Water level in an air over hydro tank

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by SilverFox52, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. SilverFox52

    SilverFox52 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Spangle, WA
    What, approximately, should the level of water be in an 83gal air over hydro tank? My water level at pressure shut off is approximately 16" from the bottom and my tank is 60" tall. Should the water level be somewhere around 1/2 to 2/3 tank volume? I have pinpointed my water level with an infrared thermometer and the temperature change is right at 16".

    I'm going to remove the plug at the top of the tank and raise water level (with the plug out) but I don't know if air should be 50% of tank volume or 33% of tank volume.

    Appreciate any insight.
  2. SilverFox52

    SilverFox52 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Spangle, WA
    Got it figured out. I drained the tank to empty through an outdoor faucet, removed the plug to release any residual air pressure (just a puff), reinstalled the plug, and turned the pump back on. Water level is now at 49" and I am sure I won't have any more air in my lines after this. :cool:

    This post talks about the problem I was having a few years ago - http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?26788-Upgrading-storage-tank

    The air issue would come and go, but lately had gotten to be more consistent. Probably have some defective components/valves in the bleed system (if it exists), but if this works for any length of time, it only takes about 15 minutes to correct.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
  3. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    537
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    Your air release is bad.
  4. SilverFox52

    SilverFox52 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Spangle, WA
    Where is the air release located - above ground or on the down pipe in the casing?
  5. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    537
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    Should be on the side of the tank roughly in the middle. If you don't have one then that's your problem.

    Also, please note that when a system has a built in bleeder that the bleeder and air release work in tandem. If you don't have a built in bleeder then I would say that you have something else wrong with your well, like a hole in the drop pipe or bad check valve and should get it checked out by a pro.
  6. SilverFox52

    SilverFox52 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Spangle, WA
    Thanks for the feedback.

    Valveman's sticky topic about pressure tank maintenance was very helpful in understanding how these systems work. Just wanted to confirm air release and AVC were the same thing. My system does not have an AVC, never has.

    As mentioned in my post a couple years back, the system had worked fine for 19 years with no maintenance whatsoever, so I'm willing to take a chance that draining the tank and re-establishing the correct air volume will work for awhile. If not, I'll get a pro out to diagnose it.
  7. bcpumpguy

    bcpumpguy New Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Langley BC
    If you system has no air volume control, it has no air release. the 16" level was probably just about right as it would have been about 1/3 of the tank. I'm guessing you are talking about a bladderless steel tank, if you no air is coming out of the tank on a pumpcylce while running a hose or a tap your aircharge is just fine. I usually charge these type of tanks to about 5 to 10 psi under the cut in point run some heavy water when the water system has recharged and make sure no air comes out when the pressure switch turns on. remember you can't compress water but you can compess air, its there for a purpose.
  8. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    970
    Location:
    ct
  9. SilverFox52

    SilverFox52 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Spangle, WA
    Here is a picture of my tank, as installed in 1970 or 1971:

    [​IMG]

    We bought our house in 1990, and to my knowledge, the tank and pump are original. I know for a fact nothing has been changed since we took ownership.

    [quote="bcpumpguy]If you system has no air volume control, it has no air release. the 16" level was probably just about right as it would have been about 1/3 of the tank. I'm guessing you are talking about a bladderless steel tank, if you no air is coming out of the tank on a pumpcylce while running a hose or a tap your aircharge is just fine. I usually charge these type of tanks to about 5 to 10 psi under the cut in point run some heavy water when the water system has recharged and make sure no air comes out when the pressure switch turns on. remember you can't compress water but you can compess air, its there for a purpose.[/quote]
    Yes, it's an air over hydro steel tank. My problem was air coming out of all my faucets, taps, showers, toilets, washer, dishwasher exactly as Valveman described in his sticky post on pressure tank maintenance. I could hear air leaving the tank before cut in because the water level was so low the pressure charge in the tank was actually down to outlet level. The inlet is higher than the outlet, and the dark band at the bottom of the tank is where the water level was after draining through the outlet. Since re-establishing the air cushion, my system has been working the way it always did before and I have no air in my lines. Problem solved.

    Maybe my system should have an AVC in it, but one was never installed, and I'm reluctant to add one now. Like I said earlier, if I ever need to address this in the future, it's a 15 minute job now that I know what needs to be done. When my pump finally dies, I'll ditch the steel tank in favor of a bladder design. I have an impulse sprinkler running on my vegetable garden right now. When my pump cycles on it runs for approximately 2 1/2 minutes, with a 10 minute draw down before cycling on again. Better than it has been for a long time. I'm happy. :)
  10. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,485
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    You need an Air Volume Control (AVC) screwed into that 1 ½” hole where the pressure gauge is now. I don’t know why it hasn’t been doing this before. Maybe you never had a bleeder system and now you have a hole in the pipe?
  11. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    537
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    For clarity purposes, around here AVC = Brady AV-80 or similar to be used with jet pumps, and an air release has a float of some sort to let the excess air out.

