Pipe from well to pressure tank too small/restrictive?

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MarkW

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I have a well with submersible pump (1/2 HP, about 60 feet of lift). The pipe from the well enters my garage, where my well tank is. The pipe at the pump is 1 1/4", and it is 1" PE pipe from the pitless adapter to the tank. A few years ago I moved the tank to another corner of the garage (warmer and out of the way). The 1" PE pipe at the original tank location now has a sharp elbow fitting (1") and an adapter/reducer to the 3/4" PEX I used for the new extended run to the tank. It is about 30 total feet of 3/4" PEX and I curved the pipe for all turns rather than use fittings.

We don't have any problems with the water in the house. Pressure and volume are fine at all our fixtures. But I wonder if the more restrictive piping to my well tank will cause my pump to work harder (against more pressure), run longer (because the fill is slower), and die sooner.

Other:
- The tech info for my well pump says it should put out 10.9 GPM at 60', 9.6 GPM at 80', 8.1 GPM at 100'
- My well tank should probably be larger. It is a Well-X-Troll WX-202 and has a 5.4 gallon drawdown (at 40-60 PSI).
- My well tank now refills in 29 seconds, so my pump is putting 11 GPM into the tank, which seems to be in line with the output predicted by the pump literature.

Most of what I've read indicates that "big" pipe/tubing (1" or 1 1/4") should run all the way to the pressure tank. Other folks (who know a lot more than I do) say that too little head pressure can cause the pump to overspeed and draw too much current, and they deliberately neck the pipe down from 1.25" to 1" to prevent this. By that reasoning, maybe me 3/4" PEX is okay.
Two questions:
1) Am I alright with my present setup, or should I run 1" PE or PEX all the way to the pressure tank?
2) Would you replace the (functional) pressure tank with a bigger one? 29 seconds of fill time seems pretty short, but my last well pump did survive 11 years.

Thanks a lot for any input/suggestions.

Mark
 

Reach4

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My well tank now refills in 29 seconds, so my pump is putting 11 GPM into the tank, which seems to be in line with the output predicted by the pump literature.
I would consider the WX-250 44 gallon tank if you replace your current tank. That has a 1-1/4 NPT connection instead of the 1 inch thread on your current tank. You can adapt.

A little more restriction is a bit easier on the pump, rather than harder. Speed will change very slightly based on the backpressure.

Regarding a bit of 3/4 inline, it is OK if it is there already. My whole line from the well into the basement is all 3/4 SIDR (bigger ID than 3/4 pex) fed through the old 1-1/4 galvanized. My pump is a 7 gpm pump. You really don't have much backpressure if you are pumping over 10 gpm with a 10 gpm pump.
 

Valveman

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The insert fittings in 3/4 pex make it more like 1/2" copper or poly. But if you are getting 11 GPM to the tank you should be OK. Slowing the tank fill rate even more would be good, as 30 seconds of run time is not good. At full load amps a pump needs to run a minimum of 1 minute, 2 minutes is better, and running continuously is best. Too much cycling is why you only got 11 y ears instead of 30 years out of the last pump, and the newer pump probably won't last that long.

Doubling the size of tank will get you the bare minimum of 1 minute of run time. But it will also cost more, take up more space, and make the pressure worse as it will stay low for longer before the pump starts. And you will still have all the problems associated with too much cycling.

The 202 tank is four times larger than needed when using a CSV, and will work fine. The CSV will refill the tank at 1 GPM instead of full pump flow. So, with a CSV1A setting of 50 with a 40/60 pressure switch you will get two minutes of run time with the tank you have. Plus it will only fill the tank and shut off the pump after you stop using any water. You will like the strong constant pressure from the CSV in the house, and the reduced cycling will make your pump system last 3-4 times longer than last time.

 

MarkW

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I would consider the WX-250 44 gallon tank if you replace your current tank. That has a 1-1/4 NPT connection instead of the 1 inch thread on your current tank. You can adapt.

A little more restriction is a bit easier on the pump, rather than harder. Speed will change very slightly based on the backpressure.

Regarding a bit of 3/4 inline, it is OK if it is there already. My whole line from the well into the basement is all 3/4 SIDR (bigger ID than 3/4 pex) fed through the old 1-1/4 galvanized. My pump is a 7 gpm pump. You really don't have much backpressure if you are pumping over 10 gpm with a 10 gpm pump.
Reach4,
Thanks for that. I'm leaning toward leaving the setup as-is for now. When my pressure tank crumps out (it looks to be about 20-30 year old) I'll go to a bigger tank and maybe upgrade the pipe at that time from 3/4" PEX to 1", and also get rid of the tight 1" elbow in favor of a less restrictive turn.
 

