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We have a water pressure issue in all fixtures of the house. We first replaced the whole-house water filter which helped right away, but the next morning there was almost no water (10 psi instead of the usual 30-35 psi). After making a few calls to local specialists, we tried one suggestion that seemed to help: turn off the well pump power for a few hours (more than 20 minutes seems to be required, but the shortest we've tried is 2 hours of leaving off the power). This gets us water pressure back to about 30 psi after about half an hour, but soon after it quickly drops again.

Any suggestions on what to do in this situation, or what might be happening, would be appreciated.

Other information

  • We are the only house on the well, in the finger-lakes region of New York State. No new houses immediately near us.
  • After turning the pump back on, the pressure will go up to 40-45 PSI in less than 5 minutes, and then start to drop (usually 30 PSI after half an hour or so) and down to 8 PSI overnight. However, it certainly drops faster with use. The main issue seems to be that it never seems to go back up, unless we turn off the power for a couple of hours and then back on.
  • House was built in 1983 or 1984, we purchased 5 years ago.
  • We have a submersible pump (at least I'm pretty sure). I've attached photos below of the system, as well as the well head, though I didn't open it up yet, so I'm guessing that photo is not very informative. And it has a snake on it for a bonus! enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

I'm not really sure what the box/unit in the lower left corner of the first two images is, though probably not relevant.

Other information 2

  • This is a new problem, though this is the first time we've had 4 people at home all the time, and during a drought.
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    well going dry? – Ack Aug 22 '20 at 21:20
  • Yes, are there any nighttime uses of water? Sprinklers, water softener etc.? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 22 '20 at 21:32
  • No night-time uses that I know of, but this is happening in the day as well. We have had a drought, but our grass is still green (we live at the bottom of a hill which tends to stay wet and green even during droughts). Turning off the pump for a while always seems to fix the issue, but from what I read, it does sound like the well could be dry. However, I'm very inexperienced in these matters. – bbarker Aug 22 '20 at 21:35
  • I would suspect a leak. One way to check for a leak if you are the only house on the well is be sure everything is turned off and then turn off the pump. If the pressure is dropping you have a leak. Wells have very different characteristics when it comes to production and recovery. Another way to check for a leak is to put a pressure gauge somewhere on the house (a hose bib is a great location). Take a reading then turn off the valve at the well/pressure tank/pump house or whatever is the main cutoff at your well system. If the pressure drops without usage, you have a leak. – George Anderson Aug 22 '20 at 22:18
  • ...ran out of space for a comment. We can better help you if you can describe your water system. Do you have an electrical pump cutout for "sucking air" or electrode system in the well casing to shut off the pump in case of low water level in the well? There are ways of dealing with a low producing well but they tend to be quite a bit more complex than just a submersible pump, controls and pressure tank. – George Anderson Aug 22 '20 at 22:23
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In this particular case, when the well drillers came over, they agreed with many of the comments: it was either a bad pump, or a leak. They ruled out the leak after testing the water pressure directly at the well head. The submersible pump was over 275 feet down (at the very bottom of the well). The pump was determined to be as old as the house: 36 years old, and only 0.5 horsepower.

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