Internal bladder type water pressure tank diagnostic questions & answers:
These questions & answers help diagnos & fix problems traced to the internal bladder used in water pressure tanks.
This article series describes the diagnosis and repair of internal bladder type water pressure tanks: how they work, what goes wrong, how to fix it.
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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
[Click to enlarge any image]
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
(Oct 20, 2014) Joe said:
I have a internal bladder water tank that is empty, I have good water pressure until more than 1 water outlet is being used. I have a well water. Wondering if water line to tank could be clogged. I've checked bladder air pressure in tank and that's good. Pressure gauge reads 40psi all the time Should a remove water tank and try to remove debris from inlet. It's 16 years old. I can't think of any other reason it wouldn't fill up. Help please?
I just installed anew bladder tank, and it is not filling with water, is this normal? - Wess Wellmaker
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.
For details of the arrangement of the parts inside of a water tank that uses an internal bladder, see WATER TANK BLADDER CONSTRUCTION
Next: when an internal bladder has collapsed and stuck to itself I think the "fix" may be to replace the bladder or the entire tank and bladder assembly. No water enters the pressure tank when the bladder is stuck like that.
See WATER TANK BLADDER REPLACEMENT
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.
See WATER PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL SWITCH
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.
- 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
(Aug 31, 2014) Carl said:
Hi. Having just drained my system and installed a new pressure regulator and bladder on my pump and pressure tank, the pump is taking more than half an hour to get to the 50 PSI cutoff. It may indeed have taken a while to refill the bladder, but I was getting concerned and so unplugged the pump. The new regulator is a 30/50 cutoff, while the old one was 40/60.
If I had, say, 38 PSI in the tank, what effect would this have with the new 30 PSI cut-on? From your previous answers, I'm guessing it would just be lower water volume and cause more frequent cycling. I can't see why it should be taking so long to charge.
Carl, look for
a damaged or clogged foot valve or strainer, a damaged pump impeller, low voltage, or leaks in the well piping
(Sept 1, 2014) dan said:
there is air in my water lines and spits and sputters when water is running
In the More Reading article index links above we diagnose this spurting air problem
at AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES
let me know if questions remain
(Sept 9, 2014) Venold Johnson said:
I have a flotec well tank, but no water enters it, I adjusted tank pressure but it hasn't work. Do I have to place pressure gauge after cut-in switch
The pressure gauge won't impact whether or not a water tank fills as it should.
Look for a tank bladder that has collapsed and stuck to itself or debris clogging the tank inlet.
(Sept 29, 2014) daryl said:
my RL20 pressure tank is on every 4 min
(Oct 28, 2014) Anonymous said:
My pump is cycling every 3 to 4 minutes. I drained the pressure tank and put in 38psi of air and now it only cycles every 10 seconds. I believe it should only cycle every 20 to 30 seconds. Did I put in too much air or not enough?
See the diagnosis and repair at WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING - home
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?"
Also should add that the cold tap in kitchen feeds straight from the pump, but running the cold tap doesn't make the pump stay on either.
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
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.
When the pump won't shut off the well could be running dry or the pump control could be improperly set.
Don't entirely trust the pressure gauge on the water Tank to read the actual system pressure. Sometimes the opening into the gauge that permits water pressure to drive the gauge can become clogged itself, giving false readings.
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.
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.
take a look at the article link at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article titled WATER PRESSURE PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS TABLE
Often when water pressure and flow are good at first but then fall off quickly, either the piping is clogged or the water pressure tank is water logged.
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?
First let's separate tank precharge pressure from the cut in and cut out pressures. The pre-charge pressure should not be so far above your cut-in pressure, so I wonder if you were really reading the pressure in the tank at the proper time. Take a look at tank pressure at the point that the pump cuts on or cuts in.
Take a look at the article link at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article WATER TANK BLADDER PRESSURE ADJUSTMENT
More Rarely, a leaky well line can let air in that gets sent on into the pressure tank. Take a look at SNIFTER & DRAIN BACK VALVES for an example of how a water tank air volume control system can pump excess air into the water pressure tank. Or see our more complete discussion at AIR VOLUME CONTROLS, WATER TANK.
If you are seeing air discharge at your plumbing fixtures, see AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES
Why is there red cap flush mounted inside of the air valve? It blocks access to the stem valve. - Lawrence
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.
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.
Amtrol is the producer of Well X Trol water tanks. Looking at their list price catalog I don't see replaceable bladders for their water pressure tanks.
See AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES for help in diagnosing and fixing the air discharge in your water piping and fixtures.
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.
So typically the plumber connecting up the municipal water supply would connect it at a point in your house cold water supply piping past the original well water supply pressure tank outlet, and the plumber would also cut off your equipment piping from your house plumbing.
If s/he failed to do that, that would explain why a leak in your old water tank meant you had to shut off your municipal supply to fix it.
There are exceptions to this rule if a water pump and pressure tank are in use in a home to BOOST municipal supply. But even if your old well pump and pressure tank were being used to boost municipal supply pressure, your well line can no longer be connected up to that system.
Finally, some homeowners keep the old well, well pump, and pressure tank, but keeping completely separate from the house water supply piping, they connect it just to an outdoor faucet for watering lawns and plants.
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
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.
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.
Why am I getting only 2 gallons on draw down? Is there a problem? - Peter
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
Peter, your description sounds as if the water tank is waterlogged - has lost its air charge. See WATER PUMP 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.
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.
(Jan 3, 2012) Jeff said:
Am I happy I found this site, Thank you.
My well water lines intermittently burp air (particularly from the hot lines) and is increasingly becoming worse. I watched the well pressure gauge while an air incident was occurring, and saw the gauge drop down below the cut-in PSI of 40, even though the pump cut in at 40 as it should. There is a plastic device (brown, bell shaped, with a brass bolt in the top) between the well head and the bladder tank. What is it, and what occurs if it goes bad? Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.
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. At Continue reading we provide an INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES that includes a live link to - WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR.
(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
an internal bladder type tank can be cleaned out but with difficulty - just trying to run water in from the well and out through the tank drain can be tedious and slow to have effect; Disassembly of some bladder tanks is possible;
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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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
(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
. The tank has a leak or leaky air valve and you've lost the air charge that otherwise would push out the water
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.
(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.
(Feb 6, 2014) Joe S said:
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.
Thanks in advance
(Aug 10, 2014) larry said:
my water tank won;t allow any water to enter it;s a 5 gallon bladder type tank
(Sept 8, 2014) Brian said:
I live off-the-grid, so electrical consumption is especially important to me. The house came to us with a WellXTrol 87 gallon pressure tank and an additional Well Mate 85 gallon tank, which the previous owner had purchased to place in line with the other tank, adding capacity and thus decreasing the number / frequency of pumping cycles and the accomapanying start up surge from the pump. I recently connected it as he had suggested (the pressure switch is equidistant from each tank), but am experiencing a problem… two, actually.
1) The new tank is not filling. I'm getting only a few gallons in the new tank (as evidenced by the condensation on the exterior of both tanks). I'm guessing it has something to do with the pre-charge in the air sections not being equal, but I'm not sure of the best way to resolve this.
2) I'm getting a lot of air "pockets" coming through when the pump is running. I get the sense that, because it is late summer, that my well (45' with a Grundfos submersible) may not be able to handle the draw down and I actually am sucking air. What is the learned consensus?
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.
chances are the bladder has stuck to itself - a condition that might be repairable using a brief extra shot of pressure - OR the bladder is damaged and that won't help - OR there is debris clogging the tank entry or a closed valve &c.
If a water pressure tank is not filling I suspect either a collapsed tank bladder stuck to itself or debris-clogging at the tank inlet.
Air discharge from the water lines may indeed be due to lowered water level in the well and risks damage to the pump. You might want to install a pump pressure switch that includes a protection circuit for that problem.
(Sept 8, 2014) Brian said:
Thank you for your response. I'm curious as to why one tank continues to fill as before, but an essentially brand new tank is only filling 1/10 to 1/8 full (my guess, based upon condensation lines on the outside of the tank) They share the inlet from the pump. Is there a means to diagnose more assuredly? I did isolate the tanks (each having its own isolation valve), utilizing only the new tank, and the pressure gauge did some funny things. Having achieved the pump cut-out pressure, the switch shut off the pump. I then watched as the pressure slowly but steadily fell (no water being used throughout the house). I was thinking there was a large amount of air in the water section of the tank which was, itself, being compressed.
