Strange Setup! Desperately need advice on check valve!

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by FarmerTyson, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. FarmerTyson

    FarmerTyson Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2019
    Location:
    Durham NC
    Hey Guys,

    I’m new to this forum and am desperate for advice! My wife and I moved into an old (1972) farm house. It’s time to put some money and attention into our well. I’ve done a ton of research and figured out, for the most part, quite a bit about well pumps, pressure tanks, types of treatment, etc. That being said, I have, what I think, is a strange setup and am stumped on how to proceed.

    Currently, I have a 2 wire submersible pump, with one water line coming to the house where it meets an old 20 gallon pressure tank. However, on top of the well, it also T’s to another (boiler drain) valve that goes to our barn. When the water in the barn is turned on, as you would expect the, the pressure tank pressure drops and at 28psi, the switch kicks on the pump. There isn’t a check valve leading into the pressure tank so this got me thinking and left me with a ton of questions:

    1. Being that there isn’t currently a check valve leading into the pressure tank, does the water that has flown to the tank then potentially flow back to the well and out to the barn once the spigot is turned on? So if I put a check valve before the pressure tank, I won’t have any pressure out to the barn?

    2. Or if I do put a check valve in, is there enough pressure in the well from the pump that when the water is turned on in the barn it will flow?

    3. If I don’t use a check valve in front of the pressure tank, I started thinking maybe I should put a check valve after the pressure tank leading into the house to prevent any water leading back through the system and out to the barn. In this scenario, would a check valve after the pressure tank and leading into the house filtration reduce water pressure and flow? Should I not do this?

    4. What is the best way to handle this setup?

    5. I was thinking, but really don’t want to, about running another line after the pressure tank and back to the barn. But this seems like too much back and forth and that there must be an easier way.

    6. I’m replacing the old pressure tank, so is there a way to salvage it and use it in the barn? If so, what would control the pump? Would the switch in the house control it? What if the tank at the barn gets low? There wouldn’t be a signal to turn the pump on. Even if there was, wouldn’t the pump in the house then get over pressurized?

    As you can see, I have so many questions and don’t know the best way to set everything up.

    Any and all help is much appreciated!!!

    Thank you in advance,
    T
     
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
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    Retired
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Don't add a check valve on either side of the tank. It will cause problems, not solve any perceived problem you think may exist.

    Don't use two pressure tanks far apart. It will just cause problems as they try to equalize at a slower rate than the pump fills them.
     
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  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    You have a check valve at the pump. It is better to not have an above-ground check valve.

    Ideally the new tank will be big enough. The pressure switch goes at the pressure tank.

    While making changes, you might consider adjusting the pressure switch to turn on at 40 PSI. If you do that, set the air precharge of the pressure tank to 38 psi.
     
  5. FarmerTyson

    FarmerTyson Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2019
    Location:
    Durham NC
    Thank you for your reply. I definitely don’t want to create more troubles. The current setup without the check valves seems to be working and all of the discussions on here really made me question it.

    Also, for the dual tanks, thanks for confirming. I didn’t think that would work easily, if at all. I was worried that one would over pressurize and I’d be creating a bomb - albeit the pressure relief would kick in, I just wouldn’t want to have to constantly rely on it.

    Thank you very much for your help! It also saves me about $25 haha!
     
    LLigetfa likes this.
  6. FarmerTyson

    FarmerTyson Member

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    Thank you very much for your reply. I’m glad it’s consistent too with LLigetfa.

    I think we all agree the below check valve should be sufficient. Every manual, diagram, schematic, internet research I’ve come across had one by the pump and the tank. Not to mention there are so many head scratching things in this house that it made me wonder if this is just another one. That being said, there was quite the discussion on them saying the opposite so I got really confused. Thank you for your guidance - no check valve!

    I have bought a 44 gallon pump, so a bit of an upgrade. I was looking at an 86 gallon, but I’d have to run the line into the garage where the water treatment stages are since it wouldn’t fit in the crawl space. I didn’t want to take up more space in my garage, so I settled for the 44gal which, with a little digging will fit under the house nicely.

