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Thread: Pressure Tank losing pressure

  1. #16
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    Most plumbing codes require a backflow preventer on all potable water systems whether public or private.

  2. #17
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by epps View Post
    I am an electrician (aircraft) and I have a multimeter. Are you thinking that something is clogging the pump (or the pump is going out) and tripping the cutoff switch? Its been doing this on and off again all day today. I am going to go out and pull the pump out of the cistern and check it out.
    Yes I am because the switch (a low pressure safety switch) opens when the water pressure falls to like 20 psi. You need to find out why the pressure is falling that far before the pump comes on or, why the pump comes on and the pressure still falls to like 20 psi and the switch opens which shuts off the pump.

    I have never heard of a back flow preventer being required on a private well or a residential type commercial well, so check your code and if it is not required, if it were mine I would remove it because there is a foot valve or check valve in the well.
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  3. #18
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    The check valve at the pump is in a location that were it to fail would allow the entire contents of the water system, including the water heater to drain back into the well, thereby contaminating not only the well buy possibly the entire aqua fir. Leave the BFP, its cheap insurance and is not the cause of your problem. Either the well is going bad or the pump is going bad. Removing it is the kind of bad advice you get from folks that are not licensed plumbers and don't understand the hazards of back flow.

  4. #19
    DIY Senior Member Bob999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhmaster View Post
    The check valve at the pump is in a location that were it to fail would allow the entire contents of the water system, including the water heater to drain back into the well, thereby contaminating not only the well buy possibly the entire aqua fir. Leave the BFP, its cheap insurance and is not the cause of your problem. Either the well is going bad or the pump is going bad. Removing it is the kind of bad advice you get from folks that are not licensed plumbers and don't understand the hazards of back flow.
    Your comments seem somewhat at odds with the information posted in the sticky about multiple check valves.

  5. #20
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob999 View Post
    Your comments seem somewhat at odds with the information posted in the sticky about multiple check valves.
    The backflow preventer is on the pressure side beyond the pressure tank, or it should be anyway.

  6. #21
    DIY Senior Member Bob999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhmaster View Post
    The backflow preventer is on the pressure side beyond the pressure tank, ....
    Maybe, maybe not. Note that there is a valve on the other side of the T and installations that I am familiar with have the valve on the distribution side of the pressure tank--not the supply side.

  7. #22
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob999 View Post
    Maybe, maybe not. Note that there is a valve on the other side of the T and installations that I am familiar with have the valve on the distribution side of the pressure tank--not the supply side.
    Yes, the BFP goes on the distribution side, after the main house shutoff. Isn't that what I said? Maybe not clear enough.

  8. #23
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhmaster View Post
    The check valve at the pump is in a location that were it to fail would allow the entire contents of the water system, including the water heater to drain back into the well, thereby contaminating not only the well buy possibly the entire aqua fir.
    I'd like to hear more about this and specifically how that could happen based on a leaky foot or check valve.

    Quote Originally Posted by nhmaster View Post
    Leave the BFP, its cheap insurance and is not the cause of your problem. Either the well is going bad or the pump is going bad. Removing it is the kind of bad advice you get from folks that are not licensed plumbers and don't understand the hazards of back flow.
    A low recovery rate well is not a bad well.

    And usually, unless the driller, pump guy or plumber that sized and installed the pump does it wrong, low producing wells do not have low pressure problems and frankly, the OP said this is a new problem that just started.

    As yet we don't know the cause of his low pressure problem. And this possibly dual check backflow prevention device is a real possibility.

    Well water system troubleshooting is not taught in any plumbing licensing I've ever heard of. And the sad facts are that the vast majority of plumbers do not know this subject and don't want to.

    BTW, I'm sure I would surprise you with my knowledge of backflow prevention.
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  9. #24
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    you may indeed but are you certified?

  10. #25
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    .................................


    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    I'd like to hear more about this and specifically how that could happen based on a leaky foot or check valve.

    Then you need to do a bit of research on back flow. www.watts.com is a good place to start. Oh and going to and getting certified to test BFP's could help also.


    A low recovery rate well is not a bad well.

    When it does not produce enough water for the pump to stay running it is.

    And usually, unless the driller, pump guy or plumber that sized and installed the pump does it wrong, low producing wells do not have low pressure problems and frankly, the OP said this is a new problem that just started.

