Summary: Shared wells can be a great solution for rural communities, but they come with their own set of challenges, including low water pressure.
There are several potential reasons for low water pressure, including clogged pipes, a failing pressure tank, a malfunctioning pump, or an issue with the well itself. We recommend first checking the pressure gauge on the pressure tank to determine if the tank is the source of the problem. If the tank is functioning properly, the next step is inspecting the pump and pipes to identify and fix any blockages or leaks. If the problem persists, consult with a professional well contractor to evaluate the system and determine the root cause of the low water pressure. The contractor may recommend solutions such as installing a new pressure tank or replacing the pump.
LESLIE: Krista in Vermont is on the line and is dealing with some very low water pressure on shared well. Tell us what’s going on.
KRISTA: I bought my house about a year ago and I’m on a shared well with my two other neighbors. And they both have great water pressure but we have really awful water pressure. It takes three hours for the washing machine to run. We cannot use our garden hose. And we’ve had some plumbers come take a look and they said that there must be some kind of restriction in the water pipes, since the other neighbors both have really great water pressure.
TOM: This is not well water. You’re on street water?
KRISTA: We’re on well water.
TOM: You’re on well water. And the well serves all the neighbors?
KRISTA: Yeah, it serves the two neighbors that live north of us.
TOM: OK. Well, I mean they’re right that there could be a restriction causing low water pressure on shared well. The restriction could be a valve that’s partially closed. It may look open but maybe it’s really closed. It could be, if you have old pipes – do you have old pipes there? How old is the house?
KRISTA: Yeah, it’s from ‘54. Yeah, it is copper.
TOM: Old for plumbing is like 20s, 30s, 40s when they had steel pipes.
TOM: So, ‘54 is going to be copper and decent-quality copper.
So here’s what I would do. I would start testing that water pressure at different points. If you can test it close to where it comes into the house, that’d be the first place to check it.
TOM: You may have to put a tap in the pipe to do that, like an extra little valve to do that. But I would start checking the low water pressure on shared well at different points and see if we can kind of narrow down where the restriction is.
TOM: You have to do a little detective work here. You’re going to find, at some point, it’s restricted. It could be the main water valve, if you’ve got one. Sometimes well systems don’t have those.
KRISTA: Right. The valve in our house was just replaced but I don’t know about the valve at our neighbor’s house, where the well head is. And we were also told by one plumber that we could put a water-pressure tank in the house to fix it. And then another plumber told us that wouldn’t work at all.
TOM: That’s not going to work. You need a – you could – there’s a booster that you could put in. But I would start trying to figure out if this is a problem at the point where the water comes into the house, because that’s going to change the discussion. It’s not your plumbing; it’s the well system. And I imagine you have some rights, since you’re sharing a common well here, to get the same pressure as everybody else.
KRISTA: Yeah. OK.
TOM: And that’s going to have to be a discussion you’ll have with the people that are involved, OK?
TOM: But you’ve got to figure out what you’ve got – you don’t know that yet – and that’s the way to do it. Does that make sense?
KRISTA: Alright. Yes. Sounds good. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome.