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Thread: Unusual Water Pressure

  1. #1

    Question Unusual Water Pressure

    Hi! Thank you in advance for any help you can give me. We just bought a house and it seems like everything breaks all the time - I'm hoping this may not be too much of a problem.

    We have a 450 ft. well that has been around since the 1980s. I'm not certain about when things (if ever) have been replaced. There is some type of filter or softener(?) that has a backwash system on it (it is very large - about 4 feet tall and a foot in diameter), and then there is a small GE whole house filter (like from Home Depot for about $50) attached to the 3/4" pipe after that. We had great water pressure when we bought the house - and in fact up until last week. I decided that we needed to replace the small filter since our water is quite hard. Everything seemed to go fine, there was a substantial amount of sediment in the bottom of the old filter. Then we decided to do the "backwash" system on the large filter (or softener - how can I tell?) upstream, because I noticed how dirty the water appeared to be that was going into the small filter. We went through the backwash steps several times and the water that was drained was quite dirty. We repeated until the water was clean. We reattached everything, and ever since then the water pressure has been iffy. If one things is running, there is only a tiny trickle out of any other faucet. It seems stronger when you first turn on a faucet, and then it dwindles, occasionally it will improve after a while - however it is never as good as it was before. Whenever I look at the pressure at the pump it reads 65. That seems to be the resting pressure. One other thing, which I think is probably just a coincidence but I will throw it out there anyway - our dishwasher stopped draining and now has to be replaced.

    Any ideas on what could cause this? Will it go away on it's own? Could we have inadvertently messed something up with the backwashing? Also, when not in use, the switch to the backwasher is in "service" position. Does that sound normal?

    Thanks SO much for any help or ideas!
    Melissa Tunks

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Default

    First, I'm not a pro...

    Sounds like you have a bunch of sediment in the lines. THis could have damaged the pump and or valves on the dishwasher and could very well have clogged the screens in the faucets and showerhead. I'd remove each of the screens in the faucets and showerheads and clean them. My guess is thatyou'll see a bunch of sediment in them. As to the large tank, my guess is thatit is a water softener. If so, and your water is hard, it probably ran out of salt. You should be able to find a name and maybe a model number on it, and then look up info from the manufacturer on the web. It requires periodic maintenance.

    Is the filter that was installed a sediment filter? or a carbon activated one for taste? While flushing things out, you probably got a bunch of sand, etc. forced into the lines and that is what is causing you your current problems.

    Note, if you have a bunch of sand in the screens of the faucets and showerheads, then you'll probably have similar problems with the toilet valves, as well. Many of the moden flush valves are easily disassembled and you can clean them out as well.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Plumber Deb's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
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    Cool Deb

    I am guessing some kind of flow restriction (affects the volume, not the pressure). The first thing to check is that any valves you closed are fully open. The fact that the water starts out with full flow then dwindles and that a second fixture has very little flow indicates a flow restriction on a main line.
    So, let's discuss the backwash procedure....
    "We reattached everything"....I have never seen a system where you needed to unattach or reattach anything to backwash. It is generally an automatic procedure performed on a set timetable. It might help to know more about what exactly you did. Were there manufacturer's instructions on the proper procedure for the backwash? Did you follow them to the letter? What were they? Did it recommend backwashing several times in succession? And maybe a little bit more information about your softener/filter(?) so we can try and figure out what you have. If your softener/filter has a bypass, set it on bypass and see if that helps.
    Get us some more info and we'll see if we can help.
    Deb
    The Pipewench

  4. #4

    Default Thanks

    Hi guys,
    Thanks so much for writing back. What a great forum this is. I am pretty sure the large filter we backwashed is a filter and not a softener. Unfortunately there are no identifying marks on it whatsoever or any type of instructions (other than the steps are labeled 1,2,3 on the backwash lever). What I meant by "reattaching" was not the large filter that we backwashed, instead the small GE whole house filter. It is about 4 inch diameter and a foot long, and attaches to the pipe downstream from the large filter (Which is porb. 4 ft. tall and a foot in diameter). In order to change that small GE filter you have to unscrew the canister and then reattach it after you switch the filter.
    I actually ended up calling a well tech to come out tomorrow - I will post again to let you know what the consensus is - the pressure has gotten really bad at times and I'm having lots of houseguests for New Years so it has to get fixed!
    Thanks again, Melissa

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