Well pressure tank leaking


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Old 07-08-17, 04:47 PM
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Well pressure tank leaking

My pressure tank is leaking out of the top from what looks like a valve stem. (see pic) It is not leaking a lot, maybe a quart per day. If I am correct, there should be no water at the top, the bladder should seal it off? The pump works fine. It is possible that this tank was frozen. Bank repo.



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Old 07-08-17, 05:16 PM
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There should only be air on the other side of that Schrader valve; if there's water, then it's likely that the bladder has ruptured (which could have been done by freezing).

How recently was there water pressure in the dwelling ?

You can try to re-pressurize the pressure tank with an air pump adding air until you get to a PSI equal to about 2 LBS less than the cut-in PSI for the pump.

The Schrader valve here is just like one on your tires, and may be loose, so to stop the leak, you could tighten the valve just as you would a tire; but if it continues to absorb your air cushion, you'll have to replace the tank . . . . there is no repair.
 
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Old 07-08-17, 06:39 PM
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Thanks Vermont. The house was winterized on 12/10/16. I am in northern Illinois, not sure if it had been below freezing by then or not. I have had the plumbing hooked up to just a sink and toilet and it works ok. How do I know what psi the pump kicks in at? I think I am going to need a new tank.
 
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Old 07-09-17, 03:21 AM
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I'm not a Plumber, just a Real Estate Broker who's been involved with plenty of winterizations and re-activations.

It may be that when they winterized, they removed the Schrader valve core, and put it back in loose.

The back side of the cover on the Pressure Control Switch (Square D ?) probably contains a decal indicating what the PSI settings were (originally); it'll read 20/40, 30/50, or 40/60, the first number being the Cut-In Pressure and the second being the Cut-Out, or Stop Pressure. Those settings could have been tinkered with since installation; but I'd assume for the moment that they're still what the Factory set them at. You'll note that they all have a differential of 20 pounds between the cut-in and cut-out points.

Check the Tank's pressure with a Tire Pressure Gauge. Your Pressure Tanks air cushion, or the bladder ought to be set at 2 lbs less than the Cut-In Pressure, or starting point. Without any pressure in the system, you should be able create that pressure with a bicycle pump or a small DC Air Pump.

That should get you to the point where you can start the pump. If it's a shallow well pump, or a centrifugal/jet pump, it'll probably need to be primed first; which would be good, because it means that the weatherization people were thorough enough to think of doing that. Any plugs or fittings that were removed should be obvious, labeled and should have been left in the immediate area.

If you don't see the pump, it's probably a submersible pump which remained down in a drilled well and was thus protected from freezing.

That should get you started. Did the winterization people leave notes around indicating what they had done, and what needs to be un-done ?

Some do . . . . some don't.
 
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Old 07-09-17, 05:24 AM
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Setting the pressure tank air pressure to 2 PSI below the pump start pressure has to be completed with the pressure tank containing almost all air and almost no water.

Because you cannot see inside the pressure tank, a complex procedure (in a sticky thread near the top of this Wells, Sump Pumps subforum) is needed.

The procedure is not foolproof. If the bladder is torn in a way (you also cannot see this) that it herniates into the opening at the bottom of the pressure tank, there may be much more water still in the pressure tank when you get the air pressure inside to the 2 PSI below pump start pressure and the system will not perform well.

So when water comes out the Schrader valve at the top of the pressure tank, we jump to conclusions and replace the pressure tank.

A non-bladder tank does not have the herniation problem and willl work forever, well, until something leaks or (like the bottom connection to the water system) clogs. Its prepressurizing procedure is a little different; you start adding air after the whole system is depressurized but before you close the cold faucet. When the faucet starts letting out air then close it and let the pressure build up to pump start minus 2. A non-bladder tank does need to be topped off with air every month but the system will self-correct if you put too much air in.

