2 tanks/pressue switch

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by Annap_mike, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. Annap_mike

    Annap_mike New Member

    Messages:
    24
    I am hoping someone can help solve a very frustrating situation.

    Some history in a nutshell as it has been a very long and frustrating 4 months.- in the last 4 months, I had a plumber install a water treatement system. Along the way, it has been one thing after another that has gone wrong.I wont go into the details about the treatment system problems and getting that to work properly. But just when we got that solved- seemingly other unlreated problems have evolved.

    I have ended up with a brand new well-pump. He also installed a 2nd well-tank. The breaker had been tripping after installing the pump and we eventually discovered that he had a wire touching the ground wire which was causing the breaker to trip.

    Well- we solved that problem and put a new pressure switch on as well since it seemed the old one was not working. Along the way, he also took out the regular old on/off switch at the tanks and simply eliminated that switch altogether.

    Yesterday we solved the short circuit issue and put the new pressure switch on. Guess what- I woke up this morning and no pressure. I went down to the switch and pushed the levers ( Square-D Flotec) and got water pressure built up to the 65psi setting. Right this second 2 1/2 hours later pressure seems to be maintaining- but for how long.per plumber- pressure settings are roughly 45-65

    My question- with the install of the 2nd tank- basically the line comes in and branches off in a t to the two tanks( original tank has the long-cross tank fitting kit with a check valve- pressure switch etc..) the new branch to the new tank is just the pipe branching off - no check valve etc.... would not having a check valve and or pressure switch on the side of the new tank cause the water pressure to drop to zero?

    The new tank is an amtrol wx-205 old- tank is dsi ds20. pump is a myers 4" submersible.

    thanks for any insight.

    Mike
  2. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I'm not sure from the description what the relative locations of the pressure switch and tanks are, but here is what you MUST have.

    1. Both pressure tanks must be connected so there is no check valve that would prevent water from either or both pressure tanks from supplying the system. Both tanks must always have the same pressure because they must be connected without an interfering check valve.

    2. The pressure switch must be installed so that both tanks are connected to the pressure switch without any interfering check valve. There must be no check valve that prevents either tank from pressurizing the pressure switch.

    If conditions 1 and 2 are met the pressure switch, pressure gauge, and both tanks will be at the pressure going into the system. I saw a system with six pressure tanks connected via a manifold arrangement and they worked fine.
  3. Annap_mike

    Annap_mike New Member

    Messages:
    24
    The line from the well comes in( originally to just the first tank. but now the line comes in and if you are looking at it from behind the line in- to the left after it branches off is the check valve and pressure switch and the original tank- the branch to the right goes to the new tank. here are some photos

    Attached Files:

  4. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,583
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    "I went down to the switch and pushed the levers ( Square-D Flotec)"

    This makes me think you have a Low pressure cut-off pressure switch with the little brass lever on the side. If this is the case you probably just have too much air in the pressure tanks. With the pressure switch set at 45/65, you should have no more than 40 PSI air pressure in the tank.

    The pressure switch also need to be located close to one of the pressure tanks. Putting the switch on the tank that has the brass tank cross would be OK. Putting the switch on a tee between the two tanks or anywhere else could cause the low pressure feature to trip out.

    I have seen systems with 20 pressure tanks in a manifold together. However, with the more modern and useful "constant pressure" systems like the Cycle Stop Valve, more than one tank is rarely needed for any reason.



