Environmental Protection Agency, EPA states that around 13 million people in the US use wells for meeting their daily water needs. One big problem that almost all of the well water owners face is the low pressure from well water. While it can happen due to many reasons, the steps needed to get it sorted may vary depending upon the nature of the problem.
In this article, we will discuss how you can increase the pressure of water from your well, while you read about it, it is also essential to analyze the reasons behind slow pressure.
Before we begin, it is imperative that we know some basic terms of well water pressure.
- The normal pressure from a well is between 40-60 PSI. A slow pressure of the water makes it difficult to work with it or utilize it for any purpose like washing dishes, bathing, gardening, or any other water-related work. High pressure results in water wastage and it can also hurt your appliances like dishwasher and washing machines.
- You may also be interested in knowing about the flow rate of water from your well. The flow rate is directly associated with the pressure of water. If you have high pressure, the flow rate will be fast and vice versa. It is measured in gallons per minute, GPM, and may be influenced by other factors such as pipe size and inside/outside diameters. A flow rate of 6 GPM means that 6 gallons of water will flow from your taps in one minute.
- The pressure you get from your well also depends upon the volume of water in the well. The volume deepens upon factors like the size of the aquifer, the power of the pump (the rate at which water is being pumped), and the recovery rate.
Reasons behind Slow Water Pressure
The most common reasons for slow water pressure are listed below. There is a huge likelihood that you will be suffering from one of the reasons mentioned below. Let’s look at them in detail.
Pump and Pressure Tank Issues – Well pump, pressure tank, and switch pump are the primary functioning parts of a well system. If any of these components has a problem, the water pressure decreases and may get to zero of they stop working totally. You may be suffering from a faulty pump that keeps on turning off and on and fails to maintain a constant supply of water to your home. A leaking pressure or damaged pressure tank can also be the reason behind poor water pressure.
Blocked or Narrow Pipes – Naturally, your pipes may get blocked over time. When pipes are not cleaned, a mineral build-up in pipes can cause a drop in water pressure. Your well may be working fine and producing enough pressure, but the pipes may not be complementing the system’s performance because of blockage or a narrow diameter. Well water is contaminated with iron, calcium, and magnesium, and it leads to constricting the diameter of water pipes and reducing the flow of water. Calcium and magnesium are also responsible for hardness in your water and scale build-up on your devices, showerheads, and faucets.
Clogged Showerheads and Aerators – You may be experiencing low water pressure due to blocked showerheads and aerators. Calcium and magnesium cause hardness in water, and it is the major cause of the blocking of showerheads and aerators. Other sediment and dust particles in water also become the cause of this problem. You may think that it is happening due to low pressure, while the cause may be a problem with your plumbing. Such situations are also common with people using municipal water supply.
Hard Water Problem – Private well owners across the US have to face hard water problems due to the presence of calcium and magnesium in high amounts. Hard water is harmful to your skin, crockery, plumbing, and appliances. It can also lead to decreased water pressure.
Groundwater Problem – Sometimes, pressure problems may happen due to groundwater problems. If the aquifer has a low pressure due to excessive pumping or other natural reasons such as seasonal drought, you will be facing low-pressure problems.
High Demand/Low Supply – Low pressure may happen due to high demand and a low supply of water. It can happen due to a couple of reasons. Firstly your well does not have enough capacity to provide you with your water demands. Second, you have started to consume more water recently, and due to this reason, you are suffering from low pressure. You may experience low pressure temporarily if all the members in the family are using water at one single time.
Dealing with Low-Pressure Problem
To increase your water pressure, you need to apply a two-fold strategy. First of all, you need to get rid of all the problems mentioned earlier.
Troubleshooting Guide to Increase Water Pressure
Before you buy a machine to enhance the water pressure, it is crucial to get rid of the problems mentioned above. You can apply the following strategies in this order
Checking and Servicing the Pressure Tank – In order to increase the water pressure, you need to make sure that the pressure tank is working in mint condition. You can do this with the help of the following steps
- Switch off the electric supply to the pump and drain all the water in the pressure tank. Do not waste the water, store it in a bucket or drum; you can use it later for gardening or washing your vehicles.
- Check for leakages in the pressure tank, if there are leakages in the pressure tank, you need a new tank, or you need to get it repaired.
- Attach a pressure gauge to monitor water pressure in your tank. Each pressure tank has different optimum water pressure. You need to consult the brochure or user’s guide or contact the customer service center for knowing the exact pressure figure. As a general indicator, the total pressure should be above 40 PSI. If it is below 40 PSI, adjust the pressure through the pressure switch.
- Turn on the circuit and test the water pressure by opening the faucet. If the pressure is still not working fine, you need to look for other ways to make it good.
Check Plumbing, Showerheads, and Aerators – You must check all the plumbing fixtures and water pipes leading to your home from the water well. Mineral deposits are often the reason behind a decreased flow rate at your taps. Make sure they are clean; you can hire a professional service to get it done. Blocked showerheads and aerators are also a reason behind the slow flow rate at your faucets; you can open the showerheads, faucets, and aerators and clean them with a paste of baking soda and vinegar to get rid of mineral deposits.
Check Water Filters, Softeners, and other Appliances – Sometimes, water pressure may reduce due to faulty working of water filters, softeners, and appliances such as water humidifiers. Make sure that you are getting enough pressure of water once the water leaves such appliances and enters your home or your faucet from under sink water filtration systems.
Increasing the Water Pressure
There are some ways to enhance the water pressure for your well. Even if a large number of people use it at one time, your water will flow at a fast flow rate and with excellent pressure.
