Fixing pump/pressure tank system for well- best way?

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zannej

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My house uses well water from a crappy system in a metal shed.

Inside the shed we have a 2-wheeled belt-driven piston pump that creates air pressure inside some pipes going to the top of the cistern to pull water up into the cistern.
A float connected to a rod that goes up and down hits the arm of a D-switch that tells the pump when to shut on or off. The switch is on top of the cistern's lid and the rod goes through a hole. It's not a perfect system, but it's the only one the well installer/maintenance guy knows how to do.

Near the bottom of the cistern there is a 1-1/4" outlet with a 1-1/4" x 3/4" PVC reducer coming out. It then has another reducer to take it back to 1-1/4". I had wanted to have a foot valve put in & eliminate that reduction, but that didn't happen & well guy hasn't been returning my calls. To change the fitting would require climbing inside the cistern & I can't get the lid high enough to do that & don't think I would be able to get back out if I tried. There used to be a shutoff right after the outlet but the pipes broke & were replaced with couplings.

From the jungle of couplings/adapters coming out of the cistern it elbows up for a bit then sideways & has a brass check valve. It connects to PVC threaded fittings and it transitions to stainless steel elbows to the side and then down to the jet pump's inlet.

I have an AO Smith Goulds 1HP J10S jet pump. Inlet port is 1-1/4". Outlet port on top is 1". It has galvanized steel pipes coming out the top and reduces to 3/4". It has an ancient pressure gauge on top attached to a tee. On the side of the jet pump is a 30/50 pressure switch. After about a foot or more it transitions to PVC. Elbows to the side and then down into the top of a PVC tee. Tee is oriented so the two even sides are vertical & middle outlet is on the side. The side outlet goes to an elbow that goes down then another elbow to the side to the pressure tank. The bottom of the tee goes to the main water supply.

The pressure tank is a 22gallon FlexLite fiberglass tank with a base to hold it up. I don't even know if it's getting used properly the way it is hooked up. There is no pressure relief valve, no hose spigot, no shutoff.

Right now the inlet pipe of the pump is above the level of the pump-- which is a no no.

Things I need to do:
  • Raise the pump up higher so the inlet line is below the pump (this would also tighten the pipes so there would not be leaks)
  • Add a shutoff valve to the 1st vertical run of the PVC from the cistern (not enough pipe on horizontal part for a fitting)
  • Replace the 3/4" galvanized steel from the pump's outlet with stainless steel
  • Add some sort of tank tee with pressure relief valve, hose bib, & possibly ball valve

Now, here is where I am undecided about the rest of the improvements/layout.

Option 1A
  • Keep existing tank (if it is still good-- otherwise replace with one about the same size- which will likely cost more $$)
  • Get a brass tank tee that comes with pressure switch, pressure gauge, pressure relief valve, and hose bib
  • Use pex barb fittings & 1" PEX to connect tank tee to jet pump outlet pipe
I could get the brass one that includes a ball valve https://www.amazon.com/Installation-Package-Pressure-SQUARE-pressure/dp/B00TG27TGG/
With this one I would likely have to get some sort of reducer and union to connect to the 3/4" port of the pressure tank
PROS: Brass is cheaper and easier to find
CONS: Brass does not handle hard water as well as stainless steel
-
Option 1B
  • Keep existing tank (if it is still good-- otherwise replace with one about the same size- which will likely cost more $$)
  • Get a stainless steel tank tee that comes with pressure switch, pressure gauge, pressure relief valve, and hose bib
  • Use pex barb fittings & 1" PEX to connect tank tee to jet pump outlet pipe
I could get https://www.amazon.com/STAINLESS-Installation-Pressure-SQUARE-pressure/dp/B00X4PBE2Q/ along with a 1" stainless steel ball valve like https://www.amazon.com/Dernord-Stainless-Steel-Valve-Standard/dp/B07D3K4TWC/ (or something cheaper if I can find it).
PROS: SS holds up to hard water better than brass
CONS: SS is more expensive and harder to find than brass

These first options would be the cheapest route IF my pressure tank is not shot. If my pressure tank is shot, then I'm looking at having to spend over $200 or even $300 on a new comparable tank.

