Photograph of a sketch of a water pressure tank in cross sectionWater Pressure Tank Bladder FAQs #1
Diagnostic Questions & Answers for Internal-bladder Water Tanks

  • WATER TANK BLADDER DIAGNOSTIC FAQs - CONTENTS: questions & answers about diagnosing & fixing problems with the internal bladder used in many water pressure tanks: burst tank bladders, tank bladders collapsed & stuck to themselves, how an internal bladder is replaced in some water tanks.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about diagnosing and repairing problems with water tanks that use an internal bladder
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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.

Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved.

How Bladder-type Water Pressure Tanks Work - Pressure Tank Diagnosis

Water tank air valve test (C) Daniel Friedman S Prior

These questions and answers about diagnosing problems in water pressure tanks were posted originally at WATER TANK BLADDER PRESSURE ADJUSTMENT - topic home. Be sure to see that article.


At Continue reading we provide an INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES that includes a live link to - WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR.

Question: Water tank internal bladder is stuck - how do I repair it?

I just replaced a bad water tank with a new pre-pressure tank. The pressure setting is at 29 psi according to the manufacturer. However, after hooking everything back up, it appears no water is going into the tank. I attempted to adjust the pressure switch but nothing appears to work. Could I be dealing with a back pressure switch? - Ron

[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?

Similar question: new bladder tank installed, tank won't fill with water

I just installed anew bladder tank, and it is not filling with water, is this normal? - Wess Wellmaker

Reply: Replace the Bad Air Bladder or try Pumping Up a Stuck Water Tank Internal Bladder


I'd check the pressure at your new pressure tank at the pump cut-in and cut-out points. If the pressure never changes then I'd agree that something's wrong with the hookup and no water is being pushed into the tank. If an internal bladder has failed it can collapse onto itself, stick to itself, and can prevent water from getting into the tank. But first make sure there is no closed valve that ought to be open;

A bad pressure switch would prevent water from entering the water tank if the switch is simply not turning on the pump when it should.

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.

Since your tank is new, replacing the tank or bladder does not sound like the place to start. But even a new water pressure tank that uses an internal bladder could be having a problem filling the bladder the first time.

But according to Jeremy Rasmussen, an experienced well driller and installer, he sometimes can "un-stick" a jammed or stuck water tank internal bladder by temporarily forcing the well pump to pressurize the water tank to a pressure above the usual pump pressure control switch cut-off setting. Jeremy holds the pump relay switch closed to force the pump to keep running to increase the pressure against the stuck bladder.

Watch out: Especially if there is no pressure relief valve on the water tank there is a risk of bursting the water tank. Over pressurizing a water tank can cause it to explode, causing injury or even, as happened in New Paltz, NY, death. Watch the pressure gauge, and keep the tank pressure well below the recommended manufacturer's maximum pressure rating for the tank. If you keep the pressure below 70 psi and the tank is not already weakened by rust or damage, you should be OK.

Watch out: there are potentially fatal electric shock hazards if you touch live electrical wiring, especially in wet areas or where you may also be touching building plumbing.

Finally, check to be sure that any valves between the water pump and the pressure tank are "open" to allow water into the tank.

Wes: indeed water should enter your water tank bladder when the pump cycles on. Look for

- a closed or broken water control valve between pump outlet and water tank inlet

- a stuck water tank bladder (try briefly holding the pressure switch closed to pump up to 1o-15 psi over the usual cutoff pressure to see if you can un-stick the bladder in the tank

Watch out: do not over pressurize a water pressure tank - it can burst and kill someone

Question: why is it taking a long time for the pump to get up to the cutoff pressure after installing a new tank bladder?

(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


Question: air in water lines spits and sputters

(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

let me know if questions remain

Question: Flotec well tank pressure gauge location

(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.

Question: RL 20 pressure tank seems to run every few minutes

(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

Question: bladder tank pump system worked fine until we had a burst water pipe

Hi there, we have a bladder tank pump that was working perfectly ok until Friday night when a pipe in the kitchen burst, and all the water was turned off. Now the pipe is fixed and the water back on, but the pump will only run for a few seconds and then goes off. It also isn't pumping much, if any water into the cold water tank in the loft (just a trickle running into it, mostly after the pump has switched itself off), and the other problem is, there is no water from any of the hot taps in the house.