MarkW

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The insert fittings in 3/4 pex make it more like 1/2" copper or poly. But if you are getting 11 GPM to the tank you should be OK. Slowing the tank fill rate even more would be good, as 30 seconds of run time is not good. At full load amps a pump needs to run a minimum of 1 minute, 2 minutes is better, and running continuously is best. Too much cycling is why you only got 11 y ears instead of 30 years out of the last pump, and the newer pump probably won't last that long.
Cary, thanks for the input. I'm not sure what killed my old pump, but I suspect it was impact/rubbing with the well casing that pierced the lower pump body and let water in. Of course, that twisting/banging happens mostly on startup, so you may well be right about the ultimate cause.
Doubling the size of tank will get you the bare minimum of 1 minute of run time. But it will also cost more, take up more space, and make the pressure worse as it will stay low for longer before the pump starts. And you will still have all the problems associated with too much cycling.

The 202 tank is four times larger than needed when using a CSV, and will work fine. The CSV will refill the tank at 1 GPM instead of full pump flow. So, with a CSV1A setting of 50 with a 40/60 pressure switch you will get two minutes of run time with the tank you have. Plus it will only fill the tank and shut off the pump after you stop using any water. You will like the strong constant pressure from the CSV in the house, and the reduced cycling will make your pump system last 3-4 times longer than last time.
I'll need to learn a bit more about the CSV. I appreciate your enthusiasm for the product (really good video, thanks). Our household might not be the best candidate for it:
1) I've got plenty of room for a larger pressure tank.
2) I prefer simple to complex. Tank water heater to tankless, etc.
3) I have a fixture (hose bib) between the well and the pressure tank, so it gets a little more complex.
4) I need to learn more about submerged pumps, esp the impact of operating for extended periods with high backpressure.
5) At first glance, our household's pattern of water use doesn't appear to be ideal for benefiting from a CSV. Assuming that there's no harm to the pump from running a long time with high backpressure, the main objective would be to reduce the number of cycles. That's done by increasing the average amount of water the pump moves when it turns on. A household with a lot of extended-time water use (sprinklers/irrigation, long showers, etc) could benefit most from a CSV. A household where a lot of the use is toilet flushing, hand washing, short reverse-osmosis use, 2 quarts to fill a spaghetti pot, etc wouldn't reduce pump starts as much. As it is now, I know that every time my pump starts it will move about 5.4 gallons before it turns off. If I had a CSV and a very small tank, I'm not sure that the average "per start" volume would be that high. Maybe a CSV plus a "conventional" size well tank would be best for us. But I enjoyed learning about the product (thanks!) and will research it more.

Mark
 
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Bannerman

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From your description, it sounds like you only relocated the pressure tank but did not reroute the piping to the home fixtures. As such, I suspect the flow into the house is not routed through the 3/4" PEX line but is fed directly from the 1" line leading from the pump. If so, then the only possible flow restriction caused by the 3/4" PEX line is while the initial 5.4 gallons drawdown is being drawn to drop the system pressure to 40 psi to activate the pump.

Because most household water use will be far less than 11 GPM, there is probably no issue with only the drawdown from the pressure tank running through the 3/4" PEX line. Once the pump is activated, then the flow to the home will be supplied directly from the pump.

As you only mentioned relocating the PT, did you also relocate the pressure switch or does the P-switch remain where the PT was located previously?

I'm not certain you fully understand the function and benefit of a CSV. If your pump is supplying 11 GPM, then anytime less than 11 GPM is being used will result in the pump running until the system pressure rises to 60 psi so the pressure switch will shut off the pump. If you are using only 2.5 gpm to shower, then the system pressure will drop to 40 psi to cause the pump to run again to supply 11 gpm which will again refill the pressure tank to 60 psi. This pressure fall and rise will continue to occur anytime less than 11 GPM is consumed.

A CSV will vary the flow from your existing pump so it will match actual water consumption. During a 2.5 gpm shower, once the pump becomes activated, the system pressure will rise to 50 psi and the CSV will then limit the flow from the pump to 2.5 gpm @ 50 psi for the entire duration of the shower.

If someone flushes a toilet or fills the clothes washer during the shower, the CSV will increase the pump flow to match the new flow rate still @ 50 psi. Once water is no longer consumed, then the CSV will finish filling the PT at only 1 GPM until 60 psi is achieved to cause the pump to shut down.

As mentioned, frequent Start/Stop/Start cycles will reduce the life of the pump, pressure switch and PT. Historically, to reduce cycling, a large PT was used so once the pump is activated, it would run at minimum 60 seconds with 120 seconds preferred.

