Responding To Unusually High Pressure In A Water Well System
The water pressure in a well system is maintained by the system itself. Unexpected low pressure gets immediate attention from water users, but owners of water wells also need to respond quickly to water pressure that is obviously excessive.
Unlike municipal water supplies with a constant pressure, water well systems maintain pressure levels within a preset range. The range of pressure is necessary in order to gain the operational advantages of a pressurized water tank. The water pump itself operates less frequently since compressed air in the tank is so effective at forcing stored water through the system.
The pressure switch cycle
A switch is installed near the pressurized water tank to cycle your pump on and off. When pressure drops to a preset lower limit, the well pump starts and refills the tank. When the upper limit is reached, the pump switches off. Over time, components within the pressure switch may corrode and cause the system to malfunction.
If the pressure switch fails to start the pump, water system pressure will continue to drop in response to water usage. The most common perception surrounding water pressure problems is that of having little or no pressure. Alternatively, the problem of too much pressure can develop if the switch fails to turn the pump off at the preset upper limit.
The complications of excessive pressure
After months or years of experiencing the normal pressure of your water well system, you are likely to intuitively recognize a problematic pressure level. Ongoing excessive water pressure can unknowingly overwork the well pump and possibly damage other system components.
Excessive water pressure may cause a leak at the weakest point in your water piping. Having a leak above ground is troublesome enough, but excessive pressure could possibly rupture the piping within the well itself. Simply because of an ignored pressure switch problem, your water well might need to be opened up to repair a rupture in the piping.
Reducing excess pressure
If you notice an excessive level of water pressure, immediately turn off the electrical power to the well system to stop any further pressure buildup. Also open a water outlet for long enough to reduce the system pressure to a level that you consider normal. After the pressure is reduced, you are ready to correct the problem.
A faulty pressure switch is a likely cause of excessively high pressure. For unusually low pressure, the switch only serves as a good starting point for diagnosis. Low pressure can also be the result of other problems, such as a failing well pump. Contact a water well contractor for further assistance with all aspects of well pump installation and repair.
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