Waterlogged Pressure Tanks

Waterlogged Pressure Tanks

Do you know if you have a waterlogged tank?  Have you ever experienced a surge in water pressure at the tap and seen it drop off quickly?  Is the pressure low or sometimes only a trickle? 

Listen to your water pump does it run in very short bursts, and turn on and off again frequently? If you watch the tank pressure gauge, it should run between 38psi~60psi.  Does it? Do you notice pressure surges while the shower or a faucet is running? With one faucet running does the pump run all the time and never recover to shut off the pump?  If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, you could have a waterlogged pressure tank.

Note: If only one faucet is suffering from these systems it might be a localized problem, such as a blocked aerator, bad filter, or waterline kink.

Fortunately, there’s a way we can know for sure.  Thermal image cameras can literally see if a tank is waterlogged.  In the figure below, the blue shadow is water filling the entire tank.  The proper water level is about 1/3~1/2 of the tank and the rest should be air (also known as an ‘air bladder’).

Possible Causes of Waterlogging

Sediment, such as iron and manganese, can coat the surface of a bladder, causing it to harden and become less flexible.

· Sediments can plug the fill or draw line, preventing the tank from filling and emptying normally.

 · High levels of chlorine can damage the bladder, causing it to become brittle and less flexible.

· Tanks sitting directly on the ground rust and lose structural integrity.

· Chlorinators give off corrosive vapors that cause the tank to rust.

These causes can be found through a simple water quality test on your well by a lab. Water quality testing is available with my home inspections.


Often times it can be more cost-efficient to replace a waterlogged tank with a new one; but for the handy-type there are procedures to drain a storage tank and refill it with air.

If the condition returns after you tried draining it, you probably have a bad tank that needs replacement. If I were to purchase a new water tank, I would consider fiberglass over steel so it will not rust. If you have an irrigation system, you should consider doubling the size of the tank to help lengthen the life of the well pump.  Replacing a well pump can run into thousands of dollars.

As always, feel free to comment or reach out to me directly.  Remember to be safe when working on your home.  Exercise additional caution when working with water lines and electrical components.

“Protect your investment and have it inspected” –  Steve J. Gaudet   (603) 714-8628

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Submitted by StephenGaudet