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Leaking Indirect Water Heater Relief Valve - stumped

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Comments

  • agaisin
    agaisin Member Posts: 37

    mattmia2 said:

    Move the gauge with the max reading pointer to a boiler drain or faucet near the well tank and wait overnight again.

    And make sure there are no valves or widgets of any kind between the gauge and the well pressure tank.
    Thank you both. I had the test gauge on the drain for the indirect hot water heater. It registered 130 psi overnight last night. I just switched it over to the pressure tank drain which is directly off the pressure tank, will see what happens overnight..
  • agaisin
    agaisin Member Posts: 37
    OK - interesting data point. In less than an hour of the new position, no major water use other than just toilet and faucet causing pump to go on/off, I now see the test gauge has hit a max of over 160psi (while regular pressure was just at 40). Suspecting possibly water hammer I drained the pressure tank to cut in pressure and watched/video'd as it filled to cut out and on the first try it quickly spiked to 80psi. Did it a second time and it didn't go any higher than that. Gonna leave it for a bit and see if it goes any higher on account of the pump cycling on/off and causing water hammer.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,467
    turn off the boiler so it isn't making new hot water and see what happens. that will differentiate between the tank not taking the expansion and water hammer.
    Larry Weingarten
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,467
    Although the well tank should absorb the pressure from water hammer too.
  • agaisin
    agaisin Member Posts: 37
    So - after shutting off the hot water heater, within 10-20 minutes, used enough water to trigger the pump again and boom - I believe on the cut-in it jumped to 150 psi. So, in the very least I have a legit water hammer issue. Agree I would have expected the pressure tank to absorb that?...
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,247
    Hi, How many gpm is the well producing? Also, what's the pipe sizing? Too much velocity could be part of the issue. Do you have a means of throttling flow? Adding some kind of slow start motor control could help, but I'd look to simpler approaches first.

    Yours, Larry
  • agaisin
    agaisin Member Posts: 37

    Hi, How many gpm is the well producing? Also, what's the pipe sizing? Too much velocity could be part of the issue. Do you have a means of throttling flow? Adding some kind of slow start motor control could help, but I'd look to simpler approaches first.
    Yours, Larry

    Larry - thank you so much for input. I will have to measure gpm and confirm pipe sizing and report back.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,941
    Something is seriously wrong with that well pressure tank setup. If that gauge is right there, you are correct in that the spike looks like a water hammer. However, that jet pump simply won't create that kind of hammer -- unless there is nothing to absorb it. There is a check valve on the pump (or, depending on your setup, at the intake as a foot valve) but it will close as soon as the pump spins down; actually slightly before the pump stops completely.

    I'm now very suspicious of that well control tank.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • agaisin
    agaisin Member Posts: 37
    agaisin said:

    Do you have a means of throttling flow

    No way of throttling flow that I know of. I have checkvalve b/w intake and pump, it's a Gould's J5S pump, Gould's v60 pressure tank, a 5 micron sediment, 5 micron gac filter, then viqua d4 uv, then ....

    Something is seriously wrong with that well pressure tank setup. If that gauge is right there, you are correct in that the spike looks like a water hammer. However, that jet pump simply won't create that kind of hammer -- unless there is nothing to absorb it. There is a check valve on the pump (or, depending on your setup, at the intake as a foot valve) but it will close as soon as the pump spins down; actually slightly before the pump stops completely.

    I'm now very suspicious of that well control tank.

    no intake foot valve, just check valve right before the pump intake (pump and check valve above ground).
    So even if check valve is slamming the pressure tank should be absorbing it? starting from before our time, we found out there was a hole in the intake line that was causing more than normal sediment coming into the system. wonder if that sediment if built up in the pressure tank could reduce effectiveness... wonder about any other possibilities. Guess I can try to physically drain the pressure tank see if sediment comes out.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,467
    edited June 2023
    un water until the pump kicks on, turn off the fixture, then watch the pressure as the pup refills the tank and the pump stops. I'm suspicious that the tank stops accepting water before it reaches the cutout of the pressuretrol so the tank is effectively solid water and the pressure just spikes at some point. How much pressure the pump can build is a function of the depth of the well, the the pump, and the jet.