(Sept 8, 2014) Brian said:
PS - The new tank's inlet is tee'd off the line feeding the older tank. With both valves open, the older tank fills and the newer one only partially fills. I doubt there's a clog at issue. It almost seems as though air is displacing some of the available water space. I was wondering, since air will rise and the inlet to the tank is on the bottom, how one purges air from that part of the tank? Or is that even an issue?
With NO water in the bladder-type tank, set its air pressure to 2 psi below the pump cut-in pressure. There should be a schrader valve (looks like a tire valve) near the top of the tank. In most but not all internal bladder tanks you're right the water is in the bladder and the air is in the 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.
(May 13, 2014) Kimberly said:
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.
(May 20, 2014) Anonymous said:
My water system is pumping water into bladder style pressure tank but will not go over 40 lbs and will not shut off. The system and tank has water in it but has low pressure and does not last very long.
(June 24, 2014) Randy said:
My J5S shallow well,drawing 6 ft, when empty works fine and builds to 50psi and shuts off. But when it hits 30 psi to cut on, binds up motor, it trys to spin. you can see its not reaching anywhere near motor RPM and chaters the start contacts. If i let it drain, PSI goes to 0 and then about 2 min later it seems to drain again and the pump will run again for one cycle like i mentiond above ant find any leakes yet.
tank psi is always at output dial psi when running, tank psi is 28 when drained.
Anon, we've put together some diagnostic suggestions for the problem you describe
Randy, It sounds as if the motor has trouble starting against pressure - which can be a failing motor. But check to see if the motor has a replacable start/run capacitor. See details at
(June 30, 2014) Randy said:
Thanks Dan, you nailed it. my capacitor was bad. it was a 125-147 Mfd and reading 127. replaced it and its been running great.
Stupendous luck! Thanks so much for the feedback. I'll remember to keep the capacitor guess in the diagnostic lexicon. - DF
(July 2, 2014) Dan Tipping said:
If You have lots of head pressure from a gravity feed system do I need a Pre charged tank?
The air reservoir in a water pressure tank is there to smooth the on-off cycling of the pump that will otherwise short-cycle, causing damage to the equipment. If your home feeds entirely by gravity and doesn't use a pump there'd be no role for a pressure tank.
(July 3, 2014) Dan Tipping said:
Thanks, I was thinking the same. There is a pump that pumps the well water up a big hill to a tank. The tank then feeds the cabin. I recently had a leak in the pre charged tank and this got me wondering why it was even there. I think I will get rid of it... Thanks,
Usually people don't install equipment without a reason, buut a pressure tank on the building side of the water supply tank on a gravity system = I dunno why it's there.
(July 5, 2014) Anonymous said:
My daughter hit the electrical box to our well with a go-cart I had to do some rewiring but pump seems to work I have great pressure to all outside facets and I have great pressure to booth showers and fair pressure to the kitchen sink, but I have no pressure to the bathroom sinks and no water to the toilets.
I can but suggest that if the pump system is giving proper pressure in some parts of the home, then if pressure is bad in others it's not likely to be an electrical nor control switch problem. look for a blockage or valve partly shut or clogged piping.
(July 6, 2014) Joe said:
I have a question, 2 years ago I changed from a pressure tank to a bladder tank. The two systems were just swapped. 1 year ago I noticed a small leak coming from the well cap and hissing noise. Now it seems to have gotten a bit worse were you can see the water coming out and hear the hissing noise louder. Was their something that needed to be adjusted at the well cap when switching over? What do you believe the problem is? Thanks
Often an older non-bladder water pressure tank, IF in use with a submersible pump, included a snifter valve in the well and an air vent near the tank that needed to be removed when you converted to an internal bladder type tank.
(Aug 6, 2014) Anonymous said:
I have a 30/50 pump. Mine starts at 30 and stops at 50, but once it reaches 50 it starts to quickly come down to 46 psi and stops there. Any ideas why it would do that?.. I don't think there's a leak because it won't come down passed 46 psi, even after more than an hour without running any faucets...is this normal?
That brief pressure drop at pump shut-off may be an error in the pressure gauge, debris blocking at the gauge, or a leaky check valve.
(Sept 8, 2014) louw said:
water system does not feed even pressure it surges all the time. is the bladder damaged or over inflated
In the More Reading links above see the article titled WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING for an explanation of surging water pressure and advice on how to diagnose and fix the trouble.
(Sept 15, 2014) Jobish said:
How can i fill air again in to the pressure tank because i checked air quantity and reading is zero.
In the More REading links just above see the article titled
WATER TANK PRESSURE ADJUSTMENT
for details about adjusting the air pressure in a water tank bladder.
(Oct 25, 2014) Kris Tuttle said:
I've got a terrible groaning noise coming from mine. It's been installed a long time and often groaned when you turned off the water or flushed the toilet but just for about 30 seconds. Now it's groaning loudly all the time *unless* I turn the water on.
It stops after a couple seconds. But then when you turn the water off it starts up again. Our place is small and the noise is too much.
Often we hear a "groaning" noise at a water tank when there is an obstruction at the bladder or tank inlet causing vibration of pipes or bladder when water is entering the tank.
(Nov 11, 2014) Pete said:
Any suggestions on how I can drain my tank if the bladder has burst, and the tank is full of water, with the burst bladder sealing off the inlet/outlet.
Try opening the drain valve and then use a tire valve repair tool to remove the valve stem core in the air pressure adjustment fitting on the tank.
By allowing air into the tank at its top air valve and water out at the tank drain you may find success.
Or maybe not.
If this doesn't work then the bladder has collapsed on and covered the tank drain opening.
Some tanks can be tipped over to remove a bladder replacement a cess cover.
Else it's drag and drill time.
(Dec 4, 2014) Anonymous said:
My well has always been shout down when I leave my cabin,when restarted it would pump all the air out of the system and work fine.Now for the last six months when I start it up the pump starts, runs for a minute removing the air then stops. After a minute or two starts pumping again, it does this 6 or 7 times befor I get water .It seams like when all the air is out water starts flowing and the pump runs fine. When I leave and drain it again,the nest time I start it up it does the same thing. I changed the pressure valve and checked the pressur in the bladder.
Do you think perhaps the pump is overheating and shutting off on thermal reset?
(Dec 31, 2014) Anonymous said:
wr60r well rite diaphram water tank leaks water from the bottom ,can this be repaired
Temporary patches using a screw and neoprene washer or epoxy are just that: temporary and usually not long-term reliable. I'd replace the tank unless the leak is at a threaded plumbing fitting that can be re-made.
21 Jan 2015 Frank said:
I have a bladder type water tank. All operates good when the valve to the house is shut off. When I open the valve to the house the pumps runs continuously, and I still have no water to the house.
Can someone please give me advice? Thank you.
If the well pump gets the system up to pressure and shuts off properly when water to the house is turned OFF, but runs continuously when water to the house is turned back ON then either there are plumbing fixtures running in the house or there is a leak somewhere in the house water piping system.
The fact that you see no water at fixtures in the house itself suggests that there is a leak between pressure tank and house OR that another tank or system such as a water heater is being filled.
Try turning off water to individual areas of the home then opening them one at a time to narrow down the area of problem.
(Jan 22, 2015) Frank said:
Thanks so much for your help! I'll try that this weekend when I go back out there. I'm new to this stuff, so your help is much appreciated.
(Jan 25, 2015) Frank said:
You're a life saver! I did just as you said. Sure enough I found a spicket outside that was just barely open. I had inadvertenty opened in the fall when I was putting insulation around it.
I was so worried that I may have had a broken pipe or something. Thanks so much.
Nice going Frank and thanks for the feed-back
(Feb 7, 2015) Anonymous said:
1 got a 20 gallon bladder tank and the well company put it 6 ft under ground is it a good place for a bladder tank? T hey had to dig it up once and it cost me then. What can I do to make them put it under my crawl space?
(Feb 7, 2015) avi said:
i have a bladder style tank and I think the water is frozen at the bottom of it during 3 sub zero temps and high wind the window next to the tank is broken and the plastic covering hole fell away and extremely cold air blew in and on tank in basement.i had frozen pipes so I placed kero heater in basement to thaw .before this had water but then slowly went down in pressure and then nothing.ive had no water for 2 days pipes seem warm the tank feels like water is in it but feels like its solid air comes out of air valve at top of tank when depressed.but when you hit the pipe coming out of tank sounds hollow.and the pumptrol switch contacts are closed like its calling for water but nothing happens when I open the valve before the water pressure gage water comes out but no water comes out of house faucets .can some one help please thanks for your time and input
I agree that your system is probably frozen. Search InspectApedia for "DeWinterizing" to see step by step procedrues.
