Low Water Pressure

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KCMARTI

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Happy Wednesday!

We purchased a home with well/septic about 3 years ago. Everything seemed fine the first year. Since then we have had water pressure issues. At the recommendation of plumbers we have replaced the bladder, pressure valve, installed new tank-less water heater, under house filters, and we run hose water/vinegar to flush the system about every 3 months. The pump has been checked and said its is working correctly. We don't seem to have a well water level issue as the bladder fills up as it should. Pressure pump gauge shows good pressure when it should.

The water pressure is still lower than it should be and less than it was when we purchased the house. If the washing machine is on the kitchen sink will only have very light stream of water. Its is very frustrating that I cant do normal kitchen "things" when washer on. The water pressure outside the house seems low also. Again, this is different from when we purchased the home so somethings seems to have changed about a year after the purchase.

Every plumber that has come out says we have lots of fine black jack and have to clear filter often when we do and have installed better filters. They also all seem stumped and agree water pressure seems lower than it should be. There is however some improvement when filters are clean/water vinegar ran although still not back where is used to be.

Appreciate any thoughts/suggestions on what it could be or possible solutions.
 

John Gayewski

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Tankless water heaters can kill your pressure. Any filter will hurt your pressure.

It sounds like your pump may be able to make enough pressure but it cannot keep up with the volume. So as soon as your bladder tank volume is used up you'd loose pressure quickly. I would look at upgrading pumps. More info on the actual pump you have would help.

More importantly why did your plumbers recommend a tankless water heater? That would do nothing but make a pressure/volume issue even worse.
 

Reach4

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You have a pressure gauge already at the pressure tank. When the pressure switch detects your pressure in the pressure tank, has fallen to a cut-in pressure, the switch turns on the pump.

1. How low does the pressure drop before the pressure switch clicks on?
2. When you do something in the house where the flow at the faucet or showerhead seems low, what pressure is on the pressure gauge at the pressure tank?
3. You should buy a garden hose pressure gauge to help with further measurements. They are under $20 and sometimes under $10. The 0 to 200 gauges are common, but 0 to 100 is better if you can find it.
 

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Like Reach says look at the gauge on the tank while you are experiencing low pressure. Does the pressure go low and stay low? Or, does the pressure go up to 60 and back down to 40 while water is being used? Filters and heaters can cause restrictions so, you just need to start with more pressure like turning up the switch to 50/70 instead of 40/60. And of course holding a constant 60 PSI like when using a Cycle Stop Valve will be much stronger in the house than when the pressure is going up and down like with just a pressure tank and no CSV.
 

KCMARTI

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Tankless water heaters can kill your pressure. Any filter will hurt your pressure.

It sounds like your pump may be able to make enough pressure but it cannot keep up with the volume. So as soon as your bladder tank volume is used up you'd loose pressure quickly. I would look at upgrading pumps. More info on the actual pump you have would help.

More importantly why did your plumbers recommend a tankless water heater? That would do nothing but make a pressure/volume issue even worse.
There was a tankless water heater already in the home when we purchased. This was a replacement.

Unfortunately we don't have information on pump as we are not the original owners. We do have a 320 ft well so I would assume 3/4 pump and probably pretty old. (House is 35 years old).

A plumber came yesterday to check again - same one who installed he new water bladder. He said it is the pump. He said pressure works good at one point then instead of building back up it drop (40 to 30 etc) As stated here he said the pump cant keep up. I am frustrated because the bladder was replaced about a year ago. Now I am wondering if the wrong this was fixed?

This morning only the washer was running (HE front load) and when I turned on the kitchen faucet the water would slow down to very small stream with just washer in the house running. Would the pump issue happen with small amounts of water running in the house?

Also, anytime I go outside and turn on the hose it seems there is much less pressure. This seems constant although iv'e never really checked whats is or not on in the house but seems constant. My husband thinks its because we have changed hose sprayers and same pressure has always been but I just don't think that is correct. We have a pool and its now difficult to spray off the deck and wasn't before. Would the pump cause/correct this issue as well?

Thank you for the response. Very appreciated.
 

KCMARTI

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Like Reach says look at the gauge on the tank while you are experiencing low pressure. Does the pressure go low and stay low? Or, does the pressure go up to 60 and back down to 40 while water is being used? Filters and heaters can cause restrictions so, you just need to start with more pressure like turning up the switch to 50/70 instead of 40/60. And of course holding a constant 60 PSI like when using a Cycle Stop Valve will be much stronger in the house than when the pressure is going up and down like with just a pressure tank and no CSV.
The plumber yesterday said someone had adjusted our pressure up to 70 and that was not correct. He said will leave it that way for now then fix later after pump has been installed. Would you suggest leaving it at the 70? Also is a cycle stop valve something that is put in/purchased in separately or do all systems have this?

