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gswartz 04-24-2011 07:42 PM

sudden water pressure problem
We bought our current house a year ago and upon moving in had a problem with our pressure tank, having to replace it. The other night I was taking a shower and in the middle of the shower I lost all pressure. This has happened a couple of times since then. I talked to the guy who replaced our pressure tank and he said it sounded like our well pump was going bad.

I then went up to take a shower this evening and while the hot water was running, I turned on the hot water in an adjacent tub in the same bathroom and lost most of the pressure in the shower. As soon as I turned it off the pressure came back on. I then tried turning on the cold water in the shower and also in the bath tub. When I did this I had absolutely NO water in the shower. Again, turning off the tub restored the water to the shower.

In my kids bathroom which is right next to mine (on the 2nd floor), if I turn on the shower and then turn on their sink, the shower does lose pressure but not as significantly as our bathroom. Of course, we're comparing a sink's output in my kids bath to the bathtub in our bath.

A few months ago I put a water softener in and have not had any problems until a few days ago so I don't know if it's related to that or not. I've turned on the bypass switch on the softener and haven't noticed any difference. The guy who did our pressure tank now says it doesn't sound like the well pump after all but like we have a blockage somewhere in our plumbing.

So, what are your thoughts on this? And, if it's a blockage, how can I tell where it is and get rid of it? Thanks!

gswartz 04-25-2011 05:53 AM

One other thing I just thought I should mention is that when I lost pressure for the first time I then turned on the faucet in the bathroom and I had a lot of sediment come out. That makes me wonder if in fact my well pump just pumped up some water with a big blob of sediment in it that 's causing enough of a blockage to affect the pressure when there are multiple faucets on? But again, if there is a blockage somewhere, how do I find and remove it?

Speedbump 04-25-2011 08:20 AM

Running faucets really doesn't give enough info to diagnose a problem. If you were able to disconnect the main line from the well to the house and run it full blast for a while; it would tell us a lot. Or by running all your outside faucets at once and monitoring the pressure gauge. Tell us if the pressure goes down, if so how far, or does it cycle on and off or what. You have to be running a lot of water and watch the behaviour of your pump to get a handle on what's going on. The idea that you have a blockage is a possibility, but highly doubtful. One thing I'm always suspicious of is the water softener or any other filters you may have. If you are sure you bypassed it, you should see at least a slight improvement in pressure, no matter what else is wrong.

gswartz 04-25-2011 06:32 PM

I have no idea how to disconnect the main line from the well. But this evening my daughter was showering and came down saying there was no water at all. I switched my softener to bypass and she had plenty of pressure then. So I called the place where I got the softener. They asked me if the clear pvc tubing that goes from the softener head to the drain was kinked like a garden hose and sure enough it was. He was sure that was the problem. He suggested I get some pvc pipe tomorrow that won't bend and replace the tubing with that. He also had me run through some cycling on the head of the unit thinking that the resin was getting hard or something since the unit couldn't properly flush during it's cycles.

I thought I was going to be home free but after opening up the tubing to let it complete the cycle my pressure was still very low. I then put it back on bypass and it really didn't seem to do anything. So, is this normal? I mean, if I replace the tubing with nonbendable pipe will it eventually work itself out through a few cycles with the resin? Thanks.

inspectorD 04-26-2011 05:58 AM

I have a question, How old is your house or when was it built?
I'm wondering if you have galvanized (silver or black) water supply lines which block up over time.
And why did they put a water system in in the first place, are you on a well with hard water, or do you just not like municipal water?

gswartz 04-26-2011 06:02 AM

The house was built in 1999. We're on a well and have very hard water with some iron so we put in the softener a couple of months ago. From what I can see it looks like a plastic tube coming into the house from outside and down to the pressure tank. I don't see any galvanized anywhere.

Speedbump 04-26-2011 07:09 AM

After the softener backwashes a few times, it should get back to normal. Or you can manually backwash it several times. It usually takes around 2 hours for a softener to go through a full backwash. I would just do it twice then give it a try. If that don't work, you must have some really bad water.

inspectorD 04-26-2011 03:03 PM

I agree, Backwash a few more times. And if it does not get better, you may need to change the medium.
1999 should be copper or plastics. Should be just fine, I was just trying to eliminate any other possibilities we did not see yet.

I just do not get why it was not ok that one time you also bypassed the filters? I would clean out all the aerators and see if they have junk in them.

kaleena 07-28-2011 08:39 PM

One more thing to note is that water lines coming from the municipal supply are larger and have a greater diameter. Lines that go from your house to the main municipal lines have smaller diameters. When water travels through all these lines, it experiences a lot of friction from the walls of the pipes. It could be that a very small length of pipe, installed from your home to the next line, is causing excess friction and thus slowing the overall flow of water.

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