If by "underground" you mean that the pressure tank is in a well pit, that is a common practice to protect the equipment from frost.
If you mean that a conventional internal bladder pressure tank was actually buried, that sounds odd - I'd want to know the tank brand and model and then to check with the manufacturer on where it can be installed.
(Feb 8, 2015) Richard said:
Hi I live in Ontario, Canada and I've experiencing a strange situation over the last two years, what happens is that during the colder parts of winter February, March I loose water pressure on my bladder tank. The pressure builds up again once I toggle the pressure switch, we are using a submersible pump about 30feet down a cast well 4ft underground lines into house the thru pressure tank into house. As I said this only happens during winter month and thru out the summer I have no problem as I’m even able to top up swimming pool without it cutting out. Any insight as to why this happens would be appreciated.
In most areas, including Ontario, the water table drops in summer, not winter. So I suspect more that something is freezing; if your well can't send up water because the pitless adapter or well piping are not below the frost line and so are freezing that could be the trouble. Where are the controls - the pressure switch?
(Feb 11, 2015) Richard said:
Thanks for your reply here are the details the water supply Line and wiring is 4 to 5 foot below grade the foot valve and submersible pump is 30ft down a cast wall well and the controls and bladder tank are in my basement corner where the supply line and power come in/out.
Richard when I had this problem in New York it was because in very cold weather, especially when there was not much snow cover (for insulation) shallow water lines were freezing. IN Ontario your frost line depth is nearly six feet (1.8 metres in Ottowa) though I've read some sources putting it up higher at 5 ft - it depends on where you live of cousre, and over in Windsor is just about 1 metre (3.3 ft) (usually).
I'm guessing first in the frost direction because of the cold-weather relationship.
There could be of course another explanation, even (rarely) wet wiring that pushes apart a wet twist-on connector that is freezing.
(Feb 12, 2015) Richard Jones said:
Hi and thanks for replying again I was wondering about frost levels myself we change from a shallow well to a deep well setup in 2011 and the problem 1st appeared last year 2014, but the weather here in central Ontario was cold last year and we have had some good cold snaps this year also. I was wondering if the ground water was freezing and not getting into the well ?
But this week I’m going to check the pressure switch and make sure the orifice is not blocked and also replace gauge plus look into a solid state sensing device that monitors motor load and incoming power to automatically shut off the pump.
We have adapted the routine of not running two items at once to reduce load on the water supply but last night when running a bath for the grandkids we lost the pressure three times, as for pulling the pump that will have to wait to spring to look at connections as its too darn cold and the snow is covering the location.
I'd check for debris-clogging of the pressure switch sensing tube or crud in the sensor port at the switch bottom; typically we just replace a suspect switch in that case.
If the switch were outside certainly it could freeze.
(Feb 14, 2015) Richard Jones said:
I came home to zero water tonight so started checking things a little deeper here’s what I did.
1 checked voltage had 240vac across terminal on pressure switch
2 checked the pump wiring main blk-yell wires had 4.7ohms, start red-yell had 18.2ohms, checked all wires to ground nothing shorted.
3 replaced pump control box (didn’t have means to test start capacitor)
4 checked amp draw had 5.2amps
Everything says pump is good and running but not building pressure next on list to check will be check valve to make sure it hasn’t failed and replace as a precaution, replacing the low water cutoff switch to be sure it’s not that also (doubt it is faulty). If after this I guess I’m going to have to dig 3ft of snow off well cover and gain access to well and start checking there.
(Feb 15, 2015) Richard Jones said:
Good news we now have water changed everything in the house that could be changed and still didn’t have any water (pump was working according to clamp on meter), so off the local big boys toys store and purchased myself a fish tape.
Put fish tape down the line found a blockage 3 ft. from entry point to the house, phone local rental store see if they had a steamer they did but it was out, so did some internet reading and came across a product called “Liqui-fire” which says its safe for supply water. Then had to make a longer pipe adapter to put on supply line and filled it with Liqui-fire which local hardware had, left it overnight and checked at 7am this morning joy of joy blockage was gone.
Put everything back together and had problems filling system as the water sounded like it was spurting, I had to hold low pressure cut off switch on manually for 10 mins till I got 30psi and it then very slowly built up to 50psi. So recon I still need to access the well check depth and adjust pump height according to what I find but that can wait for spring. So a big thank you for walking me thru and you suggestions I appreciate your help in my dilemma.
Good work Richard. Indeed years ago I had a similar problem during very cold weather. The local well plumber came out, opened the well piping, and uses his home-made hot water pump to circulate hot water into the open pipe end until he could melt his way through. Outdoor well piping freeze problems are of course worse in very cold weather without snow cover.
(Feb 18, 2015) JimP said: What makes the water pressure drops when the well pump is off?
If the psi just drops a pound or three I think it's cessation of head pressure from the running pump.
If pressure drops and continues to fall there's either water running somewhere or there's a leak.
(Mar 27, 2015) Bigjon said:
Thanks so much my problem was this 2. Water tank bladder collapse. I first tried letting air out of the tank in hopes that the higher pressure from the water side would break lose the stuck bladder and after drawing the tanks pressure down to about 20 psi it broke lose and bladder was not damaged i let it fill for just a few pounds and then pumped the tank back up with air. THANKS I was totally lost with this problem. The reason the bladder was stuck is it was replaced and then sat with the pre charge of 40 psi for over a year unused.
I have a 20 gal wellxtrol with a 30-50 psi squareD pumptrol switch with pressure reading that are unusual. The pressure switch needed replacing because contacts were sticking. I put in a new pressure gauge and measured before I replaced the switch: tank pressure 18 psi, cut in 42 psi, cut out 67 psi. The system seems to work fine. It's 25 years old. I replaced the switch with the same, and adjusted it to 38 psi cutin, 64 psi cut out. Do I need to increase the tank pressure to 36 psi? Should I be using a 30-50 psi switch when running 38-64 psi cutin-cutout? - D Harry 10/28/11
First, if your present pressure control switch is handling your (somewhat high) setting of 38/64 psi cut-in/cut-out you don't need to change the switch.
In the article above we list the factory air pre-charge settings for models of Well-x-Trol water pressure tanks.
Please read the WARNINGS about messing with tank air pre-charge in the article above. Then you can set your pre-charge pressure (with all water drained out of the tank) to 2 psi below the cut-in pressure on your pressure switch, or as you suggested, for a 38 psi cut-in, you'd set the air charge to 36 psi.
That 4 psi difference, however, is not very significant. Leaving the tank at factory pressure and setting the pressure control switch to a higher cut-in/cut-out pressure means that the volume of water you can draw from the tank before the pump turns on is a bit reduced.
i need to know what the ptoblem might be if there is water dripping from the water gauge where the floast is on the water tank - Robin 11/27/11
Robin it sounds as if your gauge mount is leaking or the gauge itself has failed internally and is leaking from the gauge assembly. It should be possible to purchase a new part and using pipe dope, teflon tape, or teflon pipe sealant, replace the part and seal the leak. You'll need to turn off the pump, drain pressure from the system (you don't need to fully drain the system) to install the new part.
how long should it take to have well water pressure back after bleeding and reseting? - Matt 12/30/11
For a typical residential water pressure tank, after restoring a lost air charge in the water tank bladder or making a tank pressure adjustment, the well water pressure should return within less than a minute after the well pump has begun to run. If no water is running in the building but the pump has turned on and is re-filling and re-pressurizing the water pressure tank, the total pump run time will typically be 1-4 minutes from pump turn-on until the pressure in the tank reaches the cut-off level, depending on tank size and water system delivery rate.
I have a Well-X Trol (size to be verified tonight)pressure tank.
If water is being utilized at one fixture, pressure seems to be non-existant at any others.
My pump cuts-in/out at 30# & 50# on the nose, with no aparent short cycling.
After reading this (incredibly informative) page, can anyone verify my assumption that I need to verify my factory set pressure? (disable pump, drain, check pressure, add if needed) - Scott J 1/9/2012
We need to distinguish between water pressure and flow rate or quantity.
Static water pressure when no water is running shows us the system maximum water pressure possible after the pump has cut off at the "cut out" pressure set by the pressure control switch.
