What's Causing Low Water Pressure from Well?

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Oolagah

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I recently replaced my pressure gauge and fixed a hydrant. After turning the well back on I have low pressure to the building. Pressure switch shuts off at 42 psi and psi slowly falls, low pressure to building (good for 3 seconds then falls to almost nothing), pump kicks on at 20 psi to fill tank back up. No signs of a leak. I was told my pump may have lost its prime but I thought submersible pumps were self priming. What could be the cause of my low water pressure to the building? Thanks.
 

Reach4

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After the pressure tank, there is normally a valve to shut off water to the rest of the house. Close that valve.

If the pressure still drops causing your cycling, then there is a leak. The leak could be underground on the way to the well, but it can be down the well. Down the well could be a leak in the down pipe, or it could be a failed check valve at the pump. Your new yard hydrant plumbing would be a suspect, since the problem started right after you did that.

No priming problems with a submersible.

On a different note, why not use 30/50 or 40/60 PSI after fixing your leak? Does your pump not provide that much pressure?
 

Oolagah

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Make sure you don't have a leak like Reach says. But 20/40 is terrible pressure. Most houses run on 40/60 these days, and mine is at 50/70.

The pressure was set at 20/40 when we moved in. It gave us great pressure until I shut it off to fix the hydrant and replace the pressure gauge. The pressure switch still operates so I don't think it could be damaged from iron deposit like what happened wth the pressure gauge. So far with the valve to the house shut there does not appear to be a drop in pressure/leak but I will give it more time.

Thanks for your reply.
 

Reach4

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So far with the valve to the house shut there does not appear to be a drop in pressure/leak but I will give it more time.
If pressure holds with the valve closed, look for a leak in the house, such as a flapper in a toilet tank not seated well. Check that water is not coming out of the water softener drain line.

You can close the hot water supply valve to help troubleshoot to eliminate a hot water leak.
 

LLigetfa

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But 20/40 is terrible pressure. Most houses run on 40/60 these days, and mine is at 50/70.
I agree. I would adjust the pressure switch to at least 30/50 but not before confirming that the bladder in the tank is not busted and that it has the proper amount of air, which is 2 PSI less than the kick-in.
 

Oolagah

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If pressure holds with the valve closed, look for a leak in the house, such as a flapper in a toilet tank not seated well. Check that water is not coming out of the water softener drain line.

You can close the hot water supply valve to help troubleshoot to eliminate a hot water leak.

Thanks. Toilet doesn't leak and no sign of leak anywhere else I can see. No water softener. Im assuming it would be in the well house or under sink.

I will check and make sure that the psi is slowly dropping when water is not being used. It might be dropping a little but stabilizing. I can't imagine what could have gone wrong. Water ran perfectly for 2 years before I had to fix the hydrant/psi gauge. I had to drain pressure from the line when I installed the psi gauge. Could that have damaged something?

While I'm here maybe you can help me identify the short round handle in the center of the picture? Could it be related to my problem?

Thanks for your time.
 

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Oolagah

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I agree. I would adjust the pressure switch to at least 30/50 but not before confirming that the bladder in the tank is not busted and that it has the proper amount of air, which is 2 PSI less than the kick-in.

Thanks for the reply. My tank is at 30psi, measured on the top back of it. Same reading on my water line psi. Does my tank need to be at 18psi if my kick in is 20? How do I tell if the bladder is busted?
 

Reach4

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While I'm here maybe you can help me identify the short round handle in the center of the picture? Could it be related to my problem?
L is the knob of a valve, and J is the knob of another valve. I suspect those were put in at different times, maybe because one leaked or the installer just wanted redundancy.

img_3.jpg
 

Reach4

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I figured it was a shutoff valve but the knob just turns and never stops.
That might have been the reason that J was added later.

It may be the knob is just spinning on the shaft, and that you could turn off the valve by removing the handle with a wrench, and grabbing the shaft with a ViceGrip pliers. But you have J, so no need to try that now.
 

LLigetfa

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While I'm here maybe you can help me identify the short round handle in the center of the picture?
It looks like it is a gate valve. If you close it and open the hosebib to the left of it, it will drain the house plumbing. I don't care for gate valves as the gate can easily separate from the stem and stay closed.

The air pressure on the bladder should be checked when the tank is drained. Make sure the gate valve is open and the ball valve to the far left is closed. Then turn of the power to the pump and open the hosebib valve to drain the tank. With the water pressure showing zero, the air pressure should be 18 PSI if the cut-in is set to 20. If you raise the cut-in to 30, then air should be added until it reads 28.
 

LLigetfa

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I figured it was a shutoff valve but the knob just turns and never stops.
Eggs-act-lee why I hate them. I suggest you remove it as it might be partially closed which will reduce the flow to the house.

Easiest might be to hacksaw off the nipple to the right of it and install a new nipple and a union.
 

Valveman

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Yeah if that gate valve handle is just spinning and spinning, the gate is broken off and could be restricting the flow. If you messed with that valve when you were replacing the hydrant/gauge, the gate may have fallen down at that time and is now restricting the flow.
 

Reach4

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Yeah if that gate valve handle is just spinning and spinning, the gate is broken off and could be restricting the flow.
He could test for that by putting a pressure gauge on L N, run water in the house, and see if there is significant drop vs the J gauge.
 
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Oolagah

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Yeah if that gate valve handle is just spinning and spinning, the gate is broken off and could be restricting the flow. If you messed with that valve when you were replacing the hydrant/gauge, the gate may have fallen down at that time and is now restricting the flow.

This might be my problem. If I can't get the gate valve open I'll need to have someone remove it to check and see.

Thanks!
 

Oolagah

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Did I mention that I hate gate valves?

I am now in the club.

He could test for that by putting a pressure gauge on L, run water in the house, and see if there is significant drop vs the J gauge.

I'm sorry for my ignorance by how can I put a pressure gauge on L? And how could I compare this to J? I appreciate everyone taking the time to help me on this.
 

Reach4

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I'm sorry for my ignorance by how can I put a pressure gauge on L? And how could I compare this to J? I appreciate everyone taking the time to help me on this.
Sorry. I meant N rather than L.

Many pressure gauges have a garden hose thread. Those gauges are usually under $20 and can be had for under $10. N has a garden hose thread. Screw the gauge on, and open the valve. Close the valve before removing the gauge later.

To compare, just look at the dials. If you run the tub, both gauges will drop or rise. But any pressure drop by the valve will be seen as an increase in the spread between the two readings.
 
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