The foot valve sits deep in your well, and its purpose is to prevent water from leaking back into the well when your water well pump isn't running. When your water well pump shuts off, gravity pulls the water in the inlet pipe downwards towards the foot valve. The weight of the water presses against a spring in the valve, causing it to close. If the foot valve is leaking, water will continue flowing out of the pipes and back into the well. To learn what problems this will cause and how you can check if your well's foot valve is leaking, read on.

What Are the Signs of a Leaking Foot Valve? 

When your well's foot valve is leaking, your water well pump will turn on and off intermittently while you're not using the water in your home. The water in your pressure tank will slowly leak back into the well, reducing the pressure in the tank as it empties. Once the pressure in the tank is below your water well pump's cut-in point, the pump will turn back on in order to fill the tank.

You won't notice this problem when you're using the water in your home since the pump will continually push more water up from the well into the pressure tank. It won't be able to flow backward into the well.

How Can You Test for a Leak in the Foot Valve?

In order to see if your well's foot valve is leaking, you'll need to monitor the pressure in the pressure tank while you're not using any water. Turn off the water supply from the pressure tank leading to your home, and then insert a tire pressure gauge into the nozzle at the top of the pressure tank. If the pressure inside the tank slowly goes down, it means that water is leaving the tank and returning to your well.

What Should You Do if Your Well's Foot Valve Is Leaking?

If your well's foot valve is leaking, you'll need to call a water well pump service and have it replaced. Replacing the foot valve requires pulling the pump out of your well in order to access the inlet pipe it's attached to. Water well pumps are heavy, so removing one from a well requires a winch and heavy equipment. Consider having a professional do it. Thankfully, removing the pump from your well is the most difficult part. Once the inlet pipe is removed from your well, a new foot valve can be attached to it by unscrewing the old one and putting the new one on the end of the pipe.

A leaking foot valve can significantly increase your home's electrical bills by causing your well pump to cycle intermittently. It can also result in reduced performance from your well, since your pressure tank will never be truly full — some portion of the water inside will have leaked out when you need to use the water in your home. If you've tested the foot valve and found that it's leaking, have it replaced by a professional well pump service in your area in order to stop your pump from intermittently cycling.