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Why is my pump sprayer not working? Troubleshooting guide

It is disappointing and inconvenient to find that your pump sprayer is not working, especially at the onset of the gardening season.

However, if your pump sprayer is made from quality material, the troubleshooting methods below will come in handy.

The best part is that there are several pump sprayer repair kits available in the market that contain specific parts of the equipment. This will save you from replacing the whole sprayer.

All you need to do is make sure they fit with your model.

Your pump sprayer is not working? Common issues with their solutions

Here are the most common issues that cause your pump sprayer not to work and how you can troubleshoot them.

1. The pump sprayer will not build pressure

Inability to build pressure is arguably the most common problem experienced by gardeners when it comes to pump sprayers. The issue mostly occurs if you have not used the equipment in a long while.

To fix a pump sprayer that will not build pressure:

  • Check if the filter needs to be cleaned or replaced. Most pump sprayers come with a filter to sieve off sediments. So whenever the pump pressure is low, Screw off the hose and confirm that the filter is not clogged or rusty. If so, make sure to clean or replace it.
  • If the filter is worn out, you need to clean your nozzle. It probably has debris that is blocking the nozzles that should be exerting the liquid. Nozzles are relatively easy to clean. Simply screw them off and brush them over gently with soapy water before screwing them back.
  • Confirm that the shut-off valve controlling the filter is open. Some pump sprayers come with a hardly noticeable shut-off valve, so chances are you might have locked it.
  • Ensure that the pump sprayer has enough fluid. Naturally, every time the pump sprayer goes below a certain point, the pressure will significantly decrease.
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2. Broken impeller

Pump sprayer for weeds
Image: Pinterest

Sometimes the reason your pump sprayer is not working is that the impeller is broken. The impeller spins to generate pressure inside the pump and allows the liquid to be dispensed at high pressure.

In the event that the impeller is not working:

  • Disassemble the pump sprayer to expose the impeller. Usually, it will appear as a small propeller.
  • Check whether the impeller has a seal as you might have lost it while cleaning. Most pumps cannot work without the said seal, so you will have to replace it.
  • If the seal is intact, try turning the propeller to see if anything is broken to replace it.
  • Assuming none of the above work, consider cleaning the whole impeller by rubbing it with a wet cloth dipped in vinegar. This ought to remove any dirt and dust buildup.

3. The pump sprayer is leaking

When the pump sprayer starts to leak its contents, it is not only wasting your product but also your time as the pressure keeps dropping quickly.

To remedy this problem, you first need to establish where the leak is coming from. Once you have identified, do the following;

  • If the leak is coming from under the cap, the cap is probably loose, or the gasket is damaged. Try tightening the tank cap before replacing the gasket.
  • Assuming the leak is coming from the shut-off valve, consider tightening the valve before you resort to replacing the whole shut off valve.
  • If you observe the leak coming from the hose, make sure it is screwed on tightly and nothing is broken.
  • In the event that the leak is coming from the end of the spray wand, then your O ring is broken, or you need to rebuild the shut-off valve.

4. Check for air leaks

If your pump sprayer seems fine, but it still won’t start working, then there is a possibility that you are dealing with an air leak on the suction pipe.

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Often, the said hole is usually tiny to the point that water cannot leak from it, making it hard for you to notice it.

  • Confirm that the gasket on the filter is in excellent condition. Otherwise, it will allow air leaks. You can also slather it with grease to help with lubrication.
  • Observe the pump sprayer and make sure there is no part that is leaking any fluid.
  • Confirm that the tank lip is not broken or feeling loose.
  • Tighten every fitting that you can access. This way, you seal off any suction leaks that could be causing you issues.
  • Check the condition of your hoses. They tend to wear out fast, especially if they do not come with an embedded wire or plastic coil for extra support.

5. Broken clutch

Pump sprayer parts

If you notice that your pump sprayer is not working at all or the pressure is not normal, then chances are you are dealing with a broken or clogged clutch.

Ideally, a clutch is essential as it allows your pump sprayer’s engine to idle without outputting the whole equipment.

If you suspect the clutch is the problem, you need to:

  • Disassemble the whole pump in a way that exposes its inside components
  • Make sure the part that connects the clutch to the pump is moving smoothly. If not, remnant sediments may be causing build-up.
  • If you do not know how to safely detach the clutch from the pump, you have the option to fill up the sprayer with a mixture of vinegar and warm water. Give the solution 40 minutes before pouring it out with any mineral deposits.
  • On the other hand, the clutch could be broken. Thankfully you can quickly get a replacement part in your local gardening equipment store.

6. The O ring won’t budge

In order for a pump sprayer to work, then all its ingredients should be working impeccably.

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So, if you have been using your pump sprayer for a long time without replacing your O ring, then you need to do just that for it to work in sync with the rest of the machine.

  • Check your user manual and confirm the steps you need to follow to take apart the pump sprayer.
  • Unscrew the metal cap that is securing the O ring by using a pliers
  • Take out the spring.
  • Use your pliers to remove the trigger.
  • Use a clean cloth to clean out debris and mineral salts that might be corroding the trigger and all the other parts you had removed earlier.
  • Plunge the spring, and the gun trigger inside a jar full of silicon oil then spread the oil inside its cavities and the inside of the O rings using your finger.
  • Wait for everything to dry up before putting them back together.

7. The pump sprayer won’t stop spraying

If your pump sprayer does not stop spraying the product, even though you have tried switching it off, something is broken.

You will need to:

  • First of all, make sure that the wand’s tip is pointed away from any products that you may not want to be sprayed. This way, you do not end up killing all your plants.
  • Confirm that the wand is in the off position. If it is not yet you have tried to switch it off, then you need to lubricate or replace it.
  • If it starts moving after lubrication, turn the pump clutch anticlockwise while the setting reads down & lock. This will release any pressure inside; hence no more liquid will be forced out.

With these troubleshooting tips, you should now be able to tell why your pump sprayer is not working and how to fix it.