You might be able to find out when a submersible well pump starts and stops by (A) opening an electrical junction box and using a clamp on ammeter on a wire going down to the pump, or (B) using stethoscope on the water pipe from the well. You will probably need someone helping you in both of these cases.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 07-09-17 at 05:45 AM.
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Old 07-09-17, 04:49 PM
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It is a submersible pump. It has a 30/50 switch. This has been turned off since at least December last year. All I did was turn the power on and it worked. I did set the pressure at 28psi but I did not drain the tank as I should have done. It had about 22 psi before I added air. I checked the schrader valve, it was loose so I tightened it. Turned water back on and let it sit for about an hour. When I came back it was still leaking. But When I pushed the core in no water comes out. The water will fill that black cup looking part and then run down the side. Is there anywhere else water could be coming out of? There are 2 white plastic pieces inside that cup, can they leak? Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 07-09-17, 04:56 PM
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I replaced my mother in laws pressure tank that was leaking exactly like the one in the picture. It was also leaking and it appeared to be leaking through the fiberglass tank. Replaced it with a steel on and problem was solved.
 
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Old 07-09-17, 04:57 PM
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I've never seen a black plastic cup like that; but I'm not a plumber and heven't seen everything.

Schrader Valve cores have a little rubber gasket on them which may be shot on yours; but I don't know where the water is coming from anyway.

With a new core, you may limp along with this diaphragm tank behaving like a bladderless tank for the time being.
 
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Old 07-09-17, 05:04 PM
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I am not sure where the water is coming from. Valve stem is as tight as I dare go with it.
 
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Old 07-09-17, 05:17 PM
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I am looking at this new tank at Menards. It is 30 gallons, as is my old one. This one is preset to 38psi. My switch is 30/50. Is this compatible as is or can I let 10 psi out of it?
https://www.menards.com/main/plumbin...564448&ipos=32
 
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Old 07-09-17, 10:56 PM
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You can let 10 psi out of it. The schrader valve is under the black cap closer to the front near the top.

The bigger question is how do you pronounce the brand name H[SUB]2[/SUB]OW-TO ?
 
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Old 07-10-17, 03:31 AM
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Originally Posted by core
". . . You can let 10 psi out of it . . ."
Yes, they probably set them all at 38 lbs at the factory; then the 20/40 people can add 10 psi and the 40/60 people can remove 10 and everyone is good to go with less inventory hang-ups.
 
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Old 07-10-17, 05:42 AM
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Thanks guys. I think I am just going to go ahead and get a new one.
 
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Old 07-11-17, 05:32 AM
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and always remember that you cannot measure air pressure with any water in the tank. If you do have water in the tank, you are not actually measuring the air pressure, but are measuring a combination of the air pressure AND water pressure.
 
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Old 07-11-17, 09:30 AM
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deleted ..................................
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 07-11-17 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 07-12-17, 03:51 PM
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The black cap at the top of the pressure tank could be the fastening point for the bladder which is shaped so it goes vertically down the middle of the pressure tank with water on all sides. More correctly the bladder has a large enough diameter so it goes down the middle but touches the sides of the tank all the way around (for support) but water can still seep up on the wet side between the bladder and the tank as high as the black cap. A bladder in good condition is sealed so water does not (should not; must not) come out the Schrader valve.

All the above is moot because you have water (other folks may have air from the air cushion) somehow seeping to the outside world uncontrollably in which case the pressure tank needs to be replaced, or in a few cases it can be repaired.
 
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Old 07-12-17, 04:09 PM
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While you're at it, if there are galvanized pipes and/or fittings involved, do yourself a favor and replace them with CPVC or copper.
 
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Old 07-13-17, 05:18 AM
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(quote by OptsyEagle)

" and always remember that you cannot measure air pressure with any water in the tank. If you do have water in the tank, you are not actually measuring the air pressure, but are measuring a combination of the air pressure AND water pressure. "

Nitpicking.

Prior to setting the pressure in the pressure tank it is necessary to expel any water from that tank (back into the rest of the system that has been depressurized by opening a faucet to facilitate such expulsion).

If you try to set the pressure in the pressure tank when there is a lot of water inside, you will still succeed in achieving the desired pressure (2 PSI below pump start pressure) but the air cushion will be too small and the pump will still run short cycles and the system will not work properly.

After the well pump stops and no one is using water the system will settle down to have the same pressure at any and all points from the Schrader valve on the pressure tank to the furthest faucet.
 
 

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