A Quick Guide to Water Well Pressure Tank Installation (2024)

Reviewed by: James Layton
Updated on:
March 8, 2024

Key Takeaways

Installing a Water Well Pressure Tank

Well pressure tanks, also known as well water tanks or pressure storage tanks, play a crucial role in maintaining steady water pressure, reducing pump cycling, and ensuring a reliable water supply to your household.

To install or replace one, you should consult the installation instructions included with the unit. What follows here is a general guide to help you on your way.


  • Well pressure tank
  • Pressure switch
  • Pressure gauge
  • Tee fittings and pipes
  • Pipe wrenches
  • Teflon tape or pipe thread sealant
  • Pipe cutter or hacksaw
  • Pipe fittings (elbows, unions, and pipe nipples)
  • Wrenches and pliers
  • Pipe supports and hangers
  • Electrical wiring and connectors (if needed)

1. Choose a location.

If you are installing a pressure tank for the first time, or you don’t like where your current tank is, select a suitable location for the pressure tank.

In cold climates, this should be indoors or in a weatherproof enclosure to protect it from the elements. The location should also allow easy access for maintenance, but out of the way.

In areas without cold weather, you will sometimes find pressure tanks located outside, but this is becoming less common.

This diagram, while depicting one of the more complex setups, may give you a better idea of where the tank should be in relation to your well.

2. Shut off power and water.

Your well pump should have a power switch. Turn this off, but also be sure to turn the power off at the electrical box. Simply flip the breaker connected to the well pump to the off position.

Turning off the water is equally simple. Well systems often have one or two valves where you can turn them off. One at the pump and where the water enters the house.

If you have one valve, turn it off. If you have two, you can turn off either.

3. Disconnect and drain the old pressure tank.

You can’t remove a pressure tank that’s full of water, so you’ll need to drain it. Simply attach a garden hose to the drain valve and place one end in your utility sink, a bucket, or near your basement’s floor drain, if you have one.

After that, you can disconnect and remove the old pressure tank.

Disconnect the pipes, fittings, and wires. Use wrenches to loosen and remove any connections. Be sure to save any nuts, pipes, or fittings that are in good condition for use on the replacement tank.

4. Install tee fitting.

If you’re installing the same brand and model of pressure tank that you had before, installation is a breeze. If all the pipes are in good condition, you can simply slide your new pressure tank in and connect it.

In some cases, though, you may need to prepare the space for a new configuration.

Install a tee fitting into the main water line after the well pump. This tee fitting will accommodate the new pressure tank, pressure switch, and pressure gauge.

5. Mount the pressure tank.

Mount the pressure tank on a stable surface using appropriate brackets. Ensure the tank is level and adequately supported.

6. Connect pipes and fittings.

Attach pipes and fittings to connect the tee fitting to the pressure tank’s inlet and outlet ports.

Use pipe wrenches to tighten the connections.

Apply Teflon tape or pipe thread sealant to the threads of the fittings to prevent leaks.

7. Install pressure switch and gauge.

The pressure switch controls when the well pump turns on and off based on water pressure. Attach it to the tee fitting using appropriate fittings.

Install the pressure gauge on the tee fitting to monitor the system’s water pressure.

8. Install electrical connections.

If the pressure switch requires electrical connections, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to wire it to the pump control box.

9. Pre-charge the pressure tank.

Before turning on the well pump, set the pressure in the tank to the desired pre-charge pressure. This is typically a few psi below the pressure switch’s “cut-in” pressure.

10. Turn on power and water.

Turn on the power to the well pump and open the water supply valve from the well.

11. Check for leaks.

Carefully inspect all connections for any signs of leaks. If you notice any leaks, turn off the pump and address the issue before proceeding.

12. Adjust pressure settings.

Adjust the pressure switch settings if needed to ensure the pump cycles on and off at appropriate pressure levels.

13. Test the system.

Open faucets and fixtures to let water flow and observe the pressure tank’s performance. The tank should fill and pressurize as needed, and the pump should turn on and off as the pressure changes.

