Poor Water Pressure


I very much enjoy your show on 77 WABC, NY.  I have a well and the water pressure is very low, especially on the 2nd floor where the showers are.  It affects the dishwasher as the dishes usually don’t come out clean.  Is there any possible fix for this?  The house is a bit over 50 years’ old – steel pipes.  The well and pump are new (within the last 2 years).  The pressure is even low in the basement (washing machine) which is very near the point of entry and near the holding tank.
mwwc 3-19-07 1:37pm

There are two possible causes for this issue.  The first is the well.  You need to determine how much water is being delivered at the point of entry.  There should be a gauge on the pressure tank.  If it is maintaining 60-80 pounds when off and 40-50 when running, it should be fine.

If the well pump and pressure tank are functioning properly, the most likely cause of this is your steel pipes.  As steel plumbing pipes age, they rust, internally, and slowly but surely close down like a clogged artery.  Steel expands to 8 times it’s original thickness when it rusts.  I have cut open pipes and found them completely clogged by steel.

If your pipes have to be replaced, it is expensive and complicated.  I’d recommend a three step approach:

1. First, replace the main water line from the well to the house;
2. Second, replace all accessible, horizontal, steel pipes, such as those in the basement;
3. Finally, replace the inaccessible pipes, such as those that feed the upstairs baths, on a case-by-case basis.

As each step is completed, you’ll most likely see a marked improvement in water flow.  Finally, keep a close eye on the outside of these pipes.  The rust will eventually pierce the outer wall and leak.  If you see white, crusty, scabs on the outside of the pipe, don’t touch them.  This are leaks where water has gotten through and evaporated leaving a mineral salt deposit that sealed the pipe.  Pipe like that are in imminent danger of a major leak and should be replaced promptly.

Reaching Tom:  If you have a home improvement question or comment on this topic,please post it here.  For answers to other home improvement questions, please email Tom at tomsmoneypit@aol.com so your question can be used in future blog entries.

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