Active water "pressure" and flow rate: if you have normal water pressure in the system at one fixture but inadequate or very little pressure as soon as a second fixture is turned on, that suggests that there is a water delivery problem - often traced to clogged piping or a control valve that is partly closed somewhere.
The pressure in your water pressure tank determines the length of the draw down cycle - how long water can run before the pump has to turn on. It is the pressure control switch and pump and well capacity that determine the system functioning water pressure and flow rate.
So from your complaint, I may be mistaken but I don't quite see how changing the pre-charge pressure in your water tank would help. I'd leave it alone. Instead, see
WATER PRESSURE & FLOW MEASUREMENT - for how to measure what your system is doing
WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR (article links listed at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article ) to further diagnose the trouble.
I need assistance with my short cycling problem. Woke up one morning to no water. Removed the cover from pressure switch and the contacts touched, pump started running , but only a few seconds, contacts separated again. I held them shut manually and the pump ran as long as the contacts were shut, but when I released it they opened again. Bought a new switch, installed it and now all it does is on and off, on and off the entire time that water is running. But I noticed that the pressure guage stays at 40 all the time, never moves.
So I checked the air in the tank with a tire guage , and it read 30 psi. I did not drain it yet to check it. I am waiting on an answer from you before I do that. If I tap on the tank, it sounds hollow at the top 1/3 of it, and the bottom sounds solid. So I don't know what the cut in /cut out is set at, because the guage does not move at all. I don't know where to start at to try to diagnose this. I can't call a plumber because I am disabled and can't afford it, so I have been getting alot of knowledge from your site. PLEASE HELP ME, I have to get this repaired asap, I have 2 children living here, 2 year old and an 11 month old. I am mechanically inclined, just need to get an idea where to start. Any ideas for me?
Thank you so much,
Lisa - 3/19/12
Lisa, over at WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING you can read how to diagnose and fix the trouble.
Hello I have a well shared with a neighbor my well is located down at the bottom of my property I lost power lines wrecked by downed trees underground now power provided by neighbor moved pressure tank and pressure switch to well site as needed for power 85 gallon tank replaced 30/50 with 40/60 switch neighbor gets plenty of water now does not make it up hill get air and that's all will reset tank pressure to 38 any other suggestions has to climb hill 400 ft plus to my house? - Lloyd 4/5/12
Moving the tank and switch downhill to the neighbor probably means that the output pressure of that equpment isn't enough to push water uphill to your house.
Lee Dilkie said:Lloyd,
First I noticed water pump was not shutting off, went to check pump it was hot so Shut off pwere to pump, shut off till pump cooled turned back on , no water pressure and pump would not shut off, cleaned points , did not do any good, I get water when turned on not much about 22psi.. should be at about 40psi for my well, please help.. - Ruby Berarducci 4/28/12
When a pump runs continuously and there is no water pressure you may have any of several possible causes such has an exhausted well, well piping leak, or damaged pump.
Can i use a 40-60 pressure switch with bladder air tanks. Your tanks are rated at 50 PSI max. Is this bladder pressure of water pressure. Thank you - Tom Renzo 4/28/12
Yes but you have to set the pressure cut-out down to 50 psi. Drop the cut-in to 30 psi and you'll be OK.
How can get a bladder tank constantly produce 100psi pressure? - Pete 5/5/12
Pete, you can't. A home residential water supply system is not intended to operate in that pressure range and would be unsafe.
I have a WX-250 that comes shipped with 30psi, I have filled it to 38, the switch is a 40/60 should the pump continually run when sprinkler systems are going? - Susan 6/2/12
Susan if the water draw rate from your sprinkler in gpm exceeds what the pump and/or well can deliver, the pump may run continuously. Check first that there is no hidden leak in your sprinker system piping.
i have a flotec fp4012 water pump which i wated to install and did but it filled the tank and had water in the house but after it fill it would try to fill more would click so i shut it off and put the old pump back in any help or idea would be great thanks jim - James Duham3el 6/2/12
It sounds like a bad pressure switch or clogged sensor port on the switch body
My pressure gauge always says there is 50 psi in the tank, no matter what. But the well pump is short cycling.
Lisa, first, you have a bad pressure gauge. Second, you have a bad pressure tank. Turn the power to the well off, drain all water from the tank, and then check the air in the bladder. It should be 2 psi below the cut-in pressure of the pressure switch (38 psi for a 40/60 switch). If it is very low, and I'm sure it will be, you can add air to it to try and get by for a while but you are only delaying the inevitable. The low air in the bladder is taking away from your draw down, or the amount of water you can draw before your pump cycles back on.
Replace your pressure tank and your gauge so you can see what your water pressure is in the future. Also, a pump that constantly cycles on and off when youre running water will not last. This is the whole point behind having a pressure tank rather than just letting the pump send water to your faucets directly each time you open one. Hope this helps if you haven't already figured this all out.
i have a water pressure issue with my upstairs bathroom. can the pressure tank be adjusted to fix this problem - Alysa 11/11/12
The water tank smooths the delivery water pressure but does not increase nor decrease it.
my pump was short cycling so I drained the pressure tank down. checked the air pressure and it was 0 . I charged it to 28 and refilled the tank with water. I solved the short cycling but now have very little pressure at the faucets. ? - Jason 11/23/12
Take a look at the cut-off pressure: typically it's set to 40 or 50 psi. If your cutoff pressure is in that range and the "pressure" (really flow rate) at your faucets is poor, it sounds like a valve, faucet strainer, water filter, or pipe clog problem.
I Justed replaced my pump and tank and the pressure in the house is still weak? - Brian 2/3/12
Brian at WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS for WELLS you can read how to diagnose and fix the trouble.
Hi- just repressurised my amtrol water tank to 39 psi (water pump shut off at 41 psi). However, the schraeder valve at the top of the tank reads 39 psi but the pressure gauge at the bottom on the actual water line reads 31 psi. why the big discrepancy? and we're still having some problems with our water pressure on the second floor (new system- only three years old). - Paul 2/5/12
Paul this is not lab grade equipment; the gauges won't agree precisely but you can be darn sure that the pressure is the same at both points if measured at the same time. Sometimes a gauge gets sticky and stops reading accurately due to debris clogging.
Right before my well pump is about to kick in (40 psi) if I have two items running (say shower and laundry) the water pressure is very low to the fixture further away from the tank. Example, someone is taking a shower on the second floor and I start laundry on the first floor. The water pressure to the shower will drop to a trickle but the laundry is ok. This only happens right before the pump is about to kick in. It seems like the pump cannot recharge the tank quick enough. If I do this while the tank is at 60 psi, it is ok. This tank was replaced a few years ago with the same size that was originally there and with the exception of this one issue, it seems to be fine. - Maxx 3/7/2013
almost everybody mixes up these points because the normal way we talk is about "water pressure" when what we really are talking about is water flow rate. Check for a pressure control switch not responding to a fall in water pressure - e.g. due to debris clogging at the switch.
Water pressure is measured as a static number when no water is flowing - say 40 psi or 50 psi in the whole system - when the pump has cut off (or is about to cut on at some lowe rpressure).
Water flow rate measured in gallons per minute is what we experience as "water pressure" in the shower - I guess because at a faster flow rate we get pressed-on harder by the water as it strikes us.
When we have poor "pressure" (water flow rate) at a fixture the problem is usually because of clogged pipes. You can be sure this is true if the pump is capable of reaching say 40 or 50 psi of cut-off pressure. A second cause of poor water flow rate may be a very slow water delivery rate from the well - maybe because of a well flow rate restriction. I figure if it were really the pump itself then the pump wouldn't reach cutoff pressure even if the well had plenty of water in it. Other problems like a leak in well piping also foul up delivered water pressure.
Take a look at
Hope you can help me. I have a 16 y/o WELL-X-TROL WX 250 water well tank in my basement.
I just had a plumber come over and change out the pressure switch 40/60 The plumber drained the system , checked the air pressure in the tank which he found to be at 60psi. He then lowered it to about 34 psi (tank empty), changed the switch made sure everything was ok and when he left it was.
A day or two later my well started short cycling and the gauge would jump low then high to cut off at 60psi I kept an eye on it and called back the plumber to have him check it again. He rechecked and told my husband he raised the pressure inside the tank but on the ticket that was turned in, it was lowered.
