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Old 06-30-2008, 06:57 PM   #1
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pressure tank problem?


I have been experiencing problems with water pressure lately. I read in another thread here how to check the pressure tank. I was not completely clear and I am having different problems than what was happening in the other thread so I figured I would start my own.

It was my understanding that in order to check the pressure tank I should verify the shut off/on settings. The pump kicks on at 30 psi but when it turns off, the needle spikes up from 60 to about 75psi. The spike is momentary and it settles right back down to 65. Is this normal or does it show that there is some problem?

I then turned off power to my well (and HWT) and turned on a faucet to drain all of the water out of the tank. When the water was out I went to check the pressure with a tire gauge and it read zero.

Does this mean the bladder somehow busted? I have a slight leak at some of the fittings (by the shut off and gauge) that I am going to repair. The leak does not seem to be enough to mess with the pressure though. I have lived in this house for 3 years without any water pressure problems. It seems to me the pressure tank has gone bad but would like a more expert opinion on this. I also checked if there was water coming out of the valve stam and there is none.

I checked a few more pressures and here is what I came up with:

When the gauge reads 30psi I get a reading of 22psi at the valve stem.
When the gauge reads 65psi I get a reading of 40psi at the valve stem.

If it is bad....what are my options?


Last edited by steel; 06-30-2008 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 06-30-2008, 11:46 PM   #2
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pressure tank problem?


1 : Are you sure your pressure tank has a bladder? Some of the older styles do not.

2 : It should be charged with air (I think 2 lbs below your cut-in pressure) when the system is empty. IE No pressure on the tank. If you're trying to read water pressure from the valve stem on the pressure tank, that aint gonna work i dont think. Best way is to get a gauge that will screw onto a hose bibb thread, and test it there, although the gauge on your pump should be fairly accurate, even if it is acting funny.....

3 : As far as the needle spike, could be a bad gauge, or not, it's hard to say. I think a new gauge would be fairly inexpensive.

4 : Normal cut-in and cut-out pressures are 30/50 and 40/60 although they give a little room for adjustment, you can even get switches that will allow even higher pressure than that.

Lastly : Can you describe your exact pressure problem?

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Old 07-01-2008, 03:08 AM   #3
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pressure tank problem?


steel,
I wouldn't rely too much on a water pressure gauge on a pump. They can get clogged or partially clogged with rust, etc. and won't read properly. You can take the connections apart and inspect and clean out the gauge or replace it.
The first thing that you need to do is to repair any leaks, however. That will effect your pressure and readings.
The proper way to test a bladder tank, is to do as you did, turn off your pump and drain the water pressure off completely. Than test the tank air pressure with a tire gauge. It should read two psi below your cut-on pressure. Until you get the leaks and gauge repaired, it is hard to say whether your pump is supposed to be 30-50 (28 psi in tank) or 40-60 (38 psi in tank).
If you need to air it up, use a bicycle pump or portable air tank or compressor.
After you complete the above, you also may need to adjust your pressure switch. Turn the adjusting nut(s) clockwise (down) to increase pressure and counter-clockwise (up) to decrease pressure. If it has one adjusting nut, then it is automatically 20 psi apart for cut-on/cut-off. If it has two, then the taller one is for the cut-on and the shorter is for the cut-on pressure.
Good Luck!
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Old 07-01-2008, 07:19 AM   #4
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pressure tank problem?


OK,here's the scoop.

I am going to replace the pressure gauge and the leaking valve. Once I get everything back together I will recheck my pressure and go from there. I will recheck the cut out and cut in pressures of the pump and set them as they should be. Does it matter if I use the 30-50 or the 40-60 setting?

When I replace the valve, do I use teflon tape at the joint or do I use thread sealant (in the tube)?

Alan -
No I am not positive about the bladder. It is a well-X-trol pressure tank and it was installed in '02. There is a valve stem on the side near the top that I am checking the air pressure at and I am relying on the pressure gauge on the water line to give me the tank (water) pressure. The exact problem I am having is that I have lost alot of water pressure over the past copuple of months. It was notable in the main shower at first. I replaced the fixture and the problem seemed to get a little better but then I lost pressure in the master bath. It used to be that it was barely noticable when the well kicked on. Now it is obvious because some times I literally only get a trickle of water out of the shower head (just barely enough to shower with) and other times it is a halfway decent stream of water. Sometimes I can shut the water off for a few seconds and then turn it back on and it seems to be better (still not good).

Mike-

Hopefully things will get better once I replace the valve and pressure gauge. I just wanted to make sure I didn't screw something up on the pressure tank by adding the pressure.

Thanks for the advice guys. It was what I was looking for. I'll let you know how it goes with the new pieces.
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Old 07-01-2008, 08:41 AM   #5
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pressure tank problem?


an 02 tank of that brand HAS a bladder. No water at the stem is good news. is the pump cylcing on and off alot without much water running(good sign of broken bladder).

Doesnt sound like a bladder problem to me,,sounds more like something is either throwing rust or sand pluging up the fixtures. Take off the head/strainers and SEE if its sorta plugged up,,,or maybe a chunk stuck back where cartridges/valvesare??

IF your well throws 'any' sand or grit at all,,,it is prudent to plumb a sand trap/filter,,,if your internal water lines are sloughing off crap,,,maybe a water softener would be best buy!!

If the heads/ strainers,,, have a white calcium look to them,stick them in a viniger bath over night
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:36 PM   #6
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pressure tank problem?


steel,
Use only a tire gauge for an accurate pressure check on the tank.
Use 2-3 flat wraps of teflon tape wrapped clockwise only as the threaded end faces you for male threads.
That pressure tank should be able to easily handle 28 or 38 psi. The water pressure setting will be up to you, and your pump and well capacity.
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Old 07-01-2008, 07:56 PM   #7
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pressure tank problem?


Quote:
Originally Posted by 4just1don View Post
an 02 tank of that brand HAS a bladder. No water at the stem is good news. is the pump cylcing on and off alot without much water running(good sign of broken bladder).

Doesnt sound like a bladder problem to me,,sounds more like something is either throwing rust or sand pluging up the fixtures. Take off the head/strainers and SEE if its sorta plugged up,,,or maybe a chunk stuck back where cartridges/valvesare??

IF your well throws 'any' sand or grit at all,,,it is prudent to plumb a sand trap/filter,,,if your internal water lines are sloughing off crap,,,maybe a water softener would be best buy!!

If the heads/ strainers,,, have a white calcium look to them,stick them in a viniger bath over night
i am in the process of taking everything apart and cleaning/replacing what needs done.

I took the shut off switch apart to make sure nothing was up inside and the rubber diaphragm is rotten. Not sure if this is what is causing the problems, but it certainly looks like it needs replaced. Am I able to find this piece somewhere or does the whole switch need to be replaced?

I already have a filter on the system. It is a cartridge type and it does not need changed very often. However, it is after my pressure tank. The order of my system is: in from well;pressure tank;softener;filter. This seems odd to me that they put the filter last.


Stupid question: Where is the head and strainer? Are you talking about parts of the pressure tank?
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Old 07-01-2008, 09:20 PM   #8
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pressure tank problem?


I would replace the entire pressure switch. usually, by the time the diaphragm is bad, the electrical contacts are no better. They're not all that expensive, and a bad pressure switch is a common failure for a well pump.

As far as what pressure to get, generally speaking, if the pressure tank and the house are at about the same elevation, 30-50 is OK. If the house is higher than the pressure tank, 40-60 is better. Either one is easily adjustable 10 PSI up or down.

With no pressure in the system, pre-charge the tank to about 2 or 3 PSI below the cut-in pressure. This would be 28 PSI for a 30-50 switch. Start the pump. The pressure gauge should jump up to 30 or so right away. Then slowly go up to 50. Then the pump will turn off. The needle jumping around a bit at shut off is normal. It's because of water hammer when the check valve closes.

