64oz.org may earn commission for purchases made through the links posted on this page.

Signs of a Bad Water Pump

by Carl Jensen

Plumber, Welder, Contractor

> 2 min read

House water heating boiler with pump, ball valves and filters

Most types of water pumps are units that help boost poor pressure, can help regulate the flow through old pipes and increase the pressure if you live in a household with high water demands. Installed in your home, they can be extremely beneficial to the quality of water you experience. 

When experienced technicians install high-quality pumps, they can last for years; however, if you’re unfortunate enough to experience a failing unit, it’s essential you can recognize the signs.

Read on to discover how you can identify if your water pump becomes worn out and how you can tell if you need a new one.


Pumping station with a hydraulic accumulator.

How Long Do Water Pumps Last For?

Water pumps are appliances that have a considerably long lifespan. Older models were expected to run for around 10 years. However, new models can run for approximately 20 years before they require replacing due to technological advancements. 

Depending on the manufacturer and model you purchased your water pump from, you may experience slightly different lifespans. For example, cheaper models will inevitably deteriorate quicker over more expensive units. 

Water pumps can also last longer if you purchased a maintenance contract with your unit. These services can prolong their lifespan and efficiency, as small problems can be caught early before they become larger, more expensive problems.

So, if your water pump was installed many years ago, and is coming up to a milestone birthday, use this as an indication that your unit may start showing signs of deterioration in the near future. 

Signs Your Water Pump May Be Deteriorating

Detecting signs of deterioration can sometimes be a tricky job, with many people not recognizing the signs until it’s too late. Below are certain warning signs to look out for, which, if detected early, can save your water pump from failing. 

Weak Water Pressure

One of the most obvious signs of a bad water pump is weak water pressure. If you notice your shower flow has lost its strength, this could be a sign of a faulty water pump and filter.

Before replacing your water pump, check the water pressure with a test gauge and hose adapter. You should also call your neighbors to find out if they are experiencing similar problems. If they are, it may be a municipal water supply issue. 

If not, clear clogs and mineral buildup in the plumbing and check your mains water valve. The valve can sometimes be partially closed due to recent work on the water supply in your area. You should also check your regulator at the service line or meter. If it is damaged, replace it immediately. 

If after the process of elimination, it appears that your water pump is no longer working, it is most likely wear on the motor, and the unit needs to be replaced. 

Boiling Hot Shower Water

If your shower water suddenly turns boiling hot when someone flushes the toilet, it could mean you have a problem with your tank and water pump.

The drop in pressure from the faulty tank will allow more boiling water through the pipes, leading to extreme temperature fluctuations.

Spitting Faucet

If water begins to spit from your tap, it may indicate a problem with your water pump, including the failure of the unit. These sorts of problems may not happen all the time, making them easy to neglect. However, by not calling a technician, you may be sitting on a small problem that develops into the failure and reduction of your water pump’s lifespan over time.

You can usually fix spitting faucets without needing to call in a professional. All you need to do is remove the aerator, turn off the water supply, and then turn the faucet on and drain the line. Once you’ve done this, you can turn the water supply back on. The sudden burst of water will provide enough pressure to force out any dirt in the line, hopefully fixing the problem.

Faucets Stop Completely 

If your water abruptly stops flowing from your taps, this could be caused by problems such as clogged pipes and faulty gauges. However, the first thing you should check is your water pump.

Check to see if your pump is still plugged in, as sometimes they can accidentally become unplugged. If it is still plugged in, it may indicate a pump failure, which will mean either a service or complete replacement.

Strange Noises

If you notice unusual sounds such as an air leak or clicking noises coming from the tank, it is cause for concern. Clicking is usually due to worn-down bearings that allow the driveshaft to connect to the impeller.

Damage to these parts of the pump can cause it to repeatedly stop and start, ultimately straining the unit’s motor.

Catching these noises early can stop the life expectancy of your water pump from reducing, so it’s essential you get it repaired before the whole unit breaks.

Unusual Smells 

If you notice the area around your water pump smells unusual, your unit will require immediate attention.

Musty and rotting smells are especially a cause for concern, as they can indicate mold build-up, with dirt and grime residue potentially being stuck in the unit.

If you notice a burning smell coming from your water pump, you should act on it immediately. This means there is an electrical fault with your unit, which is extremely dangerous, as it could result in a fire. To avoid this hazardous situation, turn your water pump off immediately and don’t turn it back on until a professional has assessed and fixed the problem.             

Increased Energy Bills

It’s no secret that many home water pump systems use plenty of electricity. However, if you notice your water bill dramatically increases when your usage hasn’t fluctuated, it may signal an issue with your water pump. 

When the efficiency of your water system is compromised, it inevitably increases your water bill, and it will continue to do so over time if you don’t address the problems.

However, your increased water bill may be a case of a more serious problem, meaning you should seek the services of a professional.
Pumping air from compressor into from new constructed water bore or well as process of cleaning and filtrating water.

The Bottom Line

To maintain optimum functioning, look for signs of a bad water pump and catch them early.

By having your water pump serviced regularly, you can avoid any potentially serious issues, as technicians can catch problems early and address them. Not only will your water pump live a longer and fully-functioning life, but it will also be cheaper in the long run too.

By addressing any of these issues early on, you can enjoy great water pressure and a healthy unit for decades.

Carl Jensen

About the Author

Carl Jensen is a plumber with over 50 years of experience in the industry, as well as related jobs like underwater welding. He runs a successful plumbing practice in Tampa, Florida, and contributes his plumbing expertise to our DIY articles, and helps to fact check and consult on most of our other stuff to boot.