Thank you
 

KCMARTI

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You have a pressure gauge already at the pressure tank. When the pressure switch detects your pressure in the pressure tank, has fallen to a cut-in pressure, the switch turns on the pump.

1. How low does the pressure drop before the pressure switch clicks on?
2. When you do something in the house where the flow at the faucet or showerhead seems low, what pressure is on the pressure gauge at the pressure tank?
3. You should buy a garden hose pressure gauge to help with further measurements. They are under $20 and sometimes under $10. The 0 to 200 gauges are common, but 0 to 100 is better if you can find it.
It seems the tank is holding pressure at one point as it should be but then is dropping when it should be rising. Although we've had alot of people look at this over the past 2 years and it seems strange this is just being found. My husband has checked the pressures (although this has been a learning experience) and said this is new (it dropping when should be rising).

Thank you
 

KCMARTI

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Tankless water heaters can kill your pressure. Any filter will hurt your pressure.

It sounds like your pump may be able to make enough pressure but it cannot keep up with the volume. So as soon as your bladder tank volume is used up you'd loose pressure quickly. I would look at upgrading pumps. More info on the actual pump you have would help.

More importantly why did your plumbers recommend a tankless water heater? That would do nothing but make a pressure/volume issue even worse.
One more questions please. Could we have to many filters? We have been trying to stop this black jack that everyone said was the issues to keep upgrading filters to try and correct.
 

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The plumber yesterday said someone had adjusted our pressure up to 70 and that was not correct. He said will leave it that way for now then fix later after pump has been installed. Would you suggest leaving it at the 70? Also is a cycle stop valve something that is put in/purchased in separately or do all systems have this?

Thank you
That does not make sense. If the pressure is up to 70 you should have really good pressure in the house. If the pressure will build to 70 you don't need a new pump. Nothing wrong with 50/70 pressure switch setting, and that is what I recommend when you need more pressure from the standard 40/60 setting. Yes the CSV can be added separately, and would hold the pressure at a strong and steady 60 PSI while using water and with the switch doing on and off at 50/70.

Get your tire pressure gauge and see if it shows the same pressure in your tank as it does on the gauge. The gauge could very well be wrong.
 

John Gayewski

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The tank is the only real bandaid to help keep up
That does not make sense. If the pressure is up to 70 you should have really good pressure in the house. If the pressure will build to 70 you don't need a new pump. Nothing wrong with 50/70 pressure switch setting, and that is what I recommend when you need more pressure from the standard 40/60 setting. Yes the CSV can be added separately, and would hold the pressure at a strong and steady 60 PSI while using water and with the switch doing on and off at 50/70.

Get your tire pressure gauge and see if it shows the same pressure in your tank as it does on the gauge. The gauge could very well be wrong.
To me it sounds like the pressure drop of the piping and all of the components they have is keeping the pump from keeping up. Of course it keeps up with nothing on and builds to 70. You don't think a pump capable of doing 70 psi with all of their restrictions would fix this? Their tank could be overcharged and depleting too quickly but a shower and washing machine would deplete any tank. I'm interested what you think is happening here as I respect your opinion.
 

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Water doesn't come from the pressure tank. Water and pressure come from the pump. The tanks only purpose is to reduce the number of on off cycles. But even with a bad tank the pump should be doing 50/70 if that is what the pressure switch is set to do. With a bad tank the pump would be cycling on and off rapidly between 50 and 70, but you would still have 50 to 70 PSI.

It is possible that the pump can build to 70 when no taps are on and still not deliver much flow or pressure when a tap or two is turned on, but I doubt it. If the pump can build to 70 it should be doing a lot of water at 50 PSI. But you have to know what the pressure gauge is doing WHILE using water. Turn the water on until the pressure feels low, then tell me what the gauge is doing, and make sure the gauge is correct.

If the gauge is going between 50 and 70 while using water the filters are probably stealing your pressure. If the gauge just goes to like 30 and sits there, the pump is not supplying enough flow or pressure.
 

KCMARTI

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Water doesn't come from the pressure tank. Water and pressure come from the pump. The tanks only purpose is to reduce the number of on off cycles. But even with a bad tank the pump should be doing 50/70 if that is what the pressure switch is set to do. With a bad tank the pump would be cycling on and off rapidly between 50 and 70, but you would still have 50 to 70 PSI.

It is possible that the pump can build to 70 when no taps are on and still not deliver much flow or pressure when a tap or two is turned on, but I doubt it. If the pump can build to 70 it should be doing a lot of water at 50 PSI. But you have to know what the pressure gauge is doing WHILE using water. Turn the water on until the pressure feels low, then tell me what the gauge is doing, and make sure the gauge is correct.

