Water tank leaks: repairs for water leaking out of the water tank depend on where and why the leak is occurring. Leaks at threaded fittings might be repairable by draining the system, disassembly, cleaning and drying the parts, and re-assembly with an appropriate pipe sealant or in some locations teflon tape.
Other leaks due to rusting, perforating water tanks can be patched temporarily but you should expect to replace the water tank as soon as possible.
That's because corrosion in a water tank usually occurs from the inside out and will be more serious than what you see on the tank exterior.
Watch out: poking at or messing with what seems to be a tiny leak in the surface of a water tank, because the steel is probably rusted thin, risks converting the problem to an instant catastrophe and flood.
Steel Water Tank Rust Perforation & Emergency Tank Repairs
This steel water storage tank is leaking. When you see damage like this on a water tank, the perforation has rusted through from inside the tank.
A tank that looks like this needs to be replaced.
Watch out: don't poke at rust like this on a water tank - you are likely to change a slow seep or drip into an immediate catastrophe - the steel around the site of rust perforation is usually quite thin.
Emergency temporary repairs to a leaky Water Tank
If the rust perforation on a steel, bladderless water pressure tank is very tiny, 1/8" or so, temporary repair can sometimes be made using a special short lag-type threaded screw with a neoprene washer. Leak repair screws are sold for this use.
In an emergency you can even fabricate one of these water tank leak repair lag bolts, as we did for our photo (left).
We used a 3/4" long lag screw and a thick neoprene washer that happened to be around. If you buy a factory-made version of this device the washer is designed to seat and seal against the curved surface of the leaky water tank.
Watch out: because the steel will be thin around the rust spot, you may find that you need a larger screw than you thought, or bought.
We recommend buying several sizes of water tank repair screws, but start by using the smallest one that will be secure when screwed all the way in to the tank.
Just blob on some sealant to stop a leaky water tank?
A second type of water pressure tank repair that might work in some locations is the use of quick-setting epoxies, caulks, sealants, including those that can work in wet conditions. Details are at CAULKS, NONTOXIC
You still need to replace the water tank but this approach can stop or slow a leak while you wait for the new tank to be installed.
This approach would not work on the horribly rusted water tank shown above - that one is just too far gone.
Water Tank Leaks Leak Water Out or Air Out, depending on the Leak Location
the ones in the above photos can also leak the air charge out of the upper portion of the tank when the in-tank water level is below
the leak point. A water pump short cycling problem could be due to an air loss in the tank to a leak
in the tank itself.
Reader Question: Do I Need a New Water Tank? - should I replace my old water tank?
We just had our pump replaced after 18 years. Total cost with tax was $2400. Project was done on emergency basis on a Friday night and we were really stuck.
During his visit the plumber/owner suggested we consider a larger pressure tank than our 20 gallon unit, also recently replaced. The system worked well for many years and I don't see the need to purchase another larger tank. Any thoughts? - Wayne Ouellette
Reply: You may not need a new water pressure tank.
If your water tank is a newer bladder type, even a smaller 20-gallon tank gives the equivalent of a larger old style (non-bladder) tank in the draw-down cycle - the amount of time that you can run the water before the pump has to come on.
As long as your pump is not WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING (which may shorten pump life), the gain from a larger tank is probably not much.
If your tank is an older type with no internal bladder, the reason to go to a newer tank would be reliability and reduced maintenance.
Some Reasons to Consider a New Water Tank
The water tank is perforated, damaged, or leaking - you need a new one
The water pump has constant WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING problems and the water tank is an older non-bladder type you can reduce the frequency of water tank maintenance (adding air) and eliminate problems with automatic air volume controls that try to add air for you by installing a new bladder type water pressure tank.
Watch out: before you go to the trouble and expense of replacing a water pressure tank, make sure that you have correctly diagnosed the problem that you are "curing" - you wouldn't want to replace a water tank only to find that you still have the water pressure or quantity problem because another, perhaps less costly, part was at fault.
Check other water pump and pressure problems before replacing expensive parts - Before assuming that a water problem is due to the
pump or well itself,
see WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE a specific case which offers an example of diagnosis of loss of water pressure, loss of water, and analyzes the actual repair cost.
Question: my well pump runs all the time our irrigation system is running
I'm told that when my irrigation system comes on my pump should run the whole time I'm watering. My thoughts were that the well will cycle and turn on at 30-psi and turn off at 50-psi letting the pump rest while the bladder distributes the water until guage drops to 30-psi and the pump turns back on the the cycle keeps going.
Please let me know the correct answer, - Mike 6/18/11
Mike: with so little information, I can't promise that I can give the correct answer, but certainly I wouldn't give you an incorrect answer on purpose.
The irrigation pump is a separate unit from your well pump, right?
If so it will run all the time you are watering but your well pump will turn on and off as needed.
If your irrigation system and house water run off of the same water supply system, then either the irrigation system fast enough that the pump never reaches cut-off pressure (entirely possible), or your water usage rate is faster than the well inflow rate and a tailpiece in the well is limiting the flow out - leaving the pump running all the time.
