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BLADDER PRESSURE TANKS

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brokenarrow
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1288 Wisconsin
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2004-12-07          101805


I got one for you guys. I will try to explain what happened and what it is doing now, maybe you can come up with a answer for me?
My dad passed on this year and he was my next door neighbor. We shared a well. The electric was run off his service. He has about a 80 gallon standard pressure tank and farther up in his system before it goes thru his house he also has around a 30 gallon Bladder type pressure tank only around 1 1/2 years old. My house has a 7 year old bladder type pressure tank in it. It is a 42 gallon (or so, cant rememeber exactly but it is close to that) Anyway I switched the electric, so I controll the power to the well pump and the pressure switch (Since the well is on my land I want to make sure I controll the electric to the pump, ya never lnow who will move into the next door hoose in the future) All went well except when I was installing the new pressure switch to a 40-60psi from a 30-50, my father-in-law wanted to help and insisted we use galv. pipe. At the time I was very buisy with everything else going on and did not want to slap him in the face so I agreed. Low and behold it still has a very small leak not even 1 gallon a week. Anyway since then I have noticed a big change in my water service. When taking a shower, about every 30 seconds or so the the water will get either hotter or colder then go back to the other temp. It is almost like it is when the well pump kicks in.
I noticed that the well pump will kick in very often like within 2-3 gallons of use or less. I just watched the pressure gauge a few min. ago. It turns on when it drops to 38psi (perfect) and pumps up to around 58-59 and shuts off. Imediately (and I mean right when it stops pumping ) it drops drastically to 48. (And I do mean the second the pump stops) All the time while pumping the gauge is bouncing up and down and never smooth. I got a bit pissed off and just bought a 82 gallon bladder pressure tank (thinking I could use a larger capacity anyway, it is not supposed to kick the pump on till 8-9 gallons are used) I am going to install it with plastic (pvc) pressure pipe tomarroo (like I wanted in the first place since it is legal here and it is the choice of many plumbers now). Why do you think this is happening? Could it be that minor leak is losing the pressure that quick? Could my bladder be busted in the 7 year old tank? Any suggestions will be helpfull for me to understand this
Thanks Tom

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2004-12-08          101824


Tom; Sounds like you have a classic case of a ruptured bladder in the pressuer tank. All the bladdere really does is keep air seperate from the water which will over time absorb the air in the tank till you're almost completely filling the tank with water not leaving enough room fo much air to provide you with stored pressure between pump cycles. I haven't had this happen in quite a while so perhaps they make the bladder out of better stuff now, we used to go thru a tank every two or three years. So if you've gone 7 yeare on one tank that isn't bad, they do wear out. Best of luck. Frank. ....

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AnnBrush
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 462 Troy OH
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2004-12-08          101882


I agree with Hardwood, my money is on the pressure tank having a ruptured diaphram. You can test this by letting some of the air out of the tank on the "air only" side while the unit is working at the high pressure end of the scale usually at a tire valve, if any water comes out you have a ruptured bladder. ....

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brokenarrow
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1288 Wisconsin
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2004-12-08          101889


Ann, Hardwood
Thanks for the input. With so much happening to my system at one time (all the changes) I was confused and had lost direction. The ruptured bladder was one of my concerns and I think you both are correct that is must be that. All the symptoms seem to lead to that so I will replace it this weekend. I am sure having a much larger tank will also help even more to lessen the times the pump needs to turn on. I will let ya all know how this turns out next week.
Thanks again
Tom ....

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brokenarrow
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1288 Wisconsin
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2006-03-27          126749


The new tank in my house worked out fine.
I have anouther tank problem!
Give me your best suggestions, This is at my place up north.
At the cabin I have a bathroom sink, a kitchen sink and a shower. I have a 20 gallon pressure tank set up with a drain spicket that also doubles as a hose end outlet (run thru the window to wash the tractor) While washing the tractor last fall the water just stopped. About 4 min. later I had pressure again and plenty of water. After about 3-6 minutes it would run down to a trickle and stop again. I did not investigate this. Then last winter my son told me that, "the water just stopped while taking his shower" Of course he did not tell me this till after the weekend at the cabin. LOL. Well I just got back from the cabin and I have the tank and fittings in my truck! While using the water (actually flushing the toilet) The water ran out and stopped. I was prepaired this time. I pumped air into the tank, (up to 45 psi) Still, no water pressure (all the way down to zero on the pressure gauge attatched to the tank) Pressure was in the tank though?
The pump from the well was NOT kicking on either? So I am pissed and decide to go get a coffee at the gas station. I get back and there is pressure and water again. As soon as I run the water from the tank, there is NO pressure again? Pump is not kicking on? I rap on the sides of the tank and the steel tube holding the pressue switch ,,, still nothing>? About 20 min. later I come back in the house<,, Pressure again??? Run it out and again nothing. I unhooked the whole damm thing and took it home with me.
Where should I start? Do you think it could be the tank ? I was leaning towards maybe some calcium or iron build up in the pressure switch NOT allowing it to activate??? What do you all think? Should I replace everything and call it a game?
Thanks ....