    I was also going back and forth on the 30/50 or 40/60. I settled on the 30/50 simply because I didn’t want to strain the pump or old pipes in the house. I was thinking about adjusting it to something like 30/55 (with tank at 28) - is that an option or would you recommend not? Or do you think just get the 40/60 and take the chances on my concerns?

    Thank you!!
     
  7. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    You are thinking too hard. Pumps work just the opposite of what most people think, so it is best not to think too hard. :)

    The pump will work easier at 40/60 that 30/50, and won't make a nickles worth of difference on the pipe. A 44 gallon tank only holds 10 gallons of water, so you can still get lots of cycling. Sorry for the confusion but, no, no, and no, you do not want any extra check valves.

     
  8. FarmerTyson

    FarmerTyson Member

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    Jul 30, 2019
    Location:
    Durham NC
    Haha! I do appreciate your comment - an engineer on paper that grew up turning wrenches is always a bad combination.

    On a serious note, thank you for your comments and the video. I will now go with the 40/60, which is what I actually wanted, but was trying to be on the safe side simply because this house always has its little surprises :). Oh well, worse case, it's just one more thing to fix and play with.

    That video is great - I saw CSV on this forum but didn't know what it was. Do you recommend that I add one? I'll happily order it today from you guys if you think so; to me it makes sense. The video does address a few things, but just a sanity check - I think I have a 1/2hp pump (and I say "think" because there is absolutely nothing that I can find on or around the well, but there is an old motor control box from Frank Electric that refers to 1/2 hp pump. It's completely empty (capacitor, wiring all removed) and there only three wires (2 hot, 1 gnd) running to the pump, so I'm assuming this is a "2-wire" system in which the start capacitor is in the pump itself), but even running at half capacity shouldn't burn up the motor, correct? I'm not worried about electricity usage, I just don't want to break the pump (I don't know how to replace this.. yet).

    So basic understanding, small faucet usage will come from the tank, then, once the pump kicks on at 40psi, and say the CSV is set to 50psi, if water usage is above my pump flow rate (which I calculated to be 7-8 GPM), it would hold steady, leaving the pump on and running, and then once usage stops, the tank fills up, switch kicks off the pump, and I'm free to use small usage from the tank. Then rinse and repeat (pun intended).

    Thank you so much, Cary. Let me know what you think!
     
  9. FarmerTyson

    FarmerTyson Member

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    Jul 30, 2019
    Location:
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    One other thing, though, does this act like a check valve? Because I would need pressure to head back to the barn, so I couldn't let this restrict flow on that line. Thanks!
     
  10. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    You can think of a capacitor being in the pump, but there is no capacitor on that motor. Instead the start winding has more R, and the run winding has more L. That is how they get the magnetic field phase difference to get the motor started the right way. Some 2-wire motors do have capacitors-- but not the Franklin.

    The part number on the motor box could distinguish 1/2 vs 3/4 on the pump. Alternately, measure the current thru one of the hots with a clamp-around ammeter. Expect a 1/2 HP "230 volt" motor to draw about 5 amps vs about 7 amps for 3/4 hp.

    If your pump flow really slows a lot as it tries to reach shutoff at 60, then you would want to back off the pressure switch setting. Usually submersible pumps have plenty of available pressure beyond the cut-off, so that is unlikely to be a problem.
     
  11. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    A CSV would certainly be beneficial. As long as you are using more than 1 GPM the CSV will keep the pump running continuously. Only when you stop using water will the CSV let the tank fill to the shut off point. But the CSV1A would need to be installed at the well head before the tee to the barn.
     
