Waterlogged water pressure tank schematic (C) Carson Dunlop Associates How to Add Air to a Water Pressure Tank
     

  • WATER TANK AIR, HOW TO ADD - home - CONTENTS: How to add air to a water pressure tank . How to check, repair, or use the air volume control to keep proper air charge in a water pressure tank. How to restore lost air in a building water pressure tank.Water tank air volume controls, what they are, how they work - AVCs
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs on the procedures for adding air to a water pressure tank using one of three easy methods - how to stop well pump short cycling.
  • REFERENCES

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This article describes how to add air to a building water pressure tank and it reviews the function and repair of water tank air volume controls or snifter valves in a building water supply system where a private well is the water source.

Quite often a short-cycling well pump problem can be traced to loss of the air charge in the water pressure tank.

This article describes three alternative methods for fixing that problem. [Click to enlarge any image]

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How to Add Air to a Water Pressure Tank

There are fancier methods than those described below but here are three simple methods for fixing a waterlogged water pressure tank, of which the second two work well for easy replacement of air lost from a water storage or pressure tank.

  1. Use or repair the water tank air volume control, if one is installed - details about different types of air volume controls (jet pumps) and snifter valves (submersible well pumps) are
    at WATER TANK AIR VOLUME CONTROLS
  2. Use the water tank air inlet valve or tire valve or "schrader valve" to pump air into the tank - details are
    at WATER TANK AIR ADD AT AIR VALVE
  3. Drain the water tank using a garden hose and allow air to enter the tank - details are
    at WATER TANK AIR ADD BY DRAINING

Other water tank problems such as air leaks, water leaks, or a damaged or burst air bladder, or pressure control switch problems can also make a water system behave improperly. See the links listed at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article or start
at WATER TANK REPAIRS for these.

Below we provide a short summary of these methods for adding air to a water tank, and we provide links to in-depth detailed procedures.

1: AIR VOLUME CONTROLS - Method 1: air-volume controls on water tanks

Photograph of a water pressure tank air volume control

An "automatic" air volume control (AVC) device (on jet pump well systems) or a snifter valve (on submersible pump well systems) may be installed on the water pressure tank if it's an older, bladderless steel tank.

[Click to enlarge any image]

The AVC or snifter valve is intended to automatically put a little bit of replacement air into the tank from time to time as water pressure cycles up and down, that is, each time that the water pump runs.

This device on older water systems often stops working.

One choice is to get the air volume control working again by cleaning and fixing any leaks - details are
at WATER TANK AIR ADD AT AIR VALVE.

Another choice is to remove the air volume control and plug its fittings if it is leaking, and use one of the other water tank air charge methods described in these articles.

If your water tank air charge is being lost too rapidly, your water tank may have an air leak that can be fixed. Or you may need to replace the tank.

2: Use the water tank air inlet valve or tire valve or "schrader valve" to pump air into the tank

Photograph of a water pressure tank air valve


An air valve may be found on the water tank, on piping near the tank or water pump, or at the water tank outlet tee as shown in our photo at left.

Using a bicycle pump one can add air to the water tank.

Step by step details for adding air to a water pressure tank by using the air inlet valve are found at WATER TANK AIR ADD AT AIR VALVE and

Water tank air valves are also described at WATER TANK AIR INLET VALVE.

 


3: Drain the water tank using a garden hose and allow air to enter the tank

Photograph of a water pressure tank control valve


A simple method for recharging the air in a water pressure tank is to turn off the pump, attach a garden hose to the tank drain, open the hose, drain the tank completely, and then let the pump re-fill the tank.

Opening a nearby faucet or valve will speed the drain process and may help let air into the water tank.

Details are
at WATER TANK AIR ADD BY DRAINING

Other water tank problems such as air leaks, water leaks, or a damaged or burst air bladder, or pressure control switch problems can also make a water system behave improperly. See the links listed at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article or start
at WATER TANK REPAIRS for these.

More about how we get air into the water pressure tank to avoid well pump short cycling

Photograph of a water pressure tank air volume control

Air volume controls are found normally only on older type bladderless steel water tanks (photo at left) and not on bladder type captive air water tanks. Therefore the procedures describe here are intended for conventional non-bladder type water pressure tanks such as the water tank shown in our photo (left).

We explain these valves and how they work, are repaired, replaced, or abandoned, in our
article: AIR VOLUME CONTROLS, WATER TANK

If your well tank is a "captive air" or bladder type pressure tank such as the Well-X-Trol™ series see WATER TANK BLADDER PRESSURE ADJUSTMENT.

Bladder type or captive-air water pressure tanks and their repairs are described at WATER TANK TYPES

and at WATER TANKS HOW THEY WORK.

Readers of this document should also
see WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE an specific case which offers an example of diagnosis of loss of water pressure, loss of water, and analyzes the actual repair cost. The illustration at page top is courtesy of Carson Dunlop, Inc. in Toronto.

WATER PUMP CONTROLS & SWITCHES contains advice on how to adjust water pressure and water pump cut-in and cut-out pressures.

More Reading

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