Pre-Charged Bladder-Style Tank Troubleshooting


For most tank troubleshooting you will need a good tire pressure gauge, and may need an air compressor.

NOTE:  Many tank problems will require that you check the tank's pre-charge air pressure. In order to set it correctly, you will need to know the settings of the switch that controls your well pump.  These settings are usually printed on a label on the inside of the switch cover.  In particular, you will need to know the turn-on pressure of the switch.  It may be labelled as "cut-in" or "cut-on" pressure.  Your tank's pre-charge will be set 2 psi below that number.  Always check the tank's pre-charge with no water pressure in the system.  Shut off power to the pump. Open any faucet to allow the water to leave the system.  Leave the faucet open while checking the tank.


Possible Cause

Corrective Actions To Check/Try

Tank doesn't hold as much water as its capacity claims.
You're comparing amount of water to the "equivalency rating" pf the tank.
Equivalency rating is the size of a standard air-over-water tank that this tank will do the same job as.  (Example:  A 35 gallon precharged tank will do the same work as an 82 gallon air-over-water standard tank. See manual for data on how your model will actually perform.
The real rating of a pre-charged tank is how many gallons the tank could hold if there was no bladder in it.
Since some room is taken up by air charge, the tank will not actually hold that amount of water in operation. See manual for data on how your model will actually perform.
Pump runs but no water goes into the tank
Tank pre-charge is too high
Adjust tank pre-charge according to instructions above and in owner's manual
Check whether pump is building proper pressure
If pump is not building enough pressure, it cannot force water into the tank to overcome the pre-charge.  Diagnose and repair or replace pump as needed.
If tank is brand new, bladder may be stuck to itself.
Rarely, the bladder won't open properly.  Drop the tank's pre-charge to about 10 psi and run the pump for a few seconds.  If tank starts accepting water, reset tank pre-charge properly and run pump again.
Pressure at the faucet or shower drops to nothing before the pump turns on again
Air charge in your pre-charged bladder tank is incorrect
Air pre-charge in the tank is probably too high. Adjust pre-charge according to instructions above.
Partial blockage at pressure switch inlet is keeping switch from reading proper pressure
Inspect opening at pressure switch that allows pressure in. If a jet pump, this may be a plastic tube.  If switch is connected directly to piping it may be the inlet of the switch itself.  Clean out as needed to clear blockage.
Air is getting into water system (Air spits from faucets, shower, etc.)
If you recently replaced a standard air-over-water tank with a pre-charged bladder tank, and you have a submersible well pump, bleeders in drop pipe are still there.
Bleeders in drop pipe down to pump are allowing water out and air in.  Plug the bleeders.
Pump is drawing well water down low enough that pump is being exposed to air.  (This usually applicable only if you have a submersible well pump)
A) If possible, set the pump deeper (but not so deep that it picks up debris off the bottom)
B) Install an inline "dole valve" that will limit the GPM flow rate of the pump
C)  Replace pump with one that has a lower GPM flow rate
D)  Have well drilled deeper so that it will hold more water, then set pump deeper
Drop pipe down to pump is cracked, split, or otherwise leaking. (This usually applicable only if you have a submersible well pump)
Leaking drop pipe will allow water to leak out of drop pipe and air into it.  Repair or replace drop pipe.
Bladder may have failed allowing tank pre-charge into the bladder
Check tank pre-charge and set properly.  Re-check in a day or two.  If pressure has dropped, bladder may have ruptured.  Replace bladder or tank.
check to see if water expels from pressure valve when center is depressed.  If so, bladder has definitely failed.  Replace bladder or tank.
Tank leaks at bottom
Water pipe is not sealed properly or is loose
Use teflon tape on pipe threads.  If none is used, or not enough, remove pipe and apply more.
Pipe is not tight enough.  It should go in hand tight plus ½ to 1 turn with a wrench.  Then turn on water and check for leaks.  Tighten ¼ turn at a time until leak stops. Be careful not to overtighten to where threads strip or flange breaks.
Pipe is cross-threaded.  Remove pipe, inspect threads for damage, apply teflon tape and reinstall making sure to thread in properly.
Tank flange is loose
Tighten nuts holding flange in place. Tighten them in a criss-cross pattern to 85 inch-pounds of torque.
Tank flange is cracked
Inspect flange for cracks and replace as needed.
Bladder failed prematurely
Air pressure was not maintained properly
Air can leak out of the tank just as it can your car tires.  If this happens, the water pressure can over-expand the bladder to the point where it fails. Tank pre-charge air pressure needs to be checked aand adjusted a MINIMUM of twice a year.  More often is preferable.  Failing to do this allows the water pressure to over-expand the bladder until it bursts.
Bladder became brittle from exposure to chlorine
If it becomes necessary to chlorinate your well, try to pump it clear by opening a valve that is prior to the tank so the chlorine does not enter the tank.  If that is not possible, run lots of water in the house until chlorine can no longer be smelled.  This will prevent chlorinated water from sitting int the tank for a long period of time.
Bladder became hardened from sediment
Sediments such as iron and manganese can collect on the surface of the bladder and cause it to harden.  it loses flexibility and eventually fails.  Solution is to filter those sediments out before the ank, or switch to a standard air-over-water tank.
Water stinks like rotten eggs
Iron bacteria or other anaerobic bacteria is in your water
Anaerobic bacteria can often be found in well water.  It is usually not harmful to hums. It grows in water that is not in contact with air.  Since the water in a pre-charged tank is inside a bladder and not touching air, it can grow inside this type of tank.  It is not a problem with this specific BRAND of tank, just this style of tank (bladder style)
Installing an "aeration tank" before the bladder tank can kill off that bacteria before it enters the bladder tank, preventing the problem.  Switching to a standard air-over-water tank is also an option.
Black slime or particles are getting into my water
See item above about anaerobic bacteria
See item above about anaerobic bacteria
Tank shell has rusted through
If rust seems to be on surface, tank was not protected from excessive moisture
Though the tank is epoxy painted, it does need to be protected from moisture.  Sitting on a wet dirt floor, or installing the tank outside where weather can get to it, can allow any flaw or chip in the paint to start to rust.  It is recommended that the tank be protected from moisture.  Replace tank and protect it from moisture.
If rust seems to have bubbled the paint and is under the paint, then it has rusted through from the inside.
Bladder has ruptured and allowed water to come into contact with the inside of the steel tank.  It has rusted through from within.  Replace tank and take care to check air pressure often.


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