Is Your Well Pressure Tank Water Logged?

The big, (usually blue), metal tank in your basement may not look like much, but it is what controls your well pump. This tank tells the pump when to turn on, how long to run, when to turn off, and is directly responsible for how much pressure you feel when you take your shower!

The tank works by using air pressure and a pressure switch to control your well pump. Follow (this link) to see the step by step process of how this unassuming tank and pressure switch are the “brains” of your entire water operation!

welll pressure tank waterlogged

Inside this tank is a rubber bladder that keeps the water and air separate from each other. If this bladder ruptures, the air and water are allowed to mix together, and the tank becomes “waterlogged.”

How Can I Tell if My Tank Pressure Tank is Water Logged?

There are some common, telltale signs that your pressure tank is waterlogged.

1. When using water, you can hear the repeated “click, click, click” of the pressure switch

Your pressure switch tells your pump when to turn on/off by completing an electrical circuit. There are contacts that are either “open” (not touching) or “closed” (touching). When open, the contacts do not touch one another and no electricity is sent to the pump. When closed, the contacts touch and complete the circuit, sending electricity to the pump and turning it on.

These contacts know when to open/close by sensing a “cut in” pressure and a “cut off” pressure, which is regulated by the amount of air and water inside the pressure tank. When the bladder separating the two is ruptured, and the tank becomes waterlogged, the pressure inside the tank is no longer regulated, and the switch will turn on and off rapidly. When these contacts open and close, they make an audible “Click.” When you hear rapid and repeated clicks, this is a sure indication that pressure switch is quickly turning on and off, which is turning your well pump on and off at the same time.

This is similar to you getting in your car and turning the ignition on and off repeatedly!

pressure tank guage

2. Your water pressure may fluctuate or seem to “pulsate”

Because your water pressure is no longer being properly regulated, when you take a shower you may feel the water pressure jumping around. It will come out strong for a few moments, die out, and then come surging back.

3. The pressure gauge reading will jump around

The pressure gauge on your pressure tank is similar to a fuel gauge in your car. The needle will point somewhere between your cut in and cut out pressure. Typically, this is set somewhere between 40PSI and 60PSI. When you use water the needle should slowly and smoothly move between these settings. If your pressure tank is waterlogged, the pressure inside is no longer being properly regulated, so you will see this needle dance around on the gauge.

4. Your well pump short cycles

The rapid turning on/off of your well pump is called Short Cycling. Just like repeatedly starting your car, then turning it off, this is very bad for the motor inside the pump. The pump can eventually begin to overheat from the constant use, and can burn out, leaving you with no water at all!

5. The pressure tank may be full of water

If the water inside your pressure tank is no longer being contained by the rubber bladder, your tank will fill with water. Pressure tanks are generally 70% filled with air, so when you knock on the tank it should sound hollow and empty. If you knock on the side of the tank and it does not sound hollow and empty that is a good indication that it is waterlogged.

6. Your water quality may degrade inside the home

If you have water treatment equipment that needs to backwash, the fluctuating water pressure can impact if it is properly able to do so. All water treatment equipment needs a certain flow rate to lift the media inside and clean it.
A waterlogged storage tank and short cycling pump can inhibit this flow rate, meaning your water treatment equipment cannot get fully clean, and lead to poor water quality in your home.

Can I Wait to Replace my Pressure Tank?

Don’t Wait! You will damage and burn out your well pump! If you do burn out the pump and install a new one without replacing the waterlogged pressure tank, you will damage and potentially burn the new one out as well. While most pumps come with a one year warranty, if failure is related to a waterlogged pressure tank that warranty will NOT be honored by the manufacturer! If you have water treatment equipment that hasn’t been able to regenerate properly, you may also have to swap out the tanks with fresh media!

A waterlogged pressure tank can cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars if not addressed quickly!

What Does Installation by H2O Equipment Co. Include?

  • Removal and disposal of your old well tank
  • Professionally installed, steel, Challenger brand pressure tank
  • Five year manufacturer’s warranty against all defects on tank
  • All tank components and plumbing of new tank tee, pressure switch, pressure gauge, brass nipple, pressure relief valve, check valve
  • 100 Day warranty on all labor and tank components
  • Calibration of your pressure switch
  • Air pressurization of your tank for proper draw down and cycle time
  • Free amp/ohm test to ensure your well pump is working properly

Learn more about our Challenger Well Tanks