Adjust Pressure Setting – As an immediate measure to increase water pressure from well, you need to increase the pressure setting on your pressure switch. One thing to consider while increasing the pressure is the capacity of the well pump to sustain high pressures. If your pump can sustain a pressure of 40/60, adjust the pressure switch on this setting.
Install Additional or Large Pressure Tank – You can get rid of the low-pressure tank problem for good by installing a large pressure tank or adding another pressure tank to your system. It will also reduce the number of pump cycling and hence limit fluctuations in water pressure.
Install a Constant Pressure Valve – A constant pressure valve reduces the number of pump cycles and eliminates fluctuation from your well system. You can easily buy it from a nearby hardware store or online. A constant pressure valve has two benefits; it reduces the wear and tears on the pump by reducing the number of cycles. It bypasses the pressure tank during extreme usage hours and stops the pump from turning on and off. Secondly, it has the ability to maintain a constant stream of pressure without fluctuations. If the setting is 40/60, a constant pressure valve can limit the fluctuations. It is a general rule of water pressure that if the pressure is high, you will experience more fluctuations, and even a tiny drop in pressure will be felt like a big dip.
Get yourself a Water Pressure Booster Pump – As the name indicates, it is used to boost water pressure from your well. Boosters are frequently used in multistory buildings to supply water at the top story. It is also used by people who have a well located far away from their residence. If you experience a drop in pressure in the upper stories of your home, you can use a pressure booster pump and get significant results. A booster pump does not interfere with the working of your well. Rather it supplies the already pumped water at upper stories and distant places from well. It is so effective that municipal water systems use powerful version to supply water to whole neighborhoods. The boosters are installed after pressure tanks.
The Most Powerful Solution: Install a Constant Pressure System – A constant pressure system is the best and the last resort to get the pressure problem sorted out. It is a costly solution, and that is why it must be preferred as the last way to get rid of this problem. It comes with a variable speed pump that adjusts the pressure according to the usage at your home and delivers the exact amount of water needed to provide you with constant pressure. With the help of technology, it is able to judge the amount of pressure needed, and hence it supplies you with a constant stream of water. It will maintain a constant pressure at all the points of use at your home. For example, if you are washing dishes in the kitchen and someone starts to take a shower in a washroom at the upper portion of your home, the constant pressure system will run faster to provide a constant pressure of water. It can provide constant pressure to a lot of points of use at your home. Despite a stable water pressure, the constant system also brings along the benefits of less fluctuation and enhanced life of your water pump.
How to Increase Water Pressure in Shower with Well Water
Despite trying all of the above, you may still face a low-pressure problem with showers. The above remedies will increase water pressure for your whole house. If you notice a difference in shower flow rate and other taps, there is some problem with your showerheads. You can employ the following techniques to get better water pressure while showering.
Check for Water-Saving Shower Heads – Some showerheads are built with a flow-restricting mechanism. It is installed to save water while you shower. Flow restricting showerheads are installed due to obligations from The National Energy Act. It helps in reducing water bills for tap water users and saving water. Make sure that your showerheads do not have such a valve. If they do, turn it off.
Check for Bends in Water Pipes – This trick comes in handy for the showers with flexible lines. The shower pipes may have kinks that are preventing the water flow at high speed. Make sure the water pipes are not twisted for the handheld showers.
Water Leakages – Sometimes, water leakages are also a culprit behind low water pressure. It is possible that plumbing fixtures leading to your shower have a leakage. Check for any possible leakage by tracing the plumbing pipe backward to the main supply line.
Clean the Shower Heads – Shower heads get clogged over time due to sediment and mineral deposits. You should clean your shower heads after 3-4 months to remove the sediment. It will increase the water flow rate and provide you with clean water for taking a bath. You can use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to wipe off the attached sediment. If the showerhead can’t be removed, you will need a sandwich bag or a balloon along with a rubber band to clean the shower. Fill the balloon with vinegar and attach it to the showerhead. It will remove the sediment and help increase the water flow rate.
Confirm that the Valve is Open – If you have had some recent plumbing work or closed the main supply valve, there is a high chance that it is not fully open. Plumbers forget to open the valve fully, and you have to suffer from a low water pressure problem.
Check Water Heater Valve and Flush it – If the slow water pressure problem is limited to only hot water taps, the water heater’s valve is not fully open. Check the shut-off valve and open it. If this is the cause behind slow water pressure in hot water taps, the problem will be solved. If checking the valve will not solve your problem, it is likely that slow hot water is due to sediment in the tank and pipes. It happens more frequently in heaters with a tank as compared to tankless water heaters. Get the tank and lines flushed. It will result in a pressure increase.
Shower at off-peak Hours – If you want to enjoy your shower with a high flow rate, try to take a shower when no one else is using water, like early in the morning or late in the night. If everyone else is using water simultaneously, the supply to your washroom will be slow, and you will not get the desired water pressure.
Switch off the Other Appliances – Another remedy to deal with slow water pressure while bathing is to turn off other appliances using water. Common devices that use water pretty fast are dishwasher, washing machine, and sprinkler system. Turning them off will increase the available water for bathing.
Get a New Shower Head – Buying a new shower head for your washroom is also a great strategy to increase water pressure. Old showerheads may become a hurdle in delivering high-pressure water for bathing. Recent models come with specific designs that augment water pressure from a low incoming water feed.
Shower Pumps – You can also use a shower pump to increase the water pressure. Water pressure pumps work like a small water pump that brings water first to your shower and then to other taps. You can imagine it like an individual water pump for your shower. The water pump uses boosters to increase the flow rate of water from the shower, and you get high-speed water for bathing.
Final Word – What to do