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Thread: Water pressure problems

  1. #1

    Default Water pressure problems

    I hope someone can help solve what I hope is not a major issue. I am on a septic well and my water is treated through a Culligan system which consists of a rustmaster tank, water conditioner tank, oxygenizer tank and salt container.
    The water pressure has always been low, we had culligan serviceman in and he replaced rustmate tank. We had a plumber in he repalced pressure gage now producing 60-80 lbs pressure. Neither of these have improved our water pressure. Plumber says water is having to go through too many tanks thus losing pressure, Culligan says there is blockage between water tank and their system.
    I have an outside tap that bypasses Culligan system and water comes out full force.

    We are not able to turn on second tap in house without significant loss of water flow. In fact second floor has no water if tap running down stairs. Water flow is not bad from when one tap in use however for some strange reason water flow is minimal when utilizing washing machine.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    New Hampshire


    You need pressure gauges on both sides of the Culligan system, and ideally, between each element of the Culligan system. Without gauges you have no way to prove what element is causing the problem. I would deal with that before doing anything else.

    The Culligan system probably has inadequate flow capacity or too many pieces that are causing pressure loss. The best fix is probably to add flow capacity (larger tanks) or get rid of some elements if they aren't really needed.

    If you don't own the Culligan system, then you might consider getting rid of it and putting in your own system that is sized for the requirements. There are people on this forum who can help you with that approach.

    After you have identified the factors causing the pressure drop, you can decide whether the problem can be fixed within the system, or if you must do something more drastic.

    If you require all of the elements in the system, and can't avoid the pressure losses, then you must set up a system that will give you satisfactory performance with that system. That involves applying some engineering to determine what must be done to meet your requirements.

    My solution, after doing everything possible to reduce the pressure loss in the Culligan system, would be to put the pressure tank AFTER the treatment system. (That suggestion will cause a small explosion on this forum, but it WILL work.)

    You are apparently operating as high as 80 psi now. Here is a system that will work, but before selecting components I would want to know the make/model/capacity/pressure of the pump. An oversize pump will make the problem more difficult.

    Install the equipment in the following order:

    Pump --> Cycle Stop Valve set at 80 psi --> Relief Valve and alarm pressure switch --> Culligan system --> Pressure tank with switch set at desired operating range

    The pump will operate based on the pressure switch settings at the tank. The pump will deliver water to the CSV which will regulate the pressure but will allow about 1 GPM to finish filling the tank if the pressure on the inlet side of the Culligan system reaches 80 psi.

    The tank will deliver water to your household without the pressure losses in the Culligan system, as long as you have enough storage. Therefore, I would install at least an 80 gallon tank (or multiple tanks with total capacity of at least 80 gallons). Sustained flow will still be limited to the capacity of the Culligan system.

    The alarm pressure switch will alarm and the relief valve will discharge to waste if the pressure exceeds its setting, perhaps 90 psi. You can set up a relay system to shut down the pump when the alarm switch actuates. You should have at least 100 psi capability of all of the vessels in the system, from the Culligan system to the pressure tank.

    You will need gauges on the system to determine where there are problems if the Culligan system gets plugged, and you will have to inspect the system when it is running to determine if there are problems.

    Owners of wells with treatment systems must learn how they work and how to operate and maintain them. Otherwise you will enrich the well/pump service companies with your frequent service calls. That is part of owning a house with a well.

  3. #3
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    200 miles south of Little Rock


    Quote Originally Posted by Veloman53
    The water pressure has always been low, we had culligan serviceman in and he replaced rustmate tank. We had a plumber in he repalced pressure gage now producing 60-80 lbs pressure. Neither of these have improved our water pressure.
    Your issue is actually "water flow" rather than pressure. For example:

    Quote Originally Posted by Veloman53
    Plumber says water is having to go through too many tanks thus losing [rate of flow desired], Culligan says there is blockage [restricting flow] between water tank and their system. I have an outside tap that bypasses Culligan system and water comes out full [flow and pressure].
    As Bob has mentioned, having pressure guages between and following all the possible flow-restriction points in your system will help you determine the culprit(s). While the water is running wide open at some place like the kitchen sink, the first guage displaying a substandard pressure reading will be right after the component or tank that is restricting the flow of your water.

  4. #4

    Default Pressure loss and low flow


    I work for Culligan of NH in Bedford, NH. I can help you with this problem.
    Call me at 603-472-4098 and ask for Gary.

  5. #5
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Wherever I park the motorhome.


    A simple no cost and minimal effort way to troubleshoot a pressure loss with water treatment equipment, simply put each by pass valve into by pass until the problem goes away and then blame the last piece of equipment you by passed as the culprit. Of course before going on to the next piece of treatment equipment, you put the by pass valve back into service if it doesn't solve the pressure loss/flow problem.

    DO NOT install anything between a submersible pump and its controlling pressure switch that can block up. If you do you run the risk of causing expensive leaks in the drop pipe or underground line from the well, breaking fittings in the well or blowing the pump or pipe off insert hose clamped fittings and causing the pump to fall down the well damaging the power cable etc. or cause the pitless adapter o-ring to blow out. Plus, there is no sense in doing something that doesn't fix/cure the cause of the problem. Anything less is a band aid on an artery type thingy.

    Eighty psi is too high for a well water system and will cause damaging water hammer throughout the system. Most pressure relief valves are factory set, industry standard, at 75 psi. Max pressure for plenty of water flow throughout a house usually does not have to be above 50-65 psi, that includes city water too.

    And if you install regenerated or backwashed water treatment equipment before the pressure tank, it will not be able to regenerate or backwash. The reason....?

    When the pump is off, the water flows into the equipment BACKWARDS; from the pressure tank BACK into the outlet of the control valves.

    Then when the pump comes on, it flows into the inlet as it must for a regeneration or backwash to be done.

    IMO the plumber did more than replace a bad pressure gauge - did he check the air pressure in the pressure tank and adjust it to 58 psi with no water in the tank? Increasing the operating pressure to 60/80, increases the pressure losses in the entire system... and increased pressure isn't going to fix a partial blockage anywhere in the system.

    Check the washing machine hoses for blocked screens in the end of the hoses or in the inlet and outlet fittings on the washer. And all faucet tip aerator screens too. If you have any water shut off valves that are gate valves, they may be broken and partially blocking flow. Gate valves are a very bad choice for a valve that is rarely used. Ball valves are best.
    Last edited by Gary Slusser; 10-13-2007 at 12:10 PM.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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