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WATER TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT
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WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS
WELL CHLORINATION & DISINFECTION
WELL FLOW RATE
WELL WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS
WELL YIELD IMPROVEMENT
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Internal bladder water tank troubleshooting: this article describes the diagnosis and repair of internal bladder type water pressure tanks: how they work, what goes wrong, how to fix it. We explain how internal bladder type water pressure tanks work, what goes wrong, how to diagnose the trouble, and how to repair it.
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Building plumbing fixtures (sinks, toilets, showers, tubs) are supplied with water from the building water supply piping, and drain into the building drain-waste-vent (DWV) system.
How water pressure tanks work
When water is turned on at a fixture in the building, compressed air in the water tank acts like a spring: it pushes water out of the water tank and into the building water supply piping and thus water is sent on to the building plumbing fixtures.
If many fixtures are being run at once in the building, or if the water flow rate produced by the pump and piping and controls is a modest one, the pump may run continuously all while the fixture is being operated.
More typically, if only one fixture is running and if the pump and well can deliver a high water flow rate, the pump may come on and off several times while the fixture is being run.
As water leaves the water tank, water pressure in the water tank drops. Since the water tank also contains air, the air pressure drops too. In the tank water pressure and air pressure will be at the same psi. Sketch courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates.
A pressure control switch, usually mounted on or near the water tank, senses the pressure drop, and at a pre-set "pump cut-in pressure" (typically 20 or 30 psi) the pressure switch turns on the water pump. See WATER PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL ADJUSTMENT for details of this control.
The water pump, located at the tank or perhaps in the well, pumps water to the building from the well, simultaneously re-pressurizing the water tank and providing water to the building. See WATER PUMP LIFE EXPECTANCY for types of water well pumps, how they work, how they are diagnosed and repaired.
Because the water pressure tank is connected to the water pump (water in from the well) and also to the building water supply piping (water out to the building) the water tank is said to be "floated on the water line" and when the water pump is running water is pushed simultaneously into the water pressure tank and into the building supply piping.
The pressure control switch turns off the water pump when water pressure in the pressure tank reaches the "pump cut-out pressure" (typically 40 or 50 psi) - pressure switch turns off the well pump.
Readers of this document should also see WATER TANK BLADDER PRESSURE ADJUSTMENT where we describe adjusting air pressure in a bladder type water tank to factory specs, and 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 Associates.
What's the Difference Between a Bladder Type Captive Air Water Tank and a Conventional Steel Bladderless Water Tank
Bladder Type Captive Air Water Tanks
Bladder type or "captive air" water tanks (shown in our photo at left and in the sketch above) store the water tank's air charge in the upper portion of the steel water tank. Water in the tank moves in and out of a rubber bladder in the tank bottom. Because the air charge is kept separate from the water in the tank, air is not absorbed into the water and bladder type water tanks do not normally need to have makeup air added.
On some captive air water tanks this design is reversed. For example on the WellMate™ water tank the water is in the tank and air is in the tank bladder.
This difference can confuse the burst water tank bladder diagnosis procedure which we describe below.
At WATER TANK CAPTIVE AIR vs TRADITIONAL WellMate we provide separate water tank diagnosis and repair advice.
Water pressure or water pump short cycling problems with bladder-type water tanks are usually traced to a problem with the pump controls, with well and water piping leaks, or less often, to a failure of the internal tank bladder itself - a component that may be replaceable.
If the water-containing rubber bladder in a "captive air" water tank is defective (it can become stuck to itself and remain collapsed), the result can be a rapid on-off short cycling of the water pump. We test water pressure tanks to see if they're empty or nearly empty of water by seeing if we can gently rock or move the tank.
If the water tank is heavy with water it does not move easily. Be careful not to jiggle and break a pipe!
Water pressure tanks, their different types, how to identify them, and their repairs are described just above and in more detail at WATER TANK TYPES.
At What Goes Wrong with an Internal-Bladder type Water Tank? we discuss the combination of well pump short cycling and a burst water tank bladder.
Traditional no-bladder Steel or Fiberglass Water Tanks
Modern steel bladderless type water tanks may be coated internally to increase the water tank life by resisting corrosion. That's what "glass lined" refers to on some water tanks. (A "glass lined" or "epoxy coated" water tank will not be a bladder type water tank which we discussed above.)
Bladderless water pressure tanks, because the air charge and water are in the same container, can lose their air charge over time (air is absorbed into the water) and may need air added.
See WATER TANK AIR, HOW TO ADD for details.
Bladderless Fiberglass Water Pressure Tanks, such as the WellMate traditional hydro-pneumatic water tank operate similar to the steel water pressure tank, but incorporate a tank-top mounted air volume control and offer the advantage (over steel water tanks) of no risk of rust perforation and leak at the water tank.
At WATER TANK CAPTIVE AIR vs TRADITIONAL WellMate we provide separate water tank diagnosis and repair advice for this water tank type.
Bladderless Fiberglass Water Pressure Tanks, such as the WellMate traditional hydro-pneumatic water tank operate similar to the steel water pressure tank, that is, no internal bladder is used to maintain and separate the tank's air charge and water charge pressure. These tanks incorporate a tank-top mounted air volume control and offer the advantage (over steel water tanks) of no risk of rust perforation and leak at the water tank.
At WellMate Diagnosis we provide separate water tank diagnosis and repair advice for this water tank type.
At OLDER STEEL TANKS - Bladder-less Traditional Steel Water Pressure & Water Storage Tanks we discuss this water tank type in detail.
Water pressure or water pump short cycling problems with bladder-type water tanks are usually traced to a problem with the pump controls, with well and water piping leaks, or less often, to a failure of the internal tank bladder itself - a component that may be replaceable.
1. Water tank bladder rupture: if the water containing bladder in a captive air water tank becomes ruptured, torn, or leaky, the result can be a very short water draw-down cycle before the water pump runs,or rapid on-off short cycling of the water pump.
Water from the tank bladder leaks out of the bladder and into the steel tank itself where it replaces more and more of the air charge until finally the behavior of the water system is much as in the water tank bladder collapse discussed just below.
A water tank bladder might rupture from age, an internal defect, or if the pump pressure control switch is defective or is set so high that the water pressure breaks the bladder but this last cause is a bit unusual since the air pressure and water pressure on the two sides of the tank bladder's are normally the same.
2. Water tank bladder collapse: if the water-containing rubber bladder in a "captive air" water tank is defective (it can become stuck to itself and remain collapsed), the result can be a rapid on-off short cycling of the water pump. A stuck tank bladdeprevents water from entering the pressure tank. There will be no appreciable water draw-down quantity and the water tank will remain "light" if gently shaken in place.
Watch out: We check water pressure tanks to see if they're empty or nearly empty of water by seeing if we can gently rock or move the tank. If the tank is heavy with water it does not move easily. If the water pressure tank is empty or nearly so, it will be very light and easy to move. Be careful not to jiggle and break a pipe!
3. Pinhole water tank bladder leak: if the tank's internal bladder has not burst but has a small leak the tank air pressure will increase above standard air charge pressure as water accumulates in the air space - details are below.
