We have a deep well with a tank in the garage. If the water is
running, the pump runs for about 1 second then cuts off for about 2
seconds, and repeats. Is this normal?
Recently it seems that if any water is running, the pressure elsewhere
is a lot lower than it used to be.
Is there a problem with the water system, and can we fix it?
It sounds like your tank is water logged. You need an air head at the top of
the tank, this air compresses and evens out the pressure as the on/off
cycles through. One solution is to drain the tank then pump up the tank to
20-30 pounds, then turn the water pump back on and see if this solves it.
Another thing to consider is a holding tank with a bladder then this
Good luck, Rich
scratch that. . . if they make bladder tanks that big it would cost him a
fortune. just drain your tank then restart the pump and see what happens. that
should remedy the on & off problem. may also fix the low pressure if not,
there is a pressure switch on the tank w/ a guage, under the cover of the sw,
there are 2 adjusting screws, 1 increases the CUT IN & CUT OUT PRESSURE &
#2 ONLY ADJUSTS CUT OFF . there will be a diagram under the cover w/
On 09 Nov 2004 00:49:00 GMT, email@example.com
OK, it looks like the only way to drain the tank is to open a valve at
the top of the tank which is similar to a tire stem and open a faucet
out at the pump. I've got that going.
(dumb) Question: do I put the valve back in and close it off before I
turn the pump back on, or should I fill the tank with water and then
put the valve back in?
Once the tank is emptied, put all the fittings back in and sealed properly
with some thread compound and then, as already suggested, turn the pump back
on and let the tank refill. The system should put some water into the tank
along with a volume of air. Some say about half air and half water, and
sometimes 2/3 water and 1/3 air. The air should be at the top. Usually you
can tell by the sweat level on the outside of the tank. See that the sweat
is about halfway up the tank when the pump has shut off. If this doesn't
happen, then redrain the tank and use the other suggestion of putting some
air pressure into the tank, 20 to 30 pounds was suggested, and then turn the
pump back on again and fill the tank until the pump shuts off. Then check
the sweat level again. There has to be a volume of air in the top of the
tank for the system to work properly. As already noted, your system has
become waterlogged -- that is, the tank is full of water and no air pocket.
Thanks, it is working now. When it was cycling every 2 or 3 seconds,
the pressure gauge was dropping very low very quickly and then going
back up very quickly when the pump kicked on. The needle was bouncing
around like mad. Now it cuts on when it gets down to 42 PSI and cuts
off at about 56 PSI, and it moves gradually and takes several seconds
to do it. I assume that 42/56 PSI settings are OK.
Tanks :-) to everyone who replied. You're the greatest!
Moment read the OP, thought of loss of the air cushion in the system. i.e.
System was waterlogged.
Don't know about yours but I remember some pumps (this was mainly on shallow
well systems) that had a "Snifter Valve"; the purpose of which was to sniff
in a little bit of air every time the pump ran to maintain the air reserve
which is absolutely essential.
Never had a system with a bladder inside the tank but understand if that
ruptures it can also be a problem.
Typical settings here for domestic were cut in at 20 lbs. cut out at 40lbs.
The pressure switch that runs the pump usually being adjustable. To find out
how read the instructions or figure it out from the switch which may be
Never heard of that, and it sounds not only dumb but pointless, here is why. .
. if you have a tank (no bladder ) 1/2 full w/ water and trapped (compressed )
air on top and your water outlet is on the bottom of the tank , HOW CAN THE AIR
ESCAPE ? ? SOOOO WHY WOULD THEY NEED TO PUT A SPHINCTER VALVE ON ? ? ?
firstname.lastname@example.org (Playintennis5274) wrote in message
If you are going to give advice, at least know what you are talking
about. The snifter valve is a common, nay mandatory, part in any
non-bladder tank set up. How does the air disappear?? It is absorbed
a bit at a time into the water.
Now that you have had a batch of wrong, not to say bad, information,
here is the correct way.
1. You have a bladder tank as shown by the 'tire valve' on the top.
The bladder has burst thus loosing your air bubble.
2. Proper way to drain and pre-charge the tank.
a. Shut pump off.
b. Open drain valve
c. Open a faucet somewhere in the system to allow air into the
d. When empty close all open valves.
e. Pump air into the tank until you have about 2 PSI -BELOW- the
cut-in pressure, i.e., if pump starts at 30psi, you want 27-28 psi in
f. Restart pump.
g. Go around and open all faucets to release trapped air in the
You really should replace the tank - they aren't that expensive.