Now, kill the power to the pump. Turn on a faucet, and watch the pressure gauge. Also be able to see the pressure switch contacts. They will be open. They should close, then a couple of seconds later, you should see the gauge drop suddenly. If the gauge drops before the switch closes, add more air. If it's longer than 5 seconds or so, bleed some air off.

This will give you the most constant pressure, and the longest pump life.

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Old 07-02-2008, 08:42 AM   #9
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pressure tank problem?


I am going to replace the switch (thanks micromind). THey are only $20 at Lowes. I figure it would be worth the extra cost to just replace it than to go through the headache of messing with replacement parts.

I am worried that I am losing pressure in the bladder though. I pumped it up to 28 psi last night after I got done with everything and when I checked it this morning it was down to 26psi. Is it possible that the valve stem is leaking a little bit? If there was a small hole in the bladder, would it stlii fill up with water? Like I said before...I am not getting any water coming out of the valve stem so it does not appear that there is a problem with the bladder itself. Could the slight loss of pressure have something to do with the pressure going so high before the pump shuts off? It is still going up to 65 pst before turning off. I tried adjusting it but I think the messed up diaphragm is screwing with it.
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Old 07-02-2008, 06:46 PM   #10
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pressure tank problem?


Pumping a tank up to 28 PSI, then reading 26 PSI the next morning wouldn't bother me at all. In fact if it was hot in the afternoon when the tank was filled, and cooler in the morning when it was checked, that would be normal. Check it about 2 hours after it was filled, then again at 24 hours. The initial fill pressure doesn't matter, the 2 hour one vs. the 24 hour one is the real test.

The temperature of the air it was filled with will make a difference as well. If it was filled with a small air compressor that had no pressure in it to begin with, then warm air went into the tank, and a 2 PSI pressure loss would be normal. That's why you wait 2 or 3 hours for it to stabilize.

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Old 07-02-2008, 07:56 PM   #11
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pressure tank problem?


have you tried tightening the valve stem just for the sake of trying?
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Old 07-02-2008, 09:54 PM   #12
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GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

I've got everthing put back together. I've checked and tested and adjusted everything just as it should be. All of the pressure pump components are working just as they should be. I sprayed soapy water on the valve stem just to make sure it wasn't leaking.

And my pressure is worse than ever. I am getting maybe a gallon a minute out of my shower. I have a pretty large shower head that is not a watersaver. It used to crank out alot of water. Now there is almost nothing. The entire house is almost as bad.

Any more suggestions? Could it be my softener that is causing the problems?
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Old 07-03-2008, 05:24 AM   #13
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pressure tank problem?


Yes it could be. The inlet or outlet screens could have sediment in them causing your flow issue. Try backwashing the softener or putting it through a regeneration and see if it changes the situation. Worst case you'll waste some salt.
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Old 07-03-2008, 07:09 AM   #14
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pressure tank problem?


I tried bypassing the softener and the cartridge filter and I still have very little water. The flow is so bad that water was not exven coming out of all of the holes in the shower head. There wasn't even enough pressure to push the water past the first few inches of holes.

Just so I can feel a little better about this...am I able to rule out any pump problems since I am getting the proper pressure at the pressure tank? I really do not want to have to get into messing with the actual pump and the well.

I am going to tear everything apart today when I get home and clean everything to hopefully eliminate any clogged filters or screens in the pressure tank. I didn't want to mess with all of the existing connections but it looks like I have no choice at this point.

Is there a way to backflush the entire house? I can disconnect the piping in the basement and just let it flow into the sump, but I am not sure how to force the water through the pipes to get this done.

Any other suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 07-03-2008, 02:06 PM   #15
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pressure tank problem?


You should have a hose bib on your pressure tank tee. Hook a hose to that and see how the pressure is, you could just have clogged aerators (screens in your faucets) and shower heads. How is the flow filling up the washer or toilets? If you have adequate pressure at your pressure tank, then it's something in your house. Is all your valves fully open? I've even seen the stem break on a gate valve and even though it was "full open" the gate never moved. You'll just need to try to isolate the problem.

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