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CMys 01-20-2012 06:38 PM

Water pressure spontaneously low
Hello. We are on well water, have copper pipes, have a water softener, and normally have regular pressure even when a shower, washing machine and several faucets are running. We've suddenly started having low pressure problems intermittently, especially if a shower is running or another faucet is running. Our well pump pressure gauge is on 60 psi, and the pressure tank seems to run well.

Any clues as to what's up, and any suggestions as to a DIY fix?

joecaption 01-20-2012 10:29 PM

Not sure what you would mean by pressure tank runs well.
Pressure tanks do not "run".
Most have a rubber bladder at the top of the tank, there's what looks like a tire valve stem at the top with a caps on it. If you remove the cap and push down on the vale stem and water comes out it's shot. There should only be air pressure in the bladder.
The pressure should be about 5 lb. less then what the tank pressure is set for.
When a bladder blows the pump will turn on the instant a valve is opened, there should be a delay because the tank asks as a reserve for storing water.
Is there a water filter on this system? If so also change the filter.

Speedbump 01-21-2012 08:38 AM

If you can tell us more about your equipment, we will be more helpful.

CMys 01-21-2012 08:42 AM

Joecaption, sorry about the semantics. What I meant was the pressure tank seems to be fine, the valve stem releases only air when pressed.

There is a water filter also. The cartridge has recently been replaced, so that can't be it.

I was wondering if the low pressure was due to mineral build up in the pipes, as some websites have warned, however the low pressure problem began so abruptly that I can't imagine that is it. Any thoughts/advice?

Speedbump 01-21-2012 09:22 AM

Even though you changed the cartridge in that in lne filter doesn't mean it'a not plugged. An excessive amount of mineral could have let go up stream of it and plugged it again. Why don't you remove it and see if that improves your pressure.
That filter isn't doing anything useful anyway.

Redwood 01-21-2012 10:29 AM

I agree with SpeedBump...

Start with that Whole House Filter and see what goes on when it is removed...
They are useless and most often the culprit for low pressure problems.


As far as the pre-charge on the pressure tank, that would be 2 psi less than the cut in pressure for the pump. The symptom of a problem there would be the pump short cycling. IE every time you run a small amount of water the pump turns on.

I'll leave you in SpeedBump's good hands now...
He's the guy I ask questions about well pump systems and water softeners... :trophy:

joecaption 01-21-2012 11:02 AM

A filter may not be needed in your area but it sure is here.
I live on the coast in VA and without a filter the plumbing would stay plugged up with decompost shells, sand, shale flakes.
We had been having earth quakes here latly that have pluged it up from the ground shaken up so bad.
If it was not for the filter all that trash would have plugged up every faucet,
stuck the scald valve and dumped into the water heater.

Redwood 01-21-2012 11:52 AM

In that case Joe you need a sand/sediment removal filter not a filter with an element that will plug up and restrict flow. Also your pump may be set too low in the well where it is picking up this stuff. SpeedBump may have some other suggestions for you as well.

These are probably what you need....

SandMaster PLUS-Centrifugal Sand Separators for Residential Water Well Systems-LAKOS

SandMaster-Centrifugal Separator for Residential Water Well-LAKOS

Centrifugal Sand Separators For Residential Water Well Systems-LAKOS

I'd start a new thread asking or, just PM SpeedBump....

CMys 01-21-2012 03:53 PM

Thanks fellas. I replaced the whole house water filter cartridge. The old one was black with sludge, which is odd because we had replaced it a month ago. So far the pressure seems to be fine... for now.

Just out of curiosity, what does a clean cartridge have to do with water pressure? Does a dirty filter impede water pressure that much? Thanks for your help - I'm new to this site and home maintenance in general.

joecaption 01-22-2012 12:20 PM

Take a straw and bend it in half, now try to suck on it. Yes when it's pluged up it's not going to work.

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