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Water pressure problem diagnostic questions & answers set 1:
These frequently-asked questions or water pressure FAQs discuss how to diagnose poor water pressure or total loss of water pressure.
This article series explains how and why to distinguish among intermittent water pressure loss, total water pressure loss, and poor water pressure or flow in a building. We give diagnostic and repair procedures for both municipal water supply problems and well water supply problems.
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These questions & answers on troubleshooting water pressure and flow problems were posted originally at WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS, PRIVATE WELL - topic home.
For a table of causes & cures for weak or no water pressure also try WATER PRESSURE PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS TABLE
(May 29, 2014) Donavan Spader said:
Well pressure goes extremely low to extremely high
(May 29, 2014) Anonymous said:
I wonder if we are dealing with the nladder in the tank or a pressure guage sensitivity?
I suspect a slugginsh pressure control. See WATER PRESSURE VARIATION CAUSES
If the pressure *exceeds* the intended set pressure in the system then this is UNSAFE and you should shut the system off pending repair, as you could blow a tank (injure someone) or burst a pipe (flood the building).
Otherwise I suspect a debris-clogged sensor port on the pressure control switch. Try replacing that as well as the gauge.
(June 1, 2014) Marlo Richert said:
We installed a water tank about 50 feet from the well, and put the booster pump at the WELL site instead of at the tank...Our water pressure is not as good as it was when we didn't have the tank and booster pump system. Could that be because the booster pump is not at the tank?
The tank is 2500 gal
Any snafu in the installation could be at fault: smaller diameter piping, a valve partly shut, a solder blog clogging a pipe, or a pressure control switch not properly set, or change in pump capacity.
Submersible well pumps can be much more distant than 50 ft. from the pressure tank and work fine.
But I'm unclear what sort of pump you're using, how many pumps you've got and where they are. It's the pump that sets the pressure and flow rate, not the size of the water tank - unless your water tank is feeding a building from above by gravity.
Certainly if you are running the system with a single pressure control switch I'd look at those settings as well as at pump capacity.
(June 6, 2014) Mike Murphy said:
I have a well that supplies the house where the water storage tank is and a hydrant in my barn. The pump pressure is good at 55-60psi both places.
The house puts out 8 gal. per minute but only 3 gal per minute in the barn. If I installed a pressurized water storage tank in the barn which would fill at the mentioned pressure and flow, would that work to adequately supply a small apartment I plan on building in it?
(June 9, 2014) DARYL said:
I bought an old cabin on a lake and I have very low water pressure and the pump pulsates when running. The pump is 1/2 HP Is this standard? The pump is about 35ft. from the house and I replaced most of the plumbing with 1/2 cpvc. Was this the right size? The pump is probably the original one.
(June 25, 2014) Bishop said:
Well PSI great from the spigot that is off the submersible well. Will keep that pressure with a little fluctuation as the pump cuts on and off.
Once the water enters the house it is a different story. When you first turn on a faucet water comes out at good pressure for about 30 seconds then goes to a small stream. This is the same for anywhere in the house (sink, toilet, shower) - hot or cold.
Check the pressure gauge at the pressure tank in the home. Watch its change when you open a faucet. If pressure drops rapidly down we suspect the pressure tank is waterlogged. If pressure at the gauge remains high we suspect clogged supply piping or a blockage somewhere near the pressure tank.
(June 29, 2014) David said:
On a well and left water running from a hose pipe for about 2.5 hours by accident. Now no water from any taps. Water pump pressure shows as zero. Breakers for water pumps are good. Ideas?
If you leave water off for 24 hours to let the well recover you may be ok. Keep us posted so,we can follow up as needed.
(July 9, 2014) Erich said:
I was having issues with the well not coming on all the time and thought the pressure switch might be going bad.
I replaced the pressure switch with a like one (30-50). The same issue is still occurring. The well will not come on and when the pressure drops below 30. It does this erratically, sometimes it will work other times it will not come back on.
Sometimes it goes up to 50psi and shuts off other times it cuts off at 40. I have to manually engage the pressure switch to get it running again. When it shuts off it holds the pressure and does not drop until the water is actually turned on.
When you replaced the pressure control switch, if you left an existing small-diameter mounting tube for the switch or small diameter pressure-sensing tube between the switch and the pump that might explain the switch not responding to a drop in water pressure.