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harvey
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1539 Moravia, NY
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2006-03-28          126751


Hopefully you have the section of pipe that runs to the pressure switch from the main line.

Look at that pipe, look in the diaphram/switch section.

Sounds like some thing small and loose: Rust, scale, could be anything. As pressure releives this will hold the pressure on the switch.

Then you will know how far to go replacing it. You'll probably have to replace both anyway but look first. ....

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2006-03-28          126769


It sounds like something is holding the points apart on the low side of the pressure switch. Do you thing your son fiddled with it? Like Harvey suggested it could be a restriction on the pressure tube. More likely rust in the switch. ....

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BLADDER PRESSURE TANKS

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wingwiper
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 676
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2006-03-28          126775


Sounds to me as if your feed line is above the static line and when the water replenishes up to the point of the feed you have water again. You might check your well and if it is the Cesturn type look down and see how far down the feed line is in the water, if it is just a inch or two you may want to add an extension. Your recovery rate may have dropped or you also may have a lak just below water level and when the water drops below the leak you are sucking air.


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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5223 South Carolina
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2006-03-28          126795


Have about a motor that is having a hard time to start? Could it have a bad switch in the motor or if it has a starting capacitor it could be bad or you could have ants or such that have built home in there making it hard or slow to start.

Let the pressure run down and listen. If you place your hand on the motor you may feel it trying and clicking off due to overload switch kicking off a few times.

If the motor is not trying to start up right when the pressure drops look at the earlier suggestions. That should be a sign the power is not going to it as quick as it should. I think it was mentioned but look for something such as pitted points or ants on the points of the pressure switch.
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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5223 South Carolina
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2006-03-28          126796


Sorry for the late thought.

Take the cover off of the pressure switch. Have some one else run the pressure down. You should see the points come together and hear them click and the motor start all within milliseconds of each other. The pressure should show some sign of either stablizing or increasing very quickly also.

If the motor is running fine and the water level is low and giving the pump a while to run with no water pumping just keep listening. If the motor is running with no load (not pumping) it will be a very fine hum and you probably can tell it is running without a load. The sound will change if and when it is pumping water. You will probably hear the water and the motor picking up load.

I think this would give you clear direction for problem. Of course the best time to work on water pump is when you are dirty and sweating and no water to wash with. The next best time is when it is cold as a well driller's rear end. There is a reason for that saying.



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wingwiper
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 676
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2006-03-28          126798


geez!
I just now noticed that the first post was in December of 2004.

Well what was the problem??? I know after 15 months you must have fixed it. Was it a Leak in the main feed line at the well, so when the water leveled dropped below the leak, it then sucked air and not water and you had to wait for the water level to recover???? ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5223 South Carolina
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2006-03-28          126801


WW,
I think he fixed his first problem and on 3/27 posted another problem.

....

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brokenarrow
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1288 Wisconsin
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2006-03-28          126808


Yes, the first post in this thread was from a long time ago. In that one,,, I had a bad bladder so I replaced the whole thing with a 82 (or 86) gallon new bladder tank. Been working fine ever since and the pump kicks on less frequently with the larger tank (that tank supply's two houses, although one of the houses has only one lady living in it. Thank you for all that help with that problem!

The new problem (I kept it in the same thread to not keep making new ones) Is on my well at my other house in Northern Wisconsin. My wife say's if I dont have a shower running for her when she gets there on Easter, that I WILL be putting her up in a hotel for those 5 days! (And I thought she grew up on a farm>>???) Anyway's I am holding out hope for the chunk idea in the pressure switch. I was thinking that may be the cause. Since I only had 6 hours till I had to leave and drive 312 miles home that day, I decided to pull the whole damm thing out and take it home with me!! LOL. (Ill be dammed if I will put her up in a hotel just cause there is no water!!!) I will check the gauge and the pipe leading to it tonight.
Do you all think I should just go ahead and replace the tank also? A new replacement tank is only $89 right now on sale? The old tank is 5 years old and it is used infrequently,? ALSO I do have alot of seditment (or rust) in the water when I first get up to the cabin every year Thanks ....

