Water Storage Tank & Pressure Tank FAQs
Questions & Answers about water tank purpose, uses, diagnosis, repair, replacement

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Water tank FAQs:

Questions & answers about the purpose of water storage and water pressure tanks, how water tanks work, what goes wrong with the water tank (such as water tank leaks, loss of air charge, corrosion, failure to admit water) and how to fix water tank troubles.

These questions discuss the purpose of water storage or water pressure tanks on private well systems. How to diagnose & correct short cycling "on-off" of the building water pump. What is the difference between a bladder type water tank and a glass lined no-bladder water tank? How are well water tanks recycled?

This article series explains the different types of water tanks such as tanks using an internal bladder or diaphragm, bladderless steel, fiberglass, or plastic water tanks, and water tank pressure and air controls and valves.

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Water Pressure Tank or Storage Tank Questions & Answers

Steel water tank (C) Daniel FriedmanThese questions & answers about water tanks were posted originally at WATER TANK: USES, TROUBLESHOOTING - the home page for this subject.

On 2017-10-20 by (mod) - can I get rid of the water tank?


If the water tank is for hot water, and if it is gas or oil heated, having it in a bedroom closet is unsafe and illegal. If it is a water pressure tank, then yes you need the water tank as part of the water delivery system.

WATER TANK vs WATER PRESSURE - explains how the presence of a pressure tank or storage tank affects building water flow.

On 2017-10-20 by Terri

I moved into a house with septic and we'll, house built in 2004 or 2009. The garage was converted to a master bedroom. There is a large 81 gal water tank in closet area, do I need that? Can I take it out? If I do need it, is it expensive to move to another area in the house?

On 2017-10-20 by (mod) - pressure switch clicks but does not turn on the pump


I suspect burned pump switch contacts - I'd have the switch replaced.

On 2017-08-05 by Judy

The control switch on my well water storage tank sticks or something--sometimes it clicks 15 times before it is successful in turning on the pump. After a while, this continuous action roils up the water in the well and we start getting muddy water.

This has happened a lot of times. Usually, after a period of days or weeks, the problem will correct itself. Until the next time. Is there some way I can correct it when it starts so I don't have it keep on malfunctioning and pumping muddy water?

On 2017-06-13 by (mod) -


Check the manufacturer brand and pump model, then we (or you) can find the manufacturer's table specifying the pump's lift capacity. You will find that the pumping capacity in gpm or lpm diminishes as first a function of the lift height. For your particular pump at 50 ft you may already be exceeding the pump's capacity. For example a one line jet pump can lift water about 27 feet.

If on the other hand (I'm left guessing here as your message doesn't specify), if the pump is old and used to work but no longer lifts, look for
a leak or a damaged impeller, low voltage, or an obstruction.

On 2017-06-13 by Henson

Why does my 3 hp centrifugal pump can not deliver water up to 50 feet high, using 2 inch diameter pvc pipe? Is it because of the pump or i need to get a higher hp motor?

On 2017-05-16 by (mod) - air in the plumbing lines

Please use the search box just above to find our diagnostic article on


Then do let me know if questions remain, or if that text is unclear in any way, and I will be glad to work further with you

On 2017-05-16 by Anonymous

What should be done to get air out of the lines

On 2017-05-16 by Calvin

We have a séries600 water pressure tank with pressure switch set 30/50 we have air in the lines at all taps. We have drained the tank but still have air in the lines

On 2017-04-17 by (mod) - submersible pump in holding tank?

Sorry Oz

I did have some trouble following the first question as phrased, but I thought we were addressing

"During this time, does the water going into the house bypass the pressure tank (via the "T")? In which case the descaler would not have access to the water going to the houses, and the water entering the house (during the time the pump is running) would not be descaled. Is this correct? "

Of course the pressure tank doesn't have water flowing in and out of it simultaneously. Water flows OUT until the system pressure falls low enough to turn on the pump. Then as the pump runs, DEPENDING ON the WATER USAGE RATE, the pressure tank will be re-pressurized. If the pump can't keep up with water usage the tank won't really be re-pressurized until the water usage stops. Then the pump continues to run until the water system is at cutoff pressure.

I don't have a clear picture of where equipment is, where it runs, in what order. So I'm having trouble answering your last question about which water escapes de-scaling.

It SOUNDS to me as if your pressure tank is located "floated on the line" in plumber talk, meaning it really can be anywhere in the system and is not and doesn't have to be in-line with the main water flow: all it's doing is delivering an initial volume of water until the system pressure reaches the pump CUT-IN pressure.

So if you install your descaler on the line that just feeds the pressure tank, you will de-scale ONLY the water that flows into the tank and then back out of it. When water is running being delivered by the pump, not the pressure tank, then I think, from your verbal map, that that water won't be descaled.

Follow the water pipes. If water flows from the water source to wherever you're using it without passing through your de-scaler that answers the question.

On 2017-04-17 by ozazman

Thank you, but this does not answer my question. The well is not an issue because the water is held in a 6000 gallon storage tank.

The pump I refer to is the submersible one in the holding tank, which pumps water out of the tank and into the pressure tank and house (the well has it's own submersible pump).

The T is outside the garage, and the pressure tank is in the garage. The pressure tank has only one pipe. The pump in the storage tank will kick on after water is run for a couple of minutes, such as when the bathtub is being filled. The pressure tank cannot have water going both into it and out from it at the same time.

So, again, here is the question: During the time that the storage tank pump is running continuously (because water in the home is being used continuously), does the water going to the house escape being descaled if the descaler is located on the single pipe going into the pressure tank, rather than the pipe going to the house from the T. The reason I would need to install the descaler on the single pressure tank pipe is because that is the only protected (indoor) area, and the only place where there is an electric plug. Hope this helps..... thanks again.

On 2017-04-15 by (mod) - I want to install an electronic water descaler



We discuss scale removal from plumbing systems, focusing on water heating equipment as that's where scale formation is fastest and worst.

That article also links to water heater scale prevention - that applies to entire plumbing systems too - at - there we also discuss use of electronic scale prevention equipment on plumbing systems.

Watch out: scale prevention and water softening (removing minerals that form scale) are not likely to remove existing heavy scale deposits. For that your plumber will need to use one of several SCALE REMOVAL methods that we also discuss in the same article series.

You will also want to read about scale prevention, such as by using a conventional water softener - use the Search InspectApedia box just above to find WATER SOFTENERS for extensive information about that equipment.

For outdoor water use people usually install a tee in the water supply piping ahead of any water treatment equipment so that outdoor water can be used un-treated. That water would not be de-scaled by any equipment you install.

Your comments about the pump running continuously may indicate that your well is of limited flow rate.

On 2017-04-15 by Ely

I want to install an electronic water descaler but the only accessible indoor water pipe is the one going into the pressure tank, which is located in the detached garage, and which supplies both the main house and the guest house. There is a water holding tank outside which stores water pumped from our well.

The pressure tank in the garage has only a single pipe inlet/outlet. There must be a "T" located outdoors, with one branch to the pressure tank, one to the holding tank, and one to the houses. When I run water continuously, for example when irrigating the garden, or filling the bathtub, the pump operates continuously until the watering activity is stopped.

During this time, does the water going into the house bypass the pressure tank (via the "T")? In which case the descaler would not have access to the water going to the houses, and the water entering the house (during the time the pump is running) would not be descaled. Is this correct? Thanks!

On 2017-04-02 by (mod) - overflowing drain pipe


Where is the water exiting: at a drain valve with a threaded opening? If so you can make a temporary fix by screwing on a hose cap available at any hardware store, garden supply store, or building supplier.

But watch out: if leakage is at a pressure relief valve then the water system is UNSAFE and should be shut off.

If leakage is at a piping connection then you'll need repair help from a plumber

On 2017-04-02 by Rebecca

Drain pipe on floor next to well pressure tank is overflowing? Please help

On 2016-08-14 by (mod) - how is well pump pressure control switch cutout pressure set?

Typically the cut-off pressure is not set by well depth but by building water flow/rate ("pressure") needs. Standard settings are CUT-IN / CUT-OUT pressures of
20/40 psi or 30/50 psi.

You can go up to 57 - beware of pressures over 60-70 psi as those risk plumbing leaks and still higher pressures are dangerous risking exploding pipes or tanks.

If your pump cannot reach the cutoff pressure you'd have to set it back.

A pump that runs too much may overheat or wear bearings or suffer a damaged impeller- shortening pump life and maybe showing up as pump unable to reach cutoff pressure setting. Search for PUMP WON'T STOP RUNNING to diagnse and fix those problems.

