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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    The wet side of Oregon
    Posts
    6

    Default Replacing Pressure tank on Well system

    The time's come to replace the old (bladder type) pressure tank on our well water supply system. I've sized the new tank according to the flow rate from our (submersible pump) well and the manufacturer's suggestions. Our house plumbing is copper.

    When I looked at the old installtion, I noted that the pump discharge line went straight to the cold water shutoff for the house, with a tee on the supply slide going to the pressure tank (about 6 feet away). The copper line off the tee enters a common 1" galvanized tee which sprouts the pressure switch and then a reducer which matches the 1 1/4" tank outlet. There is neither a tank drain hose bib, nor a pressure relief valve on the system, nor a shutoff valve on the pump discharge side.

    My initial feeling is that this does not conform to code and was probably a "homeowner's special" installation.

    Would it be prudent to change this setup by using a standard brass tank tee (with pressure switch, drain valve and pressure relief valve and pressure gauge) and breaking the supply line before the cold water shutoff to put the pump discharge with a shutoff valve on one side and the house cold-water feed on the other?

    If so, does code require flex lines between the tank tee and the remainder of the system? Should the tank be strapped to the structure (earthquake safety) the same way my water heater is?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,558

    Default Re: Replacing Pressure tank on Well system

    I would never install a bladder tank without the brass tank tee, pressure gauge, etc. Not being in earth quake area I can't answer you question on strapping and need for flex coupling. I would take the pump discharge to the tee and from the tee to the cold water shutoff.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,361

    Default Re: Replacing Pressure tank on Well system

    I'd like to add just one thing to JLMCDANIEL's comment: don't mix galvanized and copper pipe/fittings UNLESS you have a dielectric coupling or plastic pipe between.

    When there is a metal-to-metal (that is, an electrically conductive path) between dissimilar metals, you risk electrolytic corrosion. This can cause leaks in very short order. If they must be joined, there needs to be electrical insulation between.

    To someone who is not a plumber, chemist, or physicist, it doesn't seem to make sense. But look at it this way: when you have dissimilar metals in the same solution (especially if your water is not pH neutral), you have essentially created a battery. Normally it is stable, but when you have an electrical connection between the two metals, current will begin to flow across this connection. This also causes one metal to begin dissolving and end up deposited on the other metal. In fact, one of the methods of copper plating another metal object is to suspend the object and a copper electrode in an acid bath and apply a power source to each piece. The copper will dissolve and be deposited on the object!

    Note that it is considered acceptable to connect brass or bronze to copper, and to connect brass or bronze to steel, but in no way should copper and steel ever be joined.

    I guess I got a little off topic.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    The wet side of Oregon
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Replacing Pressure tank on Well system

    Thanks for the responses. Looks like I've got a little more plumbing to do that I'd hoped for.

    I've got a nice brass tank tee with an O-ring gasketed union where it attaches to the tank outlet, which should make future tank changes easier. I'm going to make the connections to the tee with flex, as it will give me a bit of leeway in positioning the tank if I need it or if the slab that the tank's on should settle.

    The use of galvanized-to-copper without a dielectric union surprised me too and led me to suspect the "homeowner's special" job.

    Sigh. Nothing is ever as simple as you anticipate, is it?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    The wet side of Oregon
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Replacing Pressure tank on Well system

    Just a followup on this one.

    I got another good strong friend and after draining, we found that we couldn't budge the old 50 gallon bladder tank. I grabbed my sawzall and a metal cutting blade and cut a hole in the top. Darned thing was full of muck and rust. Got most of the crud out by siphoning with a garden hose. Empty, it was only about 90 lbs.

    As the tank had no drain valve, that shows what happens after 28 years of no cleaning. ***. We were drinking that stuff.

    The new tank's a fiberglass body diaphragm tank. It works just fine--and I can drain it when I drain the water heater every six months.

    Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,558

    Default Re: Replacing Pressure tank on Well system

    Just remember to shut the pump off and let it set for a little while before you drain it. That lets any sediment settle and you'll be draining the tank rather than just emptying the output of the pump.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

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