Low Water Pressure (Private)

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Old 07-10-07, 10:27 AM
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Low Water Pressure (Private)

We just returned from vacation to find that the water would run out and the pump would then start a few minutes later and found that the pump was clogged. Well I fixed that but I do notice that the pressure still fluctuates a little and I would like to get more pressure to our upstaires shower.
 
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Old 07-10-07, 03:00 PM
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Did you have good pressure to the upstairs shower before the pump clogged? What diameter is your main supply line from the pump house. After it enters the house what size cpvc or copper do you use as main runs? Do you have a pressure tank in the setup?
I hate to ask questions, but need to know some stuff in order to give an answer.
 
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Old 07-10-07, 03:18 PM
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Do you have a working pressure gauge mounted inthe water supply line after the pressure tank? What does it read? What will the pressure maintain if you open say both the hot and cold mix of a downstairs faucet or shower?

I just fixed a house yesterday with similar circumstance, on a well system. To solve dribble coming out of upstairs shower if the downstairs shower was going at the same time, I had already established 60 psi static (no water running) pressure at pressure tank. I then established a reading of 40 psi on gauge when downstairs shower ran continously (the only water running in the house). I then established the 2nd floor shower arm pressure was 28 psi ( I hooked up a gauge I carry with me, to the "shower arm" after I took the 2nd floor shower head off), while downstairs shower was running full blast. Not good. But not much I could do about the basic water pressure in the house. I did not dare raise the static pressure above 60 as I tried that once a couple years ago, and the well ran and ran and could not pump enough to shut off the well, so I backed it of back to 60, and so that is the max. The lines are all copper so there are no restrictions in the lines.

My solution was this, and this worked out niffty: I put in a water saver in the downstairs shower head only. I used a water saver out of a standard faucet aerator, forced it down into the hole in the shower head. Then I used an aerator rubber gasket to pin the plastic water saver disc against the inside bottom of the shower head, to make sure I did not get a weird flutter or whistle noise. I ran the water and was not quite satisfied with the balance between both showers, when running at the same time. So I drilled the plastic disc water saver hole ever so slightly and I got it perfect so that both 1st floor and 2nd floor showerheads put out very good shower head pressure/volume, at the same time. I took a new pressure reading off the upstairs shower arm, and remember how I said it was 28 psi when the downstairs shower was on? Well, with the water saver in the downstairs swower head now, I know have 40 psi at the upstairs arm A 12 psi increase!And I was actually able to run 3 showers in the house!

Your problem may different from my problem though in the sense that yours sounds like it just happened due to your other problem. Do you have an inline filter that may have gotten clogged?
 

Last edited by ecman51; 07-10-07 at 03:26 PM. Reason: Added last paragraph
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Old 07-11-07, 07:14 AM
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Ill be totally honest in that Im no expert on plumbing and learn as I go. The house is a rancher with coper lines and the tank and pump are in the basement. The pump was clogges with rust and such which must have settled when I was away and clogged the pump. Well I cleaned it out and now the water fluctuates a little. I has bad shower pressure before any of this happened though.
 
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Old 07-11-07, 10:43 AM
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Is there any scale built up on the shower head? I'd try the easy thing first....

Remove the shower head and soak it in a bath of regular old white vinegar. Use an old can, or plastic butter dish or something like that. It does the same thing as "Limeaway" only a LOT cheaper. Then, while that is soaking (maybe an hour or so), take a bucket and hold it under the shower arm and turn the water on to flush out any accumulated debris that may have made it that far after unclogging your pump. You will be amazed at what may come out of there. Then turn off the water and replace the shower head and try it.

Good luck!
Tom
 
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Old 07-11-07, 08:16 PM
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Well actually ALL of the water in the house is pulsating. It has the regualer pressure which isnt much, then it goes down, then goes back to normal. Is there any way to flush all the lines out? Could it be the pump. I think its running more than normal too.
 
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Old 07-12-07, 04:07 AM
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Although you "cleaned" the pump, you probably had impeller damage that you cannot see, and it may need replacing. Is it a submersible pump or above ground one?
 
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Old 07-12-07, 05:22 AM
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Above the ground.
 
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Old 07-12-07, 04:16 PM
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panteramatt,

It may do you good to ask your question again at the well sub-forum below this one. To me, the fact that your pressure fluctuates sounds like a possible cavitation issue perhaps with lack of well water or something wrong in the driving mechanism (like loose impellor or something). Specify if you have a centrifugal pump or jet pump. Or sand/debris could maybe be floating around somewhere inside, somehow causing free flow one moment and clogging the next, endlessly.

Have you put a gauge on this thing to ses what it does when it is running?
 
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Old 07-12-07, 08:10 PM
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Yes there is a gauge on it and it cuts off at 40psi like it should. Is there any way to flush out the pump and clean it? I doubt the well is dry cause weve had big droughts here and never had a problem before. I think the problem comes from debris.
 
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Old 07-13-07, 03:36 PM
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But how does this gauge behave? Obviously you just don't have a good steady supply of 40 psi on the low end, because if you did, you wouldn't be getting those surges. It could be different things depending on how you better describe the sequence of what happens.