On 2016-08-13 by Damon

Hi. I have a 119 gallon champion tank with bladder. Well is approximately 450 feet deep. I'm trying to find out what the proper cut on cut off pressure on this tank should be. The well was installed 18 years ago but still running strong. On the tank it says 119 gallon 125 psi factory test pressure.

I noticed that the pump seemed to be cycling more frequently set at 28/44 so I made some adjustments. The current cut in is set at 35 on the gage. Turn off is set at 57. I also need to find out the appropriate air pressure psi - I know that needs adjustment because it's set at 22 psi on an empty tank.

Because it is an old system, Im trying to get it to run as efficiently as possible so I need to know what the most efficient settings are. I have it set to 57 and I don't know if that's too high. I have had to replace the startup capacitor twice because it was running so much so I know something needs adjusted -I'm just not sure what those settings are. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

On 2016-07-15 by (mod) - where to put the water tank and pump

You don't say where you live; certainly in a freezing climate the equipment is better off indoors, protected from freezing. Insulation on cold water piping and if necessary on a water tank can avoid condensation issues.

On 2016-07-14 by Margaret

We are building a new house and trying to decide where to put the water tank and pump. the well is located in the front yard so if we put it there even with a lovely structure built over it it seems a little unsightly. The other option is to put it in the basement but we have concerns about condensation, dampness, and bugs even though the basement has HVAC. do you have a recommendation?

On 2016-06-03 by (mod) - avoid rapid on off cycling pump

When a pump is delivering pressurized water to a building, to avoid rapid on-off cycling and thus pump damage, you need either a pressure tank (on the pump outlet side) or a pump with a control designed to operate without such a tank.

On 2016-06-02 by Ben Keith

I have a 300 gallon reservoir that gravity feeds the input side of my jet well pump through a 1 1/4 inch pipe. There is always water on that side of the pump. Do I still need a pressure tank?

On 2016-03-22 by (mod) - causes of water storage tank overflow


Shutting off the well (your source of water supply) ought not cause a water storage tank to overflow: something's wrong. I suspect that the pump is running and that the problem is with the float switch that is used to turn the pump on and off. You won't hear a submersible pump as it's under-water, in the well.

Start by turning off power to the pump. Then have the control(s) repaired. Keep me posted.

On 2016-03-22 by debbi

my well holding tank outside is overflowing. it has a submersible well pump inside tank and a float switch.A repairman recently shut off well equipment when he replaced a kitchen faucet, since then it started leaking slow out of top of tank now it is coming out of valve on outside of tank.Water is way above fill line.

I don't hear pump running just water spilling out.? Advise I have a shallow well with a submersible pump too.

On 2015-12-18 by (mod) - how to get the manual for your water pump or tank

With information from the data tags: manufacturer, model, and serial number, we ought to be able to find the original installation manual and operating guide and product description

On 2015-12-17 by Matthew Weben-Jarco water pressure vessel

is there a way i can tell if my Weben-Jarco water pressure vessel built in 1987 is glass-lined WITHOUT opening it up for inspection?

On 2015-11-23 by (mod) - Pump comes on and off every 8 seconds


I suspect that either you're not putting enough air into the tank or the tank has an air leak.

On 2015-11-21 by Daniel Consolacion Sr

I have water pump short cycling with bladder type tank. Pump comes on and off every 8 seconds whenever the water is on.
Problem: I pumped air in the tank but in a day, air is down to zero.

On 2017-08-08 by (mod) - boost water pressure in a second building by adding a pressure tank?


You'd think so, and adding one probably wouldn't cause damage, but when I read the pump, pressure control, and tank installation guides the manufacturers of the tank and switch generally say put the tank close to the pressure control for effective operation.

In my photo you'll see that the pressure switch (small gray box in lower center of the photo) is quite close to the water pressure tank itself.

Incidentasly, we know from the control box on the wall that the switch is controlling a larger, heavier-duty pump relay switch (gray box upper center photo next to the wooden studs) that is in turn switching on and off a submersible well pump.

[Click to enlarge any image]

What I would consider, then, is adding a second tank plus a booster pump for your second building. You'll have tank, pump, and control close to one another and the building will see better pressure (flow).

I presume you have already assured yourself that the total water flow rate or capacity entering the first building is enough for two buildings and all of the users?


There are also some nice booster pumps like the Grundfos SCALA2 that work with no pressure tank.

See WATER PUMP PRESSURE SENSITIVE that might be suitable for your second building's requirements.

On 2017-08-08 by Mike

I have a small pressure tank at the beginning of my water supply line. I'm adding a second building with a n additional water heater and 6 more faucets. Can I add a second pressure tank at the end (not beginning) of my new waterline?

On 2017-05-07 by (mod) - normal water level in a water tank

Anon: I don't understand the question; if your water storage tank is half full it's not dry.

If you mean that no water is coming out of the tank but it appears to still contain water, check

for a pressure tank bladder stuck to itself

debris clogging the tank outlet

a pressure gauge that is sticking and inaccurate

a pressure control switch that is debris clogged

On 2017-05-07 1 by Anonymous

Why does my 400 gallon water tank run dry after its half full ?

On 2017-03-10 by (mod) - bad leak at a water tank

Take a look at where the leaks are occurring. IF the tank itself is rusted, corroded, perforated, leaking, it needs to be replaced. If leaks are at plumbing connections it may be possible to repair those.

A torn or cracked bladder won't cause the tank to leak.

On 2017-03-10 02:58:43.398443 by Ducky

Hello I have a question about my pressure water tank see my pump went and I didn't get a new one until a year later that's rigJr I lived off rain water amd spring water for a year

anyways I finally got a new pump....but Now the pressure water tank is leaking really badly

now I am thinking it's because it Sat foe a year with no water in it and the bladder inside has cracked if of this is the case is there any way to fix this by NOT getting a new one? Thank you for ur time 😊

On 2017-03-06 by (mod) - pump is kicking on and off


Search Inspectapedia using the search box just above - for WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING - to read the diagnostic steps and repair steps you need for a pump that is kicking on and off.

On 2017-03-06 by tareese

pump kicking on and off

On 2017-02-18 by (mod) - shredding, shedding water tank liner

Paul and Marie and Tom:

We can get to the bottom of this by taking a close look at the nature of the debvris or crud that seem to be clogging faucet strainers. Rust flakes look like red rusty grit.

IF your water tank is a bladderless, steel model and IF it is so very old that it's not glass-lined, and moreso if your water supply is corrosive, then yes a tank could be shedding rust.

But more-likely there is debris in the water supply.

On 2017-02-18 by Paul lining in the pressure tank or the impellers in my pump failing?

I don't have a solution, but I have the exact same problem. My well pump is 21 years old and my pressure tank is 19 years old.

I suspect it could be either the lining in the pressure tank or the impellers in my pump failing. How old is your pressure tank and pump?

On 2017-01-25 by marie - water tank lining shreds and clogs faucets?

All the filters in my house are filling up with tiny white fibers.

I suspect that the lining of my water well tank is shedding these fibers and clogging up my faucets, washing machine, etc. This is a hassle for a 78 year old woman to take care of every two-three weeks.

It only started happening after my water tank was replaced with the "new and better" tank!

On 2016-11-28 by Tom Water from well is cloudy

Water from well is cloudy not clear could there be a problem with bladder tank?

On 2017-01-14 by (mod) - water leaking through electrical box near water tank


Watch out
: What you describe is unsafe. You need to turn off power to the electrical circuit, have the leak repaired, and have an electrician inspect and repair or replace whatever electrical components have gotten wet.

On 2017-01-14 04:54:15.716401 by doug

electrical box over top drainage valve at base of holding tank has water leaking thru it

On 2016-10-29 00:12:50.482402 by (mod) - tank empties quick and fills quick running the pump more and more when taps are open


If what you are describing is a change, that is if you used to have a longer water drawdown cycle before the pump would run, then I suspect either a leaky air valve at the tank which has allowed the air charge to leak out, the bladder itself may have a hole or be ruptured such that it has lost volume.

Start diagnosing this problem at WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING

On 2016-10-28 by chris

I have a submersible pump with a water bladder tank, 30/50 switching valve. I noticed my tank empties quick and fills quick running the pump more and more when taps are open, it holds at 5o fine but doesn't take long to drop to 30psi

On 2016-10-16 by Alok

Recently i changed and get fixed new 750 leter pVC water tank Sheetal make. Being a top floor we got fixed a pressure pump also with it, but it become empty after each 4-5 hours without using so much water and there is no leakage in plumbing and cisterns.No Plumber is able to findout the problem. I become fadeup.Earlier there was no such type of problem.