Question: I have no water and the switch or pump keep humming
errr i have no water and it sounds like the switch is trying to kick in by making like a hummimg sound and my pressure gauge says 0 so i have replaced the switch and the gauge and still nothing any thoughts in what i can do next to try to get some water? - Jenn 7/11/11
Is your pump above ground or in the well. If the humming is coming from an aboveground pump and the pump is not running it is either jammed or is having trouble starting.
Watch out: shut off the power to avoid burning up the pump motor.
If it's a motor start problem, a hard-start capacitor kit might do the trick.
Question: My pressure tank has a pinhole leak - can this be repaired?
My pressure tank has a very small pin hole . Can the pressure tank be welded or sealed in anyway , or will the tank need replaced completely ? - Tom A. 8/11/11
Yes, Tom. At your local hardware store you can probably purchase a special screw and washer part (less than $5.00. U.S.) intended to temporarily fix pinholes in water pressure tanks.
Watch out though: often a pinhole on the exterior wall of the tank will be found to be a bigger hole when you start messing with it - because the tank is corroding from the inside (usually) the area of thin walled steel may be bigger than you think. Buy several repair screws of varying size and start with a small one to see if that can screw in tightly enough to stop the leak. If it won't, you'll need to use a larger screw.
Welding is technically possible but not economical, and a repair epoxy might work with good surface cleaning provided you could take the tank out of service long enough and keep it dry during the gluing process, but like the little DUtch boy with a finger in the surface of the dike, that's not the most reliable repair.
Mark Cramer Inspection Services Mark Cramer, Tampa Florida, Mr. Cramer is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors and is a Florida home inspector and home inspection educator. Mr. Cramer serves on the ASHI Home Inspection Standards. Contact Mark Cramer at: 727-595-4211 mark@BestTampaInspector.com
John Cranor is an ASHI member and a home inspector (The House Whisperer) is located in Glen Allen, VA 23060. He is also a contributor to InspectApedia.com in several technical areas such as plumbing and appliances (dryer vents). Contact Mr. Cranor at 804-747-7747 or by Email: email@example.com
Thanks to reader Wayne Ouellette for discussing water tank replacement needs May 2010
Class 9013 Square D Commercial Pressure Switches: Water Pump Pressure Control Switch Class 9013, Type F, G, Manual, Square D Company, 8001 Highway 64 East, Knightdale, NC 27545-9023, USA, (919) 266-3671, www.squared.com,
web search 02/24/2011, original source: stevenengineering.com/tech_support/PDFs/45COM.pdf. Quoting:
The Type FSG, FYG, FRG - PUMPTROL® Water Pump Pressure Switches are used to control Water Pump Pressure Switches are used to control
electrically driven water pumps and have the following features:
The Type FSG is the standard water pump switch, suitable for all types of pumps: jets, submersible,
The Type FYG is designed to meet higher horsepower and pressure requirements.
The Type FRG is reverse acting: the contacts open on falling pressure.
All are diaphragm actuated.
The Type G - PUMPTROL® Commercial/Light Industrial Pressure Switch is used to control electrically
driven water pumps and air compressors. It has higher electrical ratings for direct control of motors in
pump and compressor applications. The Type G switch is diaphragm actuated and has contacts that
open on rising pressure.
Access Water Energy, PO Box 2061, Moorabbin, VIC 3189, Australia, Tel: 1300 797 758, email: firstname.lastname@example.org Moorabbin Office: Kingston Trade Centre, 100 Cochranes Rd, Moorabbin, VIC 3189
Australian supplier of: Greywater systems, Solar power to grid packages, Edwards solar systems, Vulcan compact solar systems, water & solar system pumps & controls, and a wide rage of above ground & under ground water storage tanks: concrete, steel, plastic, modular, and bladder storage tanks.
Smart Tank, Installation Instructions [ copy on file as /water/Smart_Tank_Flexcon.pdf ] - , Flexcon Industries, 300 Pond St., Randolph MA 02368, www.flexconind.com, Tel: 800-527-0030 - web search 07/24/2010, original source: http://www.flexconind.com/pdf/st_install.pdf
Typical Shallow Well One Line Jet Pump Installation [ copy on file as /water/Jet_Pump_Grove_Elect_Jet_Pumps.pdf ] - , Grove Electric, G&G Electric & Plumbing, 1900 NE 78th St., Suite 101, Vancouver WA 98665 www.grovelectric.com - web search -7/15/2010 original source: http://www.groverelectric.com/howto/38_Typical%20Jet%20Pump%20Installation.pdf
Typical Deep Well Two Line Jet Pump Installation [ copy on file as /water/Jet_Pump_Grove_Elect.pdf ] - , Grove Electric, G&G Electric & Plumbing, 1900 NE 78th St., Suite 101, Vancouver WA 98665 www.grovelectric.com - web search -7/15/2010 original source: http://www.groverelectric.com/howto/38_Typical%20Jet%20Pump%20Installation.pdf
Water Fact Sheet #3, Using Low-Yielding Wells [ copy on file as /water/Low_Yield_Wells_Penn_State.pdf ] - , Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, Cooperative Extension, School of Forest Resources, web search 07/24/2010, original source: http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/XH0002.pdf
Water pressure tanks - how to diagnose the need for air, how to add air, stop water pump short cycling to avoid damage - water storage water pressure tank safety.
WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE an specific case offers an example of diagnosis of loss of water pressure, loss of water, and analyzes the actual repair cost
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