Also check for a pressure gauge that is itself not responding to pressure changes (try tapping on it gently) as the gauge too can become clogged.
(July 21, 2014) Janet said:
I am on a 23 year old private well that has never caused any problems until recently. When I water the garden beds, I lose all pressure in the house resulting in a tiny drip to no water at all at the faucets. Where should I start my troubleshooting?
Janet I'd start at topic #5 in the article above, well running out of water. Keep us posted.
(Aug 9, 2014) Anonymous said:
how come my well pressure gauge is to high -
ll0 psi making ugly noises
Watch out: - that is an extremely high and DANGEROUS pressure for a residential water system. A plumber in New York was killed when working on an over pressurized water tank that burst.
Possibly the pressure is not really that high and the gauge is defective, Otherwise I suspect a defective pump control switch and very dangerous conditions.
Turn the system off. Drain system pressure from a remote, safe spot away from the pressure tank.
(Aug 26, 2014) Home water well pump user said:
Home water well pump --
I recently have done a lot of outside watering (unusually high water use) and could notice when the pump was coming on and off based on the pressure/flow.
After a week or so, the pump now comes on and stays on as the pressure/flow never builds as high as it should though it still has moderate pressure and flow. ( I have never changed anything on the pump or switch )
If I momentarily cut the pressure tank off the system (shut the valve to the tank), then the pump quickly shuts off.
I cut the pressure tank back into the system and the pump remains off until next time the water pressure drops.
Wondering if I just wore out the pump but since it shuts off when I cut out the tank I am not sure.
Home water well pump --
update: I am guessing this problem was because the water level dropped from heavy use and the pump struggled to pull the extra head weight.
The pump came on and ran all night without my knowing it so it may be burned up.
I will have water hauled to raise the water level but suspect I may have to replace the pump now.
Typically the problem you describe arises from
- low flow into the well
- absence of a pump protection control
- internal pump damage
- clogging of an inlet strainer in the well
- from a leak in well piping
- from low voltage
If the pump is burned-up it won't run at all.
Indeed, hauling water to and pouring it into a low-water-level well may not be much help - the added water may simply leak back into the ground around the well bore where local water table levels have dropped.
(Sept 13, 2014) bob kennedy said:
my water pump does not kick on until i have almost no water pressure.
i replaced the pressure switch, to no avail. i have a tank that does NOT have a diaphram, usually i have to put more air into the tank because it comes on too soon. could i somehow have gotten too much air into the tank? i havent pumped air into the tank in some time.
Check for debris clogging in the tube that conducts water pressure to the pressure sensing port on the pressure switch.
Also check for a sticking pressure gauge. The pressure gauge does not control water pressure but if it's stuck it can give an incorrect pressure reading.
(Sept 13, 2014) BOB KENNEDY said:
i think my problem IS a clog, i just gotta figure out where. why would the gauge matter? i thought that it was just for ME to see the pressure. the gauge is in fact NOT working, as it hasnt in years(that's why i didnt think it mattered).
Also, i have a(garden) hose line hooked up before it goes to my house water.
i tried the hose and it seemed to kick on the pump after a little pressure decrease, sort of like it should. im thinking perhaps a clog from my filter to the house. im also thinking to replace everything from my well to my main house line. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TIMELY RESPONSE AND PLUMBING WISDOM!
Bob you're right to question my advice about the gauge. THe gauge has nothing to do with the operation of the pump control nor piping. I included it for a different reason: the same debris that clogs a pump pressure control switch sensor port will often also clog a pressure gauge.
Because we can see the gauge and notice it it is acting oddly - like sticking - that can help diagnose the problem over at the pressure switch.
After writing my comment I worried that it might be confusing. It was. sorry.
(Sept 18, 2014) tom said:
I have Grundfos .75 HP submersible pump, new last October: my static level was 35ft, pump set was 175feet, well depth was 200feet. (I have a 30/50 pressure switch also less than 1 year old).
I filled my hut tub (250 gallons) yesterday. The water stopped flowing. pressure was at zero. I turned off the power to the pump & let it sit for about 20 minutes. I turned the power back on, and the water pressure went up to 30, and stopped. When I ran the water, the pressure went to zero. I turned off the power again, and left it off for 3 hours.
