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Thread: Replacing Hydro Pneumatic With Bladder Tank

  1. #1

    Default Replacing Hydro Pneumatic With Bladder Tank

    I have a submersible pump system, maybe 20+ feet deep. The tank is an old hydro pneumatic, probably close to 40 years. Due to sporadic air problems in the lines and a small rust through spot on the tank I'm replacing it. I bought a 44 gal. bladder tank by H2OW-TO and the instructions state that the snifter valve and the bleeder orifice should be removed and plugged. Removing the snifter and plugging the hole isn't an issue as it is located on the water inlet side of the check valve where the pipe goes out the basement wall but the bleeder orifice is. I'm located in N. Wisconsin and aside from having to pull the pump up to get to the orifice, my other concern would be the possibility of the water in the well pipe freezing due to cold air settling in the casing if it doesn't drain. The water pipe comes through the basement wall 3 feet below grade.

    Is it essential that the bleeder orifice be removed and plugged? My understanding is that they are plugged and removed to keep from pumping air along with water into the bladder tank. The possible results being that the pump can surge and damage the well system.

    Thank you for any replies.
    Last edited by Brushfire; 01-02-2009 at 01:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Porky Cutter,MGWC Porky's Avatar
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    Default Bleeder Orifice!

    The bleeder orifice may allow air to get into the water supply causing irratic operation and spurting air and water at the faucets; commodes; washer; ice maker and etc. The air/water can also nock a glass or pitcher out of your hand.

    The orifice does need to be removed but I don't see it doing any damage to your pump!

    Your wife won't like the air/water mixture!

  3. #3
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    Default

    Sometimes just removing the above ground check valve will keep the bleeder from opening up. If the bleeder is no good and leaking anyway, afer removing the check valve, you will see the pressure drop when not using any water. Then you will have to remove the bleeder. If the pressure doesn't drop, you don't have to remove the bleeder.

    You pipe in the well and coming to the house must be deep enough to keep from freezing. If not, then you need to stay with the hydro tank so the bleeder can drain the water and keep it from freezing.

  4. #4
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    You were saying that removing the snifter and plugging the hole is what your going to do when in fact you should be removing the check valve alltogether. Then you can see if the bleeder is going to stay closed or not.

    bob...

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the input/advice. I was already having a sporadic problem with the air spurts coming from the faucets, etc for years. I've replaced the air control valve and when it acts up I keep fiddling around with the air control valve setting to eventually get it to settle down, although it will eventually start acting up again. I suspect that contaminants may be causing the problem with the air control but so far it seems to work to fiddle with the screw setting. The reviews I read on bladder tanks all touted bladders were the better way to go, but now I'm not so sure that could be true for my specific situation considering the cold and other factors.
    Although I'm decent at figuring a lot of DIY stuff out, I'm a little leery about taking this on. I think I'll see if I can find a reputable licensed well guy in the area and get a professional onsite opinion.
    We also have iron in our water and I read an article by Robert Pelikan at national driller that another reason people may want to stay with a conventional tank vs. captive air is that the conventional tank water absorbs air which oxidizes iron, hydrogen sulfide and other contaminants. Read the article here

  6. #6
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Default

    Yes air over water tanks allow for the air to be absorbed into the water, which can cause plumbing corrosion BTW and, the air oxidizes iron etc. and adds rust (ferric iron comes from oxidizing ferrous iron) and sulfide particles from H2S gas and black particles from oxidized manganese to your water. All that can collect in the bottom of the air over water type tanks.

    I suggest a new tank like the one you had if for no other reason than the only 3' the water line is buried at in northern WI where the frost line is probably more like 6'.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Yes air over water tanks allow for the air to be absorbed into the water, which can cause plumbing corrosion BTW and, the air oxidizes iron etc. and adds rust (ferric iron comes from oxidizing ferrous iron) and sulfide particles from H2S gas and black particles from oxidized manganese to your water. All that can collect in the bottom of the air over water type tanks.

    I suggest a new tank like the one you had if for no other reason than the only 3' the water line is buried at in northern WI where the frost line is probably more like 6'.
    Thanks Gary. The well casing is 5' from the basement wall so there is a chance that the line could freeze if it always has water in it. I have a rust/sediment house filter inline so that takes care of the slightly rusty water/black speck problem. Having the casing-to-basement line section freeze and burst would be a major problem, especially with all the -0 days we're having. I imagine an air-over-water tank will be somewhat less expensive but may still require some periodic maintenance if the air spurts start up.

