Pressure Tank/Switch Questions

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by MissBoogers, Dec 14, 2020.

  1. MissBoogers

    MissBoogers New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2020
    Location:
    Harpers Ferry, WV
    Hi all!
    We recently bought a new, two-story house and were not happy with the water 'pressure', or flow rate(I've been reading and educating myself ;)), especially in the second floor master bath. We just upgraded from a 20-something gal tank with a 30/50 switch to an 86 gal tank with a 40/60 switch.


    At first we were very happy with the results, until...
    two days after the upgrade, we noticed that the pressure would drop phenomenally as the switch neared the 40 cut-on setting and it took what seemed like forever for it to reach that point before the pump would kick on and raise it back up...I mean literally a trickle would come out. Not to sound girly, but if I had had to wash my hair at that moment, it would have taken HOURS.
    One factor in play is that earlier that morning my husband, awesome as he is, ran the garden hose to fill our fish pond for about 1 1/2 hours and forgot about it!

    ...this leads me to my questions: a) how much of my husband's 'faux pas' was to blame for the drastic drop in pressure. And
    b) If we upgrade the switch to a 50/70, would that help the pressure, given how many fixtures we have without hurting the well pump?

    FYI, it is a 3300 sq. ft home with 3 levels. Main level has a half bath, kitchen, mudroom sink, outside spigot, and laundry area. Upper level has two full baths. basement has the water heater, softener and tank, but we would like to put in a full basement down there at some point. We also have the fore mentioned fish pond but that is on it's own pump system to circulate the water. The well pump is a 3/4 hp, btw.

    Please use laymen's terms that I can understand. I have been reading up on it but I don't pretend to understand any of the equations, etc. involved in plumbing lol. Thanks in advance!

    *Edit*
    And then there is this as well...
    20201214_192517.jpg 20201214_192500.jpg
    Everyone that we have had look at our system has not understood the need for the two boxes (normally just one) behind the pressure tank. Could this be part of the problem?
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I think you are saying that the water was still going into the fish pond when the low pressure at the faucet/shower occurred. That probably means that the hose was consuming most of the water that the pump would produce.

    a: I presume the effect was temporary, but if not, say so.
    b: Would not help if the entire output of the pump was being consumed by the hose. Also, you would not buy a new pressure switch, but you would adjust the old one.

    If it was not the well person who installed your new pressure switch, you should check and adjust your air precharge on the new pressure tank. If the switch kicks on at 40 psi, the air precharge would be 38 psi. Precharge is always checked and adjusted when the water pressure is zero.

    For understanding what is going on in the future, it would be good to check your pressure gauge. My suspicion is the gauge said something like 20 when you experienced your symptom.
     
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  4. MissBoogers

    MissBoogers New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2020
    Location:
    Harpers Ferry, WV
    Thanks for your response! The installer did all the right precharge, etc. and the pressure came back a good bit after the hose was shut off but never quite like right after the install.
    My main concern is how slow the water comes out of faucets, etc. when the gauge gets down into the 40s. Is that still a matter of adjusting the switch? TIA
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    What I am reading is that the pressure rises to 60 on the gauge just fine before the pump turns off. It is not slowing down much as it approaches 60. In that case, 50/70 is practical.

    So in that case, you could increase the precharge and turn the nut on the big spring in the pressure switch about 3.5 turns clockwise. Then check the results.

    But before that, let's think about why 40 psi does not drive water to your sink fast enough. Do you have a cartridge filter or other filter? To test for a blockage, you could connect a garden hose thread pressure gauge to a laundry tap or the drain on the water heater. Are those seeing near 40 while your underserved faucet is being used, or is something restricting the flow considerably? Those gauges are under $20, and sometimes substantially under.

    Could the aerator screen in the faucet you are using be clogged?
     
  6. MissBoogers

    MissBoogers New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2020
    Location:
    Harpers Ferry, WV
    I understand what you're saying. We cleaned all the aerators before we replaced the tank and installed a new cartridge filter (old one was cracked/on bypass) when we did the tank. But it is possible that the replacement of the tank stirred up debris, etc.
    We will check all of them again and get one of those gauges to test it. If all that shows nothing, we will adjust the switch. Thanks again!!!
     
  7. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Installing the large 86 gallon size pressure tank just made your pressure worse. An 86 gallon size tank holds 20 gallons of water. With a 3 story house 40 PSI will barely get water to the top floor. Even raising the pressure to 50/70 means there will be still be very little pressure before the pump starts at 50. A smaller tank and strong "constant pressure" from a Cycle Stop Valve will make a world of difference. After replacing big tanks like that with a Cycle Stop Valve and small tank, people tell me they no longer even need soap in the showers. Lol!

    I would get rid of the 86 gallon tank. Sell it to someone who doesn't know about the CSV and you can get enough to cover the $445.00 you need for a PK1A kit with a 10 gallon size tank. With a 10 gallon tank only holding 2 gallons of water, and a CSV1A set to deliver strong constant 60 PSI, working with a 50/70 pressure switch, you will have 60 PSI constant anytime you are using water. With the small tank the pump is on and the pressure is held at the constant 60 PSI before you even get the shower temp adjusted. Then the pressure will stay at 60 PSI constant for as long as the shower is on, even if you are in the shower for a month. Plus, the CSV will make your pump and everything else last much longer than normal.

     
  8. Sarg

    Sarg Enjoy Learning

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2020
    Occupation:
    Recently retired
    Location:
    NorthEast
    Regarding your inquiry on the "two" electrical boxes ........ I'll just share my recent experience because you may have the same situation.
    My original pump installed in the eighties was a three wire pump .... meaning the capacitor and relay were in a "box" and in the house. That pump was replaced in 1992 when we had the depth of our well increased ..... I just had the 28 year old pump replaced again because of a leaking check valve ... and while wiring realized the pump installed in 92 was a TWO wire pump ( same as the one we just put in ) .... meaning the capacitor is contained within the submersible pump and the original control box was used as a simple "junction box" to connect the pump to power. We also had a second box which was a timer for the water heater. Just thoughts about what the prior owners might have done.
     
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