Booster pump on a well w/a press tank?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by Daniel Collick, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. Daniel Collick

    Daniel Collick If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.

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    This isn’t my house, but you all know how it goes, since you’re a plumber you get volunteered to help people fix someone else’s mistakes...on a regular basis.
    Question 1: if the homeowner isn’t satisfied with the existing well pumps supply pressure, would it be better to adjust the pressure switch, replace the pressure switch with one with a higher range, OR install a booster pump between the pressure tank and the house?

    Question 2: why could this be necessary? In 15 years of experience, with adequately sized water piping, 50psi has always been sufficient in every residential single family scenario I’ve encountered.
     
  2. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    50 PSI is usually plenty for a single story house. However, with a well pump operating at 40 to 60, 50 PSI is only the average. The pressure will be at 40 or so for quite a bit of time before the pump comes on. Many times simply adding a Cycle Stop Valve to hold the pressure CONSTANT at 50 PSI makes so much difference people think the pressure has increased. When a well pump is cycling on/off between 40 and 60 over and over it can make the pressure seem dismal. With a CSV holding 50 PSI constant, people tell me they no longer even need soap in the shower the pressure is so good.

    No you shouldn't need a booster pump. No you shouldn't need to buy a new pressure switch. If you want more than 40/60 that particular switch can turn up as high as 55/75 buy just tightening the large adjustment nut. You can try turning the pressure up to 50/70 and see how they like it. If they like that better then adding a CSV to hold the pressure at a strong constant 60 PSI will make even more difference.
     
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  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    When diagnosing, one question will be what pressure is on the pressure gauge at the pressure switch. With a submersible pump, you can usually turn up the pressure switch, and then you adjust the pressure tank air precharge (measured and set with water pressure zero) to 2 psi below the cut-in pressure. Turning the nut on the big spring 3.5 turns clockwise will usually raise the pressure by about 10 psi-- for both the cut-in and cut-out. Usually you leave nut on the big spring alone. If the pressure switch will not adjust sufficiently, then you can replace the pressure switch.

    Checking air precharge and flushing sediment out of the pressure tanks should be annual preventive maintenance. Yes, a lot of us go significantly longer in practice.

    Anyway, low pressure complaints may be due to pressure drops in the house during flows. A filter may be clogged or too small. An aerator may be clogged.
     
  5. Daniel Collick

    Daniel Collick If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.

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    This sounds good. It’s not what most of my plumbing experience is in, but if I need more info on the CSV I’ll hit you up for additional info.
    Thank you.
     
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  6. Daniel Collick

    Daniel Collick If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.

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    Ok, I thought I’d update with some additional information and add a question.
    I was asked, by a friend, to diagnose an issue with a Grundfos booster pump short cycling.
    The system consists of, in order of installation, the following components:
    -residential/domestic well
    -submersible pump
    -pressure tank
    -filtration/water softener system
    -above ground reservoir/storage tank
    -booster pump
    There is an inline check valve in between the outlet of the storage tank and the inlet of the booster pump, the booster may also have an integral check valve.
    The pressure tank & pressure switch are working properly.
    Easy diagnosis, isolate the booster outlet supply pressure to the house. Short cycling stops. So, obviously with the pump/supply on, pressure is building and leaking out somewhere often enough to cycle the booster on about twice per minute.
    After inspecting each fixture in the house, the homeowners water quality was SO bad that they installed those reverse osmosis kits under the kitchen sink on the main floor and another on the kitchen sink in the basement. The basement RO kit wasn’t shutting off it’s supply pressure after the reservoir/pressure tank filled, sending continuous flow right down the saddle fitting on the drain tailpiece.
    In order to be thorough, I also found a water closet fill valve that was suspect, and possibly contributing slightly to the short cycling of the booster.
    Also, the water heater is downstream from the booster and isn’t equipped with a thermal expansion tank. I inspected the temperature & pressure discharge pipe and it trickles/drips regularly.
    My only question is, aside from the obvious code requirements, since the water heater is downstream from the inline check valve & booster pump, is it still ideal to install a thermal expansion tank? My intuition says yes.
     
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  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    I agree they need a thermal expansion tank.
     
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  8. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    The pressure tank on the pump will work as an expansion tank.
     
  9. wwhitney

    wwhitney Well-Known Member

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    But as you may have missed in the long narrative, there is a check valve between the water heater and the pressure tank.

    Cheers, Wayne
     
  10. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    Maybe I missed something? I don't see a check valve after the pressure tank?

    "There is an inline check valve in between the outlet of the storage tank and the inlet of the booster pump, the booster may also have an integral check valve."
     
  11. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    I think the tiny tank on a Grundos booster is way too small to absorb thermal expansion.
     
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  12. wwhitney

    wwhitney Well-Known Member

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    I believe there are two tanks, one a pressure tank and one an atmospheric storage tank. So the house pressure only comes from the "booster" pump connected to the storage tank.

    Regardless, from the description, the one or two check valves mentioned in the sentence you quoted are between the pressure tank outlet and the water heater. So the thermal expansion is being stopped before it can reach the pressure tank.

    Cheers, Wayne
     
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  13. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    I agree. I thought there was another pressure tank.
     
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  14. Daniel Collick

    Daniel Collick If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.

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    Correct.
    If I’m asked to do anything further, I want to determine what, other than some type of float switch, is communicating between the above ground storage tank and the submersible pump/storage tank. My gut tells me there’s something, otherwise the storage tank would have to be sealed to keep the submersible pump/pressure tank from overfilling the storage.
     
  15. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    When you have a pressure tank on a well pump that feeds a storage tank, usually there is a solenoid valve that is controlled by the float switch. The float switch drops and opens the solenoid valve. The pressure tank empties and the pressure switch starts the well pump. When the float switch rises it closes the solenoid valve, the pressure tank fills and the pressure switch shuts off the well pump.

    LOW YIELD WELL_and storage with two PK1A one pipe.jpg
     
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  16. Daniel Collick

    Daniel Collick If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.

    Joined:
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    plumber
    Location:
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    Thank you.
    Now if they’d only piped it as nicely as the diagram is drawn.
     
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