Why don't we just look at the water tank pressure gauge to see if there is water in the tank? Well we do. But because debris or other failures can cause a water tank pressure gauge to read pressure even when there is none in the tank (the gauge can get "stuck"), we don't rely on just tank gauge readings. For more about water tank pressure gauges,
see WATER PRESSURE GAUGE ACCURACY and
If the water tank is empty or nearly so, then water is not entering the tank. If the water pump runs but no water is entering the tank, the problem could be a collapsed bladder that is stuck onto itself, not admitting water. There could also be another problem such as a defective water pump, a well line leak, or other cause for water not entering the tank - so you may need to also
If the water tank is "full" or nearly so, then if there is still no water pressure, the tank bladder could be also burst but the tank may have lost its air charge (over time air is absorbed into the water - the burst-bladder water tank is acting like a bladderless water tank discussed just above). In this case you might observe that the well pump (or pump control) is switching rapidly on and off when water is run in the building -
Bladder type or captive-air water pressure tanks and their repairs are described just above and in more detail
at WATER TANK TYPES.
How to diagnose a burst water tank bladder
If you remove the cap from the air valve on the top of your water tank and momentarily depress the pin in the center of the schrader valve, normally air will hiss out.
Watch out: Don't keep holding this valve pin down or you'll lose the air charge.
At WellMate Diagnosis we provide separate water tank diagnosis and repair advice for captive-air water tanks in which the air is in the bladder and the water is outside the bladder in the water tank.
Thanks to Jeff Garmel for suggesting text clarification in this discussion of water pressure tank diagnosis.
How to Diagnose a Leaky but not "Burst" Water Tank Bladder
It is possible for an internal-bladder type water pressure tank to behave improperly due to a small leak between the water-containing bladder and the air space inside the pressure tank.
While a completely-burst tank bladder (described above) quickly or immediately converts the pressure tank to one acting like a tank with no bladder at all, a very small leak, even a pinhole leak in the tank bladder acts differently.
Photo at left, provided by reader D.S., illustrates slow water leakage out of the air valve of an internal-bladder water pressure tank that has been removed due to a pinhole leak in the water bladder. Details of this case are at FAQs .
A small or pinhole leak in the water tank bladder will send water "one way" from the tank bladder into the water tank's air space. The diagnostic clues you will see in this case include
A case history provided by a reader details the diagnosis of a pinhole tank bladder leak in the FAQs section of this article.
Water Tank Not Properly Located can Also Cause Improper Pressure Switch Operation
Iif you place the water pressure tank too far from the pump pressure switch, or at a different elevation from the pressure switch, the pressure switch control may not operate properly. Here is what Amtrol™ says about tank location:
Really most pressure tanks will work if placed almost anywhere. But if you have a problem such as pressure switch bouncing (the switch turning the pump on and off rapidly at the start or end of a pumping cycle) you can relocate the pressure switch to the new larger tank and run a longer wire to the pump or pump control relay.
Other causes of pressure switch bounce and well pump short cycling are explained at SHORT CYCLING CAUSES.
Be sure to review WATER TANK BLADDER PRESSURE ADJUSTMENT if you are adjusting, tuning, or replacing the air pressure in your bladder-type well tank.
Details about how to repair or replaced a water tank bladder are at WATER TANK BLADDER REPLACEMENT.
Our sketch at left, courtesy of Well-Rite water pressure tanks [Flexcon Industries]  Illustrates how air in the upper portion of the tank compresses water in the flexible tank bladder, acting as a spring to push water into the building water supply piping system during the draw-down cycle. You'll note that at the end of the 40/60 psi draw-down cycle illustrated, the volume of water in the tank is nearly zero.
Fixing or getting rid of a waterlogged collapsed-bladder water tank: as we mentioned above, it's also possible that the torn bladder will stick to the water outlet opening, blocking water from leaving the water tank. The result will be short cycling of the water pump.
We discuss water pump short cycling at WATER TANK REPAIRS. In any case the drawdown volume will be reduced and it's likely that this misused water tank will rust through soon.
Water tank bladder replacement: on some water pressure tanks, the water tank can be disassembled and the bladder replaced. You might want to ask your plumber to try this repair before replacing the entire water tank assembly.
Bladder replacement will involve draining water from the system and removing the water tank pretty much as if the whole tank were to be replaced. Suppliers such as Wessels offer replacement bladders for some models of expansion tanks and hydropneumatic tanks. In general, if you're going to hire a plumber to do this job, we recommend replacing the whole tank.
Problems with an outdoor faucet installed between well and pressure tank
Reader Question: 5/26/2014 Gary said:
I have an odd situation, my neighbor's set-up is... she just had a new well and pump put in 5 years ago. She called me the other day fearful that her well was dry. (the problem with her first well!) I checked the system and the problem was, as she turned on an OUTSIDE faucet, one that is between the pump and the house, the water would run for 5 minutes then stop.
After 2 or 3 minutes the pump would come on ands pressure would build back up. I replaced pressure switch and pressure gauge and inside the house the system works great! Ran all faucets inside, pressure dropped to 40PSI, switched turned on the pump, back up to 60PSI and shut off.
This ran for several cycles with no problem. Then we turned on the OUTSIDE faucet again, same thing happen. Ran FULL BORE for 5 minutes, pressure dropped to 40 then ZERO and nothing for 2 or 3 minutes until it kicks back on. I feel like the pump is shutting itself off to prevent overheating but not sure why the pump is not kicking on at 40PSI. Any help is greatly appreciated! Thanks Gary
Nice going on the debug work done so far.
If you can take a look at the water for sediment or debris level and find that it's high, it's possible that even the new pressure switch is being debris-clogged.
Thanks Dan. We live in a high sediment/iron area (Triad of NC). She has a whole house filter plus a backwashing iron filtration system. She just had (three months ago) the iron system cleaned/regnerated. Of course is all 'post' the pressure tank.
However, when I replaced pressure gauge and switch, I opened the shut off valve from the house ever so slightly to allow water to drain back toward the tank it flowed well through both stems off the line. Also, after turning on the outside faucet and the switch NOT cutting on as it should we retested the system from the inside, flushed toilets and opened faucets and it worked like a charm.
I feel it has something to do with that outside faucet. It is not attached to the house, as it is a frost proof faucet 50 feet from the well near a plant bed which is 50 feet from the house. Is it possible that the outside faucet is creating a pressure issue? Thanks again.
Undaunted by the warning not to speak beyond one's competence I note this as a working note not an answer: the water pressure control switch companies tell us to install the switch as close to the pressure tank as possible. Readers have wondered what difference it makes - thinking that water, not very compressible, should transmit system pressure uniformly through the system regardless. I haven't yet found the reason for the "close to" advice but your report might be a clue.
What if, for example, a check valve on the house side is preventing the water pressure drop in the outside faucet line from being transmitted to the control.
I need a schematic: what are the relative locations of
5/29/2014 Gary said
Let me work on that schematic. I am by no means a plumber so I ask this question from a "ignorance is bliss" perspective.
