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Thread: Waterlogged well - no bladder?

  1. #1

    Default Waterlogged well - no bladder?

    Firstly, this is an awesome forum - it's a testament to how powerful the web really is. Regardless, I have what I believe is a 10 year old brick home (approx 1600 sq ft) and a submerged well that does not have a bladder. Instead the tank has a gauge about halfway up the side and what appeared to be a schrader valve in a threaded brass housing, which was at one point leaking profusely. Here's the rub - my grandfather (god love him ) was a builder for 30 years and decided to just start messing with it, replaced the valve that was there with a valve stem from an automobile - while it did stop the leak, it became evident to me that this valve should be allowing air to escape, which I have not witnessed thus far since the replacement.

    For a time the pipes had air in them in the house, then he fiddled with the adjustment screws until he had it however he thought he wanted it. I conceded only because he's old and his next move was to take a pipe wrench to the whole assembly - a atrocity I wanted to avoid looking down the barrel of a potential weekend with no well. My original idea was to wait and call the well guy on Monday (tomorrow), which I'm certain I will end up doing if I don't hear any miraculous ideas from you guys.

    So, now the thing has been cycling on and off all weekend in a manner that will surely lead to my pump's demise - and I inferred from other posts in this forum that this is a symptom of either a leak or being waterlogged. I have shut off the valve at the pump and at the house both to determine if there was a leak going from the pump to the house - it seems to slow the decompression or whatever considerably when i shut either off - so no leak in the line to the house. I've inspected everything I can think of in the house and I see no evidence of a leak anywhere - we have a concrete slab and wood floors, drywall, so I assume something would've buckled by now.

    BONUS: In light of my ignorance to proper terminology and in the interest of thoroughness, I've posted some of pictures and even a Quicktime Video of the gauge going on and off on my site here: http://www.eyespike.com/well/default.htm so you can see what I'm up against here with deadly accuracy. The Video is like 7 megs i think so be patient - the long and short is that it cuts on and off quickly, then sinks to half of what it pumped to, then slowly to the cut/in.

    Again, any help would be super - if nothing else just some advice to get it to homeostasis until I can get a well guy out here. And thanks again for this fantastic tool online!

    Phil

  2. #2
    Rancher
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    Default

    You have what is normally refered to as a "galvanized water tank" allthough it doesn't need to be galvanized... it is not a bladder tank. the fitting that was leaking water is the air volume control, it needs to be replaced, $25 you also need a new snifter valve, the tire valve thingie, it should not be leaking water, it is part of the air make up system, for the time being you need to shut off the pump and drain the tank to get some air in it, then you can refill it and buy the parts you need tomorrow.

    Rancher

  3. #3

    Default

    Thank you very much - you're a lifesaver! And much faster than I expected.

    As I said, before I didn't want anyone who wasn't a pump/well man to start turning wrenches on anything until I at least better understood what was going on. I drained it almost completely, cut it back on and let it fill up and it seems to be holding pressure much better now. I will get those parts tomorrow morning. Seems like that whole assembly just isn't doing it's job so replacing that should work out swimmingly.

    Thanks again!

  4. #4
    General Contractor, Farmer HandyAndy's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    Haxtun, CO
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    68

    Default

    or you can pump some air in to the tank
    Open up a valve in the water system and air it up you need to let the water out of the tank, watch the pressure, Don't let the air pressure get over 50 psi, when filling it, and if the valve is close to the tank (looks like a valve at the bottom of the tank on the right of the first picture), it will blow air out the open valve, (shut off the pump when doing this), yes there will be some air in the system for a short time, and in a short time it will adjust it air level, but with out the bladder after a time the air will be absorbed into the water, and it will have to be done again,

    that is why the bladder tanks are nice as the air is separate and never mix, (unless failure), Nice thing about the old galvanized tanks is the failure rate is long and far in between,

    the draw down is a lot less, IN the first picture, the neighbors bladder tank that is much smaller probably has the same draw down as yours does,

    and like rancher said that is the air volume control, it is to automaticly control the air level in the tank, (ours never had the air control) and we had to manual air ours up even few months when we had the galvanized tanks in the past, now we have the bladder tanks.