14. Make final checks.

Double-check all connections, ensure there are no leaks, and confirm that the system is functioning correctly.

Remember, well pressure tank installation may vary depending on the specific manufacturer’s instructions and the design of your well water system.

If you’re not familiar with plumbing and electrical work, seek the assistance of a professional plumber or well system technician to ensure proper and safe installation.

When to Replace a Well Water Pressure Tank 

A well water pressure tank may require replacement every five to seven years.

Issues you may notice include age-related wear and deterioration, ruptured bladder, internal corrosion leading to leaks, or diminished performance in maintaining consistent water pressure. 

Over time, accumulated sediment and mineral buildup can affect the tank’s functionality, causing it to lose its ability to store and deliver water effectively.

Replacing a well water pressure tank becomes necessary when these issues compromise the system’s efficiency, potentially leading to reduced water pressure, frequent short cycling, a waterlogged tank, and overall decreased performance of the well water system. 

Read our article about pressure tank problems for a more detailed description of issues affecting well water pressure tanks.

Well Pressure Tank PSI Settings

After installing your new pressure tank, you may need to play with the settings, so here’s a quick explanation of well pressure tank settings.

The PSI (pounds per square inch) of a well pressure tank directly impacts the performance of your well water system. The PSI essentially represents the pressure at which water is stored within the tank.

A well pressure tank typically has two important pressure settings: the “cut-in” pressure and the “cut-out” pressure.

The cut-in pressure is the minimum pressure at which the well pump should start, while the cut-out pressure is the maximum pressure at which the pump should stop.

Setting the right pressure settings for your pressure tank is essential for optimal functioning.

The cut-in pressure is usually set a few PSI below the desired water pressure for your household. This ensures the pump starts when the pressure drops slightly, replenishing the tank and maintaining consistent water pressure. 

The cut-out pressure is set to a point where the pump stops once the tank reaches its maximum pressure capacity.

Finding the right balance between these two settings is crucial to preventing excessive cycling of the pump, which can lead to wear and higher energy consumption.

The specific pressure settings depend on factors such as your household’s water demand, the capacity of the entire tank, and the characteristics of your well pump.

You should consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for the pressure tank and the pump to determine the appropriate PSI settings. 

Additionally, monitoring and adjusting the pressure settings periodically, especially after a new installation or replacement, can help fine-tune the system for optimal performance and efficiency while ensuring a reliable and consistent water supply.


Just like any other piece of equipment, pressure tanks can face wear and tear. Regular maintenance of a well pressure tank is vital to keeping your well water system functioning smoothly.

When it’s inevitably time to replace your pressure tank, I hope you find this guide helpful. If you’re not sure about your abilities, there’s no shame in hiring a professional.

By enlisting professional help, you’re not only safeguarding the health and efficiency of your well water system but also ensuring that the intricate components are handled with the care and precision they require.

Want to learn more about the importance of the well water pressure system? Here are some extra insights that can help you understand its significance in ensuring a reliable water supply.

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Ron Jenczewski

We’re replacing a small (5 gallon?) well pressure tank which is mounted horizontally/. I think the new one should be mounted horizontally. Is there a reason to mount it one way only? I think the old one was installed horizontally to make it easier for the installer. However this makes the air pressure valve almost inaccessible to test.

James Layton

Ron, I consulted with a couple of plumbers/well guys. The question is common and you’ll find confusing answers on line and even from manufacturers. Unless the tank specifically says on the specs that is must be mounted in a particular position, it can be mounted either way. I have heard that some fiberglass models require a specific position but I have not personally seen them. One the the reasons some people say to mount the tank horizontally is in case the bladder wears out and hangs loose inside the tank. It is “possible” that the loose piece of rubber bladder can get sucked onto the inlet/outlet and stop water from leaving the pressure tank. This does not appear to be a common issue and is unlikely to occur. Another reason some installers like to mount vertically is to keep sediment from collecting in the tank. I suppose if you had a lot of sediment and no sediment prefilter, this could happen. But again, this would be an unusual situation as it is not commonly reported among well drillers and plumbers. So install as you please!