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But, is it possible for the faucet to exist and work BEFORE the pressure tank? As I understand the workings of a well system, I thought the water ran from the well to the pressure tank with aid of the pump and that the pressure in the tank 'pushed' the water though out the house. If the faucet is off the 'main line' from the well to the house, how would that even work?
Reply & Reader Comments:
Well it's nice and neat but I've become still more brain damaged trying to figure this out.
Let's see if we can just write down the sequence of connections or figure out the piping by some tests.
Tell me what's incorrect in the following:
1. Your actual pump is in the well - a deep well pump, either a submersible or a 2 line jet pump (as I don't see "pump" in the aboveground components list)
2. The pressure tank and switch that control the pump are remote from the well, presumably indoors
3. The pressure tank supplies water to the building through a water filter and iron filter
4. We are not sure how water is delivered to the remote outside faucet
4.1. look indoors for a shutoff between pressure tank and outdoor piping that you can confirm (by closing it) shuts off the outdoor faucet
4.2 If there is none then possibly in an odd piping arrangement the outdoor faucet is floated on the line between pressure tank and well
If 4.2 is correct then if there is a check valve near the pressure tank, that would make the pressurized water flow just "one way" from well into tank and on to building. If this were the case then if the pump is not running (pressure switch says it's at cutoff pressure or pressure has not fallen to cut-in pressure) you will see only a brief burst of water at the faucet (from what's in the piping) before flow will drop to zero.
But flow should continue again if enough water is run in the house to cause the pump to turn on.
If this is the case it's a troubling set-up.
I believe there is a check valve right as the well pipe comes into the house just before the tank. It looks kind of like the attached image, except longer and more rectangular in shape. This sounds like the possible culprit. If the faucet ‘floats’ between well and tank and there is a check valve preventing back flow, where does the pressure come to force the water from the outside faucet? Could the check valve need replacing?
all of item 4 makes me suspect the faucet is on the well line between well and house. That would have worked in the past if there were no check valve in the house, just in the well (which is a common design).
But if someone replaced parts, added a check valve in the house (say because the foot valve in the well was losing prime) that would or could result in the snafu you describe currently.
If you get no water at the faucet and then do get water when use of water in the house causes the pump to turn on, that'd be confirming.
I’ll do that check over the weekend. If it looks like the faucet is floated between the well and pump, should the check valve be removed? Just wondering what the fix might be.
Removing the check valve at the pump will probably let the faucet work again, but if the check valve was added to counteract a failed footvalve in the well you'll find that the system loses prime.
Still, going back to your initial remarks, you have water running "full bore" for several minutes, then pressure drops down, then pressure stops entirely, then after a "rest" the pump and pressure appear to recover. To me this sounds like a debris-clogged pressure control switch, with the effects showing up more severely at an outdoor faucet floated on the line between well and pressure tank. That's because the volume of water in the well piping would not be likely to be enough to give 4-5 minutes of water at the outdoor faucet.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: Water tank internal bladder is stuck - how do I repair it?
I just replaced a bad water tank with a new pre-pressure tank. The pressure setting is at 29 psi according to the manufacturer. However, after hooking everything back up, it appears no water is going into the tank. I attempted to adjust the pressure switch but nothing appears to work. Could I be dealing with a back pressure switch? - Ron
Thanks for the information on the new pressure tank.
If the internal bladder has failed and collapse onto itself, can I get everything working by removing all the air pressure first and then pumping water into the tank?
There is water coming out of the water valve prior to the tank when the pump is running. However, after closing it, it appears no water is going into the tank. - Ron
Similar question: new bladder tank installed, tank won't fill with water
I just installed anew bladder tank, and it is not filling with water, is this normal? - Wess Wellmaker
Reply: Replace the Bad Air Bladder or try Pumping Up a Stuck Water Tank Internal Bladder
I'd check the pressure at your new pressure tank at the pump cut-in and cut-out points. If the pressure never changes then I'd agree that something's wrong with the hookup and no water is being pushed into the tank. If an internal bladder has failed it can collapse onto itself, stick to itself, and can prevent water from getting into the tank. But first make sure there is no closed valve that ought to be open;
A bad pressure switch would prevent water from entering the water tank if the switch is simply not turning on the pump when it should. ;
Next: when an internal bladder has collapsed and stuck to itself I think the "fix" is to replace the bladder or the entire tank and bladder assembly. No water enters the pressure tank when the bladder is stuck like that.
Since your tank is new, replacing the tank or bladder does not sound like the place to start. But even a new water pressure tank that uses an internal bladder could be having a problem filling the bladder the first time.
But according to Jeremy Rasmussen, an experienced well driller and installer, he sometimes can "un-stick" a jammed or stuck water tank internal bladder by temporarily forcing the well pump to pressurize the water tank to a pressure above the usual pump pressure control switch cut-off setting. Jeremy holds the pump relay switch closed to force the pump to keep running to increase the pressure against the stuck bladder.
Watch out: Especially if there is no pressure relief valve on the water tank there is a risk of bursting the water tank. Over pressurizing a water tank can cause it to explode, causing injury or even, as happened in New Paltz, NY, death. Watch the pressure gauge, and keep the tank pressure well below the recommended manufacturer's maximum pressure rating for the tank. If you keep the pressure below 70 psi and the tank is not already weakened by rust or damage, you should be OK.
Watch out: there are potentially fatal electric shock hazards if you touch live electrical wiring, especially in wet areas or where you may also be touching building plumbing.
Finally, check to be sure that any valves between the water pump and the pressure tank are "open" to allow water into the tank.
Wes: indeed water should enter your water tank bladder when the pump cycles on. Look for
- a closed or broken water control valve between pump outlet and water tank inlet
- a stuck water tank bladder (try briefly holding the pressure switch closed to pump up to 1o-15 psi over the usual cutoff pressure to see if you can un-stick the bladder in the tank
Watch out: do not over pressurize a water pressure tank - it can burst and kill someone
Question: bladder tank pump system worked fine until we had a burst water pipe
Hi there, we have a bladder tank pump that was working perfectly ok until Friday night when a pipe in the kitchen burst, and all the water was turned off. Now the pipe is fixed and the water back on, but the pump will only run for a few seconds and then goes off. It also isn't pumping much, if any water into the cold water tank in the loft (just a trickle running into it, mostly after the pump has switched itself off), and the other problem is, there is no water from any of the hot taps in the house.
The hot water tank is full. All valves had been turned back on. Even running the cold taps won't make the pump come on and stay on. It's currently sitting at approximate 2bar, and when it runs, it cuts out at 3bar. These figures are usual for our pump. Any clues on why its cutting out too early and why there's no water coming from the hot tank to the tanks? Any advice gratefully received! - Jack
*Sorry, that last line should say "Any clues on why its cutting out too early and why there's no water coming from the hot tank to the taps?"