The hot water tank is full. All valves had been turned back on. Even running the cold taps won't make the pump come on and stay on. It's currently sitting at approximate 2bar, and when it runs, it cuts out at 3bar. These figures are usual for our pump. Any clues on why its cutting out too early and why there's no water coming from the hot tank to the tanks? Any advice gratefully received! - Jack

*Sorry, that last line should say "Any clues on why its cutting out too early and why there's no water coming from the hot tank to the taps?"

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

Question: Water pressure tank seems to be empty and water pump won't shut off

I gently rocked the tank and it does not seem there is any water in it. My pump will pump water but the water pressure will only go a little over 30 so the pump will not shut off. For now I shut it off manually and turn it on and allow it to run until we have finished taking a shower or some other task. If the bladder has failed shouldn't the water pressure still build up and then shut the pump off? - Dale



If the internal bladder in a water pressure tank has failed, the symptoms can vary a bit. Sometimes a collapsed bladder will prevent water from entering the tank, or water can enter up to the pump cut-off pressure but water won't flow back out of the tank. If that's happening the pump will turn on and off quickly as if there were a waterlogged water tank.

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.

Question: Buried water pressure tank, now the tank seems waterlogged

Hi. Very informative site. I have a well system that was put in 6 years ago. The bladder or diaphragm tank was buried according to my installer because my double wide had no basement. He also told me the tank would be good for about 20 years.

Recently, I've experienced the symptoms of a waterlogged tank, and after discussing it with the installers front office find they warranty for 5 years (a long way from 20, but I'm certainly not calling them for any further work). 2questions: I'd like to install a new tank in an insulated box under the double wide--is this ok? I'm also wondering if I can just use the existing line coming out of the ground and temporarily not worry about digging up the old tank and rerouting the line. Thanks for any help. - Anonymous


Anon: in my OPINION, no one in their right mind would bury a conventional water pressure tank. The tank is not intended for being buried nor for soil contact, nor are its safety controls such as the pressure relief valve that should have been installed at the tank, nor are the pressure sensing controls that should be installed at or close to the tank. Such an installation cannot be serviced.

When you dig up and replace your buried water tank, if it cannot be installed inside the building in a dry heated space, it can be installed in a dry, covered, but accessible "well pit" as was common practice at well heads before the pitless adapter was invented.

Question: water pressure starts strong but quickly falls off to nothing - what might be wrong?

When we first turn on outside faucet near well house we have alot of water pressure, then it goes down to a trickle in a few minutes. Also when we have this outside faucet on, we don't have any water in the house. Our pressure tank feels empty, could the bladder be collapsed? If it is collapsed, is there a way to get it un collapsed or do we need to replace it? - Jorg

We were also wondering if the pressure switch could be causing the drop in pressure?



Jorg about the water pump pressure control switch, a bad switch will fail to turn the pump on or off at the proper time; if it were improperly adjusted it might appear to work but lead to lower water pressure.

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.

Question: Water tank pressure creeps up higher than normal

My pump cut in pressure is 35 psi. Couple yrs ago charged tank to 33 psi. Recently my pump started short cycling. I drained the tank. Air charge read 46 psi. Lowered back to 33 psi. A few days later tank pressure was back to 46 psi. What could cause this? I changed the filter. Water flow seams normal. - Kevin


Kevin: these are great water pump and tank mysteries, no?

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

Question: Why is there red cap over our water tank air valve?

Why is there red cap flush mounted inside of the air valve? It blocks access to the stem valve. - Lawrence

Reply: The red cap prevents accidental release of or change in the water tank's air charge


The red plastic cap on the air valve on your pressure tank is intended to prevent an amateur from messing with the tank's pre-charge of air pressure.

On many internal bladder type water pressure tanks, the water tank is provided from the factory with the manufacturer's recommended air pressure pre-charged in the tank. The manufacturer doesn't want someone accidentally letting the air out or otherwise messing with the air pressure charge if they don't know how it should be set.

Provided you follow the manufacturer's instructions about adjusting the pressure in the water tank, you can remove the red guard to access the air valve itself.

Question: how to troubleshoot air in water lines - collapsed water tank bladder as a cause?

Hi, What a helpful site. We have been experiencing intermittent air in our water lines, and yesterday had the well company come out. They repaired a couple things: pinhole found in pipe just above the submersible pump (which is 24 years old but appears to be running well). Also a weird bleeder valve arrangement that is no longer needed, and which he replaced with a brass check valve.

