How to Fix Low Water Pressure When You Have a Well System

If your well water pressure is low, don’t worry! You are not alone. Although there are quite a few problems that can lead to low water pressure in a well system, there are also plenty of solutions that you can do yourself to fix it!

To fix low water pressure when you have a well system, you need to first be able to assess if the water pressure is low as well as why it’s happening. From there, you can use one of many tactics to solve the issue, including adjusting the pressure switch, unclogging the taps or lines, getting a water softener, or possibly replacing your tank or pump. 

How to Tell if Well Water Pressure is Low

The first step in fixing the problem is to actually find out if your well water pressure is low. 

If you believe that the water pressure in your home is lower than it once was or not as strong as it should be, you can follow these simple instructions to check right now.

  • Turn off the power to the well tank. You can do so by turning off the well submersion pump and disconnecting and electrical wiring. And if you have a filtration system such as a water softener, you should use the bypass valve so water cannot enter the tank.  This is a vital step in the process, as you will not be able to follow the next directions if the tank is still on. 
  • Drain the well tank. Locate the boiler drain or the tank package and connect a garden hose to it to successfully drain all the water. If you don’t, the pressure read will only be for the water within the tank, not the actual pressure of the system. The pressure gauge should now read “0.”
  • Note the pressure gauge. This gauge should be clearly located on the tank or system, and although it should now say “0,” you need to watch it as you test the pressure. 
  • Check the tank’s pressure with the gauge. While every tank has a schrader valve, if it is a standard metal tank, you can find it at the top, whereas it is located on the bottom if you have a compression tank. Unscrew and remove the cap on the valve once you found it, and press the tire gauge down. You will then see the actual pressure of the tank on the gauge. 
  • Adjust the pressure as necessary. You want the pressure of your tank to be 40-60 PSI. When you test the pressure, it should report at over 40 and no higher than 58. If your pressure gauge is lower than 50, it may be set to 30/50, which you will want to change to 40/60. 

Every tank is a little different. So as you step through these instructions, you should have your user manual nearby to help you drain the tank, find the valves needed, and adjust the pressure.

What Is Flow Rate & How to Find It

It’s also important to understand that flow rate is quite different from water pressure. 

If you followed the steps above and found that your water pressure is sufficient, but you still aren’t getting enough from the taps in your home, it’s likely a problem with the flow rate instead

Flow rate defines the number of gallons per minute that are flowing through your pipes. And for a typical well system, you should receive at least 5 gallons per minute. 

Usually, the flow rate of a home is dependent on not only the PSI but also the size of the plumbing pipes that bring water in from the well. 

Smaller pipes, such as those with a ½-inch diameter, may lead to a low flow rate if you are using several taps or faucets at a time. 

Often, a low PSI will lead to low flow rates as there isn’t enough pressure to push the water through the pipes. 

Why is My Well Water Pressure Low? 

Now that you know how to check if your well water pressure is low as well as what your system’s flow rate is, you need to know what is causing the issue in your home. 

  1. Low Flow from Well Pump

The first and most common issue that well systems encounter is that there is a low flow rate from the pump. 

As we recently learned, the flow rate is different from the PSI or water pressure within the tank. So if you want to find out if a low flow rate is your problem, here’s what you need to do:

  • Navigate to your system’s pressure tank. 
  • Measure how many gallons are taken from the tank until the pump turns on. 
  • Close the hose bib when the pump turns on. 
  • Count the seconds until the pressure valve turns on again. 
  • Do the math! Number of gallons/seconds x 60 = gallons per minute. 

You should have 5-10 GPM or gallons per minute of flow rate from your system for it to function properly. 

If this is your problem, you will likely have to contact a plumber as your pipes may be too small or have built up inside. 

  1. Faulty Pressure Switch

Another common issue homeowners experience is that their pressure switch is faulty. 

You can tell if this is the problem you’re facing if the following is happening:

  • The pump is not turning on at all.
  • The pump continues to cycle. 
  • You don’t have water pressure even though the pump is functioning properly. 

In any case, you can attempt to use your pump manual to adjust the pressure switch, or you can call a professional for help. 

  1. Clogged Faucets and Fixtures

The problem may not be with your pump or well system at all but with the faucets and fixtures in your home. 

The easiest way to find out if this is the issue with your water pressure is if there is only low pressure coming from some of the faucets or taps and not others. 

Luckily, cleaning clogged faucets and fixtures is one of the easiest solutions! And we will step through the instructions on how to do so in the following section. 

  1. Clogged Water Lines

Again, your pump may be working perfectly, but if your water lines are clogged, you will experience low water pressure throughout your home. 

