Air in Water Lines Only first thing in the Morning

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Guffey31

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Greetings all......I share an artesian well with my next door neighbor. For maybe a year now I’ve noticed we have air in our water lines EVERY morning. We have a 2 story home with the master suite the only thing upstairs. I get out of bed, start the shower to get the hot water coming and hit the head. When I flush.....Huge gush of air and then realize the shower is sputtering as well. After that...For the rest of the day all good. Next morning same thing. Ive not been able to find any water leaks. Like a dummy I realize as I am writing this, Ive not gone downstairs to check the water line status there. Ill do that tomorrow morning and report back.

As I say, I share an artesian well with my neighbor and they do not have any issues at all. I’m not a plumber but pretty handy (aircraft mechanic) and neither I nor the couple plumbers I have talked to have been able to sort it out.

Any ideas??

Many thanks in advance!!

Jerry
 

Geofd

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I'm not a well person, but we had a similar problem at work, only one sink at the end of the run, we installed something called a spirovent it separates air and water, so far the problem has not come back spirovent is a brand so you should be able to look it up
 

JG plumbing

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A spirovent captures tiny bubbles entrained in the water. It spits out the air and let's water keep going. It's mainly for hydronics. I'm not sure you want to try this until you figure out where the air is coming from, as it may not work, and they are expensive.
 

anticlmatic

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Check your well tank. There's a giant air bladder in there that might have ruptured and sent bubbles into your water. There should be a tire gauge like port on it somewhere. Give it the smallest push (bladders need a very particular amount of air pressure) and see if water or air squirts out. If water, have replaced before the well pump goes out.
 

JG plumbing

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Depending on the orientation of the tank you may not be able to tell if the bladder is leaking either.

Air is a tough one, especially with a Well. You have to carefully go over every portion of your system the positive pressure side and the negative pressure side (which is way more difficult). Yes check the air, but I think i would disconnect the tank and see if the problem persists. You may have other problems if you do this but it's temporary and your doing it to narrow things down. It can be a confusing thing and take quite a few orientations of your system to find the problem.
 

Guffey31

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Thanks Guys! So I checked for air/water at the bladder tank.....Neither came out. Placard says factory set to 40psi.....I juiced it to 45, waited a half and checked it. Still at 45 and only released air when pressing the valve core. As I had stated in the beginning my neighbor and I share an artesian well (under its own pressure, no lift pump). My neighbor has maybe a 20 meter run from the well head to his house and I’m about 100-125 meters. He has a big @$$ bladder tank likely around 30 gallons or more and mine is only maybe 1.5-2 gallons. I stopped into local ACE and looking at their bladder tanks there is a warning placard up stating to determine the proper size tank first before purchasing and by that I should have a MUCH larger tank. Does it real make that much difference? I can wait for tomorrow morning to see if charging the tank has made a difference. Thanks again for the pointers! Sure appreciate the help.
jerry
 

Ferdinand

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The bigger the better as far as bladder tanks are concerned. The rubber bladder in the tank seals the space between the water in the tank and the air trapped above it. As water is pumped into the tank it compresses the air. That's the pressure you see on your gauge. When you open a faucet, it's this air pressure that forces the water up the lines. Water runs until the pressure drops sufficiently to trigger the pump to run again. If there is not enough air contained above the bladder, or the tank is just too small, it means your pump will run more frequently. If there's a leak in the bladder, or in the valve core, allowing air to dissolve into the water or to escape from the valve, eventually the tank will fill entirely with water, no air. In that case the tank stores next to no reserve pressure and the pump will constantly stop and start every time you open any faucet. Bigger tanks are good because they hold the air pressure longer. The pump runs longer to refill the larger tank, but it will run much less frequently. Pumps draw a lot of current at start up, but not so much while running.
 

Ferdinand

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As for air in the lines, we had a new water heater installed and every morning there was air burping out of the hot water line (never in the cold). No water leaking out anywhere. How is air getting in? It turns out the magnesium anode rod in the new water heater reacts with the salt from our water softener system. Replacing with an aluminum anode (as suggested in the fine print of the water heater manual) totally cured that issue.
 