There will be stagnant water trapped by the blown bladder that could
be mixing with your supply.
On Tue, 09 Nov 2004 16:17:40 GMT, email@example.com (Doug Miller)
I just repeated the process (in daylight this time) except that I
pumped air into the tank. I was only able to get 11 PSI in the tank
before putting water back in, but that should be better than what I
did last night, and it will hold until we can do something about the
tank. Of course, putting water back in compresses the air in the
tank, and now it is at 44 PSI. The pump cuts on at 42 PSI and off at
57-58 PSI. Are those pressures OK?
That depends. When you open a faucet, does the pressure drop to 42 psi,
causing the pump to kick on? Or is 44 psi as low as it gets?
If 44 psi is as low as it gets, you need to either (a) let some air out of the
tank, or (b) raise the cut-on setting to 45 or 46 psi. Otherwise, with the
cut-on pressure set below the minimum pressure in the tank, the pump won't
ever come on.
Or if you're asking if on at 42 / off at 58 is an OK combination of settings,
sure. As long as you're happy with it. The "proper" on/off settings are a
function of the capability of the pump, and your personal preference.
On Tue, 09 Nov 2004 18:40:39 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Doug Miller)
I should have been clearer. I'm using the inline gauge for the water
pressure and a tire gauge for the air pressure. They may be a little
When the tank was empty (or almost), I closed all of the valves.
There is one between the tank and the house but not between the tank
and the pump. I put my tire pump on it and got it up to 11 PSI. Then
I turned on the pump. Then the air pressure of the air at the top was
44 PSI. The pump cuts on when the water pressure gets down to 42 PSI
and cuts off at 57-58 PSI.
Since then, I've looked at the air pressure as the water is used until
the pump cuts on. The air pressure was 46PSI (was 44 before) and
dropped to 41-42, while the water pressure dropped to 42 PSI and the
pump cut on.
1. A standard setting on/off is 20psi difference. 20/40 (not
common), 30/50 (very common), 40/60 which you have and is also common.
60 psi is generally regarded as the maximum recommended pressure for
residences as higher pressures causes undue wear and tear on fixturs.
2. I don't understand why you could only get 11 psi in the empty
tank. It will operate on that amount but the pump run time will be
far off of optimum, running for shorter times and starting oftener.
Starting is the hardest on the pump. The pump pre-charge just
adjusts the system for best run time.
3. The guage reading you are getting are within the tolerances of
whatever you are using. Best to use only one guage and adjust
everything with it.
I don't want to fly on false colors here. I learned this as a shade
tree operation when I became the default maintenance man on our
Definitely not an expert.
On 9 Nov 2004 18:49:28 -0800, email@example.com (Harry K) wrote:
Things seem to be working OK, except that the pressure for the shower
is very low - even though the gauge goes from 42 to 56/57 PSI.
Basically because I gave up! It took me 10 minutes to get to 11 PSI
(with the tank essentially empty), and the going was getting slower.
Since the bladder is gone and there is no valve between the tank and
the pump, I assume that I was having to pressurize a fairly big
With water in the tank, the air pressure is 46 PSI. I suppose it
should be higher, right?
Well, one gauge is in the water line and the other is my tire pressure
gauge, so there is no easy way for me to do that.
Replying to the previous two posts:
Your pressures with water in the tank are correct. The pressure
switch doesn't care a wit what your pre-charge is, it turns on and off
when the tank reaches the settings. Yes, it is a common
misunderstanding about the pre-charge, i.e., if I have 11 psi empty
and pump shuts off at a 60 psi setting shouldn't I have 71 psi on the
Re the low pressure in the shower: Not tank related I don't think.
Sounds like you have a blockage in pipes or the fixtures. I suspect a
partially clogged shower head. Not unusual for debris to be dislodged
when working on a water system. Usually the debris will clog an
aerator nozzle or shower head if not both.
Pre-charge can only be set with the pump off and the tank empty to get
it right. Then set for 2 psi below cut-in. You are probably right
that you are trying pressurize the entire plumbing system. It might
help if you have a whole house shut off valve in the system, probably
on the tank outlet, shut that before pressurizing. The pipes from the
tank to the pump SHOULD be full of water so no shut off is needed. I
say "should" because wierd conditions do exist.
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