Jack I wonder if the burst pipe water flow rate stirred debris in the system and clogged the pressure sensor switch. Sorry not to have replied sooner, we were deluged with questions
Question: Water pressure tank seems to be empty and water pump won't shut off
I gently rocked the tank and it does not seem there is any water in it. My pump will pump water but the water pressure will only go a little over 30 so the pump will not shut off. For now I shut it off manually and turn it on and allow it to run until we have finished taking a shower or some other task. If the bladder has failed shouldn't the water pressure still build up and then shut the pump off? - Dale
If the internal bladder in a water pressure tank has failed, the symptoms can vary a bit. Sometimes a collapsed bladder will prevent water from entering the tank, or water can enter up to the pump cut-off pressure but water won't flow back out of the tank. If that's happening the pump will turn on and off quickly as if there were a waterlogged water tank.
Question: Buried water pressure tank, now the tank seems waterlogged
Hi. Very informative site. I have a well system that was put in 6 years ago. The bladder or diaphragm tank was buried according to my installer because my double wide had no basement. He also told me the tank would be good for about 20 years.
Recently, I've experienced the symptoms of a waterlogged tank, and after discussing it with the installers front office find they warranty for 5 years (a long way from 20, but I'm certainly not calling them for any further work). 2questions: I'd like to install a new tank in an insulated box under the double wide--is this ok? I'm also wondering if I can just use the existing line coming out of the ground and temporarily not worry about digging up the old tank and rerouting the line. Thanks for any help. - Anonymous
Anon: in my OPINION, no one in their right mind would bury a conventional water pressure tank. The tank is not intended for being buried nor for soil contact, nor are its safety controls such as the pressure relief valve that should have been installed at the tank, nor are the pressure sensing controls that should be installed at or close to the tank. Such an installation cannot be serviced.
When you dig up and replace your buried water tank, if it cannot be installed inside the building in a dry heated space, it can be installed in a dry, covered, but accessible "well pit" as was common practice at well heads before the pitless adapter was invented.
Question: water pressure starts strong but quickly falls off to nothing - what might be wrong?
When we first turn on outside faucet near well house we have alot of water pressure, then it goes down to a trickle in a few minutes. Also when we have this outside faucet on, we don't have any water in the house. Our pressure tank feels empty, could the bladder be collapsed? If it is collapsed, is there a way to get it un collapsed or do we need to replace it? - Jorg
We were also wondering if the pressure switch could be causing the drop in pressure?
Jorg about the water pump pressure control switch, a bad switch will fail to turn the pump on or off at the proper time; if it were improperly adjusted it might appear to work but lead to lower water pressure.
Question: Water tank pressure creeps up higher than normal
My pump cut in pressure is 35 psi. Couple yrs ago charged tank to 33 psi. Recently my pump started short cycling. I drained the tank. Air charge read 46 psi. Lowered back to 33 psi. A few days later tank pressure was back to 46 psi. What could cause this? I changed the filter. Water flow seams normal. - Kevin
Kevin: these are great water pump and tank mysteries, no?
If you are seeing air discharge at your plumbing fixtures, see AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES
Question: Why is there red cap over our water tank air valve?
Why is there red cap flush mounted inside of the air valve? It blocks access to the stem valve. - Lawrence
Reply: The red cap prevents accidental release of or change in the water tank's air charge
The red plastic cap on the air valve on your pressure tank is intended to prevent an amateur from messing with the tank's pre-charge of air pressure.
On many internal bladder type water pressure tanks, the water tank is provided from the factory with the manufacturer's recommended air pressure pre-charged in the tank. The manufacturer doesn't want someone accidentally letting the air out or otherwise messing with the air pressure charge if they don't know how it should be set.
Provided you follow the manufacturer's instructions about adjusting the pressure in the water tank, you can remove the red guard to access the air valve itself.
Question: how to troubleshoot air in water lines - collapsed water tank bladder as a cause?
Hi, What a helpful site. We have been experiencing intermittent air in our water lines, and yesterday had the well company come out. They repaired a couple things: pinhole found in pipe just above the submersible pump (which is 24 years old but appears to be running well). Also a weird bleeder valve arrangement that is no longer needed, and which he replaced with a brass check valve.
Put everything back down in the well and ran the water, seemed okay. However since then we notice very low water pressure, and when the water is on the pump is short-cycling. From reading your articles, I checked the water tank (well-x-trol) and am able to rock it with gentle pressure, leading me to believe there is no water in it. The pressure gauge is at 60%. My question is, is a collapsed bladder a common result of draining all the water from the system? And I guess the real question, is this repairable or do we need a whole new water tank? Thank you. - Sara
I haven't run across collapsed water pressure tank bladders due just to emptying the system of water, though I could imagine that if a tank were left empty for some time, the bladder might stick to itself. Bladders in at least some water pressure tanks are replaceable - some readers have reported success in doing so. Replacement involves shutting down and draining the system, and most likely disconnecting the tank to upend it to gain access to a removable panel through which an OEM replacement tank bladder is installed.
See AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES for help in diagnosing and fixing the air discharge in your water piping and fixtures.
Question: water tank removal: how do I abandon a well and water pressure tank when switching to municipal water supply
I have had a water well plumbed and changed to a public water. the blue tank i was told was not in use,,though there was a leak from it. eventually it got rusted and at the end and let away the water from my public connection out. i had to turn mains off..what is going on if this belly tank only belongs to the water well, which is not in use. - Reosemary
Rosemary, if you have switched from well water to municipal supply, ALL of your old water input/supply equipment should have been taken out of your water supply system. That's because the municipality worries that contamination in a private residence's equipment could back-contaminate the public water mains.
Question: We have intermittent water pressure and the water smells - is it a bladder problem?
We are currently experience intermittent water pressure and water has slight smell. In conversing with other people thought our holding tank might have had issues w/the bladder. We haven't lost water completely and as of last night was on full pressure. Any ideas on the problem? - Karin Wilson
Reply: Diagnose the cause of intermittent water pressure first, and smell second
I'm not sure what to diagnose from your description; there could be a less-than-obvious connection between a water smell and water pressure in that in some wells, when the water level in the well drops (as it may seasonally especially in the dry season) there may also be an increase in odor in the well water as different rock fissures and different components of the aquifer feed into a typical drilled well at different depths.
Certainly we've seen that sulphur odors in well water can vary seasonally.
You could also have a problem with bacteria in the water supply or growing in the water pressure tank.
To be more diagnostic we need to understand if your "intermittent water pressure" means that at different times of the day water pressure is poor versus poor or inadequate water pressure during different portions of the pump cycle (typically just a few minutes). If it's the latter, then we might try addressing the complaint with an adjustment to the pressure switch to slightly narrow the gap between cut-in and cut-out pressures.
But if the water pressure failures are intermittent during the day, it sounds like there may be a well flow problem.
Question: why is my well and pressure tank water draw-down cycle only giving me 2 gallons of water before the pump has to turn on - short draw-down cycle troubleshooting
I have a private well with a new 7-8 GPM pump set at 300ft installed last year. I have been trying to test our 15 year old pressure tank. It is a WellxTrol WX-202 20 gallon that states it should have a draw down of 6.8 gallons. I have no pressure or flow problems and my pressure switch is set to 30/50. I ran a draw down test with my garden hose and nozzle hooked up to an outside faucet and only got 2 gallons before pump turn on (at 30psi) into a volume marked pail, but the draw down time was about 1 minute 30 seconds. Time from cut-on to cut-off (50psi) is about 15-20 seconds. There is no short cycling, at least from cut-off to cut-on and we get consistent pressure and flow.
