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#225750 - 11/23/05 05:19 PM How to check well pump/pressure tank operation
Bob_Q Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 13938
Loc: Albany area,New York
These are very good,detailed instructions by JasonB

To check the tank pressure:

1: Turn off pump power.
2: Open a tap in the house. Allow all water to stop running. Leave the tap open.
3: Measure the pressure in the bladder tank now. Should be 2psi below cut-in pressure. The inside of the cover should have the cut-in and out pressures marked on it if you don't know it.

If the pressure is low,add air with a tire pump or air compressor to the correct psi. If water comes out of the air gauge,the tank has failed and must be replaced.

If that's Ok,observe the water pressure gauge while the pump cycles. Does it start at(Example)30 and stop at 50? If not,adjust or replace the switch.

If that's OK,watch the gauge when the pump is shut down. Does the pressure hold,or fall? If it falls,you have a leak,probably in the well drop pipe or in the foot valve (pump's check valve). If this is the case,when you shut down pump power,you probably only have water pressure for a minute or 2. The system should hold pressure as long as water isn't used.
Fix this sooner rather than later, or you'll pay extra electrical,and probably wear the pump out prematurely too. Pay a little now or a lot more later.



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#225751 - 11/23/05 08:25 PM Re: How to check well pump/pressure tank operation
Gary_Slusser Offline
Handyman

Registered: 03/15/04
Posts: 729
Loc: Wherever I park the motorhome
If the pressure tank is in the basement and you have a two story house with a bathroom on the second floor... you have .433 psi per foot of elevation (possibly 20-23') to the faucet you relieved the water pressure from. IOWs there can be a fair amount of water in the tank and if you pressurize the tank with water in it, then you won't have the correct volume of air in the tank for the cut-in pressure switch setting which can damage the bladder by over stretching it.

You will also have less compressed air pressure in the tank for when the pump is not running and you use water. It's that compressed air that delivers water when the pump isn't running...

That's why I say shut off the water to the house and the power to the pump. Then drain the tank and check/adjust the pressure accordingly.

Gary
Quality Water Associates
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Gary Slusser 22 yrs in water treatment and well pumps, 13 yrs helping people on the 'net.

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#225752 - 11/24/05 05:06 AM Re: How to check well pump/pressure tank operation
Bob_Q Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 13938
Loc: Albany area,New York
But if you have a one story home,that shouldn't apply,right Gary? Mine is a small one story with everything in the basement,and I've always done it the way described above with the correct results.
So with a two story Jasons instructions are correct except for the draining of the tank. Am I right?? I just want that varified so there's no confusion to posters.
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#225753 - 11/25/05 03:12 PM Re: How to check well pump/pressure tank operation
Gary_Slusser Offline
Handyman

Registered: 03/15/04
Posts: 729
Loc: Wherever I park the motorhome
Hi Bob. I know a lot of guys do it as described but... The instructions say to check or adjust the air pressure in a captive air type pressure tank with no water in the tank.

The instructions say to adjust the air pressure to 2 psi less than the cut-in setting on the pressure switch.

I say 1 psi because when I run my portable compressor to air them up, the air is hot. The water here is 45f, so the air is going to cool it and that causes shrinkage, and that means less pressure because there's less air in the tank than there should be.

Why they say that. One story plus up to the fixture... say 13' total. And 13 * .433 = 5.629 lbs. And there's no way to displace all the water by leaving a tap open 13' above the tank. So the air pressure will always be off by a few lbs. too low. That allows stretching of the bladder, and that causes premature failure.

Does that make sense?

Not having the air pressure right for the cut-in pressure voids the warranty.

Gary
Quality Water Associates
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Gary Slusser 22 yrs in water treatment and well pumps, 13 yrs helping people on the 'net.

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#225754 - 11/27/05 04:35 AM Re: How to check well pump/pressure tank operation
Bob_Q Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 13938
Loc: Albany area,New York
In retrospect,thinking about it,when you buy a new pre-pressurized tank,I don't suppose there's water in when they do it.
So I guess you're right. Never thought of that.
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#225755 - 11/27/05 02:20 PM Re: How to check well pump/pressure tank operation
Gary_Slusser Offline
Handyman

Registered: 03/15/04
Posts: 729
Loc: Wherever I park the motorhome
True, and I always check the air pressure when I install a new tank; they aren't always just right from the factory but... doing so and finding the pressure off quite a bit means the valve stem probably isn't sealed right, so I tighten it and adjust the air pressure for my pressure switch cut-in setting.

Gary
Quality Water Associates
_________________________
Gary Slusser 22 yrs in water treatment and well pumps, 13 yrs helping people on the 'net.

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#225756 - 11/27/05 04:12 PM Re: How to check well pump/pressure tank operation
Bob_Q Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 13938
Loc: Albany area,New York
You're making me think back several years when I replaced mine. I too had to install more air,way off, and I happened to think of it at the last minute. Good thread!!
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#225757 - 12/10/05 05:30 AM Re: How to check well pump/pressure tank operation [Re: Bob_Q]
bilvihur Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 1576
Loc: Hudson Valley, New York
Another thing to look for: Restriction between pump and pressure tank (eg. Clogged filter cartridge). This causes the pump pressure switch to shut-off prematurely, before enough water volume is delivered to the tank, and can be confused with a water-logged, or under-pressurized, tank. Hence, frequent recycling of pump.
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#225758 - 12/12/05 12:03 PM Re: How to check well pump/pressure tank operation [Re: bilvihur]
Gary_Slusser Offline
Handyman

Registered: 03/15/04
Posts: 729
Loc: Wherever I park the motorhome
But if a filter blocks up, and still passes some water, the pump will not shut off until the switch sees the cut-off setting, and then there will be the proper volume of water in the tank... In the mean time the pressure cming to the filter is way higher than the rating of the plumbing etc..

So, there should never be anything like a valve or filter, that can be shut off or otherwise block up or restric the flow of water, between a pump, especially a submersible pump, and its controlling pressure switch.

That will allow the pump to blow plumbing and fittings because the switch can not see/sense the increased pressure in real time. It's a real concern because that can cause dropping the pump down the well and/or damage the power cable and/or the drop pipe the pump is hung on.

Most submersible pumps have a very high cut off pressure; meaning when they can't move anymore water. I can't recall the term, it may be dead head pressure. It will always be much higher than the switch cut off setting; by in some cases over a hundred pounds higher.

Pressure tanks do not need protection from sediment or visible dirt. So there's no reason for a filter in front of any pressure tank. There is no reason for a shut off valve either. If there is visible dirt in the water, then a spin down etc. type of 'filter' can be used but not those with sizing/rating mesh screens that can block.

Gary
Quality Water Associates

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#225759 - 12/14/05 07:35 AM Re: How to check well pump/pressure tank operation [Re: Gary_Slusser]
bilvihur Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 1576
Loc: Hudson Valley, New York
I see your point, Gary. But I was referring to shallow-well, above ground pump and tank systems. It was easier to fit the filter between the pump and tank, than between tank and house. It seemed like a good idea at the time... And having a ball valve next to it allows me to work on the pump/filter without losing pressure to the house (for a while).
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