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i have a small pressure tank in my house that is working properly however it has burned out two limiting switches because it has to cycle on so often because of the limited amout of water it holds. i want to upgrade to a larger pressure tank or upgrade to a constant pressure submersable pump. i want to know if its hard or how hard is it to install a presure tank myself. i am pretty good with tools as long as i have good instructions. or should i just leave this task to a plumber.
And got the following answer:
If you are comfortable with hand tools, don't mind getting dirty, have the ability to figure things out, and understand you can be without water for a day it can be fairly easy. You will need the pipe wrenches to remove old piping. New piping may need to be metal or pvc - check codes for your area. Understand how to connect piping especially if you have not done so before. It is not hard but it has to be done properly or you will have leaks. Now, you talk about the pressure tank being too small. Before you pull things apart, understand how older pressure tanks work. Initially they have air in them and you pump water into the tank, compressing the air. Air is slightly water soluble and with time the air has been dissolved into the water and there is little air left to provide the needed pressure storage. It is like you have no pressure tank. I strongly suggest you first shut off the valve between pump and house water. The house water side should include the pressure tank. Turn off the water feed to the water heater because there is no need to drain it (don't forget to open it when you are done or you will get no hot water). Drain water from the house water side and the pressure tank at the lowest drain you have (hopefully you have a basement floor drain). Open a cold water line upstairs (at the highest cold water line in the house) and air will enter here while water drains. Make sure the line has emptied. (Some people accelerate this by adding air pressure to the upstairs open cold water line but that can be risky due to overpressure. Just give it a lot of time - it can take an hour or so). It may be wise to then open the pressure tank and separate it from the line to make sure all water is out. Once done, reassamble loosened plumbing, close the cold water line upstairs, and turn on the water. Then go upstairs and SLIGHTLY open the cold line - a mix of air and water will come through it until the line fills so this is why you don't open it full bore. Once full of water and no air exits, shut it off. Then open all cold lines until they run without any air. Flush all toilets. Open the hot water shut off and then open each hot faucet like you did the cold ones. You have re-entered air in the pressure tank. It may be OK and not need replacement. Also understand how the pressure switch works. Each is slightly different but basically you can adjust the span and the low pressure on setting. Span is the pressure difference between on and off; if you set it at 30 psi it means that the pump goes off when the pressure has risen 30 psi from start point. Low pressure on setting means that when pressure drops to the low pressure set point, say 15 psi, the pump goes on. In my example, if the settings are 30 for span and 15 for on, the pump starts at a low pressure of 15 psi and will run until pressure rises to a 45 psi level (30 + 15). Cycling of the pump may mean that the span setting is too small of a value and this causes cycling. Settings will slip a bit over time BUT often they are adjusted by people who do not understand how it is to work. Many feel 15 psi is too low to start and they raise it to 25 psi to start and becaue you don't want to go over about 45 psi (check codes and pressure tank capabilities on this), they shorten the span from 30 psi to20 psi; others then rais start to 30 psi and span to 15. This is costly and causes cycling. BE VERY CAREFUL with the pressure switch because once you open the cover, the pump electric wires are exposed and if you touch it you can be exposed to lethal voltages; it is better to kill power at circuit breaker first just to be safe. Finally, if you feel a new pressure tank is needed, consider teeing it in to the line that feeds the existing tank if the existing tank is in good shape. If you do this, put in separate shut off valves for each tank in case you need to service them later (you will be overjoyed that you did put in shut offs during install at the future service time). This gives you added pressure storage and further reduces cycling. It costs you little if the current tank is in good shape. If it were me, I would first let air into the tank, second check the pressure switch settings, and then ask myself if I need a new pressure tank and if so, tee it in and use both. I would put a new water pump at the bottom of the list as I believe the above will do the job. Best of luck.