Assuming my tank is shot & that a Cycle Stop Valve would work as advertised, the following are my options:
-
Option 2A
  • Get AO Smith 4.6 gallon pressure tank for $70 https://www.lowes.com/pd/A-O-Smith-4-6-Gallon-Vertical-Pressure-Tank/1000565599
  • Get plastic CSV125 for $69 + shipping CSV125-1 Cycle Stop Valve
  • Add an SS or brass cross inline on top of the CSV (which would be attached to the top of the pump's outlet with a mnpt nipple)
  • Use 1" x 1-1/4" adapters to connect pump's outlet (which would be vertical) to the CSV
  • Have pressure switch attached with reducers adapters to the cross-- Outlet pipe from cross will have tees with pressure relief valve, spigot, & shutoff
  • Use adapters/reducers from 1" to 3/4" to have a pex barb fitting to connect to the existing main waterline
I will need multiple adapters and some pipes to make this work. I may also need something set up to support the pressure tank so it doesn't tip things over.
PROS: CSV125 is plastic so I could use either brass or stainless steel if I can find the right fittings. It's cheaper than getting full size tank & cheaper than CSV1A. I *think* I need the 40psi version. This setup would leave more room in the shed to access things. Might be able to re-use old pressure switch depending on mounting method
CONS: I'm not exactly certain which version I would need with the smaller tank and I would have to use multiple different tees and adapters that I'd have to find and purchase. This would probably require something to support the tank to make sure it doesn't cause the whole pump to tip over. Would need to buy separate pressure relief valve, spigot, pressure gauge, & shutoff.
-
Option 2B
  • Get AO Smith 4.6 gallon pressure tank for $70 https://www.lowes.com/pd/A-O-Smith-4-6-Gallon-Vertical-Pressure-Tank/1000565599
  • Get plastic CSV125 for $69 + shipping CSV125-1 Cycle Stop Valve
  • Get one either brass or stainless steel tank tee with pressure gauge, pressure relief valve, spigot, & pressure switch (optional shutoff) for around $100
  • Use 1" x 1-1/4" adapters to connect pump's outlet (which would be vertical) to the CSV
  • Add elbow to tank tee to go up underneath the smaller tank and hold it up (with additional supports added inside)
  • Use adapters/reducers from 1" to 3/4" to have a pex barb fitting to connect to the existing main waterline
With this method, I would remove the existing pressure switch on the pump and replace it with the one on the tank tee near the CSV. I've been told that the closer to the pressure tank the switch is, the better. It might be easier to find brass pex barb fittings than stainless steel, but the CSV125 is plastic
PROS: Rather simple to set up, less expensive than getting larger tank, less expensive than getting stainless steel version of CSV, tank tee comes with accessories I don't need to buy separately
CONS: I'm not sure which of the CSV125s I need (there are different versions for different specs & I'm still trying to figure out my best option). I *think* the CSV125-40psi version is what I need but am not certain
-
Option 3A
  • Get AO Smith 4.6 gallon pressure tank for $70 https://www.lowes.com/pd/A-O-Smith-4-6-Gallon-Vertical-Pressure-Tank/1000565599
  • Get stainless steel CSV1A for $179 + shipping
  • Run it on it's side & use 1/2" outlet with a short pipe to have a stainless steel pressure relief valve OR spigot OR reduce to 1/4" for pressure gauge or pressure switch
  • Add a stainless steel cross to the 3/4" port- top outlet goes to tank, side goes to PRV, spigot, or gauge, bottom goes to elbow with pressure switch
  • Outlet of CSV has ss nipples to connect to 1-1/4" SS ball and 1" nipple on other side (unless I can find a mnpt 1-1/4" ball valve)
  • 1-1/4" flexible SS hose goes from mnpt nipple to 1-1/4" fnpt x 3/4" mnpt adapter to go to PVC fnpt (OR use PVC fnpt 1" x 1-1/4 fnpt bridge to 1" brass mnpt to PEX barb + 1" PEX line to 1" pex barb x 3/4" mnpt adapter)
I can re-use the 1-1/4" hose I tried to use on the inlet side and hope it doesn't leak. Worst case, if it doesn't work, I can use PVC in between to bridge between SS and brass to have PEX barb fittings bc I can't for the life of me find SS ones.
PROS: Takes up less space & is mostly vertical, supposedly more efficient than plastic CSV, may require fewer tees/crosses bc of ports on CSV, SS holds up better than brass
CONS: Harder & more expensive to find SS accessories, requires extra support to keep it from tipping over, not sure if SS hose will leak or if it is long enough to reach. If it doesn't, I can use PVC to build up or convert to PEX

