If you’re used to drinking city water, you’ll definitely notice the difference in your water pressure when you move into a new home in the country. While city water has an average water pressure of 60 PSI (pounds per square inch), it’s not uncommon for well water pressure to drop below 40 PSI.
What’s the problem with low water pressure? Well, the things you once took for granted, like showering, doing your laundry and washing dishes, will become a whole lot more difficult.
With lower water pressure, your pipes won’t be able to supply your appliances with the water they need at a fast enough rate. That means it’ll take much longer to do your water-based chores, and you’ll probably notice a disappointing flow of water from your shower and faucets.
You may even find that using certain water-based appliances together, like showering while running the dishwasher, results in virtually no water flow to either of these appliances whatsoever.
🔔 How to Increase Well Water Pressure
Luckily, increasing your well water pressure isn’t a case of “could I?” – it’s more a case of “how could I?”.
You might not have had to worry about your water pressure before, but lots of other people have. And where there’s a common problem, there’s a business making money from a solution.
But before we get into the costlier solutions, let’s take a look at how to increase your well water pressure by simply changing the way things run in your home.
Inspect Your Pump and Pressure Tank
First off, the logical place to start is your well pressure tank and pump. If any of these devices are failing, that may be the cause of your low water pressure. You may be able to diagnose a failing tank or pump yourself by looking for obvious signs of deterioration – but a plumber can provide more information about whether you need to buy a replacement.
Check Pressure Tank Settings
One fast and easy way to remedy low water pressure is to change your pressure tank settings.
The pressure in the tank needs to be between 40 and 60 PSI, so of course, you should only adjust your settings if your pressure gauge reads lower than this.
Take a look at your pressure switch – it should clearly state the tank’s pressure setting.
A pressure switch will automatically sense when the pressure in well water systems has changed. Most tanks are set at 30/50 PSI, which means the well water system has a cut-on pressure at 30 PSI and a cut-off pressure of 50.
Set your pressure switch to 40/60 if it’s currently sitting at a lower setting, which will mean that the pump turns on at 40 and turns off at 60 PSI. then follow the steps below to adjust your tank’s pressure accordingly.
Cut off the power to the pressure tank and drain the tank.
Then, use a pressure gauge, such as a tire pressure gauge, to take a reading of the air pressure. The pressure of your tank should ideally be 2 PSI below the low cut-in point of the pressure switch.
So, if your pressure switch is now set at 40/60, your pressure should read 38 PSI. You can add more pressure to the tank using an air compressor – but do it carefully, and don’t add too much pressure, or the tank won’t hold as much water.
Check the Air Fill Valve
Another quick diagnostic task is to check your well’s air fill valve.
Switch off the circuit that connects to your well pump, then use a gauge to test the air fill valve.
As you now know, the normal water pressure to aim for is between 40 and 60 PSI. Again, remember that your pressure should read between 1 and 10 PSI below the cut-in pressure, with 2 being the ideal figure.
If your pressure is any lower than this, adjust the pressure switch. Then switch the circuit back on and test your water flow from a faucet. You can adjust the pressure switch again if needed.
Get Your Pipes Inspected
You might not think to check this, but sometimes, a water pressure problem can be caused by something as simple as clogged sediment and debris in your water pipes.
This can especially be the case in homes that use a well water supply, as well water is much higher in sediment than your average city water source. Reduced water pressure can also be caused by hard water mineral deposits, or limescale. The friction of the water against the limescale in the pipes can slow down its flow significantly.
To check whether you have a hard water limescale build-up, call in a professional to inspect your pipes. You don’t have to replace your pipes if they’re clogged – a good plumber will be able to clean them out for you.
To prevent this problem from returning in the future, purchase a high-quality sediment filter and whole home water softener and install it at your home’s point of entry. This will tackle hard water issues and protect your pipes and plumbing.
Confirm Water Filter or Softener Systems Sizing
If you already use a water softener or water filter in your home, that may actually be causing your water pressure problem. An improperly sized system may require a water flow rate that you can’t offer.
A filter or softening system that’s too large, for example, may need a particularly high flow rate to send water through the system at a fast enough speed.
If your flow rate is too low, water will struggle to make its way through the system – and if this system is filtering your entire home’s water supply, it’s easy to see how it could have an effect on your water pressure.
❕ Note – A filtration system that’s too small won’t cause any issues with water pressure, but it may mean that the filters become quickly damaged by the strong water flow, or that they don’t have the adequate pressure required to thoroughly remove contaminants from your well water.
Check Faucets, Aerators, Showerheads & Fixtures
Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that we forget to check – and they end up being the cause of the problem.
If you’ve been using the same faucets, showerheads, aerators and fixtures for more years than you can remember, there’s a good chance that these appliances aren’t as clean on the inside as they once were.
Perhaps you’re noticing a specific pressure problem with your showerhead – and it may be that your shower is so clogged with debris that your water simply can’t pass through.
A simple solution to this simple problem is to clean out the appliance in question.
If you’re dealing with limescale, soaking the appliance in a bucket of baking soda and vinegar overnight should do the trick. You might also want to replace your appliance altogether if it’s particularly gritty or is showing signs of deterioration.
Install a Higher Flow Capacity Pump
The flow capacity of your current well pump, or submersible pump, may be to blame for your low pressure. If you’ve checked and found that your pressure tank is already set to the highest pressure, there’s a chance that your well pump is the problem here.
You can buy well pumps with different capacities. If your well pump currently has a flow rate of 8 gallons per minute (GPM), for instance, you will probably see an instant improvement by installing a well pump that has a flow rate of, say, 12 GPM.
Install a Booster Pump
One of the most popular ways to increase your water pressure is to use a booster pump.
Booster pumps can be particularly handy if you’ve noticed that your home’s ground floor water pressure is significantly lower than the water pressure on an upper floor. This is a common issue amongst private well users, as well pumps struggle to defy gravity and send water beyond the ground floor.
Booster pumps require electricity to operate. You can install your pump wherever you see fit on your main water line. You may want to install a booster pump before a water filter, such as a reverse osmosis system, if your low water pressure is preventing the system from performing properly.
Install a Constant Pressure System
An alternative to a booster pump is a constant pressure system. Installing a constant pressure system at your home’s point of entry will provide your whole home with a higher water pressure.
The function of this device is to prevent your water pressure from dropping when you’re using multiple fixtures at once. It does this by preventing the tank pressure in your well system from dropping any lower than 2 PSI – before this can happen, it’ll trigger the pump to boost the pressure.
Without a constant pressure system, it’s typical for pressure tanks to fluctuate in pressure by around 10-20 PSI.
❔ Frequently Asked Questions
What is Good Water Pressure for a Well?
The best water pressure for a well is 40/60. Any lower than this and you may struggle to send water around the plumbing system in your home, especially if you have a larger family and use more gallons per minute than the average household.
Is there a difference between water flow and water pressure?
Yes – though water flow and water pressure are closely linked, they’re not the same thing. Water’s flow rate is the volume of water that can be produced, and is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). Water pressure, on the other hand, is the speed at which water is produced, and is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI).