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sontavas 12-08-2012 12:54 PM

Pressure tank cycling
 
Greetings,

I have a water well in my house and a pressure tank with a bladder. My pressure switch is set to kick on at 40psi and kick off at 60psi. It has been working fine for years but recently the pump has been kicking on about every ten minutes regardless if we are using any water or not. The tank kicks on at 40psi (just like it should) but seems to turn off at around 55psi and drop relatively quickly down to 50psi, then it slowly bleeds down to 40psi and kicks back on. We do have a leaky kitchen faucet but it only drips and I really don't think that it is using all of the water in the tank in a 10 minute time frame. I have checked all over the house and nothing else appears to be leaking. Anybody have any ideas on why this might be happening? The pressure in the bladder is properly inflated to 38psi and the tank and pressure switch are only a few years old. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

Daniel Holzman 12-08-2012 01:31 PM

From your description, it certainly sounds like there is a leak, possibly there is one in addition to the leaking sink faucet. If the pressure tank bladder is damaged, then your pressure tank will not hold the appropriate amount of water, and you would get the symptoms you described. A pressure tank is typically rated for total size in gallons, and how many available gallons of water the tank provides. For example, my well pressure tank is 50 gallons, with 15 gallons of available capacity. This means that if I am taking a shower at 2.5 gpm, the tank should in theory hold 6 minutes of water for a 20 psi drawdown on my pump. This is pretty typical.

Since you describe a situation where the pressure goes down rapidly when there is no water use, it certainly sounds like there is more than one leak, and I would test the pressure tank to see if it holds air. This can be done by measuring the pressure at the valve with a gage to see if it holds when no water is in use. If the pressure fails to hold, you have a damaged bladder.

ben's plumbing 12-08-2012 01:42 PM

I agree with dan...but could it also be check valve in pump leaking ?????ben sr..you could also check piping going to well..disconnect at holding tank air test against pump25-30 psi see if it holds....

sontavas 12-09-2012 06:52 AM

**Update**

When I got home from dinner last night the pressure in the talk read Zero (0). The pump, which is nearly fifteen years old, is not completely dead because I can run water through the system at very low pressure and when I kill the pump switch the water stops flowing. I suspect I either have a dying pump and/or some sort of leak in the tubing which runs to the well pump. Bummer!!

ben's plumbing 12-09-2012 07:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sontavas (Post 1069343)
**Update**

When I got home from dinner last night the pressure in the talk read Zero (0). The pump, which is nearly fifteen years old, is not completely dead because I can run water through the system at very low pressure and when I kill the pump switch the water stops flowing. I suspect I either have a dying pump and/or some sort of leak in the tubing which runs to the well pump. Bummer!!

again it could be just the check valve in pump..at 15yrs old if you have to pull it ...replace it...ben sr

Ishmael 12-09-2012 07:34 AM

I had a similar problem with my own well. Turned out to be a split in the poly-pipe that goes down the well casing (between the pitless adaptor and the pump). It could also be a split somewhere in the line underground between the well and the house.

If it's on the vertical length between the well head and the pump, you should be able to hear, or even see the water leaking/spraying inside the casing when you remove the well cap.

sontavas 12-09-2012 10:12 AM

Thanks for the replies. I opened the well cap, i thought I could hear some very quite bubbling from inside the well, but it I can not be sure because it was very quite.

My last question before I break down and call a plumber to pull the pump. Since the well is still able to pump a very small volume of water into the house, shouldent the pressure tank be able to use that water to pressurize the system? Or would a leak in the pump/check valve/hosing in the well prevent the pressure tank from being able to pressurize the system? I just want to be sure that If I have someone pull the pump out of the well that is indeed where the problem is.

Thanks again for all of your help.

Ishmael 12-09-2012 03:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sontavas (Post 1069524)
Thanks for the replies. I opened the well cap, i thought I could hear some very quite bubbling from inside the well, but it I can not be sure because it was very quite.

I forgot to mention: If the poly-pipe is split/broken below the ground water table, then you may not be able to see or hear much (oops)

My last question before I break down and call a plumber to pull the pump. Since the well is still able to pump a very small volume of water into the house, shouldent the pressure tank be able to use that water to pressurize the system? Or would a leak in the pump/check valve/hosing in the well prevent the pressure tank from being able to pressurize the system? I just want to be sure that If I have someone pull the pump out of the well that is indeed where the problem is.

Thanks again for all of your help.

It depends on how big the leak is. Sounds like it's fairly significant based on your descriptions, and - as I said above - you may not hear much down the well if the split (if there is one) is below the water line, or if the check valve on the pump has failed.

sontavas 12-10-2012 07:04 PM

**UPDATE**

I have (as well as a real plumber) concluded that the underground line is ruptured in between the house and the well. Going to be lots of digging in my future (the worst possible scenario). Was really hoping it was the valve on the pump, but such is life. Thanks for all of your help!


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