Do you have a filter, and does it have bypass feature you could try?

It could even be something like the pump's electrical connection being bad and it maybe runs full force one second, and maybe partially the next, due to fluctuations in the connection. Or same thing with the pressure switch electrical connections.

Is the pump running when this happens?
 
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Old 07-14-07, 07:32 AM
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Im not sur eif it has a filter or not. Theres a pretty big brass thing thats inline to the plastic line coming from the well going to the pump. When you turn the water on, it starts at 30 psi and goes down pretty fast to 15 psi then kicks on and doesnt go past 30 and turns off as soon as the water turns off.
 
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Old 07-14-07, 02:19 PM
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Your pressure is either low or your gauge is out of whack. 15/30 is too low. That would be pretty low for just down in the basement by the pump, let alone one or two more stories up inthe house, as the water pressure would reduce further the higher you go up. And then on top of that, if anyone turned on the water - if someone else tried using water somewhere else at the same time - the pressure would really get bad.

What seems puzzling is the business about the vacation. I don't know why being gone would have caused something to abruptly change compared to how it was before you left.

Even if a line or filter was plugged, you'd still have good static pressure, and it still should not shut off at 30.

The brass thing could be a backflow preventer or check valve perhaps.

If this was me, I'd first confirm that the gauge is correct. I have enough experience to know what 30 psi feels like, about, - but maybe you don't. You can buy cheap gauges in the plumbing dept. of big box stores for cheap and I guess they already have some with female hose fittings on them.

If the pressure really is that bad, then it sounds like the pressure points that tell the well pump to run, and fill up the pressure tank, needs adjusting. But I still don't get why this changed just because you went on vacation. Even if your tank was water-logged or all the lines in your house were filled with sediment, the pump still should not be shutting off at 30. The pressure points are the sole controller of that (if the motor is not overheating/going into thermal overload)
 
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Old 07-15-07, 08:28 AM
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Well, the gauge is new. I replaced it along with the box with the contacts in it. I think the brass thing is a check valve. When I replaced everything and cleaned out the line going to the pressure switch, we had 40 psi and it was working fine but now it gradually got worse and the pump just keeps running cause it runs out quick and only goes up to like 32 psi.
 
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Old 07-16-07, 06:53 AM
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So it is running constantly then, and just won't reach set point?

Could be low on water, clogged screen somewhere, hole in draw pipe drawing some air instead of water, clog in pipe, bad pump (like a worn/loose impeller), (doubtful low voltage as you'd hear pump sound different but may want to check just to be sure) -as a few guesses on my part.
 
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Old 07-16-07, 12:15 PM
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Well this all started after ity got clogged the first time. When water is in use, the gauge drops down to 15 psi and then kicks on and goes up to 32psi where it shuts off. There plenty of pressure going to the switch but Im wonering if theres anything wrong inside the pump like a clogged screen or maybe I have to readjust the pressure switch.
 
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Old 07-16-07, 02:46 PM
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Well, (sorry a pun), if you have water running and the pressure climbs at the same time (within a relatively short period of time hopefully), that is a good sign. How long DOES ti take for the pressure to climb back up to 32, when the water is running, and also if you allow it to come on at 15 psi and then turn the water off at that moment and see how long it takes to climb with no water running. And since it cuts out at 32, I guess I'd readjust the points. Odd what made this suddenly do this though, just because you were away.

If the pressure then drops without use, the check valve is most likely bad.
 
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Old 07-16-07, 04:20 PM
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I guess while we were away and not using the water, crud just built up and blocked the line that goes to the pressure switch. It doesnt take long at at to build pressure back up but ti drops fast to 15 and then builds back up to 32 pretty fast. And it holds 32 while no water is in use. I need to figure out this problem cause I dont want to burn this pump out. Is there a screen in the pump I can check or should I just take it apart?
 
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Old 07-16-07, 04:26 PM
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I noticed that as soon as the pressure drops to 15 and we shut the water off, the pump kicks on for a second and it goes rigth back up to 32 and shuts off. It only takes about 5 seconds for it to drop down to 15.
 
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Old 07-16-07, 05:13 PM
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Your pressure tank is water locked and needs to be recharged with air.
 
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Old 07-16-07, 05:37 PM
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Well actually. I pumped too much air the first time and let it out so that theres only 2 #'s less than what the pump says. Could I have screwed something up or should I drain all the air out and try again?
 
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Old 07-16-07, 06:19 PM
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Did you start out with the water out of the system and turned off and then charged empty tank to 2 #'s less than cut in? I can't think of anything else that can cause pressure to change that abruptly without this being the reason. Perhaps you have a bladder tank and it has a leak in it. Do you have one of those blue? color tanks that ends with the letters 'trol'?
 
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Old 07-16-07, 07:03 PM
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Ok, so I turn the valve off that goes from the pump to the rest of the house and then drain the tank and then put 38# of air in the tank?
 
