Water pressure is the factor that can make or break a satisfying shower, give you the power to suds up your dishwater or give you a quick rinse of your soapy hands. For municipal water supply, the water pressure is mainly controlled by the city or township, although there are a few internal plumbing issues that can decrease pressure. When you have a well for your home’s water supply, the technology of your pressure tank will give you the pressure through your pipes.
Your well, water pump and pressure tank work together to get the water from the water table to your home. The well pump pulls or pushes — depending on the type of pump — the water from the well, sending it to the pressure tank, which holds the water under pressure until something in your plumbing system is turned on. The pressure tank creates pressure with a portion of its tank filled with compressed air.
When a water valve is opened within your home’s plumbing, the tank pushes out the water through the piping and then only fills up again when the pressure in the tank falls below a specific pressure rating. By having the pressure tank hold a significant amount of water, there is less wear and tear on the well pump because it doesn’t have to cycle on and off as often. Since well pumps are a bit more work to repair and replace, the pressure tank, specifically the right size of pressure tank, is an important component to a well water system.
How Water Pressure Tanks Work
Once the water is in the pressure tank, how does it know when to get more? By the hard-working pressure switch. When the tank pushes out enough water to trigger the pressure switch, it then allows more water in from the well pump. The tank is refilled to its maximum capacity, measured by the pressure gauge on the tank, and then it shuts off again. The pressure switches are set to a 20-psi range of the starting and stopping pressures. So if a pressure switch is set for 40 to 60 psi, when enough water is drained from the tank to reduce pressure to 40 psi, the pressure tank will turn on to collect water from the well through the water pump and turn off when the pressure in the tank reaches 60 psi.
Having the correct size of pressure tank for your house is important to the long life of your water pump and pressure tank. Most manufacturers provide a handy chart to size the right tank for your home, but getting a new pressure tank is one of those installations that’s best left to a professional who will know just the right tank for your home and ensure everything is connected properly.
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