    Or perhaps the well conditions have changed.


    As yet we don't know the cause of his low pressure problem. And this possibly dual check backflow prevention device is a real possibility.

    Explain just exactly how that is possible. Facts please, not conjecture. Because even if the checks were stuck partially closed the pump would still produce pressure, volume might be a problem but either way the BFP is on the downstream side of the pressure switch. Anyway, explain away.

    Well water system troubleshooting is not taught in any plumbing licensing I've ever heard of. And the sad facts are that the vast majority of plumbers do not know this subject and don't want to.

    It is covered in every modern plumbing text published including the PHCC text and the nationally used NCCER text.

    No clue where you get that statement from. Every plumber I know ( and I know a few hundred ) work on, and install water pumps and water treatment equipment. Maybe it's a local thing for you.

    BTW, I'm sure I would surprise you with my knowledge of backflow prevention.

  11. #26
    DIY Senior Member Bob999's Avatar
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    nhmaster wrote: "but either way the BFP is on the downstream side of the pressure switch. "

    Maybe, maybe not. I suggest you go back and look at the picture again. There is what we are told is a BFP on one side of the T at the pressure tank and there is a ball valve on the other side of the T. The OP has not told us which side the BFP is on.

  12. #27
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob999 View Post
    nhmaster wrote: "but either way the BFP is on the downstream side of the pressure switch. "

    Maybe, maybe not. I suggest you go back and look at the picture again. There is what we are told is a BFP on one side of the T at the pressure tank and there is a ball valve on the other side of the T. The OP has not told us which side the BFP is on.
    Bob, you could be right and I have looked a few times. Hard to tell but if I had to guess I would say it is on the incoming, Either way though a Watts #7 operates at 10lbs and I have never seen one fail in the closed position.

  13. #28
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    Default no luck

    As far as which side either valve is on, I can't tell. Would the manual shutoff valve be on the supply or return from the tank? I would guess the return (the supply to the faucets). I am kind of baffled that there is only one entry/exit from the tank itself, how does this work? By the way, I have a cistern, not a well. I am able to pull the pump all the way out and look at it, and everything inside the cistern is visible, if that helps at all.

    Here's the deal now: Still very low pressure to the shower head and to the kitchen. The only other faucet right now is the sink in the bathroom, and this one seems fine, although I don't know if it is maybe because it is a smaller faucet with a smaller stream? I have pulled the pump out and checked the screen filter around it, nothing is clogging it. We had good pressure for a few days from the kitchen sink, but it has gone down again and the screen at the tip of the faucet has been cleared out. The pressure switch has not tripped since my last post, not sure what is going on with that. However, what baffles me is that this lack of pressure is for both cold and hot water, it doesnt make a difference either way. If there were a problem with the tubing or the pressure tank, wouldn't it only affect the cold? Is the hot water heater its own seperate pressure tank?

    I know this is starting to sound crazy, but I can't pinpoint this problem. Like I said, this only started when our power started going out and has stayed consistently low since. I have watched the gauge on the tank and it seems fine. I cannot find any filters at all to check. I found debree on the screen of the faucet, which leads me to believe there are no filters. The pump looks to be a 60/30 (or maybe it was 60/40). I believe we have water with a high iron content, but we have all new faucets, eliminating the possibility of a buildup somewhere.

    Thanks for everyone's help, and I guess these are sounding like some wierd symptoms, but any other advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated!

  14. #29
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    So I'm looking at the pictures again and I see a boiler drain coming off the tank tee ( it's the big brass tee that goes into the tank) Put a hose on that and see what you get for pressure. If it's good there then the problem is downstream ot the tank tee.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by epps View Post
    The pressure switch has not tripped since my last post, not sure what is going on with that. However, what baffles me is that this lack of pressure is for both cold and hot water, it doesnt make a difference either way. If there were a problem with the tubing or the pressure tank, wouldn't it only affect the cold? Is the hot water heater its own seperate pressure tank?
    Hot and cold both get their pressure from the same place. Whatever pressure you have on the pressure tank/pressure switch is the same pressure on the hot and cold.

    Since this started after power problems, I think you may be running the pump on half voltage. This would explain the pressure switch not "tripping" and also why it just sits at 52 PSI. Check the voltage to the motor.

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