    http://www.inspect-ny.com/water/watertank.htm

    http://www.gov.mb.ca/tgs/mwsb/pdf/no...ssuretanks.pdf


    http://brands.hardwarestore.com/303-...equipment.aspx

  5. #5
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
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    3,307

    Default

    You don't have to completely drain the tank to maintain air in a non-bladder tank. There is an easier way.

    In most metal tanks you can determine or estimate the location of the water line by checking the condensation or tapping to determine the water level based on sound. Some people are more successful than others.

    The process is based on knowing what should be the "percent full" of a tank at a known pressure. The list below is the "percent full at shutoff" for several common pressure switch settings.

    20 to 40 psi: 37% full at 40 psi
    30 to 50 psi: 31% full at 50 psi
    40 to 60 psi: 27% full at 60 psi
    50 to 70 psi: 24% full at 70 psi

    With the power to the pump off, use or waste some water until the level is equal to the "percent full at shutoff" for your switch range. If the pressure is less than the switch shutoff pressure, use the Shrader valve and a pump or compressor to raise the pressure to the shutoff pressure.

    Turn on the power.

    You are done.

    If you got too much air in the tank it will come out of your faucet before the switch turns on the pump at the next cycle.

    Only for those who are interested, the formula is:

    Percent full at shutoff = 100 x (1 - (Pon + Pa)/(Poff + Pa))

    Where Pon is the pressure at pump start; Poff is pressure at pump off; and Pa is atmospheric pressure which is 14.7 psi at sea level.

    Percent full at shutoff = 100 x (1 - (20 + 14.7)/(40 + 14.7))

    = 100 x (1 - 0.634) = 100 x 0.366 = 36.6% (call it 37%)

  6. #6

    Default newbie

    I have a setup very similar to his. If I'm not mistaken, is that a check ball that the shrader and pressure switch is tapped into? I have went to my local Lowe's and with no luck finding this piece to replace the existing leaker(which was a check ball).I am a first time owner of a well and I don't know anything about them. I bought the land and well was already there. I have been reading up on this very usefull site and one thing I don't understand, I need to pressurize the tank to 38psi before adding water? I have a 40/60 switch. Also, (last question) when I ran power to the pump for the first time, it took about half an hour to reach 40psi (brand new gauge on side of tank) with the pump kicking on and off about every 3 to 4 minutes until it reached 40. Is that typical for a system that hasn't been turned on for about a year and a half? Please help,you are my only hope!

  7. #7
    Rancher
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    Quote Originally Posted by juggalo6 View Post
    If I'm not mistaken, is that a check ball that the shrader and pressure switch is tapped into?
    No probably not, the check ball, if you have one is down in the well and it opens up when the pump is not running so it allows air into the pipe.

    Quote Originally Posted by juggalo6 View Post
    I have went to my local Lowe's and with no luck finding this piece to replace the existing leaker(which was a check ball).
    You won't find this item at Lowe's. Please describe where the leaker/check ball is, because it's supposed to leak.

    Quote Originally Posted by juggalo6 View Post
    I need to pressurize the tank to 38psi before adding water?
    No you do not have a bladder tank, you don't need to pressurize the tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by juggalo6 View Post
    Also, (last question) when I ran power to the pump for the first time, it took about half an hour to reach 40psi (brand new gauge on side of tank) with the pump kicking on and off about every 3 to 4 minutes until it reached 40.
    That is typical for a pump that is going into thermal overload and shutting itself off, call a well man to check out your setup.

    Rancher

  8. #8

    Default

    Like I mentioned, My setup is almost identical to Phil The Pitchers's. It was leaking around the fittings where the pressure switch was. That's why I started to change everything out.

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