On 2016-10-12 by Brian

Does anyone know what will happen I forgot to empty the pressurized water tank in my mobile home and I'm worried what will happen when it freezes.

On 2016-09-28 by (mod) - boost water pressure for water softener to work? Really?


Your water tank, the AO Smith PZ 120 is a galvanized water storage tank (see ) that may not be delivered with an air valve.

A bladderless water tank does not reduce the life of a water pump per-se, but indeed IF the air volume control system used to keep a proper air charge in the pressure tank is itself not working, then the pump can end up shorty cycling and face a reduced life.

In those installations often I see an air valve on the tank tee at the tank bottom. By shutting off the water main between tank and house I can normally still use that valve to get air into the tank for pressure pre-charging, a procedure we use if simply fully draining the tank of all water, then turning the system back on doesn't work.

1. Your tank has several tappings including right on the tank top where there is a 1" NPT plug. That plug can be replaced with a 1" fitting that will step down to a 1/4" or 1/8" npt Schrader valve for adding an air charge if necessary.

2. The system pressure is produced by the water pump, not the pressure tank. The tank is simply giving you a bit of water draw-down time before the pump has to turn on; otherwise the pump would be short cycling and burn-up.

3. A bladderless tank does not decrease the life of a water pump per-se. However maintenance of the air volume in the any water tank is critical to avoid pump short cycling - an event that does reduce pump life. Maintaining the air charge in a bladderless tank can be a bit more difficult than in a tank with an internal bladder.

But I wouldn't rush to change the tank before knowing more about the water system and the well. E.g. your well flow rate may be so poor that a larger water tank was needed; and e.g. 2, if your system is old and uses a submersible well pump, changing to a bladder type tank could require also pulling the well piping to remove an old snifter valve system - increasing the changeover cost. Search for SNIFTER VALVES to read those details.

But I'm surprised at the pressure insisted-on by your installer. I would be sure to get my hands on the installation and operation manual for the water softener. There you will most likely see operating pressure specifications for the unit. If you don't, then I'd give the manufacturer's technical support a call.




On 2016-09-24 by TankHelp

I recently had a water softener installed because my well water is very hard. The water softener installer asked what my water well pressure was set at on my well and tank - I told him 30 - 50 psi.

He stated the system pressure needs to increase to 40-60 or perhaps even 50-70 because the water softener may not work correctly with pressures below 40 psi.

Since I am a DIYer and an engineer, I figured, how hard can adjusting the pressure really be? I Googled it and all of the articles said that after adjusting the pressure switch, I need to set the water tank pressure about 2-4 psi below the cut-in pressure, i.e., if I raise it from 30-50 to 40-60, then the tank pressure would need to be set between 36 and 38.

Here is where the issue is - I could not find a Schrader valve on my tank to increase the tank pressure to 36-38.

I did some tank research on my tank and it appears to be a bladderless tank - specs as follows:

Manufacturer: AO Smith Water Systems Division

Description: Hydro-Pneumatic Pump Tank

Model #: PZ 120 3

Max Work Pressure (PSIG): 75

Manufacture year: 1994

Volume: 120 gallons

Height to top of dome: 64.5”

Height of cylinder not including dome top: 60”

Diameter: 24”

Water outlet: 1.5” NPT at 3” from the bottom on one side

Water inlet: 1.5”NPT at 12” from the bottom on the opposite side from outlet

Air ejector port: 1.25” NPT at 33” from the bottom on the opposite side from outlet

Top port: 1” NPT Plug

Since it appears to be a bladderless Hydro-Pneumatic Pump Tank, I have the following questions:

• How do I adjust the tank pressure when there is no bladder - do I just adjust the pressure switch from 30-50 to 40-60 and that is all that is needed?

• How is the system water pressure maintained at all of my faucets and sinks when the tank does not have a bladder to keep the system pressurized?

• Does a bladderless tank decrease the life of the pump?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Question: Why do I need a water tank on my well pump? Can I run the water pump without a water tank attached?

Does a home water pump need a water tank. can i run the water pump without a water tank. some days no water will reach 2nd floor. and some days even on the 1st floor water is weak. currently running no pump. - Ian 09/2011

Answer: Generally yes you need a water tank for proper well pump operation, but there are a couple of exceptions

Why do we need a water pressure tank?

Ian, with a water pressure tank and the air "spring" that it contains, the pump will short cycle on and off rapidly in many circumstances, delivering water in spurts and short cycling the pump on and off rapidly in any case at which water is being run more slowly than the pump output capacity.

That's because water is practically non-compressible. The air charge in the water pressure tank acts as a giant "spring" to give a continuous flow of water and to work with the pressure control switch to turn the pump on and off at a range of pressures typically about 20 psi apart, such as on/off at 20/40 psi or at 30/50 psi.

An exception, where no water pressure tank is needed, is when a water pump is being used in an open system, such as pumping water out of a creek or pond into an open stock watering tank or planting field. In that case, because the pump is picking up water from its source and pushing it to a destination without a restriction in the system, the pump moves water continuously as long as it is on and does not stop until it is turned off.

Question: Rooftop water tank leaks into elevator shaft?

We just had an issue with the water tank on the roof whereby an obstruction in the main water feed line out of the tank that prevented water from flowing out of the tank and in the building.

Supposedly the overflow valve in the water tank failed causing an amount of water to overflow from the tank. onto the roof area and down into the elevator which caused water damage on the top of the elevator cabs ...there is now only one elevator in the building and the other one has to be run manually.

The risers were drained in he basement to remove the sediment from the lines, The water was rusty for quite some time as well as off completely.

Can you offer me your expertise on this alleged unforeseen emergency The building is almost 50 yrs old Was built in 1966. thanks


A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds additional clues that help accurately diagnose a problem whether it's with the failed valve in your water storage tank or in explaining how water moved from there into the elevator shafts. That said, it sounds as if you are describing a triple fault:

  1. water tank normal outlet failed - loss of water into the building plumbing supply
  2. water tank fill control failure - overflow of the storage tank and on to the rooftop
  3. leaks into the elevator shaft from the rooftop It is this third event that is most surprising

How is it the case that water from a spillage on the rooftop got into the elevator shaft and why wouldn't rainfall or snow-melt have done the same? I'm not sure what other research or support you are requesting, but if you have a specific question let me know and I'll do my best.

Question: Does the type of water storage & pressure tank affect water odors?

Do the Bladderless Steel Water Pressure Tanks help reduse the smelly water problem? - Joe Y


Joe y: I'm not sure how the type of water pressure tank would reduce a smelly water problem. In most communities you can have your water tested for free by water treatment companies and sometimes by other agencies.

You need to identify the source of odor and based on that information an expert can recommend a water treatment system that can reduce or remove the unwanted odors. See ODORS in WATER for details on diagnosing and fixing water smells or odors.

Question: Weep holes in well piping prevent conversion from bladderless to a bladder type water pressure tank?

My well guy told me that there are "weep holes" in the well pipe that is deep in the ground. It's expensive to pull a well pump and seal those weep holes so I really have to stay with a bladderless system.

The home improvement places do not carry bladderless tanks anymore but they are still available. - Anonymous

Reply: Your well guy may have been referring to a snifter valve that needs removal if changing to an internal bladder water tank

Anonymous: frankly I'm unclear why the system you describe would make one iota of difference between choosing a bladder-type or bladderless water pressure tank. In either case the tanks have the same working effect on the plumbing system.

Leaky well piping should be replaced

If your well piping is leaking and you are losing tank pressure back into the well after the pump shuts off, the proper repair is to replace the leaky well line (saving burn out of the pump), though you could try installing a check valve above ground on the line that returns to the well. Review this with an experienced plumber so you get it right.

Snifter valves for air volume control need to be discontinued if changing to an internal bladder water pressure tank

However, it is certianly true that on some submersible pump installations that used a bladderless water pressure tank, a snifter valve system was used to maintain the air volume in the water pressure tank.

The snifter valve system can include an air inlet valve above ground near the water pressure tank and an air inlet and water drain outlet port that is installed on a special fitting on the water riser pipe inside the well. Where a snifter valve system is installed it needs to be removed when changing to an internal bladder water pressure tank.

We discuss snifter valves on wells and water pressure tanks in detail at WATER TANK AIR VOLUME CONTROLS.

Question: How is the air volume controlled on older bladderless water pressure tanks & how is it adjusted?

I have a 120 gal galvanized water tank that's beginning to corrode. This deep well services my house and lawn sprinklers and it's worked fine for decades. I read about the AVC which I have and it was replaced recently.