OK, new information after an additional test this morning. I flushed a low volume toilet and the water tank pressure immediately went from cut-off (50psi) to just above the cut-in pressure of 30psi, then as the volume of toilet flow slowed the pressure slowly went down to cut-in pressure. I'll test the tank air pressure later but it looks like I need a new pressure tank. - Peter
Reply: check for a waterlogged water pressure tank, check the air volume controls, add air to the pressure tank
Peter, your description sounds as if the water tank is waterlogged - has lost its air charge. See SHORT CYCLING DIAGNOSIS TABLE for help in confirming and diagnosing both short water draw down cycle (too little water before the pump turns on) and frequent pump on-and-off cycling.
And see WATER TANK AIR, HOW TO ADD for help in getting air back into the pressure tank.
Reader follow-up: trying to get air into the water pressure tank
I drained the pressure tank from the well head so that the pressure gauge showed zero. Then tested pre-charge and found it to be less than 10psi. I added enough air to get 28psi (cut-in 30psi) then tested the performance. From zero to cut-off took much more time than before, at least double (guesstimate), and when I flushed the same toilet the pressure went to 42psi, not the 32psi I got before. So defiantly the problem was too little air pressure.
I don't know where the air went though? One thing I noticed was that as I was filling the tank with air the water pressure gauge also went up and I found I had to open the well head tap to get back to zero. This seemed to clear out and I can only assume that the bladder did not fully collapse until air pressure was added.
I re-checked the tank pressure after I had opened the well head tap and the pressure held at 28psi, so I think my bladder may be OK and not (at least completely) ruptured. I'll check the pre-charge in a couple of weeks but I think for a 15 year old tank I'll just replace it anyway. The original plumber only used the smallest marginal tank so I'll go bigger for more draw down. - Peter
Peter if you drain water out of a pressure tank down to low or "zero" pressure, that does not alone assure that you've actually gotten air to enter the tank. It could be still nearly full of water but at little or no pressure. You should be able to see at least 30 seconds of draw-down at a typical faucet before the well pump has to turn on. Or taken another way, a water pressure tank is rated for an "equivalent" draw down volume of water, typically 10 gallons or higher, if the tank is properly installed and air-charged.
Question: water tank pressure creeps up and water pump short cycling: pinhole tank bladder leak symptoms?
First off, great site with tons of information! I don't have a question so much but wanted to submit an issue I had and the resolution as it was a bit different than anything you have listed. IF you choose to use this information on your site, feel free to edit as you wish.
[At your general page on water pressure tanks found at WATER TANK: USES, TROUBLESHOOTING, I was reading about tank pressure problems and short cycling water pumps.]
We have a Amtrol Well X Trol WX-250 (44 Gallon Pressure Tank) which is about 14 years old. 40/60 Pressure Switch on our well. We noticed the well was cycling too fast. We should have a drawdown of about 11 gallons. We were getting a drawdown of 2-3 gallons.
Followed the procedure assuming I would find a waterlogged pressure tank. Cut power to pump, open valves to drain water from system. Air gauge on the tank. I should get 38 if all is tuned right maybe less if the bladder is shot. The reading however was 52 PSI. That is odd. This reading was with a dial tire gauge. Try a digital one that I have 53 PSI.
After talking with a friend who is a plumber with 40 years experience he was stumped. The only thing I could figure out is that there is a small hole in the diaphragm allowing water to leak past to equalize the air chamber with the pressure of the water (60PSI). Never have noticed air coming out of any fixtures.
So I bled off the pressure to bring it down to 38 PSI expecting to get water out of the valve in the process. No water found and tank was set to 38. Turned everything back on and things were better but I still didn't think I was getting 11 gallons of drawdown but noticeably better. Ran the system 48hrs and repeated test.
Again, cut power, drain the system and pressure test. This time I got 45PSI. How could it rise 7 PSI in 2 days?
Call the plumber but he was busy with another customer so while waiting to hear from him I call Amtrol tech support. Explain what I am seeing, what I have done as described above. The tech stated that I have a small hole in the diaphragm just like I had thought was the only plausible explanation.
I asked what options I have and he said tank replacement. He commented that this issue is one they have seen before but is one that they had a hard time figuring out for a while as the symptoms are not what is normally expected. Pressure high not low, no water from pressure valve when venting air. He stated that the tank was getting water logged but basically we caught it early in the failure process. So it had not totally failed yet.
So new tank installed and everything is back to normal. Once the old tank was removed it was quite heavy as it was getting water logged. I used a tool to remove the core of the valve to fully vent all pressure from the air chamber.
Never got any water out. Finally I tipped the tank over to see what happens and at that point I started getting water out of the tank. So it was getting water logged as the tech mentioned it was just early in the failure process.
The main reason I wanted to write you is because everywhere I looked (this site and many others) described the normal failure symptoms. Low pressure and possible water from the air valve. Another possible symptom is high pressure though. It makes sense. The air chamber should be sealed. As long as the pump is off and water drained it should be 38 or 2 lbs below cut in as your site mentioned. If it is anything different (high or more commonly low), either it was set wrong during installation or the diaphragm has a hole or is ruptured. If it is different, adjust pressure to where it should be and run it for a couple days and check again. If the pressure changes again, odds are the tank is bad.
Thank you for setting this site up and the work you do. - D.S. 8/10/2013
Thank you for the interesting water pressure tank water-logging and "high pressure" report - it helps us realize where we need to work on making our text more clear or more complete. A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds additional clues that would permit a more accurate, complete, and authoritative answer than we can give by email alone. And I suspect that in the case you describe, we could have missed something to complete an explanation of the system pressure readings you observed. But with what you've said I can offer a possible explanation that fits the facts as given.
If the pressure control switch on a water pump system is working properly, the system pressure will never exceed the pump pressure control switch cut-off pressure. Your pump cut-off pressure was 60 psi using a 40/60 pressure switch. The highest pressure you recorded at the tank was 52 psi - consistent with this rule. Amtrol posed that there was a small leak in the internal water tank bladder. This makes some sense to me and leads to speculation about what' was happening in your system.
Why would water tank pressure readings creep up in just a few days?
You asked how the apparent tank pressure could "creep up" above the cut-in pressure over several days.
I agree that the explanation probably lies in one of two areas:
Debris clogging can cause a pressure control switch to properly sense lower pressures, failing to turn the pump on consistently, but debris clogging at the switch does not normally cause tank over-pressure. This does not sound like the situation you describe.
Other internal bladder type water pressure tank odd behavior can be caused when a bladder sticks to itself - often causing very small draw-down volumes as water cannot enter the tank. This too does not sound like the situation you describe.
An explanation for the unexpected increase in water pressure in the tank combined with shortening draw down cycle may be that water under pressure leaks out of the bladder into the space between tank and bladder through a small leak or opening.