  8. #8
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    You might be surprised at the price of the galvanized tanks these days. Bladder tanks have all but made them obsolete and they are getting harder to find and more money to buy. However, if you don't mind keeping it working, what you have is a better system than any bladder tank. More drawdown for one and it should outlast the bladder tank. Well at least they used to. Today they are a lot thinner than they were back in the dark ages.

    If you did go with the bladder tank, you may be opening a large can of worms.

    By the way, take the screw out of the air control and throw it away. It's that screw that is making it plug up sooner than it should.

    bob...

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by speedbump View Post
    You might be surprised at the price of the galvanized tanks these days. Bladder tanks have all but made them obsolete and they are getting harder to find and more money to buy. However, if you don't mind keeping it working, what you have is a better system than any bladder tank. More drawdown for one and it should outlast the bladder tank. Well at least they used to. Today they are a lot thinner than they were back in the dark ages.

    If you did go with the bladder tank, you may be opening a large can of worms.

    By the way, take the screw out of the air control and throw it away. It's that screw that is making it plug up sooner than it should.

    bob...
    Thanks Bob. I'll have to check locally on the tank, I did find a 42 gal galvanized tank online at Keith's the exact same size as mine for $187 plus shipping estimated at $30 UPS. ( click here ) I also got a quote from Hanson Tank for a 40 gal stainless steel for $1,182 which would probably outlast my great grandchildren.
    Your comment that the conventional tanks last longer is right on. The tank I'm replacing is at least 40 years old, I can't remember exactly when my parents had replaced the old jet system with the submersible pump/well but I know it was in the 60's. I'll have to see if I can get some specs on the new tank's wall thickness. I'd bet that none of the "dark ages" tanks were made from recycled steel either, which may also make a difference in tank longevity.
    The original pump was finally replaced four years ago after it was struck by lightning. The more I learn about bladder tanks the more leery I get about ever getting one. Can of worms is what I thought too when I started reading about replacing the bleeder orifice, etc.

    The Air Control is the float arm type, if I take the screw out it'll blow all the air off the tank. How do I remove it without loss of pressure, which would cause the pump to kick in and overfill the tank?

    I'm sure glad I found you guys, y'all are good people.

  10. #10
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    The Air Control is the float arm type, if I take the screw out it'll blow all the air off the tank.
    What brand Air Control do you have? If it's a US Gauge type WJ it has a little screw that adjusts the pressure that it will start holding air at a desired pressure. This little screw helps them plug up extremely fast. If you have some other brand, I don't know what screw you would be referring to.

    bob...

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by speedbump View Post
    What brand Air Control do you have? If it's a US Gauge type WJ it has a little screw that adjusts the pressure that it will start holding air at a desired pressure. This little screw helps them plug up extremely fast. If you have some other brand, I don't know what screw you would be referring to.

    bob...
    Bob,
    My bad, I didn't think to look at the air control and give you a name. It's a US Gauge type WJ, I attached a picture of it. I started backing the screw out after I read your last post and it started blowing air. If the little adjustment screw is not necessary, when I replace the tank do I just pick up a screw/plug with the same threads from the hardware store and put it in the air control valve? I guess I'm not getting something as I don't understand how the air control valve can adjust the air pressure over the water without the screw. I did find a 42 gal. glass lined galvanized tank locally for $219. I just need to pick it up.
    I appreciate your patience in helping me understand all of this.
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  12. #12
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    Simply tank the screw out and throw it away. You don't need to put anything else in there. You will see the bottom of a schrader valve sticking out a little. It's no big deal.

    bob...

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by speedbump View Post
    Simply tank the screw out and throw it away. You don't need to put anything else in there. You will see the bottom of a schrader valve sticking out a little. It's no big deal.

    bob...
    Thank you Bob, last night I removed the screw and it let out some air, the pump kicked in went up to pressure and then shut off. Seems to be working fine. I picked up the new glasslined tank and will probably install it this weekend.

    Thank you again, you're a good man.

    Uno

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