How to Eliminate the Air Volume Control (AVC)
Can I get rid of the air volume control completely?
AIR VOLUME CONTROLS, GET RID OF - CONTENTS: is it possible to eliminate the pesky air volume control and thus stop problems with hissing, leaks, or loss of air charge in the water pressure tank? Sure. But it requires replacing the bladderless water tank with an internal-bladder type tank. Be sure to remove the snifter valve in the well too if one is present.
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Air volume control elimination:
this article explains how to get rid of the AVC or air volume control entirely. AVCs are required to maintain the air charge in a water pressure tank that does not use an internal bladder. By changing the water tank itself we can eliminate this control and its occasional issues.
But there are some things to watch out for, such as leaving old AVC controls in place (a snifter valve in the well?) where they no longer belong.
Install a water pressure tank that uses an internal bladder
If you convert from a non-bladder type water pressure tank to a water tank using an internal bladder, part of that installation will include the removal of any air volume control valves on the system, including an AVC that may be mounted on the well pump (above-ground jet pumps) or a hidden AVC that is found inside the well piping (submersible well pumps only).
Remove and Discard the Air Volume Control Valve
You can keep the older bladderless water pressure tank and still remove the AVC entirely, abandoning its automatic function, but if you continue to use a bladderless water pressure tank you will need to restore air into the tank from time to time using one of the other methods discussed in this article series:
See WATER TANK AIR, HOW TO ADD
If the the rusty, leaky air volume control valve does not work, can I just remove it?
The short answer is sure. Or if it's not leaking you can leave it in place, which is safer as it avoids disassembly and possible trouble sealing the fittings against water leaks. But if you abandon the air volume control you will occasional have to add air to the water pressure tank when the well pump starts to short cycleor turn on and off too often.
See WATER TANK AIR, HOW TO ADD to fix a short-cycling well pump
See SHORT CYCLING WATER PUMP to diagnose other causes of frequent water pump on-off cycling
In 40 years of messing with plumbing I've rarely found an old AVC that worked reliably for long in a residential application. The AVC at left (that round thing in the center of the photo) was found by Langdon who found it to be rusty, leaking, and not working. He replaced it.
An air volume control on a water pressure tank can
be left in place but don't count on it to work.
If the air volume control valve itself is leaking or fittings on its tubing leak, you may decide, as do many plumbers,
to simply remove it.
Just screw in a pipe plug where it was mounted on the water tank, and a smaller (usually brass)
plug may be needed at the point of connection of the other end of the copper tube if one was installed on your system.
(You'll have to turn off the pump and release water pressure and drain some water from the tank before replacing an AVC with a new one
or with a pipe plug.)
If your AVC is not working or has been removed, and if your water tank is a non-bladder type system, you'll need to use
one of the other methods discussed here for adding air to your water tank when it's needed. Forget this method for maintaining the proper air charge in a water tank, except for the Leaky Air Volume Control tip below.
Remove old Air Volume Controls if Changing to an Internal Bladder Water Pressure Tank
Watch out: if you replace a bladderless water tank with a new pressure tank using an internal bladder, you do not want to leave old air volume controls in place.
Those controls will inject air into the water (that is inside the bladder) duplicating the role of the bladderless tank whose air charge is kept separate from the water in the tank.
A result of leaving old AVC components in place might be less water draw-down before the well pump has to run and also air discharge at faucets.
Look for and remove the following, not all of which may be present on your system:
The AVC or air volume control that was on the water pressure tank - will leave along with the old bladderless water tank if the AVC was attached to the tank itself. But some AVCs are mounted on the well pump and will need to be removed and any connections plugged.
Our photo above shows an AVC mounted right on the well pump - that rusty round disc.
SNIFTER & DRAIN BACK VALVES - if your bladderless water tank was supplied from a submersible pump in the well there may be a snifter valve on the well piping - a device that injects air into the supply water at each pump on-cycle. This valve should be removed.
Manual air inlet valves on the well piping above ground, usually close to the old water tank.
Some snifter valve installations included what looks like
a WATER TANK AIR INLET VALVE that can be used to manually add air to the water pressure tank. Normally it'd be just fine to leave such a valve in place, though it's no longer needed. But some of these valves include a soft-spring valve core that is designed to release excess air in the system placed there by the Snifter Valve. Such valves need to be removed for proper system operation.
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 U.S. Gauge Special Application Gauges: Type 300L and 310WJ Air Volume Controls, product description, 2002, Ametek® Inc, U.S. Gauge, 820 Pennsylvania Blvd., Feasterville PA 19053, USA, Tel: 215-355-6900 www.ametekusg.com Customer Service: 863-534-1504, web search 03/23/2011, original source: http://www.jlwinstruments.com/PDF_files/D17_MODEL300-310.PDF Sadly this URL now reroutes to a dead end
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We serve the north Shore – Lake, Cook, St. Louis, Carlton and Pine counties, including Duluth, Grand Marais, Clouqet, Carlton, Finland, Isabella, Silver Bay, Grand Portage, Saginaw, and everywhere in Northeastern Minnesota.
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