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Rick
Rick, Construction Supervisor
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 19494
Experience:  Licensed Master plumber with 40+ yrs. experience.
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Our water pressure keeps getting low in the house and my

Customer Question

Our water pressure keeps getting low in the house and my husband noticed earlier that the breaker for the well house had tripped. He flipped it back on and about 3 hours later, water pressure varying again. We also had a thunderstorm last night where our house got struck by lightening. The breaker box for the pump is in another building though.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

Is the breaker for the pump tripped again? If not then the next most likely culprit would be a faulty or clogged pressure switch

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The breaker is not tripped. How would we tell if the pressure switch is clogged? My husband replaced it last winter and it had worked fine since.
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

It's common for the small diameter piping to the switch to clog up with rust and sediment. If he didn't clean out that piping when he replaced the switch then there's a pretty good chance the switch or the piping to it is clogged. The switch will have to be removed to find out. If the switch is ok then you need to watch the pressure at the gauge near the switch. Is the pump short cycling; ON, OFF, ON, OFF in a short period of time? If so then the holding tank is either water logged and needs to be drained (if it's an old tank with no diaphragm) or the tank will need to be replaced if it's a newer tank with a diaphragm.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay, we will remove the pressure switch to check it. He did not clean that small diameter piping when her replaced the switch.
Would a clogged pressure switch also cause short cycling? My question being, if it is short cycling does that automatically mean we need to drain the tank or should we in fact check the pressure switch first?
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

If you have short cycling it's almost never the switch. Short cycling is caused by the loss of the air cushion in the holding tank or a broken diaphragm (which maintains the air cushion) in a newer tank .

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Would we need to flip the breaker off before draining the tank if needed?
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

You need to shut the power off to the pump before draining the tank. Open a faucet above the tank while you drain it to let some air back into the tank. Draining the tank only works if it's an old galvanized tank. If it's a painted tank then it has a diaphragm and you'll need a new tank.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Oh okay. Yeah our tank is blue, I just figured it was the older kind.
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

If you have a blue tank and you're pump is short cycling then you'll need a new tank. But before you replace it take a screwdriver handle and rap the side of the tank with it. If you get a dull thud from bottom to top then it's full of water and you need a new one

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We do not hear any short cycling. Will check the pressure switch.
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

ok

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good morning! There is actually a piece of waterhose for the incoming to the pressure switch. My husband did not take it off to check that. He is concerned that he may worsen the problem by messing with it as it is working now somewhat. With it being a holiday weekend, he fears not being able to get any parts or help he may need, and wants to wait to start with it. I do have another question though. I turned the shower on first thing this morning, and after about 1 minute it stopped. No water at any faucets in the house. I waited about 3 or 4 minutes and tried again and all is working fine. Does this still indicate pressure switch?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We just bought this home less than a year ago and it appears as though the old farmer who lived here many years ago did a lot of things however worked, hence the water hose connector to the pressure switch. There was a brief period where a grandson of the old farmer lived here but then the house was foreclosed and we bought it as a foreclosure, so we know nothing about history of things, how old they are, etc. We did just have the small electrical box in the well house replaced in May by a professional. That is all we know. New pressure switch was installed by my husband in February.
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

Yes this is another clue pointing to a problem with the pressure switch. There are other possibilities (failing pump, an intermittent wiring failure) but a clogged switch or piping is the most likely and least expensive to fix.

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