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Clean Water Made Easy Podcast

Gerry Bulfin Master Water Specialist

Clean Water Made Easy Podcast
29 min2018 APR 20
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Episode 15. How to Troubleshoot Low Water Pressure On Well Water Systems

Read or Listen to See How to troubleshoot Low Water Pressure On Well Water.

Today’s episode is all about how to troubleshoot low water pressure on well water for homes and small businesses.

Do you have plenty of water, but experience low water pressure?  This is a common problem.

I put together a Checklist and quick Troubleshooting guide called “How to Troubleshoot Low Water Pressure On Well Water.”  This free guide includes pictures, checklists, and things to look for in trying to troubleshoot low water pressure (see link below to get your guide).

Discussed during this episode:

1. What is water pressure and what is the difference between water pressure, and flow rate?

2. How to find out what your water pressure and the flow rate is now, before any water treatment systems or plumbing.

3. How to Troubleshoot common problems with low water pressure and flow rate.

4. How to read a filter pressure drop chart and a pump curve charts.

5. How to size whole house filters, automatic backwash filters, and softeners to avoid pressure drop problems.

6. What is water pressure and what is the difference between water pressure, and flow rate?


What is Water Pressure?

Water in residential plumbing systems is “under pressure”, that is, it is pressurized by either gravity or a pump to give you the flow and pressure you need.

In the U.S. and Canada, the pressure is typically measured in Pounds Per Square Inch, which is referred to as PSI.

Pressure is how many pounds per square inch your water is under. So for example, if you had a storage tank 100 feet in elevation above your house, you would have 43 PSI. So for every 10 feet its higher (referred to as Head) you will have 4.3 PSI.

The pressure would be the same if you had a million gallon storage tank, or a 1000 gallon storage tank on a hill 100 feet above your house. The pressure would still be 43 psi. But for many of us on residential well systems, we don’t have gravity flow we have a submersible pump that is used to build up water pressure. The higher the pressure you have, the more flow (up to a point) can flow through a pipe of a given size.

Most modern homes and appliances like to have at least 30 PSI, however, 50 to 60 is much better. Generally, most appliances don’t like to see more than 70 PSI because it can damage some appliances.  Water pressure is easy to measure with a pressure gauge. Most home well systems will have at least one pressure gauges, usually somewhere on the pipe near your pressure tank.

You can easily find out what the PSI is by just looking the pressure gauge and noting the PSI. The pressure tank might turn on at one PSI and off at a different pressure, say on at 30 and off at 50 PSI.  Knowing what your water pressure is can help you troubleshoot low water pressure on well water.

What is Flow Rate?

Flow rate can be thought of in terms of gallons per minute flowing through a pipe. A common residential well pump might deliver anywhere from 5 to 20 gallons in one minute.  Pressure is not the same as flow, however.

As an example: You could have great water pressure coming from the well, but terrible flow rate and reduced water pressure in the home.

Most pipes in standard homes are ½”, ¾” or 1” in diameter. Say you had really great water pressure of 60 or 70 PSI, and your home had all ½” piping, and you had 3 bathrooms all being used at the same time, or you had a large spa type bathtub that likes to be filled at 15 gallons per minute. Because you have ½” piping, you might experience low flow rate, even if you have 70 PSI to start with because the flow rate needed requires a la...