Need to drain old bladderless expansion tank for well

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by inak, Feb 21, 2021.

  1. inak

    inak New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2021
    Location:
    Alaska
    Hi,
    This will be the third time that we need to drain our huge 5' tall old bladderless tank, because every 6 months the pump will start to cycle, but we seem to forget what to do each time. There are no valves for attaching air compressor that we can find, although I think I remember getting an air compressor last time when I did it with the plumber.
    There is a pipe from the pump from the holding tank that we can turn off at the valve.
    There is a hole in the bottom of the tank to attach a hose to, which we can string along to a shower drain. And I think I remember opening the laundry faucet.
    Any other tips? Should we open anything else? there is also a faucet fitting that sticks out the front of the tank we could open? It doesn't look like the top of the tank has been opened in the 60 yrs it's been in the house.
    Thanks!
     

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    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
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    Semi-Retired
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    If you have a fitting higher up the side of the tank than the drain at the bottom, opening it will let in air so that water can drain. Usually those tanks will have a large bung about half way up for an AVC to be installed.
     
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  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
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    Also, forgot to mention... you can hook a compressor to the drain at the bottom and then just open a tap in the house to let the water out.
     
  5. inak

    inak New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2021
    Location:
    Alaska
    Thanks! There is a faucet sticking out the front that is about 2 inches up and one on the side about 6 inches up that we could open, but nothing even close to 1/2 way up. Maybe one of those that what we hooked the compressor up to last time?
     
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
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    Semi-Retired
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    You can hook the compressor to either one and blow the water into the house plumbing, or hook to the higher one and blow the water out the lower one. I would just blow it out through the house plumbing and save having to run a hose from the lower one. If you do blow it through the house plumbing make sure to remove any faucet aerator in case it flushes some dirt out of the lines.
     
  7. inak

    inak New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2021
    Location:
    Alaska
    Ok that makes sense. The first time we tried to do it we didn’t drain it well enough and didn’t use compressor. I think we used compressor the second time and it worked much better. Appreciate the help- once we figure out the steps, we really need to write it down. We’re nursing along a 60 yr old low flow well pump and really hoping to get a few more years out of it.
     
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Occupation:
    Semi-Retired
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Back when I was a kid, I would have to air up the tank with a bicycle pump. We did not own a compressor. The tank was in a crawlspace that was too low to use the pump vertically so I had to put the base of the pump horizontally against the tank.

    Now I have a compressor and I made up a garden hose adapter for it so I can blow out all my hose bibs and pressure washer to Winterize them.
     
  9. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Inak, is your home connected to municipal sewers while relying on your own private well for water? That would explain the water meter that is infront of the pressure tank.

    When a large non-captive pressure tank is utilized, there will usually be provision made for air to enter the tank every time the pump is activated. When that system is working correctly, then too much air will become a problem so the tank will then be equipped with an automatic volume control that LL mentioned to eliminate excess air.

    Without the setup for air to enter automatically each pump cycle, then manually adding air will become a regular ongoing routine.

    There is likely a threaded plug in the side of your tank which can be exchanged with a plug with a schrader valve (air fitting similar to the valve on a vehicle tire) so air can be added easily using a compressor.

    To eliminate the necessity of always needing to add air, captive pressure tanks were invented which are now most common. Because a flexible rubberized diagphram or bladder separates the air and water, the air will not be absorbed into the water, thereby eliminating the need to add air each pump cycle. Because the air is sealed within the air chamber, the air may be pre-compressed up to just below the well pump cutin pressure, thereby allowing a captive pressure tank to be considerably smaller but with equal performance to a much larger non-captive tank.
     
  10. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    That tank was not installed correctly. There should be a bleeder orifice 5' down the well, There should be a check valve on the inlet side of the tank called a control check because it has some extra holes. The hole on the pump side of the check valve need a Schrader valve. Then half way up the tank there should be a 1 1/2" bung with a Air Volume Control or AVC to let out the excess air. These items are temperamental and don't work for very long, then you need to just add air with a compressor BEFORE the pump starts to rapid cycle, which is very hard on the pump. Best to replace the tank with a diaphragm style tank that doesn't lose its air pre-charge. As long as you don't have iron or sulfur, a diaphragm tank is best. Then you don't need a very large diaphragm style tank is used with a CSV1A like this.

    pk1a-md.jpg
     
  11. inak

    inak New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2021
    Location:
    Alaska
    We are not hooked up to municipal water. the water meter is so that we can pay attention to water usage since it is a low flow well. we have a holding tank with secondary jet pump and I suspect that's why the deep well pump has hung on this long. Last summer the tank float went out while we were out of town and the jet pump went dry, but we were able to rebuild the pump with new impeller. Feel like we dodged a bullet there.
    The set up has lasted 60 years, but I'm sure there's room for improvement at this point. Unless I'm missing something I just can't reach, there aren't orifices in the tank anywhere except the very top (which looks like it hasn't been opened in many, many years) and then the 3 at the bottom. It's going to be a bear to move, but maybe come summer and the next time to drain it, we will decide it's time to get in there and pull it out to replace it. We have 7-8 hardness water, so iron not too much of a problem. Sulfur not a problem. I think we could get one with a bladder if I'm understanding correctly.

    But first, I'm trying to figure out the benefits of the newer set-ups. They are smaller. You can read what the pressure is. There is much more to break and maintain. Maintenance when you do have to do it, is easier? They are smaller so easier to replace, which sounds like will need to happen more often than once every 60 years. The plumbers would like us better cause they would know what the heck they are looking at. Besides this every 6 month procedure that is a pain in the neck, what's broken about our set-up and would be better about the new set-up?
     
  12. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Having a storage tank changes everything. You don't even need that tank. I would just use a float switch in the storage tank in conjunction with a Cycle Sensor for dry well pump protection. The PK1A with the small tank would go on the jet pump. Which the jet pump can also use a Cycle Sensor to protect it in case the storage tank runs dry. It would work much better and be maintenance free if set up like this.

    LOW YIELD WELL_ CENTRIFUGAL_PK1A.jpg

     
    Bannerman likes this.
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