  12. FarmerTyson

    FarmerTyson Member

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    Jul 30, 2019
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    Durham NC
    That's great information. I will definitely check the amp draw. The part number is 2801054915, but like I mentioned, it's gutless. So I'm guessing who ever replaced the pump in 2008 was lazy and didn't remove the old box, but took everything out? The pump actually seems to flow (I think) fairly ok - the 20gal tank which is worn out, filled close to 3 gal (only half of it's capacity), call it 2.75 gal in about 20 seconds, so 8+ gpm. I will definitely take note of the cut-out pressure and adjust if need be. Thank you!
     
  13. FarmerTyson

    FarmerTyson Member

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    Jul 30, 2019
    Location:
    Durham NC
    Thank you. I will be ordering one today. It makes perfect sense to put it out before the tee - this will accommodate the barn and still let the pump kick on if the tank gets too low. I'm really glad you chimed in on this because we fill troughs, run pressure washers, etc. and I KNOW I was cycling that pump way too much. Especially since the pressure tank was worn out, that thing was probably hating me! Do you see any detriment to using a bigger pressure tank? I already purchased a 44 gal tank, but could go smaller.

    I already see this CSV is going to save my pump and I love the idea of a more continuous/steady water pressure. Thank you!
     
  14. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
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    The CSV1A will work great with a 44 gallon tank. You just won't see the constant pressure until you have used the 10 gallons from the tank, and the pump is started.
     
  15. FarmerTyson

    FarmerTyson Member

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    Perfect - I'll keep the 44 gal tank. I kind of like the extra "buffer" because who knows the condition of the pump. Maybe this will help add a little extra protection. Is there anything else, aside from basic plumbing stuff, that you think I'd need? Any brackets to go along with it?
     
  16. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    When you are installing the CSV1A at the well, you can add a pressure gauge to one of the 1/2" ports so you can see how to set it from there. With a 44 gallon tank and a 40/60 switch set the CSV1A for 55 PSI constant while running about 3 GPM somewhere. The CSV1A comes with plugs for the three ports, and you will only need 2 of them if you install a gauge. The gauge will be 1/4" so you need a 1/2 X 1/4 threaded bushing.
     
  17. FarmerTyson

    FarmerTyson Member

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    Jul 30, 2019
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    Ok cool - so use the pressure gauge at the well/CSV, not at the tank (which I presume would be less? I'll find out later) to determine that correct setting. As per the website, I'll probably just order it set to 55psi and make adjustments from there. Dumb question, but any quick way to figure out when you hit 3 GPM, other than just measuring it?

    Also, another dumb question, once I cut power to the pump and start breaking open lines, especially at the well head, anything I need to be worried about? I'll need to be mindful of contamination but do I need to worry about losing prime on the pump? I've attached a photo of my well.

    The line heading towards the bottom left of the photo is the main line to the house. I would re-pipe that with the CSV, then add a tee, and reconnect the line to the house and the other line heading to the barn (most likely just leaving the old valve in place and closed and disconnected from the old barn pipe (heading right in the photo) - I just want to avoid breaking anything). Is this OK to relieve the pressure at this location or will I lose prime on the pump? (This is where my knowledge of pumps really drops off).

    Thank you again for all your time and help!


    2019-07-30 19.30.58-1.jpg
     
  18. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
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    No won't lose prime on a submersible pump. Just turn off power to the pump, drain the tank with any faucet, and you are good to unscrew that union. Adding the tee after the CSV like you propose will work great. You should have the same pressure at the CSV as you will have at the tank, less any difference in elevation. The gauge at the CSV is just so you don't have to go back and forth to see it.
     
  19. FarmerTyson

    FarmerTyson Member

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    Thanks a lot Cary for all of the information!

    I'm beyond happy that I found this site.

    My CSV arrives today - I'm excited to see the performance of it. I was telling my wife about everything and the only piece that interested her was constant 56psi pressure in the shower (once it kicks in) haha!
     
  20. FarmerTyson

    FarmerTyson Member

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    What do you recommend for brackets? I’m going to mount a piece of plywood against the concrete (with spacers), but what have you used in the past to hold the CSV? I can probably get some ubolts, but didn’t know if you had a better suggestion. Thanks!
     
  21. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
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