Your well's bladder pressure tank is important because without one you'd probably would have a hard time getting water into your house's plumbing system. Pressure tanks do this by keeping the system pressurized through compressed air in the tank. Bladder tanks use a separating membrane to help with compressing air as water enters and exits the tank. If the pressure falls below a specified amount, the pump kicks on to re-pressurize the system. If the pressure tank fails, it could leave you suddenly without water. Here are some common signs and reasons why your pressure tank may have a problem.
Symptoms that the tank is not working properly:
You may first notice that your pressure tank isn't working when the pump begins to appear to be constantly turning off and on or turning on more often than it usually does. This constant cycling puts a great deal of strain on the pump and if it is old or experiencing other issues, it may suddenly fail. You may also notice a lack of water pressure especially if the pump cannot keep up with the pressure losses caused by a poorly working tank.
Causes of pressure tank failure:
One of the reasons why a pressure tank might fail is that minerals and other sediments can coat the bladder inside the tank or clog up the draw line. This makes it difficult for the tank to maintain the proper pressure and water level. Bladders can also fail due to the structural integrity of the tank and by high levels of chlorine. If the tank is fairly new, it's possible that the pre-charge was incorrectly set for the type of pump you have installed. It could also mean that the pressure switch is not reading the correct pressure leaving the tank with too much or too little pressure inside.
One way to check if your bladder tank has failed is to see if it's entirely filled with water. You can either do this by checking to see if water is coming out of the air fitting or by checking the pressure with the pump off. You may be able to recharge the tank by running an open faucet or pumping air in the system. If your tank's bladder is damaged, then it won't be able to be re-pressurized and you must have the entire tank replaced before you damage your pump and switch. It's best to hire a professional to do the water pump servicing, both to check to make sure that the tank was actually the problem and to make sure that the new pump is running at the correct pressure.