Next the well pump itself, the pressure tank is the next most critical component of your home water well system. When the well pump activates, water is sent up through a system of pipes to fill the water pressure storage tank so that water is constantly available in the home. This process is a smaller but similar one to the way a water tower functions as the pressure tank for large water wells used by municipal water districts.
Air-to-water pressure tanks
There are two types of pressure tanks, each of which functions differently. The first, an air-to-water tank, allows both water and air to collect inside the same tank. As the level of water rises in the tank, the air is compressed, forcing the water to move through the home's water pipes whenever a tap is opened. Air-to-water tanks can have about ten percent of the water inside the tank drawn used before the well pump is signaled to activate and send more water into the tank.
Captive air pressure tanks
In a captive air pressure tank, the water and air are kept separate inside the tank. Because of this design, up to thirty percent of the water inside the tank can be drawn down and used before the well pump will be signaled to turn on and refill the tank. Captive air pressure tanks can reduce the number of starts the water well pump must make, which can help to reduce wear and extend its working life.
Sizing pressure tanks
Homeowners who want to ensure a stable flow of water from their water well system without overtaxing their water pump should always opt to install a large tank, instead of a smaller one. This is because well pumps attached to small pressure tanks must work harder to keep the water supply constant for the home. This is especially true in homes with a high demand for either water usage in the home or for outside uses, such as irrigating landscaping or watering livestock.
The lifespan of a pressure tank
Most pressure tanks manufactured today are warrantied for a few years, but most will last for decades, as long as they are serviced regularly and repaired promptly when needed. Homeowners who want to ensure that their home's water well system components continue to provide a steady supply of fresh, potable water without interruptions should plan to have their system professionally maintained annually by a reputable water well installation or service company.
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