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Get Powered Up! Certified Energy Manager Jeff Yago answers your alternative energy questions

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Archive for the ‘Pressure tanks’ Category


Water pump & pressure tank

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Hi Jeff,

I read about a water pump for a house that doesn’t require a pressure tank. I’ve lost my information and hope that you’re aware of the manufacturer.



There are lots of manufacturers of water pumps that do not require a pressure pump, but I do not recommend you putting one of these on a home.

This type of pump is designed for an RV or boat where you have a holding tank full of water, and the water flow rates, pressures, and piping system are all small. These pumps include a very sensitive and fast-acting pressure switch which turns the pump on and off when you open and close a nearby faucet. If you tried this with the larger pump sizes and flow rates of a typical home, the water hammer alone would soon either cause a fitting failure or damage the pump.

In addition to absorbing the pumping shock of quickly stopping the water flow, the expansion tank also saves wear and tear on the pump because any single toilet flush or short hand-washing most likely can be supplied from water stored under pressure in the pressure tank and will not require cycling the pump every single time.

On smaller RV and boat systems with a holding tank as the source, these problems are not that big a deal.

Good luck,

Jeff Yago


Air Pressure Tank

Saturday, March 7th, 2009


I have learned a lot from your articles and especially enjoyed your three part “energy class” in recent issues of BWH magazine.

As a result of the information I learned from these articles I went and purchased a much larger air pressure tank to prevent frequent cycling of my well pump.  The only problem is that it takes me an hour and a half to watch 60 minutes.  I didn’t measure the crawl space opening and to make a long story short, I could not fit the tank through the hole.

I have two questions.  Could I leave my existing pressure tank in place and then couple it together with another air pressure tank (one that will fit through my crawl space door) so they would in effect be “in line” with each other?  My existing tank is a 20 gallon and I was thinking about connecting it with a 40 or 50 gallon tank.  Would they balance out?  Would the pressure switch on the existing tank interface with both tanks?  Basically I am after the same results of a much larger air/water pressure tank by using two tanks together.

Also, I read somewhere that you need to be careful on your well’s recovery rate.  If it is to slow of a recovery rate and your air pressure tank capacity is to large for the well to keep up you could potentially burn out your well pump.

Any feedback you can provide would by much appreciated.

Keep up the great work and again thank you for all of the great information you share with your readers.  I’m a big fan!




The reason I suggest using a large pressure tank is to reduce the repeated start-up surges that a well pump places on a inverter-battery system.  If you are totally on city utility power, the only thing you gain with a larger pressure tank is perhaps a longer life for the pump as the start-stop cycling has a high current in-rush which can eventually burn-out motor windings or a starting capacitor if you have one.

In most plumbing applications, you can have more than one pressure tank and they do not need to be near each other, as long as there are no check valves between them in the piping.  The existing tank and pressure switch will still work as if nothing has changed, but there is now more “expansion” in the piping loop so the pump will stay on longer until both tanks are at equal pressure and then the pump shuts off.  Yes, you do need to consider other issues if you have a slow fill well, but the question is, is it better for the pump to run longer during refilling and then stay off longer giving the well a longer time to re-fill, or run for shorter periods more often.  The same amount of water will be removed from the well regardless of which method you use, so it will depend on these other factors as to which way is best for your pump.

Good luck,

Jeff Yago



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