    I suspect you'll see the pressure climb slowly then hit a certain point and shoot up rapidly.
  • agaisin
    agaisin Member Posts: 37
    mattmia2 said:

    un water until the pump kicks on, turn off the fixture, then watch the pressure as the pup refills the tank and the pump stops. I'm suspicious that the tank stops accepting water before it reaches the cutout of the pressuretrol so the tank is effectively solid water and the pressure just spikes at some point. How much pressure the pump can build is a function of the depth of the well, the the pump, and the jet.

    I suspect you'll see the pressure climb slowly then hit a certain point and shoot up rapidly.

    I'll take a closer look today. Not sure I'm following your theory - what would cause the tank to stop accepting water before reaching cutout of the pressuretrol? Sediment buildup, an intermittent clog, like what would cause that... in other words what would i look for...
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,467
    @hot_rod suggests that the diaphragm can stick to the tank and get bound up. Otherwise it has water on the air side or somehow the diaphragm is completely expanded before it reaches the cutout pressure. I don't know exactly how it is bad but i strongly suspect it is. i don't quite understand why the precharge is the cutin pressure, it seems if the differential is wide enough it could fill the bladder before it reaches cutout pressure. also don't know what would have changed.
  • agaisin
    agaisin Member Posts: 37

    Hi, How many gpm is the well producing? Also, what's the pipe sizing? Too much velocity could be part of the issue. Do you have a means of throttling flow? Adding some kind of slow start motor control could help, but I'd look to simpler approaches first.
    Yours, Larry

    Believe the intake line is black poly 1.25" (not 100% sure). The main plumbing from the pump to the manifold where everything splits off is 3/4" pex.
    mattmia2 said:

    @hot_rod suggests that the diaphragm can stick to the tank and get bound up. Otherwise it has water on the air side or somehow the diaphragm is completely expanded before it reaches the cutout pressure. I don't know exactly how it is bad but i strongly suspect it is. i don't quite understand why the precharge is the cutin pressure, it seems if the differential is wide enough it could fill the bladder before it reaches cutout pressure. also don't know what would have changed.

    If you're referencing my numbers, I had two gauges i was using to measure precharge, they weren't consistent with each other, not sure which to trust. I pumped up the tank to be sure it wasn't low. I know it should be set to 28psi, when I have a gauge I can trust I'll pump it up to confirm it's at exactly 28, i may have split the difference b/w the two for now since I wasn't sure which to trust.

    One thing's for sure - the top half is hollow/ping noise not full like the bottom, and there's definitely air in there b/c when I release air i'm not getting water coming out. So I don't see how it could be completely failed and not have water coming out? Interesting about the diaphgragm getting bound up, but not sure how to test for that. I guess ultimately, if it comes down to it, and no better informatoin, seems like I should be changing out the pressure tank b/c it's not doing it's job for whatever reason.


  • agaisin
    agaisin Member Posts: 37
    Mattmia2 - I think I see what you meant. I did notice at some point a few months ago that it was cutting out before 50psi at like 48 let's say. I even adjusted the cutout a little higher. I also watched video and see that it spikes right at the end after it hits that precutoff 48 psi... So maybe it's at early stages of failure, there's still some air in the top tank but also some water, and it's not functioning properly...?...
    I saw another video someone says to completely drain it and then shake it to listen for water sloshing in top half. a little tough for me b/c i have the pump on top and it's all very very tight quarters, but may try that as well...
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,467
    I'm not an expert on diaphragm tanks or well pumps, hopefully someone that knos more will see this. Maybe @Pumpguy although he mostly deals with condensate, feed, and vacuum pumps.
  • agaisin
    agaisin Member Posts: 37
    new theory - i’m questioning the accuracy of the marker needle. i got a watts water pressure test gauge and tbh the red needle is so free/floaty that if i turn it to the boack needle quickly it’ll bounce of to the high side. wonder if it’s not a lefit high reading and instead bc of the quick jerky start/stop it’s getting pushed further to high pressure. so not a legit reading of high pressure. i looked up reviews from others on lowes.com and see some complaining of same thing…
    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Watts-Water-Pressure-Test-Gauge-Brass-3-4-in-Mght-Pressure-Relief-Valve/1001063062

