Everything You Need to Know about Pressure Tanks
It’s important to be aware of the ins and outs of your pressure tank. From how it works to different components, knowing the basics can help you determine when there may be a problem and when you may need to call the pros for some help.
We’re going to take a look at how pressure tanks work as well as the settings you’ll have to check to keep it working properly.
What is a well pressure tank and how does it work?
A well pressure tank maintains the water pressure in the house and protects the life of the well pump. Every time a faucet is turned on, water is demanded from your well. The pressure tanks hold the amount of water to meet the needs of the house before asking the well pump to kick on.
A well pressure tank works by using compressed air to create water pressure. Wells do not have positive pressure on their own. This means that wells need a water storage system that can also create pressured water. This is done using air chambers.
A pressure tank is an important part of any well system. It ensures that your home is always getting enough water. Pressure tanks also protect your pump from short-cycling. If you didn’t have a well tank, the pump would turn on and off every time someone turned the faucet on.
It’s important to take care of your well pressure tank because well pumps can be costly to replace. Keeping up with maintenance and knowing the signs of a problem can prevent you from spending too much down the road.
How should I set my well pressure tank?
Setting your well tank properly is important if you want it to do its job right. You want to set your well tank at 2 psi below the pressure switch cut-on point. This number is going to change spending on your tank’s pressure setting. The majority of well tanks come set at 30/50. This means the cut-on pressure for the well pump is 30 psi. This means the pressure of the tank should be set at 28 psi. If your tank is set on a 40/60 pressure switch, you should set the well tank to 38 psi. It’s easy to figure out as long as you’re aware of your tank’s pressure settings.
You’ll also notice that in both situations, there is a 20 psi separation between the cut-on and cut-off pressure. This should always be the case no matter what the numbers are. If the gap is too large, your well pump will constantly cycle. When the numbers are too close, the tank won’t be able to store enough water to meet your demand. This means the water could stop running all together while you’re doing the dishes or taking a shower.
How to check your well tank’s pressure
The majority will clearly state the pressure setting on the switch. But, if you’re not sure, there’s an easy way to figure it out. When the tank is full, turn on a faucet in your house. As water flowers, the pressure in the tank will gradually decrease. If you notice the pump kicks on at 30 psi, then your tank is likely set at 30/50. If your pump turns on at 40, your switch is probably set to 40/60.
You can double-check this by turning off the faucet and waiting until the well pump turns off. Check the pressure switch to see where it is. This will give you the second number in your setting. Hopefully, they should be 20 psi off for either a 30/50 or 40/60 setting.
How to change the pressure tank settings
If the pressure settings don’t meet your needs, you can change them. Here are some simple steps to follow to get the job done right:
- Drain the tank so there’s no water inside.
- Find your pressure switch and remove the cover
- Use a wrench to adjust the pressure settings. Turning the nut on the switch clockwise will typically raise the pressure while turning it counter-clockwise will reduce it. Consult your owner’s manual to determine if this is the case and if there are two different adjusters or just one that will raise or lower the pressure. Be sure that you’re making the adjustments so that there’s always the 20 psi differential.
- Reset the tank pressure in the well. You need to make sure the pressure of the tank supports the new settings
No matter what you do, never set the cut-off pressure setting above 60 psi. This can lead to pipe damage as well as damage to switches and fittings. Any of this type of damage can lead to very costly repairs. You also never want to set the cut off setting below 20 psi for the same reasons.
Why is water coming out of the air valve?
Water coming out of the air valve is never a good thing. It usually means the bladder in the system has ruptured and that you need to replace your well pressure tank. Over time, the bladder expands and contracts as the pump cycles on and off. This can lead to strain and small leaks in the bladder. These leaks can cause air to escape. Eventually, there will be a total break leading the bladder to fail.
You may have some time on your side because tanks can continue to work for a short time even when the bladder is broken. Eventually, the ruptured bladder will mean you will no longer get water out. Your well pump will cycle on and off rapidly and won’t work. This is why a tank with a ruptured bladder should be fixed right away.
Whether you need a pressure tank replaced or repaired, you can count on A&T Well and Pump to get the job done right. Call us today at 919-291-4063 for more information.