Well Water System - save energy here too
Do you have a well water system? Most folks don't, but there are a few of us that do.
Our systems aren't designed the same, but they often have some of the same issues with respect to how much energy they use.
Here are a few energy saving tips from my system to yours.
Let's look at pressure switch settings, water filters and water screens (strainers) that could be robbing us of energy unnecessarily.
First, if you have a pressure tank, don't set the pressure switch shut off too high in an attempt to get more capacity out of your system by . Sure, that will give you more water in the storage tanks, and it will give you higher pressure, but it will also make the pump run too long and too hard to get that higher pressure at the upper end, and only a little more water in storage.
It's better to set the pressure switch on the well water system to turn on a bit lower. This will give you lower pressure at the low end, but it will expand your capacity without costing you near the energy that it will if you try to get more capacity out of the top end of your system.
Another energy saving tip - keep the filter clean. If you don't, the pump will work harder to force water through a filter that is loaded up with sediment. There is no sense making the pump work harder than it has to.
A good way to see the amount of work the pump is being asked to do is to have a pressure gauge on your tanks, downstream of the filter, and a pressure gauge upstream of the filter. Looking at the pressure on these two gauges will give you the differential pressure.
Differential pressure will show you how "loaded" your filter is. If you are seeing 20 psi differential pressure, your filter is getting dirty and should be changed soon. A differential pressure of 30 psi or more suggests that you're letting it go too long before changing it.
Since the well water system pump has to push water through the filter anyway, you're going to get some differential pressure even with a clean filter, so find out what that is right after you change the filter. That gives you a baseline. I suspect it will be something like 5 psi.
Another energy saving tip - if you have a sand filter or particle screen on your system, flush (blow down) the screen periodically when the pump is running to keep it cleaner. Larger particles on these screens can clog your system flow and make the pump run harder and longer than necessary.
Photo left shows a clogged screen (strainer).
Again, use the two pressure gauge setup to check the differential pressure across the screen, just like you would do for the filter. This should show that you're getting a clogged line, but you have to figure out whether it's the screen or the filter that's causing the higher differential pressure.
Having both the filter and the screen in your well water system mounted in a clear plastic housing will make it much easier to see which part of your water well system looks like it's "loading up."
I recommend you clean the screen about every 4 to 6 filter changes, and blowing it down whenever you see debris accumulated, and the pump happens to be running. I ran mine for 6 years (about 12 filter changes), and blew it down frequently. The photo upper left shows how much accumulation of fine sand and rust you can get.
All that clogged up the strainer enough to cut the flow way down and give me high differential pressure and long pump run times.
The photo on the right shows the strainer once it was cleaned up with a soft brush under running water. Use a soft brush when cleaning to avoid damaging the screening material. After cleaning and replacing the screen element, your water should flow through the screen and filter assemblies fast and smooth.
One last energy saving tip for your well water system - listen for how long and how frequently your well water system runs. Unanticipated pump starts and lengthy run times might be an indicator of clogged flow, system leaks or diminishing pump performance.
Catching a problem early is key to solving it more conveniently and inexpensively. And, you'll likely never run out of water unexpectedly.
Done with Well Water System, back to Ways to Save Energy