Upgrading storage tank

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by SilverFox52, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. SilverFox52

    SilverFox52 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Spangle, WA
    I've been reading a bit on this site and what info I've gathered is great!

    I have an 83 gallon hyrdo-pneumatic tank with what I believe to be (from things I've read here) a defective air control valve. I have air in my water lines and from at least one post (http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11791) the conditions described are comparable to mine.

    I've decided I'm just going to replace the storage tank, but I do have a few questions.

    First, a direct replacement for my old tank would be a 35gal bladder style, but I was wondering if there are any pros/cons to using a 50gal instead? From what little research I've done, I'd get more "useable" gallons before the pump comes one, reducing cycle time, which, from everything I read, is good.

    I have to read more, but am I correct that all of the air control components in my old system have to come out before I upgrade to the bladder style tank? Is this a complicated task? Granted, the ACV will come out when the new tank goes in but what about the bleeder valve? Do I have to get into the top of the well casing to remove this?

    I have no problems with good water pressure when more than one tap is open and we frequently have the dishwasher and washer running at the same time or both showers and no loss of pressure or volume. Would it be worthwhile to add a CSV?

    My system is currently using a 30/50 switch, and since I'm satisfied with the current pressure and flow, I plan to stay with that. Any reason to change?

    I hate cheap quality anything, but I don't want to break the bank either, so what brands of tanks (my old hydro-pneumatic is an F.E. Myers) and valves should I stay away from and what brands would you recommend? The local Home Depot has Flo-Scan tanks and valves, and Lowes has a different brand that I can't recall now. Both brands claim 5 year warranty, but I don't want to have to change out in 5 years because they failed either.

    I appreciate any thoughtful advice and suggestions.:)

    Phil
  2. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    It's a little more complicated... if your air system uses bleeders in the drop pipe, the drop pipe and pump will need to be pulled up and the bleeders removed from the pipe or plugged. Most would agree that this is something best left for a well/pump company to handle.

    You didn't mention your location, but if your lateral is not well below the frost line, a bleeder system is commonly used to preventing the line from freezing. In this case, removing it might be an expensive mistake.

    I recommend you start by positively diagnosing the cause of your symptoms.
  3. SilverFox52

    SilverFox52 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Spangle, WA
    Thanks for your reply. I added my location in my profile, but I see it doesn't show up on posting, FWIW, I'm located just south of Spokane, WA. Our house was built in '70 or '71 and we've owned it since 1990. We have never done anything to our water system, there has never been a reason to until now.

    I don't know, nor do I have any way to determine, if my lateral is well below the frost line. I can only "assume" it is because our overnight lows are typically well below freezing from late October to late March or early April and daytime highs are usually in the high 20s to very low 30s. The ground is usually hard frozen during that time period. It's not uncommon for us to have overnight lows below zero between December & February. It's currently 30 here just after noon.

    Our county does not have well records or logs from when our house was built and I have nothing that tells me anything about my well, depth, how it was drilled, or how the supply lines were run. Wells in this area are typically drilled to 100' and, so far as I know, the submersible well pump is the same one that was installed in the early 70s.

    What's the best approach to diagnosing my problem? I have air in my water lines that wasn't there a few months ago. The referenced thread in my original post is very descriptive of the problem I have except the air is most prominent in my cold water lines vs the hot water, matter of fact, I have almost none in my hot water at all.

    My pump is not short cycling and once the pump switch turns the pump on it runs about 2 - 2 1/2 minutes prior shut off. Pump comes on at 30psi and shuts off at 50psi.

    I can provide more info if someone can help me figure out what I need to share in order to diagnose my problem.;)

    Phil
  4. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    If you have bleeders in the well, air will be pumped from the drop pipe in the well to the tank each time your pump cycles. You should hear this air gurgling into the tank each time the pump starts. Occasionally, the AVC should open to vent off the excess air. The air escaping makes a notable noise when the valve is working. This would be a normal condition after several cycles of the pump.

    It would be helpful to see a picture of your installation, showing the tank and it's ports. It would also be good to see a picture of the pressure switch as it is installed in the system.

    Also, are there any water filters or conditioners in the system?
  5. SilverFox52

    SilverFox52 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Spangle, WA
    Thanks again for replying, I can post some pictures this evening after work. There are no filters on our system. I have never heard any air escaping from the tank or ACV, but there is a cover over the tank which is situated in the laundry room.
  6. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,381
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    If air is your only problem, then all you need is a new AVC.
  7. SilverFox52

    SilverFox52 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Spangle, WA
    Ok, here are pictures of my existing storage tank.

