time dispensing water. To compensate, it needs to work harder. This puts unnecessary strain on the pump, which can shorten its lifespan and causes it to use more electricity, which can raise your power bill.

Professionals Know How to Clean a Well

Well pump cleaning is one of the most important parts of well maintenance. A dirty pump can inhibit the functionality of your well, and this well pump cleaning guide will show you how a professional well cleaner gets it done.

It may be tempting to try to clean your well pump on your own, but you should always contract a well cleaning service. Professionals understand the ins and outs of well pump service. They understand the dangers of well cleaning and know how to do the job safely.

Attempting to clean a well on your own could have disastrous consequences. You could get the pump stuck in the casing or you may electrocute yourself.

With professional-grade equipment, removing and cleaning the pump is simple. These services can also remove the years of sediment build-up from inside your well, which can improve the quality of your well water. 

Well Pump Troubleshooting

Cleaning your well pump helps it run properly, but you can prolong its life by hiring a professional to perform other kinds of maintenance and by paying attention to potential warning signs. You don’t want your pump to fail and leave you without running water.

Listen for Odd Noises

All well pumps make noise in operation, and you should know exactly what your pump sounds like. However, certain sounds could be cause for alarm.

Listen for the sound of a cycling well pump. If no one’s using the water but you hear the pump cycling, you might have an issue with your storage tank or a leak in the waterline.

Another noise to look out for is ticking coming from the pump. If you hear this sound, the mechanical components within the pump may have failed.

Be on the Look-out for Leaks

Leaks are an unwelcome sight in any water system. If your storage tank or water lines are leaking, you need to have the issue addressed by a professional right away. Waiting could result in the failure of your water system.

Document Maintenance Tasks

Since keeping tabs on well maintenance is your responsibility, you’ll want to keep a written document of your well’s functionality and maintenance work. Note your well’s typical flow rate, depth, and water test results so you can refer to the document if issues arise.

Signs It’s Time to Clean Your Well Pump

Regular cleaning is an important part of well pump maintenance. The good news is that the signs of a dirty well are easy to spot.

Pump Short Cycling

If your pump keeps running and shutting off, only to start up again shortly after, it’s likely time to clean the pump. This process is called short cycling, and it places undue stress on your pump’s mechanical components.

Your well pump should serve your needs for around a decade, but short cycling can decrease its lifespan. It could cost you thousands of dollars to replace a failed well pump, so preventative maintenance is always more cost-effective in the long run.

High Electrical Bill

If you notice your electrical bill is unusually high, your well pump is using more power than it needs. A dirty pump has to work harder to maintain water flow.

Water Smells or Tastes Odd

Well water is known for its pleasant taste, but if you notice an unusual taste or smell in your water, you know it’s time to clean your pump. Water from a dirty well often tastes fishy or smells sulfuric.

Why Well Cleaning Is Important

Cleaning your well allows you to have fresh water and preserves its integrity. If your well isn’t cleaned regularly, it will become inoperable.

Over the years, wells can develop a number of issues. It’s your responsibility to monitor the health of your well and get in contact with a well service pro when these problems come up.

Build-up of Bacteria

Bacteria is present in many wells. They develop in the oxygen-rich area close to the surface. This oxygen also contributes to the oxidation of certain metals, like iron, that may be present in the soil.

When this bacteria comes in contact with oxidized metals, it creates a sludge that could bring your well operation to a halt. It can also reduce the oxygen levels at the bottom of the well, which leads to the development of the kinds of bacteria that affect the smell and taste of your well water.

Some bacteria also pose significant health risks. They can cause hepatitis, salmonella, giardia, and dysentery. These conditions all need immediate medical attention, and young children and elderly adults are at more serious risk.


A number of pollutants can end up in your well water. They include nitrites and nitrates from fertilizers, heavy metals like copper and lead, and a number of organic chemicals from household products.

No matter what precautions you took in planning the location of your well, you can’t guarantee that your well will be pollution-free. You need to take steps to protect yourself, as drinking polluted well water could have disastrous effects on the health of you and your loved ones.

If you suspect pollution in your water, stop using the well and call a professional immediately. You’ll need to have your water tested and your well disinfected.


Layers of crust can develop within a dirty well. They’re present on the well casing, the intake, and on the pump.

This crust is caused by the breakdown of certain chemicals in your well water. Iron, manganese, and calcium are the most common culprits.

Biological debris, like bacteria, can also contribute to the encrustation of some of your well’s most vital components.

Over time, crust within your well will affect its performance and the quality of your water. The only way to get rid of it is to contract a professional well cleaner. 


In some rarer cases, a residential well may begin to pump sediment. This could indicate a number of issues with your well, and it’s nearly impossible for you to identify the cause alone.

The most common cause of sediment flowing into water lines from a well is the deterioration of the well screen. It’s located deep inside the well, so you won’t be able to see it or reach it.

Your well also may be filling with sand. Well pumps are usually positioned 15 or more feet from the bottom of the well to prevent sand from ending up in your water lines, but sand can occasionally rise to this level.

Sediment in your well water is a real problem, and you won’t be able to fix it on your own. You’ll need the help of a professional to remove the debris and restore your well’s operation.

Well Service You Can Trust

A clean pump keeps the water flowing in your home. If you rely on a well, a pump failure could leave you without access to water. 

Knowing how a professional cleans a well pump gives you peace of mind and helps ensure that your water is safe to drink. Look out for the tell-tale signs of a dirty well pump and be sure to respond quickly. 

You should never attempt to clean your well and pump on your own, as doing so is incredibly dangerous. Always enlist professional help.

Are you in need of well services? Let Blair & Norris and their 100 years of combined well maintenance experience handle whatever issue you’re facing. Reach out to our team to see how we can help.

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Whether you have an emergency, an installation need, a repair or want to set up preventative maintenance, our professionals will put your mind at ease.