4 Signs You Need A New Water Pressure Tank

Do You Need A New Pressure Tank? Know The Signs

We see it all the time: the pressure tank starts causing problems and the homeowner is left with inconsistent water pressure or no water at all. What could be happening, and should you call a water well professional? Pressure tank problems can be difficult fix, and the pressure tank often has to be replaced. Whether you’re a homeowner or even a renter on a well system, knowing the signs of pressure tank problems can help you prevent further water system damage earlier on.

How Do The Well Pump and Pressure Tank Work

You can think of your pressure tank and well pump like a battery and generator. The pressure tank stores the pressure (battery), and the pump makes the pressure (generator).

Just like a battery-generator relationship, when you don’t have a working pressure tank, the well pump switches on. When the pump begins to cycle on and off quickly, the pressure tank is damaged, and your damage bill could be 3 times more than it needed to be. 

How Long Should My Pressure Tank Last?

Today we’re looking at bladder pressure tanks, the common pressure tank type that reduces pump cycling, protects against water hammer and maintains water pressure within your house.  

There are a few factors that determine how long your bladder pressure tank will last. First, the quality of the pressure tank itself. Cheaper pressure tanks will last 5 years, while high quality pressure tanks could last up to 30 years. If the water is clean and the tank is properly sized it should be lasting an average of 15 years. (We offer minimum 5-year warranty on our tanks).

The longevity of the pressure take also depends on quality of the water being pumped up from the well. If you regularly have sand or rocks in your water, the sediment will rub on the diaphragm in the pressure tank and create a hole.

Cycling is a third variable that could wear down your tank. The pressure tank is designed to limit the cycling of the pump with a layer of air above the water in the tank. When someone in the house turns on a faucet or takes a shower, the amount of air in the tank expands, which reduced air pressure. When the pressure approaches the cycle-on psi (usually around 40 psi), the pump kicks on to refill the tank with water and restore water pressure. If there is frequent or rapid cycling, the bladder in the pressure tank could be damaged.

Troubleshooting Pressure Tank Issues: What To Look For

If you notice any of these signs, contact a professional water well contractor to come check things out.

  • Your pressure is swinging wildly – The needle on the pressure gauge is bouncing back and forth between low set point to high set point (about 20 psi range) over the course of a 20 seconds to 2 minutes. You should also be able to turn on a faucet and see the pressure going down and up. Some pumps are loud and you can hear it coming on and off, some houses it’s silent. If the pump cycles on and off more than once in 30 seconds, this is a sign of a bigger issue.
  • The top of your tank feels cold and full. This could be a sign that something is off. Knock on the top of your pressure tank and it should sound hollow. If it feels full, there is a water pressure problem and the pressure tank might not be functioning properly. (Note: If you slosh the tank around a bit, be careful not go too hard because it could mess with the pipes.)
  • Check the pressure in the water tank. Disconnect electricity to the pump, then drain all the water out of the pressure tank by opening a faucet. Once all the water is gone, the pressure should be 2psi less than cut-in pressure (or the pressure for when the pump turns on). The most common is 38 psi to look for would be, but it could be 48 or 28 depending on what your pressure switch is set at. If you really don’t feel comfortable doing this, call a professional.  
  • Blown diaphragm – If you check the pressure gauge and and it reads less than 10 psi, chances are you have a blown diaphragm. Call a professional to take a closer look.

As always, if you’re uncomfortable checking your pressure tank or you found an issue that requires a professional, give Double R a call.