A bladder pressure tank contains both water and pressurized air and is separated by a flexible membrane, often referred to as the bladder. They are pre-charged with air before being sold by the manufacturer of the water system tank.
Every time there is a change in water pressure, the volume of air inside the tank expands and contracts. You need to occasionally measure the amount of air in the tank, and if there is not enough air then it should be recharged.
Normally, bladder tanks used in homes and small commercial water systems have a small to moderate storage capacity. However, it does not mean their functions are limited. In fact, they are highly capable of performing the following functions:
- Maintain a desired water pressure range in the distribution system.
- Reduce pump cycling and protect the pumps from motor burnout and other damages.
- Protect the tank against water hammer.
So if your bladder tank does not seem to be working properly, you’ll first need to check the air charge of the tank. Here are the steps:
- Switch off or disconnect the electrical power supply to the tank.
- Open the closest faucet to drain the tank.
- Check the pressure of the tank. To do this, place an air pressure gauge on the valve located on top of the tank.
- If the air pressure is below 2 psi below the cut-in pressure, add air.
- But if the pressure is 2 psi above the cut-in pressure, you need to release air.
- Inspect the air charging system if there are any leaks. You can do this by dripping a soap solution in the valve.
- Re-start the pump. If the pressure of the tank drops abnormally, there may be a hole or tear in the tank.
- Check if the bladder tank is water-logged, which means there’s way too much water inside.
What Causes Waterlogging?
There are several causes of waterlogging. Usually, it is because of sediment buildup. Iron, manganese and other sediments can coat the bladder’s surface and make it less flexible. They can also plug the fill and prevent the tank from emptying and filling properly.
If your water has high levels of chlorine, it can eventually damage the bladder and make it brittle. Moreover, tanks that sit directly on the ground can rust because of constant exposure to moisture.
The best you can do is to have the bladder inspected and cleaned to remove sediments. You can also mount your tank in a place that prevents moisture from coming in contact with it so it does not lose its structural integrity.
If your bladder pressure tank issue is too complicated for you to troubleshoot on your own, you are better off letting the pros fix the problem. Doing so will definitely help you save time and prevent unnecessary headaches.