    Inlet side...

    [​IMG]

    Switch and pressure gauge...

    [​IMG]

    Top of tank...

    [​IMG]

    Outlet side...

    [​IMG]

    The schrader valve is on the inlet side prior to the shutoff valve. If my tank has an ACV, maybe someone could point out where it is located. I don't see anything that looks like a valve at the pressure gauge nor at the pump control switch.

    We just finished installing a new propane cook stove that required removing paneling to run the gas lines. In order to redo the walls, I need to move the tank out to access the area behind the tank. Now would be the ideal time to replace the tank if it is feasible. The short 50gal bladder tank is the right height to make an enclosure that could double as a table for sorting and/or folding laundry.

    Hope this helps with the diagnosis.
  8. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    I see a couple of problems here-- how long has worked properly?
    Looks like a PITA to service- no drain valve.

    Can you hear air entering the tank each time the pump cycles? The schrader valve wouldn't normally be installed if there are bleeders in the drop pipe. Have you ever added air?

    The picture does not show it from an ideal angle but it appears that there is a reducing bushing installed behind the gauge where the AVC should be. Here is a link so you can see what one looks like-
    (http://www.drillspot.com/products/108448/US_Gauge_300L_Float_Type_Air_Volume_Control_Kit)

    Also, where the pressure switch is installed is on the air side of the tank. It should be installed off a tee in the line before the tank. Obviously it will work this way but it is not correct.


    You could spend money on a new bladder tank and tee assembly, but if there are working bleeders in the drop pipe, that will need to be addressed first.
  9. SilverFox52

    SilverFox52 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Spangle, WA
    We've lived here for 19 years and until the last few months have never had a problem.

    I've never added air to the system, never knew it was necessary.

    I don't hear air entering the tank everytime it cycles. Sometimes I hear gurgling in the tank when the pump kicks on, other times it doesn't. The pump just came on a few minutes ago and it did not make the gurgling sound it makes other times.

    How would I determine if working bleeders are installed in my system?

    Appreciate your help thus far. Keep asking me questions and I'll do my best to feed info!;)
  10. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    The gurgling you hear when the Pump starts says that you do have bleeders.

    I can't tell from your pictures where that gauge is, but I think Cacher Chick is right. The air release should have put there. Chances are the bleeders are close to the top and an air control isn't needed. They must give just the right amount of air (which is darned difficult to achieve) to keep the tank from waterlogging.

    bob...
  11. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Speedbump has an interesting thought here- I'm still amazed the system has worked well this long.

    It sounds like for whatever reason the tank has too much air in it.

    What I would do at this point is shut off power to the pump and completely drain the tank. It appears that there is a drain cap on your shut off valve or you could unhook at the union. You will have to figure out what to do with the water. Open a cold water faucet in the house to prevent an airlock when you drain the tank.

    After the tank is empty, close the faucets, recap the drain, and turn the pump back on. The tank will then refill, trapping an air charge in the top half of the tank. After purging the air from the pipes (open each faucet until the air stops) your system should then be working properly.

    To avoid needing to do this again, there should be an AVC installed where the gauge is.
  12. Waterwelldude

    Waterwelldude Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer

    Messages:
    303
    Location:
    Texas
    cacher_chick was close, but this is the air-release you need for you type of well system.

    From reading your post. I don't think I would change the tank.
    You are one of the lucky ones. I don't think I have seen a well like yous go any length of time without a air release in the tank.

    There should be a 1/4 hole in the check valve right next to the schrader valve or (the valve stem looking thing.) That is where the pressure is on most wells. It doesn't hurt being on the tank, but that is where the air release needs to go.



    Travis
  13. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,381
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    And you can screw the gauge back into the top of the AVC if you want. The bottom hole is where the air comes out.
  14. SilverFox52

    SilverFox52 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Spangle, WA
    Thanks for all the replies. I will try to drain the tank this weekend. I have a floor drain in the laundry room, so all I have to do is move an area rug and open it up.

    I'll post back after I've given this a try.

    Sure would be nice to get rid of this monstrosity, having it indoors competing for space in the laundry room is not the best option. What the heck, we've lived with it that way for 19 years, guess we're used to it.:)
  15. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Soon enough your pump will die and then you will have the perfect opportunity to replace everything. Until then, it's working and it's paid for.

    Your next pump and tank probably won't last 10 years, so I'd say enjoy what you have! ;)
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