Does a well pressure switch need to be on the tank?

I have always seen pressure switches for well pumps mounted on the pressure tank. I just visited a friend who bought an old farm. The place needs some work, but it's not too bad for what he paid. However he wants to modify the well system.
Currently there is a small shed near the barn, and the well is inside of that shed along with the pressure tank. The pump is a submercible pump in the well. The former owner used to heat that shed in the winter, and there's a LP furnace and tank there. My friend said he dont want to have to pay for LP to heat that shed, and I can understand this.
What he wants to do is move the pressure tank in the house in the heated basement. This will only leave a small section of pipe in that shed to keep from freezing, which he plans to use electric heat tape. This all makes sense and I know the tank can be placed anywhere in the system. But here's the catch. The power to the well pump is coming from the barn near the shed, not from the house. This means he would have to dig a trench from the house to the shed to bury a wire, and supply the pump power from the house, not the barn anymore. The house is at least 150 feet from the pump shed, whereas the barn is only 20 feet away. So, if he puts the pressure switch on the tank in the basement, he will have to buy all this wire, and dig a long trench, and worst yet, go under a concrete driveway. In other words, a costly and tedious job.
Then I got thinking about this. Does the pressure switch really need to be mounted on the tank? Why cant he just install it into a tee in that pipe in the pump shed. It seems to me that the pressure would kick the switch on and off regardless where it's placed in the water system. He oculd move his tank to the basement and install a tee in the pipe, and not need any extra wiring, tranching, or any of that.
WILL THIS WORK?
Thanks
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 6/8/11 1:39 AM, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

Some cut.

I recently replaced the jet pump at our farm. The pressure switch was mounted right on the pump straight from the factory. The previous pump also had the switch mounted directly on it. Your friend might have to adjust the pressure switch a little higher due to pressure drop. The pressure will be higher right at the pump of course.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 08 Jun 2011 05:52:35 -0500, Dean Hoffman wrote:

Yep, we have exactly the same setup at our place, although the tank's quite close too (the tank and pump are in the house basement with about 3' of pipe between them, then the feed/return pipes from the pump run from the house for about 25' to the well-head).
OP: is the pump/tank mounted at ground-level in the shed, or below? There's an old well-house on our property too, but inside is a wide (about 3'x3') shaft which goes down around 20', and the pump - and tank I assume - were once at the bottom of that. Even in the MN winters up here, with an insulated cover I think it'd all stay above freezing at that level, with no need for heating at all.
Another option might be to box-in the external pump and tank with lots of insulation, and put a couple of thermostat-controlled incandescent bulbs in there. The pump will generate a little heat all by itself, so the lights shouldn't run all the time.
cheers
Jules
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 8 Jun 2011 13:05:07 +0000 (UTC), Jules Richardson

I have not seen one of those jet pumps in years. They only work on wells no deeper than (I think) it's 50 feet. Where I live, the wells are all 300 ft or more. But yes, I do recall the jet pumps having the pressure switches right on them.

Yep, it's all at ground level. What you're describing is what I have on my well. I have the tank and pressure switch in a 15 foot deep pit. It was originally a cistern. The well is 5 feet away from this pit. It works just fine, except the old wiring went bad and there was no way possible to bust thru that thick walls on that cistern. They are like 2 ft. thick. I finally went and put pvc conduit right into the access panel and fitted the lid around it. But I never have to worry about anything freezing in mine. On the other hand I did have to put a sump pump in it, because during real rainy weather it will get water in the bottom. Once the tank sprung a leak and the wiring went under water and finally tripped the breaker, which is what alerted me that there was a problem. Of course this was in the middle of winter. What a pain in the ass getting a new tank down a ladder with frozen fingers. Once I got down there, it was not too cold.

In my original post, I said his pump is a submercible (in the well). But he could probably build a insulated box around the tank, but all of that will require more electric power and trouble. Heat tape is pretty easy on the wallet and easy to install on pipes.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 09 Jun 2011 05:51:16 -0500, jw wrote:

Our well is 80' I think, although there's something in the manual about different setups (possibly at the foot, I don't recall) between shallow and deep wells. From memory, our pump was built in the mid-70s, but the motor's newer (mid 80s, when that well was drilled). Despite the age, it all works, although flow rate isn't that great (it's a 2" pipe, too, where I think 4" is typical these days?).

:-) Ours had the well-head right in the pit. It gets damp at the bottom, but I've never seen standing water - it's quite sandy soil here, so I think it drains quickly. Like you say, very thick walls. I keep thinking about filling it in, but at the same time it'd make a neat little tornado shelter. I'm guessing our mid-70s pump used to be in that pit and they just moved it to the house basement when they put the current well in.

D'oh - well (ahem) spotted :-)

I suppose it depends how much it'd cost in propane to heat the entire shed. We find that a 250W heat lamp is enough to stop our dogs from icing up in the back porch at night (which is around an 8x8x8' cube). Electric's about 8c/kWH here, so 8 hours a night ends up being around $5 for the winter months. In a small box around just the tank, the OP probably wouldn't need any more than 40W, so that'd be $2.30 a month just to leave it on 24x7. It's more than nothing, but I don't think it's much against other costs such as house heating, water heating etc.
Of course the problem is in detecting that a bulb's failed before the tank freezes (or in our case, the dogs). I've not found a good solution to that yet, other than replacing the bulb long before the manufacturer's rated hours are hit :-(
cheers
Jules
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Jun 9, 7:44am, Jules Richardson

What about 2 smaller bulbs? Also you can build a current monitor that will sense the absence of current flow when the bulb goes/burns out, or maybe a light pipe up and out to a point where you can see it from the house and look to see if it is lighted.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jules Richardson wrote:

4" pump housing dia is normal for residential submersible well pumps and they are typically installed down 6" well casings. 2" is common for the pipes from the pumps.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Jun 8, 2:39am, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

You can do that. You might need to set the pressure switch slightly higher. The pressure at the tank may be a little bit lower than the pressure at the pump when the pump is running. Your friend will probably want a gauge at the tank anyway.
It's not an issue for rmost people because the power to the pump usually comes from the house anyway. I suspect your friend has other electrical stuff at the shed or barn.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 8 Jun 2011 07:35:34 -0700 (PDT), jamesgangnc

The Barn is on the same meter, but has a different breaker panel. Typical farm wiring. The problem is that for the pressure switch to send the switched power to the pump would require that long length of wire from the house and all the digging to install it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Jun 9, 6:32am, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

That's what I figured. On new installs they run the wire the same time they run the pipe. But again that's your typical residential setup. He should be fine just moving the tank.
You didn't say where you were but he may be able to just cover the pump head with one of those foam covers. Ground heat is pretty constant if you can trap a little of it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.