Guffey31

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Thanks for that good explanation of the bladder tank.
so still air in the lines this morning but not near so much.
min going to look i to that anode rod. I did replace the hot water heater almost 2 yrs ago and we do have a water softener. Could be a contributing factor at least. I will also invest in a much bigger bladder tank. I’ll keep updating here until I get it figured out.
thanks again to everyone for their input.
 

Ferdinand

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When adding air to the bladder tank the tank should first be drained of water. The pressure switch that turns the pump on/off ranges let's say for example between 30-50psi. The pump turns on when the pressure drops below 30 psi, and turns off once it reaches 50 psi. If you add too much air pressure into the tank and then open a faucet until all the water runs out and you still have more than 30 psi pressure left in the tank, the pump would never turn on, eh.

I like this guy's videos. Ben has lots of great electrical wiring videos, but he gives a good explanation for the pressure tank too.

My issue with the magnesium anode in our new water heater was solved six months after its installation. The magnesium anode showed an astoundng amount of corrosion in that short time. See my previous post @ photos:
www.plumbingforums.com/threads/air-in-hot-water-heater.14268/

How would I even know whether the anode in my heater was magnesium? It turns out it says so right in the instruction manual. But how was I supposed to know I needed to read that first? D'oh! The manual explicitly warned against using this heater in conjunction with a water softener system, unless its magnesium anode was first swapped to an aluminum anode. :cool:

If yours is suffering the same problem at 2 years old already there's probably nothing left of the anode if it was magnesium. So I'm less confident in this diagnosis. Your situation may well have nothing at all to do with the water heater. It's just one idea. Is there air in your cold water lines too? Air was only in our hot water line, and that problem didn't exist before the new water heater was installed. It only took me six months to figure it out. :)
 

JG plumbing

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Is it possible your neighbor is using a pump of some sort or large amounts of water?
 

Valveman

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Even Artesian wells need a pump. There is most likely a submersible pump in the well or you would not have any pressure and would not need a pressure tank. You most likely have a leak in the drop pipe down the well to the pump. There is also probably a check valve just before the first pressure tank. That check valve should be removed or gutted so it can't work. That extra and un-needed check valve causes water hammer which could cause the hole in the pipe, and it also mask the problem of a leak. After removing the above ground check valve, if the pressure drops when no water is being used, it confirms a leak down the well pipe, which is where the air is coming from. Probably a small leak as it has to be off for a long time (over night) before enough air gets in to cause a problem.

Your pressure tank(s) have nothing to do with the air problem. Adding a larger pressure tank was something we did 30 years ago. But larger pressure tanks just slow down the pump cycling, they don't eliminate cycling. Larger pressure tanks also work as additional demand on the pump and make the pressure lower for longer times. A room full of huge pressure tanks can't eliminate the cycling and deliver strong constant pressure like a Cycle Stop Valve and small tank can do. Large tanks are also expensive. Save your money and have better pressure by using a 4.5 or 10 gallon size pressure tank with a CSV as comes in the PK1A kits.

 

JG plumbing

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Even Artesian wells need a pump. There is most likely a submersible pump in the well or you would not have any pressure and would not need a pressure tank. You most likely have a leak in the drop pipe down the well to the pump. There is also probably a check valve just before the first pressure tank. That check valve should be removed or gutted so it can't work. That extra and un-needed check valve causes water hammer which could cause the hole in the pipe, and it also mask the problem of a leak. After removing the above ground check valve, if the pressure drops when no water is being used, it confirms a leak down the well pipe, which is where the air is coming from. Probably a small leak as it has to be off for a long time (over night) before enough air gets in to cause a problem.