Option 3B
  • Same as 3A for 1st parts
  • Have 1" pipe (12" long) come straight up from top of tank, 1" elbow over & lay CSV1A on it's side with tank port on top so pipe can come straight out the top for the tank
  • Can either have straight pipe up from 3/4" tank port or tee or cross
  • 1/2" ports on CSV can have pressure relief valve & spigot (or pressure gauge & pressure switch)- can also have tees or crosses from these ports to have more accessories
  • 1-1/4" outlet of CSV goes to ss nipple connected to 1-1/4" ball valve
  • Same setup as 3A w/ hose or pex
 

zannej

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I hit my character limit and had to delete some things. Found out I was forgetting that the CSVs have 1-1/4" male threads on the outer rim and 1" female on the inside. That would eliminate the need for some of the reducers.
Possibly thinking of using the 125 like this (but with a cross on top to allow me to plug in pressure switch & pressure gauge. I could get a 5 port cross to have more things added on and I can attach crosses or tees to ports to get everything I need. The plastic one would let me use brass or SS, but it's best to stick to the SS for the 1A.
Here's a pic I saw of how someone set up the 125
1614652748992.png

If I did the 1A on it's side so it went up like that, I could use all of the side ports for other things, throw on a tee or cross & have the tank on top. I could also run the 1A sideways and use it's designated port for the tank and see if my 1-1/4" SS hose can hook to the outlet port of the CSV.

I'm trying to come up with sketches.
 

SARG

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I provided a suggestion but the forum admin deleted it.
 

zannej

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So, I've had some back and forth with customer service from CSV. They are recommending one of their kits (which are too expensive) or the 1A (which is still expensive but would make it so I don't need a separate tank tee if I change to a smaller tank). I could re-use my existing pressure switch & get my own pressure relief valve, pressure gauge (or re-use my old one if it's OK), spigot, and transition pieces. If I add a shutoff vertically where I want to, I won't need a ball valve. I wish they had the 1A with a pressure gauge included because if I have to replace mine (if it's no good anymore) I am not sure which gauge to get.

I'm now thinking that having an elbow and running the CSV1A sideways and having the tank port on the top might be the best way because then the 1-1/4" end will be closer to where I need to tie in. I could use PEX or a stainless steel hose (that I already have). I'm just trying to figure out if this is worth it since I suspect my tank has to be replaced anyway.
 

SARG

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Just a couple opinions.
Your well system is just as important as your roof and the components have a life span. The bladders in the pressure tanks develop leaks, the pressure switch contacts wear out . the 1/4 nipple pipe the switch connects with gets plugged with crap ( sediment) , the gauge wears out and mine filled with water ( leaked). As the components wear out of spec the well system becomes irratic and it is hard to identify the individual problems.
I replaced my entire system last November and I included a CSV1A. Money well spent and we should be good for the balance of my life.
Today I'm glad I did. If you do a search for plumbing forums there are several that Cary Austin ( Valveman ) is on daily. He owns cyclestopvalves and is very helpful with any questions. He has many decades of experience with pumps and well systems. Yes ... He promotes the CSVs ..... but for valid reasons above the money. I have read dozens of discussion posts on well set ups just as you describe yours.
 

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zannej

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Thank's Sarg. I don't really have the space to add shelving. It's inside a flimsy metal building and I can't really attach stuff to the walls and there's not enough room to put in a table or anything. I don't want any wood in that area as it tends to get very wet and mucky. I need to pour some gravel in there I think.
This is the current layout (although its much more twisty) and I think it is actually 3/4" instead of 1".
jetpumplayout.png

Here was one of my sketches of the plans
jetpumpCSV1Asketch1.png

I might roll that with an elbow though and have the CSV with red side down so the tank can be on top with a tee or cross. Tee can have pressure gauge on the left and pressure switch on the right.
Can a pressure switch be put in sideways or would it mess up? I could do an elbow out of a cross for the gauge or I could just have another tee for it. Hose spigot and pressure relief valves could be on the actual CSV since it has ports for it.
 