It was okay for a day and started short cycling again. I then took out the water filter and found it to be clogged with sludge
I guess from the plumber draining the tank. I then cleaned it out and put it back in and tank was okay for a short while, the started short cycling again .
( UNIT SHORT CYCLES AS SOON AS I TURN WATER ON)
Today, 3/14/2013. 2 plumbers came back and told me my tank needs to be replaced but they drained it and found that the pressure in the tank was up at 60psi Again. What does this mean?. Now that they have left, the water ,pressure switch and tank seem to be okay. What do you think could be wrong ?
They want to put a new Well Mate tank in. What is the difference and first of all, AND DO I REALLY NEED ONE NOW THAT MY TANK SEEMS TO BE OKAY? THEY TOLD ME THAT THE GAUGE SHOULD READ AT 30 PSI ON AN EMPTY TANK. MINE WAS READING ZERO. IS THIS NORMAL???
My problem is that more air gets into the tank on it's own. I have drained tank, checked pressure and with each draining, the pressure at empty rises Is there a leak in the bladder which would allow air to come in after I have drained and reduced air pressure in the tank? Thank you.
- K.F. Kerhnonksen, NY 3/16/2013
"air is entering the tank on its own" ? Not really. Air comes from somewhere, for a reason that needs to be addressed. But I agree that you're on to something and that a proper diagnosis and repair of the problem have not been done.
If a water tank bladder has burst and thus leaks, nothing keeps water and air separated. Air in the tank might enter the water supply, but especially on an internal-bladder type water tank where there is no air volume control used to keep putting air into the system, there is not NORMALLY any source of additional air entering the system. The tank becomes waterlogged and the pump short cycles.
However there can be other sources of air entering the system that are not normal, including:
"Air pressure" in the water pressure tank at 60 psi is VERY HIGH, ABNORMAL, and should have raised a question (if it was really air pressure) of how it got there. Just bleeding out air doesn't fix anything if the cause is not found and fixed.
Now above I explain how we might get excess air entering the water supply system. Details about that problem are at AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES.
But I suspect your system is not accurately described, and that our answer lies in your observation that the pump was short cycling.
If the well pump is short cycling the most common cause is a waterlogged pressure tank - that is a tank without enough air or with no air at all inside the tank. The pump turns on, there is no air to compress, the pump therefore almost immediately reaches cut-off pressure and cuts off. Water is flowing, pressure drops in moments, pump cuts back on.
So you are describing a waterlogged pressure tank. Details about diagnosis and repair are at WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING.
In sum, I think it would be unusual (but not impossible) to have excessive air in the water system AND well pump short cycling. I imagine that might come up if you had an unusually signficant high volume and rate of air entering the system - say from an old air volume makeup device that should not be there, or a leak in well piping.
Keep us posted, what we learn will help others.
I replaced a 36 Gal Water tank in my home yesterday. Upon turning on the water and electricity to the pump, which was pre-pressurized at 25psi the pressure in the tank kept rising until I shut it off at around 70psi. Each time I turned the water and electricity on the pressure would continually rise until a point where I would shut the power to the pump off completely to avoid over pressurizing the tank. Do you have any idea on what could be the problem? Thanks! - B.E. 7/23/13
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. You will find additional depth and detail in articles at our website. That said I offer these comments:
Watch out: First, you were wise to SHUT OFF the pump - as overpressurizing the system is dangerous, risking a burst tank or piping. It is evident that the pump is working and water is entering the pressure tank, as its pressure climbs.
Second, I suspect that either a pressure is not connected, not working, or the pressure control switch may be mis-wired or defective. If you replaced some system parts but left an old pressure control switch it's possible that its sensor port is debris clogged. If so I'd replace the switch and its mounting or pressure sensing tube.
(Jan 21, 2014) Anonymous said:
I have a 30 year old wx202 and I have also seen my empty tank pressure rising. I am surprised that so many professionals seem unable to explain this. As I did not have air coming out of the faucets,the problem could not be excess air. I could feel that the tank still had water in it after the drain valve stopped flowing. Cracks in the diaphragm allowing water to pass above the diaphragm fully explain the problem.
On draining, the cracks close up like a check valve preventing escape of the trapped water. In order to reduce stress on the pump during the 2-3 weeks until a new well-extrol #WX255 81 gallon tank arrives, I drilled through the welded fitting on top and tapped it for a 1/8 in pipe plug. Lacking a 1/4 in bit long enough, I hammered a 3 ft long 3/16 rod through the hole. I could feel it going through the diaphragm. I repeated this 6 times at different angles. Water flowed out of the tank for 20 min and the tank finally felt empty.
After precharging to 34 psi the 37/57 system worked properly for the first time in months except for multiple tiny leaks caused by this trapped water rusting its way through the steel near the diaphragm stop plate about 6 inches from the top of the tank. "JB Weld" has worked well on the worst leaks and it cures in a couple of hours with a heat lamp, allowing system restoration before others in the house wake up in the morning.
I plan to reduce the precharge pressure of the new tank to provide "supplemental drawdown". This will provide water during an unexpected loss of power or after the generator is shut down during a power failure. I will reduce the differential and increase the setting to 45/55 if the switch can handle it. The manufacture's sales rep of the tank agrees with this use as long as I stay in the 30/60 window for a 30 psi precharg with this tank. He did warn of reduced tank life if I stretch the diaphragm against the stop plate very often. All of the 22 in dia tanks have the same diaphragm and store the same 34 gallons of water, but have different air above
(Jan 29, 2014) Stephen Linturn said:
we have a 2 year old bladder tank in the garage, about 250 feet from the house, during below zero temps we lost water pressure. Heated up the tank and it came back on, now the pressure is 90 on the tank, it has stayed there for hours and not moved. We are not sure if the pressure gauge is working. How can we tell? I released pressure in the valve.
It is not making any noise of any sort. The pump is under ground, our well is about 300 feet down. Is this anything I should be concerned about? Can I sleep well? Thanks Stephen
90 PSI is too high - and I'd worry about blowing the tank - which could injure a bystander.
But the pressure in the tank may or may not really be 90.
The gauge may be jammed.
Or the tank may be freezing and pushing up pressure at the gauge.
I would turn off the pump,
Open the tank drain
and if no water comes out, the tank is frozen or the bladder is jammed.
I would not work alone, and I'd be careful to be protected should the tank burst.
Chances are it's the gauge, but geez, writing a post online for an unseen system - it's best to be very careful.
Was the pump off when you saw that 90 psi? If not I'd immediately shut the pump off.
(Feb 7, 2014) chris hampton said:
my nearly new bladder pressure tank has no water in it.what could be wrong?also when continously running pump is turned off,water runs from house piping back into well.
No water entering an internal bladder type pressure tank, assuming the pump and tank are working, usually means that the bladder has collapsed and stuck to itself, blocking the water input
But when the pump runs continuously and when water runs back into the well when the pump is turned off
that sounds like a bad foot valve or bad check valve combined with loss of prime in the pump. If your pump is an above ground pump that's more likely the problem.
AUTHOR:D Adam (no email)
I have a 18Lt pressuretank and SquareD switch. On installatin it was all set to factory -switch 30psi -50psi and tank at 28psi. Not being happy with the low pressure at 30 I decided to turn the large nut clockwise until I got high pressure at 60. Since doing this i notice the draw down has been reduced and causing the pump to cycle even with a half toilet flush... It used to last atleast 2 flushes before.
My question is, would this be because I didnt add pressure to the tank bladder? Should I do as above and add pressure to 38psi (cut in 40) and will this fix the problem?
Cheers from Australia!
Adam, in the More Reading links above I've added a link to our article series titled
WATER PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL ADJUSTMENT
there you will see the explanation of the large and small adjustment nuts in that control, and you'll see additional detailed articles about adjusting the two nuts individually and together; I suspect your switch needs corrective adjustments.
I think you may have misunderstood my questions. Setting the adjustment nuts is fine as I've read nearly all the articles including the one you mentioned :)
What I'm trying to figure out is ...
1. Now I have my switch set to 40-60psi do I need to add air to my pressure tank to make it 38psi?
2. And is this why the draw down is less (because I increased switch cut in to 40 but didn't adjust the bladder/tank pressure?)
Yes D. Adam; you want the starting pressure in the bladder tank to be about 2 psi below the cut-in pressure. Details are in an article titled WATER TANK BLADDER PRESSURE ADJUSTMENT - found by searching InspectApedia
When you change from 30/50 to 40/60 you still have the same 20 psi difference between cut in and cut out; Shifting to a 10 psi higher operating range but keeping the same delta or variable (20 psi) means that the higher pressure will push water out of the tank faster than before, reducing the *perceived* drawdown even more than the actual measured volume of drawdown.
In a table in the article above using a similar tank size, the pressure range change you make drops the drawdown volume from 6.2 to 5.4 g
But yes do set the tank air pressure as discussed in the article I cited, or generally at 2 psi below the cut-in pressure. That will give the maximum available volume and thus drawdown.
That basically answered my question. I'll adjust the pre charge over the weekend and see how it goes...hopefully no dramas (can't see a relief valve anywhere-only the fill in schrader, fingers crossed it don't blow up)
Cheers, D. Adam
Great D. Sorry to be obtuse but often when communicating just by text it can be a challenge to get a clear idea of what's going on from the questioner's side.
As long as you stay well below the tank rated burst pressure you're safe. Certainly an air loading causing pre-pressurizing of a water tank at a pressure that is below the tank's operating range and below the cut-out pressure should be safe.
With smaller vessels, like a bicycle tire, it is easier to blow the thing up when hooking to a high pressure air source. But I did learn of a case in which a plumber was working leaning over a pressure tank connected to a submersible well pump - the pump was running ( and is capable of high pressure) - and blew the tank. He was working alone, was cut by the damaged tank, and died. Rare, but possible.
The common place to add a relief valve is on the tank tee at the bottom of the pressure tank.
(Feb 19, 2014) Anonymous said:
The elbow pipe to a “Challenger series Diaphragm well tank” has a pin hole leak so I need to replace it. Do I need to make pressure adjustments either prior to or after replacing the pipe?
Thanks in advance for any advice you may give.
You can patch a pinhole leak using a special short lag screw and rubber or neoprene washer - assuming this is a bladderless pressure tank; but beware that as tanks corrode from inside out the tank may be more rusted and closer to end of life than you think.
(Feb 23, 2014) Scott said:
Hi, I have had a problem with my pump kicking on about every 3 to 4 minutes when the water isn't running. I checked all my pipes in my house and in the crawl space and can't find any leaks or anything. I went down in the crawl space and checked the water pressure tank and there is no visible leaks and didn't hear any air leaking either. I don't know whether or not this tank has a bladder or not and not sure as what to do next. Any help would be outstanding. Thanks
Scott, in the page top section titled "Click to Show Hide Related Topics"
find and click on
WATER PUMP INTERMITTENT CYCLING
for the diagnosis of the problem you describe.
(Apr 8, 2014) reese said:
basically, what happens if we increase the precharge pressure of water tank? will the water pressure increase also? just a newbie here. thanks
Reese, you are asking an important question as I know it's easy to be confused about this pressure and tank business.
Overall the pressure of water delivered at a plumbing fixture will never be higher than the pressure that can be produced by the water pump itself. The system pressure will vary while you are running water, between the pump pressure control switch cut-in and cut-out pressures, say 20-40 or 30-50 psi.
The pressure tank, containing air and water, is acting as a sort of spring to smooth the flow of delivery of water. If we didn't have that spring, then when the pump turned on it would quickly reach the cut-off pressure - in seconds - and cut off, then pressure would fall to the cut-in pressure - in seconds - and the pump would turn on. That rapid short-cycling of the pump will kill it as well as drive you crazy seeing water squirting at the faucet.
The pressure in the water pressure tank should be set to about 2 psi below the "cut-in" pressure of the water pump.
If you made the big mistake of setting the pre-charge pressure in the water tank to ABOVE the cut-in pressure of the switch, the effects is you are reducing the available water volume in the tank, tending towards a short-cycling system. Why? because at the higher pre-charge pressure the volume of the tank's air charge is increased when water has been pushed out of the tank.
If we take this to an extreme and fill the water pressure tank with air, in a bladderless tank no water will enter the tank and in fact air will be pushed out and into the building piping. In an internal bladder type tank, filling the tank with air, if it doesn't burst the bladder, eliminates any available volume in the tank for water - the pump will still turn on and off based on building water piping pressure and it will short cycle like mad.
If this is still unclear, ask me again.
(Apr 9, 2014) reese said:
thank you for your important reply. in this case, how will i increase the water pressure to satisfy required pressure to supply 3 fixtures at the same time (shower, water closet, lavatory)in case we used them at the same time considering that this 3 fixtures are also existing in other rooms?
Our local water service is a bit weak. we have decided to buy a water storage tank with a capacity of 2000 liters, a 2hp jet pump with complete attachments (gauge, pressure switch, check valve), and a bladder type pressure tank (tank volume 33gal).
Pipe size is 1 inch in diameter from storage tank to pump to pressure tank. but after the pressure tank, the pipe size is only half inch in diameter all the way up to our rooms. I
compared the pressure of our local water utility and pressure from the pressure tank (without connecting yet to the building pipes), based on the squirt, water from the pressure tank squirts farther than the local water but when connected to the building they produce the same result (same water pressure output)its like that the pressure tank is useless.
Hope you can help me solve my problem. again thank you very much.
Reese, Whew! reading that dense paragraph. Have mercy.
Typically people improve water pressure by one or a combination of measures. First we need to accurately diagnose the cause of poor water pressure - so that we can then choose the right repair.
Therefore, start at
WATER PRESSURE PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS TABLE in the "More Reading" links above.
(May 5, 2014) Dan said:
When installing a replacement tank, when the empty tank is filled for the first time where does the air in the area being filled with water go? Does it compress or is there some kind of valve that allows the air to escape and be replaced with water?
Dan thanks for the question.
The air doesn't go anywhere - that is, it's not supposed to escape or go away. Rather, it is being compressed. It's that compressed air that pushes water back out of the tank when you open a faucet, and it's that "spring" like feature of squashed air that pushes back that keeps your well pump from otherwise cycling on and off too rapidly.
(May 22, 2014) donbates38 said:
can i still use my tank if the bladder is not working by just puting air in tank
You'd think so but that won't work well nor long. The tank is not designed to have water outside its bladder - expect corrosion & leaks; and often the bladder fragments prevent water from properly entering or leaving the tank.
(June 15, 2014) dave ross said:
put a new pressure tank in--simer pre-set at 38#-----put a new pressure switch on pump--pre-set at 30-50#---I dropped the pressure in the tank (very carefully measured) to 28#----now having devil of time with pump even cutting in/off---have not made adjustment to switch yet-- must start pump manually --- question-- read that on this site to let pump run until it shuts off observing pressure at which this happens-- will this burst the bladder with 28# still in tank?????
(June 18, 2014) Pete said:
I have a fairly new Well - X - Troll system that pulls water from the lake to feed my irrigation system.The pressure switch is a 20- 40 PSI switch. The pressure gets to 40 PSI fine and stops. However, almost as quickly as the irrigation system starts, the pump kicks in. It goes down to about 30 lbs. pressure and stays there. Consequently the pump never stops and then eventually kicks the 15 amp breaker off. It's a 1 horse motor. Any idea on the problem? Need a bigger motor - new pressure switch so it drops to 20 lbs before it kicks in - create more zones in the irrigation system so it doesn't draw so much water at any one time - 20 amp breaker????
(June 21, 2014) Rich said:
My tank keeps kicking on and off. In addition to this the it is making a loud thumping sound and water is squirting out of a ball valve... The pressure reading is sitting at a constant 40psi (supposed to be 60/40). And i have a Amtrol Champion series tank. Any ideas?
A good diagnostic is at
Pete I suspect two conditions:
The water flow rate of the irrigation system exceeds the pump capacity ( or,a pickup screen is partly clogged), so the pump runs continuously at its maximum output which never gets ahead of the use rate, so it never shuts off until you turn off the water.
And there may be a problem with the pump itself, or low voltage, or voltage drop along a very long wire, that can also overheat the motor.
You could try running irrigation at a slower flow rate or in fewer zones at any time.
Rich: You want to see WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING
(Feb 22, 2013) Anonymous said:
tank precharge pressure is 1.94bar but pump cutin pressure is 3bar shall is increase precharge pressure
(July 13, 2014) Anonymous said:
I have a submersed pump w/ a 30 gallon pressure tank, and a 40/60 pressure switch.39 psi in tank. At low demand, the system works normally. at high demand, the pressure continues to fall past the 40 psi cut in pressure and shuts off the pump, To restart I have to activate the bypass lever on the pressure switch and hold until proper pressure is established.
