Well problems, the saga and sanity check

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Reach4

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A company that manufactures tanks said, the CSV “does not significantly reduce the number of cycles compared to a properly sized pressure tank”. In other words, although they hate to admit it, the CSV and small tank cycled fewer times per day than a “properly sized pressure tank”. Another individuals test showed the CSV and small tank caused the pump to cycle 7% more than a “properly sized pressure tank”. Our own tests have shown basically no difference in the number of cycles between a CSV/small tank and a large pressure tank.

I found and read the article: https://info.ngwa.org/GWOL/pdf/031977178.pdf Interesting.

One thing that surprised me is they were comparing the conventional setup vs a CSV using a 20 gallon pressure tank rather than a 5 gallon pressure tank.
 

Valveman

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Yeah that is one of the tests I was talking about. I find it very interesting a test by THE Tank Manufacturer, set up to make CSV’s look bad, had to conclude with, “we found that the cycle control valves in residential systems reduce the number of cycles by only a negligible amount over that of a standard pump/properly sized pre-pressurized well tank”.

And notice the date is August 2003. This is not a new argument. I just have to argue with new people everyday. That is because the people who installed a CSV over the last 20 years don’t go to forums and ask questions about pump problems. They don’t understand why the rest of the world has so many problems with their pump systems. :)
 

spiral_72

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Alright fellas. I found the article interesting and frustrating at the same time. The 20gal tank coupled with the CSV is contrary to the recommended tank size by nearly 5gal. One thing that bugs me is the pump runs at 100% while the output is throttled, but that's only something a VFD would fix. It looks like there is a 4psi pressure drop at 5gpm which shouldn't be a huge concern. Even less of a concern at 2-3gpm with my shower head.

Let me sleep on it. Tank or CSV..... I'll pay attention to how we use water too, then make a decision. The cost is close to the same regardless.

Thank you again. Hopefully this will be good reference material for someone else even though I've run through a whole array of problems in one thread.
 

Valveman

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I hate when that article is brought up again, because it is confusing. But you have to consider the source. It was written by the man who invented the diaphragm style tank, and produced by a company who makes and sells only tanks. But even though it was set up to make anything except a large pressure tank look good, it has quite a bit of information that contradicts that conclusion if you know how to read it.

But let me clear up your first misconception, as it is the most common misconception when discussing how a CSV works. THE PUMP DOES NOT RUN AT 100% AMP DRAW WHEN BEING THROTTLED WITH A VALVE. The amp draw of a pump will be reduced by 30% to 50% when being restricted with a valve. This is almost exactly the same reduction in amp draw you get by slowing the RPM of pump with a VFD. This is completely counter intuitive, so it is hard to understand. But again, throttling a pump with a CSV will cause the amps to be reduced almost exactly the same amount as when a pump is slowed down with a VFD.

So the pump may run longer periods of time with a CSV, but it is loping along at reduced amperage instead of running at full load as most people think it does.

This one misunderstanding about the counter intuitive properties of a pump makes it easy for consumers to be duped into thinking a VFD will save energy. It also helps dupe people into thinking a large pressure tank is still the best solution. Neither one of these things are true. But pumps are so confusing anyway, that all that is needed is another confusing article like this Amtrol “study”, and people don’t know what to think.

Yes the Amtrol “test” of the CSV was done with a 20 gallons size tank (5 gallon draw). A 20 gallon tank is still a small tank compared to a so called “properly sized” pressure tank. But even with the smaller tank, the “Cycle Control Valve” system still cycled less than either the “properly sized” tank or the VFD. 10 years after this “test” we have concluded through decades of testing, that a 4.5 gallon size tank (1 gallon draw) works just as well with a CSV.

The Amtrol “study” used 31 water demands per day, with a 2 minute lull between each use. So even if the CSV and small tank caused a cycle for each water demand, which it won’t, it would still only cycle 31 times per day. 31 cycles per day is inconsequential for a pump that can supposedly cycle as much as 300 times per day safely.

