Very basic question about well pressure tanks...

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by ZoneIII, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Illinois
    I will be buying a new well pressure tank and I wanted to get some advice on what brand to buy. There are so many that I don't know which ones are good and not so good. The name Well X-Trol and Flexcon have come up but so have many others. I don't like to skimp on things like this so I wanted to ask experts what they recommend.

    I guess this is a good time to ask a couple other questions too:

    1) Is either a bladder tank or a diaphragm tank better than the other? Which would you recommend?

    2) My old cellar-type basement often gets damp and and the metal legs on the tank I have now are almost completely rusted off. It seems that a fiberglass tank might be good for my circumstances but I don't want to get one if they aren't as good as metal tanks. Are fiberglass tanks any good? I will probably get a metal tank and, if I do, I will keep it off the floor this time using a optional base, if available, or by putting it on blocks but I thought I would at least ask for opinions about fiberglass tanks.

    I see that the life expectancy of a typical bladder tank is about 5 years but the funny thing is that my old Sears bladder tank is about 25 years old and I have had no problems with it at all until last month. In fact, I'm not absolutely sure that the bladder is bad but I suddenly started getting a LOT of rust in my whole house filter that I never got before so I'm thinking that maybe the bladder ruptured and the rust is coming from inside the tank. (The filter is located just downstream from the tank.) In the past, I changed my whole-house filter about once every 3 or 4 months and, even then, it never restricted water flow. It had a grayish appearance on the outside and black on the inside of the filter. But about a month ago, the water in the clear filter housing suddenly started becoming a deep orange within a week of installing a new filter and started restricting flow in about 2 weeks. I hope the bladder ruptured because I hate to think of what might be causing the problem if that isn't it. I did have to pump it up a lot more than I usually do when I changed the filter last time. In the past when I changed the filter every 3 or 4 months, I had to top the pressure up about about 3-5 pounds or so. I'm losing pressure faster now so maybe the air valve or the tank itself is leaking.

    In any case, I'm going to replace the tank and need some advice on what the best type to get is.

    Thanks in advance.

    Tom
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
  3. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Illinois
    Thanks, LLIgetfa. I really do like the idea of a rust-free tank for my application and I also like the idea of having a replaceable bladder. The bladder on my current tank is replaceable too but the metal tank is in bad shape so that doesn't do me any good. I didn't know that there were tanks where the bladder held the air. Thanks for letting me know about that. With my existing tank, the bladder holds the water.

    I was just about to order a Well X-Trol tank but after reading your helpful reply, I am going to check out the WellMate tanks you mentioned. I would like to hear opinions about glass tanks from people who have experience with them because I seem to remember reading that they may not be very good.

    (Edit) - Out of curiosity, I just checked the price of the replacement cell (air bag) for the tank I would get if I decided to get a WellMate glass tank. It's $216 which is enough to make the benefit of being able to replace it less attractive. I do like the idea of a tank that can't corrode but I still would like to hear from people who have experience with these tanks. Do you recommend them based on your experience?

    Thanks Again,
    Tom
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I've owned a WellMate tank for 14 years but mine is a hydropnuematic precipitation tank for iron filtering, not a captive air tank. Spun glass tanks have been used on filters and softeners for decades with no issues.
  5. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    When I was young, cheap and a little stupid, I changed sears bladders because they gave you a new one for 5 years.

    Easier to birth a child and cleaner too, than changing that bag. So I moved to plain tanks which last longer than any but require air.

    when a sears bladder breaks you get a COLON tank, a huge input of mud and rust and mould into your water that is in my opinion absolutely toxic to drink. Only a bag tank can do that, though the fiberglas tanks wont give the rust portion.

    Most for least looks like Goulds tanks, diaphragm. And frankly, I do not believe your bag lasted 25 years. Unless you closed the well for 20 years.
  6. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Illinois
    "And frankly, I do not believe your bag lasted 25 years. Unless you closed the well for 20 years."

    You're right! I just went out to my shop and got my receipt. It turns out that I have had the tank for just over 20 years (not 25) and it failed almost precisely at the 20 year point. My well has never been closed, though. It is used every single day and I often run the well for days on end watering my gardens. I was young once too (I'm 62 now) but not stupid enough to change the bag when it ruptured. ;)

    However, when a glass tank was recommended (above) I realized that changing the bag might be easier with that unit and, being fiberglass, it wouldn't rust out so I wouldn't be changing the bag on a rusty old tank if I did try to do that. So it was a possibility that was worth considering. But I checked the price of the bag and that pretty much makes it a moot point for me. So I don't see being able to replace the bag as a big plus anyway.

    Thanks for your reply because you confirmed that the rust I am seeing is almost certainly from a ruptured bladder but I am not seeing anywhere near the mess you say I should be seeing. I'm just seeing rust in the filter. My water at the tap is as clear as ever and it smells fine. It's definitely not the toxic mess that you claim it should be. Apparently you e had a different experience but I'm not seeing that. After running through my whole house filter, it runs through my water softener which also has it's own self-cleaning filter. But even when I removed the filter and ran the unfiltered water to my utility tub, it wasn't anywhere near as bad as yours clearly was.

    I'm not sure what you are saying when you wrote: "Most for least looks like Goulds tanks, diaphragm."

    Thanks for your reply.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  7. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Illinois
    (Removed accidentally edited post but have to post some text so this is accepted.)
  8. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Those bags do weird things inside. It may have broken 5 years ago, and allowed just small amounts of crud to percolate through. But if you got more than 5 years on a sears tank, thats one for a world record.

    The short small ones could last much longer than the tall.

    If you added air regularly, you may not have had a working bag for several years.

    Shop for tanks by calling well drillers.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  9. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I recommend the Wel-x-trol tanks. Further I recommend installing a Pside Kick. It includes a WX-102 (small tank) and all components. It will give you constant pressure while extending the life of the pump, tank and pressure switch. Large tanks aren't required when using a Pside-Kick. http://www.cyclestopvalves.com/products.html
    NOTE: Replacing bladders in tanks suck. . . believe me!
  10. m151

    m151 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    northern california
    Lurking on this site I have read many times that sears tanks
    are poor quality. I just took out a sears best 36 gal model in
    service since 1983 and it still works! It holds pressure, has the
    correct draw down, and is not water logged. I was too lazy
    to fix a small pump leak and the legs had heavy rust. I used it for
    spring water instead of well water, maybe that was the difference?
    I was happy with the product.
    Jim
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