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Pressurized water tank bad?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Ratherbfishin, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. Valveman

    Valveman New Member

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    “Anyway, it seems there has been no independent testing done, which I find telling. If independent testing has been done, and it had determined that there were real merits to the CSV, then I’m sure the company would be pointing long and loud to those test results. Since they aren’t, I remain skeptical of the device’s merits.â€
    How could you get any better testing done than a study by the USDA?
    http://www.cyclestopvalves.com/letterseditor_25.html
    Here are a few references from NASA, cities, Engineers, and a video from PBS.
    http://www.cyclestopvalves.com/csvapplications_18.html
    http://www.cyclestopvalves.com/csvapplications_4.html
    http://www.cyclestopvalves.com/pdf/csvapplications_10.pdf
    http://www.cyclestopvalves.com/video/pbs_2006-dsl.wmv


    “As I recall, the tank company tests (wish I could find them again) found that there was little difference in the average number of starts between a CSV equipped system and a conventional system. That makes sense to me as a long time well user.â€
    Amtrols test was set up to make their pressure tanks look superior to any constant pressure system. Their “test†had no uses of water over 7 minutes, and the conclusions were tainted. But some of the data was interesting. They said “the CSV did not significantly reduce cycling over a properly sized tankâ€. However, the CSV caused 10 cycles per day compared to 19 Per day with a standard tank. That is almost a 50% reduction in cycling, which I would consider significant. They shouted the CSV caused the electric bill to double. But they quietly listed it only went from .508 KWH to 1.072 KWH, and failed to mention that is only 4 pennies per day. http://www.cyclestopvalves.com/letterseditor_21.html

    “When my well pump does die I plan to install a variable speed unit to address these issues.â€
    Coming from a home owner, this statement tells me you are very confused about how pumps work. Coming from a pump installer, this statement may mean he is trying to sell the most expensive, shortest lasting trinket he thinks you can afford. Trying to “address these issues†by using a VFD, is like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. The CSV was designed to replace variable speed pumps or VFD’s, and we have been replacing them everyday since 1993. There are new VFD’s, but VFD’s are not new. Why would anyone want to go back to old, complicated, technical, expensive, VFD technology? The reason VFD’s have been upgraded and made obsolete every 18 months for the last 40 years, is because they still can’t solve the problems. The problems are laws of physics, which they can never solve.

    “Seems like they don’t really like DIYers giving advice. They only want us asking for advise and then we best not challenge old school pumpmen.â€
    LOL! I am the one challenging old school pump men, and even engineers. I don’t post about anything I don’t know for fact. There are so many misunderstandings and myths circulating about pump systems, I have vowed to help people get the facts. I learn something new from other people as well. But very few things about pumps are left to speculation. As you can see I am very vocal when someone starts giving advice about things they don’t understand. I am still amazed how many people will just take the advice of someone who was raised in a house with a well. Especially when they can get advice from someone with over 40 years experience, who designed the product, and guarantees it to work. It is like getting advice on surgery from the parking lot attendant because he works at the hospital, instead of talking to the doctor himself.

    “IMHO, it is a very small price to pay for constant pressure.â€

    Here are a few references that agree with you. I am lucky to get a few references. People only come to the Internet or forums when they are having problems. After they install a CSV, they no longer have problems and rarely come back to the forums. In this business we say, no news is good news. Just Google any of your appliances and see read all the complaints. 18 years with very little if any bad news on the Internet about CSV’s is a good thing.
    http://www.cyclestopvalves.com/references_13.html
    http://www.cyclestopvalves.com/references_6.html
    http://www.cyclestopvalves.com/references_9.html

    “So to get back to the original post… Should the tank be replaced or does it have life left to “milk�
    My water pump is “short cycling†from what I have read, the bladder usually goes bad rather to add air.
    I like to enjoy a shower so I want to get this resolved.
    but I always crave more pressure. I have showered in places before and when getting out thought to my self †wow that was a great shower I feel so refreshed†I want that to be my shower.â€
    You might be able to “milk†a little more out of that tank. When it quits holding air, giving water, or making the water smell bad, you will need to replace it. You can replace it with a very small tank if used with a CSV, and your pump will no longer short cycle. You can enjoy shower pressure in you house, better than any of the places you have envied, and all your “short cyclingâ€, busted bladder, and low pressure problems will go away. The only disclaimer is that your pump must be strong enough to supply the pressure needed by the CSV.