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harvey
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1539 Moravia, NY
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2006-03-29          126816


1 night in a motel will cover the cost of all new parts. 1 five day vacation with the signifacant other whinning the whole time shoud be worth 2-3 new systems plus a plumber to do the work.

I would not just up and replace the tank. BUT if it is all out it makes sense to replace it. One less problem next year.

With your water quality in the spring I would check the pipes from the well also. Are they steel? How old? It might justify a trip later this summer to install plastic. ....

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brokenarrow
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1288 Wisconsin
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2006-04-08          127425


Harvey,,, I love you man!!! LOL. My kind of thinking and I am still >Laughing Out Loud< at your comments about hotel prices.
I am at my other residence atleast (on average) once a month. My father-in-law is fit to be tied by me replacing the 4 year old tank (actually its closer to five than four). Its on sale right now for $under 85 bucks, I thought it was a no brainer? At closer look to the "points" of contacts I see a small amount of buildup where they are suppose to touch each other. Maybe if I was a bit "quicker" I would of checked this while it was still hooked up. Just a few swipes with some emery may of cleared up my problem,,, but then again, maybe not? I will never know now, but in the future I will check the contact points first! Tomarrow, I am putting together the new system. (I have all plastic pipes in the house) I learned along time ago that a house you own in an area of the country that gets down to minus 20 deg. (often in the winter) is much easier to fix broken pipes if they are plastic. My furnace has never when on the blink while I was away. (I keep it heated year round) But I know all it would take would be a power failure for a day or so and any water left in the pipes would make a mess. I dont drain the system when I leave (completely). I just run the water out of the lines and what ever is still hangin in there is what is there. I am back and forth so many times a winter that I feel replacing pipes once in ahile would be alot less work than trying to blow out the whole damm thing (sometimes) two to three times a month.

I have anouther question. In my local home I switched my pressure tank, On this tank I put in pvc coming out of it along with all its hook ups (gauge,shut off etc). I have had no problems with this. Does anyone see a problem with using pvc with the pressure tanks? (Dont worry about "code" I dont! Atleast not when it comes to something like this. ....

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BLADDER PRESSURE TANKS

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harvey
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1539 Moravia, NY
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2006-04-09          127429


I use plastic/pvc on evrything. All the air in my shop is pvc. Lots easier to fix. Out and in the pressure tank or up to the octupuss looking fitting it's all black plastic.

Neighbor burned his house down sweating copper. Copper looks purty when done by a professional. If I could afford a pro I'd do it if I could wait for them to find time in their schedules.

I only have a guy with a little knowledge about alot of things trying to keep all of the systems working and maintained around here. He does almost all of it and sometimes it ain't purty but it works. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5223 South Carolina
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2006-04-10          127460


PVC and Code,

Funny how it is not allowed on air lines, which I think operate well within the limit of the PVC range.

A plumbing supply dealer told me the reason is with air, PVC can explode throwing material as a bomb. Found that hard to believe until last summer under hot metal roof...a joint blew. Glad no one was in the shop or under the shed where the line blew back to. Yep, I put back PVC, but it is almost totally covered by wood.

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wingwiper
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 676
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2006-04-10          127488


Another problem is someone going into your home/shop and start to work on a pipe they feel is just a water pipe and having it explode in their faces because they weren't expecting Propane or compressed air to be in a PVC pipe.
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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5223 South Carolina
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2006-04-10          127494


I don't beleive I would run any type of fuel in a PVC or any other type of line that could burn. Boy what a shock it would be when melted.

I have know of plastic water line putting out fire that was started on purpose. Seems the homeowner was not that smart to know it would melt. Got to love it. ....

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wingwiper
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 676
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2006-04-10          127496


KT

I would not either, I was replying to Harvey who said he used PVC for EVERYTHING. Trying to give him a heads up on how dangerous that could be and how he could open himself up to a lawsuit if he called in for service and someone who had no clue he was using PVC for everything, got injured working on what he thought was a water pipe or a drain pipe even....... ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5223 South Carolina
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2006-04-10          127500


WW,

You bring up a good point. I wonder how you should indicate or warn for such as a fuel line. If it the dedicated type material that does to the trained person. But galvanized pipe can be used for water, air or gases. Also black pipe is used for air and gases. I think either is fine by code but either way know both are done with the metal pipe.

I don't think the rigid copper is used for anything other than water but copper tubing is used for propane and natural gas and water lines in slabs.

A QUICK WARNING. It is not normal in my part of the world but in some areas the water lines were used for an electric ground connection. If you break the metal pipe with PVC you need to take care of the ground circuit. ....

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