I was wondering how it is adjusted with the adjustment screw? It gets "stuck" sometimes and I have to mess with the screw to stop air bubbling into the house. However, then I get water coming out of the screw adjustment which I had left slightly cracked open because I didn't realize there was a float inside the unit. I was also wondering if I could switch to a bladder type tank or if it is better to stay with what I have. I've read a lot here and thank you for the useful information.

So are there any advantages to going to a bladder tank? One thing I am not sure of is how air is pumped into the tank I have. Obviously, I would have to stop the air addition if I go to a bladder system. My system doesn't have one of those disk shaped thingamajiggers that I read about in here that adds air. Any help would be appreciated. - Steve J.

I made an error in the statement below, the galvanized take is 82 gallons in volume, not 120.

After more research, sounds like the non bladder system I have is best because the addition of air and occasional automatic air purging removes some well water gasses resulting in a fresher water supply. People kept referring to the non bladder system as "old" technology but it appears to also be better technology.

I have a U.S. Gauge Type 310WJ installed but that appears to just let air out of the system, not add it. Am I missing something about how that gauge works? The description written in here says that it adds air with each pump cycle but looking at the gauge, I don't see how that's scientifically possible.

I would still like to know how the air is pumped into my system. Perhaps I need to contact US Gauge. Thanks again for all the details written here - it was a big help.

Reply: Reference to article describing methods of air volume control in water pressure tanks

Steve J:
A bladderless water pressure tank might be referred to as "old technology" because of the history of difficulty keeping an air charge in the tank. Air is absorbed into water in the tank over time and so has to be made up.

Systems that automatically add air typically do so by allowing a valve to open to let air into the system when the in-tank pressure drops, closing again as in-tank pressure rises. Indeed it's scientifically possible; some such devices tend to clog or fail over time however.

The types of air volume controls used on bladderless water pressure tanks are explained beginning at WATER TANK AIR VOLUME CONTROLS. You'll also want to review snifter valve systems used for air volume controls as we explain in detail in that article.

Question: Since installing a bladder-type water pressure tank we keep losing water pressure

A few years back I had our old water tank replaced with a HT20 bladder tank, every since then we loose water pressure as the water runs (taking a long shower, watering the garden ( we cant run a sprinkler in the garden as it looses the pressure to keep it flowing)) I have been told it could be many things, I adjusted the pressure in the tank from 20 to about 28-30 and we ran out of water pressure faster, so I adjusted it back to 20 and the water pressure last longer, now I was told that maybe I need a bigger tank. I was told that I should have about a 30-35 gallon instead of the 20gal. Should I invest a couple hundred in a new tank or could it be something else? - Phil

Reply: check for a dirty or clogged water pressure control switch


Changing the water pressure tank size, from smaller to a larger unit, does not change water pressure delivered in the home. Pressure is determined by the capability of the water pump and the settings of the water pressure control switch.

If you are not running out of water but water pressure falls off too much during the pump cycle, the gap between pump cut in and cut-out may be too large. You can change this by adjusting the pump pressure control switch. Details are at WATER PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL ADJUSTMENT.

But we have heard from quite a few readers who complained of water pressure variation problems after changing out their water pressure tank. Often the problem is traced not to the new tank but to debris and crud stirred up in the water piping system during the plumbing operation. If the water supply is contaminated with silt, mud, debris, or if water piping includes rusty iron, debris can easily clog the water pressure control switch sensor opening on the bottom of the switch, or it may clog the small diameter pipe nipple used to mount the pressure control switch to the water system.

Replacing the clogged pipe nipple and pressure control switch can fix that problem. But if the water supply has silt or mud in it you'll also need to install a water filtration system or the clog problem is likley to recur again soon.

WATER PUMP DIAGNOSTIC TABLE lists other causes of water pressure and flow problems along with recommended steps to confirm the diagnosis and cure the problem.

Follow-Up: Adjusting the pressure control switch didn't work; I replaced the switch. But water flow still falls off during use.

I tried what you recommended and adjusted the gap on the pressure control switch and didn’t effect anything at all, so per the recommendation from my local hardware store I replaced my gauge and the pressure control switch to a 30/50 one. I have more pressure at the beginning but the water flow diminishes after running it for awhile (it is better though and the pressure is better as well). Do you think I need a bigger tank or could it be something more serious like a well problem or well tip? If it could be the tank size could I add a 20-30 gallon tank (in line) before the other 20 gallon tank so I would have more water storage or doesn't it work that way?
Thank You

Reply: Normal water pressure variation during the well pump operating cycle

Phill, it is normal for water pressure in the building to vary through the pump cycle, from the low (cut in) to the high (cut out). A larger water pressure tank won't change those pressure limits but it would give you a longer draw-down time between pump on cycles and in that sense water pressure would drop more slowly.

But if your water flow rate exceeds the rate that the pump is capable of delivering, the pump will run continuously while you're running water. If in that condition the water pressure and flow are inadequate, you'd need a more powerful water pump to improve the pressure.

If the poor pressure were due to clogged piping the symptoms would be similar but I think the pump might have a better chance of "catching up" when water is being run.

Question: Water tank pressure drops after I shut off water into the building. What's going on?

My tank pressure is dropping although i have shut off the main valve from the pressure tank to the house and have a check valve from the well to the pump to prevent pressure drop. Still the pressure gauge is still slowly loosing pressure. Has anyone experienced this? help advise please. thanks. - Rey.

Reply: Check for a leak in the well piping, foot valve, or pressure tank

Rey: if the water pressure tank pressure falls after you have closed valves into the building, one of these may be the problem:


Question: Water flow stops completely, pump comes on, water does not flow, delays in return of water pressure

Having a problem where water stops flowing completely out of the faucet at about 40 PSI, then the pump kicks in at about 35 PSI. There's a several second time frame where no water comes out (very inconvenient in the shower) while waiting for the pump to cut in.

I can remove this delay by turning the cut-in nut on my pressure switch (9013FSG 2) clock-wise, but the point at which there's no water output drop-off before the pump starting results in about a 65 PSI cut-off point.

I can't see this high a pressure being good for my pump or the water fittings throughout the house. Does anyone have any ideas about how to get the pump to turn on while water is still flowing? I don't really understand the water tank, so I'm wondering if I need more pressure in it to keep the water flowing until the pump cuts in. Help! - Greg F

Reply: Check for debris clogging of the pressure control switch

Greg I wonder if your pressure gauge is clogged with debris and not giving an accurate picture of system pressures, or if the pressure control switch is itself debris clogged. Certainly your description sounds like a sticky pressure control switch.

See WATER PUMP PRESSURE CONTROL REPAIR for details on diagnosing and fixing pressure control switch problems.

Question: Water tank problems return after draining & air-charging

Twice now we have experienced air in our water fixtures. I have drained the pressure tank and everything has worked fine for approximately 2 weeks, and then the problem has started again. Any advise as to what could be causing this. Our pressure tank is probably about 30 years old and it is a private well. - Mike 1/7/12


Mike at AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES (article link in Related Topics section near page top) we give diagnostic procedures for air in water fixtures.

Question: How do I set the pressure in a water pressure tank?

I have a single outdoor water line that i'm using for an outdoor shower... i've put a pressurized bladder 85gallon tank for naturally hot water (sun blasts this thing in summer) and water storage... to store a reasonable amount of water, what would you recommend i set the psi on the bladder to? do i set that when empty or when there is water... i think incoming pressure is about 30psi - Dave 1/20/12


Dave, please see the instructions at WATER TANK BLADDER PRESSURE ADJUSTMENT

Question: our water pressure was low - not over 30 psi

I found that after being in the home for a year, that my water pressure was low. I replaced the pressure switch and the pressure gauge. Watching the gauge it shows that the pressure goes to approx 30psi and no higher. The contacts on the pressure switch show closed. If I turn the power switch off, the pressure guage goes to zero. Do I have a pressure tank issue, foot valve issue or some other issue? - Bill B


Bill, you may have a well with very modest flow rate, or a pump that is damaged and can't reach cutoff pressure, or a leak in the well piping that has the same effect. When water pressure drops to zero on the gauge, if it really is zero no water would be coming out of your water faucets. If this is the case then the pressure control switch is not turning on the pump when it should, OR the pump is not working OR the well is out of water.

Question: can a water pressure tank or storage tank be installed underneath a mobile home?

Can a water reservoir tank be placed under a mobile home or does it have to be next to the well pump? - Jay 9/13/2012



A water reservoir tank can be located almost anywhere, though there are considerations of installation cost as well as access for inspection and maintenance as well as freeze protection depending on your climate. Generally the tank and pressure control need to be close together for best operation.

