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WATER PUMPS, TANKS, TESTS, WELLS, REPAIRS
WATER CONTAMINANT LEVELS
WATER HAMMER NOISE DIAGNOSE & CURE
WATER ODORS, CAUSE CURE
WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE
WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER TANK REPAIR PROCEDURES
WATER TANK: USES, TROUBLESHOOTING
WATER TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT
WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT CHOICES
WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS
WELL FLOW RATE
WELL WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS
WELL YIELD IMPROVEMENT
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
This article describes and identifies the switches, controls, and safety devices used on water tanks and water pumps such as the pump pressure control switch, pump motor relays, water tank relief valve, water tank pressure gauge, water tank air volume control, and water tank air valve.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved. Author Daniel Friedman.
This article uses sketches and photographs to assist in locating and identifying all of the controls and switches found on residential water supply systems including the well, water pressure tank, water pump, and their associated valves and devices. We also provide maintenance and repair and emergency water shutoff tips throughout these descriptions.
Readers of this document should also see Water pump and pressure tank repair diagnosis & cost an specific case which offers an example of diagnosis of loss of water pressure, loss of water, and analyzes the actual repair cost. If your building has water pressure problems, see WELL WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS. Readers whose wells simply run out of water should also see How to Test Well Water Quantity and see How to Get More Water From a Well.
Guide to Identification of the Water System Components Shown in the Page Top Sketch
The page top sketch is expanded by detailed photographs as we explain each of the components and controls of wells, pumps, and water tanks. In our sketch (sorry the author is a technician but not an artist), you can identify the basic components of a private well system (listed next) but as you'll see in our detailed articles and photos which follow, these components are not always located where they're as easy to spot and name as in our drawing.
Detailed descriptions of individual water system parts and controls, valves, switches, pumps, piping, etc., how they work, how to diagnose, repair, or replace them are provided in the remaining chapters of this article and are listed just below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Well Water Pump Controls and Switches
Question: my well pump starts "skipping" (short cycling) at the cut-out pressure.
When my pump reaches the shut off point, it starts skipping......stuttering, then shuts off. I thought maybe the water filter was dirty so I changed it. The pump still stutters. I know ts cannot be good for the points. Any suggestions? Thank you for your time - S.D., Florida
Reply: things to check when the well pump chatters or skips at the top end of the pump pressure cycle
A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds additional clues that help accurately diagnose a problem with a well pump whereas by email our reply may be more of a "guess". That said, here are some things to consider:
Other possible problem sources that cause a pump to chatter or cycle at the end of the pumping cycle:
Let us know what you find - what we learn will help other readers diagnose and fix well and water pump problems.
Question: How to wire up my well pump switch to run when the rainbird water computer turns on
I have a rainbird water computer that I need to switch on a pump at the same time that it opens the electric water tap. Pump uses 220V so I need to get some relays. How do I wire these up? - Godfrey 11/7/11
If you don't have the instructions for your particular Rain-Bird equipment, contact Rain Bird Corporation at 6991 East Southpoint Rd., Tucson, AZ 85756, Tel: (520) 741-6100, or at 970 West Sierra Madre Ave. Azusa, CA 91702, Tel: (626) 812-3400 - the company's online store.rainbird.com provides links to manuals and documents for their equipment.
Question: What size of well pump pressure control switch should I use?
How does one know which pressure switch to use? a 20/40, 30/50, or a 40/60? I have a 30/50 and would like to use a 40/60. Would this damage my system or just give me better water pressure? - Steve B. 5/12/12
Steve. you'd select a water pressure switch among the three choices you list based on a balance between the desired pressure in the home (taller home, long piping runs benefit from higher pressure at the tank), and the capability of your water pump. Typically you can use any of the three without a problem, as long as you make sure that your pump is able to reach the cutoff pressure. If it cannot, but you're close, you can adjust the pressure control switch as needed. A safe bet is the 30/50 switch.
Question: my new water pressure tank came with just a single outlet fitting at the tank bottom - it does not match my old water tank controls and connections - photos of water tank cross unit or "tank tee"
Our photo (at left) shows a water tank cross unit installed on a home in Two Harbors MN. This installation lacks an important safety device - a pressure relief valve. The installer told us he sometimes installs the relief valve inside the well to avoid flooding the building - an unsafe practice because 1. you can't see the valve to know that it is leaking and becoming unsafe and 2. in this case he forgot to do so, leaving this system unprotected.
I am replacing a tank with bad bladder with a new bladder tank. Unbeknownst to me, there is some difference in the set up of the 2 tanks.
The existing tank has the source going directly in the tank (with pressure switch and brass valve inline) and the feed or output is from a separate pipe output fitting in the tank, and the pressure gauge is screwed in another fitting of the tank.
The new tank has only 1 connection at the bottom of the tank, with no separate output fitting or gauge fitting.
Directions with new tank outline using a "tank cross unit"? That shows both the source and feed pipes going into the cross unit which has a pressure switch mounted.
No doubt that scenario allows the use of just the single tank connection for both source and feed. I should mention that I have a deep well submersible pump.
Question - can I use my existing set up and adapt to the single connection new tank by merely placing a tee in that single tank connection and running the source in one end and the feed out the other side of the tee with the 3rd branch of course going into the tank? In additon, "if" I can do that, do I then adapt that pressure gauge in the pipe on the feed side of the tee, or just elimnate it?
Hope I was clear enough and will appreciate any feedback. B.C.
From your description I'm guessing that your tank was sold as a "bare" unit - just the water pressure tank. Other tank assemblies include a brass or bronze tee fitting mounted at that single tank inlet port. The tee, what your instructions call a tank cross unit, incorporates threaded fittings and tappings to accept all of the necessary connections to the water pressure tank: the pressure control switch, pressure relief valve, water inlet from the well, water outlet to the building, a tank drain, and in some cases, a shutoff valve for the line feeding the building.
You can use the new water tank that you have, but you'll need to visit a plumbing supplier to purchase the missing parts.
In our photo at above left as well as in our article above, at WATER PUMP CONTROLS & SWITCHES you can see photographs of the water pressure tank cross unit or water tank tee we are discussing.
You can most likely move over your existing controls and fittings to the new tank cross unit, though in the case of a pressure relief valve and gauge I'd prefer to use new equipment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Questions & answers or comments about how to troubleshoot problems with water pump controls, how to repair or replace pump controls such as pressure control switches, check valves, foot valves, and air volume controls.
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Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.