Because a CSV will fill the PT at only 1 GPM, that low flow rate will allow a much smaller PT to be utilized while continuing to provide 60+ seconds minimum pump run time. A small tank is actually beneficial as drawdown will occur more rapidly so as to activate the pump where it will supply consistent pressure for the remaining time water is consumed.
 

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I'm not sure what killed my old pump, but I suspect it was impact/rubbing with the well casing that pierced the lower pump body and let water in. Of course, that twisting/banging happens mostly on startup, so you may well be right about the ultimate cause.

Cycling on and off is the cause of nearly every pump system problem. Rubbing a hole in the pump/motor, slapping the wire against the casing, or rubbing it against the drop pipe are just a few more problems caused by the pump cycling too much.

I'll need to learn a bit more about the CSV. I appreciate your enthusiasm for the product (really good video, thanks). Our household might not be the best candidate for it:

People with heavily used water systems use Cycle Stop Valves to solve the problems they are having from cycling the pump too much. People with lightly used water systems can learn from those who have had a lot of problems, and benefit from a CSV as well.

1) I've got plenty of room for a larger pressure tank.

Room you could still be using for something else useful? Plenty of money for the extra large pressure tank? Plenty of heat to warm all that cool water you are bringing in the house? You will also have plenty of room temp water sitting in a rubber bag for hours before use, instead of fresh, cool water straight from the well as with a small tank.

2) I prefer simple to complex. Tank water heater to tankless, etc.

Me too! But the CSV is just a simple valve. And by adding a simple CSV you solve several complex problems associated with cycling too much.

3) I have a fixture (hose bib) between the well and the pressure tank, so it gets a little more complex.

Just means the CSV needs to go before that hydrant, like at or in the well.

4) I need to learn more about submerged pumps, esp the impact of operating for extended periods with high backpressure.

Everybody does! Because pumps are made to run 24/7/365, and it says "continuous duty" right on the side of the motor. It is cycling on and off that destroys them. I have a 1/2HP restricted to 3 GPM that hasn't shut off in over 18 years so far. Pumps are made to run and back pressure is just what they do to make water flow.

5) At first glance, our household's pattern of water use doesn't appear to be ideal for benefiting from a CSV. Assuming that there's no harm to the pump from running a long time with high backpressure, the main objective would be to reduce the number of cycles. That's done by increasing the average amount of water the pump moves when it turns on. A household with a lot of extended-time water use (sprinklers/irrigation, long showers, etc) could benefit most from a CSV. A household where a lot of the use is toilet flushing, hand washing, short reverse-osmosis use, 2 quarts to fill a spaghetti pot, etc wouldn't reduce pump starts as much. As it is now, I know that every time my pump starts it will move about 5.4 gallons before it turns off. If I had a CSV and a very small tank, I'm not sure that the average "per start" volume would be that high. Maybe a CSV plus a "conventional" size well tank would be best for us. But I enjoyed learning about the product (thanks!) and will research it more.

The CSV is a simple valve with a complex explanation. Here is a chart of how many times the pump cycles when using a CSV and small tank compared to a larger tank. There really is very little difference in the number of cycles when water is just used for the house. The CSV just eliminates cycling on long term uses of water and adds back a few for short term uses, but the total is the same. With a CSV the tank is used more as a mechanical timer than to store water. Your water comes from the well and pump, not the pressure tank. Using the CSV to fill a tank at 1 GPM rate, every gallon of draw down is a minute of run time. In this way the CSV just keeps the pump running until it is sure you are finished using water so there is no cycling.

Cycles per day.jpg
 

MarkW

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From your description, it sounds like you only relocated the pressure tank but did not reroute the piping to the home fixtures. As such, I suspect the flow into the house is not routed through the 3/4" PEX line but is fed directly from the 1" line leading from the pump. If so, then the only possible flow restriction caused by the 3/4" PEX line is while the initial 5.4 gallons drawdown is being drawn to drop the system pressure to 40 psi to activate the pump.
Bannerman,
When I moved the pressure tank I also moved the main line that feeds my fixtures (and the water meter owned by the county that tracks my water use from my well, so they can bill me for the sewer use). So, the 3/4" PEX line runs from the old pressure tank location (near where the 1"PE line from the well comes into my garage) to the new pressure tank location. I also moved my pressure switch, it is still near the tank. The only thing left at the old pressure tank is an external hose bib (fed from the 3/4" PEX, as it goes from the well pipe entry point in the garage to to the new tank location).