Question: why do I see 600 gallons of water stored in my basement?

Why would there be two 300 gal plastic water storage tanks in my basement other then storage? Could it be a fix to something problematic? - JD 9/30/12



When we see very large on-site water storage at a private house we figure that the ability of the well to deliver water, its flow rate or recovery rate, is very very minimal - someone installed large water tanks intending that the pump and well fill those tanks very slowly, over time, including when no one is using any water (at night when you're asleep for example) so that when you need water there is some stored in the tanks.

What this means to you is that your well is not very effective and you may need to address that problem soon.

Question: we have water at our well but not in our house

have water at well not in house - Anon 10/6/12


Your question doesn't give anything to go on, but I imagine you are saying the well is not dry and you've no water in the house. I mean, I'm not sure how you know that there's water in the well.

See WATER PRESSURE PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS TABLE (article link in Related Topics section near page top) for a tabular guide to diagnosing your lost water pressure problem.

Question: our water tank doesn't seem to hold enough water

the tank fills with soemthing like 3 gallons - i think that's not normal, how do I fix it? - Anon 10/17/12


Anon, take a look at the labels on the pressure tank, or the instruction and installation guide to see what the rated tank capacity is in gallons of water; if you don't have that information tell us the brand and tank model (send along photos if you like) and we'll look it up for you. If the tank is one that uses an internal bladder and you cannot get water to enter the tank the bladder may have collapsed and stuck to itself. If the tank is not a model that permits internal bladder replacement, the tank is shot - needs replacement.

If your tank does not use an internal bladder then the problem is elsewhere, with the well, valves, piping, controls - I'd need to know more.

Question: our pre-charged water pressure tank does not include an air control valve - do we need one?

we just purchased a pre-charged pressure tank. it didn't come with a air control valve kit. do we need to purhcase the kit? the pump is working without it - Cheryl 10/17/12



No you should not have to buy a kit - I'm unclear what kit there is. I'm guessing that you are referring to some water pressure tanks taht may exclude an air pressure adjustment valve are not be adjustable, come with a factory pre-set charge pressure, and work as is. However IF your tank manufacturer provided a tapping on the pressure tank intended to accept an air valve and if the instructions recommend installing one, offering the valve as a separate part, you might need to purchase the valve and adjust air pressure IF the tank is not working acceptably as is. If you see 30 seconds or longer of draw down before the pump turns on you are probably ok.

Question: after I accidentally cut off power to our well pump we lost all water pressure - what's wrong?

I was fixing some issues with the insulation in my pump house and the power to the pump was cut off inadvertently. The whole system lost pressure and the pressure tank emptied completely. Am I supposed to bleed the system to get back to normal pressures? - Tim 12/15/12


Tim, it sounds as if you might have a bad check valve or foot valve that let the system drain back onto the well.

Question: how do I control filling of a water storage tank and booster pump system in Venezuela?

I will like to have information if this product is available. I bought a condo in Venezuela. There we have a cold water tank inside. When we take water from home, the motor start and when we close the tap, the motor stop

now all tanks from all condominiums are filled each day at around 6:30pm by a giant tank (probably underground).

The problem is we have to switch off the motor (have to be there at this time or switch the valve if we plan to not be there) and turn an valve, then water flow in the water tank until the float (bulbe and not electronics) stop the water.

It is the general and basic system used in South America and I heard in few other countries too, as you can see very primitive.

Now I will like to know if someone or a company have the brightest idea to build a electronic system to make it all completely automatic

I means, timer, open-close valve and switch on/off the motor.

Because of course the motor switch have to be on once the tank is full, the motor not turn but in standby until someone take water from home, and stay open until no one need anymore water, then the motor power off, (not the switch)

Can you tell me something about it. This is a blue plastic tak about 7' long, plastic. - anonymous 12/27/2012


Dear anonymous:

We'd like to help but I think I may need a few added details. To start, we have a very similar system here at our location in Mexico. A tanque atop the building is filled at various times by means of water pressure from a city system. The tank fill-up procedure is stopped by a mechanical valve much like a toilet float. I think that's what you have as well. With that system the water storage tank will fill automatically with no trouble - we leave the manual fill-valve from the city open at all times; It will feed water into the top of the water tank until the tank is filled, then the valve at that location stops the fill process.

If you need to manually open and close your tank fill-supply valve manually it may be because your fill pipe enters your tank bottom - in that arrangement, if you didn't close the fill valve water would drain backwards out of your water tank back into the supply system - a bad design for several reasons including the risk of back-contamination of the main supply by a contaminant found in an individual home's water tank.

The pump system you describe is a common installation here in Mexico as well, though not on most homes - most buildings supply water into the building by gravity - elevating the water tank if needed to improve water flow rate and pressure. But for homes in which occupants want or need more water pressure, a booster pump is installed.

If a water pressure booster pump is installed by itself, the pump indeed turns on as soon as you start running water and turns off when you stop running water. This is a bit hard on the pump and shortens its life. A better installation is to include a water pressure tank in the plumbing system - usually next to your water supply tank and water pump; the pressure tank allows the pump to turn on and off under control of a water pressure switch (typically on at 20 psi and off at 40 psi);

With that design and paying attention to how water is delivered (to the top of your water tank and controlled by a mechanical valve) you should not need a more costly electronic sensor and valve control system.

Send me some photos and sketches of your water supply system and we can perhaps comment further and more accurately.

Question: replaced pressure switch, now bad hot water pressure; ran out of water after heavy use; freezeproofing an outdoor water pressure tank

(Feb 6, 2013) jt said:

i recently replaced my pressure switch as the old one was sticking. Now I have good pressure on the cold side, but poor pressure on the hot side. both were good and equal before the pressure switch change. I drained the hot water tank but that has not helped. any thoughts?

(Feb 27, 2013) Jas said:

We have a deep well, 400 feet, and a holding tank. We recently had company over we used more water than normal over a few days and the water stopped flowing out of the faucets. We had the pump checked and it was in good running condition. Then after 3 days of no water the water started flowing again with full pressure like nothing was ever wrong. Do you have an explanation for this?

(Mar 10, 2013) mark said:

we live in a place with cold winters. our pressure tank is outside. i am building a new shed for it with thick walls so i can add lots of insulation. are there advantages of placing the shed on a concrete slab? would be good to drop the tank and plumbing a foot or so into the ground (the supply pipes are already 30 inches deep)?


JT: look for debris clogging in the hot water tank outlet, piping, or control valves

Jas: your well may have a limited flow rate - and took a long time to recover.


You don't say what your winter climate temperatures are so I'm just guessing but ...

A foot or so lowering the tank won't do a thing for you - you'd need to get everything down into a well pit that was itself below the frost line.

A slab in the tank shed is a good idea - especially if you insulate beneath the slab and then provide some safe heat for the space.

Question: reverse osmosis refill station pressure tank

(Apr 3, 2013) Marife said:

Hello! I have a water Refill station (RO) and deep well source of water, can you tell me what kind of pressure tank i need to use for this. Thanks


Sorry Marife I don't see enough data to have an opinion. Perhaps the thing to do is call the equipment manufacturer to see if they have a special requirement. If not, I can't imagine why you'd need some variation other than a normal home water pressure tank.

Question: installing large water storage tanks in series to add capacity

(Jan 24, 2014) Rhett said:

I'm considering installing two 119 gallon pressure tanks in series for extra capacity. Is there any disadvantages in doing this?


Presuming you're addressing a problem of poor well flow or recovery rate and are discussing adding a large onsite storage capacity, no, not that I see, other than space, costs, controls.

(Jan 24, 2014) Rhett said:

The well is 320' feet with a static of 105'. The well produces 200 gallons per minute, so there are no flow or recovery issues. We will be doing a lot of irrigating during the summer months, plus power washing cars. I figured the extra storage capacity would reduce the amount of times the pump kicks on and off. Besides the electric pump at 200 feet, we are also installing a backup solar pump at 150 feet. The solar pump will be mainly a backup system, but pumps about .75 gallons a minute. I will have a 1700 gallon storage cistern for the solar, but thought the 119 would add additional storage. I know this sounds overkill, but I would rather be overkill than put strain on my electric or solar pumps.


I understand better from the added details, thanks.
200 GPM is a stunning water flow rate from a well, more than ten times what I read is provided by residential water wells.

I'm not sure that adding a large *water storage* system would do a thing for the pump on-off cycling rate. The pump and water pressure tank don't know whether the water is coming from a well or from a storage tank.

But adding one or two large-volume *water pressure* tanks would indeed lengthen the draw-down cycle and thus decrease the well pump cycling rate.

