Gone are the days when water from the ground was drawn up manually by tying a bucket with a rope and letting it down into a hole in the ground to scoop up the water.
Gone are also the days when well water was drawn up with a bucket and a pulley tied to the beam across the top of the well.
They were the old well water systems. Now, modern plumbing has changed the old ways, and well water is drawn through pipes and pumps to flow directly to your homes.
What is Water Pressure?
Water pressure is nothing but the pressure placed on the plumbing systems by either a water pump or gravity. Water stored in a tank at an elevation will be released because of gravity. But, to draw water up from a well, you will need a submersible pump to help build up the pressure for the water to flow. Therefore, the rate at which the water flows will depend on the pressure applied.
Water pressure is measurable and is measured on the basis of pounds per square inch (PSI). You will need a pressure gauge that is usually a part of the well water system and will be placed near the pressure pump.
Most homes have appliances that need at least a water pressure of 30 PSI. There are some that enjoy 50 – 60 PSI. Monitoring your PSI will help you troubleshoot low water pressure, if necessary.
Causes of Low Water Pressure
You will know that you have low water pressure when your home fixtures’ water flow becomes slow or sluggish. Factors that affect the water pressure include:
Damaged Pressure Tank
Well systems depend on a well pump and a pressure tank. That is apart from the connecting pipes taking the water into your homes. If your pressure tank develops a leak, it will impact the water pressure.
If the pressure switch is faulty and turns on and off too frequently, the pressure tank will remain unfilled and will cause the water pressure to drop or become inconsistent.
Pipes need to be of a certain diameter for the water to flow smoothly. If the water pressure is 50 – 60 PSI, the pipes need to accommodate the pressure or they will impact the water flow.
Scaling caused by minerals and sediments will clog the pipes that go from the well water system into your homes. Similarly, the faucets and fixtures may also be clogged, thereby causing poor water flow.
Not Enough Water in the Aquifer
Naturally, there must be sufficient water in the well for it to get pumped up into the pipes. Availability of water will depend on the size of the aquifer, for how long it has been drawn from, and if the water has not been replenished with rainwater.
Flow rate is better understood as gallons of water flowing per minute. Well pumps can usually deliver up to 20 gallons of water per minute.
The number of gallons divided by the number of seconds taken multiplied by 60 ((Gallons/ seconds) x 60) will give you the gallons per minute flow rate.
Essentially, you count the gallons of water drawn from the pressure tank (water stored in the pressure tank before the well pump needs to start pumping), and watch how long it takes for the pressure pump to switch on and off.
Factors that Affect the Flow Rate
Low Flow from the Pump
Causes of low water flow from the pump include an aging well pump, clogged well screens, corrosion in the pipes, broken pipes, or the pressure valve is stuck.
Poor Performance of the Pressure Switch
Pressure switches are adjustable; but, it may decrease the amount of water drawn into the pressure tank. So, any changes to the pressure switches must be made carefully.
Pressure switches also may need replacing or cleaned to make sure that insects have not crawled in. There are live wires in pressure switches and will need a professional to inspect them.
Low Pressure in the Air Tank
The pressure tans have a diaphragm or a captive air bladder. This bladder retains precharged air pressure. If there is water in these air bladders, it must be drained out.
With regular use, the pipes may become clogged because of sediment or scaling caused by the minerals in the water. The pipes will need to be cleaned regularly.
Clogged Gate Valves
Every gate valve must be turned on and off regularly to ensure that they function smoothly. They can get stuck over time and affect the water flow.
Pressure Regulators Malfunction
If you are using a pressure regulator on a pipe that brings the water into your home, it needs to be cleaned regularly to remove sediment or rust that can get accumulated.
Clogged Faucets or Fixtures
Scaling can clog the faucets and shower heads in your home and can get clogged. You may have strong water pressure and flow rate, but the water flow will be affected without regular cleaning and maintenance.
Clogged Water Filters and Water Softeners
Water filters and softeners can also become clogged over time, affecting the water flow. They need to be inspected and cleaned often.
Sudden Low Water Pressure in House With Well
Are you plagued by sudden low water pressure in a house with a well and weak flow rate? Here are a few steps on how to fix low water pressure from a well.
The objective of having a well water system is to ensure that your home and family have an efficient water supply and distribution.
More often than not, people are forced to deal with low water pressure, and it can be frustrating even with plenty of available well water. You can fix this problem by:
Adjusting the Pressure Tank
A homeowner needs an average water pressure of 40 to 60 PSI. If you are unable to receive at least around 50 PSI, it is time to check the pressure tank. It may need some adjustments.
Turn off the pump and test the captive air bladder using an air pressure gauge. If the PSI has fallen below 40, you can adjust the pressure switch that is located on the pipe that connects the well to the pressure tank. Then, turn the pump circuit back on and test the water pressure.
Inspect the Pipes
Well water is not pure and carries not only a few minerals but also dirt, and other contaminants. The pipes can become coated with the sediment from the water and can become clogged. Clogged pipes affect the water pressure of the well water system.
It may be best if you seek the help of licensed professionals to inspect your pipes and clean them thoroughly and then use a water softener/filter for well water as that will remove all the sediments so they don’t ruin your pipes and fixtures.
Install a Constant Pressure System
A constant pressure system can be installed on the main water line to prevent any drop in the pressure. While you may incur certain upfront expenditures, it will be well worth it as it will ensure continuous water flow regardless of how many fixtures are in use.
Regular Service and Maintenance
All gadgets show wear and tear in time. Therefore, regular upkeep is required for uninterrupted water supply from your wells.
Schedule inspection and servicing, be prepared for replacing parts of the well water system and monitor the PSI as well as the flow rate if you wish to be free of low water pressure problems.
How to Increase Water Pressure from a Well
If you have confirmed that the pressure tank, the well pump, the pipes and faucets are in order, and still there is not enough water pressure, it could be because your water needs are greater.
Increase the Pressure Setting
Well pumps have a standard setting to regulate them. The well pump gets turned on when the PSI is at a lower setting and gets turned off when the PSI reaches the highest setting.
Naturally, when the pressure setting is at a higher PSI, more pressure is used in the well system.
Therefore, all you have to do is manually increase the pressure setting, for instance, from a 40 PSI to 50 PSI. This is how you can increase water pressure from your well system.
Also see: How To Check Water Pressure Without a Gague
Get a Larger Pressure Tank
Replacing the existing tank with a larger pressure tank may help increase the water flow to meet your needs. There is a good selection of pressure tanks here.
A larger tank will also need the pressure setting to be high for increasing the water pressure.
Water is vital
Water is one of the natural resources that is stretched to capacity because of the increasing population and deforestation.
Therefore, the importance of using water wisely cannot be overstated. Only by ensuring that the well water systems are serviced and well maintained to avoid water wastage can we count on the availability of water for generations to come.