Put everything back down in the well and ran the water, seemed okay. However since then we notice very low water pressure, and when the water is on the pump is short-cycling. From reading your articles, I checked the water tank (well-x-trol) and am able to rock it with gentle pressure, leading me to believe there is no water in it.

The pressure gauge is at 60%. My question is, is a collapsed bladder a common result of draining all the water from the system? And I guess the real question, is this repairable or do we need a whole new water tank? Thank you. - Sara



I haven't run across collapsed water pressure tank bladders due just to emptying the system of water, though I could imagine that if a tank were left empty for some time, the bladder might stick to itself. Bladders in at least some water pressure tanks are replaceable - some readers have reported success in doing so. Replacement involves shutting down and draining the system, and most likely disconnecting the tank to upend it to gain access to a removable panel through which an OEM replacement tank bladder is installed.

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.

Question: water tank removal: how do I abandon a well and water pressure tank when switching to municipal water supply

I have had a water well plumbed and changed to a public water. the blue tank i was told was not in use,,though there was a leak from it. eventually it got rusted and at the end and let away the water from my public connection out. i had to turn mains off..what is going on if this belly tank only belongs to the water well, which is not in use. - Reosemary


Rosemary, if you have switched from well water to municipal supply, ALL of your old water input/supply equipment should have been taken out of your water supply system. That's because the municipality worries that contamination in a private residence's equipment could back-contaminate the public water mains.

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.

Question: We have intermittent water pressure and the water smells - is it a bladder problem?

We are currently experience intermittent water pressure and water has slight smell. In conversing with other people thought our holding tank might have had issues w/the bladder. We haven't lost water completely and as of last night was on full pressure. Any ideas on the problem? - Karin Wilson

Reply: Diagnose the cause of intermittent water pressure first, and smell second


I'm not sure what to diagnose from your description; there could be a less-than-obvious connection between a water smell and water pressure in that in some wells, when the water level in the well drops (as it may seasonally especially in the dry season) there may also be an increase in odor in the well water as different rock fissures and different components of the aquifer feed into a typical drilled well at different depths.

Certainly we've seen that sulphur odors in well water can vary seasonally.

You could also have a problem with bacteria in the water supply or growing in the water pressure tank.

To be more diagnostic we need to understand if your "intermittent water pressure" means that at different times of the day water pressure is poor versus poor or inadequate water pressure during different portions of the pump cycle (typically just a few minutes). If it's the latter, then we might try addressing the complaint with an adjustment to the pressure switch to slightly narrow the gap between cut-in and cut-out pressures.

But if the water pressure failures are intermittent during the day, it sounds like there may be a well flow problem.

Question: why is my well and pressure tank water draw-down cycle only giving me 2 gallons of water before the pump has to turn on - short draw-down cycle troubleshooting

I have a private well with a new 7-8 GPM pump set at 300ft installed last year. I have been trying to test our 15 year old pressure tank. It is a WellxTrol WX-202 20 gallon that states it should have a draw down of 6.8 gallons. I have no pressure or flow problems and my pressure switch is set to 30/50.

I ran a draw down test with my garden hose and nozzle hooked up to an outside faucet and only got 2 gallons before pump turn on (at 30psi) into a volume marked pail, but the draw down time was about 1 minute 30 seconds. Time from cut-on to cut-off (50psi) is about 15-20 seconds. There is no short cycling, at least from cut-off to cut-on and we get consistent pressure and flow.

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

Reply: check for a waterlogged water pressure tank, check the air volume controls, add air to the pressure tank

Peter, your description sounds as if the water tank is waterlogged - has lost its air charge. See 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.

Reader follow-up: trying to get air into the water pressure tank

I drained the pressure tank from the well head so that the pressure gauge showed zero. Then tested pre-charge and found it to be less than 10psi. I added enough air to get 28psi (cut-in 30psi) then tested the performance. From zero to cut-off took much more time than before, at least double (guesstimate), and when I flushed the same toilet the pressure went to 42psi, not the 32psi I got before. So defiantly the problem was too little air pressure.

I don't know where the air went though? One thing I noticed was that as I was filling the tank with air the water pressure gauge also went up and I found I had to open the well head tap to get back to zero. This seemed to clear out and I can only assume that the bladder did not fully collapse until air pressure was added.