We may just be trying to clarify terminology here.

To reduce the pump on-off cycling rate what you want is a very large water pressure tank with a large air charge, to give a much longer draw-down cycle. Some installations combine these features in one very large water tank by placing the pressure control switch right on the large storage tank itself.

Our article link titled WATER TANK: USES, TROUBLESHOOTING - (search InspectApedia) discusses how pressure tanks work , while a separate article: WATER STORAGE TANKS, LARGE shows how a large water storage tank can also be used to give a long draw-down cycle.

Keep us posted, and if you can, send along photos of your system using the CONTACT link on our pages.

Question: municipal water supply pressure drops off

(Feb 12, 2014) Andrea Acker said:

I have a small pipe feeding me water from the municipal village water supply. My pressure drops off when the village uses too much water, so that it will reach my first floor but not the second floor. Can I use a pressurized tank without a pump, so I can just store extra water inside my house under the village pressure? Will this then give me the same pressure as the water was at when it filled the tank until the tank is drawn all the way down? My goal is to have water available at teh seconsd story at all times (even when the village water pressure will not push it up there) ISs this or a tank with a float valve feedign gravity feed water into the second story a better and cheaper solution?


Andrea, You could install a pressure tank with no pump, figuring that it gives you a brief pressure boost for a small water quantity but without a pump and pump control you'll probably get just a few minutes of boosted water pressure (say 1-3 minutes depending on the starting pressure when the muni system is at preak pressure and the flow rate at your plumbing fixture).

In sum, you want a pump and pressure control switch that will draw water from the municipal system and push delivery pressure up to an acceptable level during periods of poor municipal pressure.

In communities where municipal water pressure is not just sometimes slow, but sometimes off alltogether, we feed municipal water to a rooftop tank, using a pump if necessary, then store water in that tank, often 100g or more, so that water can be delivered down to the building at good pressure at all times. Indeed, those tanks often operate by a float valve that fills the tank from slow-muni pressure when tank level drops; and those tanks may feed into the building plumbing fixtures by gravity alone, or by a pressure booster pump (and separate pressure tank). If you read our InspectApedia article about "Rooftop water tanks" you can see some of these.

I should add that you don't have to use a rooftop water tank to boost pressure; other buildings use a simple pressure tank and pump as I described in the first part of my initial comments. That system can be located in a basement or on another building floor as is convenient.

Question: clearances required around water tanks, pumps, treatment equipment

(Feb 13, 2014) Anonymous said:

I'm working on finishing my basement, and trying to determine what clearances are required around my water storage tank & treatment system. When the home was built, about 11 years ago, a bathroom was roughed-in (drains & a pump to raise drained water up to the main drain line)- and the water storage tank & treatment system are adjacent to the bathroom rough-in. If I frame an interior wall the standard distance from the side of the toilet drain (16"), that will only leave about one foot between the wall and these components. If there's an access door at the end of the row of water treatment components, is that enough? I'm not sure what my other options are - maybe frame it essentially as a closet with sliding doors to allow full access to these components when necessary?



You can squeeze in the equipment as you describe, but the problem will be servicing and repairing it; if there is not working space to all sides of equipment its repair can be very difficult. It's common to place a water pressure tank or water softener with one side against or close to a wall, but with several feet of access from the front of the equipment and enough side room to use tools as necessary on pipes, wiring, &c. I'd consider giving more work space by sliding doors as you suggest.

Before making a final decision, take a look at the installation instructions from the manufacturer as often they will specify required clearances.

Question: which floor in a building will have highest water pressure?

(May 23, 2014) Anonymous said:

when water comes from roof tank which floor found high pressure water first among 5 floor


Anon the highest pressure will be on the lowest floor unless additional pressure tanks and booster pumps are installed elsewhere.

Question: 37-ring well - channeling used water to nearby dry well

(May 29, 2014) JATHIN SHAH said:

sir, i have newly constructed my house located on a small hill. water is pumped from a well with 37 rings (1.25 ft/ring), i am channeling the used water to a near by 5 ring deep well next to my main water well. is there any harm and if yes what is the remedy. kindly advice. my emai id is


Jathin I'm not sure what harm you are concerned about. If I understand correctly hyou are pumping from a deep dug well (37 rings) to a more shallow dug well (5 rings), possibly as an intermediate storage place.

The concerns that could occur to me are

1. if the shallow well is losing water you may be pumping up to the shallow well but losing some of the water you place therein

2. If the shallow well is not sanitary you could be contaminating water pumped up from the deeper one.

Question: pinging water tank sounds; pressure not stored in water tank

(June 9, 2014) Martha said:

Our water tank has started to make a pinging sound at the end of the fill when the pump turns off. Is this a sign of something?

(July 1, 2014) Anonymous said:

some causes why not storing pressure at water pressure tank


Anon if your water tank is losing pressure either there is water running somewhere or there is a leak - on the house side, or in the well piping (such as a bad foot valve or check valve)

Question: air in water pipes spurts out at faucets

(July 6, 2014) Sue said:

I frequently have a lot of air in the lines that spurts the water out if the faucets, etc...If I turn the pump off for several hours the problem goes away for about a week. I have a well x trol tank and a jacuzzi submersible pump. Water not running now but I can hear air or something in the pipe coming into the house. Where do I start?


Sue you need a well service company to review your water system. I suspect that your system uses an in-well submersible pump and possibly a snifter valve ( see ) or other air volume control device that is not working properly.

Other possible explanations for air discharge at faucets are cataloged and explained at

Please take a look at that article and let me know if questions remain.

Question: water blasting out of valve "in" a pressure tank?

(July 27, 2014) Anonymous said:

Why would water blast out of the valve in a pressure tank? I noticed that my shower had much better water pressure. Then shortly after my shower was finished I heard the water being released out of the tank and into the basement.



If water is coming out of the air valve in a pressure tank,

= if the pressure tank is an internal-bladder type tank then the internal bladder has torn or ruptured and needs replacement

= if the pressure tank is a bladderless type tank then the tank is waterlogged and needs an air charge as well as repairs to its air volume control device.

Question: motel water piping snafu

(July 29, 2014) Anonymous said:

Okay I am doing plumbing repair and it's at an Motel at the moment there is water lines coming up from the crawl space of the motel and to a 2" PVC Shut off valve then it goes down 8 in almost to floor then a ball valve then in a shape of a U like a P trap type shape then up 7 ft into a storage tank in the other building there is water running at the shutoff valves but nothing coming out at storage tanks no water coming out


If the water tank uses an internal bladder it may be stuck to itself or ruptured.

Question: no water pressure after replacing a water heater

8/6/14 Colleen said:

Our water heater was replaced recently. Now we don't have water pressure. Before the pressure was fine. Our pressure tank reads 15-35. But still no pressure. Do we need a new pressure tank or is there something wrong with our well. We live in the country and we have a shallow well in MN.



Normally there would be no connection between replacing a water heater and loss of water pressure, unless the water pressure loss is connected to the installation process, such as

- someone closed and forgot to re-open a water supply valve in the course of installing the new heater

- someone pushed so much solder into a pipe during soldering that a water pipe or valve is blocked

- you installed a new water heater of so much capacity that when the empty heater tank was being re-filled that process disclosed that the well flow rate was so poor that the well ran out of water.

The fact that you see pressure in the pressure tank suggests that a valve is shut or a pipe blocked.

After checking for that

Try waiting a few hours to see if water pressure returns; if it does then the problem is most likely the well.

Question: lost water pressure after replacing a water heater

(Aug 6, 2014) Colleen said:

Our water heater was replaced recently. Now we don't have water pressure. Before the pressure was fine. Our pressure tank reads 15-35. But still no pressure. Do we need a new pressure tank or is there something wrong with our well. We live in the country and we have a shallow well in MN.



Normally there would be no connection between replacing a water heater and loss of water pressure, unless the water pressure loss is connected to the installation process, such as

- someone closed and forgot to re-open a water supply valve in the course of installing the new heater

- someone pushed so much solder into a pipe during soldering that a water pipe or valve is blocked

- you installed a new water heater of so much capacity that when the empty heater tank was being re-filled that process disclosed that the well flow rate was so poor that the well ran out of water.

The fact that you see pressure in the pressure tank suggests that a valve is shut or a pipe blocked.

After checking for that

Try waiting a few hours to see if water pressure returns; if it does then the problem is most likely the well.

Question: distance between pressure tank and pressure switch?