After turning it on again, the pressure went up to 50 and cut off. I thought I was home free. When I woke up this morning, I turned on the faucet and the water trickled and stopped. The pressure was at zero. I turned the power off again. What is wrong?
It sounds as if you are describing a well with poor recovery rate. Have you checked that?
Is it possible you ran the well dry? Or burned a pump motor or control switch?
(Sept 19, 2014) Lettie Hulet said:
the gauge on our water well has been going up from 65 normal now to 75 and 80. I the water going down in the well its self? in the tank it reads 42. Is it bad?
SOunds like a debris-clogged pressure gauge is not reading pressure properly. Confirm this by making an independent static water pressure measurement on the system at the tank or at a convenient hose bib.
check for a debris clogged, sticking water pressure gauge
Watch out: if a pump control itself is actually generating abnormally high pressures the system is unsafe!
(Sept 23, 2014) brad ferri said:
I have a well with a chlorinating tank, when occasionally the chlorinator tank runs low or empty I get 0 water pressure in the house... is this normal and what can I do to change that if so
That doesn't sound normal to me, it sounds more as if water is passing through the chlorinator tank enroute to the plumbing system and no water in tank means no water in system. You want to find why you're losing water supply.
(Nov 7, 2014) Matt said:
One week ago the water pressure in my home at random began to fall off to a trickle for 30 seconds or so then recover to normal.
It is now (still at random)slowing,then stopping completely,then recovering. I have a private well,80' deep.
No leaks or obvious issues on the house side.Where do i start first on the well side of the system?P.S. Thank you for this amazing resource!!!
(Nov 7, 2014) Matt said:
"At random" odd water pressure behaviour on a pump and well system suggests a pressure control switch is sticking or not responding to changes in water pressure, perhaps because the switch sensor port is debris clogged. Try changing the switch. Let me know if that works.
Then if the problem remains check for loss of water in the well.
(Nov 9, 2014) Corey said:
Some one please help! We have a well and have barely any pressure. I feel the pump running. I don't hear anything clock on or off though.
On the gauge it shows zero psi. Thers barely a trickle of water esp out of the hot water side. Our tank air pressure reads 30psi if that matters. Also we had been seeing some sediments coming out the faucets randomly.
We just replaced water pressure switch and power box for the well and neither helped. We can't afford to pay anyone unless they take payments but is there any thing it can check or replace myself and also does home owners insurance cover this
Corey try the checklist at WATER PRESSURE PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS TABLE
(Nov 11, 2014) Anonymous said:
hi, I have a problem. The water preasure keeps going up and down. a small "tweeker" box keeps clicking on and off every time the water is turned on.
I read the inside cover of it and it says turn nut 1 counter clockwise to raise cut on and off pressure.
Than it says turn nut 2 cw to raise off presurre only. I dont really understand what that all means. i just want it not to kick on so much like that. it clicks like every 10 seconds when water is turned on at fosset.
Anon check out the diagnostics at WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING
(Nov 16, 2014) Doug said:
Replaced well pump water pressure was 60 psi after replacement. 24 hrs later the water pressure is 40 psi any ideas
(Nov 24, 2014) LarryS said:
My pvc water pipe, coming from the outside well pump into the basement is crudded up with what looks like white material (from the type of water I have).
What do I use to clean that out of the inside of the pipe so I can have more of an even flow of water and the pump doesn't have to work as hard?
Some suggestions are at inspectapedia.com/plumbing/Scale_Clogged_Pipes_or_Tankless_Coil.php
(Nov 29, 2014) Anonymous said:
is completely losing water pressure altogether and/or frequently a sign of a bad pressure tank?
I started my pressure tank over and over last evening and it would immediately start dropping in pressure until there was none if i turned on a faucet..
This happened repeatedly. I gave up. Attempted to call for repair;unsuccessfully (weekend).
No, probably not. It's the pump that creates pressure in the water supply system and the well that supplies the water.
The pressure tank smooths the flow or delivery of water during pump on and off cycles and reduces the load on the pump by avoiding rapid on-off cycling of the pump when water is run.
12.1.14 steve said:
water runs good then stops pump kicks in seconds later water runs good builds up presure and this starts all over again whats my
Steve that sounds like a problem at the pressure control switch OR a waterlogged pressure tank.
Also see WATER PRESSURE STOPS, RETURNS
12/7/2014 Bill said:
I have a PAD 20 Perma well tank. The gauge reads 60 psi. When we run the water or flush the toilet, the water pressure drops to 0 psi after a few seconds (relay clicks). We still have water flow but it is poor. The gauge stays at 0PSI until we turn off the water. he gauge then builds pressure back to 60 psi and the same thing always happens.
I drained the system and checked the air pressure and it is at 40 psi. I believe my bladder is still fine. Its as though my pump doesn't turn on to build pressure. Anyone have any advice? Thanks
Bill often when I see the symptom you describe I find that debris or rust has clogged the tiny opening in the bottom of the pressure switch through which it senses water pressure.
Gauges can similarly clog, as can the small diameter tubing that brings water and pressure to some pressure switches. Try changing the switch.
12/7/2014 Bill said:
Thanks, I will replace the switch. This one does not turn on to build pressure while the water is running. Its like the water is gravity fed after the switch relay clicks when the water is on for a few seconds.
It never clicks again to build pressure. The pressure only builds up after the water is turned off (no relay click). Thanks again.
Bill often a debris clogged pressure switch waits to turn on until pressure is abnormally low, or ultimately it just does not respond at all.
Sometimes we can detect the sticky switch by tapping on it - if it runs when tapped it may have been stuck or clogged.
(Apr 6, 2015) John McMerty said:
I have a deep water well system. Lately we find that there is practically no water pressure, only in the morning , there is only a trickle in the shower and in taps.
However after awhile the pressure returns to normal for the rest of the day. What could be causing that , any ideas would be helpful.
The fact that sometimes you have good water pressure (which I assume means flow rate in this case) suggests that the problem is not the pump and probably not the piping but more likely the well is running out of water or has a poor recovery rate. That's what you might ask a well service company to check for you. Keep me posted.
(Apr 14, 2015) Sam said:
Our well water is making an awful banging noise in our toilets when flushing, and a little noise in our sinks. The water comes out of the sinks alright, then it spurts out like it's spitting at us. There is now less water in one sink.
Me again...just started getting rushing water sounds inside the bathroom when all the water is turned off. What is happening?
At More Reading above please see
and also see
WATER HAMMER NOISE DIAGNOSE & CURE to address those banging problems
(Apr 14, 2015) Moon said:
We have a well. My pressure was perfectly normal, and then all of a sudden, if the water is running in one place, there is little to no water in the other areas of the house.
This was never the case before. What could be the cause of this. The pressure is lower then normal all the time, but adequate, as long as you only run one fixture. It used to run adequately at multiple fixtures until 3 days ago.
Typically we see this when there is a reduction in the water system flow rate: it could be due to a blockage in supply piping or a loss of the flow rate from the well or even damage to the pump itself.
(May 18, 2015) Willie said:
My jet-pump deep well, used for watering the animals and irrigation some time will run for 10 minutes or more and shut off tripping the breaker.
The pressure gage reads 100 PSI and am unable to adjust the pressure switch. No change in gage setting, the pump will continue to run with gage pressure remaining at 80 PSI but no water delivery until I PRIME the pump and the gage reaches 100 psi then I get a strong water flow. It will sometime run for 30 to 45 minutes before shutting off again,
This pressure switch is only about 3 months old, could it still be a faulty pressure switch or a pressure gage I never seen the gage reading below 70 PSI and it has always tact out to 100 PSI.
Make an independent pressure measurement - we want to know if the gauge is stuck.
Watch out: if the pressure is really as high as your gauge says this is DANGEROUS as a pipe or tank can burst and injure someone. If that's the case
1. there should be a pressure relief valve on the tank so I presume that one is either missing (add it) or not working (replace it)
2. replace the pressure gauge and any clogged mounting tubes or pressure sensor tubes.
Keep us posted.
(June 1, 2015) Anonymous said:
I have a pump to run my sprinkler. It pulls the water from my lake. It has 4 valves for the 4 sprinkler zones. It also has a spicket for a hose.
There is a regular switch to turn the pump on and off. The strange thing is that there is a small pressure tank? I suppose if all 4 sprinkler valves where off it would be for the spicket.