    will maybe try to get another make/model and confirm before reading too much into the  readings
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,941
    Are you precharging the pressure tank correctly? It must be valved off from the system and all the water removed. If yours has the inlet on the top, you will have to physically remove it from the system since you can't drain it out the top unless there is a drain valve right at the top of the tank, and a shutoff valve between that drain and the system. Then precharge the air side to 28 psi. Then reconnect it to the system. There is no other way to correctly precharge a diaphragm or bladder tank.

    Your description of the pressure rise -- that it goes up slowly and then starts to rise quickly before the pump shuts off -- tells me that either the tank is faulty or it isn't correctly precharged.

    The tap test, by the way, is completely unreliable.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • agaisin
    agaisin Member Posts: 37
    Are you precharging the pressure tank correctly? It must be valved off from the system and all the water removed. If yours has the inlet on the top, you will have to physically remove it from the system since you can't drain it out the top unless there is a drain valve right at the top of the tank, and a shutoff valve between that drain and the system. Then precharge the air side to 28 psi. Then reconnect it to the system. There is no other way to correctly precharge a diaphragm or bladder tank. Your description of the pressure rise -- that it goes up slowly and then starts to rise quickly before the pump shuts off -- tells me that either the tank is faulty or it isn't correctly precharged. The tap test, by the way, is completely unreliable.
    My tank has inlet at bottom. I turned off pump and drained it down to 0 psi. then checked and adjusted pre charge. however - the whole concern revolves around this water pressure gauge’s readings and after toying with it and reading other reviewers i am questioning whether the pressure ever red as high as it shows. it is so loose and freely moving that it looks like if the black taps it it goes further to the right than it should registering an inaccurate high pressure reading. want to test with another gauge before i trust the high readings. anyone have a recommendation for quality water pressure tester?
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,872
    Im wondering about your gauge accuracy?
    Maybe get a liquid filled or digital gauge for a second opinion?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • agaisin
    agaisin Member Posts: 37
    hot_rod said:

    Im wondering about your gauge accuracy?
    Maybe get a liquid filled or digital gauge for a second opinion?

    Agree - stupid question, but do I need specifically a test pressure gauge that has two hands - one for static pressure and another for the max pressure? I assume that's what I need, but I can't seem to find any liquid filled or digital of those type. Or can I use a regular water pressure gauge - my assumption was a regular guage wouldn't easily show the max pressure if it was a temporary blip due to water hammer or expansion...? Anyone know of a specific guage people use with consistent results for testing peak water pressure?
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,872
    Those basis lazy hand gauges are not the highest quality in my opinion. Even vibration in the piping causes them to jump.
    I asked Winters about a better quality gauge for testing, they can add that hand to most any of their gauges except the glycerin filled versions.

    But if the relief seeps, either it is doing its job or it has failed.

    I don't know of an inexpensive way to record spikes, other then a data logger.

    Got a security camera you can point at it? A dashCam, or a game camera? Might be cheaper than a accurate pressure logger?

    I don't know if my game camera is sensitive to pick up a gauge movement :)
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,247
    edited June 2023
    Hi, A thought about gauges and what to expect. If the problem is thermal expansion, on heating you'll be able to watch pressure climb. If it's water hammer, it will be that quick spike. Can you get someone else to manipulate the system while you stare at the gauge?

