When I turn the water on for a few minutes I get great pressure and then the water totally stops. After 2-30 seconds the water comes back on and seems fine for the duration. At first I thought it was only in the shower but recently it has also happened on my outdoor faucet.

I have not changed anything except that we seemed to be getting a lot more sediment in the water so we totally replaced the whole house filter. But the water was shutting off before that.

  • 2
    Is this well water?
    – BMitch
    Jul 9, 2012 at 22:42
  • 3
    Is there a rush of air when the water is out?
    – Michael
    Jul 9, 2012 at 23:03
  • 1
    Are there any water leaks nearby?
    – kavisiegel
    Jul 10, 2012 at 2:04
  • Hot and cold, or just one of the supplies?
    – Steven
    Jul 10, 2012 at 13:22
  • 2
    My first thought is that the pressure is initially provided by a pressure tank, and when the pressure gets sufficiently low some pump kicks in. In that case the pressure sensor should maybe be replaced. This setup is common when the water comes from a well. Where do you get the water from? Do you have neighbours that are connected to the same distribution network as you? Do your neighbours experience the same problems?
    – tobixen
    Jul 10, 2012 at 17:58

2 Answers 2


If you have well water, you almost certainly have a pressure tank. The well pump runs until the pressure in the tank (and the overall system) is up to a predesignated level, then shuts off. The tank pressure then pushes water through the system until the pressure drops to a lower predetermined level. Then the pump motor kicks in again. This is supposed to maintain a relatively even pressure at the faucets.

If your pressure tank is not functioning (there is an air valve and an internal separator between water and the air in the tank and the water, either of which can cease to work correctly) this can interfere with maintaining satisfactory pressure and can cause the pump motor to run too frequently. There is also a pressure gauge/valve/relay setup, usually a short pipe stem off the main water line near the pressure tank. If that pipe or valve get clogged or otherwise stop working properly, the relay doesn't trip at the right time and the pressure can drop very low (even to zero) before pump kicks in again, raising the pressure.

You need someone to determine whether it is the tank or the pressure setup that is not functioning and act accordingly. Tanks are several hundreds of dollars, but a pressure valve fix is much less.


We had the exact same problem! After having a handyman replace the pressure switch it still did not work. We ended up calling the well company and all they had to do was clean the nipple to the pressure switch. Works great now!

  • 1
    Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. It's hard to understand what you mean when you say "nipple"; some details would make this a better answer. Feb 3, 2017 at 0:19

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.