Water Solutions

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by Tango, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Background: solar run house with generator for water pump and motor.

    We get our water from a spring branch 150 feet to the west. My last "plumber" put the pipe directly into the branch and that caused all sorts of sediment to come into the house and through the pump and tankless hot water heater. :bash:

    A few weeks ago I hired a backhoe and we set tile down to a depth of nine feet beside the branch and ran the foot valve into it. So far no problems with this set up but wait! there are other problems.

    After discussing it with several techs, I determined incorrectly that a 119 gallon pressurized tank would be the best for our use. The tankless water heater ignites on water pressure and needs 30gpm to ignite. Since I wash dishes and shower without the motor running the water pressure is important. Unfortunately 119 gallon pressurized tank only fills with about 20 gallons of water. Can I increase this?

    I can't do anything about this system right now but I am looking for alternatives if I can't get the pressurized tank to supply enough water. I was thinking that a large water storage tank on legs would be able to hold sufficient water to keep from having to run the generator to run the pump several times a day and it would supply suffiecient pressure by gravity but am worried it would freeze in winter and don't know the cost.

    I am running a dc shurflo for livestock and outdoor water. And I practice water conservation inside but still find I need more water than I can manage running the pump just twice a day.
     
  2. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,338
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
    ...........I think what you meant to say was that the tankless needs...30PSI to ignite , not 30 gallons . A regular switch will be a 40\60 psi which should be enough psi to ignite the tankless , even on the lowside of 40psi . Now , your pressure tank airbladder should be set at 38 psi(40psi-2psi lower than the kickin pressure of the pressure switch) . You want to pressurize the air bladder UP with NO water in the tank and the pump turned completely off . If the pressure tank has TOO much Air pressure in the Bladder it will restrict\reduce the volume of water that the pump can force into the pressure tank . This would be the first thing I would check . Drain the water out of the tank and turn off the pump and use a regular airgauge to check the pressure in the tank . Then refill the airbladder to the lowside kickin pressure(- 2psi) based upon the settings of your pressure switch . fordy... :clap:
     

  3. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Yes, sorry, too many meds :sleep: 30 psi is what I meant. Thank you for your suggestion. I'll explain this to my son so he can check the pressure this afternoon. :)
     
  4. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,883
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    You can also add more pressure tanks. Add a second tank and now you will have the "draw down" from both tanks working for you..........add a third tank.
    Yes you should have more than 20 gal draw down on a 119 gal tank.
     
  5. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Thanks Jim-mi. That tank was close to $500 though. Unless something finally goes my way economically i won';t be having that kind of money until later than I would care to have this type of problem :(
     
  6. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,883
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Ok the next time your near the big box-Lowes-Home Despot- take a price look at the 80 gal bladder pressure tanks. Price should be way less than your other($500) tank.

    And by the way don't even consider the small bladder tanks.
    Look at the draw down on the small ones compared to the bigger ones.
     
  7. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,360
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN
    Check your tank & other system parts, and if they are rated, you can go to a higher-rated pressure switch. Putting another 10 psi will stuff a lot more water in the tank.

    You should be able to find a tank for 1/2 of what yours cost, unless you are including installation.

    I think you should get 1/3 of the capacity out of your tank at 30psi yet, if it is set up right? However, if your tank is in a basement, & the heater is in an upstairs, you are losing 10 psi in the height of the pipe head. Things like that can affect you quickly.

    --->Paul
     
  8. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Thanks guys. My tank, water heater, and pump are side by side in an enclosed room in the carport.
    I'm not including installation in the price, which was not worth it for what the "plumber" charged by any means. The tank was new special ordered at Lowes for $465 plus tax. I can add another one someday if I can get a smaller in stock size but not now for sure :(
    Where does it mention the rating? Is a switch difficult to install (need an electrician?)
     
  9. SolarGary

    SolarGary Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,495
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Location:
    Montana
    Hi,
    We had a house on Vashon island for a while, and the water system started at a spring about 200 to 300 ft up a fairly shallow slope. When we bought it, it had a shallow well type pump and a pressure tank on the house end. After a couple of tank/pump failures, I changed the setup to have a 200 gallon(?) tank up by the spring. The spring water flowed into the tank, and just overflowed when it filled. I ran a 2 inch(?) PE pipe from the tank to the house (I used the 2 inch pipe to keep the pressure drop along this line low). On the house side, I got rid of the well pump and pressure tank, and just used the gravity feed pressure from the tank by the spring. This worked fine for the several years we were there. The tank was about 15 vertical feet above the house, which is about as little as you can get away with -- this gives you 6.5 psi -- not much, but its OK as long as you don't have anything that restricts the flow a lot in your plumbing. Even showers worked OK. The only thing that did not work was an old Sears washing machine we had that filled on a timer -- there was not enough pressure to fill it before it timed out. We just replaced the washer, since it was about due anyway.
    If there is a descent drop from the take off point on your creek to the house, you might consider the same setup -- no electricity needed.

    Gary
    www.BuildItSolar.com
     
  10. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,883
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    The "working pressure" (and other info) should be on a plate on the tank. Its possible that the tank doesn't want to see over 50 lbs. ... ?
    Installing a new pressure switch is easy for me, but not shure how you like working with electric stuff..................
    If in dought get an electrician
    But first make shure that pricey tank you got is working proper.
     
  11. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    My son gauged the pressure at the tank yesterday and it was 20.5 ??? He says my neighbor had let air out last week when I was in the hospital. My neighbor was working on the water problems. He found a small pebble blocking a jet intake in the pump which was causing the reduced pressure :grit: Haven't tried to see if the water pressure is sufficient to ignite the water heater when the generator is off but will do that today.

    Gary, thats set up is similar to what I was thinking of doing but since my current system is just a few months old, I have to wait to change it. Not thrilled with it and I had asked a lot of techs before I installed it but I guess personal experience is the real teacher in these matters. Frankly my dc shurflo works better with fewer problems than this expenisve set up. If it weren't for the tankless water heater, I'd have gone with something simpler.