Old Pump System Problem

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SR Smith

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I posted here a couple years ago but wasn't able to resolve and now need additional advice for a similar - related - issue.
I have a 32 gallon pressure tank (label picture attached), with 1/2 HP well pump (label picture attached) and a 40/60 pressure switch with cut in set to pre charge of 38. Pump is submersible at 60 feet installed outside about 40 feet from house in 2009 and the tank, switch, and gauge all new in December 2018. As before, the switch cuts in and out at correct set points but the pump/tank set up is short. System stays pressurized at 50 on gauge when there is no water running. Turned on a faucet about 35 feet from tank/gauge/switch set up and pressure began falling. Gets to 38, cuts in and takes about 7 seconds to get to 60 PSI, then about a minute run time to fall to 38. (video attached) So, every time I flush toilet, fill a water jug, or any small call for water, the pump runs in 7 seconds to 60, drops to 38 in about 65 seconds and runs again. Having a shower or even just washing dishes the pump runs multiple times. Any help appreciated.
 

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RS

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It sounds to me like your tank is waterlogged, I would shut of the power to the pump and bleed off all the pressure in the water system and then check the preload on the bladder, assuming you have a bladder tank. Because it's hard to find a tire gauge and a dial gauge that closely agree, the way I check preload is, Run the system up to normal shut-off pressure, once it shuts off turn off the power. Then slowly bleed off the pressure, watch the gauge, and listen for the pressure switch to click. When the switch clicks, the gauge should drop another 2 psi, and then quickly drop to 0. According to the chart I found you should be able to draw a little over 8 gallons of water before the pump starts. Good luck and let us know what you find!
 

GReynolds929

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A 32 gallon pressure is only going to be about 1/3 full of water. It wont take much to run down pressure and cycle 12 gallons of water. There is a device called a cycle stop valve that will help with reducing the number of cycles that occur. @Valveman is the expert on this subject and can explain it much better than I can. Also it would be helpful to have a pic of how the tank and switch are piped.
 

Valveman

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I agree your pressure tank is probably waterlogged. That means the bladder is broken. A 32 gallon size tank only holds about 8 gallons of water. But that should take a 10 GPM pump about 45 seconds to fill. And a 3 GPM shower should run for about 3 minutes before the tank is empty.

Cycling on and off is what causes the diaphragm or bladder in a tank to go bad. Cycling to the bladder is like bending a wire back and forth until it breaks. Since you need a new tank, you should look at the PK1A kit with the 4.5 gallon size tank. That tank only holds 1 gallon of water. But the CSV will keep the pump running and the pressure strong and constant for as long as you are in the shower, even if you shower for a month. It is just as good for a sprinkler system as well. Compared to what you have now, the constant pressure from a CSV would be so much stronger you would not even need soap in the shower. :)
 

SR Smith

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I tried the RS approach to check tank pressure (video attached although I cut off the last couple minutes while the gauge dropped all the way to 0 so file was smaller for upload) Turned off power and opened valve on bottom cross pipe to bleed off pressure and that's the water you hear in the video. Clicked at 38 but hard to tell if it dropped 2 PSI. It fell slowly to 0 over about 2 more minutes.
I have now charged the tank back to 38 with a compressor and the compressor gauge, pump system gauge, and a tire gauge all at 38 so doesn't seem its a bad bladder tank. I've also included a picture of my set up. (It's not usually wet, that's just from the not quite tight hose I connected to black valve at bottom to empty the tank .)
The actual water pressure in the house has always been fine, it's just the rapid cycling that's probably burning out my pump - plus the noise - so wondering if a CSV is the answer. Thanks again to you all.
 

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RS

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Just another note, when you air up the tank you need to have the drain open, otherwise your not preloading the tank properly, if the bladder is ruptured the air should eventually come out the drain after all the water is out. Now, you can use a tank with a ruptured bladder for awhile, if you get all the water out and preload it with air, but it will waterlog again over time. We have a seasonal property where I use an old water heater tank for a pressure tank, I preload it upon start up in the spring and maybe once during the summer, and it works fine all season.
 

Valveman

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If you have 38 PSI air in the tank, with the power to the pump off and a faucet open, pressure should drop slowly to 38, then fall like a rock to zero. If it is falling from 38 to zero slowly, the bladder is probably bad. Sometimes the water gets on top of the diaphragm and cannot get out the in/out fitting. You can still air it up to 38 PSI and it looks good, but doesn't hold much water and still causes a pressure bounce on pump start. If you cannot get about 8 gallons out of that tank as the pressure drops from 60 to 40, the tank is no good.

Like RS says, to air up the tank, turn off the pump and leave a faucet open.
 

SR Smith

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Thanks for your advice and I'm planning to replace the waterlogged tank. I'd like to stick to a pressure tank rather than the CSV for cost though. Getting house ready to sell. So, a few (more) questions:
Can I go up to a 38 gallon tank with my well pump?
That 38 tank is bigger around and wont fit tucked in the corner like in the picture with the 32 that has to go.
Could I use PEX from the grey union in the photo so the tank can be rotated and farther from the wall?
Or could I use a 45 degree pvc elbow but that would have to be before (to the left side) of the grey union and then put a union after the elbow?
Thanks again
 

Valveman

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The CSV is your least expensive option. You won't have any problem with space using the 4.5 gallon size tank and CSV. You can probably buy a 32 gallon tank for a little less than the PK1A kit. But the PK1A kit will make your pump, tank, check valve, pressure switch, and everything else in the system last several times longer than normal. which will save you thousands over the life of your well and pump.
 
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