Well Tank / Water Tank Repairs
Water Pressure Tank / Water Tank Diagnosis & Repair for Air Charge, Water Tank Leaks, Rust, Corrosion, Sweating

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Water tank repair or replacement guide:

The water tank troubleshooting article series beginning here describes how to determine if you need to replace the water pressure tank.

Synonyms for water pressure tank include: water tank, water storage tank, well tank, pressure tank, pressure control tank, Extrol, WellXTrol, bladder tank, bladderless water tank.

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

Water Pressure Tank Diagnosis & Repair Advice

Severely rusted leaky water pressure tank needs replacement, not repair (C) Daniel FriedmanDiscussed here: How to diagnose & repair water tank or water pressure tank problems. Well pump & water tank diagnosis & repair procedures - do I need a new water tank or well tank?

Short cycling of a water pump which is defined

at SHORT CYCLING WATER PUMP means that the water pump or "well pump" turns on and off too rapidly or too frequently when water is being run in the building.

[Click to enlarge any image]

If this is the problem with your water pump,

describes the most common causes of this problem.

We also provide a complete
that lists all possible causes of well pump rapid cycling on and off.

If you are not sure what "water pump short cycling" means or how it is recognized,

Intermittent water pump cycling which is discussed

at WATER PUMP INTERMITTENT CYCLING when the water pump comes on for no apparent reason.

Loss of water pressure means that the pressure with which water enters a plumbing fixture has become too slow, or is sometimes too slow or weak in water flow rate, or water flow may stop entirely.


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

Photograph of a steel water tank Photograph of a steel water tank

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

Water tank repair bolt (C) Daniel FriedmanIf 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

Leaks like 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

  1. The water tank is perforated, damaged, or leaking - you need a new one
  2. 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.

    At WATER TANK TYPES: WATER, OIL, EXPANSION, ALL we explain the different types of water tanks.
  3. Your well has a poor flow rate and you often run out of water.
    Less costly than drilling a new well is the addition of greater water storage capacity in one or a series of larger water tanks.


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.

Also see WATER TANK REPLACEMENT. The illustration at page top is courtesy of Carson Dunlop, Inc. in Toronto.

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.

Figure a new water tank is in your future.


Continue reading at WATER TANK REPAIR DIAGNOSTIC FAQs or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see WATER TANK REPAIR FAQs-2 - recent questions and answers posted on this page

Or see WATER TANK REPAIR DIAGNOSTIC FAQs - older questions and answers posted originally on this page

Or see WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE for a pump that won't start, won't stop, or that cycles too often or when it shouldn't

Or see these articles on

Water Tank Articles

Water Tank Questions & Answers: FAQs series

Suggested citation for this web page

WATER TANK REPAIR PROCEDURES at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


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