Figuring out if your water lines are clogged is really a job for a professional plumber, as most of us don’t know how to take apart our own plumbing! 

However, there are a few signs you can look out for:

  • Sinks or bathtubs aren’t draining properly.
  • Your water smells weird or different.
  • There is low water pressure throughout your home.
  • Water backs up or leaks under pipes. 

If this is the issue in your home, the pipes will need to be cleaned and maybe even replaced, depending on the situation. 

  1. Hard Water

Sometimes, the reason why your well water pressure is low is simply that the water is excessively hard. 

That means that there are minerals in your water, such as calcium and magnesium, that are backing up your system and making it challenging for the pump to work properly. 

Usually, when you have extremely hard water in your well, the minerals will coat the insides of the pipes, as well as get stuck within the tank and even in your faucets, causing low water pressure. 

  1. Old Well Pump 

Now, there is also a chance that your well pump is simply old and not working as it should. 

Once again, to actually know if this is your issue, you will likely have to contact a professional. But there are a few telltale signs you might notice that mean your well pump is getting old.

  • Hissing sounds coming from the pump.
  • The pump is rusted.
  • Steam comes out from the pump. 
  • The pump is leaking water or coolant. 

If this is the problem, unfortunately, you might have to invest in a new well pump to get the pressure back in your home. 

  1. Damaged Pressure Tank

Finally, the pressure tank in your home may be malfunctioning or even damaged and need repairs or replacement. 

Usually, if this is the case, the pressure check valve will stop working, which means you can’t see the PSI on the tank. 

If this happens to you, you do need a professional to come to check it out. And you might just need to get a replacement tank if they can’t fix it themselves! 

How to Fix Low Well Water Pressure

Now that you understand the many reasons why your well water pressure is low, it’s time to learn what you can do to fix the problem and get back to enjoying decent water pressure in your home! 

  1. Adjust Pressure Switch

The first solution we have to fix the water pressure is actually the easiest to do! 

In the first section of this article, we learned how to test the pressure switch in your system to find out the PSI it’s using to pump water into your home. 

If you followed those instructions, then you probably already know what your PSI levels are. But remember, while some pumps are set at 30/50, yours should be at 40/60 for optimal water pressure. 

Again, every pump is a little different, so in order to adjust the pressure switch on the one in your home, you will need the directions in the user manual. 

  1. Clean Faucets, Fixtures, & Water Lines

If that didn’t solve your low water pressure problem, the next step is cleaning the faucets, fixtures, and even the water lines throughout the home. 

When it comes to faucets and fixtures, you can clean them yourself fairly easily. While every faucet or tap is slightly different, you will likely have to use a wrench to remove the aerator and cartridge and clean the entire fixture with a vinegar solution. 

If that did the trick and you once again have good water pressure, there’s nothing else you need to do!

However, if it’s your water lines that need to be cleaned, you will need to call a professional plumber to get the job done. 

  1. Get a Water Softener

As you now know, hard water, which is full of minerals, can cause buildup and low water pressure. 

And while you cannot actually change the chemical makeup of the water that is being pumped into your home, you can get a water softener installed to help solve this issue! 

Water softeners work to remove excess minerals from your water before they make it to your pump and your faucets. 

And although they can be expensive, they should last for more than a decade, and they can make a huge difference, not only in your water pressure but also in the taste and quality of the water itself. 

  1. Purchase a Water Pressure Regulator

Next, you may need to purchase a new water pressure regulator if you still have low water pressure. 

There are two main kinds of water pressure regulators: Booster pumps and constant pressure systems. 

Depending on what type of water pressure regulator you already have within your system, you may want to opt for a replacement of the same kind, or it could be time to switch it up!

Realistically, both booster pumps and constant pressure systems are great options, it just depends on what your well system and your home needs. 

  1. Install a New Pump

If your pump is old, as in you’ve had it for more than 10-15 years, it might simply be time for a new one! 

As you know, there are several different types of pumps to choose from, and even if yours isn’t technically old, it may not be serving the needs of your home or your well system properly. 

In this case, you will need to contact a professional pump installer to assess whether you need a new pump or if adjustments and small fixes can be made to improve the water pressure in your home. 

  1. Replace or Fix Pressure Tank

Finally, if your well water pressure is low, you might need to fix or replace the pressure tank. 

Although you now know how to clean and assess a pressure tank, it’s also important to understand that some wells have bladder pressure thanks that simply need to be re-inflated to work properly. 

A pressure tank service professional will easily be able to add air to the bladder tank if that is the problem you are facing. 

But if they note that there is nothing they can do to fix the issues within the tank, you will have to invest in a new one to fix your low water pressure problem.

Leave a Comment