It can be quite frustrating if you are doing laundry or taking a shower, and the water pressure suddenly drops. Instead of worrying about low water pressure, it is better to know about the problem and find a workable solution for it. The average water pressure for a standard private well is mostly 40 – 60 pounds per square inch (psi). However, it is not an absolute value because the needs of the users can vary.
In this article, we will discuss finding good water pressure based on your needs and how you can maintain it.
Well Pumps, Pressure Tanks, Pressure Switch Mechanism
To draw water from the well, different components work in combination to deliver water to the household. To understand how water pressure develops, you need to know the basic working of a well. The major components are: well pump that draws water from the well, pressure tank used to fill the water using air pressure mechanism, and pressure switch that can adjust the pressure levels. Pressure tanks can be of various types; air-over water tanks, diaphragm tanks, or bladder tanks. However, all pressure tanks work on the same principle.
Water from the well first enters the pressure tanks through electric pumps. The water puts pressure on the air present in the tanks and keeps compressing it until the maximum pressure setting is achieved. As the pressure reaches the higher cut-off value (assuming 60 psi here), the pump turns off. Water pours out of the faucets when required, and the pump remains turned off in the meantime. As the pressure reaches the lower cut-off value (assuming again, 40 psi), the pump turns back on, and the cycle repeats itself.
The pressure switch regulates the lower and higher pressure settings. It also keeps tabs on the on/off function of the pump.
Why Are There Different Pressure Settings?
The pressure settings can fall in the range of 20 – 40 psi, 30 – 50 psi, 40 – 60 psi, or even 50 – 70 psi. The appropriate pressure level can depend on water usage. Single-floor houses, located closer to the wells, can have sufficient water supply at a pressure cut-off of 30 – 50 psi. While double or multiple story houses need higher water pressure to deliver water to the upper levels. As the water is working against gravity, it will need 40 – 60 psi or more pressure to reach the top floors. Water booster pumps can be used in the building where water pressure may be an issue.
High water consumption can also require a higher pressure setting. It could be that many people live in the household. If three or more people are using the water simultaneously, water pressure is bound to decrease. Maybe you are using appliances that need abundant water to function, such as dishwashers, washing machines, etc.
Moreover, houses located at large distances from the well require 40 – 60 psi or even more. Higher pressures will be needed to make water available to the fixtures without having to wait for long duration.
Why There Isn’t a Good Water Pressure
Water pressures of 30/50 or 40/60 psi are common well water pressures. However, as stated earlier, it mostly depends on household water consumption. If 30/50 psi cannot deliver adequate water pressure to all the points of exit, it is not considered a good water pressure. The majority of the pressure switches do not go higher than 60 psi. It is strictly advised to check what level your pressure tank and pressure switch can support. Do not adjust the pressure settings without checking the instructions.
If at 40 – 60 psi, water is still not flowing with enough pressure, do not increase it unless the devices can sustain it. Instead, look for other factors that can cause the water pressure to deviate from the normal range.
Low Water Pressure
Some major yet common causes of low water pressure are:
Damaged Pressure Tanks, Well Pumps, Pressure Switch
If the major components of well water are not functioning correctly, the water pressure can fluctuate. The running of well pumps consists of periodic turning on/off. This cycle can cause the device to wear out rapidly. Or the pressure pump can get damaged, causing the water to seep. It can disrupt the mechanism of the entire system.
- Leakage in Fixtures
You can also check for leakage in the faucet, toilet, or showerhead. The continuous leakage of water causes the well pump to run more, and water gets wasted, which results in a pressure drop.
- Clogged and Corroded Pipes and Faucets
One important reason for the water pressure reduction over time is the mineral buildup in the plumbing system. Hard water deposits like calcium and magnesium can accumulate in the pipes, corrode the metal structure, and restrict the water passage. If you notice water stains on kitchenware, marble tiles, and laundry looking worn out, it is an evident sign of minerals present in the water. A water softener can help reduce the problem.
High Water Pressure
Low water pressures are troublesome. However, it does not mean the opposite can’t be true. If your faucets are running water at high pressures, it can put a lot of stress on the plumbing system. Appliances can break down, or faucets can start leaking. To avoid this, water pressure regulators can be used to maintain pressure levels.