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Old 07-14-2010, 09:21 PM   #1
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Fluctuating PSI at CUT IN on Amtrol tank - ANY help is :D


Hello everyone!!,

I'm new here, I saw a couple guys that new the ins and outs of expansion tanks for wells but after an hour of searching, I could not send them a PM.

My neighbor lost his wife, savings - EVERYTHING last year or so.... 3 weeks ago he lost his well pump. A friend (plumber) installed a new one with parts for about 600$ which was a gift. What happened was that he lost his expansion tank bladder, the unit short cycled and in time it burnt out the pump, or at least thats what I feel happened......

I got him a new AMTROL tank today, I installed it just as it was. I could not seem to lower the cut out below 62PSI but that wasn't so bad. "Supposedly", Amtrol pressurizes these bladders to 30 PSI and I kick myself for not checking it........

Whats happening is it cuts out at about 62PSI and I have him turn on an outdoor faucet to dropm the pressure and somewhere around 35PSI, the pressure suddenly drops to about 20PSI, cuts in and runs up to tom 62PSI.

Something is wrong, maybe the bladder is not at 330 PSI as this is an AMTROL 32 gallon tank. But this guy has lost everything, I am just trying to help, I told him I'd do it all for 75$ and I already have a trip to the store and 3 hours messing with CU and CO pressures........

Last week my ball val;ve broke off and my gauge was old, I fixed it and easily re-set the pressures but his won't act the same.

Is the bladder pressure possibly low?? Is this a symptom?? I have to figure out how to drain it (not shure how to do that in a basement....) to check the PSI or am I doing something else wrong. Tall screw - CU, short screw CO. But I read somewhere that one affects the other and I wonder if thats my issue and I should just go 1/2 turn at a time or what I should do set 1st. I installed it and it just turned on, I wish it let me screw it in until 30 PSI but such is life.......

Thank you so much for any help!

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Old 07-14-2010, 11:20 PM   #2
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Fluctuating PSI at CUT IN on Amtrol tank - ANY help is :D


I am not a pro plumber, just an old DIYer who has had private shallow wells and pumps for about 34 years (in addition, I now have County water).
I don't know what "parts" have been installed, and why it wasn't setup properly by that plumber, and why it isn't working properly now. That plumber should have done it all right to begin with.
Here are some basics and only a ballpark rule-of-thumb.
A 1/2 hp pump pressure switch will usually be preset at the factory to cut-on at 20 psi and cut-off at 40. A 3/4 hp pump pressure switch will usually be set to 40-60 (which is where mine is).
If the pressure switch has only one spring-loaded pressure adjusting bolt, screwing it down increases the pressure 20 psi apart. If it has two, the taller is for the cut-on and the shorter is for the cut-off, and they should be about 20 psi apart.
A pressure tank should be set two psi below the pump cut-on pressure. Turn the pump off or unplug it and drain all of the water pressure down. Then check the tank air valve (near or on top under a plastic cover) with a tire pressure gauge, and adjust the tank bladder pressure with a portable compressor or air tank to the 2 psi below (i.e. 18 psi for 20 psi cut-on, 38 psi for 40 psi cut-on).
Good Luck!
Mike

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Old 07-15-2010, 07:43 PM   #3
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Fluctuating PSI at CUT IN on Amtrol tank - ANY help is :D


I spoke to Amtrol, they claimed that they fight with corporate in regards to instructing the customer/plumber etc. The "KIT" supplied for the check valbve, pressure valve, gauge etc is supplied by square D who he told me sets them at 20 and 40 for 3/4 or 40 and 60 for 1" - It is a universal instal kit".. But the tank is factory set at 38PSI!!

He told me to drain the whole system, drop the bladder to 28PSI and set CI at 30, CU at 50-55PSI.

He said the fluctuation was most likely me trying to adjust it but with an already overinflated bladder.

I hope that works but we are plumbers, not electricians and no instructions are provided.

Brand new Amtrol tank, pressure switch, pressure relief, manifold and guage were installed............
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Old 07-16-2010, 12:23 AM   #4
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Fluctuating PSI at CUT IN on Amtrol tank - ANY help is :D


A 38 psi pressure tank setting is correct for a pump factory set at 40-60 psi. That pressure can be bled off to 18 psi for a 20-40 pump setting. The 3/4" and 1" (?) doesn't have anything to do with it. The tank is supposed to be set TWO PSI BELOW the pump cut-on pressure, no matter which the pump on-off is, as I said before..
That should straighten it all out.
Good Luck!
Mike
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Old 07-16-2010, 11:59 AM   #5
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Fluctuating PSI at CUT IN on Amtrol tank - ANY help is :D


Mike, you have been extremely helpful, thank you.

I will gladly admit that I installed the expansion tank and manifold assembly. The man had retired with 300K and his wife had Walmart insurance, got cancer and he spent every dime trying to save her....... He is as close to losing his home as possible and I want to help him; I also plow his driveway with my hoe and I have not worked in 20 months because of a Union contract; previously we were half HVAC and half plumbers...... That gives you the relative rundown....... I'm trying to help him.

I installed my TRANE HVAC system and my Crown boiler with zero issues.

I dropped the ball on this one and I admit it. Amtrol says as well as you did, that they are pressurized to 38 PSI, I will drain and verify this. What I don't know what to do is where to start with CU or CO. I imagine if there is any tension on the spring it will immediately CI until it reaches CO which IDK what it is set at, I am tempted to back it all the way off and just put a couple turns down on the small screw. Then I let the outside faucet run and see where CU is (HOPEFULLY!!)

I will say this, I have the exact system and the large screw ONLY affects CI, everyone claims it also raises CU but I just played with mine for an hour and CI raised and lowered but NEVER affected the CO........ My CO is affected only by that small screw which I think I should back off.

Thank you again for your patience.....

EDIT - If I had to use reasonable logic; Square D said " your large pressure drop means you are running out of water and the tank is empty" That makes me think my CI is much too low and after verifying the bladder PSI, I should raise it a few turns.... I just hope I'm on the right path.

Last edited by Steve Thomas; 07-16-2010 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 07-16-2010, 02:04 PM   #6
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Fluctuating PSI at CUT IN on Amtrol tank - ANY help is :D


See this article for instructions to adjust the pressure switch:

http://www.inspectapedia.com/water/WaterPumpAdjust.htm

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