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Old 07-17-07, 07:09 AM
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Yes. But then you have to also reset your pressure points to come on at 40 and shut off at 60. What kind of pressure tank do you have, as requested by my last post?
 
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Old 07-17-07, 11:56 AM
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The tank is a A.O. Smith aqua air and it is blue.
 
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Old 07-17-07, 11:59 AM
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Also, I thought the pump was supposed to come on at 20 and end at 40?
 
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Old 07-17-07, 03:27 PM
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That is what these pressure switches are called - a 20/40 presure switch. But most people up them to be 40/60 instead. 20/40 is puny pressure especially once below 40. Your tank has a bladder in it if it has a schrader valve (bicycle tire-like valve stem) to recharge, on the end of it.
 
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Old 07-17-07, 04:55 PM
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Yes the tank has abladder as Ive benn messing with the air pressure. So I should adjust the bigger nut clockwise to get more pressure right? After I drain the tank, what air pressure shouldI set it at? Doesnt it have to be 2 #'s less than what the pump says?
 
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Old 07-17-07, 04:58 PM
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Also when I drain the tank not a wholle lot of water comes out. Maybe 20-30 ounces?
 
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Old 07-17-07, 05:16 PM
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With the water off and drained, when the tank is charged to any given pressure (say 38), does it hold pressure? We must establish that that occurs first to make sure your tank is still okay. It may be shot.

Why only a small amount of water came out is - I'm not positive. Perhaps it is still in there and not all coming out from that law of physics (like when you hald a bottle of water, with a small opening, upside down, and the water don't come out). Or maybe something happened to that bladder and/or some blockage at the inlet of tank. You'd know for sure if you disconnected the tank form the pipe I'm sure, as you could feel the weight/sloshing water.

Here is something worth reading:
http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/plumbing/well/pressure_tank/replace.htm
 
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Old 07-17-07, 05:47 PM
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First ecman51, thank you for helping me. Yes the tank holds air pressure just fine. I actually think its a cross between not having the rigth air pressure in there and the switch not being properly set. I adjust the switch by turning the bigger nut clockwise and let some air out and yes it did get better but still not perfect. How much air should the tank have when I empty it with the pump and water off and would it be a good idea to maybe take the pump apart and see if theres a screen or something else to be cleaned?
 
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Old 07-17-07, 06:22 PM
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Well, we were shooting for about 38 psi I thought.

And can you tell if the tank is empty?, - because if it is not, maybe something strange happened inside, where it is so full of junk or something that the ability of the bladder to expand to develop the necessary psi is just a false indicator. For example, if say the tank were all full of junk and the bladder could not hardly expand and then you tried to air it up, you'd still reach 38 psi - but maybe the 38 psi is only in a bladder the size of a pea (exaggerating to make a point.) That is why it might be good to try to feel and shake this tank. These tanks are very lightweight, when new.

As far as checking out a screen? Well, you maybe could run your pump with the tank disconnected to see if you get a lot of volume. But I'd first just try to get the tank charged up as mentioned and hooked backup and set the points higher, and then see. The reason is - even if the well was putting out a trickle of water (maybe a little exaggeration again to make my point) - eventually the pressure tank will build up to 60 psi. And then if you turned on a spigot or faucet, you still (irregardless of the pump's capacity!) would get very good pressure and flow all the way down to 40 psi. And that is what we are shooting for now. And as long as water volume of some sort can still get in the pressure tank, that very thing shoud be able to happen. THEN, say if you had poor well or pump output, THEN the water pressure would keep dropping and go even below 40 psi, while you were running the water. Then you'd KNOW the pump or well is screwed up.
 
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Old 07-18-07, 06:54 AM
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I just got back from my local big-box store as I almost live there. Anyway, I saw the old timer in the wells dept. and he thinks the same as what I have been affirming: He said they get lots of phone calls from people who buy their new 38 PSI precharged bladder tanks and mistakenly grab a 20/40 pressure switch - hook it all up - and then call back and say water justs spits out and there is like no water in the tank. He said the reason is that the air charge in the tank is higher than the water charge of the well coming into the tank. Hence you need to uip the pressure switch setting or just go out and buy a 40/60 pressure switch.

They now sell 20/40, 30/50, and 40/60 pressure switches for about $14. It used to be that it was only a 20/40 switch and you'd have to do lot's of adjusting on it. That is what I did 30 years ago.
 
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Old 07-18-07, 11:26 AM
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awesome man. So if I up the pressure should the guage read 60 at the cut off? Will it go up to 60 with a 20/40 switch? Should I mess with the smaller set screw?
 
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Old 07-18-07, 03:53 PM
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There are two adjusters screws. One is bigger than the other. I can't remember anymore how to do the adjusting. Others here have instructed how to do it. I'm sure you could find out, experiment, wait for a reply, or just buy a new 40/60. With a 40/60 setting, you need 38# in the bladder.
 
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Old 08-01-07, 02:29 PM
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Ok, it was fine for a while but its still not good. Sometimes when I turn the water on it will be below the lowest setting and stay there for a bit. With the tank empty on a 20/40 switch, what psi should the tank be at?
 
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