Because the hole in the bladder is so small, it is quite possible to turn on water in the building and receive water at a lower pressure and quantity than normally delivered from the pressure tank because the rate at which water under higher pressure could leak back into the bladder interior would be very slow. In addition, water accumulating in the air space outside the bladder reduces the volume of that air space, thus reducing the draw-down water quantity and leading to short cycling.
Effects of a pinhole or small bladder leak in a water pressure tank
Re-stating what I think is going on, at the upper end of water tank pressure range that occurs during each pump-on cycle, some water is forced out of the water-containing bladder into the space between the steel tank and the bladder where it accumulates. The ability of water to return to the bladder interior may be less than its ability to leak out of the bladder due to the position of the particular pinhole or small leak. That is, leakage tends to be unidirectional, pushing out of the bladder into the air space only at the top of the pressure cycle.
The result of water accumulating out of the bladder and in the space normally occupied by air in the pressure tank is that the volume of air-space is gradually reduced, leading to short water pump on-cycles just as occurs in a bladderless water pressure tank that has become water-logged.
Why no water came out of the air valve at the pressure tank top
Why, then might you have not been able to get water out of the leaky pressure tank through the air valve (as occurs in a water-logged bladderless tank)? Water has to be trapped within the tank's air space; the air valve is at the top of the tank. Water in an upright tank will be at the tank bottom.
Opening the air valve, even releasing all of the air pressure remaining in the tank will still leave water in the tank air space at the tank bottom. Upending the water tank might seem a course that would allow water to drain out of the air valve, but keep in mind that if there is no other way for air to enter the tank during this process, it will be difficult to drain any water out.
Here is a similar example; if we want to drain water out of a water heater tank, the tank drain, located at the bottom of the tank is opened. But unless we open a valve at the top of the water heater tank (often we use the relief valve for this purpose), because there is no path for air to enter the tank except through the same valve that is draining water out, the rate at which water leaves the water heater tank is very very slow.
Water drains out at a dribble until enough vacuum is created inside the tank to stop water leaving and instead draw a gulp of air into the tank. Then more water dribbles out. This is a very very slow process occurring through the 1/2" diameter tank drain valve opening. Now translate this situation back to an "upside down" water pressure tank trying to drain water out (and let air in) through the 3/16" diameter air valve opening. Little or no air can enter and little water will thus drain in out except at a very slow rate.
[It is also worth noting a condition that probably was not occurring on your system: in some situations we are measuring or sensing tank pressures differently at the pump control than at a tire gauge used at the air valve. The air valve location senses air-pressure in the air space around the bladder, while the pressure gauge senses water pressure in the piping system - under normal circumstances that includes water pressure inside the bladder. In a normally-operating system these pressures (air and water) should be the same; but if a bladder is damaged and sticking over the water outlet, that pressure consistency might be lost.]
Based on the water pressure gauge I feel that my 40/60 pressure switch was operating properly. When replacing the pressure tank I also replaced the pressure switch, connecting pipe for it and pressure gauge. These items are pretty in expensive to they were done as preventative maintenance as I don't want to go back and address these other items in a few months or so. The pressure gauge was showing signs of sticking as it was dropping once it got to about 50 PSI. Of course the pressure gauge had nothing to do with the operation of the pressure switch other than provide feed back as to what pressure the water is at in the system.
One symptom that may be worth mentioning is that when I shut off the power to the well and opened a drain valve next to the pressure switch to drain the system I also opened a faucet in the laundry room 10' away from the pressure tank as well as a bathroom faucet upstairs. This was done to try and drain the water from the house pipes the one upstairs opened to allow air in to speed things up. Like you mentioned in draining a water heater. So what I saw that may be worth noting.
While that valve was open, I did still see a trickle of water coming out of the valve at the pressure switch. I attributed it to water draining back from the house. However in my case it may have been water leaking from the small hole in the waterlogged pressure tank. When I disconnected the tank it was quite heavy (compared to the new one) and it continued to drain water very slowly from the tank even though the core of the air valve was removed. Also when I tipped it over it did drain water from the air valve. This is shown in the photo that is attached. Of course one would have to be certain that any trickle from that valve is not coming from the house plumbing as it is draining to the low point in the system.
I suspect that I didn't get any water from the air valve when venting air from 52 back down to the proper level of 38 because as you mentioned the air valve is at the top of the tank and it appears that no air never left the tank (via plumbing) other than what I vented explaining the high pressure. Because of this head space the water never reached the air valve when venting while it was hooked up. Once I could tip it on its side then I could get water to exit from the air valve. - D.S. 08/11/2013
I think you've got it just right. As long as water in the pressure tank bladder was pressurized and unable to exit at a tank drain, when the water tank is removed and placed upside down or on its side with the air valve facing down, pressureized water in the bladder might indeed slowly leak back out of the (stretched) bladder, into the air space of the tank and out of the air space slowly through the schrader valve.
And I agree it's much cheaper to replace old plumbing parts during a water tank replacement than to have to re-visit the the topic later.
Thanks for the photo of your water tank. - DF
(Jan 3, 2012) Jeff said:
Am I happy I found this site, Thank you.
Jeff I added a link at page top left titled AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES - that article should help you track down the source of air burps from your water lines.
Send us a photo of the device you are asking about (see our CONTACT link at top, side or bottom of web pages) for details, but it sounds as if you are describing a water pressure regulator.
(Jan 4, 2012) Dave said:
Having issues on that the new pressure tank set at 28 psi and the switch is 30/50 and when pump is turn on the tank pressure increases at the same readings on the water gauge. Lose pressure at faucets and tank pressure drops the same time. Solution?
Dave, sorry but I don't understand your question. Take a look at the WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR article linked to at page left.
(Jan 18, 2012) linda F. said:
My badder type tank seems to be full of rust and probably lime. I put on a whole house filter but in two weeks I am getting gray water in the dish pan again. Can a bladder be cleaned out? my pressure is good until the filter gets plugged
I'd look into where the debris is coming from; perhaps you need a water filter.
(Feb 25, 2012) Jim said:
When I was recharging my (properly drained) pressure tank through the valve on top, I happened to open the drain valve on the bottom that supplies water to the house and air came out. Also, I could see the pressure I was adding on the pressure guage that is located next to the outlet for supplying water to the house. Is this normal?
Jim: I'm also confused by what you describe. If water is coming out of the tank top how would air come out of the bottom through a water drain valve? Sounds upside down, or a reversal of role of parts: there are some water tanks in which the air is in the bladder and the water is in the tank, but that's not common.
(Mar 6, 2012) bryan said:
it seems like a fiberglass epoxy non bladder ( conventional) tank with periodic air adjustment would last the longest. other than physical damadge i dont see what could go wrong with it.
Bryan: maybe aggravation trying to keep the proper air charge in the tank.
(May 11, 2012) Gary said:
My bladder type water pressure tank reads 48 psi @ the guage, but I can wiggle the tank as if its empty. Water pressure throughout the house is ok, but could be better. My plumber thinks that low water pressure is the cause of recurring clogs in the outgoing septic line to the septic tank. Had the tank emptied Jan 2012, not a month later had a large clog in the outgoing line. Plumber rootered clog out. Now, the line is clogged again! What next??
Gary: your pressure gauge could be stuck and not reading properly.