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  2. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I'm pretty sure I know how a pump works but I'd like to know if I'm mistaken. I think you'd be preaching to the choir though as I'm one of the seemingly few that does understand that restricting centrifugal pump flow reduces (not increases) power draw at the pump.

    Per your post previous to the one the quote above is from:

    "Cycling causes nearly every problem with conventional pressure tank systems. Cycling wears out your pump, motor, pressure switch, start capacitors, starting relay, and check valves. Cycling even destroys the bladder in the pressure tank, as it goes up and down with each cycle, and breaks like bending a wire back and forth."

    I agree with this. Anything you can do to "soft start" the pump or maintain a steady state reduces wear on the system. Variable speed pumps address these issues while maintaining constant pressure (at least within the specified range of the pump) do they not? If the CSV can do that, great. It then becomes a comparison of capital costs, operating costs, and reliability for me. Before I jump into installing a variable speed pump system I'd do more homework on the CSV and other available technology. One thing that makes our application somewhat unique though is that our geothermal system is an open-loop, standing column type system that uses the well and surrounding aquifer as its heat source/sink.

    Andy

    Edit: I should mention we're not new to this concept. We used a Jacuzzi Water Genie on our system for years but it eventually failed.
  3. Valveman

    Valveman New Member

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    I meant no disrespect. I talk to pump engineers everyday who do not fully understand these things. I have studied nothing but this subject for several decades. So I do not expect anyone else to easily grasp the intricacies of how pumps function.

    Manufacturers of variable speed drives as well as pumps and motors claim that soft starting will make a pump system last longer. This is not true. In reality the Kingsbury thrust bearing in a submersible motor has to be above 1800 RPM to produce the hydroplane effect. This creates a thin film of water between the thrust pads and plate. The longer it takes to get to 1800 RPM, the more the thrust pads and plate grind against each other with no lubrication or cooling.

    Also, every component in a pump and motor has a mechanical frequency that causes vibration. At the standard 3450 RPM, every component has been designed to run smoothly. But when you slowly go from 0 to 3450 RPM, the unit goes through the resonance frequency of every component in the pump and motor. So at a particular speed the motor shaft vibrates. Another speed causes the windings to vibrate. And yet a different speed causes the laminations to vibrate, and so on, and so on. The vibration of each component only stops when the pump finally gets to full speed. Which it rarely does with a VFD.

    Then I could spend considerable time explaining the damage caused by harmonics, and voltage spikes that are caused by the pulsing DC voltage from a VFD, and other things.

    “It then becomes a comparison of capital costs, operating costs, and reliability for me.†Then your decision should be a no brainer. Capital cost of a VFD is much higher than a CSV. Operating cost (energy cost) is virtually the same between a VFD and a CSV. The reliability of a pump/motor running with a VFD cannot compare to running on smooth sinusoidal power, spinning at full RPM, with cycling eliminated by a CSV.

    The amount of advertising money spent by companies manufacturing VFD’s should be your first clue. They couldn’t afford to spend muti-millions of dollars advertising something that would actually make pumps last longer or save you money. That is just what they want you to think.

    The CSV is superior but works very similar to the Jacuzzi Aqua Genie. Which you said worked “for years but eventually failedâ€. After Franklin bought out Jacuzzi, they discontinued the Aqua Genie and now promote their version of a VFD. This was not for the benefit of customers, but rather to increase their profit margins. Why would a company that makes pumps and tanks, promote a product that makes pumps last longer and use smaller tanks? They wouldn’t!! They only have to spend enough marketing money to convince you that VFD’s save energy, make pumps last longer, etc, etc.. Then you are locked into regularly replacing expensive pumps and VFD equipment. VFD’s are a “perpetual money machine†for the manufacturers, which means they are a “money pit†for the home owner.