SARG

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More opinions :
Galvanized piping will corrode. I avoid it.
I now use ball valves. No compression valves because they eventually leak, ( hose bibs and shut offs )
Install so it's easy to work on. Initially you will be adjusting the CSV while watching the pressure gauge. And ten years from now you may want to put a rebuild kit in the CSV ( goes under the red cap )
Stainless steel requires more wraps of teflon tape and pipe dope ... the threads do not flex like brass.
If it's your property I would think about replacing you "well house" with maybe one of the "utility sheds" like the Amish build & sell.
Your water supply should be on your "critical list" ... roof - water - heat.
Finally - Check out the other forums where the experts are. I only have my personal experiences while those folks have hundreds of installations.
 

zannej

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To clarify, the galvanized steel is what is on the system currently. I plan on removing it and replacing with stainless steel but in a different configuration. The intake side used to be all PVC but it was constantly breaking/leaking so I finally got some stainless steel fittings. Used pipe dope on female threads, teflon tape on male. I'm currently price-checking and finding stainless steel parts for the change.
I plan on getting a ball valve style hose bibb (which I labeled as spigot). I will have to mess with more drawings later when I'm not so tired.

There are no Amish in my area. I'm very very far away from any Amish communities. We don't have quality builders in the area. However, I am planning to eventually build my own shed to replace that crappy metal one. I can keep the same width but intend to make it longer. I've already been looking up how to do the foundation, how to do the rafters, ridge board, and gusset plates. I would make my own gusset plates and assemble the opposing rafter pieces ahead of time (secured with gusset plates). I'm too tired to think clearly enough to go into more detail, but I made a thread on a sister forum talking about the potential shed-building project. Shed recommendations for submersible pump & water well

I've been talking to Sam and Carey and whichever one of the employees goes by Valveman on the plumbing forums.
 

zannej

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So, this is what I'm thinking:
1615391238925.png

I had trouble finding some of the parts I wanted to find that would have reduced the number of fittings. I mean, I found some but they were either way overpriced or had terrible reviews or were not for potable water.

From the 1" female (1-1/4" male) outlet I would either have a 1-1/4" stainless steel flexible hose connected to an 1-1/4" nipple/coupling type thing that merges with PVC and reduces to 3/4" (because that's the size of all my waterlines inside the shed.
 

SARG

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Only suggestions I can see is including a ball valve shut off on the house side of the system. Position the CSV so it is easy to adjust and put in a rebuild kit if necessary 10 years from now. ( under the red dome ) Also position the pressure gauge so it's easy to see and change in a couple years.

The cyclestopvalve site has a multitude of pictured systems for ideas.

 
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BuzzLOL

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Inside the shed we have a 2-wheeled belt-driven piston pump that creates air pressure inside some pipes going to the top of the cistern to pull water up into the cistern.
Where does the water come from? Is it delivered? From a well under the cistern?
 

zannej

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Sarg, the placement for the pressure gauge I've chosen should be easy to see. Right now we can't read the pressure gauge without a flashlight and going on the other side of the pump. Although, my friend did accidentally hit his nuts on it while squatting down to work on the pump. I will have a shutoff before the pump. I may add another ball valve somewhere after the tank though, I'm trying to come up with appropriate plans.

Someone on the plumbing forum sent me a link to a site with stainless steel parts so I've revised the plan again using available parts. Instead of two tees stacked, I can use a cross and put the pressure gauge on the other side with an adapter. I'm still debating whether or not to use a union. Trying to figure out if it would be easier to turn the tank to unscrew it or if it would be easier to unscrew a union. What do you guys think?
1615514799887.png

Buzz, I have a belt driven 2-wheeled external pump that uses air pressure to pull water in to the cistern.
It's sort of like this on a mounting block:

1615512041193.png
It goes together sort of like this
1615512123489.png
The motor side turns the wheel and it's connected to pipes that go down through the top of the cistern's lid. I'm not sure quite what they do in there- but I know it creates air pressure and the pipes can get rather hot. The primary pump is connected to a D-box float switch and there is a float going in to the cistern.
Simplified sketch:
Pumpsetupcurrent2.png
1615513720833.png
 

SARG

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Sarg, the placement for the pressure gauge I've chosen should be easy to see. Right now we can't read the pressure gauge without a flashlight and going on the other side of the pump. Although, my friend did accidentally hit his nuts on it while squatting down to work on the pump. I will have a shutoff before the pump. I may add another ball valve somewhere after the tank though,
Every thing I have read from Mr. Austin states NO shutoff between the pump and the rest of your system. The shut off ball valve should be after your well system.
Perhaps if you're just using it to isolate the cistern it doesn't matter.
 
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BuzzLOL

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I was trying to figure out why you had a cistern... looks like a 'deep well pump' system to fill the cistern... then another pump to supply pressurized water to the house...
I once worked on a cistern system where the pressure gauge was piped close to a piston water pump and the gauge needle swung back and forth with every piston pump quickly destroying gauges... I put the new gauge where the pressure was much more steady and slowly changing...
 