If the gauge is going between 50 and 70 while using water the filters are probably stealing your pressure. If the gauge just goes to like 30 and sits there, the pump is not supplying enough flow or pressure.
Thank you very much for the reply. My husband is at work (person who checks pressure) and I have shared this info with him. They are suppose to replace the pump tomorrow but its going to be expensive so want to make sure that truly is the problem. The plumber said the pressure was dropping to 30 while he had hose attached. We are going to check again when husband gets home from work to make sure that is what we are seeing using what you have explained above.

Thank you again for all the detailed help.
 

KCMARTI

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Water doesn't come from the pressure tank. Water and pressure come from the pump. The tanks only purpose is to reduce the number of on off cycles. But even with a bad tank the pump should be doing 50/70 if that is what the pressure switch is set to do. With a bad tank the pump would be cycling on and off rapidly between 50 and 70, but you would still have 50 to 70 PSI.

It is possible that the pump can build to 70 when no taps are on and still not deliver much flow or pressure when a tap or two is turned on, but I doubt it. If the pump can build to 70 it should be doing a lot of water at 50 PSI. But you have to know what the pressure gauge is doing WHILE using water. Turn the water on until the pressure feels low, then tell me what the gauge is doing, and make sure the gauge is correct.

If the gauge is going between 50 and 70 while using water the filters are probably stealing your pressure. If the gauge just goes to like 30 and sits there, the pump is not supplying enough flow or pressure.
We checked the pressure at the top of the tank and it was the same as the gauge (around 68 psi at the time).

If we hook a hose up to the tank and turn it on the pressure drops down below 30, and may have kept dropping if we let it go longer.

We also turned on five or six faucets/showers and the pressure dropped slowly down to 40 PSI and seem to hold there. As soon as we shut the water off the pressure rose again.

The thing you mentioned about the pump building to 70, and not deliver much flow with a couple of taps turned on, is exactly what is happening.

Not sure what the flow rate coming out of the tank with the hose only is because there is no flow meter for that connection. We do have a flow meter on our water filter and it was reading high 4's and 5's most of the time when running the multiple taps in the house. Also, if we bypassed the two units in the water softener system and the water filter the flow rate went up a bit.
 

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We also turned on five or six faucets/showers and the pressure dropped slowly down to 40 PSI and seem to hold there. As soon as we shut the water off the pressure rose again.
If it held at 40 with 5 or 6 faucets running it sounds like the pump is putting out plenty of water. Does it cycle on and off when only running 1 or 2 faucets at a time?
 

KCMARTI

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We checked the pressure at the top of the tank and it was the same as the gauge (around 68 psi at the time).

If we hook a hose up to the tank and turn it on the pressure drops down below 30, and may have kept dropping if we let it go longer.

We also turned on five or six faucets/showers and the pressure dropped slowly down to 40 PSI and seem to hold there. As soon as we shut the water off the pressure rose again.

The thing you mentioned about the pump building to 70, and not deliver much flow with a couple of taps turned on, is exactly what is happening.

Not sure what the flow rate coming out of the tank with the hose only is because there is no flow meter for that connection. We do have a flow meter on our water filter and it was reading high 4's and 5's most of the time when running the multiple taps in the house. Also, if we bypassed the two units in the water softener system and the water filter the flow rate went up a bit.

Water doesn't come from the pressure tank. Water and pressure come from the pump. The tanks only purpose is to reduce the number of on off cycles. But even with a bad tank the pump should be doing 50/70 if that is what the pressure switch is set to do. With a bad tank the pump would be cycling on and off rapidly between 50 and 70, but you would still have 50 to 70 PSI.

It is possible that the pump can build to 70 when no taps are on and still not deliver much flow or pressure when a tap or two is turned on, but I doubt it. If the pump can build to 70 it should be doing a lot of water at 50 PSI. But you have to know what the pressure gauge is doing WHILE using water. Turn the water on until the pressure feels low, then tell me what the gauge is doing, and make sure the gauge is correct.

If the gauge is going between 50 and 70 while using water the filters are probably stealing your pressure. If the gauge just goes to like 30 and sits there, the pump is not supplying enough flow or pressure.
As a follow up. We had two people come out today and the long and short of today is it seems our well has collapsed. They were unable to remove the pump and even after getting heavy equipment in to remove the pipe broke and pump was not recovered.

I am hoping this it truly the issue as we are now going to be installing a new well. Thank you for your comments, it helped us to be able to work through and have questions ready.
 

Valveman

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Sorry for your problem, but those symptoms now make sense to me. Hate having to move over and drill a new well, but sometimes that is the only option. Let us know how it goes and how much it cost.
 

Reach4

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If getting a new well, I suggest you consider getting a pitless adapter even if that is not the most common thing in your area.

Among other things, it makes well sanitizing easier.
 
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