InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.
Well water pressure improvements & repairs:
Here we summarize the key steps you can take to improve the water supply or flow rate at building plumbing fixtures when the water supply is provided from a private well and pump and pressure tank system.
At the article end we provide a series of detailed diagnostic & repair articles used to figure out why well water pressure is poor, has stopped altogether, or varies unacceptably in a building at all or some of its plumbing fixtures.
How to Boost or Increase Private Pump and Well Water Pressure
Need for Poor Water Pressure (Flow) Diagnosis
Watch out: you could spend a lot of time and money fooling with the pressure control switch (or in a building with city water, with the pressure regulator) only to finally figure out that there is a clogged water pipe (illustration above) or a clogged pipe elbow or partly-closed valve or dirty water filter.
[Click to enlarge any image]
Before adjusting a well pump pressure control switch changing building piping, or considering installing a water pressure booster pump it is essential to understand what the incoming water pressure is and exactly why the building water pressure is not satisfactory.
Definition of Water Pressure vs Water Flow Rate vs Water Quantity available from a well
Watch out: don't confuse water pressure with water flow rate: Sometimes, even when residential water supply equipment is working normally, building occupants want higher water pressure.
Don't confuse water quantity (how much before we run out), water flow (how many gallons per minute we can get at a faucet) and water pressure (what is the delivery pressure or the maximum pressure that the system can provide). Water pressure is measured most accurately with the water turned off, at a hose faucet or washer hookup, using a pressure gauge. Here are articles describing each of these different water system measurements:
WATER PRESSURE MEASUREMENT - how much force is water pressurized in a water system, psi static water pressure and psi dynamic water pressure
WELL FLOW RATE - how much water is in the well, or how much water can we get out of a well
But in common language, people consider the strength of flow at the faucet as their "water pressure". Actually what is being observed is a water flow rate, determined by both the pressure from the water source and the diameter of the building piping, including the effects of any obstructions.
How a larger water tank affects building water pressure
Really? Adding a larger water pressure tank will give a longer draw-down time - you can run a plumbing fixture longer between well pump "on" cycles, which means if your pressure normally ranges between 30 and 50, it will fall from 50 down to 30 more slowly. It won't boost system pressure beyond the pump pressure control setting.
How setting up the pump pressure control switch improves water pressure
You can, within certain limits, improve water flow rate or "pressure" by upping the cut-out pressure on the pump control.
Watch out: If you set the control too high the pump will not reach cutoff temp and will burn up, or if you put in a more powerful pump and boost much over 70 psi you risk plumbing leaks.
How adding a booster pump can improve water pressure
Adding a booster pump can improve building water pressure where the private pump and well system can't get enough pressure or quantity or where the building height impacts water pressure on its upper floors.
Similarly, if the water pressure tank and pump are too distant from the point of water use, or if your well and pump are delivering water to multiple buildings, a booster pump may help improve local water pressure and flow at the more remote buildings.
Install Larger Diameter Water Supply Piping to Improve Well Water Flow Rates
A common repair for poor building water flow rate where the piping is blamed for either scale clogging or too-small diameter to start with, is to install larger diameter water supply piping wherever the piping is readily accessible, such as in a basement or crawl area.
The sketch illustrates that by installing larger diameter water supply piping in just part of the total run will indeed improve "water pressure" or flow rate at the fixtures.
Why is this so? Well as more plumbing fixtures flow, the pressure and flow drops more at each fixture.
That means that (for example) if we replace any ten-foot section of pipe with a larger pipe, the pressure drop across that section will be reduced. Therefore replacing any section of pipe improves pressure (and flow) throughout the system.
Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Mark Cramer Inspection Services Mark Cramer, Tampa Florida, Mr. Cramer is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors and is a Florida home inspector and home inspection educator. Mr. Cramer serves on the ASHI Home Inspection Standards. Contact Mark Cramer at: 727-595-4211 mark@BestTampaInspector.com
John Cranor is an ASHI member and a home inspector (The House Whisperer) is located in Glen Allen, VA 23060. He is also a contributor to InspectApedia.com in several technical areas such as plumbing and appliances (dryer vents). Contact Mr. Cranor at 804-747-7747 or by Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to reader EK Woodard, Boise State University, Boise ID, for assistance in diagnosing poor water pressure following an electrical power loss. 3/14/2010
Wikipedia provided background information about some topics discussed at this website provided this citation is also found in the same article along with a " retrieved on" date. NOTE: because Wikipedia entries are fluid and can be amended in real time, we cite the retrieval date of Wikipedia citations and we do not assert that the information found there is necessarily authoritative.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: email@example.com. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones