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This WATER PRESSURE PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS TABLE series provides a table giving step by step checklist for diagnosing water pressure, water pump, and water well problems. We give diagnostic and repair procedures for both municipal water supply problems and well water supply problems.
Water piping problem: undersized or clogged water pipes
Water pressure is weak in all building areas or only in some building areas, but at some or all fixtures in that area.
If water supply piping is too small in diameter, or if there are many, perhaps unnecessary elbows and fittings, especially if there are long piping runs in the building, water flow will be impeded.
If water pressure is consistently poor regardless of pump settings, or if when you turn on water the pressure is strong for a moment or two, then falls off quickly you may have clogged piping or under-sized piping.
Install larger diameter water supply piping in part or all of the supply system. Installing larger piping in even part of the system will help.
Check for & clean or repair clogged water filter, blocked or clogged water treatment equipment.
Blocked water piping, clogged water filter or other water treatment equipment
A blocked or clogged water filter or pipe or other water treatment equipment close to the water pressure tank can cause very rapid on-off cycling of the water pump, particularly if the filter, valve, or equipment is located between the water pump and the water pressure tank.
Check the order of installation of equipment. Be sure at least one clear water piping pathway is open between the water pump outlet side and the water pressure tank inlet side.
Replace a dirty, clogged, or suspect water filter cartridge.
Watch out: turn off the pump right away to avoid damage.
Plumbing Fixture Problem: poor flow at individual fixtures
If water pressure is good at some fixtures and bad at others, remove the faucet strainer or shower head at the bad-flow fixture. If water pressure is good without the strainer, the strainer was clogged.
Check that the control valves for the fixture are fully open.
Check for a clogged pipe, elbow or valve serving the poor-flowing fixture.
Clean or replace clogged fixture strainers.
Open or replace stuck, partly shut fixture water supply control valves.
Piping or fitting leak on the suction side or well side of the system
A leak in the well supply piping anywhere between the water pick-up point in the well bottom and the entry to the water pressure tank can cause loss of water pressure and water pump short cycling. (It can also cause air entry into the piping system).
For shallow wells install a pressure gauge on the suction side of the system. If your well is a deep well (2-line jet pump) install a pressure gauge on the pump if an attachment point is available.
Let the pump run until it reaches its cut-off pressure. Note the pressure on the gauge. Turn off power to the pump. Turn off water leaving the pressure tank and feeding the building - the valve on the "discharge" side of the system.
Alternatively, after closing the water valve on the output or discharge side of the system (stop feeding water to the building), use a bicycle pump to pump air into the system at the air inlet valve (if your system has one). Pump to 30 psi.
Watch for a pressure drop. If the system won't hold pressure then there is ale a leak on the "suction side" of the water system.
Leaks may be a bad check valve, foot valve, or piping connection anywhere between the pressure tank and well bottom.
First check and tighten all above-ground well piping connections to be sure nothing is leaking. Remember to check or replace any above-ground check valves that may be leaking.
Repeat the test.
If the system still won't hold pressure you will need to pull the well piping and check for a defective or leaky piping connection, check valve, or foot valve.
Pressure regulating wire or valve stuck or incorrectly set (deep wells only)
Check the valve setting, inspect the valve for defects
Reset, clean, or replace the pressure regulating valve on the deep well pump or piping
Well pump parts worn or defective
Worn or broken pump impeller parts or bearings, or debris clogging inside the impeller assembly will reduce pump output even though the motor appears to run normally. Complete clogging or badly damaged impeller parts or bearings will stop water output completely.
Disassemble the well water pump impeller assembly, inspect for damage, clean or replace suspect or damaged parts.
If necessary, for example if parts are badly rusted and cannot be disassembled and cleaned, replace the entire pump.
Wrong well pump ejector assembly installed in the well
Plugged ejector assembly, tailpiece
If the wrong ejector has been installed in the well, not properly matched to the pump, water flow may be inadequate.
If the ejector is clogged, damaged, or leaky, water flow to the building will be reduced.
To diagnose and correct this problem it is necessary to pull the well piping and inspect the ejector, tailpiece, foot valve or well screen for clogging
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Questions & answers or comments about how best to diagnose the cause of poor building water pressure or lost water pressure.
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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 Jeneral Sewer Service - George - 845-297-2285, a New York Hudson Valley drain and sewer cleaning and de-clogging expert for technical details and consulting on drain clog diagnosis and repair, including proper use of the Kinetic Water Ram for drain clearing - 3/14/2009
Thanks to our reader, Carole Cimitile, 2/17/2009, for reminding us that small problems like faucet o-rings, clogged faucet strainers and similar local plumbing fixture defects can have a big impact on hot water flow, cold water flow, or both hot and cold water flow and pressure problems.
Thanks to reader EK Woodard, Boise State University, Boise ID, for assistance in diagnosing poor water pressure following an electrical power loss.
Betta-Flo Jet Pump Installation Manual, National Pump Co., LLC., includes helpful well pump troubleshooting tips as well as basic jet pump installation details. Web search 07/24/2010, original source: http://www.nationalpumpcompany.com/Documents/OIM/Betta%20Flo%20IOM%20Jet%20Pump.pdf
Access Water Energy, PO Box 2061, Moorabbin, VIC 3189, Australia, Tel: 1300 797 758, email: email@example.com Moorabbin Office: Kingston Trade Centre, 100 Cochranes Rd, Moorabbin, VIC 3189
Australian supplier of: Greywater systems, Solar power to grid packages, Edwards solar systems, Vulcan compact solar systems, water & solar system pumps & controls, and a wide rage of above ground & under ground water storage tanks: concrete, steel, plastic, modular, and bladder storage tanks.
Smart Tank, Installation Instructions [ copy on file as /water/Smart_Tank_Flexcon.pdf ] - , Flexcon Industries, 300 Pond St., Randolph MA 02368, www.flexconind.com, Tel: 800-527-0030 - web search 07/24/2010, original source: http://www.flexconind.com/pdf/st_install.pdf
Typical Shallow Well One Line Jet Pump Installation [ copy on file as /water/Jet_Pump_Grove_Elect_Jet_Pumps.pdf ] - , Grove Electric, G&G Electric & Plumbing, 1900 NE 78th St., Suite 101, Vancouver WA 98665 www.grovelectric.com - web search -7/15/2010 original source: http://www.groverelectric.com/howto/38_Typical%20Jet%20Pump%20Installation.pdf
Typical Deep Well Two Line Jet Pump Installation [ copy on file as /water/Jet_Pump_Grove_Elect.pdf ] - , Grove Electric, G&G Electric & Plumbing, 1900 NE 78th St., Suite 101, Vancouver WA 98665 www.grovelectric.com - web search -7/15/2010 original source: http://www.groverelectric.com/howto/38_Typical%20Jet%20Pump%20Installation.pdf
Water Fact Sheet #3, Using Low-Yielding Wells [ copy on file as /water/Low_Yield_Wells_Penn_State.pdf ] - , Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, Cooperative Extension, School of Forest Resources, web search 07/24/2010, original source: http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/XH0002.pdf
Crystal Clear Supply provides portable ceramic water filter purifiers and portable reverse osmosis water treatment equipment - see http://www.crystalclearsupply.com/category_s/7.htm
Handbook of Disinfectants and Antiseptics, Joseph M. Ascenzi (Editor), CRC, 1995, ISBN-10: 0824795245 ISBN-13: 978-0824795245 "The evaluation of chemical germicides predates the golden age of microbiology..." -
This well-focused, up-to-date reference details the current medical uses of antiseptics and disinfectants -- particularly in the control of hospital-acquired infections -- presenting methods for evaluating products to obtain regulatory approval and examining chemical, physical, and microbiological properties as well as the toxicology of the most widely used commercial chemicals.
Potable Aqua® emergency drinking water germicidal tablets are produced by the Wisconsin Pharmacal Co., Jackson WI 53037. 800-558-6614 pharmacalway.com
Principles and Practice of Disinfection, Preservation and Sterilization (Hardcover)
by A. D. Russell (Editor), W. B. Hugo (Editor), G. A. J. Ayliffe (Editor), Blackwell Science, 2004. ISBN-10: 1405101997, ISBN-13: 978-1405101998.
"This superb book is the best of its kind available and one that will undoubtedly be useful, if not essential, to workers in a variety of industries. Thirty-one distinguished specialists deal comprehensively with the subject matter indicated by the title ... The book is produced with care, is very readable with useful selected references at the end of each chapter and an excellent index. It is an essential source book for everyone interested in this field. For pharmacy undergraduates, it will complement the excellent text on pharmaceutical microbiology by two of the present editors."
The Pharmaceutical Journal: "This is an excellent book. It deals comprehensively and authoritatively with its subject with contributions from 31 distinguished specialists. There is a great deal to interest all those involved in hospital infection ... This book is exceptionally well laid out. There are well chosen references for each chapter and an excellent index. It is highly recommended." The Journal of Hospital Infection.: "The editors and authors must be congratulated for this excellent treatise on nonantibiotic antimicrobial measures in hospitals and industry ... The publication is highly recommended to hospital and research personnel, especially to clinical microbiologists, infection-control and environmental-safety specialists, pharmacists, and dieticians."
New England Journal of Medicine: City Hospital, Birmingham, UK. Covers the many methods of the elimination or prevention of microbial growth. Provides an historical overview, descriptions of the types of antimicrobial agents, factors affecting efficacy, evaluation methods, and types of resistance. Features sterilization methods, and more. Previous edition: c1999. DNLM: Sterilization--methods.
U.S. Army Field Manual 21-10, Field Hygiene and Sanitation, 1988, web search 07/02/2010, original source: http://www.enlisted.info/field-manuals/fm-21-10-field-hygiene-and-sanitation.shtml The purpose of this manual is to assist individual soldiers, unit commanders, leaders and field sanitation teams in preventing disease and environmental injuries. The manual provides information on preventive medicine measures (PMM) to the individual soldier as well as essential information for the unit commander, unit leaders, and the unit field sanitation team on applying unit level PMM.
When Technology Fails, Matthew Stein, Chelsea Green Publisher, 2008,493 pages. ISBN-10: 1933392452 ISBN-13: 978-1933392455, "... how to find and sterilize water in the face of utility failure, as well as practical information for dealing with water-quality issues even when the public tap water is still flowing". Mr. Stein's website is www.whentechfails.com/
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
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