Pressure boost - 30psi tank w 30/50 switch - boost to 40/60?? good idea?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by amateur_plumber, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. amateur_plumber

    amateur_plumber New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Brookfield, CT
    So, I have a big (42 gal?) pressure tank that says on its side "factory charged to 30 psi"

    It also has a 30/50 sqaure D pressure switch that I think needs changing.

    Reason I think it needs changing: when pressure drops to 30, pump kicks on. Pressure gets to around 50 then shoots up to 65 for a few seconds. I get a few drips out of my pressure relief valve (rated for 75) and the pressure backs down to 60 and stays there. In previous posts several of you advised this may well indicate a faulty or corroded pressure switch.

    Another piece of data - with the power off I tested the pressure on the tank. Reading: 15 psi. From reading the other posts I believe this should be 28 when using a 30/50.

    I'd like more pressure in my house generally - any time I have two things going (sink plus shower for example) the flow backs off to an annoying low level.

    My plan of action: (tell me if I'm way off please)

    - replace the switch to a 40/60

    - pump up the tank to 38 -- even though the "factory" pressure is 30.

    Any issues with this strategy? My worry is using a 40 cut-in when the tank is factory set at 30 -- is this bad for the tank?

    Another question - since I have a big tank, is a CSV advisable? Right now I don't have one, but would this improve my pressure generally?

    I'm going to go downstairs and snap a photo of my setup in case that helps.

    Thanks all.
  2. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Messages:
    460
    Location:
    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    Your thinking and action plan is correct ... present charge is low and should be at 28psi ... ok to go to the 40/60 switch and up the charge ...This tank will handle 60PSI. I'll let valveman address the CSV Q
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009
  3. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,485
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    No problem going to 40/60 as long as your pump can build enough pressure to reach the 60 PSI. If it is a submersible pump you are probably OK. If it is an above ground pump, it may not build up to 60 PSI.

    If while you are experiencing low pressure in the house with two taps open, the pump is still cycling on and off between 30/50 or 40/60, the CSV will hold the pressure steady and give you better pressure in the house. If the pump is not building up and shutting off while these two taps are open, then you are just out of pump and the CSV will not help the pressure. The CSV will work with any size tank.
  4. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,249
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    A few things to think about-
    If your pump is older, you might be pushing your luck "asking" it to produce additional pressure. The higher the pressure is set to, the more wear and tear there will be on the pump.

    You never actually said that your drained the water from the pressure tank to check the air charge. I don't want to assume anything, so I will point out that the tank has to be emptied of water to properly check or adjust the air pressure.

    If your bladder pressure is only 15psi, your water pressure will not be up to par. Fix the bladder pressure issue before you decide you need to do something else.

    30-50 psi range works fine in moderate sized homes where there are not multiple fixtures running at the same time. I can barely tell the difference between 30 and 50 psi taking a shower with a standard 2.5 gpm shower head. Others might tell you it's a big difference, but I say that is best determined by each individual.

    There is nothing in a well system that will cause the gauge to suddenly jump from 50 to 65 as you have described. I would suspect that the pressure gauge might not be in the best condition. Unless you are confident the pressure gauge is working perfectly, get a new one. Other adjustments cannot be made properly if the gauge is not accurate.
  5. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    I have a suspicion that the bladder in your air tank has a hole in it. and there my still be a small cusion of air trapped in there but not enough. Drain the pressure off and then take all the air pressure off the tank. Re-fill the tank and see if water sprays out the shraeder valve.
  6. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,485
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    If you have large enough pipe and short enough runs that a 2.5 GPM shower head will reduce the pressure at the head, then the orifice in the 2.5 GPM shower head is controlling the pressure at the head, and you won't notice much difference in pressure when the pump cycles. If your pipes are small and/or long, then many times you have to remove the orifice from the shower head to be able to get up to 2.5 GPM. In these situations the pressure will be worse when the pump cycles and even worse still, when more than one tap is opened.

    As long as the thrust bearing in a pump is still good, more pressure on the pump actually makes it work easier. It doesn't cause more wear and tear. Higher pressure is how to test for a bad thrust bearing. If the bearing is bad the amps go up, then the pump needs repair. If the bearing is good the amps and wear and tear go down. Numerous starts is usually what destroys a thrust bearing, as it will always start up dry.

    The pressure jumps from 50 to 65 quickly because the tank is low on air. When the air is low, the bladder will hit a dome made in the top of the tank to keep from over stretching the bladder. When the bladder can no longer stretch, the pressure climbs quickly.
  7. amateur_plumber

    amateur_plumber New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Brookfield, CT
    Update

    Thanks everyone - very helpful, here's an update/response:

    Yes, I did empty the tank, turn off power, and drain system before testing pressure on the tank, and getting the low reading. I did pump it up to 38 and it held the pressure ok.

    Replaced the pressure switch with a new 40/60 - the nipple and switch were clogged with that same gukky rust-colored crap that a previous poster submitted here: http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26229
    - looked pretty identical to that.

    The spike in pressure is now gone: it charges to 60 and stops neatly. It's a brand new gauge by the way, replaced that about a month ago. Pressure switch seems to cut in and out at the right time.

    NEW PROBLEM - lots of sand in the water. I use a generic whole-house cartridge filter for sediment that I replace monthly. When I drained the system a month ago, I put a new filter on, and got a big glob of sand in the filter right when I turned the system back on (the filter housing is clear so I could see the sand buildup. It appeared to be a one time event, because I got normal water for the rest of the month, until yesterday when I shut the system down again to replace the pressure switch.