I re-checked the tank pressure after I had opened the well head tap and the pressure held at 28psi, so I think my bladder may be OK and not (at least completely) ruptured. I'll check the pre-charge in a couple of weeks but I think for a 15 year old tank I'll just replace it anyway. The original plumber only used the smallest marginal tank so I'll go bigger for more draw down. - Peter


Peter if you drain water out of a pressure tank down to low or "zero" pressure, that does not alone assure that you've actually gotten air to enter the tank. It could be still nearly full of water but at little or no pressure. You should be able to see at least 30 seconds of draw-down at a typical faucet before the well pump has to turn on. Or taken another way, a water pressure tank is rated for an "equivalent" draw down volume of water, typically 10 gallons or higher, if the tank is properly installed and air-charged.


(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.

Question: stain on water pump - leaking

(May 15, 2012) Melanie said:

i have what looks like a large water stain on the front of my steel water pump tank in garage, unit is 2 yrs old, system works fine but think it is leaking, any ideas?


Melanie, I think I'd need to see a photo to understand what you are asking about. If the tank is leaking through the steel, not at a fitting, it needs replacement.


(May 19, 2012) Sara said:

I have a above ground pump in my shed to water my yard. I replaced the pump a few days ago as I forgot to drain last fall and the pump frooze. Anyway, I have the new pump all connected and primed and after the underground sprinklers fun for awhile, the water line burts from the discharge line causing water all over inside the shed.

I have cleaned out the check valve which had leaves but it continues to do this. What is the problem?


Sara, your message does not and perhaps couldn't contain enough information for a reliable guess, but I can suggest that you check that the pump is operating at the right pressure, or if a water pressure regulator was previously installed, that it too was undamaged by the freeze-up.

Then check that your piping connections are made properly, and finally, that none of your water outlets is blocked. If there is a pressure gauge on the system watch to see what pressures are being developed.


(May 30, 2012) Tammy W. said:

Have been experiencing little to no water pressure within the house. Pump won't turn on. Power is good.

Pressure from the well to the house is good. We have a 20 gallon tank, installed a new square D 30/50 pressure switch and still the pump won't turn on. Could it possibly be a collapsed bladder?


Tammy W., if your well pump wont' operate the cause would not be a collapsed bladder in the pressure tank.

But if you installed a new pressure switch atop an old small diameter mounting tube, or if your system has a flexible copper or plastic tube conducting water pressure from the pump to the sensor port on your pressure switch, it could be blocked.

If the switch does not sense the drop in water pressure when you open faucets to run water, the pump won't operate.

A service tech can test for this condition by observing that pressure drops in the water system, that the switch does not turn on by itself, but that the pump will operate if the switch relay is manually closed. WATCH OUT FOR SHOCK and ELECTROCUTION HAZARDS - don't touch electrical parts or connections.

Question: New Bladder Tank Smell

(May 31, 2012) New Bladder Tank Smell said:

I recently installed a standby water tank system as backup to the local water supply. The system employs a DAB 1hp pump and a 50lt Foras horizontal bladder tank. Ive been noticing a strange smell in the water which lasts for about a minute when you let the water run for a short period, then disappear for the most part.

Diagnosis has led me to believe that the smell comes from the water that is held in the bladder and then injected into the house supply. Have you ever encountered a brand new bladder causing/adding a scent to a system? The bladder/sys seems to work perfectly. It is a very annoying almost rubbery/plastic/chemical/sulphury scent. Brand new water system.


Water odor diagnosis: no, I have not come across reports of water odors traced to a new water pressure tank bladder, though depending on materials in the system I wouldn't rule it out completely. You could try completely draining the water tank and refilling with fresh water.

If you make that experiment after the tank has sat unused for 24 hours the water coming out of the tank during draining can be smell-tested to see if in your opinion it exudes the odor you are diagnosing. Then fill the tank, drain some water out and sniff that - fresh water sample for comparison - that may permit you to include or exclude the well water source and piping as a possible contributor to odors.

Question: wierd pump pressure gauge behaviour

(June 9, 2012) Brian said:

I just installed a 20 gallon internal bladder type well tank because previously water was "spitting" out. Set the internal pressure to 2psi below the 30psi cut in. After installation, current water pressure seems to be fine, but the pump is short cycling. I have a 30/50 pressure switch. For some reason, the pressure on the gauge rests at 35psi when no water is being used. When I turn on water, it gradually decreases to 30psi, then the pump turns on.