Question: stain on water pump - leaking
(May 15, 2012) Melanie said:
i have what looks like a large water stain on the front of my steel water pump tank in garage, unit is 2 yrs old, system works fine but think it is leaking, any ideas?
Melanie, I think I'd need to see a photo to understand what you are asking about. If the tank is leaking through the steel, not at a fitting, it needs replacement.
(May 19, 2012) Sara said:
I have a above ground pump in my shed to water my yard. I replaced the pump a few days ago as I forgot to drain last fall and the pump frooze. Anyway, I have the new pump all connected and primed and after the underground sprinklers fun for awhile, the water line burts from the discharge line causing water all over inside the shed. I have cleaned out the check valve which had leaves but it continues to do this. What is the problem?
Sara, your message does not and perhaps couldn't contain enough information for a reliable guess, but I can suggest that you check that the pump is operating at the right pressure, or if a water pressure regulator was previously installed, that it too was undamaged by the freeze-up. Then check that your piping connections are made properly, and finally, that none of your water outlets is blocked. If there is a pressure gauge on the system watch to see what pressures are being developed.
(May 30, 2012) Tammy W. said:
Have been experiencing little to no water pressure within the house. Pump won't turn on. Power is good. Pressure from the well to the house is good. We have a 20 gallon tank, installed a new square D 30/50 pressure switch and still the pump won't turn on. Could it possibly be a collapsed bladder?
Tammy W., if your well pump wont' operate the cause would not be a collapsed bladder in the pressure tank. But if you installed a new pressure switch atop an old small diameter mounting tube, or if your system has a flexible copper or plastic tube conducting water pressure from the pump to the sensor port on your pressure switch, it could be blocked. If the switch does not sense the drop in water pressure when you open faucets to run water, the pump won't operate.
A service tech can test for this condition by observing that pressure drops in the water system, that the switch does not turn on by itself, but that the pump will operate if the switch relay is manually closed. WATCH OUT FOR SHOCK and ELECTROCUTION HAZARDS - don't touch electrical parts or connections.
Question: New Bladder Tank Smell
(May 31, 2012) New Bladder Tank Smell said:
I recently installed a standby water tank system as backup to the local water supply. The system employs a DAB 1hp pump and a 50lt Foras horizontal bladder tank. Ive been noticing a strange smell in the water which lasts for about a minute when you let the water run for a short period, then disappear for the most part. Diagnosis has led me to believe that the smell comes from the water that is held in the bladder and then injected into the house supply. Have you ever encountered a brand new bladder causing/adding a scent to a system? The bladder/sys seems to work perfectly. It is a very annoying almost rubbery/plastic/chemical/sulphury scent. Brand new water system.
Water odor diagnosis: no, I have not come across reports of water odors traced to a new water pressure tank bladder, though depending on materials in the system I wouldn't rule it out completely. You could try completely draining the water tank and refilling with fresh water. If you make that experiment after the tank has sat unused for 24 hours the water coming out of the tank during draining can be smell-tested to see if in your opinion it exudes the odor you are diagnosing. Then fill the tank, drain some water out and sniff that - fresh water sample for comparison - that may permit you to include or exclude the well water source and piping as a possible contributor to odors.
Question: wierd pump pressure gauge behaviour
(June 9, 2012) Brian said:
I just installed a 20 gallon internal bladder type well tank because previously water was "spitting" out. Set the internal pressure to 2psi below the 30psi cut in. After installation, current water pressure seems to be fine, but the pump is short cycling. I have a 30/50 pressure switch. For some reason, the pressure on the gauge rests at 35psi when no water is being used. When I turn on water, it gradually decreases to 30psi, then the pump turns on.
The gauge then jumps to 45psi, and gradually rises to 50psi, as I am assuming water is being pumped into the tank. Once reaching 50psi, the pump turns off, and pressure immediately drops to 35psi. Then gradually decreases to 30psi, then pump turns on. This cycle continually repeats itself on short intervals. When I feel the tank at 50psi, it is empty, or nearly empty of water. I am not aware of any leaks. I have turned of the water line to house, and water pressure remains constant, so I'm guessing there is no leak on well side of line. Any ideas?
Brian, I suspect that debris has clogged both your pressure gauge (try tapping it gently) and the pressure sensor port on your pump pressure control switch. Clogs at those locations can leave the gauge reading pressure higher than the true pressure in the system (or vice versa), and can prevent the pump control switch from operating properly.
(July 3, 2012) Jim Copeland said:
Iam confused by the "inline pressure tank" and a regular tank, please help as I am trying to set up a system.
(July 4, 2012) Judy J said:
We have a motel and run a Sears Shallow well jet pump to an 80 gal captive air tank to boost city pressure. We jacked up the pressure switch to 60/80, but we still get down to 20psi every morning. I noticed when we checked the air pressure on the tank that a small amount of mist comes out. Is the only way to check for a burst bladder to turn off the water, drain the tank and look for zero air pressure when the tank is empty? Thanks!
(July 6, 2012) James said:
Hello, I live in a 3-story, 6-unit condo building in Chicago. We have a large Well-X-Trol pressurized bladder tank. Recently, my neighbors and I have noticed extreme increases in water pressure. So much so that the lines to my washing machine start shaking when I do a load of laundry, and that it seems to be close to overwhelming my shower drain. We have also noticed the noise of the tank running to be loud and frequent. It seems to be running at least 30 minutes out of an hour.
The tank is 5 years old and we never noticed this before. In the meantime, we have closed off the valves to the tank and have been running just on city pressure - which is actually fine, I'm not even sure why we need a booster. We had someone come out to look at the tank, and said that it seemed to be working properly it is set at 40/60. But if it is currently working "properly" - why is it running so much and why is the pressure so extreme? It seems to be very hard to find someone who really knows about these issues, so I appreciate any help!
Check the actual water pressures at different times using a gauge. Check for varying municipal pressure. And check for a sticking pressure control switch at the pressure booster pump and tank. The tank itself won't cause high water pressures.
WATCH OUT: if the water pressure tank lacks a pressure relief valve your system is unsafe.
Question: tricks for draining a failed waterlogged pressure tank
(July 17, 2012) Paul said:
I just had an Amtrol Well-X-Trol pressure tank get water logged (OK, so it's been in the making for a while). Short cycling was the giveway that something was a miss. But the point of this post is to suggest an effective way to drain the waterlogged tank.
First, make sure it's not under pressure. The bladder had collapsed and covered the outflow at the bottom of the tank. Pressing the valve at the top squirted water. Let the pressure out of the top of the tank. It may squirt water. Once there's no pressure in the top or the bottom, just water, time to go to work.
Drill a hole in the top of the tank with a bit that's large enough to get a sawsall blade in. Then, carefully cut a large hole in the top of the tank. In our Amtrol tank, there was a steel plate across the top with a hole in it. We stuck a hose down the hole into the "top" side of the bladder then started a vacuum and drained the tank. No need to drill holes in it that would squirt water all over. Once the majority of the water is gone, it's much easier to move around. Just be careful of the sharp edges from the hole you cut!
