If you use well water in your home and notice how the water pressure has been decreasing, it could be a problem with your pressure tank. Pressure tanks are not complicated and don't contain electrical components to do their job, but they can still malfunction over time if there is an issue with the inner bladder. Here is how you can troubleshoot the problem.
Understanding Your Pressure Tank
A pressure tank is a metal cylinder that is air-tight. Inside is a bladder made out of rubber, which fills with well water as it flows through it. The space between the cylinder and bladder contains pressurized air, which helps push the well water through the plumbing in your house.
Determining Why You Have Low Water Pressure
Several aspects of your plumbing must be balanced for water to be properly pressurized. This includes having the right amount of air pressure inside your pressure tank, as well as an internal bladder that is filling up with the appropriate amount of water.
Air can escape your pressure tank over the years, but you may not be aware that the pressure tank could require recharging. The rubber bladder itself can also fail, since it is constantly in contact with the contaminants found in well water.
Fixing The Problem
If the water pressure is gradually slowing down in your house, it's due to the air pressure in the pressure tank diminishing. Check the tank's pressure gauge to determine if the air pressure is low. The user's manual that came with your pressure tank should be able to tell you what the proper amount of air pressure should be for your particular model. An air compressor can be used to recharge your pressure tank very fast to get it back up to the correct level of air pressure
If the loss of water pressure was drastic and sudden, it is most likely from the pressure tank's internal bladder breaking. This is usually accompanied with a water leak that originates from the tank's valve stem. When you think you have a bladder that burst, you'll need professional help to replace the unit. It's not typical that a water pressure tank can be repaired when its bladder has broken, so expect to pay for a brand new one to fix the issue.
Have more questions about your pressure tank? Get in touch with a local plumbing repair technician that can help.