    Thinking I would learn from this, when I turned the system on with the new switch, I let it run out through the hose for a about 5 minutes to flush everything - there's a hose bib to drain, before the water enters the filter. Anyway, after flushing, I put a new filter on and opened the water to the rest of the house.

    This morning the filter is completely choked and clogged with sand - much more than I've ever seen before. I have it flushing again right now, but wanted to know if this seems related?

    Couple of background data points:

    - we always seem to get more sand after spring run-off but never like this. Yesterday and today are the first big melting days after a long cold spell with several snow accumulations (I'm in Brookfield CT)

    - about 3 years ago we had major sand that wouldn't let up - we had a pump guy come out and raise the well up about 10 feet to a depth of 150', because he said it was jammed into the sand at the bottom. While he was at it he took it upon himself to replace the entire pipe going down and put in a new control box, and I didn't know until I got the bill. My only problem was sand (I thought) but I hope it was actually needed.

    Anyway - is raising the pump up another 10 feet advisable? Is that a possible diy project? My wife says she saw him do it and it looked easy. However, seems we can't just keep lifting this thing every couple of years - eventually we're going to run out of well.

    Alll thoughts welcome, thanks
  8. amateur_plumber

    amateur_plumber New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Brookfield, CT
    By the way I did this and no water spraying out the valve. The bladder makes a lot of clicking and creaking noises as it charges to 60 - but I think it made those noises before.
  9. amateur_plumber

    amateur_plumber New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Brookfield, CT
    One more problem

    Another problem - I don't know if it's related -

    After flushing for about 20 min and putting on another replacement filter, now I have major BLOCKAGE FROM THE WATER SOFTENER.

    Softener is downstream from the filter, so I don't think softener is full of sand - maybe though? It's a Kenmore Series 275, never had any problem at all with it since installing in 2004.

    I flipped it to bypass mode -- pressure is fine to the house (of course with hard water). Switch back to service mode, pressure is OK for maybe 10 seconds, then drops. The softener now makes funny strange noises when I flip it to service mode. Kind of like there's air in the system -- kind of a rushing gurgly sound. And then the noise stops. I figure, OK, it's flushed out, but I still have very poor pressure in service mode. Flipped a couple of times between bypass and service - same result - same noise that lasts a minute and stops.

    Checked owner's manual for softener, I don't know of another way to flush the softener out or clean it. I cleaned the nozzley thing that moves the brine from place to place (part of required scheduled maintenance in the manual), but that wasn't really dirty.

    I see the new filter is filling up with sand yet again.....but it seems it's keeping the sand upstream of everything.

    One thing leads to another.......
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  10. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Sand is a well problem!

    Wells shouldn't pump sand. Pulling the pump up is sometimes a band aide for the problem. Depending where the water enters the well. Sometimes a cycling pump will cause a well to produce sand but this doesn't sound like your problem. If your water has sand in it you have another problem that has to be fixed.

    I don't understand why the pump man replaced your drop pipe and control box without advising you of the reason beforehand!

    I recommend that you find a trusted and qualified driller/pump man to check your well. S/he may be able to remove the pump and blow the well with an air compressor to remove the sand and test the well for more sand coming into it. We do this and sometimes redevelope the well to prevent further sand entry.
  11. amateur_plumber

    amateur_plumber New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Brookfield, CT
    Yeah, my dad (former farmer) also told me it was strange that a well would produce any sand at all -- even the usual small amount that I can control with these whole-house filters. He thought it might be a defective screen.

    Is this a labor-instensive job we're talking? Multi-hour, multi-day? If it's major, I might consider doing some other upgrades while I'm at it. Thinking new tank and CSV - I'm kind of skeptical how much longer my bladder tank will last. It was down at 15 psi when I drained the system to replace the switch, I recharged it, but that 15 could indicate a slow leak and I'm tired of bandaids at this point.

    Any idea on how to flush my softener? Should I just run a regeneration cycle? If I got sand in it, I don't want to do more damage.

    Wife got her first hard water shower this morning in years - and she does not want a second. ;)
  12. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    I don't like those so called "whole house filters" but if it had a cartridge in it, I don't see how sand could have gotten into your softener. If it did though, it may be very hard to get it back out.

    What you do need in my opinion is a new well that doesn't pump sand. I don't like the idea that spring run off causes sand either. If it causes sand, what other contaminants is it causing?

    Your tank is also bad if it's losing that much air in such a short time.

    bob...
  13. amateur_plumber

    amateur_plumber New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Brookfield, CT
    You don't see a fix possible? In other words, drill a new 150+' hole and start over? I'll do it if I have to but I might have to wait for some nice bailout money. :rolleyes:

    We actually notice an increase in sand when we get extended heavy rain as well. The filter generally lasts a month, but gets pushed to 3 weeks or so during these times. (Until this weekend - now it's a day).

    Since you mentioned contaminants, that reminds me I should do a test - are there any reliable at-home test kits available that anyone would recommend? Or is the lab pretty much the only way to go?
  14. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    Yes and if heavy rain increases things, I would be very worried about that well. The best thing to do is plug it with concrete and start with a new one drilled by Porky. Then you know it won't have a shortage of casing which will let things get down beside the casing and into your drinking water.

    The Drillers with the low low cutrate prices are generally the ones that will cheap out somewhere to make up their shortfall. Casing is one of the first things they will cheap out on.

    bob...
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