Paul thank you for your interesting and unusual approach to draining a failed, waterlogged water pressure tank. Since the procedure you describe essentially destroys the tank, we are guessing that the purpose of the drill, cut, and drain procedure you described was to get water out of a ruined internal-bladder water pressure tank in order to make its removal easier.
And it's of course interesting to also report the observation of the underlying failiure in the tank - a (probably ruptured) internal tank bladder that collapsed, covering and sealing the tank inlet/outlet.
(July 20, 2012) Trish said:
My WellMate has started turning on and off every few minutes even with no water being used. The pump is rather loud when it turns on and off. It goes from 45psi to 30 psi when it switches on and off. Is this a sign my pump is failing and about to go out? Thanks.
Trish please use the search box above or at page top and search InspectApedia for
Water Pressure Intermittent
and you'll see the diagnostic/repair article for the problem you describe
Question: winterize a water tank with no drain plug, getting a water tank to drain
(Sept 17, 2012) John Kerr said:
I have a horizontal 5 gal water tank with no drain plug in the bottom...how do I winteize
(Oct 14, 2012) Anonymous said:
trying to drain bladder tank for winter storage,will not drain!!
If there is a tapping, install a drain;
IF there is no tapping check that this tank is permitted to be installed horizontally. If not it will not work properly , especially if it's an internal bladder tank.
Pumping air throught the system can sometimes help winterize pipes and tanks but really the right approach is to install equipment that can be drained.
The alternative is to keep heat in the area.
Anonymous: open one or more nearby water valves to allow air into the piping system to help get the tank to drain.
As this is an internal bladder type tank I suspect that
. The bladder has burst and is sealing the tank outlet
Is there pressure in the system?
(Sept 28, 2012) nancy said:
water pressure drops when no water is running. as soon as i turn the pump on and the pressure switch shuts off the pressure drops
(Sept 28, 2012) mickey said:
I have just replaced a bladder in my truper 1hp pressurised water tank system but cannot seem to be able to repressurise the system, even though I appear to have no leaks. Unfortunately the paperwork that came with the system is written in Spanish,which I do not understand and the manufacturers have not answered by questions. Any suggestions would be welcome. thank you - mickey
(Oct 8, 2012) Khaleel said:
The bolted seal on the underside of the water pressure tank is leaking. can i simple open it and re seal it? if so, what kinda of sealant to use?
(Oct 9, 2012) essie bivens said:
Just replaced bladder water tank. everything worked well for the first day. Came home from work the next day and no water. As if it is running out of water. Is this well or water tank issues
(Oct 18, 2012) Andrew newsome said:
Good morning, we have an external water tank that supplies non-potable water to a building here in Kandahar Afghanistan which has developed a leak. On inspection of the internal of the tank it can be seen that there is an internal rubber type inner bladder and we would like to find a supplier that can provide to us a repair kit of some description and we were wondering if you can point us in the direction of any companies that do this type of bladder repair kit?
(Oct 30, 2012) Syguad@yahoo.com said:
I have hydro pneumatic pumptank for my house model LPT52 There is a black rubber valve that sticks out of the top, now it is dryrotted and cracked, can that be replaced. Syguado@yahoo.com
(Dec 3, 2012) John said:
We have a bladder water tank, WX-302, on our well and I recently turned off the water and drained the tank while installing a water softener. When I turned the water back on everything works ok except the bladder tank will not fill up with water, it's light and moves easily. The pump turns on and off with the pressure switch and the pressure measured at several different points is 45 - 50 psi., No leaks and the only problem is the tank not filling up. Could it be the bladder in the tank collapsed when I drained the water or could sediment be blocking the inlet to the tank? The pressure switch is located right at the inlet to the tank and seems to be working ok. The whole system is only about 5 years old.
If the water tank is leaking most likely the rust damage is more extensive than just the little pinholes you see. You might get by temporarily by removing pressure from the tank and trying an epoxy repair (to stop air leaks presuming water is inside the bladder) but the right repair is tank replacement.
You are probably describing the air inlet/adjustment valve on your water pressure tank. You might obtain a replacement from an auto parts store, else from the manufacturer; it's basically a tire valve or a Schrader valve.
Unfortunately sometimes the bladder sticks to itself on some pressure tanks. You may be able to free it by going overpressure by 10-20 psi - just stay below the pressure limits of the tank or you risk bursting the tank and injuring someone.
Some pressure tanks are built to permit bladder replacement; else it's new tank time. Check yor water tank warranty.
Assuming the pump and wires are known good, has anyone checked the well itself for water flow rate?
See the Related Link. WELL FLOW RATE links near the op of this page. Kepis and the stock posted.
(Mar 10, 2013) Bill Russell said:
You mention that Karin might have bacteria growing in her water pressure tank. We have a nasty smell in our water at various points. We shock the well, and it goes away for awhile, then comes back at various faucets throughout the house, though not all at the same time. We're wondering whether the pressure tank (Gould, installed in 2000) might be where the bacteria is growing. How would we tell?
You want to do some diagnosis on the nasty smell - starting with a water test. If the odor is from sulphur, for example, you'll want a treatment system. Shocking a well can somewhat reduce sulphur odors as can a chlorinator but if the levels are high you need more effective treatment.
Question: does a pump need a bladder tank?
(Jan 23, 2014) Mary said:
Does a pump need a bladder tank to pump to house?
In most systems, yes Mary. Without a water pressure tank the pump will cycle on and off rapidly, risking pump damage and delivering surging water. There are some exceptions but what I describe is the case for a typical residential system.
Jan 28, 2014) Ed said:
Pump Kicks on pressure builds up on 20 to 40 switch water does not go in bladder tank till about 32 psi and pump will not kick it cycles do i have a bad bladder tank
Chances are it's either a collapsed or stuck bladder - not letting water into the tank, or a clog (less likely) in the bottom tank tee, or the bladder has burst and is waterlogged (the tank will be heavy).
(Feb 6, 2014) Joe said:
I have a bladder tank with a likely ruptured air cell. Tried to drain water with no success. Any ideas as to another way to remove water from tank? It is a 20 gal tank so wrestling the thing won't be that bad if there is no other way to remove water.
Hello. I have a 20 gal bladder tank that has a ruptured air cell. I have tried to drain the tank with no luck. I assume the bladder is blocking the drain. Any other ideas as to how to remove the water since it won't drain the conventional way. I should be able to wrestle the tank as 20 gal won't be but soooo heavy. Although I hope there is another way.
Joe, this one is indeed a bear; I've seen success by removing the schrader valve from the air pressure adjustment valve near the tank top; Alternatively and presuming this tank model can take a replacement bladder, you'd need to remove the heavy tank and tip it over to access a bladder replacement port.
Question: short cycling well pump and no water entering the pressure tank
water pressure gauge is short cycling 40-70 non-stop (takes less than 10 seconds each time). But I still have water pressure in the house, although my water is sometimes coming through black. Air hisses out when valve is depressed. Tank is light (not full of water). Not sure what to do?
If no water is entering the pressure tank it may be that it needs to be replaced; a tank bladder that's stuck to itself can cause the trouble you describe.
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