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WATER PUMPS, TANKS, TESTS, WELLS, REPAIRS
WATER CONSERVATION MEASURES
WATER CONTAMINANT LEVELS
WATER FILTERS, HOME USE
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 CHLORINATION & DISINFECTION
WELL FLOW RATE
WELL WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS
WELL YIELD IMPROVEMENT
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Water pressure tank or water storage tank troubleshooting guide:
This article describes how and why to diagnose problems right at the water tank in order to help distinguish among intermittent water pressure loss, total water pressure loss, and poor water pressure or flow in a building.
The process of water tank troubleshooting starting with simple visual clues is explained.
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How do we diagnose poor water pressure or loss of water pressure in a building, and what are the common causes and repairs for this problem?
This article explains how a bad Water Pressure Tank\s Can Cause Loss of building Water Pressure or No Water at All.
[Click to enlarge any image]
The process of diagnosis and the costs of the repair are explained.
Consumer advice on saving money on well repair costs includes a review of the parts and labor costs of a typical well pump and pressure tank replacement case.
If the building water supply stops and takes minutes to hours to recover, you may have problem with the well flow rate. But the problem of lost water supply and pressure could be more mechanical: a bad well pump.
The well pump, in turn, could have been damaged or hastened to the end of its life by a bad water pressure tank which has caused well pump short-cycling. Short cycling of the pump motor can burn up the pump relay control.
Testing a home water tank: Some plumbers or homeowners check to see if their water tank contains any water by simply "shaking" the water pressure tank. Be careful: moving an empty water tank around can cause plumbing leaks or even a burst pipe. There may be a trick to this but shaking the water pressure tank alone is not going to reliably diagnoses a ruptured bladder in a captive air water tank). Shaking the tank can tell you that the water tank is empty but not why the water tank is empty.
Why is there no water in the tank?: The water tank could be empty simply because you ran all of its water out into the home and the water pump never came on to replenish the water supply. The possible causes of an empty water tank and no water in the home include causes we list in detail just below:
What are the Causes of Low or Poor Water Pressure or Loss of Water Pressure in a Building?
Bad water pressure control switch (pump does not run, pump does not respond to changes in water pressure, pump won't shut off) a failing pressure control switch on the water pump - perhaps the switch is not turning on the pump.
This can be checked by manually closing the pump relay - DON'T TRY THIS YOURSELF - SHOCK HAZARD - unless you are qualified and trained. Pressure Control Switch problems are discussed further
Also be sure to
Bad water pressure regulator: (poor municipal water pressure) if the building is connected to a municipal water supply there may be a water pressure regulator installed, usually close to the water meter or where the water supply pipe enters the building.
Bad water tank: (pump cycling on and off or "short cycling water pump") where buildings use a private pump and well and on some buildings with poor municipal water supply quantity or pressure, a water pressure tank is installed.
Loss of water pump or well pump prime (pump runs but no water is delivered) in an in-building pump, or an internal pump failure such as broken vanes - the pump motor runs but no water is delivered. An in-building pump could also run and no water be delivered if the well has run dry.
Here are The Key Water Tank Diagnostic Articles
If you have no water pressure at all, see NO WATER PRESSURE
If your water pressure is intermittent, starts and stops, or varies in pressure, see WATER PRESSURE INTERMITTENT LOSS
Is there some water pressure but the pressure and/or flow are poor?
Continue reading at WATER TANK REPAIR PROCEDURES or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
Or see WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: I suspect that there is a setting mismatch between the pressure switch and the pressure in the tank
(June 4, 2011) jim said:
This series of aritcles talks about everythinh except what I need to know. I changed the switch, but now I suspect that there is a setting mismatch between the pressure switch and the pressure in the tank. I need to know how to check the system to make sure the the pressure in the tank is correct for a new pressure switch pressure setting?
The pressure gauge on your well pump and tank system is giving you the water pressure and also the air pressure in your water tank. When the pump stops running, the pressure on the gauge is the static water pressure in the system; at that point, the air pressure in the water tank will be at exactly the same psi.
If you want to make an INDEPENDENT check on water pressure (and thus in-tank air pressure) in your system in case your installed water pressure gauge might be broken or inaccurate, it's easy to do. You can buy or make a water pressure gauge that connects to a hose faucet hookup such as is found at the water tank drain or at a nearby laundry sink faucet or outdoor hose bib.
If you click on WATER PRESSURE & FLOW MEASUREMENT (see article links at page left) you can see how to buy and use a water pressure gauge on your plumbing system.
If you need to adjust the air pressure in your water tank, see WATER TANK BLADDER PRESSURE ADJUSTMENT which is also among the links shown above at page left or in More Reading - links above.
Question: my well pump short cycles
(Sept 7, 2011) Larry Hunter said:
my well pump short cycles. goes up to 58 lbs of pressure, shuts off, then drops to 38 lbs and comes back on. We were without power for 8 days due to hurricane Irene. This problem did not occur before loss of power.
Larry my first suspicion is that you've got a leaky check valve or foot valve. It may have always been there but could have gotten worse from mud and debris stirred up in a well by floodwaters. If the system loses pressure after the pump shuts off and you are dead sure there is NO water running in the house, I suspect water is running back down into the well (bad foot valve or check valve).
Larry it's also possible that your water pressure tank has lost its air charge; I'd check on that second; you can of course try replacing the pressure switch on the theory that it got wet or corroded during its idle time.
