valveman's profile pics: One tank is wrong and the other is right

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by BillyJoeJimBob, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. BillyJoeJimBob

    BillyJoeJimBob New Member

    Messages:
    36
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    I keep noticing the profile pic showing the tank with pipes below as being "wrong", and the one with the pipes above as being "right". I think I have the wrong one at my cabin.

    Thing is, I'm not sure what these tanks are, or what they are for. The one I have is about 20 gallon, by Sears, and I assumed it had some kind of rubber bladder inside. It has a standard needle air valve on top, like what you have on a tire. In my mind, I decided it was some kind of pressure "storage" cannister to limit the number of cycles the pump would have to turn on.

    But now I have the idea that what I have is wrong, and I'd like to know 1) if that's true, and 2) why it's true. What do these tank things do, anyways? Is bigger better? Should I have let the air out of mine? Before I did this, the system was pressurized and yet the tank was empty. I decided there should be some water in the tank so I let some air out. Now there's water in the tank, but I don't know how much. How do you "balance" these tanks between air & water? Or is it a "factory settings" situation that I've screwed up?

    This thing is obviously "floor mounted". Can I hang it upside-down and make it right? Do I have to replace it? The whole thing is bugging me now.
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,921
    Location:
    IL
    There is nothing wrong with the classic system you have. Valveman is the owner of a company that sells an alternate system "CSV" (Cycle Stop Valves® is a registered trademark) is a branded system that uses a smaller pressure tank. You can click on his link for the positives which include use of a smaller pressure tank.

    Your understanding is true. In some systems the bladder holds air, and the tank holds water. In other systems, the bladder holds the water and the tank holds the air. I think bladder holding water is more common. http://www.flotecpump.com/residentialpage_resource_faq_tanks.aspx

    Your tank allows the water to build up. Your tank will hold about 30% of the nominal capacity between pump turn off until the pressure drops enough for the pump to turn back on. Your tank should have been pre-charged with air to about 2 PSI less than the cut-on pressure for your pump. That pressure would be set when there is no water pressure. Since you let air out, you should use a tire gauge and a pump after you have turned off your pump and let the water pressure drop by opening a faucet until flow stops. A compressor is much easier, but even a manual tire pump can do the job.

    I would only replace the if there are symptoms. The tank can hang upside down, but remember it is heavy when full. So it will need heavy duty mounting.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,838
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    It doesn't depict it as *wrong* per se, only that the CSV and small tank can replace the big tank.
  4. BillyJoeJimBob

    BillyJoeJimBob New Member

    Messages:
    36
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    So say cut-on pressure is 30 PSI. The tank's air pressure should be about 28 psi when 2/3rds filled with water with no pressure. How do I know when it's 2/3rds full if the tank is completely sealed? In fact, that's sort of what I did. One day I noticed that, when under full pump pressure, the tank was almost completely empty, so I let the air out until the tank was what I estimated to be about 3/4ths full. I figured in order to work, the tank needed both air AND water in it. I'm having difficulty imagining the process of getting 28 psi in the tank while it's 2/3rds full. Maybe fill it all the way up with the air valve open, and when full, cut off the pump, and drain the tank to 2/3rds, then pump air to 28 psi? Makes my head spin. Does it matter if the bladder is for air or water?

    Seems counter-intuitive to me. Seems to me that if the small tank is 2 gallons, you only have 2 gallons of water to use before the pump has to turn on, otherwise you have air in the waterline?
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,921
    Location:
    IL
    No, the bladder should be 0% filled with water with no water pressure. The air valve should have 28 PSI on it at that time. When you turn the pump back on, the air pressure will rise. But you are not going to monitor the air pressure in that state.
  6. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,382
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    The 20 gallon tank you have only has 5 gallons of water when completely full. So it will feel like it is empty if you shake it or tap on it. The air in the bladder needs to be “pre-charged” like the spare tire on your car. It should have 28 PSI of air when you take it out of the box, or before it is even hooked up to the pipe. So you have to make sure to turn the pump off, drain all water from the tank, and leave a faucet open while checking or adding air to the tank.

    With a 28 PSI air charge in the tank, the pump doesn’t start putting any water in the tank until it builds up to 29 PSI on the water pressure side. Then it puts about 5 gallons in that tank as the pressure builds to 50 PSI and the pump shuts off. With the pump off, when you open a faucet, you should get about 5 gallons out before the pressure drops to 30 PSI and the pump is restarted.

    Many things about pump systems are “counter-intuitive”. The pressure tank actually delivers more water with the proper 28 PSI of air charge than it does with a 10 PSI air charge. It is better for the pump to run 24/7 than to cycle off part of the time. Restricting the flow from a pump with a valve actually makes the pumps work easier, not harder as you might think.

    The amount of water the pressure tank holds is not as important as how many times the pump cycles on and off while you take a shower or run a sprinkler. Your 20 gallon tank holds 5 gallons of water. When you take a 30 gallon shower, (3 GPM for 10 minutes) the pump cycles on and off about 6 times, as the tank fills and drains.

    With the Cycle Stop Valve system in the picture, the 4.5 gallon tank only holds 1 gallon of water. But the CSV will make the pump exactly match the amount the shower or sprinkler is using, so the pump only cycles on once, even if you are in the shower for a month.

    So the picture with the small tank (check), large tank (X) means that you are better off with a Cycle Stop Valve and a small tank than you are without a Cycle Stop Valve, even if you have the largest tank you could fit through the door.
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You shut off the pump. Shut off the water to the house past the pressure tank. Drain the tank. Shut the pressure tank's drain valve. Set the air pressure in the tank to 29 psi WITH NO WATER IN THE TANK. Turn on your pump and the water to the house and enjoy proper water pressure and pressure tank and pump operation.