This is exactly why the VFD shows to have cycled 31 times per day, as it has no pressure bandwidth between on and off. No pressure bandwidth means a VFD is not able to use any water stored in a pressure tank, no matter the size of the tank. So a VFD pump will cycle for every water use.

Even though the amps are reduced by 30% to 50% when using a CSV or a VFD, the drop in amperage is not linear with the reduction in flow. So a CSV or VFD will use a little more energy than a pump that runs at maximum amps until a tank is full, then shuts off. The Amtrol “test” makes a big deal about the “Cycle Control Valve” and the VFD “consuming almost twice as much energy as a properly sized pressure tank”. However, put into proper context, going from .5 KW to 1 KW use per day, is only about a nickel per day or $18 per year difference.

Also notice that the Amtrol “test” was set up to try and make a CSV look bad, by not having any uses for water that last longer than 7 minutes. While this maybe typical for homes in the northeast that rarely use water outside of the house, it is not typical of the rest of the world. In the real world people have irrigation, use heat pumps, or at the very least occasionally use a garden hose for more than 7 minutes.

If this test had been set up for more real world conditions, water uses for longer than 7 minutes would turn the results of the test completely around. Longer run times would make the “properly sized pressure tank” method show numerous cycles per day, while it would further decrease the number of cycles with a CSV or VFD. Longer run times would also make the electric consumption fairly equal between all three methods.

And there is no way a tank manufacturer would ever do a test for a system that uses a small amount of water for long periods of time. A continuous demand of 7 GPM using a 15 GPM pump and a “properly sized tank” would cause more than 360 cycles per day or 131,000 cycles per year. This would then have to be compared to only 1 cycle when using a CSV or VFD, and Amtorl would not want you to see that comparison.

Whether or not the 4.5 gallon tank with a CSV causes 9 or 31 cycles per day is not important. The CSV will only let the pump cycle once for each intermittent use of water. The CSV will not let a pump “rapid cycle” or cycle WHILE you are using water. These are the destructive cycles for a pump/motor. The fact that the pump has to start each time you open a faucet is no where near as destructive for a pump, than continuing to cycle WHILE you are using water.

The initial cost of a CSV and small tank maybe close to that of a large pressure tank, but the life time cost of the CSV system will be considerably less. Eliminating destructive cycling, de-rating the motor load, (making the motor run cooler), preventing water hammer, along with all the other benefits of the CSV, the pump/motor/tank and other components will last many times longer than when a pump continually cycles into a big pressure tank.

Pumps are confusing. The so called “studies” are confusing. My detailed explanation is confusing, even to those who work with pumps everyday. The industry uses this confusion to keep you buying big pressure tanks and cycling all your pump system equipment to death, so you will have to replace pump/motor/tank on an average of every 7 years.

I have to make new customers everyday. I don’t get to sell them a new pump/motor/tank every 7 years on average. Even with a small tank, many CSV customers have not had to work on their pump system in 20 years so far. I don’t know how much longer these CSV systems will last, but they have already tripled the average life of the pump/motor/tank. THIS is exactly why you see “studies” like the one from Amtrol. THIS is exactly why they try to keep you confused. THIS is exactly why many people in the pump industry will try to dissuade you from using a CSV. And THAT is exactly WHY every pump system should have a CSV.
 

spiral_72

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The valve on my current tank is not to blame unfortunately. It's gotta be the bladder. It's a Well-X-Trol surprisingly. One thing they did right in the plumbing some 20yrs ago.

I agree, even I don't take a 7min shower... and my wife sure doesn't and since the washer takes 15minutes to fill, two or three times per load.... The dishwasher, toilet and hand washing do not use much. There is little irrigation at this house, typically that is the garden in a drought for 30 minutes at 4gpm.

Pump 100% current.... ok, I can see that once you mention it. The pump is a centrifugal pump not a positive displacement pump and since water is relatively incompressible the pump would slip. I should have considered my statement before posting.

To be honest I had the CSV and a small tank in my cart, went to checkout then waited..... found a WX-250, had that in my cart. I'm going to sleep on it again. We do a lot of .5gal at a time water uses.