    Posted before I saw the pictures which are worth a thousand words. Yes you have a low pressure cut off switch. Probably just have too much air in the pressure tanks.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2008
  5. Annap_mike

    Annap_mike New Member

    Messages:
    24
    How do I solve? Where is the low pressure cut-off switch?
    I knew the pictures would explain better than I ever could.
    Thanks
  6. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    Get a normal pressure switch. You don't have a Check Valve there either. At least I don't see one in the picture. Don't worry though, you shouldn't have one there.

    bob...
  7. Annap_mike

    Annap_mike New Member

    Messages:
    24
    What is a normal pressure switch ascompared to a low pressure switch? What is on there now?
    Any other thoughts.
    Thanks
  8. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,583
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    The little brass lever on the side of the grey pressure switch makes that a Low-pressure cut off switch. It is a good safety device but, you need to have 5 PSI less air in the tanks than the on setting of the pressure switch. IE; 45/65 switch setting, 40 PSI air in the tanks.
  9. Annap_mike

    Annap_mike New Member

    Messages:
    24
    I suppose I need to check to make sure the switch settings are as my plumber indicated. I guess it is pretty obvious the high is 64 or 65psi as that is what the gauge reads at it's highest. To read the low I suppose I just run water until pressure drops to the point where the pump kicks on?

    Based on that low # I am guessing it will be probably between 45-50- I then would check the pressure in both tanks? How do I do that? And how would I release pressure if needed and how would I add pressure back in if needed?

    So if for example- pressure settings are 45-65 (also do they have to be exactly 20psi apart?) do both tanks need to be exactly 5 psi lower than the low setting or at least but possibly more than 5 psi lower than the low setting?

    I am learning quite a bit about water supply and am amazaed at what it takes to get water out of the ground and into a drinking cup or shower head.

    Thanks to everyone for all your advice. keep it coming.
  10. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,583
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    No, it does not have to be exactly 20 PSI difference between on and off.
    Yes, both tanks need to have (about) 5 PSI less air than the pump starts.
    Yes, just watch the gauge as the pump starts to find that number.

    You add air or take it out the same way you would a car or bicycle tire.

    The pump has to be off and a faucet open until the tank is empty of water, before you can check the air in the tank with a tire gauge. (leave the faucet open while checking the air pressure)
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2008
  11. Annap_mike

    Annap_mike New Member

    Messages:
    24
    I was watching the pressure gauge as my kids were taking a shower and it dropped to 40 then 30 then went all the way down to zero. I tried to pull up the brass lever a few times, eventually after a few minutes it went up to 40 and then all the way back up to 65psi which is where it is now.

    So is it everyones best educated guess without actually being here that one or both tanks probably have too much pressure in them and need to be set 5psi less than the 'pump on' setting for the switch.

    I will let my plumber know what advice i have been given unless this is something you think can accomplish on my own. I just don't want to screw things up worse than they already are.
    Thanks
  12. thassler

    thassler New Member

    Messages:
    106
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Not a pro, but I have to do this usually once a year to my system. If you own a well it's probably one of the first things us 'well owners' need to learn. Sometimes while I'm running water, the water will just stop for a second then continue to run normally. That's a clue to me it's time to check the pressure in my tank. What's happening to me is that the tank is running out of water before the pressure switch tells the pump to kick on. The air pressure in the empty tank is still higher than the pressure switch cut-in setting. I don't have a low-pressure switch like you do so my water pressure returns after a brief pause. Your's doesn't come back on because the low-pressure switch trips and stays off until you reset it (As it should). So - here's what I do (Pro's correct me where needed)

    Tools needed:
    -Decent tire gauge
    -(maybe) Air compressor/bicycle pump

    Procedure
    The objective is to get the pressure in your tanks 3 to 5lbs less than your pump cut-in. You mentioned pump cut-in is supposed to be at 45 and cut-out at 65

    1. Cut power to the pump so it will not come on. Either via breaker or lever on pressure switch.

    2. Open a faucet until water no longer runs. (Tanks are empty)

    3. There should be a valve on top of each of your pressure tanks (just like you car's tire valve). Use the tire gauge and measure the pressure in each tank. (It's probably over 45lbs in at least one of them)

    4. Either add or let out air so each tank has 40lbs of pressure.

    5. Close all faucets and power up the pump and let the tanks fill.

    6. The pump should now be off and you should have ~65lbs of pressure.

    7. Slowly open a faucet and watch your gauge, note at what pressure the pump kicks on at. If it kicks on at 45lbs then your good to go. If it kicks on at 41lbs or the low-pressure switch trips, then you will want to repeat the procedure until you get the pressure in your (empty of water) tanks 3 to 5lbs less than the pump cut-in pressure.


