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  • Fluctuating Water Pressure

    Trying to help my Dad with an issue, water pressure fluctuates, so I checked the pressure switch, it was somewhat clogged so I cleaned out the water inlet, reinstalled it and no real change. The pressure gauge was inoperative, so I had no way to check and decided to purchase a new pressure switch and gauge. Installed them both and now I can read the pressure but there seems to be no change in the ability for the system to hold a steady pressure. What the system is, is a well pump at the well, comes into the basement and into a fitting with the pressure switch mounted to it along with a shrader fitting and the pressure gauge. From there it branches out with one line to a 30 gallon tank and the other way to the house system. The tank is a galvanized unit, no idea if it has a bladder. The issue, when water is turned on at faucet, it flows fine, but pressure rises and falls as the pressure switch makes and breaks contact. I can adjust it somewhat with the cut-in but not to a point where it is steady pressure when running. The pressure will rise to 70 and then fall to 35 in a matter of3-5 seconds when calling for a low flow, and rise and fall a little quicker when calling for a higher flow. If I open the faucet/drain at the tank fully however, the system is not satisfied and will not shut off at all, or until I start closing the faucet. Any ideas?

  • #2
    If I am under standing what your saying that the well is clicking on and off rapidly,

    normally that is an indication your pressure tank is water logged and needs air, the pressure tank needs air, and if it does not have a bladder in it I would replace it with a bladder tank,
    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
    attributed to Samuel Johnson
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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    • #3
      Thanks BHD, to put air in it, should I drain the tank and introduce the air or leave the tank as is and put in air. Could a clogged/blocked line to the tank cause the same situation? Any idea what air pressures, minimum and maximum to try? As I recall there is no valve on the tank for air in, only at the fitting where the pressure switch is, if I put air into that port, would in not be pressurizing the whole system?

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      • #4
        I think the pressure should be two pounds below kick in pressure, (on a bladder tank).

        the problem is the no bladder tanks will only a fraction of the capacity as the bladder tanks, and the air will diffuse into the water,

        it has been over 30/40 years since, I have had a non bladder tank, the way I remember doing it was to open up a faucet and add the air, the problem is with out a bladder, there is no way to keep the air in the tank, besides gravity and water pressure, if you have a power outage or the pressure switch is sticky, you can go to 0 pressure and at that time all the air will come out of the tank as well, thus when it build back up with water pressure there is nearly no air left in the tank,
        and even when working normally it will only retain air pressure of the lower setting, as if it is higher the air will escape in to the water line and limit it self to the lower setting of the pressure switch, and the tank will be only air, until it builds up pressure compressing the air and that is what gives you the even flow of water, is the give and take in the pressure tank, (just like a water tower) but instead of height (which results in pressure approximately .43 pounds per foot of height) your using compressed air,

        but you will need to open up a faucet, to let some water out of the system to get air in, as most likely there is little if any place for it to go now, (normally there is a vale on the tank to put air in the tank), but if there only the one on the switch area, I guess you will have to try that,

        you will still have some pressure fluxuation the difference from the low kick on and the high shut off, but it should be a gradual difference not rapid high lows,

        Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
        attributed to Samuel Johnson
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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        • #5
          The schrader indicates that you have (had) an air making system. When the pump turns off, the check valve the schrader is screwed into stops the water from going back towards the well. The schrader then opens to let in air while water is being drained from the drop pipe in the well. Next time the pump starts, that column of air is pushed into the tank. This is what keeps the galvanized tank from waterlogging. Galvanized tanks do not have bladders and are a better system than a bladder tank when they are working properly. In your case, either the weep hole or bleed back device in the pipe is plugged. Or it could be the schrader that is plugged. The schrader would be the easiest fix.

          Cycling a pump motor is a quick way to destroy it. For now, I would either drain the tank and let it fill with air or if you have a compressor, hook it up to the schrader valve and blow all the water out of the tank and air it up to around 20 psi. Then turn the pump back on.
          Frequently asked questions about pumps and tanks.

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          • #6
            Thanks for the great info BHD and Speedbump, I hope to go try out your recommendations later and have another question, where might the weep hole or bleed back be? I will take a portable air tank with me and I could use the blow gun to force it open if I can find it. Thanks

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            • #7
              most weep holes are down the well, on the drop pipe, the ones I am familiar with are below the freeze line so the pipe does not freeze,

              I am not that familiar with the galvanized tanks and the automatic air replenishment systems, but by the description given by speed bump, on how it works, if the suction of the water back draining in the well pipe causes a given amount of air to enter the shrader valve to replenish the tank with air, then the weep hole would have to be down the well on the drop pipe. how far down I do not know.

              most likely if your pumping up to 70 psi, your not going to blow it open (if it is plugged) with air a little over 100 psi.(standard consumer air compressor)

              Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
              attributed to Samuel Johnson
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

              Comment


              • #8
                An update on how it worked out, I took an air tank with me, drained about half the water out of the water tank and then pressurized it through the Schrader to about 20 lbs. (with the power turned off to the well pump, and the valve to the house system off also). Turned all back on and tested it and it was much better already. Went through a few cycles of the same process to get the pressure from going to high and in turn from dropping to low, and all was well, no pun intended. Ending pressure of air used was about 35lbs. The Schrader may have been the issue all along as Speedbump had said, as a few times it let some water escape after pressurizing with air was being done. Now as BHD had said, the pressure fluctuation is a gradual change, and not a rapid high and low. Thanks to all for your help.

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