Pressure tanks use compressed air to create water pressure. Since wells do not have positive pressure on their own, well tanks a water storage system that also creates pressurized water using air chambers or rubber diaphragms.
Steel well tanks have an air chamber that is separated from the water by a rubber diaphragm. As water flows into the tank, the compressed air bears down on the diaphragm, increasing the pressure within the tank. Composite well tanks have a balloon-shaped air bladder inside the tank which functions in a similar manner. Every well tank is equipped with a pressure switch that actuates the cycling of the pump. When the pressure in the tank reaches the pre-determined cut-off pressure setting, the switch will alert the pump to cease delivering water to the pressure tank.
When you open a kitchen faucet to fill yourself a glass of water or step into a relaxing shower, pressurized water is delivered to the tap or showerhead on demand. The air within the tank propels the water through your home, so you don’t have to deal with poor water flow and low pressure. However, as more and more water exits the tank, the pressure within the tank will start to decrease. When the internal pressure reaches the pre-determined low point (also known as the cut-on point), the pressure gauge senses the drop, alerting the pressure switch that the tank is in need of more water. The switch then kicks the pump back on and recommences water delivery to the tank. This will continue until the tank once again reaches the cut-off point.
Pressure tanks are an integral part of any well system. They ensure that your home always has adequate access to water. However, more importantly, they protect your well pump from short-cycling. Without the presence of a well tank, the pump would turn on and off every time water was demanded. Submersible well pumps are water-cooled. However, if they’re turning on and off frequently, they are generating a lot of electrical current. This will cause heat to build-up within the motor. This additional generation of heat is detrimental to the electric motor. This will ultimately shorten the life cycle of the motor, incurring a premature replacement. Well pumps are costly and complicated to replace, so preventative maintenance on the well pressure tank itself is crucial to preserving your well pump. So, tanks are not only important for maintaining household pressure, they are the buffer between your pump and rapid cycling.
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