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Why Does My Well Pressure Tank Feel Empty

If you notice well-pump pressure tank issues, it is time to start investigating. There are many reasons why well pumps can stop working correctly, but the most common culprit is a well pressure tank that needs filling up with water. With all of the different well pressure tanks on the market today, it can be challenging to determine which one will work best for your home. This blog post will help you decide which type of well pump pressure tank you should purchase and how to install it if needed.

The average modern home well is a fantastic resource that may provide excellent water for many years with little maintenance. The majority of wells can run for many years without needing to be serviced.

However, it is not uncommon for homeowners to be unaware that their water well requires servicing or periodic maintenance until too late. “I have bad pressure tank symptoms. How can I remedy this?” is a common inquiry we hear about well water difficulties. “Why is the water in my well sputtering? I’m having problems troubleshooting a well pressure tank.”  If you have well pump pressure tank issues, it is time to start investigating. There are many reasons why well pumps can stop working properly, but the most common culprit is a well pressure tank that needs filling up with water.

It is important to understand the different types of well tanks on the market today before purchasing. Bladder tanks and diaphragm tanks are two popular well pump pressure tanks. Bladder tanks have an inner rubber bladder that collapses as the water level drops below the cut-in point. This causes the inlet valve to close, which stops any more water from entering the tank and keeps what’s left in the pipe going to your home.

The good news is that there are several telltale signals to look for that will alert you to problems with your water well or well pressure tank. Troubleshooting water well difficulties can be made in a few simple steps.

We see it all the time: the pressure tank breaks down, leaving the homeowner with erratic water pressure or no water at all. What could be going on, and should you contact a water well expert? Problems with pressure tanks can be difficult to resolve, and the pressure tank is frequently required to be replaced. Knowing the indicators of pressure tank problems can help you prevent future water system damage, whether you’re a homeowner or a renter on a well system.

What is the Function of the Well Pump and Pressure Tank?

Your pressure tank and well pump can be compared to a battery and a generator. The pressure is stored in the pressure tank (battery), and the pump (generator) creates the pressure.

The well pump turns on when you don’t have a working pressure tank, just like a battery-generator relationship. The pressure tank is broken when the pump starts cycling on and off quickly, and your repair expense could be three times what it should be.

What is the expected lifespan of my pressure tank?

The popular pressure tank type that lowers pump cycling, protects against water hammers, and maintains water pressure within your home is bladder pressure tanks.

A few factors determine the lifespan of your bladder pressure tank. The first consideration is the pressure tank’s overall quality. Less expensive pressure tanks will last five years, whereas high-quality pressure tanks can last up to 30 years. If the water is clean and the tank is suitably sized, the tank should endure for 15 years on average. (Our tanks come with a minimum 5-year warranty.)

The quality of the water pumped up from the well also affects the pressure take’s longevity. If you frequently have sand or rocks in your water, the sediment will rub against the diaphragm in the pressure tank, causing a hole.

Cycling is a third factor that can deplete your tank. With a layer of air above the water in the tank, the pressure tank is meant to minimize the pump’s cycling. The volume of air in the tank expands when someone in the house turns on a faucet or takes a shower, decreasing air pressure. The pump kicks on when the pressure reaches the cycle-on psi (typically approximately 40 psi) and restores water pressure. The bladder in the pressure tank could be damaged if it is cycled frequently or quickly. 

The lifespan of a well pressure tank is greatly affected by how well it is taken care of. If you keep an eye on your system and watch for the signs of problems, you can head off many potential issues before they become costly repairs.

Problems with well pumps are difficult to resolve, and the pressure tank is frequently required to be replaced. Knowing the indicators of pressure tank problems can help you prevent future water system damage, whether you’re a homeowner or a renter on a well system.

What To Look For When Troubleshooting Pressure Tank Issues

If you detect any of these symptoms, you should have a professional water well contractor inspect the situation.

