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Water flow at a sink faucet (C) Daniel Friedman How to Diagnose & Repair Loss of Water Pressure from Municipal or Well Water Supply

  • NO WATER PRESSURE - CONTENTS: How to Diagnose and Fix Bad Total Loss of Water Pressure, Water Pressure Repair Guide - What causes loss of water pressure?Loss of municipal water pressure or flow - diagnostic guide. Loss of well water pressure or flow - diagnostic steps. How to diagnose loss of water pressure or loss of water in a building
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about troubleshooting total loss of water pressure in buildings
  • REFERENCES
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How to fix complete loss of water or water pressure/flow at a building: this article describes how to diagnose the total loss of water pressure and the need for water control, tank, piping, water supply main pipe & valve, or water well repairs.

The process of diagnosis and the costs of the repair are explained. Consumer advice on saving money on well repair costs is given here and includes a review of the parts and labor costs of a typical well pump and pressure tank replacement case.



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No Water Pressure or Flow? Diagnosis of Loss of Water Pressure which Does Not Recover on its Own

Water flow at a sink faucet (C) Daniel FriedmanHere we give basic diagnosis for cases where you lose water pressure and it does not recover. Water flow in the building simply stops dead.

By contrast with these "no water at all" causes, if water pressure in the building gets very low or stops but later recovers, you have an intermittent or other water system problem and you should
see WATER PRESSURE INTERMITTENT LOSS

Guide to Repair of Lost Water Pressure for Homes Supplied by Municipal or Community Water

  1. Is the Main Water Valve on? Has someone shut off the main water valve? Has someone been messing with the water pressure regulator? This is an adjustable water pressure which is often (not always) present on the piping at a municipal water supply pipe entry point ? If you cannot find your main water shutoff valve
    see WATER SHUTOFF VALVE LOCATION
  2. Has water been shut off in the neighborhood: is water off in your neighborhood. Sometimes work on the water mains leads to a shut down of all water in an area. Check with your neighbors and your water department.
  3. Is there a burst pipe? A pipe may be burst somewhere you don't see such as in a wall, crawl space, basement, or even outdoors. Listen at your water pipes for the sound of running water.
  4. Is there a frozen pipe? In freezing climates, even in a heated building a pipe might run through a cold location where freezing can stop water supply entirely or in a part of the building.
  5. Is there water pressure but the pressure and/or flow are poor? 
  6. See our detailed water pressure diagnostic list 
    at: WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR

Guide to Repair of Lost Water Pressure for Homes Supplied by a Well

Antique well pump (C) Daniel FriedmanIf the building water supply stops and takes minutes to hours to recover, you may have problem with the well flow rate. But the problem of lost water supply and pressure could be more mechanical: a bad well pump.

The well pump, in turn, could have been damaged or hastened to the end of its life by a bad water pressure tank which has caused well pump short-cycling.

Short cycling of the pump motor can burn up the pump relay control.

  1. First Check the Pump and Well Basics:
    1. Is electrical power on at the pump: is power on for the water pump? Is the water pump running at all? Did lightning hit your pump or well?
    2. Is the water main turned off: Has someone shut off the main water valve?
    3. Is there a burst pipe? A pipe may be burst somewhere you don't see such as in a wall, crawl space, basement, or even outdoors. Listen at your water pipes for the sound of running water.
    4. Is there a frozen pipe? In freezing climates, even in a heated building a pipe might run through a cold location where freezing can stop water supply entirely or in a part of the building.
    5. See our detailed diagnostic list
      at: WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
  2. Well or water supply piping leaks: If inside the well there is a leaky or broken water line rising from the well pump, the pump could run but deliver less or no water to the building. If this defect is present, the system will not recover to normal operation on its own. For example, if a well piping connection in the well becomes totally disconnected or the pipe bursts this condition occurs.
  3. Water pump failure or damage: If the well pump keeps running and you have no water it is also possible that the pump itself is defective, such as having broken internal parts so that the motor runs but the pump does not move water. But if the impeller blades in the pump are broken, the system would never recover. You'd have either no water or only very low pump output no matter what conditions in the well.
  4. If the water pump keeps running and you have no water it is also possible that you have a problem with the well or well piping or foot valve in the well -- maybe. See contrasting cases after this list. Turn off the water pump so that you don't burn out the motor. Some water pumps depend on having water inside the pumping mechanism to avoid wear or overheating.

    Lost prime: Your well pump might have lost its prime - if the the well pump is not actually down inside the well, it probably needs water inside the well casing to start things going.
    See WELL PUMP PRIMING PROCEDURE.

