50 psi water pressure is recommended by most professionals that help fittings and fixtures to work normally without stressing the entire plumbing system. People using city water usually get the same recommended pressure while people using well water mostly face a low water pressure. Thus, a common question arises how you can increase your well water pressure? This article covers the reasons for low well water pressure and the possible ways of increasing well water pressure.
Reasons behind Low Well Water Pressure
There are two main causes behind low water pressure in homes that use well water. The first is a buildup in the plumbing due to hard water. The second reason is the faulty or improperly adjusted pressure tank. Some wells are naturally pressurized and produce free-flowing drinking water from the ground in the form of natural springs. However, most drilled wells do not generate high enough natural pressure to supply domestic plumbing without a well pump and pressure tank. You may have low water pressure if there is a problem with any of these components.
Problems with the Well System
A well pump contains an electric motor that pushes water from the well to your home. If your well water contains a lot of sediment, it can clog your well pump and reduce water flow into your home. In this case, remove the sand from the well water.
The well system usually includes a pressure tank to increase the pumped water pressure. Most pressure tanks use compressed air to push water out of the outlet at a pre-programmed speed. Adjusting pressure vessel settings may improve pressure. Another common reason for pressure tank problems is an air leak, resulting in the tank’s inability to maintain enough internal pressure to pressurize the piping system.
Hard Water Problems
Low water pressure in your well may be caused by a buildup of contaminants in your home’s plumbing rather than an equipment problem. Materials originally dissolved in the water supply can accumulate in pipes and equipment, especially where the water is heated.
The most common contaminant is calcium carbonate, a mineral commonly found in hard water. Large amounts of calcium carbonate deposits can restrict water flow in your home. For example, scale buildup at the outlet of your water heater can affect the pressure in your shower or hot water faucet. If this is the case, look for a well water softening system to reduce the scale and increase water pressure.
6 Ways to Increase Well Water Pressure
1. Adjust Pressure Tank Settings
Most residential wells come with a pressure tank that controls the pressure of the water flowing from the well into your home. Usually, homes connected with city water supply about 60 pounds per square inch (psi) of water, but the standard setting for most well water pressure tanks is only 28 psi. You can adjust this tank set to increase the water pressure in your home significantly.
Additional pressure settings for most tanks include 20/40, 30/50, and 40/60 psi. The first number indicates how much the pressure in the tank must drop before the well pump starts adding water. The second number indicates how much water pressure must drop in the tank before the pump stops.
Raise the tank pressure setting to 40/60psi and you will be amazed at how quickly the water pressure in your home increases after this simple adjustment.
2. Consider a Higher Flow Pump
If your pressure tank is already set to the highest setting, your water pressure problem may be caused by your current well pump. Different well pumps have different flow rates or flow capacities and ratings, and if your current pump’s flow rate is too low, you may not be able to pump enough water into your home to meet your family’s water needs.
Well pump flow rates are measured in gallons per minute (GPM). If you currently have a well pump rated at 8 GPM, upgrading to a pump rated at 12 GPM can significantly improve your home’s water pressure.
3. Upgrade to Constant Pressure System
A well water system can experience a sudden pressure drop when multiple fittings are operated simultaneously. In addition, going back and forth between the cut-in and cut-out pressures of a standard well water pump creates large fluctuations in water pressure.
With a constant pressure system, additional components are attached to the water supply line extending from the well. The component has a sensor that allows you to control the water pressure and keep it at a certain level. The beauty of constant water pressure systems is that they can be installed directly into your current system. Another advantage of the constant pressure route is that it requires a much smaller pressure tank.
4. Remove Well Water Clogging
To see if your well water pump is clogged with debris or mud, disassemble any easily removable components and soak them in a solution of water, bleach, or detergent. Also, replace all removable screens. Some pumps also have a backwash program that can wash away trapped dirt.
After cleaning and reinstalling your well pump, add a well water sediment filter to your filtration system to reduce dirt, rust, sand, and other contaminants from your plumbing system.
5. Water Heater Maintenance
Many of the minerals and metals commonly found in well water react chemically with the magnesium rods in your water heater, causing scale buildup that quickly restricts water flow. Professional water heater service should include thoroughly cleaning and de-scaling heating tanks, inlets, and outlets. A qualified professional can also install a heater rod that is suitable for the mineral profile of the home water supply.
6. Install the Water Softener
If you have a hard water problem, installing a water softener throughout your home effectively reduces clogging, flow, dirt, and water pressure problems. Water softeners use an ion exchange mechanism to remove heavy minerals and metals from the hard water.
If you are a well owner, you may face well water system challenges, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for weak water pressure. The first step in measuring water pressure is to determine if hard water is the culprit or if the pressure switch needs to be adjusted. A constant pressure system is always the best choice if more consistent water pressure is required.