Water Pressure Issues - WEAK Flow Then VERY Strong Flow.

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by keithplumb, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. keithplumb

    keithplumb New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Kent, WA
    I am trying to troubleshoot an issue I have been having. My water pressure is significantly variable, and it has gotten to the point that it won't run my irrigation without me tricking it. This is something that was not present when I first purchased my house a few years back, but seems to have surfaced now.

    If I go and turn on an outside hose, for instance to wash a car, or hose the lawn, I will have weak water pressure. It will remain weak as I let it run for several minutes, and then the water pressure gets extremely strong. It will get so strong that the hose will blow off screw on sprayer adapters, used to spray "weed n' feed" off the garden hose.

    If I go to manually cycle my irrigation controls I can hear water come to the valve when it turns on, but it won't deliver enough pressure to raise the sprinkler heads. If I go and turn on the hose, and wait for the water to get strong, it will then run my irrigation. I have walked over to the well head, and I can hear the pump running, even when the irrigation is trying to work, but the sprinklers won't pop up. It is as if the pump runs at part throttle, and sometimes gets a boost of power sometimes.

    My house has a deep well pump, with the installer's note on the panel saying "163 feet". There is a 2HP, 230V/10Amp pump, and the well head is approximately 150 feet from the house, with the pressure tank and water treatment located inside the house in a pump room. The pressure tank is a was a blue (now tan) Amtrol Well-X-Trol pressure tank that I believe is approximately 80 gallons, pressure is set at 40/70 and seems to cycle on-off correctly. Prior to my pressure tank I have an epoxy lined retention tank of approximately the same size, that has an air injection system (hydrocharger) due to iron issues in the well. After the tanks, I have a McClean Iron treatment filter, followed by a water softener of the same brand. The iron filter had it's media replaced approximately six months ago.

    Pressure tank has been drawn down, and pressure checked to be 38 lbs. (matching specs written by installer)
  2. bcpumpguy

    bcpumpguy New Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Langley BC
    sounds like you have a blockage somewhere, could be plugged with iron some where around the pressure switch, are you saying that youre iron filtration is plumbed in before the pressure tank in the house? meaning that the plumbing comes from the pump to the iron filtration then to the pressure switch and pressure tank? This should not be done this way. I would take apart the tank tee and check it for blockages and also the elbow coming from the bottom of the tank.
  3. keithplumb

    keithplumb New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Kent, WA
    The air injection and mixing tank are plumbed directly before the pressure tank, and the filter media setup is after the pressure tank. Finally the softener is after the iron filter media.

    Is the blockage busting loose every time, and that is why pressure will increase drastically? Why would the blockage come back again, and again?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2012
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Is the outside hose bib Tee'd off before or after the iron filter? It sounds like there is a constriction in the line or tank Tee from iron buildup. Flow from the tank may be limited but flow from the pump is not.
  5. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    LLigetfa said it best! There must be a restriction between the pump and the pressure tank.
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    The precipitated iron will built up inside the bladder tank and the tank Tee. If the air injection is not passive (i.e. micronizer), then the injection pump and precipitation tank should go after the bladder tank, not before.

    Pull the bladder tank, remove the Tee and flush them out thoroughly. While you're at it, check all the plumbing between the precipitation tank and the iron filter for buildup and flush it out too.
  7. keithplumb

    keithplumb New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Kent, WA
    The outside hose bibs and irrigation is NOT on the iron and hardness filters. The air injector is passive, it just pulls in air as it goes by, I was told it is a hydro charger, and I already had the brass one that presumably came with the system swapped out to a newer plastic style one, since the brass one no longer pulled air.

    I fired up the irrigation today once I got the pump flowing (ran water until 40 lbs wheh pimp kicked in) the hydro charger was not pulling any air when household water was off, and the irrigation kept the pump running the entire time it was on.

    Shouldn't I still have a regulated flow of water outside then? I get very weak flow outside, and then very strong flow when the pump kicks in, but not a normal amount of in between. Sounds like I shoul pull and clean everything anyways. I do have a newer gauge and it seems to provide accurate reading immediately before the pressure switch, which does kick in and off at the correct levels.
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Is the hose bib before or after the micronizer? The venturi in the micronizer is a major flow restrictor at 40/70 PSI. The hold-back pressure before the micronizer would be much higher when the pump is running.
  9. keithplumb

    keithplumb New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Kent, WA
    The micronizer is after the hose bib. Seems like way more pressure outside the house at the hose bib vs. the faucets and showers inside.
  10. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,473
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    That would make sense. Something or everthing after the micronizer if clogged up.
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    That then implies that the Tee-off to the hose bib is between the pump and the micronizer. The micronizer would have reverse flow from the tank when the pump is not running. That is a BIG NO-NO!

    When the pump is running, the pressure will be much higher than what it is in the bladder tank. The micronizer is a constriction creating significant hold-back pressure much like a CSV does.
  12. keithplumb

    keithplumb New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Kent, WA
    What is the potential solution? I need very good flow to operate my very large irrigation system, so I can't have it after the micronizer and filter equipment, since my flow is too weak after traveling through all this equipment.
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    That's the problem with using a passive air micronizer. The alternative is to use a system with an air compressor.
  14. keithplumb

    keithplumb New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Kent, WA
    What is the trade off if any? I don't have a problem with switching if there is no good reason not to. Especially if it improved my flow through rates both ways.

    What is the cost of the compressor, fitting, and any other related materials, on average?
  15. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I have a micronizer based system that I would like to "Tim Taylor" soup up with an air pump but unfortunately I have not found a reasonably priced source. The one Canadian dealer that I found wanted more for just the pump than what I could buy a complete iron filter system for in the US. I don't think the pumps are priced for retrofitting existing systems.

    http://air-pump.com/air-pumps.php
    http://air-pump.com/packaged-systems.php


    My Waterite micronizer has an adjustable bypass and my thought was to open up the bypass to allow more gpm and then feed pressurized air to the air inlet of the micronizer. I want to slave the compressor to the pump switch so it runs when the pump runs.
  16. keithplumb

    keithplumb New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Kent, WA
    I am thinking more and more, that the micronizer back flow is the issue. Especially since I changed micronizers and may have affected flow. Anyone else out there buy an air injection pump? I did not see prices on those links.
  17. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
  18. keithplumb

    keithplumb New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Kent, WA
    It sounds like, ideally, I should have my pressure tank first, then a check valve, then an air injection pump and Air/water mixing tank, followed by my back washing iron filter, followed by water softener, and finally feeding the house. The irrigation can pull water prior to the pressure tank, from a tee. This way the pressure tank just sends water to irrigation, when the pump is not running, without back flowing through any other equipment, and the check valve keeps treated water in the household side. I already have all this equipment except the air pump, so it should just need to be re-installed in the new order, and add an air pump, which should flow better than the hydrocharger/micronizer I currently have. Agreed?
  19. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    That arrangement would also keep precipitated iron from globbing up in your bladder tank. If the irrigation water would be bypassing the aeration, the air pump cannot simply be slaved to the well pump. In that case, a flow sensor switch would be needed to start and stop the air pump.
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