Well, this year I can not get any water:-(. We have checked everything! If the pressure tank had a rupture would that keep us from getting water?
(June 4, 2015) Katie said:
I posted the previous question. Wondered why no response?
I'd check for
- lost pump prime
- a hole in piping or disconnected piping
- a damaged pump impeller (assuming the pump motor runs)
No a ruptured pressure tank would not directly keep you from getting water, but it would become waterlogged and cause pump short-cycling. That in turn can burn up a pump motor.
(June 8, 2015) Melissa said:
we recently moved into a home that has a well. for six months the pressure was fine. but then one day the pressure went down to nothing. my son pushed a button on the pump which is in the house and the water came back. this has happened several times. the water lasts about two days then goes out again.
can you help me narrow things down. we really know very little about wells.
Melissa you need an onsite expert, but from what I read in your question it sounds as if the well may be running out of water; the pump circuit can contain a pump protection circuit (search InspectApedia for that term to read more) that shuts off the pump rather than let it run dry.
(Aug 23, 2015) Jon Merrill said:
When I turn on the hose outside, I lose all water inside. The water out of the hose has plenty of pressure. And when I turn off the hose, the water in the house returns but is very dirty and has an odor. It does clear up after a few seconds.
Sounds as if your water flow rate or well flow rate is limited and your water supply pipes may be clogged with minerals or crud, or the initial system pressure is low or the pipe diameter small.
When we open a tap closest to the water source that flow will indeed get priority treatment.
(Sept 20, 2015) matthew said:
I am sporadically losing water pressure. I have recently changed the filter under the house. Now the water will run for awhile then will go out.
When this is happening the pressure gave under the house drops to 0. All the water drains backward through the whole system including a back up of hot water from the water heater through the pipe it enters through and through the water filter.
The pressure comes back on and the gave shoots up to 50 then backs to 40 and stays there awhile and then goes to 30 then drops quickly to 0. Then after a few minutes starts again. Had a plumber out. It wouldn't do it while he was there. Thought it might have been a blockage that cleared. Help please
There may be 2 problems here.
1. A bad check valve or foot valve is allowing the drain back into the well. That can also cause loss of pump Prime or pump damage.
2 water we runs out. The well may be running dry or a damaged pump may be overheating and shutting off on thermal overload.
(Sept 23, 2015) Anonymous said:
I have a 240v water pressure switch that is only getting half power at switch. Ran a new line from electrical box to pressure switch and still have problem.
Watch out: Considering you could be shocked or killed it sounds like time to get some help from a licensed electrician. After all, if you ran a new line from electrical panel to switch but have power on ony one leg of the 240V circuit then there is a wiring or panel or breaker problem to find and fix, probably at the panel.
(Feb 4, 2016) Anonymous said:
I have changed my pressure switch and the valve under it that connects it to the pipe and my pressure pump is still losing it pressure leaving me with very little or no water
Check for a leaky foot valve or check valve at the pump or in the well. Or the well itself may have a poor flow/recovery rate.
(Feb 28, 2016) Nicole said:
We recently had heavy rain and snow melting which caused major flooding near our well. Coincidentally, we had a toilet tank that started to constantly run and noticed a loss in water pressure throughout the house. I shut the toilet off and regained sone pressure.
However I still notice a loss in pressure, especially at the furthest faucet in the house.
The pressure seems to change as we gain more rain or see more flooding. Would any of this cause pressure issues...should I wait out the flooding or call for repair?
It seems we are discussing more than one problem here.
A running toilet wastes water and floods (and potentially ruins) the septic drainfield. In the case of a very poor recovery-rate well, any running plumbing fixture might also exhaust the water supply at the well, at least temporarily.
Loss of water supply will not directly explain diminished water pressure - really the flow rate observed at a faucet. But there can be an indirect connection.
If the well pump is protected in the well by a "tailpiece" designed to limit the draw of water out of a well that has a poor recovery rate, when water is low in the well the pump may never be able to pump enough water to reach the cut-off pressure.
Turn off the water supply, wait 4 - 12 hours. Try again. If the supply and pressure return I suspect that the well has a poor recovery rate.
