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City Water Pressure Booster Pumps

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Crashsector, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Crashsector

    Crashsector New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2011
    Messages:
    19
    Loc:
    Annapolis, MD
    Good morning all,

    I'm hoping there may be some (semi) pro plumbers on here that could weigh in on my situation.

    My house has an Amtrol RP-15HP booster pump setup. Our city water pressure is just below 15psi and this thing makes a world of difference.

    [​IMG]

    A few weeks ago it began spitting air and the duty cycle went down to about 1 second on/2 seconds off. The landlord sent a plumber out and diagnosed it as a blown air bladder in the pressure tank.

    He is really dragging his feet on this (almost 2 months now) and I just want to fix the situation. I am unable to come across a replacement tank (looks like they went out of production), so I'm looking to replace it.

    I found these units:

    http://www.freshwatersystems.com/p-4441-grundfos-mq3-35-230v-34-hp-pressure-booster-pump.aspx

    Is this going to do the same thing I want? I'm curious how effective it could be without a large holding tank, but maybe these are more efficient and don't need it?

    If I'm going to spend $500 for a new tank, I might as well switch over to something that is more efficient.

    Thanks for any help!

    --Andy
    Arnold, MD

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  2. TheMightyMoe

    TheMightyMoe Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Messages:
    565
    Loc:
    Fairbanks, Alaska.
    (Semi)

    The benefit of having a large bladder is, that for short uses like washing hands / toilet flushes etc... is the pump won't have to run, resulting in less cycling, which is more efficient (Less peaking from cycling pump on/off)

    It really is a shame you can't just plumb that to another tank, that would be the most efficient repair.

    I have no experience with tankless boosters, just systems with undersized tanks.
  3. Crashsector

    Crashsector New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2011
    Messages:
    19
    Loc:
    Annapolis, MD
  4. TheMightyMoe

    TheMightyMoe Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
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    565
    Loc:
    Fairbanks, Alaska.
  5. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    497
    I lived on a boat for many years. My freshwater system used a similar pump to that Grundfos model, although quite a bit smaller and a different make. The trouble with them is the PITA on/off operation cycle at low flow rates. A bladder tank system is greatly preferable.

    Bladder tanks can be Tee'd together in parallel. Doing so simply increases the capacity. Since your tank sounds not only blown but waterlogged, you have essentially zero capacity in it. Adding another tank in parallel, or simply replacing the old tank, would be my approach. If you could post a larger photo of the old system taken in such a manner as to provide good detail of the tank connection setup, one of us should be able to provide some more specific advice.

    BTW, bladder tank pressures have to be adjusted to match the pump pressure switch setting, or vice versa, so it's a little more complicated than just changing out the tank.

    Also, I used to be a landlord. In the state where I had my rentals, doing what your landlord is doing would have gotten me in hot water fast. Maryland isn't exactly a lax regulatory environment. I would think you have recourse through that avenue.
    TheMightyMoe likes this.
  6. Crashsector

    Crashsector New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2011
    Messages:
    19
    Loc:
    Annapolis, MD
    His recourse is that it is not essential for proper operation. He said that the water pressure without it is "adequate." It may not be worth the money to pursue anything legally - it will most likely cost more than a new tank.

    Here is a photo of how it's plumbed right now:

    [​IMG]

    It looks like those new tanks plumb in to the bottom. So I would just have to move the pump, or leave it where it is and plumb down to the bottom of the new tank.

    --Andy
  7. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Why is the city pressure so low? Seems like that tank is just a band aid fix to the real problem.
  8. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    497
    I know of no place where he could get away with that. It was there when you rented, and it provided a useful or necessary function, so he has to keep it in good repair, unless stated otherwise in the contract. That's the general rule.

    I wasn't suggesting you sue him. Some states have renter's bureaus which will proceed administratively against landlords in certain circumstances. I don't know if Maryland is one of those states.

    My understanding is the minimum acceptable standard for domestic water pressure is 20 psi. However, I can't point you to a source for that number. I know 20 psi is really bad, because that's all I had a one place. I simply cut them off and put in a well. 15 psi must be truly awful.

    My current problem is too high a pressure. Our utility provides 140 psi to our house. Needless to say, I have a regulator.
  9. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,444
    Loc:
    south central WI
    In a prior house, the town's water pressure was low to selected areas, and the town was required to install and maintain the pump to the state's minimum pressure, all at the town's expense. In fact, my neighbor complained about having to pay the electricity to run the pump, and the town gave everyone on our street a credit on the water bill
    to offset electrical use for the pump. We had the tankless one that you showed. The downside of the tankless one is that it runs everytime you turn on the water, and the noise was a bit annoying.
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    10,020
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    In my system at work we have low pressure areas like that due to variation in elevation within the city. 70 psi on the valley floor makes nearly zero pressure way up on the hill. Open those fire hydrants up on the hill and water pours out relatively slowly but can be sucked out with a pumper truck.

    With that pump you can add an expansion tank anywhere in the system between the pump and the faucet and it will replace the function of the current tank.
  11. devinsdad

    devinsdad Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    226
    Loc:
    northern NY
    FYI: 20 psi is the minimum in any New York public water system. That includes when fire hydrants are in use. I'd be willing to bet your state regulations are the same.

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