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Thread: Well pump pressure fluctuation

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Rebecca03's Avatar
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    Default Well pump pressure fluctuation

    About a year ago we had our buried pressure bladder rupture. we have not dug it up. We just added a new pressure bladder in the basement so it is easily accessible. That seemed to fix the problem with the pump switch turning on and off quickly. The problem we are having now is the pressure bounces continually. It doesn't build pressure evenly. We checked the pressure bladder, and it still had 25 psi and no water, so we know that is not ruptured. We re-pressurized that, and the problem is still there. When eliminating the bladder from the system, the pressure builds evenly to 55 PSI, but there is no pressure in the system, and the pump continually runs on and off on and off. but it does not bounce when it starts and stops. I believe I have eliminated the pressure bladder as the problem, but the water softener is also in that circuit, so we can't eliminate it altogether. I believe that it is either contamination in the water softener, not allowing it to flow evenly, or sediment in the lines that is allowing the pressure to bleed through slowly. Also pressure stays in the system for days on end. There does not seem to be any leaks anywhere. No leaky faucets, or running toilets. PLEASE help. we have been trying to figure this one out for a week. We also can't get any soft water. I cleaned out the venturi valve in the water softener, there is no salt bridge, and all the valves are on. This is getting very frustrating!

  2. #2
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Assuming a metal tank, if the old tank is still connected, it will put iron into the water from the exposed steel on the air side of the bladder. The iron can foul up the softener beads rendering them useless.

    As for the pressure fluctuations, you probably have too much precharge on the bladder.

  3. #3
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    The tank should be pressurized to 2lbs. below cut in pressure with all of the pressure drained off the system. Then check the line running to the pressure switch for sediment that can plug it up. If your lines are blocked with crud it will show up as very low volume at the faucets.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member Rebecca03's Avatar
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    We have plenty of water at the faucets. As for the pressure in the tank, it is set at 28, cut in pressure is 30. We have exhausted every idea so far...

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    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebecca03 View Post
    As for the pressure in the tank, it is set at 28, cut in pressure is 30.
    Are they both measured with the same gauge? The precharge in the tank is often measured with a tire pressure guage but then the pump kick-in setting is often mistakenly set with the water pressure gauge. The two need to be calibrated. 2 PSI may be cutting it too fine. Try 5 PSI instead by measuring only the air pressure.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member Rebecca03's Avatar
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    What would be a way to calibrate the air pressure in the tank, and the water pressure at the switch?

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    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    They should both read the same at the kick-in setting. Compare the two and if they read different, apply the difference as a correction factor.

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    DIY Junior Member Rebecca03's Avatar
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    We think we figured out the problem! Talked to a friend who owns a well drilling business and he said the bladder tank is too far away from the pressure switch. The old tank is buried about 4 feet away from the switch, but the new one is about 40 feet away. We can fix the problem with a metering orifice. hopefully. Will be installing it tomorrow. Thank you for all of your thoughts and advice!

  9. #9
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Now I'm confused... you said the old bladder ruptured a year ago and you are just now having a problem? How is it that it was fine for a year then?

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    DIY Junior Member Rebecca03's Avatar
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    It did. We replaced it about a year ago, and it worked fine for about 11 months. It has just been in the last few weeks that it started acting up again. I don't know why it worked so long without a problem. Maybe some air got in the line? no clue. but hopefully this works....

  11. #11
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    I would not throw money at a problem when there is not a plausible theory as to why it worked fine for a year and is only now acting up. I mean, the 40 feet of distance hasn't changed. Now, it's possible that the line has become constricted from Iron and/or other mineral buildup, but the solution is to rod out the line and move the pressure switch closer to the tank, not to add a metering orifice further upstream.

    I find it bizarre that a bladder tank would be buried in the first place and even more bizarre that a failed tank would be left in the line. I don't know how many "wrongs" it will take to make a "right"!

  12. #12
    DIY Junior Member Rebecca03's Avatar
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    The failed tank was left in the line because there was no reason at the time to take it out. The ground was frozen at the time, and the new tank can just as easily pressurize the system with the old tank still in the ground. We added the metering orifice, and it helped, but the gauge still bounces a little. Now we are looking at adding a smaller tank in the pit with the switch, or moving the switch to the existing tank. Ideally we would just replace the old buried one, but we don't have thousands (or even one thousand) dollars to spend on excavating it and installing the new buried tank.

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