It's possible that the high water usage rate exceeds the well flow rate. In that case the switch is shutting off the pump to protect it from damage, working as it should.
Forcing the pump to run may damage it.
Try waiting an hour or more before turning on the pump after it has shut down. That gives the well time to recover. If the system runs normally at that point we have diagnosed the trouble.
Depending on the well's recovery rate it could take longer still for this procedure to work.
(Aug 16, 2014) John said:
Recently replaced a 40 year old 20 gal pressure tank & its piping with a new Water Worker HT20B, 20 gal tank and new SS piping. Also replaced the old Square D pressure switch with new Square D 30-50 unit.
The first day, with the wrong pressure in the bladder (38psi) and some water hammer in the system, I bled the bladder down to 28 psi and it seemed to run OK for a time.
Then, strange things began to happen; the pressure switch would cut in at the normal 30 psi, however it seemed the downhole well pump wouldn't respond for a few seconds, then when it kicked in, the system pressure was already below the precharge of the bladder, so there was water hammer again.
Adjusted the bladder charge down to 25 psi, and again it seemed to run OK, but then the same phenomenon occurred. The pump didn't seem to start running for some time delay after the pressure switch "cut in". I did measure the voltage on the load side of the pressure switch, and it was OK, so I know that voltage was getting to the pump, however I didn't have the necessary instruments with me to see if it was actually pulling current immediately, or only after this "time delay".
The pump itself is also 40+ years old, however since this is a seasonal use cabin in MT, it actually hasn't seen much service. Nevertheless, does it sound as though the pump itself is failing?
John you were on the right track but when "...[you] bled the bladder down to 28 psi and it seemed to run OK for a time. "
That 28 PSI should be the air pre-charge when the tank is empty of water.
(Aug 18, 2014) Anonymous said:
Thanks Daniel, I should have clarified that statement - I did bleed the bladder down to 28 psi after draining the system and tank, and opening the system to atmospheric pressure. Guess I'm looking for some guidance on whether there could be a problem with the new surface equipment I installed (pressure tank, tank tee, check valve, pressure relief valve, pressure switch), or if it's downhole.
If it's downhole, I'm going to go ahead replace the entire assembly (pump, piping, wiring, etc.) as it's all 40 years old, and I don't want to have to pull it again in the future.
Do you think that the delay in apparent response of the in-well submersible pump that occurs after the pressure switch has called for water could be
- a problem in a separate pump relay operated by the pressure switch? Some higher HP submersibles use a heavy duty relay control that is itself switched by the pressure switch.
- a leak in well piping that is draining back into the well? (Look for air discharge at fixtures)
About the old pump motor - that's a fair question to ask, but I'm not sure where to go with it. Look at not voltage but current draw to see if the pump is behaving as if binding or sticking (high current) or pumping air (low current). It'd help if you knew the pump specs which perhaps are not known.
(Aug 18, 2014) Vahid said:
I have a booster pump station including 4 pumps that they cut-in via pressure and flow rate. The pumps have VSD. The cutin level is 45m head and the pumps have to maintain the pressure at 50m head. I have got two 80L Pressure Vessels (29l drawdown volume of each)on the discharge line. I want to know at what pressure should I charge the vessel (43 m or 48 or ?) ? another control on this station is that the PLC looks both at Pressure and minimum Flowrate
Vahid, In general the air pre-charge pressure in the pressure tank is set 2 psi below the cut-in pressure set at the pump controller. But your system merits comment by an engineer who has expertise in its special function and design.
Hi. Having just drained my system and installed a new pressure regulator and bladder on my pump and pressure tank, the pump is taking more than half an hour to get to the 50 PSI cutoff. It may indeed have taken a while to refill the bladder, but I was getting concerned and so unplugged the pump. The new regulator is a 30/50 cutoff, while the old one was 40/60. If I had, say, 38 PSI in the tank, what effect would this have with the new 30 PSI cut-on? From your previous answers, I'm guessing it would just be lower water volume and cause more frequent cycling. I can't see why it should be taking so long to charge.
Carl, look for
a damaged or clogged foot valve or strainer, a damaged pump impeller, low voltage, or leaks in the well piping
29 May 2015 Jack said:
I use my water pump and water holding tank exclusively to support my water source heat pumps. The plumbing of the water tank is standard with a pressure switch controlling the power to the pump but the water discharges to a pond in my backyard after going through the heat pumps to pull the heat/cold from those units. I also have a relay (tied to the thermostats of the water source heat pumps) wired in series to the water pump pressure switch to control power to the water pump so the it won't activate unless the heat pumps are in use.
The system has been in use for about 34 years and worked fine until recently. My problem now is that at times (but not all the time) there is a loud hissing sound like air mixing with water near where the pipe from the water tank ties into the water line heading to the heat pumps. Even with the hissing sound, the water appears to run properly through the heat pumps and discharge at a normal flow rate. When I begin to close a water valve (located after the water holding tank) that restricts flow to the heat pumps, the hissing sound is reduced.
The pressure switch gauge normally reads about 20 psi when the water pump is running but at times reaches a level of 80 - 100 psi when the hissing sound starts. I suspect the gauge may be giving a false reading since the discharge end of the water pipe is open and water appears to flow from the discharge end at a high rate. The water holding tank may not be necessary in my usage, but I had hoped the water holding tank and pressure switch would serve to turn the water pump off if the water pressure reached an abnormally high level. Could the loud hissing sound somehow be related to a problem with my holding tank or pressure switch?
Pressures in a water supply system much over 70 psi are dangerous, can burst a tank or pipe, injur someone, or flood the building. I'd look for a pressure switch or switch sensor problem, and I'd be sure there was a properly installed pressure relief valve on the system.
(June 14, 2015) Ronnie said:
Should air bladder read pressure with tank empty.
With no water in the pressure tank the internal bladder type water tank is typically set to an air pressure of 2 psi below the pressure control switch cut-in pressure. So if your pressure control is a 30/50 model your tank precharge is 28 psi.
(July 4, 2015) Mike V said:
My pressure tank is set at 40 psi the pump goes on at 42 psi and goes off at 64 psi. I check this several times running the water. Interesting thing is as the tank charges it's slow from 40 to 50 then rockets up from 50 to 65 then crashes to 50ish and sinks slowly back down to 40. All while the water is running. If I shut the water quickly at 65 it stays at 65. What is going on?
Interesting and strange, I agree. It sounds as if there is a sticky internal bladder in the pressure tank (if that's the type of tank you've got); also the pump output itself may be affected by the pressure level in the system and system pressures in turn by the usage flow rate. Those are some thoughts. Bottom line, I am confused by the data and don't have a sure answer.
Check also for a sticking pressure gauge. Start by hooking up an independent water pressure gauge to monitor pressure.
(May 4, 2015) B. Murdock said:
When power is on, the well comes on and of, on and off, can hear water start to come into the system.
Can the pressure tank or bladder inside be bad?
(June 9, 2015) firstname.lastname@example.org said:
lam trying to install the above bladder tank its specks are
vessel volume 98.4 liters/26 gallons max working pressure 8.6 bar/125psi l have no manual and never installed this type of tank l see there is only one outlet from the tank which seems to me l add a tee from the water inlet but how does this work if the water cannot go in and come out at the same time through the same whole there must be an obvouse reason please help me kind regards alan martin
Indeed most water pressure tanks using an internal bladder have a single piping connection to which a tank tee is installed to accomodate water from the pump as well as a pressure relief valve and pressure gauge as well as a connection to piping feeding the building. When the pump is running water is pushed simultaneously into the pressure tank and into the building through the two openings provided by the tee (one into the tank, one into the building). When the pump is not running and water is turned on in the building air pressure in the tank pushes water out of the tee and into the building - until pressure falls low enough to turn on the pump.
For safety you should find the installation instructions from the tank manufacturer and follow them.
Watch out: no residential water tank should actually be operating at the maximum working pressures you cite; typically residential pressures range between 20 psi and 70 psi or perhaps 80 maximum. Higher pressures are unsafe and also cause leaks.
(July 6, 2015) Colin said:
My water stops briefly when we are having a shower. My pressure switch drops from 30 to 10 then climbs up again.
(July 16, 2015) Bill said:
Same problem as Colin, July 6 2015, solution?
Colin and Bill: look for a water pressure control switch that is sticking due to burned points, debris inside the switch assembly (mud dauber wasps), or debris clogging of the pressure switch sensor port. Replace the switch.
