water sputtering issue

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  #1  
Old 11-14-08, 06:33 AM
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water sputtering issue

Having an issue with our water supply since replacing our bladder tank and not sure what is going on. The system is a submersible well, the old tank was underground. Prior to the old tank rusting out and springing leaks we never had any issues with water pressure or sputtering lines. The old tank was a 42 gallon tank.

Closest thing to it I could find on the weekend was a 52 gallon tank from Lowes(funny how these things always happen on the weekends when the plumbing supply houses are closed). The existing tank had an in and an out, the new tank required a T. I plumbed the pipe from just outside the well casing up to the new tank which I set on 4 concrete blocks. Inline is a check valve just prior to the T. The pressure switch the guy at lowes sold me was a 20/40 which was not enough for our run, but he assured me it was adjustable up enough, I am not so sure. I had to adjust it up to its limit, but got it to 30/50 to get the water pressure where it needed to be to have decent pressure in the house and at the hydrant where we fill stock tanks. The pressure is not quite what it used to be prior to having done all this, but it is ok. The lines run go to three frost free hydrants the furthest one being about 120 feet from the well. The house is about 65-70 feet from the well.

The water sputters outside as well as inside, both cold and hot water in the house. I can cut the main off and bleed the system in the house by cutting on all the faucets and then opening the main back up and that will make things better for a few days, but then it will eventually go back to sputtering again.

While buiding a well house for the new tank, I watched the pressure gauge and paid attention to see if there was any loss, and it held pressure for the better part of an afternoon, so I would assume there are not any leaks. I had thoughts that the problem might have been the check valve, but if that were the case, the tank would likely lose pressure wouldn't it? In order to get plumbed back to the existing lines I did have to add a few elbows, would not think that would be an issue. Really not sure what is going on, but air is getting in somewhere.

I called the tank manufacturer and they said it was my well/pump letting air get in and that it was not the tank, they could not offer any further help. Does anyone here have any advice or suggestions on a fix or where to look next?
 
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Old 11-14-08, 07:26 AM
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check the precharge in the tank

Did you check the precharge in the tank? they usually come with either 30 or 40 psi of air in them. If the precharge is higher than the start pressure, the pin on the gauge will drop to zero for an instant and you will have no water pressure for a moment or two. Sputtering usually is an indication that the air charge is non-existent. The pump will come on immediately and charge the system. If the demand is less than the pump output, the pressure will rise high enough to shut the pump off and when that happens, the pressure drops quickly and the pump will come back on, creating what feels like sputtering. This is really bad for the pump as the pump motor will generate a lot of heat and will eventually burn the motor out. The precharge whould be about 2 psi below the pump switch start pressure. In this case, with the pump coming on around 30 psi, the air in the tank when the pump is off and the tank is drained, should be around 28 psi. this is easy to do. first, turn the pump power off. Second, drain the tank until the gauge reads zero. Use an air guage to measure the pressure and then adjust with a compressor or a bike pump. then, turn the power on and open a few faucets to get the air out of the lines. If you don't get the air out, you will get some violent shuttering and sputtering at the faucets as the air is purged from the lines. If you are unhappy with the pressure, get a 40/60 switch. it is my experience that you can't get a 20/40 much beyond where you are today. for $25 bucks, it's probably worth it.
 
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Old 11-14-08, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by WINDTANKGUY View Post
Did you check the precharge in the tank? they usually come with either 30 or 40 psi of air in them. If the precharge is higher than the start pressure, the pin on the gauge will drop to zero for an instant and you will have no water pressure for a moment or two. Sputtering usually is an indication that the air charge is non-existent. The pump will come on immediately and charge the system. If the demand is less than the pump output, the pressure will rise high enough to shut the pump off and when that happens, the pressure drops quickly and the pump will come back on, creating what feels like sputtering. This is really bad for the pump as the pump motor will generate a lot of heat and will eventually burn the motor out. The precharge whould be about 2 psi below the pump switch start pressure. In this case, with the pump coming on around 30 psi, the air in the tank when the pump is off and the tank is drained, should be around 28 psi. this is easy to do. first, turn the pump power off. Second, drain the tank until the gauge reads zero. Use an air guage to measure the pressure and then adjust with a compressor or a bike pump. then, turn the power on and open a few faucets to get the air out of the lines. If you don't get the air out, you will get some violent shuttering and sputtering at the faucets as the air is purged from the lines. If you are unhappy with the pressure, get a 40/60 switch. it is my experience that you can't get a 20/40 much beyond where you are today. for $25 bucks, it's probably worth it.
Did check the pressure on the tank initially and it was about 25 psi, which was what the tag said it was charged to. I have checked the air tank pressure, but not with the tank drained. Will give this a try and adjust it with the compressor.

Thank you for the reply.
 
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Old 12-01-08, 11:50 AM
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Still having the same problems. The pressure was not far off, made the adjustment, let out about 1 psi from the tank and it is/was a difference of 2 psi between the tank pressure and the switch startup pressure. Problem seemed better for a day or two after bleeding off, but went back to the same problem.

Is it possible that the switch may not be holding or may be fluctuating? I had the switch up to 30 lbs start up and 50 lbs cut off, but noticed that the start up when I worked on it was closer to being between 27 and 28 psi.
 
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Old 12-05-08, 07:52 PM
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Hi William, Just wondering if you have fixed your sputtering problem. I am having the same problem after installing a new pressure tank. The setting on my pressure switch was too low so it was acting exactly as WINDTANKGUY described, so I adjusted pressure, bled pipes and I thought it was fixed. After 3 or 4 days now it is starting to do it again so I was curious to see wether you found a solution ??
 
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Old 12-06-08, 02:04 AM
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Originally Posted by jimdavis View Post
Hi William, Just wondering if you have fixed your sputtering problem. I am having the same problem after installing a new pressure tank. The setting on my pressure switch was too low so it was acting exactly as WINDTANKGUY described, so I adjusted pressure, bled pipes and I thought it was fixed. After 3 or 4 days now it is starting to do it again so I was curious to see wether you found a solution ??

Same here, problem is back. Planning to change my pressure switch this weekend and see if that helps.
 
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Old 12-07-08, 08:20 AM
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Thanks for the update William. That's what I am going to try too. My tank is set at about 37 lbs. and I have adjusted the 30/50 switch to what seems to be 40/60, so I am not too confident that changing it will help, we'll see. Please let me know if you find a fix for this. I'll do the same.
 
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