Your pressure fluctuates erratically – Over 20 seconds to 2 minutes, the needle on the pressure gauge bounces back and forth between low and high set points (around 20 psi range). You should be able to turn on a faucet and see the pressure change as you turn it on and off. Some pumps are noisy and may be heard turning on and off, while others are very silent. There’s a problem if the pump turns on and off more than once every 30 seconds.

Your tank’s top feels cold and full. This could indicate that things aren’t quite right. It should sound hollow if you knock on the top of your pressure tank. If it seems full, there is an issue with the water pressure, and the pressure tank may not be working properly. (Note: If you swirl the tank about a bit, don’t slosh it too hard or the pipes will be damaged.)

Check the water tank’s pressure. Disconnect the pump’s power, then open a tap to drain all the pressure tank water. When all of the water has been removed, the pressure should be two psi lower than the cut-in pressure (or the pressure for when the pump turns on). The most frequent pressure to look for is 38 psi. However, it might also be 48 or 28 psi depending on your pressure switch settings. Get an expert if you’re not sure you can do it yourself.

Blown diaphragm – If the pressure gauge reads less than ten psi, you’ve probably got a blown diaphragm. To get a better look, contact a professional.

The Warning Signs That Well Pressure Tank Feel Empty

  •         The pressure is set to a modest level.

The pressure in your pressure tank progressively decreases as you use water in your home until it approaches the cut-in pressure, indicating that it needs to be refilled. The cut-in pressure is when your pump begins to operate, which is normally 30/40 psi and occasionally 50 psi. The tank will feel empty if the pressure switch is not set to activate the well pump that will supply water.

  •         Water pressure regulator or faulty pressure switch

The pressure switch is a component of the pressure tank that signals the pump to start pumping water once the cut-in pressure is reached. If the pressure switch fails, water will not be delivered to the pressure tank on time. You may be perplexed as to why the pressure tank feels empty yet shows high pressure, exactly or over the cut-out pressure, when checking the water pressure gauge at the bottom and gently shaking.

  •         A defective well pump or a loss of electrical power to the pump

Your pressure switch may be in excellent working order, but your pump is the source of the problem. Because the well pump cannot work without power, if the connection or wiring to the pump is damaged, overheated, or burned, and the stored pressured water is drained, your pressure tank will feel empty because the pump will be unable to supply water. Similarly, if the well pump fails due to age or damaged parts, it will not function effectively and will not provide water to the pressure tank.

  •         The well has a problem.

A technician is frequently used to diagnose this. Because water is pumped directly from the well, an empty pressure tank could indicate a problem with the plumbing, electrical current consumption, water content (dry or frozen due to weather conditions), and/or silt content.

If this is the case, you will typically hear the pump running and notice some energy use, but the efficiency will be poor. And this could lead to the pressure tank feeling empty more frequently. Only when you’ve purposely drained all the water from your pressure tank to test the air charge and the tank should it feel empty. There should be no water splashing sounds, and it should be light enough for you to jiggle lightly.

Keep in mind that the pressure tank in your well should not be full. This indicates that it is flooded and devoid of air charge. As a result, the pressure lowers quickly when you consume water, and the well pump is compelled to run more frequently than it should. If this occurs, you should have your tank repaired or replaced entirely.

Your water pressure tank may appear to be empty when it isn’t; a 20-gallon tank usually is “full” when it contains 5 gallons of water and air in the remaining space. This is influenced by the tank’s size and your physical strength. The most straightforward approach to getting a rough or slightly accurate concept of what “empty” means for your pressure tank is to know how it feels when it’s working properly and after being drained out for a maintenance check. Even if it appears or sounds normal, you’ll be able to tell whether there’s a need to be concerned.

For various reasons, your well water pressure tank may appear to be empty. Identifying the source of that emptiness will help you decide what to do next. This article has shown you how to examine the general health of your pressure tank in a few simple steps.

If you’re still unsure how to proceed after these tests or checks, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance. Call us at Well Doctor LLC!

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