(July 21, 2015) Cathy said:
Can a bladder tank be installed on its side instead of upright? Will it still work properly that way?
Probably not. Most manufacturers expect the tank to be upright. You may stress and tear the bladder.
I refer to water supply system pressure tanks.
The smaller internal bladder tanks used as expansion tanks on heating systems (not on water supply systems) can often be installed horizontally or even upside down.
16 Sept 2015 Robert Ford said:
At WATER TANK PRESSURE ADJUSTMENT
Remove all water from the water tank. This means turn off the water pump, open a nearby plumbing fixture, run water until the water stops entirely - your water tank should be empty or close to empty.
Could be incorrect; If the bladder has failed and the tank becomes waterlogged (incorrect ration of air vs. water) you would only get a very small portion of the water to empty. If this was the case, one would need to force the rest of the water out via an air compressor. Ideally, you would draw water until the pump starts. Ensure that all faucets are turned off.Once it pumps up to pressure, cut the electric to the pump and close the gate valve between the pump and tank. Open a faucet to begin draining the tank. Attach an air line from compressor to the air snifter valve. The compressor will then empty the contents of the tank. Once the last of the water empties it will begin to sputter (mixture of air and water). At this point, close the faucet and continue to add air until the proper pre-charge for the tank is met. This can be verified by a working pressure gauge or separate air gauge. Next, turn on the pump and open the valve going to the tank. If the well is old, this should be opened slowly at first. If the pump begins cycling on and off very quickly continue to open the valve further until the pump stays running continuously. This will help ensure the pump does not lose it's prime. If the system has a shut off valve between the tank and household lines it would be best to close this until the pump has full cycled and shut off.
You are right, Robert; in a typical bladder-type water pressure tank (not all tanks use an internal bladder) if the bladder has failed water may pass out of the bladder into the area in the tank intended for air. In that case draining the tank may be incomplete as the collapsing bladder can also block the tank drain.
But your repair procedure is not correct for that situation and it's unsafe.
Watch out: However for that situation the repair you suggest would be improper and possibly dangerous. If the bladder has collapsed onto the tank drain no safe amount of air pressure will empty the water in the tank and at higher pressures the tank can burst, injuring or even killing someone (this happened to a plumber in New Paltz NY).
If the internal bladder in a water pressure tank has burst the proper repair is to replace the bladder completely or to replace the entire water tank assembly.
See WATER TANK BLADDER REPLACEMENT at inspectapedia.com/water/Water_Tank_Bladder_Repair.php
Your comment is in an article on adjusting the air pressure in a working water pressure tank system.
To simply drain a water tank see WATER TANK DRAIN VALVE at inspectapedia.com/water/Water_Tank_Drain_Valve.php
Or see WATER TANK AIR INLET VALVE - opening this valve can help in draining a water tank - inspectapedia.com/water/Water_Tank_Air_Valve.php
For a complete set of procedures for water tank diagnosis and repair please see WATER TANK: USES, TROUBLESHOOTING - home at inspectapedia.com/water/Water_Tanks.php
At More Reading above in this article you'll find links to other water tank maintenance and repair articles, and our complete list of pump, pump control and water tank diagnosis and repair articles is also given above at INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to WATER SUPPLY, PUMPS TANKS WELLS
I appreciate your comments and will review our articles to be sure that these points are clear.
Regarding your reference to an "air snifter valve" - air snifter valves are NOT USED on water pressure tanks that use an internal bladder. In fact if such a valve is left installed on a system that was converted from a bladderless to an internal-bladder water pressure tank the system will not operate properly. On a conversion to an internal bladder tank the snifter valve (normally present on well piping just ahead of the tank) and the corresponding snifter valve air inlet (located on well piping in the well) must be removed.
See SNIFTER & DRAIN BACK VALVES at inspectapedia.com/water/Snifter_Valve.php
However there is an air pressure adjustment valve (looks like a tire valve) atop water tanks that use an internal bladder. See WATER TANK AIR INLET VALVE at inspectapedia.com/water/Water_Tank_Air_Valve.php for details.
With water pressure tanks that use an internal bladder you should never see air discharge at the building's faucets. If you do there is a problem with the system that needs repair such as
- an air leak into the well piping
- an air leak at the pump itself
- a snifter valve and drainback valve that should have been removed when a bladder type tank replaced a bladderless water tank
- a ruptured water tank internal bladder
(Sept 23, 2016) Wayne Nelson said:
Everything works fine on my pump. The Guage doesn't drop fast enough to keep my holding tank from almost going empty. I have to manually make the Guage go to 37 psi to activate the water to go to holding tank. Please help.
The gauge doesn't do anything but show pressure - it is not a control device. A separate pressure control switch turns the pump on and off; it may be debris clogged and need replacement.
(Oct 29, 2016) waseem said:
How much air should b in a bladder type tank industrial pumps
For water delivery systems, with the water pressure tank empty, set the air pre-charged pressure - 2 PSI below the pressure switch cut in pressure setting.
(Oct 31, 2016) Rich said:
Hello, I have a 300ft deep well (residential use) 1hp pump with a 62gal bladder tank which is about 12yrs old. The outside condition looks good, no rust. I also have a 40-60 pressure switch and a 100psi gauge which I just replaced on 10/29/2016.
My question is: While running water my system cycles, builds up to cut off then drops to cut in, . then runs back up to cut off. Repeating. When water is turned off the tank holds the pressure (no loss). Am I looking at a leak or low pressure in my tank, or some other problem ? Thank you for your assistance. Also I hope I'm in the right spot !!
Sounds like a waterlogged pressure tank. Please use the InspectApedia.com search box and search for WELL PUMP SHORT CYCLING to read how to diagnose and cure the problem you describe.
(Nov 4, 2016) Carol said:
My cut in pressure is 40 and cut off is 60. When the water is turned on the pressure gauge drops to 30 before going up to 60. It then goes back down to 40. Why does the pressure drop down to 30 initially? Should I adjust it up?
check for a clogged pressure sensor on the pressure control switch, or just replace the switch
(Nov 5, 2016) shawn said:
new diaphragm tank installed yesterday. proper air pressure settings set. dialed pressure switch to 35-55. worked great for the evening and night. this morning lost water pressure. reset breaker noticed pressure tank would only pressurize a couple of PSI per cycle
(Nov 13, 2016) Suzanne Manchester said:
Set the air pressure in the empty water tank to 2 psi below the well pump pressure switch cut-in pressure.
Something's missing and I don't know what the rest of this sentence should be:
Bleed air pressure out of the water tank, or add air pressure into the water tank, until the tank pressure.
For example, if your well pump pressure control switch is set to "cut in" (start pumping water from the well) at 30 psi, then set the pressure tank to (30 - 2) = 28 psi.
2016/11/21 John said:
Just shocked well , after flood. Air presure valve was removed ,reinstalled.valve leeks air without airvalve cap. Is this normal?
No, John. We shouldn't see water (nor air) leaking from the air valve.
Stop by your auto parts store, pick up a tire valve replacement tool - you'll need this to un screw the actual valve core from the stem. Try removing, cleaning, and replacing the existing valve core, or just install a new one.
Watch out: on some well systems, particularly those using a submersible pump and an in-well snifter valve, the above-ground snifter valve core spring is a softer one than is used in car tires since it needs to open and close at a lower pressure range. If the auto type replacement core gives trouble later (such as inadequate control of the air volume in a pressure tank that does not use an internal bladder) then a different core could be needed.
If your pressure tank is one that uses an internal bladder, a standard automotive valve core will work fine.
Watch out: if WATER is leaking out of the air valve on a tank that uses an internal bladder, then the bladder is leaking.
Continue reading at WATER TANK BLADDER PRESSURE ADJUSTMENT or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
Or see WATER TANK BLADDER DIAGNOSTIC FAQs-2 - set #2 of diagnosis & repair questions for water pressure tank bladders
Or see WATER TANK BLADDERS & CAPTIVE AIR - home
Or see WATER TANK DIAGNOSTIC FAQs - for all types of water tanks
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Please see the diagnostic questions & answers in the article above.
Or see WATER TANK BLADDER DIAGNOSTIC FAQs-2 - set #2 of diagnosis & repair questions for water pressure tank bladders
Also see WATER TANK DIAGNOSTIC FAQs for questions besides the tank bladder itself and for water tanks that do not use an internal bladder.
Please also see WATER TANK BLADDERS & CAPTIVE AIR - home
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