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Old 12-30-2005, 10:13 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Mid Atlantic, USA
Posts: 9,115
"Well-X-Trol" water tank - replace?

I have a 23 year old "Well-X-Trol" water tank that I believe has a flexible bladder inside. This sits in the basement, and my well feeds it. But lately it does not hold a charge. After I empty the water and feed it compressed air to about the low set point of the pump controller, to recharge it, in a few weeks - days maybe even? - it loses its charge and my well pump cycles on and off every few seconds as I use water.

I think this means the bladder has a leak in it, and the entire tank needs replacing.

Right?

Also, I can't see how to disconnect it without unsoldering the copper pipes that anchor it in place. Is there some kind of fitting hiding under it? Or is it just the cast brass manifold with about 6 or so tapped ports for the inlet, tank, outlet, controller, gage, etc?

Thanks!
Old 12-30-2005, 12:43 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 3,323
Look, I know next to nothing about well tanks but when my well tank was acting like that ( the cycling on and off every few seconds) my plumber replaced the tank. He told me it would cause undue wear and tear on the pump, which is much more expensive to fix or replace than the tank.

I can't help you with the rest of your questions, sorry. I only go in the wellhouse when I absolutely have to.
Old 12-30-2005, 04:56 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Anderson, IN,USA
Posts: 14,741
I'm not a plumber, either, but every bladder tank I ever saw had threads on it. If this one does, replacing it will be easier. Do you have a pressure guage? It could be that you have a bum pressure switch instead. Good luck to you.
Old 12-30-2005, 05:11 PM
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Contractor and owner of house with well, here. At 23 years old, that pup is likely toast. In case you're wondering, the air is compressible-water isn't, and the air charge is stored to maintain a quasi-constant delivery pressure when your well pump isn't running.

You should be able to:
1. shutoff/disconnect power to the well pump/pressure switch
2. loosen a band clamp on the water inlet line
3. valve off house water and undo a union on the outlet side of the pressure tank tee*
4. slide the bad tank with attached tee out where you can work on it
5. undo connections to pressure tank, be they threaded or sweat
6. with new pressure tank, head backwards

*Sometimes the outlet side is not fitted with a union-I install them because it makes for less aggravation when service is needed.

BTW, other causes of rapid pump cycling is a leaking check valve or break in the well lift tube-water runs back into the well, reclosing the pressure switch even if there's no device flow. (Been there-done that )
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Old 12-30-2005, 08:44 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Napier
I think this means the bladder has a leak in it, and the entire tank needs replacing. Right?
Probably. But it might be worth checking to see if you simply have a leak from the air-fill fitting. Dribbling soapy water should tell you.
Old 12-30-2005, 10:22 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Leominster MA
Posts: 5,295
My fathers company installs wells, water pumps, and tanks. A well x trol tank of that age may not have had a bladder to begin with. Older tanks are a cylinder. inside was a rubber float that seperated the water from the air. The newer tanks are more bulbose and have the bladder. In anycase the water and air need to be prevented from touching or the air get absorbed into the water.

If the tank keeps losing air like you say the tank needs to be replaced unless you like adding air daily.

If the tank was installed profesionaly. A nipple threads into the tank that runs to a union. All that is nessesary should be undoing that union. After the Union would be a tee. If the pump is submersable it should be a tank tee that has at least one 1/4" or 1/2" thread on it for the square-D box(pressure switch). If it is a not a submersable pump it may just be a regular T. On either one, one side goes to the pump one side goes to the main.

To change the tank.

Shut off the breaker for the pump.
Connect a hose to the spiggot closest to the tank.
Drain off all the water.
Connect an air compressor to the tank and blow out any remaining water.
Unscrew the union.
Take the tank away put a new tank in its place connect it up

If they failed to put a union in. Cut the copper pipe. Solder a female copper to male thread adapter on so you can use a union in the new instalation.
Old 12-31-2005, 07:43 AM
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Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 18,809
If the bladder has ruptured and you are adding air you should get way more then a few days before your pump is short cycling. 2-3 months is more like it. Perhaps you are not adding enough air. When you add the air do you shut off your pump and let some water out of the system (by opening a tap)? the amount of gallons is the amount of air space you are creating in your tank.

When you have created enough room in the tank (varies depending on the size of the tank) you can add air pressure up to the low cut off point, or a bit more. Turn on the pump and you are good to go for a few months.

This is a temperary measure however, but does buy you some time and takes a lot of wear off your pump.

Also one Q I have is next time I replace my pressure tank I want to relocate it. How far from the T fitting can this be done, and does it have to be at the T fitting? Can a 2nd tank be added further downstream?
Old 12-31-2005, 08:22 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Colorado Rockies.
Posts: 12,524
Copper Union Have you ever sweated copper before? It's really quite easy, but there are some important things to know.
Old 12-31-2005, 11:52 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Leominster MA
Posts: 5,295
Quote:
Originally Posted by kanicbird
Also one Q I have is next time I replace my pressure tank I want to relocate it. How far from the T fitting can this be done, and does it have to be at the T fitting? Can a 2nd tank be added further downstream?
In theory you can locate it anywhere in the pipe lines. Best to keep it on the main(the largest pipe).

You can put any number of pressure tanks on a system. I've installed 3-4 tanks for various public wells and small industrial. It's based on how much room you have and how much money you want to spend. A large tank may be to tall or to wide for a room. If you have space to install one huge tank that is generaly cheaper then installing 3 meduim tanks. If however one tank dies, replacing one smaller tank is cheaper and you still have other tanks to provide water while that one is down.

Size and number of tanks can cause the problem of the pump running to long. A non-submersible pump running for an hour trying to fill hundreds of gallons in tanks is going to burn out. Submersible pumps can take a little more abuse as they are water cooled. If you burn them out they stink to replace because they are at the bottom of your well.
Old 12-31-2005, 12:14 PM
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Join Date: May 1999
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Thanks boytyperanma I would like to put the pressure tank next to my green sand filter in the utility room instead of in the crawlspace where it now is, perahps a 10-15 ft run. I think there is a 3/4 in pipe run from the main to that filter.

Also a side note about refilling the tank with air instructions I gave above- if the tank is totally water logged you will need to add air to it first - and you may have to open a valve somewhere to get that air in through the pressure tank.
Old 12-31-2005, 12:47 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Leominster MA
Posts: 5,295
Quote:
Originally Posted by kanicbird
Thanks boytyperanma I would like to put the pressure tank next to my green sand filter in the utility room instead of in the crawlspace where it now is, perahps a 10-15 ft run. I think there is a 3/4 in pipe run from the main to that filter.

Also a side note about refilling the tank with air instructions I gave above- if the tank is totally water logged you will need to add air to it first - and you may have to open a valve somewhere to get that air in through the pressure tank.
Just make sure you put it inline before the filter putting it in after will cause real problems.
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