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Waterlogged Pressure Tank: Causes & How to Fix

Scott Winfield
Last Updated on
by Scott Winfield

A waterlogged pressure tank forces the pump to run nonstop. If not fixed early, it may lead to permanent failure of the pump and the motor, forcing you to replace the entire tank.

Here are the possible causes of a waterlogged tank and how to fix this issue before it escalates further.

What Causes a Pressure Tank To Be Waterlogged?

Pressure Tank
What Causes a Pressure Tank To Be Waterlogged?

Improper water to air ratio, meaning too much water and less air within the tank, causes the pressure tank to get waterlogged.

Water being naturally incompressible causes the pressure inside the tank to fluctuate quickly, leading to the pump going on and off.

Signs of a Waterlogged Pressure Tank?

Below are common signs of a waterlogged pressure tank:

  • Frequent clicking sounds
  • A water tank full of water
  • Poor water quality
  • Water pump turning on/off
  • Fluctuating water pressure
  • Jumping pressure gauge reading

Repeating Clicking Sound

A repeating clicking sound is usually the first sign you notice when you have a waterlogged pressure tank. This sound comes in every time you’re utilizing water inside your home.

The repeated clicking sound comes from the pressure switch, whose primary function is to tell the pump when to turn on/off.

The pressure switch has contacts that should either be opened or closed. Opened means no electricity moving since the contacts don’t touch while closed indicates the contacts touching hence send electricity to the pump to complete a circuit.

The amount of air and water inside the tank regulates when these contacts should open or close. However, when the tank becomes waterlogged, the pressure isn’t controlled anymore, leading to the pressure switch turning on/off rapidly.

In return, you can now hear the repeated clicking sound since the pump is also turning on/off too much.

A Water Tank Full of Water

For a pressure tank to work as intended, it should contain more air than water. There is usually a rubber/air bladder inside the tank placed strategically to contain the water and maintain its level.

With this technology, you can always hear a hollow sound when you knock on the side of your pressure tank. But sometimes, it won’t sound empty when you knock on it, meaning that a tank is waterlogged.

A possible explanation for this is that the rubber could have been ruptured, enabling the water to fill up.

Poor Water Quality

Perhaps your pressure tank uses water treatment equipment to keep the water quality you’re getting in your home up to standard. This treatment device needs a specific water flow rate to be lifted to allow proper cleaning.

However, the waterlogged tank hinders the flow rate, so the water treatment device doesn’t get properly cleaned, leading to poor water quality.

Water Pump Turning On/Off

This process where the water pump turns on/off rapidly is called short cycling. When this happens, the pressure pump can no longer regulate pressure as it should.

The water pump repeatedly turning on/off isn’t suitable for the motor since it’s being overworked. It can quickly burn out, which can only mean no water for your home usage.

Replacing a pump is also quite costly, so this is a situation you want to avoid by all means possible.

Fluctuating Water Pressure

As mentioned before, a waterlogged tank cannot regulate the pressure correctly. You’ll experience the water pressure fluctuating, especially when taking a shower.

Sometimes, the water comes out with full or intense pressure initially but suddenly turns low. The water can even die out for a few seconds before returning with low pressure.

Jumping Pressure Gauge Reading

A pressure gauge has a needle that travels between your cut-in and cut-off pressures when using water in your home. Both the cut-in and cut-off pressures are set in advance.

In most instances, you’ll set the pressure gauge cut in at 40psi (40 pounds per square inch) and the cut off at 60psi. The needle should travel between these two readings smoothly without jumping around.

But in a waterlogged tank, you’ll notice the needle bouncing back and forth, providing inaccurate readings. That’s because the pressure isn’t being appropriately regulated.

How To Fix a Waterlogged Pressure Tank

How To Fix a Waterlogged Pressure Tank
How To Fix a Waterlogged Pressure Tank

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to fix a waterlogged tank.

Step 1: Switch off the Power

Turning off the power supply to the pressure tank is a precautionary step you should take before anything else. You don’t want to get injured in the process.

To cut the power supply, find and turn off the circuit switch.

Step 2: Drain the Water Tank

An ordinary garden hose can help you drain the tank to ensure there’s no water left before proceeding to the next step.

Locate the drain port near the bottom of the tank so you can connect the garden hose to it.

Before opening the valve, ensure you direct the hose to where you want this water to go to avoid watering the whole place.

Finally, open the valve and allow all the water in the tank to drain.

Step 3: Examine the Air Settings

Close the valve once you’ve drained all the water from the tank. Then, see if your pressure tank has air-volume equipment attached to it.

Check the equator settings to ensure its readings match the standard pressure pump readings.

Step 4: Power the Pump Back On

After powering the pump back on, check if it’s running. Remember to switch the circuit breaker on to avoid filling up the tank.

Even after doing all the above to fix your waterlogged pressure tank, you may still notice the pump going on/off.

In this case, replace the pump or the whole tank. But before coming to this conclusion, ensure you talk to a professional to get proper advice.

Should a Well Pressure Tank Be Full?

A well pressure tank shouldn’t be full. When a well pressure tank is full, the tank is waterlogged and can’t function properly.

This situation isn’t suitable for the tank’s motor and pumps as they may fail permanently if not fixed early.

The percentage of air inside the tank should be higher than that of water.

The air gives the well water the required pressure to get out whenever you turn the faucet on. It also helps the water pump to function appropriately.

When you knock on the sides of the tank at the top, it should sound empty.

How to Air Charge a Pressure Tank?

The following steps will help you air charge your pressure tank.

  • Turn off the pump’s power supply and the outgoing valve to the plumbing.
  • The next step is to avoid any water conditioning/filtering equipment.
  • Open the faucet to drain your pressure tank. Here, you need to ensure the faucet you’re opening doesn’t have water filtration equipment and let it run until there’s no more pressure left.
  • As the faucet is still open, you can use an air compressor to pump the air inside your pressure tank. Continue pumping air in until the water inside the tank is nearly gone.
  • The next step is to turn off the main valve connecting to the plumbing.
  • Don’t stop pumping the air inside the tank until it reaches at least 25pounds of air pressure.
  • Once there’s this much air pressure inside the tank, discontinue pumping but ensure you turn back on the pump’s power supply.
  • Now, open the tank’s main plumbing valve and allow the water to run until it turns clear of all sediment.
  • Put back the water conditioning/filtering units into service. Congratulations, you have successfully air-charged your pressure tank.

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Scott Winfield
Scott Winfield
My name is Scott Winfield and researching and writing about water filters and other strategies to purify water has become my full time passion in recent years. I'm glad that you found our site and you can look forward to authoritative and well researched content here to help you get the best in water.
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