Pressure tank problems

Does your water flow rise and fall while you take a shower?

As a home inspector in the Stillwater area, I inspect a lot of homes that are not connected to a city water supply.

Each home has it’s own well. They usually last a very long time, and require little maintenance, other than changing the water filter.

But problems do arise. Sometimes power is interrupted or pipes freeze, in which case the flow stops.

Other times the flow might start strong, and then slow to a trickle. This is usually the result of a rusty or clogged pipe, or a severely dirty water filter. Try changing the filter.

But sometimes the water flows goes up and down.

Watch a cool video by clicking the link below.

  When the well pump short cycles

If you have a well, you probably have a pressure tank in your basement. It’s usually blue, round and about the size of a small chair.

As the name implies, a pressure tank contains water under pressure. As water is pumped into the tank, it compresses the air in the tank until the pressure reaches a preset level — typically from 40 to 60 pounds per square inch (psi) — which automatically shuts off the pump. When a faucet is opened, the air pressure in the tank forces water through the pipes until the pressure drops to another preset level — usually from 20 to 40 psi — which starts the pump again. A pressure switch starts and stops the pump at the preset pressure levels and allows the system to work automatically.

Neat, huh?

Problems arise when the pipes or valves get plugged with rust and minerals. Or when the tank becomes “waterlogged”, which happens when it’s internal bladder develops a leak.

The cost of having your tank serviced should run around $200.00. Installing a new tank could run as high as $800.00, usually a little less.

Don’t wait, though.

Putting off the repair could severely shorten the life of the well pump, creating a much higher bill. 🙁