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Understanding Water logged Pressure Tanks

Water Pressure Tank
The majority of modern well systems utilize a component known as the pressure tank. The pressure tank acts as an in-home storage vessel for water that your pump brings up from the well. Moreover, the pressure tank ensures that the water pressure within your home remains within an acceptable range, while minimizing the amount of time your pump has to run.

Most well systems utilize either a diaphragm or a bladder pressure tank. Both of these tank styles use a fixed air supply to ensure consistent pressure. The air and the water remain separated by an internal rubber divider - either a flat diaphragm that stretches across the tank, or a balloon-like bladder into which water flows.

Both of these types of pressure tanks may experience a serious problem known as waterlogging, which can seriously affect the performance of your home's water supply and potentially damage your pump. This article will take a closer look at the nature of pressure tanks, the problem of waterlogging, and some common causes and symptoms.

Pressure Tanks

Both diaphragm and bladder tanks capitalize on a key physical characteristic of air. Simply put, air can be compressed, whereas water cannot. In other words, as your pump fills the pressure tank, the expanding water volume presses against the rubber, forcing the air into a tighter and tighter space.

The air's compression helps to promote even water pressure within your home. Once enough water has drained from the tank, and the pressure has dropped below an acceptable threshold, a trigger turns the pump back on and the cycle repeats. Consistency and capacity represent the two greatest advantages of a well-working diaphragm or bladder tank.


Waterlogging happens when the rubber separating the air and the water halves of the tank becomes torn, punctured, or otherwise damaged. Such damage allows water to enter the air portion of the tank. Eventually, all of the tank's air will be forced out and the tank will contain completely water.

This creates two key problems. First of all, your home's water pressure will suffer, rapidly tailing off when you leave a fixture on for more than a minute or two. As the tank pressure quickly plummets, the pump will be forced to come back on. But water isn't compressible in the same way as air. As a result, the tank's pressure will reach its upper threshold much more quickly.

Once the upper threshold has been reached, the pump turns off. Yet without air in the tank, the pressure will soon drop and the pump will have to come on again. This phenomenon, known as short cycling, puts an incredible amount of strain on your well pump. In time, it will cause the pump to overheat and potentially burn out.


By now you can probably already guess two of the most common symptoms of waterlogging: poor water pressure and a pump that turns on and off far too quickly. In addition, you may begin to notice that your water tastes or smells less fresh than usual. The short cycle times of a waterlogged pressure tank cause it to retain a large proportion of stagnant water, which soon develops unsavory characteristics.

Causes and Symptoms

Most waterlogging occurs as the result of a rubber diaphragm or bladder that has simply reached the end of its lifespan. Mineral substances such as manganese and iron will gradually build up on the rubber, causing it to harden and grow brittle. Likewise, chlorine and other chemicals may have a negative effect on the flexibility of the rubber.

In almost every case, the answer to a waterlogged pressure tank involves having the rubber sections replaced by a trained professional. For more information about this vital well system maintenance task, please contact the pros at Loverin Pump and Drilling.


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