DesertRider

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QUOTE:

"Inside the shed we have a 2-wheeled belt-driven piston pump that creates air pressure inside some pipes going to the top of the cistern to pull water up into the cistern."

I've been trying to follow this thread... But I'm getting a headache...

I have yet to figure out where the water is coming from... underground source... like a well... runoff...

"Air Pressure inside some pipes... to pull water into the cistern" I'm going to go re-read one of my Hydro-Dynamics books
 

zannej

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@SARG: The shutoff before the pump is only for emergency use. It's in case anything breaks or needs to be fixed/maintained etc. I can shut it off to keep water from pouring out of the cistern. That way if the pump or anything before the main line shutoff needs to be replaced, I can shut it off. I've had the pump for several years now and I noticed the threads inside the inlet part looked rusty when I switched from PVC to SS. I always turn the power to the pumps off when working on things. We used to have a shutoff before the pump for emergencies but it got removed by the repair guy. I had wanted him to replace that whole bottom portion coming out of the cistern.

@DesertRider: To be honest, I am not exactly certain how it works. I know the water comes from underground. I know there is the 2-wheeled pump with pipes going in to the top of the cistern through the lid. I know it creates air pressure in those pipes and water fills the cistern until the float triggers the switch to turn off and shuts the pump off. From there, the jet pump pulls water out and pushes it to a pressure tank and the main water line that splits in to 3 parts (backyard/barn, front yard, and house). I wanted to take a closer look at the inner workings but I can only get the lid to lift a couple of inches and it's too heavy for me to hold it up long enough to get pictures (and I don't want to risk dropping my phone in). I don't even know how to remove the lid to get inside to clean the cistern (which I tried to get the repair guy to do, but he didn't want to-- can't really blame him).

My latest gigantic sketch. This shows most of the layout (excluding the wheeled pump). The main waterline and divisions afterward may look vertical, but they run horizontally. It's such a mess I can't figure out what fittings are coming out of the cistern. I know it reduces from 1-1/4" to 3/4" and back up to 1-1/4" and I have no clue why.
jetpumpCSV1Asketch3.png
Edit: It seems to shrink the image and doesn't allow for a larger one. Not sure why. I might have to break it up into sections and have 2 or 3 different images.
 

BuzzLOL

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To be honest, I am not exactly certain how it works. I know the water comes from underground. I know there is the 2-wheeled pump with pipes going in to the top of the cistern through the lid. I know it creates air pressure in those pipes and water fills the cistern
The "two wheeled" pump has a belt and TWO PULLEYS... I don't think it pumps "air", I think it has a water intake from the cistern and pumps high pressure WATER down through the cistern and on down into a DEEP WELL JET system. Or maybe the well isn't under the cistern, can't tell from here. I think you have an older separated TWO pump system of a modern double pump integral one unit system pictured at bottom of this page as a "DOUBLE-DROP JET-PUMP SYSTEM" for DEEP wells... Depending on cost of repair, you may someday want to convert to the simpler ONE SUBMERSIBLE PUMP SYSTEM...
 

zannej

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Thanks for the info, Buzz. I had asked the repair guy about it and he told me the pipes going from that belt-driven pump was moving air. I don't know what direction it was going or if there is an additional pump underneath. I'm not sure if the repair guy even knows. I'm pretty sure the guy who installed the system in the first place is dead. He was in his 80s about 10 years ago. He became senile and couldn't remember customers & no-showed on some calls. New guy came out immediately when we found him and fixed things. He's not the most knowledgeable person, but he will come out on Christmas to fix someone's water.
 

zannej

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I found pictures of the actual 2-wheeled pump and the connections to the cistern:
1616237499504.png
1616237597671.png

Could there be a submersible pump in the pipe going underground? Or could it be using air to suck the water up and dump it in the top via the PVC tube?
 

68bucks

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I've never seen anything like that. I see the bladder tank in the background of the second picture. Looks like a pipe coming up from the cistern into the tank and running out of the building, which is what I would expect. I don't know what the air is for. How does the green tank connect to the test of the system? I see salt bags, is that just a brine tank for a softener? Does the air compressor run every time the water pressure drops like a pump would? I'm pretty sure the compressed air isn't the primary force moving the water, there almost has to be a pump somewhere.
 

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