    I agree with valveman, you have a problem down hole letting excess air in.
  12. SilverFox52

    SilverFox52 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Spangle, WA
    I'm going to run it as is for now and see what happens. If the air in my lines returns, I'll call a pro. Thanks for all the feedback and I'll update this thread if anything changes.
  13. bcpumpguy

    bcpumpguy New Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Langley BC
    must be a check valve right at the top of the well with a hole somewhere below it, everytime the pump shuts off it will let in air and push it into the tank when it starts again.
  14. SilverFox52

    SilverFox52 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Spangle, WA
    Worked fine for a couple days but the air returned yesterday.

    If I pull the well cap, would I be able to see the bleeder valve/s? If there is a hole in the down pipe, it would have to be above the static water level right? If so, shouldn't I be able to see water escaping during a visual inspection?

    I don't have a problem calling a pro, but I want to know it's beyond my ability to correct before I do, so I want to pull the well cap and inspect first. Other than hosing it off, what else do I need to know about removing for inspection? Any other helpful advice?

    I could add an AVC, but if there is another problem in the downpipe, it would only treat a symptom not the cause and would be constantly releasing excess air pressure. This is the AVC recommended in my 02/2009 post - http://www.drillspot.com/products/337173/Campbell_WJAVC_Air_Volume_Control Is that still a good recommendation assuming I can correct the source of my excess air?

    Here's the cap over my casing...

    Thanks much!

    Phil

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  15. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    I would say its unlikely you will get that 1.5" bushing out of the tank. But if you did, I would add the avc before disturbing the well. If you have a hole in the down pipe you should have water hammer and a big air inrush that you can hear when the pump starts. Where is your schrader valve? Should be right at the tank on the check valve.that lets the air IN when the pump runs. You could cap that for a few days and see if you still have air - then get into the well.

    If you pull the pump you should go to poly pipe and a diaphragm tank. Amazon has some at amazing prices, us made.
  16. SilverFox52

    SilverFox52 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Spangle, WA
    It is on the check valve on the tank inlet and already has a cap over it. I don't have water hammering or big air inrush when the pump cycles on, just a lot of gurgling and the subsequent pressurized air in my lines due to too much air in my tank.

    If I have to pull the pump, everything will be replaced and I'll be rid of this monstrosity once and for all and all new lines will be poly/pvc where appropriate.

    Here's a close up of my tank inlet showing the schrader valve, check valve, & shutoff valve. Schrader cap is already on and tight, I checked it when I drained the tank and re-pressurized the tank. Don't know why the shutoff was installed after the union, pretty much useless from a service perspective IMO. :rolleyes:

    Attached Files:

  17. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    537
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    You should re-consider the poly pipe advice. It's hard to tell exactly from the picture, but it appears that you have steel casing. If your casing is 6", then poly pipe might be OK. I won't use the stuff personally. If that's a 4" galv. well, STAY AWAY from the poly pipe. If you ever have any encrustation in the well from the metal pipe, there is absolutely zero clearance between the pump and well and you need the strength of galv. pipe to get the pump out of the hole. I have a rule-galv casing always gets galv. pipe.

    I prefer to use sch 80 pvc with brass or stainless collars for my sub settings, unless it's a galv. casing well. Good luck.
  18. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    If he had 200psi poly pipe in the hole with some standoffs [can even be HD zip ties for the wire] he wouldnt have a hole in his garbage Indonesian pipe - and the new stuff is even worse than his old pipe. Dont toss the tank - looks good to me.

    when using a plain tank, I do my bleed off valve and schrader right at the tank or at the well head, and then it can be maintained and even adjusted for air pick up. Indoors you can run to a drain or water the plants with the bleed off water.

    I would say you have some issues at that schrader valve and rusted check valve. Probably neither one is working. If that cap has been on forever, you have had a hole in the well for just as long.

    The union is there so you can shut off the well, close the valve and then change the check valve. But it looks like sawsall or grinder work to me to remove.
  19. SilverFox52

    SilverFox52 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Spangle, WA
    It is indeed a 6" steel casing.

    At this point, I would prefer to stay away from a system wide upgrade, just don't want to deal with the hassle and expense, not that I can't afford it, but if I can fix the situation without going that route, that's what I want to do. However, I also want to eliminate my excess air problem. If I can accomplish that by adding an ACV, then that's what I'll do. If I should also replace the check valve and schrader valve at the same time, I'll do that too. If (and it's a big unknown to me whether this is really the case), I have a hole in my downpipe, other than the potential source for my excess air what other negatives are associated with that??? Down pipe separation and complete loss of water? Pump dropping to bottom of well?

    I can handle the mechanical aspect of parts replacement. I think I can get the reducer busing off the side of the tank, and if not, I'll deal with that as it comes. Do I need to keep the pressure gauge and should I put it somewhere else?

    Thanks for the help so far. :cool:
  20. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,485
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas

    Very possible you could lose the pump down the well. Holes in the pipe are usually right where the pipe screws onto the check valve at the pump. Hopefully the hole will enlarge enough that you stop getting water to the top of the well before the pump just falls off. But if it is a steel nipple, it is going to be very thin and may break at any time.

    The AVC can go where the pressure gauge is, or it can go in the place where the pressure switch is. Gonna need the hole with the 1.5” threads. Most AVC’s have a ¼” tap on top so you can put the pressure switch, gauge, or both back in this spot, right on the AVC.
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