Pressure Fluctuation with well water
I recently moved my family in to a new (to us) home 1.5 months ago, and it's the first home I have had with well water. Though I consider myself a bit handy, I know little about wells, and even less about filtration/purification, but I'll save the purification/filtration/water tastes like dirt Q to another post.
Over the last few days, I have noticed that the flow at the kitchen tap, as well as the second floor shower taps slowly dwindles down, sometimes it recovers, sometimes I have filled the tub in the main bath a few inches deep and the flow was always pretty slow. I have gone down to check the pressure gage that's plumbed into what looks like a pressure switch, and it never reads below ~40 psi. Once it was down near 42 psi, I turned on the untility tub tap, and ran it full blast, flow looked pretty good. I watched the guage drop to about 40 psi, and the well pump kicked on. Over about 45 seconds, the line pressure went up to ~60 psi. The flow at the utility tub didn't change much, but it did seem to coming out at a higher pressure. As far as I can tell, that seems to be working as it should.
I am now starting to think I have some junk built up in the lines that is choking off flow. The changes in pressure might be the junk moving around in the line? In terms of plumbing routing, the kitchen, master and main 2nd floor bath are all on the same hot/cold main line (3/4" trunk line, 3/8" line to the kitchen sink, 1/2" going upstairs), with the kitchen being first branch in the line, the main bath, and the master bath last. Maybe with all the minerals in the water (I do have a softener, no idea how well it's working.. another post on that later too), the pipes are choked down?
I think the accumulator tank is working, I did a quick test to see if there was air pressure, but I did not check what the pressure was with a tire guage.. all the good tools are still at the old house.
Anybody have any thoughts?
Check out www.IrrigationTutorials.com for good information on wells and pumps.
It sounds like your pump is set for 40-60 psi cut-on/cut-off and is performing as expected, but that you may have some pressure restrictions in your water lines. A softener or any in-line filters will restrict flow, as well as old galvanized supply pipes.
What type of supply pipes do you have?
If they're old galvanized, then those are notorious for scaling up inside until eventually plugging up completely. The only solution for galvanized is replacement.
Couple more things I noted.
1) the laundry tub flow and pressure seem really good no matter if the system pressure is at 40 or 60 psi. The taps are after the filtration system too.
2) It's hot and cold water, not just 1 or the other. If the lines were blocking up, I'd think it'd be odd that both are doing so at the same time.
3) I have a paper-type filter first in line after the accumulator tank, I did just replace it two weeks ago. I have not checked that, but since the pressure fluctuates so much, and is not consistently low, I doubt that has anything to do with it. The main filter tank (composite 10x50 tank) seems fine too.
4) When I was shaving this AM, hot and cold was litlle more than a trickle. I shut the water off for less than a minute, then turned it back on to do something else, and the flow was almost normal, hot and cold.
Try cleaning out the screens on your faucets. These often accumulate particles. Your tub faucet won't have a screen but all the others will.
Seems that the first filter in my setup, which I believe is a particulate filter was plugged up. I replaced it, pressure GREAT!. This is the 2nd filter I have put in, and this one only lasted 2 weeks. The first one lasted a month, and I replaced it becuase my water started to taste bad, not becuase flow was diminishing...
I think I can close this thread. On to filtration.
Thanks to all.
I saw what I will call a "vortex filter" in a local Menards store that might work well for you. It's quite small but collects particles in a cone shaped device with a valve on the bottom. Reminds me of a woodworking dust collector.
Whenever needed you just open the valve to discharge the sediment into a bucket or line to drain.
I have to change my cartridge sediment filter on a monthly basis and am thinking about installing one of these before the cartidge filter - but right now it's just one more item on my list.
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