One last time. Thank you for all the help with my original post. WE HAVE WATER AND LOTS OF IT! and...... as long as I crawl under the house to air up the tank every day, we have more water pressure than I can remember... so thank you for that too. I'm just sorry I was so ignorant about this stuff.

I'm going to pour a sizable concrete pad around the well opening in the off chance my problem is above ground water leaking in too.
 

Valveman

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A WX250 only holds 12 gallons of water. Irrigating for 30 minutes at 4 GPM will cause about 5 cycles. While the pump is cycling the sprinklers will see pressure varying from 40 to 60 and back again, so they don’t make a consistent spray pattern. A 3 GPM shower for 5 minutes will have 4 minutes of decreasing pressure (60 down to 40) and 1 minute of increasing pressure (40 up to 60). The decreasing pressure is also why it takes 15 minutes for the washer to fill.

Using a CSV and a 4.5 gallon tank (1 gallon draw) the pump will only cycle once for the irrigation, no matter how long you run the sprinklers, and the spray pattern will be exact every time around. The shower pressure will be held at a constant 50 PSI, no matter how long the shower last. This will probably even shorten your shower times, as it won’t take as long to get the soap out of your hair with the constant pressure. 50 PSI constant will also make the washer fill faster.

You can also use a CSV with a WX250 if you want. But in your case that would just mean you still have decreasing pressure in the shower, and you washing machine will fill slowly. So the bigger tank decreases performance, takes more money out of your pocket, takes up more space, and uses more energy to heat.

Most likely the water will get on top of the diaphragm in your old tank as the air leaks out. Continuing to air it up probably won’t help for much longer. When the air chamber is full of water, there is no place left to put the air, and the tank will weigh 740 pounds when you try to haul it out.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
 

spiral_72

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Alright, disappointing to some I opted for the old school tank. I was really trying to justify the valve purchase especially since it coupled with a small tank was less expensive. After careful study of our water use, it didn't make sense even though constant pressure would have been nice. Any pump cycle savings while in the shower three cycles as opposed to one, or my wife's eight cycles as opposed to one, laundry three + three cycles etc would be negated by our frequent .5gal uses. I wash my hands ten times a day, same for the wife, rinse off dishes prior to putting them in the dishwasher etc. etc. etc. If we irrigated more or took baths or any number of things, it would have been different.

If I was wrong, I'll find out soon enough, but I really struggled with the decision.

The new Well-X-Trol tank should be here Friday. We've been properly abusing our water volume with no problems other than I had to replace every filter in the house from all the crap flushed out of the well.
 

Valveman

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Any pump cycle savings while in the shower three cycles as opposed to one, or my wife's eight cycles as opposed to one, laundry three + three cycles etc would be negated by our frequent .5gal uses.

That is exactly the point. In houses that use very little water, there is no difference in the number of cycles between the large tank and the CSV/small tank. With any added irrigation, heat pump, or any other longer uses of water, the CSV/small tank wins hands down.

And as you said…..

constant pressure would have been nice

It is the wife who usually notices the benefits of constant pressure first. During those long showers the pressure has always gone up and down from 40 to 60 at least 8 times. The change to constant pressure for as long as you want to shower is so nice, someone might start enjoying showers a little too much.

What you are doing will work fine. That is the way it has been done for many decades. You could still get the benefits of constant pressure by adding a CSV to the large tank system. Then you can have the 12 gallons stored to wash your hands 24 times. Plus the CSV would still keep the pump from cycling 8 times while delivering constant pressure for as long as the shower is running.

Repetitive cycling, like the 8 times in a row for the shower is also harder on the pump/motor than when the pump just cycles occasionally for hand washing.

Diamonds maybe a girl’s best friend, but really good pressure for her shower can get you some brownie points as well. :)

The only problem with putting a CSV on the larger pressure tank, is that you will quickly realize you should have gone out for a night on the town instead of spending the extra money on the larger tank.

The only problem in starting with the larger tank, is they won’t let you send it back if you don’t like it. I sound like the “Ronco” commercial when I say this but, we have always offered money back satisfaction guarantee on Cycle Stop Valves. In 21 years I have never had to give anyone his or her money back.

