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Old 05-06-2016, 12:48 PM   #1
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Pressure tank problem? Or something else?


Hi everyone,

Before I start, you should note that this is a cistern tank, and not a well, but from what I understand the only major difference is that my pump is in the basement instead of 100ft down a well.

I've been having some problems with my water pump short cycling for the past little while. I can draw about a cup of water before the pump cycles on for a couple seconds, then off for a couple seconds. (It's set at 25 and 50 psi for it's on-off cycle, both the pump and tank gauges confirm this) This continues anytime a tap is on, but the pump stops and stays off once the water is turned off. There are no leaks anywhere in the basement I can find (all plumbing is exposed), and since we have water delivered on a schedule I can confirm we aren't using any more than normal, so I doubt there are any leaks outside the home as well.

Obviously this isn't good for the pump and I'd like to solve it before it burns out and I have to replace the pump. The existing pump is 2 years old.

I've attached some pictures below. From what I can tell, the tank is quite old and likely isn't the bladder type, so I'm kind of lost. The first photo shows the only markings on the tank. The house was built in the early 60's, so it could very well be the original tank.

I guess my question is, where do I start?

Is this likely from too much or too little air in the tank?

Is this actually a bladder tank and I likely have a leak in the bladder?

It's hard to see, but there's also a small, old black pressure gauge in towards the back of the plumbing that hasn't worked in years and is stuck at 80psi. Is this suddenly causing an issue?

Anything else I should look for/try out?


http://imgur.com/XIkmxIh - only markings on the tank

http://imgur.com/VePRBSP - line going from pump to tank

http://imgur.com/2jYxRVD - closer view of plumbing into tank

http://imgur.com/681JzFf - side view of plumbing and pump

http://imgur.com/uCN5yBV - overall view from front

http://imgur.com/ITJZGXY - top view


Thanks for reading, and sorry if it sounds like I was rambling. I just wanted to include as much info as I could.
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Old 05-06-2016, 01:59 PM   #2
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Re: Pressure tank problem? Or something else?


Your issues are consistent with a tank that no longer has any air in it. I can't tell from the pictures if you have a bladder type tank or a tank which admits air through a valve. If you have a bladderless tank like the one on my boiler, you need to close off the water supply line to the tank, and drain the tank using a supplied valve on the tank. Then close the drain valve, and open the water supply valve. If you have a tank with a bladder, likely the bladder is ruptured. You will have an air supply valve somewhere on the side of the tank, usually fits a bicycle pump type of valve (Schrader). You can try adding air to the tank, if it does not hold air, the bladder is ruined, and you simply replace the tank.

P.S. I think I see a pressure gage with an air admittance tube on the bottom of the tank, that would be for adding air. Probably a bladder type tank, but someone more familiar with this particular type of tank may know for sure.

Last edited by Daniel Holzman; 05-06-2016 at 02:04 PM. Reason: Update
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Old 05-06-2016, 02:59 PM   #3
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Re: Pressure tank problem? Or something else?


Sounds exactly like a waterlogged tank.
It looks like you have a schraeder valve there beside the pressure gauge. Get an air pump and add a bunch of air to the tank. Turn off the pump and open a tap to let some water out and pump it up.
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Old 05-06-2016, 03:19 PM   #4
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Re: Pressure tank problem? Or something else?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
Your issues are consistent with a tank that no longer has any air in it. I can't tell from the pictures if you have a bladder type tank or a tank which admits air through a valve. If you have a bladderless tank like the one on my boiler, you need to close off the water supply line to the tank, and drain the tank using a supplied valve on the tank. Then close the drain valve, and open the water supply valve. If you have a tank with a bladder, likely the bladder is ruptured. You will have an air supply valve somewhere on the side of the tank, usually fits a bicycle pump type of valve (Schrader). You can try adding air to the tank, if it does not hold air, the bladder is ruined, and you simply replace the tank.

P.S. I think I see a pressure gage with an air admittance tube on the bottom of the tank, that would be for adding air. Probably a bladder type tank, but someone more familiar with this particular type of tank may know for sure.
I did drain it completely and re-filled it and it already is like a night and day difference. I can now run water for a few minutes before the pump kicks in. I don't think it's worked this well in the 8 years we've live here.

You're right, that is an air valve there but it was so old and corroded it took a while to break loose before it would accept any air. I used it to help speed up draining the tank.


Thanks for the help.
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