We seem to have good pressure and volume to all of our fixtures, at least with our actual use pattern. I suppose if we typically ran a lot of high volume items simultaneously then thing might be different and the 3/4" "trunk" line could prove insufficient.
I'm not certain you fully understand the function and benefit of a CSV.
That's for sure. Cary's videos are educational and I'm getting smarter about the CSV. It might be a good addition to our system, I'm still ruminating over the various bits of new data.

Thanks again.
 

MarkW

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Cary,
Thanks for the reply.
Just means the CSV needs to go before that hydrant, like at or in the well.
In this situation, it would probably be best/easiest for me to put the CSV near the pressure tank and just add a new line from after the CSV back to the frostproof hose bib in the garage.

Everybody does! Because pumps are made to run 24/7/365, and it says "continuous duty" right on the side of the motor. It is cycling on and off that destroys them. I have a 1/2HP restricted to 3 GPM that hasn't shut off in over 18 years so far. Pumps are made to run and back pressure is just what they do to make water flow.
As you say--it is very counterintuitive. That well pump at a depth of 200 feet and working against about 100 PSI of constant backpressure draws fewer amps and lives longer than a pump 50' down providing the same daily (not GPM) water amount? I need to chew on that awhile. I saw your video on pump charts--thanks.

The CSV is a simple valve with a complex explanation. Here is a chart of how many times the pump cycles when using a CSV and small tank compared to a larger tank. There really is very little difference in the number of cycles when water is just used for the house. The CSV just eliminates cycling on long term uses of water and adds back a few for short term uses, but the total is the same. With a CSV the tank is used more as a mechanical timer than to store water. Your water comes from the well and pump, not the pressure tank. Using the CSV to fill a tank at 1 GPM rate, every gallon of draw down is a minute of run time. In this way the CSV just keeps the pump running until it is sure you are finished using water so there is no cycling.
I'm sure you get tired of explaining about the CSV, so I appreciate your patience (and the videos I've found online). Is there a particular reason that a 2 minute pump run time is the target? Why is a 30 second pump run time (against low backpressure, but 10 GPM) too brief but a 5 minute run time (higher back pressure, 1 GPM) is too long (if the same amount of water is being moved in both cases)? I know the electricity consumption (per gallon) would be lowest at 30 seconds, higher a 2 minutes, and higher still at 5 minutes. Is a 2 minute run better for the pump than a 30 second or 5 minute run?

Thanks.
 

Valveman

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Short run times are not good for the motor. When a motor starts the inrush current produces heat in the motor. When started and/or run at full load amps, the motor needs to run for at least 1 minute to dissipate the heat generated on start up. Otherwise the heat stays inside the motor and causes damage. This is especially damaging if it is called to start again while the motor is still hot. Short off times are also bad as a motor that has been running at full load amps needs at least 1 minutes sitting in cool water to cool down before restarting.

When controlled with a CSV the restricted flow also makes the amps decrease. So, when the pump is filling the tank at 1 GPM the amps are reduced, the motor is running cooler, and doesn't need to run as long to dissipate the heat. Also, the CSV keeps the pup running as long as you are using more than 1 GPM. So, the CSV makes sure you are finished using water before shutting off the pump, and the pump will stay off for a long while until you use water again.

Without a CSV and just using a regular pressure tank/pressure switch the pump is either running at max flow, which is max amps and max heat. or it is off. So, the amount of run time and off time is very important.

Adding a line back tot he frost free hydrant is a good way to handle that.

And yes counter intuitive things are hard to explain. People even get angry with me for saying these things as they don't like being corrected when they think they already understand. Just remember, pumps are made to run 24/7/365. I have one that hasn't shut off in over 18 years so far, and I expect it to outlive me. When a submersible pump is up and running there is a film of water between all the bearing surfaces and the pump is completely frictionless and will last forever. Just like a car engine wears on start up before the oil pump gets circulation going, a submersible only wears on startup as it has no lubrication until it is up and running.
 

Bannerman

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I suppose if we typically ran a lot of high volume items simultaneously then thing might be different and the 3/4" "trunk" line could prove insufficient.
While it would have been advisable to have not reduced the pipe diameter, you calculated the flow currently into the PT as 11 GPM @ 40/60 psi. Unless you measured the flow rate to the PT while fed directly from the 1" line, you won't know if the 11 GPM flow rate is a result of the 3/4" extension, or the pump itself. You said the pump info suggests 11 GPM is about the most that pump can supply.

Because you can't consume more water than the pump is capable of delivering, and as that same 3/4" PEX feeding the PT is also now the main feed to the home, it seems there would be not much to be gained by replacing the 3/4" with a larger diameter pipe.
 
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