If your water pressure drops and then comes back, you are not alone. There are times you turn on your tap, and water doesn’t come out; not even a trickle.

Water pressure can drop when two people use the water outlets at the same time. For instance, while one uses the shower, someone else uses the faucet in the kitchen at the same time.

The kind of pump you use and your water source (whether well water or city water) are keys to figuring out the reason behind a drop in water pressure.

Understanding Water Pressure

Water pressure is a measurable concept. It simply defines the number of pounds per square inch (PSI) above your water.

Water is constantly under pressure to provide the right water flow to your home. Pressure can also be artificially triggered by a well pump, precisely the submersible pump. People using wells for their water supply system usually have water supplied to their homes within the 40-50 PSI pressure range.

It’s safe to keep the pressure within this range because anything above 60 PSI can impair your home appliances or their components.

Water Pressure vs Water Flow Rate

While water pressure is usually created by a pump to force water out from the well or the ground, the water flow rate is determined by the quantity of water flowing through your pipes. The size of the pipes also determines the water flow rate, but the normal range is 5-10 gallons of water per minute.

Water pressure can be good, yet the flow rate is poor. This is because the pipe has a small diameter. Pipes come in various sizes ranging from half-inch to one-inch. The smaller the size, the lesser the flow rate.

Why Your Water Pressure Drops Then Comes Back

The most common reasons for water pressure dropping are usually clogged filters, faulty equipment, or power shortage.

Firstly, sediments and minerals will clog your water system or house filter. It’s usually located after the pump in your water supply line. Once it gets clogged, it will block the pump line.

Another reason that causes reduced water pressure is a clogged pressure switch. When the pressure switch accumulates with minerals, it can interfere with the switching on and off the water pressure regulator. This can result in pump failure, leading to water pressure dropping and picking up.

Also, when water leaks from your pipes or home equipment such as your water softener, it can trigger low water pressure.

Your pressure tank can also be the reason your water pressure drops then comes back. The pressure tank has a bloated air bladder which puts more air pressure on your well water. If water usage in your home is lesser, the tank pressure goes back to default.

The pump will then switch on to supply more water into the pressure tank to ensure a balance with the pressure in the water tank. If the air bladder is not inflated enough, it can lead to reduced water pressure from the pressure tank.

Finally, electrical faults in the pump system can be the reason your water pressure drops then picks up.

Solutions for Low Water Pressure in the Home

The solution depends on the problem. There are various ways to solve the issue of low water pressure:

For Clogged Taps

Uninstall the faucet to check for clogging. Also, check the aerators and once clogging has been confirmed, you can either clean them or reinstall them to ensure the pressure comes back.

For Clogged Pipes

Simply remove a section of your pipe and check inside for clogging. If you notice an orange sludge or sediments inside, then it means it’s clogged. To resolve this, you can contact a plumber or get rid of the clogs yourself.

Pump Not Activated by Pressure Switch

A lowly set or faulty pressure switch can cause your water pressure to drop. If it’s lowly set, you can adjust it for higher pressure, but be careful not to set a pressure that will damage the pump. Your pressure switch can become faulty if the switch cover becomes a home for ants and insects, and it may require cleaning. You may need to call a professional for this.

Low Flow from Well Pumps

The two types of well pumps used for wells are the jet pump and the submersible pump.

Submersible pumps are more common and usually installed inside the well during the construction of the well. It protects the well water from contamination before it enters your home’s plumbing system.

Jet pumps allow contamination at the surface concrete well, but they are easier to monitor because they are not installed inside the well. You can use a voltmeter to check the submersible pump’s power.

A submersible can be operated by a pressure switch or water pressure regulator, which is usually configured so that this pump can switch on at low pressure and switch off at high pressure.

submersible pumps water from well to pressure tank

The pump is long and has a cylindrical shape, and it’s usually contained in a well house with a diameter of 6 inches. The bottom is made up of a sealed pump motor, which is linked to impellers. A diffuser keeps it apart, which delivers water from the ground to the house.

Contacting a well professional or plumber to tackle the issue will be the solution.

For a Faulty Pressure Tank

When this air bladder doesn’t contain a certain amount of air pressure, it will lead to reduced water pressure. The solution is to check if the air bladder has pressure and turn on a faucet to release the water pressure in the tank.

How to Enhance Your Water Pressure?

Materials Needed

  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Wrench
  • Half-inch wrench
  • 7/16 inch wrench
  • Air tank

Steps to Enhance Your Water Pressure

  1. Find the circuit breaker and switch it off.
  2. Locate the air valve: It’s always on top of the pressure tank.
  3. Connect the air valve to the tire pressure gauge: This will help you measure the PSI. Ensure you remember the reading it shows because you’ll need to add air later on.
  4. Find the pressure with box: It’s usually on top of your pipes, and it shows the current water pressure in the waterline. Also, note the water pressure on your pipes.
  5. Use the wrench to loosen the nut on the pressure switch cover: Turn your wrench anticlockwise to remove the nut and check the cover for diagrams. You may see certain settings for the switch, such as 30/50. At this point, the switch ought to be fully open.
  6. Look inside the switch and note the contact points and the nuts that need tweaking: The two nuts are usually the 7/16-inch nut and the half-inch nut. The half-inch nut makes the pump switch on, while the 7/16-inch nut switches off when there is full pressure in the tank.
  7. Switch on the faucet to reduce pressure in the tank: The switch makes the pump turn on when the pressure drops to the cut-in levels. To enhance the cut-in pressure, turn the half-inch nut clockwise with the ½ wrench.
  8. Tweak the second nut with a 7/16-inch wrench: Also, turn the 7/16-inch nut clockwise to enhance the cut-off setting. This will trigger the pump to switch off when the targeted water pressure is attained instantly.
  9. Replace the cover, but leave it loose for now.
  10. Switch on the circuit breaker to see if the switch settings will work properly: Drain water from the water valve till the pump comes on. Note the PSI on the water pressure gauge to know the cut-in reading.
  11. Shut off the valve after some minutes and note the cut-off reading when the pump turns off: there are 30/50, 20/40, and 40/60 readings for cut-in/cut-off, respectively. The first number indicates the cut-in reading, while the second number indicates the cut-off reading. Switch off the circuit breaker after tweaking the switch.
  12. Add more air to the pressure tank: You will need an air pressure tank and an air valve for this. Keep checking the pressure as you’re adding more pressure until the tank’s setting is 2-4 PSI away from the cut-in pressure. For example, if the cut-in setting is 30, add air till it gets to 26-28.
  13. Put the cover back and tighten the nut. Switch the power back on.

Conclusion

Please don’t tweak the cut-off setting to surpass 60 PSI unless the switch supports it. If not, it will trigger pipe damage and switch failure.

Clean the shower heads and faucets to prevent clogging. If you want to repair or tweak the system, always ensure your circuit breaker is switched off.

Finally, be quick to contact a plumber or seek plumbing advice if you need further help.

About the Author

Paul Morton

Founder and Editor

Paul is a retired plumber who now spends hours on home improvement projects. From fixing toilets to leaking pipes in crawls spaces, there is nothing Paul can't do or wouldn't try. Paul was running his own plumbing company and is our expert in regard to all types of water filtration systems.

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