(Aug 14, 2014) sfurbish55 said:

Is there an actual limitation for the distance between a pressure tank and the pressure switch? I have an artesian well located in a pit about 90 feet from where the water supply enters my house. Currently the pressure tank and pressure switch are located in the pit right beside the wellcap. I need to replace the tank and would prefer to leave the pressure switch in the well pit while putting the new tank in the basement of the house where the water supply enters.



Probably there is a practical distance limit but in reading various installation instructions I don't find a quantitative specification. Instructions generally say locate the pressure control switch close to the pressure tank.

I would not mount the well pump pressure control switch remote from the tank.

Question: water suddenly stops, ok after I re-set something

(Aug 28, 2014) Ron said:

After the water has been running for some time(filling washing machine) the water just stops running and the pressure in the tank is near 0. I reset the pressure gage and bingo water. Is this a pressure gage issue or a problem with the pump in the well?



If your pressure control switch includes a safety feature intended to protect the pump from damage (caused by pumping dry if the well flow rate is too slow) then the switch is doing its job. In that case the problem is poor flow rate at the well.


(Sept 26, 2014) fred mullins said:

I have installed two bladder water tanks, my problem is my water pressure gauge with one tank it would come on at 20 psi and off at 60 psi with 2 tanks it turns on at 10 psi and off at 30 psi. please tell me what is going on and please include some type of drawing so I can make sure I installed the tanks correctly. thank you so much

(Sept 28, 2014) BOBBY said:


(Oct 1, 2014) Mike said:

we have a pressure tank wellXtrol by amtrol model wx202, we have a problem with the faucet strainers and the washing machin filters clogging up with a fine white filament looking trash. A local hardware dealer told us it looked like fiberglass filaments, could this be what it is?


Bobby in the More Reading links above see WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING for diagnosis and repair advice


I've seen white debris clogging faucet strainers and shower heads when a plastic dip tube in the water heater was disintegrating.


for details.

Question: clog problems after water line rupture

(Nov 6, 2014) randy said:

line ruptured well ran about 10 minutes before shut down . now removed bleeder valve from tank pressure to 18lbs on a 20-40 lb system have to manually engage points pressure on tank will increase to 35lbs bleed pressure back to 18 and will then go to zero. max shown on guage is 20 lbs no pressure in house and have to manually engage pts.they automatically kick out.



Is the pressure switch sensing port perhaps debris-clogged?

Did the pump run "dry" at any time?

Question: water tank overflows

(Nov 16, 2014) Debbie said:

What causes a well water system tank to overflow? We are experiencing intermittent no water pressure followed by the tank overflowing with water! Thank goodness its outside (Florida).


Debbie, some water storage tanks use a float control to stop water from entering the tank when it's full - usually these are not pressurized tanks. If the float valve jams or breaks the tank will be over-filled.

Question: problems even after replacing jet pump

(Nov 22, 2014) Luc Prevost said:

I replaced my jet pump for a new one but have the same problem, when disconnecting the line going to tank with bladder and opening valve the water flows out with full pressure but when reconnecting hose the tank does not fill up but water is coming out at faucette? what is the problem? iis it air lock or might it be bladder in the tank itself that might be defective?


Luc it sounds as if your pressure tank inlet is blocked or the tank bladder is stuck to itself.

Question: trouble with Pro-Source water tank

(3 days ago) Mike said:

My pro source water tank is a year old all new valves and gauges piping etc lately when it cycles it shuts of at 60 lbs as normal but the bladder inside the tank makes a popping sound I checked the air pressure at this time in the tank and it's at least 60 lbs. the manufacturer calls for 38 any leads. Thank you


Mike it's possible that the bladder is damaged or is sticking to itself. If the pressure changes after the "pop" that's even more likely. Let me know.

Question: fiber debris clogging faucet strainers

12/9/2014 Jean said:

I am finding fiber clogging up my faucet aerator screen. I have a water storage tank and a well. What could this mean?


Jean I can't say what the fibers are - possibly mineral crystals from hard water, fiberglass from a deteriorating fiberglass tank, particles from a damaged water filter.

I'd take three approaches:

1. look over the whole water system to see what might be damaged and releasing fibers or debris

2. have the water tested by your local water testing lab: for hardness, debris, contaminants

3. send a sample of fibers to a forensic lab for identification -that may point to a source. You can also send some to me and I'd look -probono - (contact info is at our CONTACT US link) but I won't be able to examine anything in our forensic lab before next year.

Question: where are water storage tank, pump, pressure switch and check valve located in a water supply system?

(Dec 14, 2014) a.sarshad said:
where is the location of storage tank ,pump, pressure switch and check valve in the system



The water pressure tank and pressure control switch may be located in the building served, usually close to the point at which water pipes enter the building, or they may be located more remotely from the building in a well pit.

The pump is located either in the well (submersible pumps in deep wells) or close to the pressure tank (1 line jet pumps for shallow wells or 2 line jet pumps for deeper wells).

The foot valve, a key check valve in water systems, is located at the bottom of the well pipe.

Some systems such as shallow well jet pumps may instead use a check valve located in the pump itself.

Question: relocating a water pressure tank and switch

(Dec 22, 2014) Kerry said:
Our well system used to serve three houses. Now it only serves one, our house. We have replaced the pressure switch four times as it is stuffed into the top of the well casing. The pressure tank is buried in the yard three feet away from the well.I think the pressure tank and switch need to be in the basement of our house out of the elements. What do you think


(Dec 24, 2014) (mod) said:
Kerry that sounds like a smart idea. Unless it was specifically designed to be exposed to the elements, no electrical switch likes to be outdoors in the rain nor in a wet, condenstion-prone well casing.

Question: how do I connect up my water reservoir?

(Apr 11, 2015) david brown said:

i have a 250 water tank. how would i connect to resevoir to get water to pump threw the house



I'm sorry but I don't have much of an idea what you have installed: what water source, what pump, what piping already exist. It sounds as if you need a plumber on-site.

Question: cloudy water diagnosis & cure

(Apr 24, 2015) Charles Patridge said:

We have lived in our home for 35 plus years and our water has been very good. This past fall, we started getting cloudy water and I flushed out the water storage tank until the water was clean again.

However, we are still getting cloudy water. We run the water in the house until it becomes clear and then some days later, the water will get cloudy again.

Looking for suggestions as to what to look for the cause of this problem. Everything else with the tank seems to work as expected - no frequent cycling, no air bubbles, pressure is fine.




I would start by taking a water sample to your local water test lab. By knowing what's in the water one can make a more useful decision on what treatment or repairs are needed.

Question: relationship of water pressure tank setting and pressure control switch settings

(June 7, 2015) Harry said:

I don't understand the relationship of the pressure tank setting ex. 20psi. & the control switch 30/50 psi. What is pressure is the control reading to cut in or out?

The pressure tank? Will the pressure in the house be controlled only by the tank setting & it should be constant pressure whether the pump. S running or not? Thanks. Harry


Harry: a 30/50 psi pressure control switch turns the pump on when pressure in the system - sensed by the switch - falls to or below 30 psi and turns the pump off when pressure reaches 50 psi. Typically we set the air pre-charge in the pressure tank to 2 psi below the cut-in pressure setting.

Question: pressure booster pump and large water storage tank

(July 10, 2015) DavidCoffee said:
I'm forced to drill a well to replace my water delivery system PG&E just yanked out from under us with no warning--but that's a different story.

I want to fill my existing 2,500 gal storage tank from the well, continue to gravity feed this to my home and continue with the jet pump/bladder tank pressure system I have in my home. Do I need another bladder/pressure tank between the submerged well pump and storage tanks?

Reply: include a pressure tank

David if you are using a pressure booster pump you'll need a pressure tank as well (though there are tankless pressure booster pumps sold in some locations).

If the tank location is high enough a gravity feed works. If you try to fill the tank too rapidly and your well flow rate is not stunning you'll be sorry as you'll risk burning up a pump.

Question: drain the pressure tank to avoid freezing damage to AMTROL WX-202 pressure tank

3 Aug 2015 Tim Coffey said:

Just installed AMTROL WX-202 pressure tank at seasonal camp in northern Maine. Can drained tank be left in place or must it be removed and stored at above freezing temperatures?

Reply: Amtrol Instructions for Protecting the Well Ex-Trol Tank from Freezing & Damage


Here is what Amtrol says about their Well Ex-Trol water pressure tanks and freezing

The Well-X1® is designed for indoor and outdoor installations. The NEMA 3 enclosure can be installed in direct weather. If installed outdoors, be sure the following conditions are met:

Do not install where ambient temperatures can drop below freezing or exceed 120° F.