    I have an open loop geothermal system myself, and have helped many people who have them. I can show you a couple of ways to decrease the pumping cost, but none of them include using a VFD. I should mention that the VFD uses considerable energy itself, the same as any other computer. This adds to the energy used by the pump/motor when running, and the VFD is still on and using energy even when the pump is off. Plus the pulsing DC voltage from a VFD makes any motor about 5% less efficient than if running on smooth, standard, sinusoidal, AC power.

    I talk to many heat pump owners. They say it doesn’t matter how much energy the heat pump saves, when they frequently have to replace the pump/motor. Excessive cycling causes many pumps to fail. But getting conned into a “perpetual money machine€ or VFD cost even more.
  4. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the extensive explanation. I realize you this is your business so I'll examine what you've said with an appropriate amount of skepticism. At the same time, I think you make a good case for why not to use a VFD. I was/am aware of some of the efficiency and electrical noise issues associated with them. I'm going to learn more about the CSV and will likely PM you to discuss further.

    Thanks.
  5. Valveman

    Valveman New Member

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    Thanks for the PM. I would rather reply on the forum if that is OK with you, as maybe there are others who can benefit from your experience. I understand the skepticism of taking advice from someone who “sells†the product. This is why I warn against taking advice from the big pump, motor, and VFD companies. However, I do not sell expensive pumps, motors, or VFD’s. And if my simple, inexpensive little valve did not do everything I say, I would have been out of business years ago. I have to explain these things myself, as even my good distributors and dealers would like to keep it a secret, because they like to sell pumps, motors, and expensive VFD’s to the myth-informed.

    You are doing very well if your pump lasted 10 years with an open loop geo system. There is only one way to get any higher efficiency than the pressure tank only system you are currently using. That would be to dedicate a pump strictly for the heat pump, and run as low a pressure as possible.

    However, I can get very close by using a two pump system. The well pump can be sized to supply the volume you need for the house and geo system at low pressure, say 20 PSI. Then a second pump, also takes water from the well pump at 20 PSI, and increases the pressure to the house to 50 PSI or so. In this way you have the smallest pump possible in the well to supply the Geo system at the lowest pressure possible. The second pump only runs when the house needs water, which means it only runs a fraction of the time of the well pump.

    CSV or VFD, controlling a pump that was designed to produce the volume needed for both the house and Geo system at 50 PSI, will use more energy than cycling the pump on and off into a big pressure tank. Many times this increase in energy is still less than the cost of a big pressure tank. Nearly every time this increase in energy is less than the cost of replacing pumps that cycled themselves to death prematurely. So it is still feasible to use a single pump system.

    Circulating water in a standing column well does not lower the water level. If drawing water for the house lowers the pumping level, a larger pump is needed. You can actually size a pump for low pressure, to deliver no more than the Geo system needs, and pumping from the static water level. A small bleed can be used to fill a storage tank, that when full, overflows back to the well or discharge. A booster pump attached to the storage tank can supply the house with as much volume and pressure required. In this way the water level of the well does not get lower, the pump supplies the volume needed for the heat pump at low pressure, which allows for the smallest, and most efficient pump to be used in the well.

    So there are several ways to control your system. The later being the most efficient. The second being the most convenient. And the first is a compromise between the two.

    Anyway you go you need to have a pump that is most efficient at varied flow rates. Some pumps have a better brake in horsepower than others. A standard 4†Grundfos for example has a fixed stack of impellers. The thrust bearing in the motor caries the full load from the impellers so, the impellers do not touch anything. This is in contrast to a Sta-Rite pump with a floating stack of impellers. With this type pump each impeller pushes down against a diffuser instead of the thrust bearing in the motor. This causes more drag when the flow is restricted. So a pump with a fixed stack may drop 50% in amps when restricted, while a floating stack may only reduce by 10%.