Question: should the pressure tank be empty?
(Dec 9, 2011) Gerry said:
I have a jet pump that has performed normally for about 5 years. Recently the breaker switch on the electrical supply panel has started to kick off when the pump is runing (toilet flush or when water softener is cycling) Loss of power occurs only intermittently. While the pump performs normally, I have replaced the pressure control switch, cleaned the pressure switch feed line and switch diaphram, checked for silt inside the pump body and around the impeller, and replaced the electrical breaker. There have been no changes recently to the total load on the electrical circuit. What other difficulties would cause the electrical/pump failure?
(Sept 1, 2012) herman said:
intermitten water flow and water comes out whenthe bladder air valve is press
(Mar 8, 2014) Allen Ravenscraft said:
My system consists of a inground well pump then a pressure switch and pressure tank going into an airator tank. From there a pump in the airator tank sends the water past another pressure switch and pressure tank to a softener system and to the house. The well pressure tank doesn't seem to store any water while the tank going to the house does. Is this normal? My neighbor has the exact system and his well pressure tank also remains empty. Also what is the purpose of the well pressure tank because the main well pump is controlled by a water level arm in the airator tank? Thanks.
I just realized what the purpose of the well pressure tank is. It's there to operate the sprinkler system and the hose bibs that are on the well side of my system. Sorry, it was late, but I'm still at a loss as to why that pressure tank is always empty and doesn't store water like the house pressure tank does.
pressure tanks are there to smooth the delivery of water as the pump cycles on and off; if a tank is always empty it may be an internal bladder type with a collapsed, stuck-to-itself bladder. The tank is NOT normally empty.
(Mar 12, 2014) Allen Ravenscraft said:
My system is working OK for now. I found out that the pressure switch for the well pressure tank is a 30/50 psi and the house pressure switch is 40/60 which is a normal set up for homes in my area in Florida. I’m not sure why though. So I drained the whole system and tanks then set one at 28 and the other at 38 psi. The well tank filled with small amount of water but the house tank didn’t. I reduced the house tank to 30 psi and then it also took in a small amount of water. I don’t think either tank has its maximum amount of water in them, but the system is operating normal now so I’m going to leave everything as it is. Thank you for your help.
Thanks for the follow-up Allen, though it's confusing to me. I'm not familiar with water delivery systems using two different pressure switches. A pressure control switch turns a pump on and off in response to water pressure. It would be a conundrum to install multiple switches all controlling a single pump. Perhaps your system uses a different design with multiple tanks and a booster pump and tank at the building?
(June 9, 2014) Anonymous said:
Water was coming out of boring pump. But motor was unable to pump ground water to tank. Replaced new washers. Not able to find fault. It is troubling us from very long.
(Sept 16, 2014) Dave Beynon said:
When i check the PSI valve on the top of the water tank, water shoots out of the valve. Is the tank shoot?
Dave, as my good friend Mark Cramer (Tampa FL) says, "It Depends ..."
If the water tank is one that uses an internal bladder, then yes the bladder has burst and needs replacement - or replace the whole tank assembly.
If the water tank is one that does NOT use an internal bladder then the tank is waterlogged.
(Sept 17, 2014) Dave Beynon said:
Thanks Dan, it has an internal bladder. Time for a new tank.
Question: filament looking something clogging screen strainers
(Oct 1, 2014) Mike said:
we have a water pressure tank, we have a submersible pump in well. We are having problems with a filament looking something clogging screen strainers on washing machines and water faucets. Where could this be coming from. We suspect it might be fiberglass residue, accordiung to local hardware guy.
I've seen white debris clogging faucet strainers and shower heads when a plastic dip tube in the water heater was disintegrating.
(Nov 3, 2014) Anonymous said:
continuous of and on every 2 seconds
Anon in the More Reading Links above please see the artitcle titled
WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING
Question: not getting enough water from the pressure tank - small draw-down volume
(Nov 9, 2014) Ron said:
Is the tank waterlogged?
(Nov 13, 2014) Ron Burton said:
Question: whistling water tank
(Nov 24, 2014) Rusty said:
Rusty often a whistling noise at a water tank is caused by vibration in piping at the tank or at its entry point. Slightly closing a supply valve may stop it. More details are at
Question: pressure switch drops quickly to zero
(Jan 12, 2015) Linda said:
The switch approaches the 50psi then drops to about 30psi at which time it drops quickly to zero. We are not drawing any water in the house and he has to use the low pressure switch lever to get the reading back up to 50psi, but he doesn't feel like any water is going into the tank. He has double checked the main water valve and the electrical connections since it was all replaced today but he has no idea what to do. Can you make any suggestions?
From your description I don't quite understand what's happening either.
If no water were entering the pressure tank I'd expect the pump to short-cycle on and off rather rapidly.
If the new water tank was not properly charged the pump might also short cycle: it's starting pressure when empty should be 2 psi below the pump cut-in pressure.
If the pressure control switch is what's acting erratically I'd replace both the switch and any connecting tubing as I suspect there is clogging that's keeping the switch from properly sensing water pressure.
Question: pump kicks on but pressure still drops with no water running in the house
31 Jan 2015 David said:
If the pump runs and pressure continues to drop it sounds as if there is a piping leak, a failing pump, or loss of water in the well.
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