Watch out: Here is what Amtrol says about exposing their heating boiler expansion tanks to freezing:

RUPTURE OR EXPLOSION HAZARD. Do not expose product to freezing temperatures or temperatures in excess of 240°F.

Do not adjust the pre-charge or re-charge this Product except during installation or regular inspection.

Replace the Product and do not adjust the pre-charge if corroded, damaged or with diminished integrity.

Adjustments to pre-charge must be done at ambient temperature only.

Failure to properly size the Product or follow these instructions may result in excessive strain on the system and may lead to Product failure, serious or fatal personal injury, leakage, and/or property damage.

I take this to mean that you'd have to be sure that all water is drained from the tank before leaving it exposed to freezing. Even a small amount of water left in a valve or control could cause damage.

Tim said:
Thanks. It appears that the conservative approach would be to remove tank and store it in an above freezing environment.


Amtrol says don't install tanks where they're exposed to freezing. I think if I were going to have to remove a tank annually to store it in a warm place I'd be sure to do my plumbing with some flexible hoses and quick disconnect fittings.

Sometimes, such as in a well pit, if we think that electrical power will be both on and reliable, we can add a small heat source, even a 75W incandescent light bulb may be enough to protect from freezing; of course loss of power (or bulb) means trouble.

Question: could low water pressure be caused by a malfunctioning pressure tank?

(Sept 15, 2015) Anonymous said:
I have been experiencing low water psi (have a submersible well pump) for the last few weeks. Consistent, but low. About 8-10 years ago, I experienced my water psi spitting (higher then lower, a lot of fluctuation).

Ended up being my bladder tank, but I didn't repair before it fried my well pump also. This time is different. Consistent but low psi. Today I checked my bladder tank air psi and it was basically empty.

I noticed a sticker with 38 psi on it, so I pumped it up to approx. 36 psi with hopes that would fix my low psi problem. Turned my well pump back on and nothing had changed.

Water pressure would not go above 20 psi, then about 20 mins later while washing my hands in my kitchen sink the water just stopped. I went back under my house (where my psi tank is) and my water psi gauge showed 20 psi, but still no pressure at kitchen sink. I have a drain valve at psi tank, when I open that I get water psi, but not in house.

Also sounds like no psi is entering the bladder psi tank. Could it be clogged or not allowing water to flow into tank? I'm stumped. Would the malfunctioning tank cause my well pump to not build adequate water psi. Any ideas?


The pressure tank controls the frequency of the pump operation but not the pressure to which the pump can deliver water.

Question: pressure drops to zero before pump turns on

(Sept 25, 2015) Anonymous said:
I have a captive air water tank and recently the pressure has been dropping off to almost zero flow when the pressure switch kicks the pump on.

Normal pressure seems ok. The pump is cycling between 45 to 65 PSI. When the pump kicks on, the pressure is dropping almost to zero. I don't believe it did that when the system was installed 3 years ago.

I turned pump off and let water drain so tank pressure was zero, then checked bladder pressure and it was reading 42.5. When tank fills up, bladder pressure increases to tank pressure. Any ideas on why the extreme loss of pressure when tank is refilling?


Check for clogging at the pressure switch sensor port or tube. Replace those parts.

Question: 2 water tanks, one just has air?

(Sept 25, 2015) Dennis said:
I have two tanks, one seeems to be filled with water and one seems to be filled with air. both have 30#s of pressure. Is this the proer way for them to work?


Dennis I don't know the piping arrangement you've got but normally each tank needs an air charge if water is to exit the tank.

Question: heavy concentrations of iron and manganese in the water and sometimes water turns orange.

(Oct 7, 2015) MtnWater said:

We have a bladder type tank. We also have quite heavy concentrations of iron and manganese in our water which tend to leave silty deposits.

Our water occasionally runs orange because of this. We were considering flushing the tank to remove anything which has settled out.

We can't find any specs on this and the manufacturer doesn't respond to requests for info. Anyone have comments or suggestions on how to do this- or even if we SHOULD do this?


Orange water may be a different problem: bacterial growth (iron-loving bacteria) or silt, mud, rust. I'm not sure flushing the tank would address the issue. I'd start by discussing more broad water tests with your local water test lab.

Question: well pump not working right after a power outage

Nov 13, 2015) Ron R. said:

We had a power outage this morning and now have very low pressure, the pump goes on but only for a few seconds, goes off then repeats after 10 min. or so,

I took the cap on the tank and bled the air, seemed to help a little but would only last a short time, should I drain the tank,or maybe fill it back with air from a compresser ? CONFUSED HELP!


Your system may have had a bad foot valve or check valve all along, but during the power outage your system lost prime. Before that the pump would run by itself on occasion - before losing prime. Try re-priming the system. If that works you probably will need to replace a foot valve or check valve.

Question: Old steel water holding tank, pump switch not cycling.

(Feb 5, 2016) Lee Riggs said:

I have a submersible well pump, a Gould. The holding tank is a very old steel tank. Wired for 220v, the pressure switch won't cycle as it should.

The switch is a month old. The switch might work for 45 minutes then stops. I have to mànually rest the thing and then an hour later, do it again. I have no idea what is wrong. Do I need a whole new system.


Check the well flow rate - your system may be going off due to loss of water. Also Check for debris clogging in the pressure switch mounting tube that carries tank pressure to the base of the switch.

Question: pump stopped working, now just runs 3 seconds.

(Feb 23, 2016) Christian A. said:

Had a second hand water pump installed two years ago. Was working fine. Stopped usage for three months or so and when reactivated, pressured water doesn't come out.

When reset button is pressed, it works for roughly three seconds and stop again. Any clue, please !


I can't diagnose your pump from a brief e-text Christian, but I'd start by seeing if the pump has lost prime. Also a check of the motor for free rotation might tell you if the pump is seized.

Question: bladder tank has no water in it

(Mar 11, 2016) Cynthia said:

My bladder tank has no water in it, I grew up believing that it was suppose to, is there something wrong here?



At the point at which the well pump turns OFF there will normally be water in the pressure tank. Perhaps your tank is not working- e.g. if the bladder has collapsed and stuck to itself it may not be letting water into the tank. If the pump is cycling on and off rapidly (short cycling)_ that'd add weight to that guess.

Question: pressure tank won't hold pressure

(Mar 15, 2016) Steve carpenter said:

The well I'm working on been off for 3 years PVC pipes broke off inside pressure tank should that pressure tank hold pressure why is not connected to nothingI prime it it holds pressure until I turn the water on to house it loses all pressure



When you open the valve to send water into the home and the water tank loses ALL pressure, that sounds to me as if the pump control is not turning on the pump. Start there.

Question: how to test the bladder in a water tank

(Mar 16, 2016) Anonymous said:

How can I tell if the bladder in my water tank is bad



If water cannot enter the pressure tank the bladder may be stuck to itself.

If the water tank is waterlogged (full of water, pump short cycling) then the bladder has probably burst;

If you see water discharge at the air pressure adjustment valve near the top of a tank that uses an internal bladder, in most cases the bladder has burst.

Question: can you use a pressure tank that does not have an internal bladder?

(Mar 20, 2016) amanda pope said:

Can you use a pressure tank without a bladder ?

Reply: yes

THere are water pressure tanks that do not use an internal bladder but if YOUR water pressure tank is a bladder-type model, no, you need the bladder in that tank.

Question: why air pressure goes up in the water tank after the pump runs

(Apr 12, 2016) Dale Martin said:

I have model V60 Gould water tank. Water psi 40/60 air at 38 psi. After pump runs air pressure goes up two 55psi. Why?


Dale: I don't know either - but if you really mean that AFTER THE PUMP STOPS the tank pressure continues to increase, I can guess that the pressure gauge may be partly debris clogged, causing it to delay in reading actual pressure.

Question: uneven water pressure causing the shower to run too hot or too cold

2016/05/11 Pat said:

We are having an issue with our water pressure changing (which changes the water temperature) while we're taking showers. We're on a hill. We use city water that feeds directly into a tank. From there our pump feeds it to the house. Our pressure tank is at the end of the line (water goes through the house before getting to the tank).

There is a sixty foot elevation change from our water tank, which is where the pump is, to the house.

is this too much for the pump to try to push the water up 60 ft in elevation, plus another 120'(when it gets to the top before reaching the house), and keep a reasonably consistant pressure so the temperature doesn't change while taking a shower?



Have you considered installing a point-of-use anti-scald valve that will regulate water temperature regardless of pressure changes? That's what I'd do. Searching for "point of use anti scald valve" returns this article that may help:


An alternative would be to install a much larger pressure tank closer to the point of use of the water (in the house). I think the POU anti scald valve is a better idea.


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