Low water pressure, on well

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Jeff Crayton, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. Jeff Crayton

    Jeff Crayton New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2019
    Location:
    Boonies, KS
    Low whole-house water pressure, on a well.

    -Pressure tank replaced, tank charged to 38psi, no change. Switch is 40/60.

    -Replaced all steel piping between the pressure tank and the water softener. No change, and only slight build-up in the replaced pipes.

    -Bypassed the softener, no change.

    -Checked aerators and I pulled faucet cartridges, all very clean.

    -Well pump kicks on properly at 40, kicks off at 60. Takes about 20 seconds to fully pressurize the tank.

    -With all faucets off, tank remains pressurized (so, no leaks).

    -Any faucet in the house, low pressure when cold turned on full. Turning hot water on full, no change in flow or pressure. (So I assume the problem is before the split to the WH?)

    -Cycled the only common shutoff several times.

    -Corrosion shouldn’t build up in the plastic/pvc, but is it possible there’s an obstruction?

    -The shutoff valve is the only metallic element inline before the softener, so maybe needs to be accessed and checked.

    I’m hesitant doing the last two items because the piping is the old black poly, and will probably involve replumbing everything in the well house if I begin to dig into it. Where I cut into the poly to replace the galvanized, it was clean and solid.

    I hope I provided enough info! Looking forward to getting educated!

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    It sound like the pressure is OK at the pressure gauge. I suspect you have something slowing the flow after that. Do you have a cartridge filter that may have clogged?

    I think you are saying that hot water pressure is fine at all faucets, but cold water, except for the outdoor hose bibs, have restricted flow. Your troubleshooting methods seem good.

    Not related to your question, with a run time as low as 20 seconds, your pressure tank is probably undersized.
     
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  4. Jeff Crayton

    Jeff Crayton New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2019
    Location:
    Boonies, KS
    Thanks, Reach!
    No cartridge filter. Water softener, but I bypassed that and there was just the expected very minor change.

    Sorry if I wasn’t clear, hot and cold are both an issue. My point was that with one on full, turning on the other didn’t increase flow at all. I figure that means the issue is before the line splits to the water heater.

    It was a slow 20 count, so probably 30 actual seconds or so. The tank I replaced was the same size, and had been in place for over 15 years. You may be right about the tank size, but the water pressure used to be good, the issue has been slowly getting worse over the last several months.

    Tomorrow I'll probably disconnect at the softener and turn on the water to see what kind of pressure I have there. If need be, I’ll see if I can gently get the main shutoff disconnected and check for blockage. If that doesn’t go well, my bro-in-Law may have to call an actual plumber!
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Got it. How about an outside faucet? Is that flow restricted? That would split off before the softener.
     
  6. Jeff Crayton

    Jeff Crayton New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2019
    Location:
    Boonies, KS
    The only outside faucet has some mineral buildup, so it sprays and splatters when turned on. But I think maybe it’s got a little better flow than the faucets in the house. The split to the outside is right before the softener, so we’ll see when I disconnect it tomorrow.

    The farmhouse was in sad shape when the guy moved in. After putting in the softener, leaks sprung up all over from the mineral deposits breaking down, which is why I’ve focused on the line before the softener.
     
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    You could put a garden hose thread pressure gauge outside. If the pressure stays up while you run water to the tub, you know the blockage is after where the outside faucet line splits off.

    How about a photo of the softener valve area. I suspect a clog in that area, as you do.

    Or just start repiping.
     
  8. Jeff Crayton

    Jeff Crayton New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2019
    Location:
    Boonies, KS
    6B1CD945-B84F-4E3D-96CF-CAB119603AE9.jpeg

    Don’t have a shot at the softener. Here’s at the tank before I replaced the tank. Beauty, eh? The valve at the top of the pic is the only metal left before the softener. (And ftr, leak's fixed!)
     
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Any chance that valve is partially closed? Doubt it, but I thought I might ask.

    If you were to install a boiler drain valve or two in the path, you could not only use that to sample water, you could screw on a GHT pressure gauge for troubleshooting. Imagine being able to measure the pressure just after the softener.
     
  10. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    With the pump cycling between 40 and 60 there is plenty of water and pressure from the pump. You have a restriction somewhere after the pressure tank. Even 3/4 pex with those insert fittings don't let much water pass. Many times this is the issue. But since it has gotten gradually worse, something else is probably clogged with the same minerals you see in the outside faucet.

    20-30 seconds of run time is not long enough. Plus, that means the pressure is dropping all the way to 40 every 20-30 seconds. With that size tank a CSV1A would keep the pressure at a constant 55 PSI anytime you are using water. Even with a restriction or just small pipe, 55 PSI constant will be much better pressure in the house than cycling from 40 to 60 every 20-30 seconds.
     
  11. Jeff Crayton

    Jeff Crayton New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2019
    Location:
    Boonies, KS
    To update... Tested flow at the softener, got a very rough measurement of about 3 gallons in 11 seconds.
    I replaced all steel from the tank to the hot/cold split. There was very little corrosion/lime scale in the lines.
    Also verified that their issue has been slowly getting worse over the last 3 months or so.

    So, contrary to my earlier deduction, it appears that it’s not a problem in the common water line, but two issues, divided between the hot and cold side.

    Next step, this week I’m gonna replace the entire hot & cold run to the kitchen & downstairs bath (which are within a few feet of each other). Which is good, because I miss the time I spent in this crawlspace about this time last year scooting around on my back replacing the insulation in the floor and repairing the tub drain line!
     
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