Your pressure tank(s) have nothing to do with the air problem. Adding a larger pressure tank was something we did 30 years ago. But larger pressure tanks just slow down the pump cycling, they don't eliminate cycling. Larger pressure tanks also work as additional demand on the pump and make the pressure lower for longer times. A room full of huge pressure tanks can't eliminate the cycling and deliver strong constant pressure like a Cycle Stop Valve and small tank can do. Large tanks are also expensive. Save your money and have better pressure by using a 4.5 or 10 gallon size pressure tank with a CSV as comes in the PK1A kits.

I was waiting for you to say this. Lol
 

PerplexedPlumber

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Is there a point in the water system such as a hydrant that is lower in elevation than the pressure tank and where someone may be running a large amount of water at times?
 

Ferdinand

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[...] A room full of huge pressure tanks can't eliminate the cycling and deliver strong constant pressure like a Cycle Stop Valve and small tank can do. Large tanks are also expensive. Save your money and have better pressure by using a 4.5 or 10 gallon size pressure tank with a CSV as comes in the PK1A kits.
Wow, I learn something new every day. :) Obviously, I'm not a qualified plumber, just a dumb home owner. But I do like to learn new stuff like this.
We sure could have used a Cycle Stop Valve at our previous cottage. That seems like the perfect cure.

I still don't understand though. Does this valve adjust to maintain a constant ouput pressure by physically throttling the amount of flow coming from the pump? I mean, it's not electrically varying the running speed of the pump itself, right? Where does the excess backpressure go?
 

JG plumbing

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I'm not the expert that valveman is, but there's a small tank that goes with it. The backpressure is cushioned by that, and it's pushing back against the pump which doesn't hurt the pump. Yes it's throttling the line physically, it's not a vfd. A vfd slows the motor electronically. At least that's how I understand it.

I'm sure he'll direct you to one of his other long posts where he explains this. Or correct this explanation if it's not accurate.

I'm a plumber and I never heard about these either. People who specialize in wells aren't necessarily plumbers. In my state it's a separate thing that one can get a license for.
 

Twowaxhack

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The cycle stop valve allows the pump to match demand without cycling on and off.

The pumps amp draw will fluctuate based off demand.
 

Ferdinand

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The cycle stop valve allows the pump to match demand without cycling on and off.
The pumps amp draw will fluctuate based off demand.
I'm just not understanding how it does that. The pump has just a simple on/off switch, no? It's either running or not.

I'm picturing the CSV valve acting sort of like a faucet that automatically restricts the flow. The valve opens proportionally to let more or less flow through as demanded to maintain a constant pressure downstream. That's cool. But as the valve pinches more closed, what's happening to the flow from the pump that now has nowhere to go?

Maybe I'm just not understanding how pumps work. I guess it's not a positive displacement pump, for example a piston moving up and down in a cylinder. The piston moves down to inhale a certain volume from the well, then the piston moves up to drive that volume up the pipe. If you squeeze off the flow with a CSV, that piston has to work harder to squeeze any water past the restriction. The back pressure is forcing the pump motor to run slower. Electric motors don't like being forced to a slower than normal running speed. Wouldn't it use MORE amperage then, because it's working harder trying to run at its normal fast speed? And unless there's some sort of blowoff valve somewhere in the well pipe, where does all that excess back pressure go?

It's hurting my head trying to picture this. If the pump is free to run unrestricted, pumping at full volume, it would be drawing a certain amperage. But if you gradually choke off the flow, forcing the pump to work harder against an increasing back-pressure with nowhere for the water to go, wouldn't that be drawing even more amperage until the pump overheats or the well pipe splits?

I can see how it would work if the CSV valve electrically controls and varies the power going to the pump making it run slower or faster, but how does it work with a purely mechanical valve that restricts the flow rate to increase back pressure to the pump?

I'm missing something here. And I'm sure I'll be suitably embarrassed when the really simple answer is explained to me.
 

JG plumbing

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It doesn't control it electronically that's a vfd.

It does it by choking the flow. The motor and the pump are the two distinctions. The motor doesn't get choked the pump does. It's not working harder against ever increasing back pressure. And it's not a piston pump.
 
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