I understand why many people “struggle with this decision”. But even though I lost the argument, you will probably start noticing every time the pumps cycles from now on. The house lights will flicker on pump start or something will drive you crazy, and sooner or later, the light bulb over your head will come on, and it will all make sense.

It could be that the wife read enough of this thread that she will no longer be able to enjoy a shower. She will now notice that the shower pressure continues to go up and down, up and down, up and down. Then one day she will say, “why didn’t you get one of those things that keeps the shower pressure from going up and down?”

Let me know if I can help you with anything. :)
 
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spiral_72

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HAHA. Thanks Valveman. The wife was part of the decision. I want to try your CSV even still when money permits. The new tank for all the small water uses, the the CSV kicks in 4minutes into a shower won't be too bad.

The old pressure tank is flat and it's obvious. The new tank was delayed on account of the weather, so maybe Monday? Only three more trips under the house with a stupid air tank and tire gauge I hope.
 

spiral_72

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The big Eastern US snow delayed shipment of my tank. I have it now so I plan to get pipe and fittings tomorrow after work, hit the local Waffle House then head home for some plumbing work. Hopefully I'll have this thing done tomorrow night.
 

spiral_72

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The new pressure tank is in. Looks good, everything is almost right with the world.

Dumping water from the outside spigot is approximately 6.5 - 7gpm. The system takes 2:35 for the pressure to drop from 61psi to 40psi. I know that math doesn't work out with a 13gal bleed down tank, but maybe it's the water softener in there??

The pump kicks on and runs forever meaning at 5:30 the pressure stalls at 58psi which tells me 6.5 - 7gpm at 58psi is the max flow my pump can generate. The good news is irrigation shouldn't cycle the pump. I'm not sure if there is bad news from that. The shower head only flows 3gpm so I would expect something like a 4-5 minute bleed down with a 3-5 minute pump up whilst in the shower. I'll be done in that time. The wifey will not.

And now for the bad news. I said "almost" above cause I don't have any leaks......... except for the two second drip under the stupid tank. SO, most of it is coming back out tonight.

...... after taking the plumbing apart six times for the same leak, replacing the new steel fitting with another new one from another store (also made in China).... using four turns of tape, six, ten, ten + tighten the @#$&^% out of it, new fitting + thread sealer, new fitting + thread sealer + tighten the @#$*^% out of it, then finally six turns of tape + thread sealer. Now I have a drip every two minutes. yay.

It's gonna stay that way for a day or two. Every other threaded connection sealed just fine, it's just the 1-1/4" - 3/4" steel bushing under the tank. I've never had this problem before. I used steel 'cause I replaced all the steel with new five years ago before I knew any better. This time I added steel just to plumb the tank into the existing T. Next time I do this it's going to be PEX throughout.
 
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Masterpumpman

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Sorry to be so late in commenting! I'd have a qualified driller/pump installer pull the pump and test the well with compressed air. It won't be cheap but must be done to determine if the problem is the well or the pump.
 

Craigpump

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The best way to get the bushing to stop dripping is to use some Teflon tape and then put Rector Seal over the tape on the male threads then tighten it up and you're all done.

Sounds like you either have a worn out pump, split in the pipe or a rotted fitting in the well and that's why you can't get over 58 psi
 

Reach4

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Sounds like you either have a worn out pump, split in the pipe or a rotted fitting in the well and that's why you can't get over 58 psi

He is getting 58 PSI at 7 GPM. I don't know how deep the water is but couldn't that be normal if it was maybe a 1/2 horse 7 GPM pump?
 

spiral_72

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sorry for the delay. It's a 3/4hp pump installed in about 2005 at 220' deep. I thought 58psi at 7gpm might be normal, even if it's not it doesn't seem like it should be much better than that in a perfect system... I dunno I'm just speculating.

I'll see if I can find some rector seal. It's still dripping every two minutes last time I checked with tape + thread sealer. I put a piece of concrete board under the tank so hopefully it evaporates instead of soaking the soil. Stupid thing..... The ONLY leak I had, had to be in the least accessible.
 
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