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Answering Your Water Pump Questions

with RPS Engineer Mike

What is good water pressure for a well?

Let’s clarify this up front - there is an inflow from the water source below ground, whatever aquifer your well has tapped into. While you won’t receive adequate water pressure from water just flowing into the well, you will be able to create pressure by utilizing a submersible well pump to push water to the surface. Most of the time, the pressure created by the submersible pump itself is enough for tasks like filling storage tanks, filling water troughs, filling up ponds and just opening up a hose line to water gardens or wash off equipment. If you want a consistent source of water pressure that is 45 PSI + for your home or irrigation, then a well owner should pair that submersible pump with a pressure tank. 


Good water pressure for a residence falls somewhere between 40PSI and 60 PSI. You should expect strong water pressure in your showers and faucets in that range. Any lower than 40PSI and some shower heads won’t operate very well. Any higher than 60PSI -70PSI and you’ll have to be careful not to burst any pipes that aren’t rated for high pressure. 


Examples of Pressure Requirements

Drip Lines 10-20PSI

Residential 45-60PSI

Sprinklers 40-60PSI 

Frost Free Hydrant 40-50PSI


How Does a Pressure Tank Work?

Lots of first time well owners incorrectly think that the pressure tank out in their yard operates using electricity. Wrong! A pressure tank operates solely off of the physical property of compressed air. Your well pumps pushes water into the pressure tank, and the air bubble inside becomes compressed, pressurizing the water within a preset range somewhere between 40-60PSI. Once the pressure tank reaches the pre-set shut off point, lets say in this case 60PSI, the submersible pump stops pumping water into the tank. The outside of a pressure tank is made from galvanized steel, or some kind of metal, and on the inside is a rubber “bladder” that fills with water. Most pressure tanks are a bright blue or beige color.  


As you go about your day, turning on and off faucets, taking showers, and flushing toilets, the water from the pressure tank is released and pressure inside the tank also falls. Just like there is a preset upper shut off, 60PSI, there is a pre-set lower shut off, in this case we’ll use 40 psi. Once the tank releases enough water and the pressure lands on 40PSI, your submersible pump turns back on to refill the pressure tank. 

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