How to Troubleshoot Bladder Tanks


Bladder tanks aid in maintaining the appropriate range of water pressure in a water distribution system. They are beneficial in that they prevent frequent starts and stops of the system and reduce pump cycling. A bladder pressure tank works by contracting and expanding the volume of air in the system as the water pressure changes. You should occasionally measure the air in the tank, and recharge the tank if the air drops too low. Most bladder pressure tanks last from five to seven years. You can troubleshoot problems with the bladder tank yourself with a few instructions.

Things You'll Need

  • Tire gauge
  • Tire pump or air compressor

Examine the Air Charge on the Bladder Pressure Tank

  • Turn off the electrical power to the pump.

  • Open the closet faucet to drain the tank.

  • Place a tire gauge onto the air charge valve on top of the bladder tank to check the pressure.

  • Add air pressure with a tire pump or air compressor if the pressure is 2 psi (per square inch) or more below the lowest pressure in the range.

  • Let out some air if the air pressure is 2 psi over the pump cut-in pressure.

  • Look for leaks in the air charge system.

  • Turn on the pump, and run a normal cycle.

Check the Bladder Pressure Tank for Waterlog Problems

  • If the tank is waterlogged, determine if the pump is cycling.

  • Smell and taste the water. Stagnate water has an odor, tastes bad and contributes to bacterial problems.

  • Check for corrosion on the inside of the tank, which can contribute to premature tank failure.

Check for Causes if the Tank is Waterlogged

  • Check for sediment, such as manganese or iron, that coats the surface of the bladder, causing it to harden.

  • Examine the fill and draw lines for sediment that can prevent the tank from properly filling and emptying.

  • Check for high levels of chlorine that could damage the bladder tank.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your tank is completely filled with water, it is waterlogged.

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