The gauge then jumps to 45psi, and gradually rises to 50psi, as I am assuming water is being pumped into the tank. Once reaching 50psi, the pump turns off, and pressure immediately drops to 35psi. Then gradually decreases to 30psi, then pump turns on. This cycle continually repeats itself on short intervals. When I feel the tank at 50psi, it is empty, or nearly empty of water. I am not aware of any leaks. I have turned of the water line to house, and water pressure remains constant, so I'm guessing there is no leak on well side of line. Any ideas?


Brian, I suspect that debris has clogged both your pressure gauge (try tapping it gently) and the pressure sensor port on your pump pressure control switch. Clogs at those locations can leave the gauge reading pressure higher than the true pressure in the system (or vice versa), and can prevent the pump control switch from operating properly.


(July 3, 2012) Jim Copeland said:

Iam confused by the "inline pressure tank" and a regular tank, please help as I am trying to set up a system.

(July 4, 2012) Judy J said:

We have a motel and run a Sears Shallow well jet pump to an 80 gal captive air tank to boost city pressure. We jacked up the pressure switch to 60/80, but we still get down to 20psi every morning. I noticed when we checked the air pressure on the tank that a small amount of mist comes out. Is the only way to check for a burst bladder to turn off the water, drain the tank and look for zero air pressure when the tank is empty? Thanks!

Question: water pressure surges & loud noises from water tank

(July 6, 2012) James said:

Hello, I live in a 3-story, 6-unit condo building in Chicago. We have a large Well-X-Trol pressurized bladder tank. Recently, my neighbors and I have noticed extreme increases in water pressure. So much so that the lines to my washing machine start shaking when I do a load of laundry, and that it seems to be close to overwhelming my shower drain. We have also noticed the noise of the tank running to be loud and frequent. It seems to be running at least 30 minutes out of an hour.

The tank is 5 years old and we never noticed this before. In the meantime, we have closed off the valves to the tank and have been running just on city pressure - which is actually fine, I'm not even sure why we need a booster. We had someone come out to look at the tank, and said that it seemed to be working properly it is set at 40/60.

But if it is currently working "properly" - why is it running so much and why is the pressure so extreme? It seems to be very hard to find someone who really knows about these issues, so I appreciate any help!



Check the actual water pressures at different times using a gauge. Check for varying municipal pressure. And check for a sticking pressure control switch at the pressure booster pump and tank. The tank itself won't cause high water pressures.

WATCH OUT: if the water pressure tank lacks a pressure relief valve your system is unsafe.

Question: tricks for draining a failed waterlogged pressure tank

(July 17, 2012) Paul said:

I just had an Amtrol Well-X-Trol pressure tank get water logged (OK, so it's been in the making for a while). Short cycling was the giveway that something was a miss. But the point of this post is to suggest an effective way to drain the waterlogged tank.

First, make sure it's not under pressure. The bladder had collapsed and covered the outflow at the bottom of the tank. Pressing the valve at the top squirted water. Let the pressure out of the top of the tank. It may squirt water. Once there's no pressure in the top or the bottom, just water, time to go to work.

Drill a hole in the top of the tank with a bit that's large enough to get a sawsall blade in. Then, carefully cut a large hole in the top of the tank. In our Amtrol tank, there was a steel plate across the top with a hole in it. We stuck a hose down the hole into the "top" side of the bladder then started a vacuum and drained the tank.

No need to drill holes in it that would squirt water all over. Once the majority of the water is gone, it's much easier to move around. Just be careful of the sharp edges from the hole you cut!


Paul thank you for your interesting and unusual approach to draining a failed, waterlogged water pressure tank. Since the procedure you describe essentially destroys the tank, we are guessing that the purpose of the drill, cut, and drain procedure you described was to get water out of a ruined internal-bladder water pressure tank in order to make its removal easier.

And it's of course interesting to also report the observation of the underlying failiure in the tank - a (probably ruptured) internal tank bladder that collapsed, covering and sealing the tank inlet/outlet.


(July 20, 2012) Trish said:

My WellMate has started turning on and off every few minutes even with no water being used. The pump is rather loud when it turns on and off. It goes from 45psi to 30 psi when it switches on and off. Is this a sign my pump is failing and about to go out? Thanks.


Trish please use the search box above or at page top and search InspectApedia for

Water Pressure Intermittent

and you'll see the diagnostic/repair article for the problem you describe

Question: winterize a water tank with no drain plug, getting a water tank to drain

(Sept 17, 2012) John Kerr said:

I have a horizontal 5 gal water tank with no drain plug in the 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.

Other possibilities:

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) 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.

(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.


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 these

Bladder Type Water Tank Articles

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