How Does a Well Pressure Tank Work?: A Complete Guide
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In order for your water well set up to function properly, you have to understand how a pressure tank works, especially in unison with a water pump.
A water pressure tank can experience a range of issues, which cannot be determined unless you have some understanding of its working functionality.
In this article, we will cover exactly that, and a bit more.
Keep reading to find out how a pressure tank works.
Water Pressure Tank and Pump Setup
So after a well has been drilled in the correct location on your residence, a water pump would be installed side to the well casing, in order to lift or push water from below the ground, and into your household.
The size of your home will determine the size of the pump, but also your water demands and the number of plumbing fixtures will play a part. Typically, a pump for domestic use can move 10 gallons of water per minute via a half-horsepower motor.
However, some homes have increased demands for water. For instance, homes that feed farm animals, irrigate plants, etc. In those cases, a jet pump can be installed above ground, and these are often found in shallow wells that have a diameter of 4 inches or less. In any case, it’s unlikely that you will make use of one because a submersible pump does the job well.
They also know when to turn one in response to a pressure drop in the water tank in your home. The pump will lift water until a default pressure has been restored.
But what determines pressure?
Water PSI is the most important notion of your water experience, whether it be showering or feeding your plants. Municipal water supply has the water pressure controlled by the city, but some internal plumbing issues can cause a decrease in water pressure.
But for those who have or will have a well in their home, the advanced technology of a pressure tank is that it will provide stable pressure throughout your pipes. The well, the pump, and the pressure tank work in unison to get water from point A to point B.
The well pulls/pushes water from the well, sends it to the pressure tank, which holds it under pressure until a plumbing fixture has been used. And this pressure is achieved via a smart separation in the tank via compressed air.
When the water valve has been used in your plumbing, the tank will push the water to the pipes and fill up again when the pressure falls lower than a pre-set pressure rating.
Because the pressure tank holds most of the water, there is little use-damage to the good pump, because it does not have to remain in a constant cycle of turning on and off. Because well pumps are harder to repair, the pressure tank is of the right size is the best investment and component of a water well system.
A Bit More on Pressure Tanks
As mentioned earlier, as the water is pumped into the pressure tank, the air is compressed until a pre-set level, usually 50 pounds per square inch (PSI). When someone uses a faucet, the pressure will drop to a trigger quantity. That will notify the pump to turn on and draw more water into the tank. When the faucet turns off, the pressure will build up until a shut-off level.
This amount of water that is being delivered by the tank between the time that the pump shuts off and the time that it starts back up again is called the drawdown.
The tank size and the drawdown will be variable, depending on the volume of water that you can pull in your home in a single minute. Some tanks only hold 10 gallons, some can hold upwards of 200. In any case, the most common size is about 44 gallons, and it has a drawdown of 16.
If your home uses more than the average volume or has a low-yield well, the tank should be of a larger size.
Alright, but how exactly does the pressure tank know when to get more water?
Well, there’s a thing called the pressure switch. When the tank pushes the water in a certain volume, it triggers the pressure switch, which tells the pump to sen more water. The tank becomes refilled to max capacity, and then gets measured by a pressure gauge, which then determines if it shuts off or not.
The switches are set a range of 20 PSI in the start/stop pressure values. So if your switch is set at 60 PSI, when the water has been drained from the tank to a value 40 PSI, the tank will turn on to collect water from the well via the water pump. And when it reaches 60 PSI again, it will turn off.
Pressure Tank Issues Do Occur
As you have ascertained, a pressure tank is very important for the longevity and proper functionality of your water well system. Without the separation of air and water, the pump would continue to turn off and on in a cycle, which would burn out the motor pump.
And if your pump is submersible, as most are, it can be hard to tell if it’s working or not. They often have a relay switch that clicks on and off when it is trying to turn on, so you can keep that in mind. Newer models have a relay switch light, which will glow under the water.
In any case, an issue can occur with the electrical relay system. This type of issue has to be resolved by a professional because the cause is often uncertain.
Well Drilling for You
Now that you know how a pressure tank works, you are well on your way to installing your own water well system on your residence.
If you’re interested in well drilling and pressure tank installation, get in touch with us and we will happily accommodate your needs.
Have questions about a well repair? Looking for guidance on installing a new well? Reach out using the form below and a member of our team will reach out to you within one business day.
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