    A shallow well jet pump well line could have a bad foot valve (in the well) and so be losing prime. A leak in the well line can also lead to loss of prime.
    See PUMP PRIME, REPEATED LOSS of for a discussion of well piping foot valves.
  5. If the well pump keeps running and won't turn off, but you do have water pressure in the home, possibly reduced water pressure, there could be several causes, but ultimately it means that either the pressure switch is not turning off the pump when it should, or the pump is not able to pump water pressure up to its cut-out setting.

    A well pump pressure switch failure can also cause the water pump to fail to turn off - say if someone has adjusted that control to ask the pump for higher pressure than it can achieve. If no one has adjusted the pressure control switch, it could still be a problem if its pressure sensor is clogged with debris or if another problem is keeping it from turning off.
    See step 6 below.

    Well flow deteriorated: This symptom may also occur if the well flow rate has deteriorated - that is, water is running from the ground into your well more slowly than your pump pumps it out. You might see this especially if you have just installed a new, more powerful well pump on an older well that previously seemed just fine. Or it may occur in dry weather or for other reasons such as nearby blasting that has changed the ground water level.
    See WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR

    Well piping leak: This symptom may also occur if there is a leak in well piping between well and building - the well pump in the well may be working fine but not all of the water is reaching the building because it's leaking into the earth or back into the well.
    See WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
    and
    See PUMP PRIME, REPEATED LOSS of for a discussion of well piping foot valves.

    Well pump damage: the well pump may be damaged itself, a broken impeller or an air leak - preventing it from reaching full pressure.
    See WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
  6. If the water pump has shut itself off and the pump motor does not restart, the well pump may have tripped an internal or external overload switch, circuit breaker, or fuse.

    Check the fuse or circuit breakers supplying power to the water pump.

    Check the pump motor reset button: If the pump motor is accessible look on the motor for a red or yellow reset button that may have popped "up" indicating that the motor's overload protection circuit has activated.
    When the pump motor cools you may be able to reset this button and the pump may run and deliver water but further diagnosis is needed as this problem will recur.

    Check that the pressure control switch is trying to turn on the pump - see the next step below.

    Check the pump wiring and starter capacitor.
    See Jet Pump Troubleshooting Guide for more tips for a well pump that won't start.

  7. Problems with the well pump water pressure control switch: such as sticking "on" or "off" or working irregularly may be diagnosed by these articles:
    • How to Adjust Water Pump Pressure: The detailed, step by step procedure for inspecting and adjusting the water pressure control switch is discussed in detail
      at ADJUST PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL.
    • Diagnosing Water Pump Short Cycling on and off: If your water pump is clicking on and off too often or quite rapidly
      see SHORT CYCLING.
    • Diagnosing Water Pressure Drops without explanation when the pump stops,
      see WATER PRESSURE FALLS SLOWLY, ERRATIC PUMP: bad pressure control switch, building water running or leak, bad pressure gauge, bad check valve, bad foot valve.
    • Diagnosing & Repairing Lost Air in the Water Tank: The problem of lost air in the water pressure tank along with how to correct that condition are discussed beginning
      at SIGNS OF AIR LOSS.
    • Diagnosing & Repairing a Water Pressure Control or Water Pump Control Switch: We discuss diagnosing and repairing a water pressure control switch that sticks "on" or "off" or simply won't operate,
      at WATER PUMP PRESSURE SWITCH REPAIRS
  8. If the pump is inside the well you can't see these conditions directly but an electrician or plumber can do some diagnosis from the building by noting the amperage draw on the pump circuit.
  9. Problems with well casing or well flow and recovery - loss of ground water and many other causes of loss of water are discussed at our comprehensive article:
    WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
  10. Problems with water treatment equipment can cause loss of water pressure or no water flow: a completely clogged water filter, or a malfunction in water disinfection or other water treatment equipment can cause a reduction in water pressure or a complete stop in water flow in a building.

    For example a UV ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT WATER TREATMENTsystem may include an automatic shut-off valve (a "normally closed solenoid") that turns off water flow in the building if the UV bulb burns out or falls too low in intensity.

    Also see WATER FILTERS, HOME USE for details about clogged filters,

    and see WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT CHOICES for our complete list of types of water treatment equipment.
  11. Is there water pressure but the pressure and/or flow are poor?
    1. See WATER PRESSURE REDUCER / REGULATOR
    2. See Bad water pressure Clogged Pipes & WATER PIPE CLOG REPAIR
    3. See WATER FILTERS, HOME USE if you have a water filter installed
  12. If water pressure is intermittent or varies in flow rate,
    see WATER PRESSURE INTERMITTENT LOSS
  13. See our detailed water pressure diagnostic list at:
    WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR

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