    The CSV allows a smaller pressure tank because the pump runs while there is 1 gpm of water use or more which is much better for a pump, pressure tank and gives you constant water pressure rather than to have the pressure swing between say 30 psi pump on and up to 50 psi and pump off and back down to 30 psi and pump on and up to 50 psi and pump off over'n over as a standard system is operated.

    So we can see that with the standard system the captive air pressure in the pressure tank is where the power comes from to move water out of the tank to the fixtures when the pump is not running. That causes just about all the water in the tank to be 'used' when the pump comes on. Then the pump provides the pressure to move water and at the same time refills the pressure tank with as much water as it can hold while precharged at say 29 psi, and the pump builds up pressure to 50 psi and the pump's pressure switch shuts off power to the pump. A pressure switch setting of on at 30 and off at 50 gives you an average water pressure of 40 psi.

    Here is a diagram etc.,
    http://www.wellmanager.com/faqs/troubleshooting_pressure_tanks.html
  8. BillyJoeJimBob

    BillyJoeJimBob New Member

    Messages:
    36
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    Thanks. I'm printing this off and taking it with us when we go to Ruidoso in about 3 weeks.

    Also thanks to all the other replies. This forum has the most number of informed participants I've ever been on.

    Okay so I've been thinking about CSV's for the last couple of days. It's how my mind works, and I think I finally "get it". It's the number of start/stop cycles that wear a motor/pump out, and the CSV delivers continuously high pressure, which makes that system better for two reasons.

    Some thoughts:

    1) CSV = Cycle Stop Valve While it may be technically true that the device is a valve, to the layman calling it a valve is counter-intuitive on a "psychological" level. At least it was to me. I saw the word "valve" and my thoughts went in one direction, while the truth of the situation was somewhere else. Seems like it's an impediment to an uninformed, prospective customer to learn what the device is, what it does, etc... It took a bit of thinking for me to be able to "get it". I wonder if a better, more informative, more "sales oriented" word might be "regulator" since that seems to be what it's doing. "Continuous Pressure Regulator" maybe, IDK. But if you say "regulator", I think it helps a layman to go from A to B a whole lot faster.

    2) Occurred to me that the Big Tank/no CSV, Small Tank/with CSV might not be an either/or proposition. Assuming that you CAN have a CSV with a big tank, presenting the device as being "married" to a small tank might impede a prospective customer from wanting to purchase one. I know that in my case, having the ability to simply add a device to my already-existing system sounds a lot better to me than buying both a small tank and CSV, plumbing both and then having a perfectly good large tank laying around that I have to do something with.

    And the metal is too thin to make a good BBQ smoker.

    Can a CSV be used with a large tank? Would it operate better, the same or does this present some kind of negative?
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  9. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,838
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    There are use cases for a large tank with a CSV. The only down side is delayed gratification, meaning the pressure will be below ideal as you draw down the tank. On some pressure switches, you can narrow the spread a little.
  10. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,382
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I feel right at home talking to someone named BillyJoeJimBob. :) And I appreciate any advice on how to explain what the CSV does. When we first started with CSV’s 20+ years ago, we thought we only needed to explain it to other professional pump installers like ourselves.

    All pump professionals know how bad cycling on/off is for the pump/motor and everything else in a pump system, so we thought the name Cycle Stop Valve was very descriptive. And it was, perhaps too descriptive. It took us several years to find out that we had been black listed by many pump manufacturers.

    Solving the problems of cycling meant that pumps would last longer and use smaller pressure tanks. Companies that make pumps and tanks were not happy. Maybe we should have called it something different and designed it so it wouldn’t extend the life of the pump/motor. Maybe instead of 1 GPM, we should have made the minimum flow 1/10 of a GPM like some other devices out there that shorten the life of pumps and motors.

    Long story short, we have thought of many names over the years. Constant Pressure Regulator was way up there, along with VFD Eliminator and countless others. I don’t think the name is very important with “disruptive” products like the CSV.

    Professional installers will only come to it when they are finally ready. It took many professionals 20 years or more to wrap their heads around the bladder style pressure tank. So it will probably take even longer with something as counter-intuitive as the Cycle Stop Valve, especially since they get a lot of negative feedback about CSV’s from the pump/motor manufacturers.

    These manufacturers will be kicking and screaming for years and may never confess CSV’s are good, or they would have to reduce the size of tanks and how many pumps they make. That is why it is called a “disruptive product”. “Disruptive products” usually become the norm, it just takes many years to get the industry to change. The automobile replaced the horse and buggy. The refrigerator replaced the ice man. The Buggy manufacturers just had to switch to making autos, and the ice man had to start selling refrigerators. But you can bet they said bad things about autos and the “frig” for as long as they could get away with it. Eventually the public said “Hey, we like cars and refrigerators, and they haven’t caused our eyes to bleed like we were told they would”.

    A “disruptive product” is only disruptive to the manufacturers. It is good for the people who use it. So instead of wasting any more time beating my head against the wall with pump/motor manufacturers and suppliers, thanks to the Internet I am trying to explain the CSV to the people who need them and will benefit from them. So maybe I should start a contest to find a new name for Cycle Stop Valves. Something that explains all the benefits to a home owner in a short, catchy name would be nice. But I have said many times that the Cycle Stop Valve is a simple little valve with a complicated explanation and a thousand ways to use it. So maybe explaining what the name Cycle Stop Valve means is as good a place to start as any.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013

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