    Yours, Larry

    ps. No stupid questions o:)
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,467
    A cell phone can record the gauge. Dwyer makes digital gauges that will record peak that are a couple hundred bucks.
  • agaisin
    agaisin Member Posts: 37
    Well - last night after reading more reviews on the watts test gauge, someone suggested putting some vaseline on the red hand and after doing that and cleaning it up to the point where it moved freely just not bounced around, I believe I can trust the readings I got. I put the test gauge on the pressure tank drain and overnight the pressure was normal not exceeding 50, but the heater valve released some water. Then I switched the gauge back to heater side this morning and by early afternoon the pressure gauge reached 140psi. So - I wanted to confirm I did or didn't have same pressure on both sides but figured before that I'll do more research on the filter cartridges i have (recently updated water filtration system) and quickly found other people that are seeing problems with it having a check valve. I have 2 GXWH40L cartridges and even though documentation says nothing about it, apparently they have check valves. So - either I do a checkvalvectomy (documented here https://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?threads/pipes-bang-with-water-filter-turned-on-not-run-of-the-mill.27227/page-2) or I replace those cartridges with what I had before Keystone CG10 or something, or I add an expansion tank. Suggestions/recommendations?
    mattmia2
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,941
    I think maybe you've found your culprit...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    MikeAmannLarry Weingarten
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,467
    Either remove the check valve or pipe a check valve bypassing the filter in the other direction. Water to the house flows through the filter because the check valve blocks the bypass in that direction but the check valve lets water flow back to the well tank as it expands in the water heater.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,247
    Hi @agaisin , You could also add an expansion tank in the cold feed to the heater. B)

    Yours, Larry
  • agaisin
    agaisin Member Posts: 37
    Is there any good reason to have/keep check valves on filter cartridges? Not all filter cartridges have it, and not sure what it accomplishes for me. leaning towards at least short term keeping my system simpler and removing the check valves from these filters… unless there’s some benefit/safety features i’m missing here…?
  • agaisin
    agaisin Member Posts: 37
    went ahead and removed both check valve bladders from the filter housings, and waiting to confirm indirect heater pressures do not rise above normal levels… fingers crossed…

    still curious what if any value there is in the filters having check valve for my system where pressure tank is serving as thermal expansion tank as well… i can appreciate in a municipal system or another scenario where flow back to pressure tank isn’t needed. is there any benefit for me?
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,247
    Hi, Just guessing, but is there any chance that with check valves gone, the filters could be backwashed, pushing debris out of them? I’m just thinking about why checks would be needed in the first place.

    Yours, Larry
  • agaisin
    agaisin Member Posts: 37

    Hi, Just guessing, but is there any chance that with check valves gone, the filters could be backwashed, pushing debris out of them? I’m just thinking about why checks would be needed in the first place.

    Yours, Larry

    1) Is backwashing good or bad in this case, wouldn't it be good if it backwashed? And I guess every time there's thermal expansion there's a little backwash actoin? I'm still new to well systems so may be completely misudnerstanding.
    2) The keystone CG10 I had before, and even the next level down on the GE filter GXWH35F doesn't have the check valves, so afaik it's not needed, just maybe considered an 'upgrade' feature (assuming one didn't need the pressure tank for expansion...).
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,941
    One possibility for the checks -- which otherwise I can see no need for -- is that if they are after the filter element, not before, then if when you wanted to change the filter cartridge you'd turn off the feed to the filters and when you removed the cartridge you'd get very little water... just a thought.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    mattmia2MikeAmann
  • agaisin
    agaisin Member Posts: 37
    edited June 2023
    One possibility for the checks -- which otherwise I can see no need for -- is that if they are after the filter element, not before, then if when you wanted to change the filter cartridge you'd turn off the feed to the filters and when you removed the cartridge you'd get very little water... just a thought.
    TOTALLY makes sense, think that’s what it is bc one cool feature on these filters is they have a valve up top for bypass, off, or filter mode and filter changes were very clean/drip free. i can live with the slightly wetter filter changes :)