HELP...no water after adjusting bladder tank

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by electriques, Jun 11, 2005.

  1. electriques

    electriques New Member

    Messages:
    4
    I have a deep well with a submersible pump and a bladder tank. Some time ago I had "the water guy" in to fix a water softener and I casually mentioned to him that we had low water pressure. "I can fix that", he said and went on to adjust one of the nuts on the pressure switch box (not knowing any better I did not intervene). He did not touch the pressure tank.

    Since that time our water system has completely gone downhill. The water shuts off constantly, I can't even fill the clothes washer. I tried to adjust the pressure switch and dropped the cut on pressure to 20 but the problem got worse. I did some reading on the Internet and decided to try to increase the air pressure in the pressure tank, because the pressure appeared really low.

    After the water shut off today we turned off the pump and the water to the house and pumped more air into the bladder on the pressure tank (up to 28 psi) and adjusted the nut on the pressure switch (but I really have almost no idea what the pressure is now).

    BUT THEN...when I tried to turn on the pump and open the water line to the house the reading on the pressure gauge immediately dropped to zero and no water is coming up from the well. When I turned the switch on the pressure box to manual to try to get the water going the pressure reading drops slightly and I just can't get any water running.

    When I first pumped up the bladder tank the reading on the pressure gauge was the same as the air pressure in the tank, about 28 psi (there was no water in the tank). When I turned on the water to the house the reading on the guage immediately shot down to zero and is now staying at zero. When the pressure tank has no water in it should the pressure gauge read zero or should it read the air pressure of the pressure tank?

    Can a submersible pump lose its prime?

    Could I have created some sort of vacuum effect in the water lines or in the pressure tank that stops water from travelling up?

    I really need help as I have three kids and no water!

    Thanks
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2005
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,995
    Location:
    New England
    First, (and I'm not a pro), I'd adjust the pressure tank properly. To do that, you need to shut off the pump, open a faucet to relieve pressure in the system. Then, knowing the cut-on point of the pump, adjust the pressure tank to 1-2 pounds BELOW that value. If, for example, your system should run the pump up to say 50 pounds, then shut off, a typical turn on point would be 30 pounds. In that case, the tank's pressure should be set to 28-29 pounds.

    If you get any water out of the fill valve on the bladder tank, it is shot, and needs to be replaced.

    If all is well there, then shut the water faucet/valve you opened to relieve the pressure in the system, and turn the pump back on while watching the system's pressure gauge. If it is working properly, it should build up pressure to the shut off point (50 pounds in my example). Then, once it is off (adjust the high point if requried), open a faucet while watching the gauge. Check to see where the pump turns back on. If it is at the desired 30 pounds, you are set. If it turns on at some other pressure than that, adjust it up or down as needed.

    There should normally be about a 20 pound difference between turn-on and turn-off, and the bladder pressure should be just below the turn-on point. Hope this helps.

    Note, if the pipe to the gauge and switch is filled with rust or blocked, the controls can't detect the system's pressure, and you will get erratic results. If this doesn't work, tell us what is happening, and someone else will have some thoughts.
  3. electriques

    electriques New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Hi,

    Thanks for the advice but my problem is that I can't get the water run AT ALL(so I can't make any pressure adjustments). I shut off the water to the house and I watch the pressure on the gauge rise to about 30 psi (the air pressure from the bladder tank) and then as soon as I turn the lever that supplies water to the house the pressure gauge immediately drops to zero (in about one second) and I get no water at all. The pressure tank does not seem to be getting any water in it. I am wondering if there could be air in the lines that stop the water from pumping?

    Thanks
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,995
    Location:
    New England
    If you have too much pressure in the bladder of the pressure tank, as soon as the pump starts to compress that bladder, it might sense that the max pressure has been reached and shut off. Check the air pressure in the bladder. Also, you might have adjusted the upper limit on the pressure switch too low. It sounds like maybe you need a pro to come out and check things for you...
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I agree that you don't have the air pressure adjusted in the pressure tank set correctly. You probalby have too much if you simply added air to the tank wit hwater pressure on the water pressure guage.

    You shut off the water to the house past the tank. Shut off the power to the pump. Drain the water out of the tank, yes all of it. Check the air pressure in the tank and adjust it to 29-28 psi with no water in the tank.

    Then shut the drain valve on the tank. Turn on the power to the pump. Lift your switch handle to ON or Manual and hold it there until you get at least 20 psi on the WATER pressure guage and then lift it to AUTO and let go. You can remove the switch cover and watch the points close/open while you operate the handle; caution, there's 240 volts in there. If you let go of the handle too soon that turns the pump switch off which shuts off the pump and you don't get water.

    If you check air pressure when the tank has water pressure in it, you read the WATER pressure, not the captive air precharge air pressure. If you adjust the air while there is water at zero presure on the guage, you don't get the right volume of air in the tank. If you have too much air pressure, the pump switch won't close its points to supply power to the pump. But then you have a low (water) pressure safety switch and have to reset it properly if your water pressure falls below roughly 20 psi.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
  6. electriques

    electriques New Member

    Messages:
    4
    If the tank lost it's air pressure while the pump was running would this cause any damage/problems to the pump?

    Thanks



  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    No it wouldn't stop the pump from running, and the pump would run until you stopped running water and the pressure built up to the cut-out setting on the pressure switch.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
  8. electriques

    electriques New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Hi,

    Thanks everyone for your input, theis forum is fantastic. I ended up calling someone to come in and look at our system and he thinks our 7 year old Jacuzzi pump has quit.

    A few more questions if you don't mind.

    Can someone tell if the pump is completely broken without pulling it up?

    Should it be tested in some way when it is pulled up?

    Can it possibly be fixed and put back in the well or should we just replace it?

    He wants to put in a Grandfos, is anyone familiar with this pump. I don't see it mentioned much. We have a heavy iron content in the water and he says the metal impellers? on this brand are better than the plastic ones everyone else uses.

    I am looking at a $2500 (Canadian) bill so I want to make sure I don't spend more than necessary.

    Thanks so much all;
  9. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    He should have done a ohms and other electrical checks to know for sure. And although I don't know the conversion rate to US$, that price sure sounds high to me dwn here in PA.

    I'd call for another opinion including actual tests.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
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