Gravity fed spring water system

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by LaneH, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. LaneH

    LaneH New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Idaho
    You guys seem like a handy bunch and the more I study plumbing the more I realize how little I know! Anyway, I've got a substantial leak from a rusted galvanized storage tank in my basement that I need to get fixed. But I don't know if I want to keep the same system that was installed before I bought the house. I'll explain the system as well as I can, and would appreciated any recommendations (i.e. if I need to replace all of this stuff , or if I should bypass it and save $).

    I live on a ranch in a rural area and we have a spring that we use to gravity irrigate hay fields, as well as supply the 3 family-owned houses on the ranch. The homes are supplied by a single 2" line. The 2" line is fed with as much water as it can handle at all times, but there isn't much elevation drop (head) from the spring to the houses...I'm guessing about 50'. So the water pressure isn't great. The pressure is good enough, however, I wish the shower had more pressure and I want to install a filtered cold/hot drinking water dispenser and I hope I have enough pressure to run one.

    Here is the system: 2" line in, 32 mesh 35 gpm sediment filter (I only get 24 psi after the sediment filter), then it goes into (1 1/4 " inlet) the top of a 40 gal galvanized tank and out the bottom (1 1/4" outlet).... I was told this was for water storage in case there was a shortage of flow, but I've only seen that happen one time in 12 years when all 3 houses were occupied. I am the only full-time resident there now...., then it goes into a cycling pump that was set to kick on at 20 psi, I think... but it rarely, if ever turned on so I shut off the power to it years ago and I don't think it is working anymore...., then it goes into a bladder tank, and finally to the 3/4 " hot (with 50 gal water heater) and cold lines. The water supply from the pump outlet and to the bladder tank is only 3/4" pipe, shouldn't that be at least 1" to supply both the 3/4" hot and cold lines?

    In summary, I don't have water flow issues (at least for the foreseeable future). I wouldn't mind having higher pressure but don't really want to pay to run a pump. And I don't want to have to replace the storage tank and cycling pump if they aren't really doing any good. Should I bypass those? What about the little bladder tank?

    Thanks for any input!
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    If you have 24 PSI, then your spring is 55’ in elevation, so good guess. Most modern appliances these days need about 50 PSI. I don’t see that the galve tank is doing you any good. If there is no air in that tank, it is just like a large piece of pipe in the line. A cup of water has to go into that tank, before a cup of water will come out. So it is not doing any good as storage. The bladder tank could give you a little storage if the air charge is set at about 10 PSI. But there needs to be a check valve before the bladder tank or it will push water the other way when the line from the spring is dry.

    If the water supply is steady, all you need is to boost the pressure from 24 to 50 PSI. A ½ HP jet pump with a 40/60 pressure switch placed before the check valve and bladder tank could do that. A Cycle Stop Valve would keep the pump from cycling on and off excessively, and allow you to use a very small bladder tank, or work with the one you already have.

    If you continue to gravity feed the irrigation and use the pump for the house only, it won’t use 2 dollars of electricity a month.

    Here are a couple of pictures of a Jet pump with our new Stainless Steel Cycle Stop Valve, and the second one has our new electronic pressure switch.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  3. LaneH

    LaneH New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Idaho
    Thanks valveman, I really appreciate the input. That sounds like a good plan and I think I can handle a couple bucks a month added to my power bill. I looked at your website and I'm going to study this out some more. I'll probably have some questions. Thanks again.
  4. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    He could drop a 1/2 hp submersible in the 40 gallon tank, assuming its open with a float. Should outlast the jet unit with a smaller electric bill.
  5. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    With some modification you could make that work, but he said the galv tank is already leaking.
  6. LaneH

    LaneH New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Idaho
    Yes, the tank is leaking and I don't want to replace it if there's no benefit in having one.

    After studying things out, I have decided to take valveman's advice and use a csv with a booster pump to get 50 psi. I'll probably get the pside-kick unit. A few questions for now:

    1) valveman, you said I need a check valve before the pressure tank. I didn't see one included with the pside-kick. Is it best to place it between the pump and the csv, or between the csv and the pressure tank? The only check valve I can see on my existing system is at the intake of the pump. Does there need to be one there? I think I read on your website that it is best to only have one check valve.

    2) How can a dummy tell if the pump is working. It is suppose to cut in at 20 psi, but under normal conditions my psi stays at 24 psi. I don't have a ball valve to shut off the supply in my house (that will change), it is located 4' underground outside my house...but it is froze. I don't want to force it too much and risk a worse problem than I already have so I am going to have to shut off the water to the weir that supplies my house water and drain it. I was panning to check if the pump comes on when I am draining the line and the pressure drops. If there is a better way, let me know.

    3) You said I would need a 1/2 HP jet pump. I think my existing pump is only 1/3 HP, but I'm not sure. I took a pic of the lable (because it's in a bad spot) and it was a little hard to read. Googleing the model # came up empty. The motor was a GE model 5KH36FG 178ET. I did see a 1/3 on the label. Just to make sure I need a 1/2 HP (or more), our home has 2 full bathrooms, dishwasher, washing machine and our automatic sprinkling system runs from the house. We have 3 hydrants in the yard but I think only one of them goes through the house first, the others are supplied from a tee before it enters the house. We have 6 in the family. If I need a new pump, what is a dependable, quiet, low-cost :) jet pump with a 1" outlet?

    4) I just checked the air pressure in the pressure tank. No water came out, so maybe it still functions. There wasn't much air pressure though. My tire gauge didn't go below 20, and I'm guessing there was about 10 psi in the tank. It is a Con-Aire CA 42TE...do you know what the draw down on that is?

    That's all for now, thanks!
  7. jerryma

    jerryma New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    san marcos, CA
    sounds like a great idea
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