Recommended pressure setting

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by Krayer, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Krayer

    Krayer New Member

    Jan 4, 2012

    I did a Google search for information about adjusting the pressure settings for a well and this site showed up as the second result. I figured it would be best to start a new thread so I can get specific information.

    My parent's have always had poor water pressure from the well. I do not think my father has ever attempted to adjust the pressure settings. When we were looking at the well yesterday he said he never knew how to change the pressure settings, and really had no interest in doing so. The pressure switch has been changed a few times over the years and he always just got a new one, installed said switch, and left it at that. I also believe the tank is fairly new.

    We watched the gauge and the pump turned on at 15 and then turned off at 45. I do not know much about the system. The tank is an "H2OW-TO." If I had to guess I would say it's a 32 gallon tank. I believe the pump is rated at 3/4hp.

    What's the appropriate range for a system like the one described above? 30/50?

    I did not see a gauge on the tank. All I saw was a schrader valve. When I check the pressure this evening what should it read? Does it need to be within a certain range of the cut off value? Also, how should I add air to the tank if it's needed? Do I simply drain the tank and then add however much air is needed?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Feb 6, 2011
    NW Ontario, Canada
    15/45 does not sound right for a switch that hasn't been tampered with. Factory out-of-the-box settings are often printed on the underside of the cover and they normally have a spread of 20 PSI. When a switch starts to go, it is usually the low end that suffers. Sediment or mineral builds up under the diaphragm holding off the start.

    The same mineral buildup can cause the pressure gauge to read wrong. I would replace both the switch and the gauge and I would snake through the nipples connecting them to the tank Tee to make sure they are clear.

    The choice of pressure range will depend on water usage, the pump, and from what depth it has to draw. Pump output will be on a curve with fewer GPM at higher pressure. If you set the pressure too high, there is a chance the pump will not be able to attain it and keep running. A little experimentation and measurement can ascertain at least at that moment in time what the pump is capable of. With the cover off the switch, taking care not to touch the electrics, you can override the spring temporarily with visegrips to see how high the pressure will climb while at the same time measuring how much you can draw off at the drain cock and not drop the pressure.

    If you put an air pressure gauge on the tank when the pump has reached the cut-off, both the air gauge and water gauge should read the same. If they don't, one of the two is reading wrong. After you have the pressure switch dialed in to what you want, you need to turn off the breaker, completely drain the tank, and set the air pressure to about 3 or 5 PSI below the cut-in pressure setting. Make sure both air and water gauge reads the same at both ends of the scale or else compensate for the deviation.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
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  4. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Nov 29, 2010
    15 means the water pressure is going to drop to a drizzle before the pump starts. I suspect someone has messed with the pressure switch so your best bet now would be to spend 20 bucks and replace it. They generally come 20/40 - 30/50 and 40/60. I would go with a 30/50 and see what happens but beware that the reason why the original one may have been screwed with is because the pump is worn, or th ejet is partially plugged up and won't make much past 45lbs so if you change the switch and the pump won't shut off you are going to have to start looking deeper.
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