Your well pressure tank may malfunction for any number of reasons. It may be due to low water or air pressure, faulty pipe lines, a weak bladder tank or other components that may wear out. Here are some of the areas you can test:
Testing the water pressure:
Your water pump forces water into the well where it goes into the valve inside the well. It then draws the water back into the taps inside your house. There are times when the water pressure may be too low and little water flows into the taps. To test the water pressure, start by giving the tank a slight shake on either side. If the tank is heavy it will hardly move. However, an almost empty tank will move quite easily.
If the tank is empty it may mean the pump is short-cycling or it may need priming. Also, if you notice the water is running but not reaching the taps, the pump may be losing prime.
- Switch the pump off and try priming the pump to get it running normally.
There are three types of water pumps:
One-line jet pumps
Two-line jet pumps
- One and two- line pumps mean there’s wither one or two pipes running into the well.
- One-line pumps normally run into shallow wells and two-line pumps into deeper wells.
- Submersible pumps are self-priming pumps that are situated inside the well itself.
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Testing the pump prime:
If the pump constantly loses prime it may mean
- a) A faulty foot or check-valve inside the well causing the water to flow back out of the pump when it shuts off.
- b) A leak in the well piping which causes the pump prime to malfunction
Testing the valves:
- Checking the valves will help prevent the water from flowing back or the loss of pump prime.
- Check-valves may either be installed above-ground or built into the well pump itself. They help hold the pressure in place in the event the pump stops.
- Foot valves are mounted inside the well close to the bottom. If there’s a leak inside:
- Open the wall and pull out the valve and the well line to see what’s happening inside the well line.
- If the check-valve is faulty, replace it or buy a new pipe assembly to avoid any further issues.
- Similarly, if the check-valve inside the submersible pump is faulty, replace it.
Testing the jet pumps:
Test the pump motor. If the water is not getting into the tap but the pump is running, the pump may need re-priming.
- Switch off the pump from the power source.
- Drain the water from the pipes.
- Look for a building close by where you can get running water and connect a garden hose to the building.
- Locate a garden hose connection near your house close to the prime that needs priming. Make sure it’s long enough to reach from one building to the connections on the other building.
- Open the valve on the host building and switch the water on. As the air begins to escape the pipe lines, the water will begin to flow. Shut off the faucet at this stage.
- When you hear the water going into the pump in your house cheek how much water goes into the tank. If the pressure is low, the pressure gauge will hardly move.
- When the water stops coming through from the nearby building, shut the spigot off to seal off the connector between the two buildings.
- Switch the power supply on at the nearby building. It may take some time for the pump to kick in.
Test the pump:
Switch the water on to see how the pump is working in your house by the pipe fixture. If the pipe is fully primed, you’ll hear when the pump kicks in. As soon as the pump goes on, switch the running water off and listen for when the cut-in pressure reaches the correct level. If the pump goes off by itself at the end or the pumping cycle, the pump is fully primed.
Flush the line:
Let the water run for a few minutes to flush the plumbing system and release any bacteria or sediment that may be in the pipe line. Check the pressure gauge to see whether the pressure returns to the normal setting. If it’s not running normally, the pump priming did not work or the water tank may not be filling up properly.
It’s important to keep your well pressure tank in good working order. Test the tank regularly to see the water and air levels to avoid flow-back in the pipe lines. Regular maintenance checks and testing the various areas will help minimize disruptions to the water supply in your house.
Test as many areas as possible to expose critical areas that you can fix early to avoid future breakdowns.