well water tank storage ---would like to pressurize with compressed air

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by corvettejohn123, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. corvettejohn123

    corvettejohn123 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Thailand
    Hi;
    I am living in Thailand (formerly a high-school shop teacher from Vancouver). I have four above-ground water tanks for gravity feed water supply, so far it has been adequate. But, now want to have some pressure (40 - 60 psi) to my water system. I have a good-size air compressor that I already use for working on cars. Can someone out there please tell me if and how I can use my compressed air (which is at 115psi to boost my water pressure. I do not want to install another water pump.

    For example, when I ride on the trains in Thailand, the water pressure when washing my hands in the sink is quite powerful, and I believe it is pressured by compressed air. Could I not somehow rig a system with compressed air to give me constant good water pressure in my situation? Any help would be most appreciated. I have scoured the NET with little success, every situation uses water bladders inside the tank. HELP! (Thankyou!!!)
  2. loafer

    loafer Mechanical Engineer

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    Maine
    You CAN NOT pressurize your water storage tanks with compressed air. They are not designed, nor certified as a pressure vessel. In this country, there are very strict standards governing pressure vessels due to the large amount of energy stored in the vessel with a compressible medium (such as air).

    I have designed a compressed air over water system similar to what you are describing that operated up to 120psi. For the cost of a system like the one I designed, you could buy 100 water pumps and pay a professional plumber to install every one of them. The bulk of the cost will be in replacing your tanks with certified pressure vessels.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2011
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,226
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Your tanks may not be sealed, and probably are not otherwise they would not work for a gravity system. In addition, IF you could pressurize them, then whatever fills the tank would have to be "strong" enough to overcome that backpressure in the tank.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,798
    Location:
    New England
    You don't need a large pressure tank. the TV show 'This Old House' did one on an in-line booster system that would probably work. It basically had maybe a 5-gallon pressure tank, a pump, and a check valve. Since you have a large supply that the pump can draw from, it only needs to keep up with your highest usage. The small tank would take care of short cycling for things like hand washing and probably flushing a toilet, but longer uses it would be essentially running constantly until shortly after you turned the tap off, as it would then refill the small storage tank.
  5. corvettejohn123

    corvettejohn123 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Thailand
    water tank compressed air

    01 April 2011
    Hi Jim;

    I sent you a message not too skilled on this site as this my first time. Not sure you got it. My e-mail is uniglassinc@gmail.com I would definitely like to get a sketch from you as to your solution even though you say you are "not a pro" ... amateur works just fine for me. Most grateful for your response.
    Regards,
    John
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,226
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    He is referring to a "compact package" pump system. It has a pump and small storage tank preassembled and wired. You install it between the storage tank and the system piping then plug it into the electrical receptacle.
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,798
    Location:
    New England
    I have no affiliation with these guys, and have no idea if this particular one works well, but here is one, engineered, solution that you might consider: http://www.pressurebooster.com/ . Just do a google search on booster pump increase water pressure, and you'll get an idea of what's there. Often, you can search and view old shows from This Olde House...they did install a version on one of them. That shows a more traditional version that is as I described...check valve, pump, storage bladder tank. It was an integrated system with the pressure switch built in that controlled the motor.
  8. Dorrough

    Dorrough New Member

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    Southern Indiana
    There is something called a water pressure tank that does just this. We used to keep a 250 gallon plastic tank filled with water that we brought in from offsite. This was connected to a pressure tank. There's a small pump that pumps the water into a little steel tank that has a rubber bladder inside. The air in the bladder gets compressed when you pump the water in, so it comes out with more force. There's also a version that uses a diaphragm instead of an air bladder - maybe some of the experts here can advise which one is better. You can get a tank sized to fit your needs - check the manufacturer's website. It wouldn't work with your air compressor, and you don't want to wear the compressor out doing this all the time. The pressure tank isn't very expensive and will last you a long time.
  9. corvettejohn123

    corvettejohn123 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Thailand
    Air Compressor help to boost water pressure -Thailand

    Hi;
    I have 4 above ground 1 meter diameter tanks about 4 meters high. I have an air compressor and also have experimented with a 5 gallon tank trying to boost water pressure to 40-60 psi. I got one reply from a "Jim" who was "not a pro" and a "retired engineer". He sent me a response and said he knew a way it could be done. I have had trouble logging in for the past week and have lost the thread. HELP!!! I would love to hear back from Jim, but will wait patiently. I keep believing there is a way.
    Thank you,
    John
  10. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,368
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    A compressor with a 40/60 switch will push water out of a tank until the tank is empty. Then how do you put more water in the tank?
  11. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

    Messages:
    3,810
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Hello Group,

    You could use a relay control system to do it , But would it not be better to use a booster water pump ?

    Have a nice day.

    DonL
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,826
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
  13. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Pressurizing a gravity feed system!

    In Thailand and many countries all water storage tanks are mounted on the roof (gravity feed). These tanks are filled when water pressure from the city or wherever is available. The filling and cutoff is controlled by a float switch. You cannot presurize these tanks otherwise the tanks won't refill. Adding air to the gravity tank is not a good idea!
    You could install a 1/2 hp shallow well jet pump (you would need a check valve between the gravity tank and the pump) with a Cycle Stop Valve, a pressure switch and a small bladder tank between the gravity tank and the outlet. The CSV would give you constant pressure and prevent the pump from short cycling.
    Go to www.cyclestopvalves.com for more information.
  14. axis11

    axis11 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia
    Last edited: May 30, 2011
  15. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    You certainly can add air, about 40 or 50 psi to the tanks, and if the incoming pressure is greater and you dont draw them down, they should refill.

    People do it all the time with plain water well tanks. Dont put 115 psi in the tank.

    However, you will spend a fortune in electricity compared to a little booster pump.

    You should use a oilless compressor.

    You could have 3 gravity, and the 4th pressurized with air fed by a small jet pump.
    Last edited: May 30, 2011
  16. axis11

    axis11 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia
    If you really wanted to pressurize your tank, have an expert check how much pressure your tanks can withstand + additional factor of safety, otherwise you would probably blow your tanks wet and wild. But if your main goal is have a higher pressure at the best way, the booster pump will serve you well.
  17. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Nope, can't do it with a gravity system such as you now have without adding a booster pump, a pressure tank and a pressure switch. Most developing countries have gravity feed systems on top of their buildings. These are advantagious because supply water isn't always available 24/7, you have less problems with leaky faucets. Presurized systems are great in the US (and on trains in Thailand) but are a problem in developing countries.
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