    As for which CSV to use, these are sized to the pump. So I would need to know which pump model you have, the pumping and static water level, and the pressure you require. We have a quick selection chart that gets close. But when you want the most efficient system, I like to consider all the angles.
    Cary
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I'm pretty sure you know me well enough to know that I was not directing that remark at you as the moderator on the pump forum.

    As for my "elephant in the room" comment, I was not suggesting that you had something to hide. Yes, I found mention of hold-back pressure but one needs to dig for it. I'm sure a lot of people wonder at first glance as I did, about the effect of hold-back pressure but the information isn't exactly front and centre. Yes, there is piping available that has a much higher pressure rating than what a CSV could take it to but it is also possible that people have existing piping with a small margin. That was my only point, namely that the pump and piping needs to be "right sized".

    Anyway, glad you found this thread valveman, and got the oppotunity set some things straight.
  7. Valveman

    Valveman New Member

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    I didn’t take it personal. You make a good point. I have been told there is so much you really have to dig for everything. And just because I know right where it is, doesn’t mean it is easy for others to find. I am in the process of simplifying a few things, and will make sure that is an easy button for that. Thanks!

    You were doing good! I didn’t mean to hijack, was just trying to help and got carried away. I only quoted everyone as a way of grouping the questions together. I understand the skepticism and took no offense to any of it, and meant no offense back. They were all good questions and I answered them as best I could.

    I am quick to defend my product against misinformation and rumors, as I think any reputable manufacturer should be.

    Amtrol (who makes tanks) is the only company who has published any kind of study in 18 years to try and refute my claims, which I find telling. I know several studies were done. If any testing had been done that determined there were NO real merits to the CSV, then I’m sure every pump and VFD company would be pointing long and loud to those test results. Since they aren’t, I remain skeptical as to why. Maybe it’s hard to defend against the truth?
  8. Ratherbfishin

    Ratherbfishin Member

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    Well here we go again...the air I added last year did the trick until now. I did the same thing...cut power, opened a faucet and let the water drain. Then set the tank pressure 2psi below the cut in. But this time nothing has changed with my water pressure. It sucks...so It would appear I definitely need to replace the pressure tank. If you have any specific kinds that stand out better than others please let me know. Also I am interested in changing the pressure switch to a 40/60 combo while I am at it. Currently it is 20/40. Thoughts? I want more water pressure than I had even when the tank didn't have a problem. I hate getting out of the shower and wondering if all the soap was rinsed off...geesh...

    Thanks, Steve
  9. Ratherbfishin

    Ratherbfishin Member

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    Well got the shower pressure a bit better...all I did was chit the switch on and off up by the shower head ans walaaa...better pressure. I still want to change the tank and go to a 40/60 switch though. I think the copper pipes can handle it.
  10. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    You probably don't have to buy a new switch. Most are easily adjustable. The information on how to do it, depending on which type of switch you have, is available many places online.
  11. Ratherbfishin

    Ratherbfishin Member

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    I know I can turn the nut to adjust but I'm not sure I could achieve the cut in and off I'm looking for without going to a 40/60.
  12. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    We just went through this last week. First symptom was a spike in my electric bill. Then came the pulsing of water pressure noted with showering and flushing. I went to lowes and got a 30 gallon replacement take, a new switch and a new pressure meter. My switch was 30/50 so we set the tank at 28. My son has the switch over done in a litte over two hours. No leaks!
    I keep checking the smart meter and have noted a daily decrease in kwh used. My well pump was installed in 1975 and is the same pump running today. This is my third time to change the tank. Putting air in the leaking tank is a temp fix at best.
  13. Ratherbfishin

    Ratherbfishin Member

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    Ya I agree
  14. Ratherbfishin

    Ratherbfishin Member

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    Your not too far from where I grew up in Brunswick
  15. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    Medic! I started my career as a medic in the military. I was in DaNang Vietnam. lucky to be one able to return home.
    If you have some basic skills in plumbing and handling electricity, some tools, and access to the tank, you can do the change out as a dyi project. Just remember to throw the breaker first! Good luck. Check out YouTube for some how to vids.

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