    **Not a Pro**
  13. Annap_mike

    Annap_mike New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Thank you.

    I will try tomorrow and keep my fingers crossed.

    Someone earlier had mentioned doing away with the low pressure switch and getting a normal pressure switch. Would that solve the problem or just delay having to adjust the pressue in the tanks?
  14. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    What is that Myers Protector hanging out of the pressure switch doing to the power to the pump? I can't find it when I Google it.

    That could be a time delay that is preventing the pump from starting after a low pressure event. It could be that it, together with the low-pressure cutoff switch, is causing the problem.

    It may be a business proposition that the pump installer put in to ensure service calls. If you don't know why it is there and what it does, then the installer failed you.
  15. Annap_mike

    Annap_mike New Member

    Messages:
    24
    It is a lightning/surge arrester. Came with the warranty.
  16. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    If you have to tell your Plumber what you learned here, perhaps you should be looking for a Well/Pump/Lady/Man to do the work. Obviously your plumber left you with a problem he didn't understand.

    bob...
  17. thassler

    thassler New Member

    Messages:
    106
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Usually, a low pressure switch is used when you have a low producing well and there's a chance that the water level could fall below the pump. If you're taking a shower and the water level drops below the pump, the system pressure drops and the low pressure switch trips - saving your pump. However, this setup only works if someone is using water at the time but it's better than nothing. A better approach is to use something like a PumpTec which monitors current/voltage and will cut the pump off at anytime it senses a problem.

    http://www.franklin-electric.com/CatalogSubmersible/ProtectionSinglePhase.aspx

    If there's no danger of the well running dry, I'd say you could safely replace the low-pressure with a standard pressure switch.

    ** Not a Pro **
  18. Annap_mike

    Annap_mike New Member

    Messages:
    24
    I believe my well is in good shape( besides the high iron/sediment content). When we pull the pump- you can see the high water line is at least 20 feet above the pump. My well is about 50 ft

    Not sure why a low pressure switch was put on. I don't think the old switch was low pressure as i do not recall the lever but I can't be 100% certain since this was never an issue until the new tank..

    But if I do get the pressure in both tanks to be 5psi below the pump on setting- then the low pressure switch should not come on if indeed this is the problem.

    Or should I just have the new low pressure switch replaced with a regular switch?

    Thanks.
  19. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,583
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    "I was watching the pressure gauge as my kids were taking a shower and it dropped to 40 then 30 then went all the way down to zero."

    You have to get this problem fixed so the pressure never falls below the ON pressure of the pump. If the pump comes on at 45, the pressure should never get below 45. Even Low pressure cut-off switches are not a problem when the pump comes on at 45 and the pressure goes up instead of down.

    Either you still have and air charge problem in the tanks, or the pump is not coming on at 45 as it should. It looks like you have a brass nipple going into the pressure switch so, it should not be clogged up like galv nipples get. Turn the power OFF, take the cover off of the pressure switch and take a close up picture of the wiring connections. It is possible that with the extra wires from the lightning arrester, the points could be pulled out of alignment. This could cause the points not to touch properly when the switch closes to start the pump.

    With the cover still off, turn the power back on. Be careful, that is 240 volts in that pressure switch. Hold the brass lever up until the pressure reaches about 45, then you should be able to turn it loose. Let the tanks fill and the pump shut off. Now open up some water somewhere and watch the points in the pressure switch. When the pressure drops to 45, the points should close. If they move at 45 but the pump does not start, try holding up the brass lever. You may find that the points are not touching good until you pull the lever. If this is the case, get a new pressure switch and your system will again be dependable. If the points touch good but the pump still does not start, you may have a loose wire somewhere.
  20. Annap_mike

    Annap_mike New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Thanks will do so this evening after work, and baseball practice etc....
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