Water pressure tank failure detection


I’m not sure where this post fits best–mods please relocate if necessary.

Those of us with private wells likely have water pumps that are detected by Sense. My well pump is tracked very accurately and I use Sense to get a rough idea of how much water I’m using, as pump runtime is correlated directly to water usage. Private well systems with conventional pumps use a pressure tank to provide water storage so that the pump doesn’t need to run each time water is used. Modern pressure tanks use a design where the tank is bisected by a rubber bladder. Water stays on one side of the bladder, and pressurized air is added to the other side of the bladder. Over time, the pressurized air migrates through the rubber and is absorbed into the water, requiring the tank to be refilled with compressed air. Eventually, the bladder ruptures and the tank needs to be replaced. Sense is able to detect both of these events (low pressure and broken bladder) by tracking pump runtime. When the bladder is intact and properly pressurized, the pump cycle time is some value greater than 30 seconds, ideally over a minute. As the pressure in the tank decreases, the pump cycle time also decreases. Sense could establish a baseline cycle time, and alert the user when the time reduces below a threshold amount, indicating that the tank needs maintenance.

This would be a helpful alert, as this maintenance is easy to forget and reduces the lifetime of the pump and tank bladder when neglected.



Another way to detect such a problem is to set an alert for the pump if it runs much longer than it should. I ha e this setup for my water heater in case there is a leak somewhere. Even a drip would cause the heater to run longer than normal.
If your pump never runs longer than a couple of minutes then set a custom alert for five minutes, there is your leaky bladder detector and any other leak after the pump.



Unfortunately setting an alert for high pump runtime does not alert to this problem, as the issue appears as low pump runtime instead. As the air pressure decreases, the effective capacity of the water tank decreases, lowering the cycle time.



Don’t know if this helps but an alert can also be set for the pump being off for a specified time



The logic that’s needed for this is “if the pump is on for less than X seconds”, which unfortunately is not possible with the current alert framework.

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I understand. You need tighter parameters than available



Product wishlist. Would be interesting to see how many others could use this



That sounds like a better place for this post–good call. @RyanAtSense can you move this over?