Flooding near the well would not itself cause loss of water pressure - unless flooding entered a well pit and shorted out electrical controls located there. (Your well pump controls may be indoors in which case that's not an issue).
A modern sanitary well using a steel casing driven to bedrock is, properly constructed, not going to have surface flooding leak into a well. If surface waters DO leak into a water well the water is likely to be unsanitary. A water test for bacterial contamination is a good screening test for that condition.
(Mar 19, 2016) Delbert Hatton said:
I have a storage tank with pump. The pump cycles about every two and one half minutes. There are no obvious leaks or toilets running anywhere. The check valve has been replaced twice with no change in this problem. How can pressure be lost in this enclosed system.
I suspect a leak somewhere or water running somewhere - look more carefully, or turn off water into the house - if the pump continues to cycle the leak is on the well side of the system, perhaps a bad foot valve. Search InspectApedia for WATER PUMP INTERMITTENT CYCLING to read details.
(Apr 20, 2016) John said:
Is it my point or the pump? Every so often I lose all pressure. I close the discharge valve from the tank and it pumps up. Then its ok but will eventually do it again.
Check first for a failed check valve
(Apr 27, 2016) carl wray said:
my submersible well pump is pumping water but the pressure switch and gauge does not seem to be working what is the possible cause
Carl: The gauge is often clogged by debris and stops responding to water pressure changes. I'd just replace it.
2016/05/28 Percy said:
My home runs on a private well. The cold water has really low pressure in the showers, kitchen sink and both bathroom sinks hardly have any hot or cold pressure what is the problem? ? My kitvhen sink also has a gas smell that comes up through the drain certain times of the day?
Watch out: Also search InspectApedia.com for METHANE GAS ODORS to read some important safety warnings. Methane gas can be from a dry sink trap, slow drain, bad plumbing vent and explosive sewer gas leaks back into the building. Methane is occasionally also found in the water supply in some areas.
(May 31, 2015) David said:
My booster pump keeps short cycling. There are 2 pressure gauges, on on top of the tank and one at the bottom on the pipe coming out from the bottom.
I checked for clogs to the switch, that appears fine. when I check the air pressure in the tank, it doesn't show any pressure. I tried pumping air into the tank and no air is getting into the tank. The switch looks good but maybe its bad?
The short cycling is really fast, like just a couple of seconds with constant pulsing of the water flow. Any idea?
David, search InspectApedia.com for SHORT CYCLING WELL PUMP to read the diagnosis and cure: typically a dirty filter or a waterlogged pressure tank
(Dec 6, 2015) Charles said:
I have installed a new submersible pump and the pressure switch is new .its a 30/50 and it starts and stops at the right time .
the pump seems to be fine at the top of the well i have awesome water pressure and water flow... But from the tank to the house it just isn't wanting to act right ... the pressure lacks and or the flow itself . i know the air pressure in my tank is right ,
And from what i have read here i'm thinking maybe clogging and debris could be a factor... Thanks for any help
I would look for clogging as you suggest, at valves and elbows. Start right at the pressure tank to confirm that you have good water flow from the well piping.
2016/06/15 Scott said:
I have well water. Whenever I use my outdoor faucets, the water pressure drops in the house. Is it a good idea to bypass my water softener when I use the outdoor faucets? I don't think the softener is connected to the outside faucets but I'm not sure.
I also notice that when I am away from home for a week or more and not using any water during that time, that the water pressure is low. I recharge my water softener and the pressure returns to normal. Any thoughts please.
For using water outdoors where it doesn't need to be softened it makes perfect sense to take off that water supply from a point in the water supply piping ahead of (before) the water softener. That reduces unnecessary work by the water softener, reduces salt usage &c.
But that won't explain the pressure drop you cite. More likely it's pretty normal that you can get a high flow rater from an outdoor hose bibb or sill cock (outdoor spigot) - that in turn slows indoor flow rate.
Continue reading at WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS, PRIVATE WELL or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
Or see WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSTIC FAQs-2 - more diagnostic questions & answers for bad water pressure or water pumps that won't stop running.
Or see WELL WATER PRESSSURE DIAGNOSIS FAQs - more water pressure troubleshooting questions & answers
Or see WELL WATER PRESSURE IMPROVEMENT - steps to improve water pressure & flow from a private well water supply
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