Learn How to Maintain a Pressure Tank and Keep Your Well System Running Smoothly

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

Key Takeaways

  • Keeping a record of all your maintenance and any repairs will extend your pressure tank’s life expectancy.

For more information about well systems and well water, check out our guides below.

Well Water Pressure Tank Maintenance

Neglecting well pressure tank maintenance can lead to a host of issues that impact the efficiency and safety of your well water system:

  • Sediment buildup
  • Higher electric bills
  • Corrosion and leaks
  • Localized water damage
  • Poor water flow
  • Damage to the pump
  • Dangerous pressure levels

Don’t panic. You don’t have to be an expert to properly maintain your well water pressure tank. Here are some key aspects of well pressure tank maintenance:

1. Regular inspection

Begin by visually examining the tank’s exterior for signs of rust, corrosion, dents, or leaks. These could indicate structural weaknesses or impending failures. Inspect fittings, connections, and pipes for any visible leaks or deterioration. 

Additionally, be on the lookout for water puddles, damp spots, or mold growth around the tank, which could indicate hidden leaks.

2. Pressure settings

Take a look at your manufacturer’s recommendations or system manual to identify the ideal cut-in and cut-out pressure settings, ensuring the pump starts and stops at the appropriate thresholds. To adjust these settings, locate the pressure switch, and, using a pressure gauge if one isn’t built in, measure the current pressure. 

If the settings are off, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to make precise adjustments. Increasing or decreasing the air pressure can impact the tank’s efficiency and the overall performance of your water system, so precise alignment with the recommended settings is essential.

Proper pressure settings not only ensure consistent water flow and pressure throughout your home but also prevent excessive wear on the pump, ultimately increasing its lifespan. 

3. Pressure relief valve

The pressure-relief valve is a critical safety component of your well pressure tank, designed to prevent over-pressurization that could lead to system damage or hazards. Regular maintenance of this valve involves testing its functionality to ensure it releases excess pressure effectively. 

To do this, turn off the power to the pump, open a faucet to release pressure, and then manually lift the valve’s lever to allow a small amount of water to discharge.

If the valve doesn’t release water or doesn’t reset properly, it might be clogged or malfunctioning, necessitating either cleaning or replacement. A functional pressure relief valve prevents potentially dangerous pressure buildup and safeguards both your equipment and your home.

4. Sediment drainage

In areas with high sediment, regularly draining sediment from your upright pressure tank ensures optimal performance and water quality. Sediment, including minerals and debris, can accumulate at the bottom of the tank over time, diminishing its capacity and potentially affecting water clarity. 

Turn off the power to the pump, open a faucet to relieve pressure, and then use the tank’s drain valve to flush out the accumulated sediment. Regular draining (usually every 6–12 months) prevents clogs in pipes and fittings, maintains efficient water flow, and reduces strain on the pump.

Draining sediment from a smaller, horizontally mounted pressure tank is a bit trickier than with an upright pressure tank because the drain is not on the bottom. With this type of pressure tank, you’d have to disconnect it, tip it on its side, and shake it out to remove any sediment buildup.

5. Insulation and protection

This only applies to people who install their tank outside. The vast majority of people keep their pressure tank in the house.

However, if your tank is outside, insulating the tank safeguards it from freezing temperatures, which can lead to cracks or ruptures. Choose appropriate insulation materials and wrap them securely around the tank and its pipes to maintain a consistent temperature. 

Examples of insulation materials include the following:

  • Fiberglass insulation: Fiberglass insulation is commonly used for insulating well pressure tanks. Wrapping it around tank and pipes offers good thermal resistance and is relatively easy to work with.
  • Foam insulation: Foam insulation boards or spray foam can create a more airtight and moisture-resistant barrier around the tank. Spray foam, in particular, can fill gaps and provide comprehensive insulation.
  • Reflective foil insulation: Reflective foil insulation is often used in combination with other insulation materials to provide additional heat reflectivity and insulation value. It can be particularly effective in preventing heat loss.
  • Insulated blankets: These blankets are pre-cut and designed to fit snugly around the tank, providing both insulation and protection.

When using insulation materials, ensure they are properly installed and sealed to provide consistent coverage and protection. The specific material you choose may depend on the climate in your area, your budget, and the availability of materials.

You also need to make sure the insulation materials are protected from exposure to rain and snow, especially fiberglass or insulated blankets. Hopefully, they’ll come already waterproof, but if not, you’ll have to apply some sort of protective plastic layer.

6. Air volume control maintenance

First of all, modern well pressure tanks are bladder-type tanks. They have a rubber pressurized bladder inside. They do not have an air volume control device. You’ll only find these on older pressure tanks, called hydropneumatic tanks or atmospheric tanks.

The air volume control (AVC) is responsible for maintaining the correct air pressure within the tank, which allows the tank to maintain consistent water pressure. 

To address AVC issues, first locate the AVC on the tank (often near the top) and ensure it’s securely attached and not damaged. Next, check the air pressure using a tire pressure gauge — it should match the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. 

If the pressure is low, use an air compressor to adjust it. If the AVC is malfunctioning or not properly maintaining air pressure, it might need cleaning, adjustment, or replacement. Keeping the AVC in check ensures your well pressure tank will operate efficiently, preventing pressure fluctuations and maintaining a steady and reliable water supply throughout your home.

It’s important to note that if you swap out an old AVC-style tank with a modern bladder-style one, do not attempt to install the AVC on the new tank.

7. Professional maintenance

While some maintenance tasks can be handled by homeowners, a professional inspection offers a more comprehensive assessment. A well system expert can assess the entire system, including the pump, pressure tank, and associated components, identifying potential issues that might go unnoticed. 

They can perform tests to measure the pump’s output, evaluate pressure settings, and confirm the tank’s integrity. Professionals can also provide expert recommendations on adjustments, repairs, or replacements based on their experience and expertise. 

Scheduling periodic professional maintenance not only provides peace of mind but also helps catch and address potential problems early, preventing more significant issues and disruptions in your water supply down the line. Paying a professional may ultimately save you money.

8. Water quality testing

Incorporating water quality testing into your well pressure tank maintenance routine can ensure the safety and purity of your household water supply. Regular testing involves collecting water samples and analyzing them for contaminants, bacteria, minerals, and other impurities. 

These tests offer insights into the health of your well and the surrounding groundwater. Monitoring water quality helps you identify issues such as bacterial contamination, excessive mineral content, or changes in pH levels that might affect both the condition of your pressure tank and the well’s overall efficiency. 

To have your well water tested by an accredited laboratory, visit Tap Score.

9. Recordkeeping

Documenting each inspection, test, adjustment, or repair allows you to track the maintenance history of your pressure tank, enabling you to identify patterns, spot recurring issues, and establish a reliable maintenance schedule. 

This record becomes a valuable resource for future troubleshooting, helping you to make informed decisions about the condition of your tank and potential improvements to your maintenance routine. 

Furthermore, having a well-documented maintenance log can be immensely beneficial when selling your property, providing evidence of responsible ownership and a well-cared-for well water system.


Proper care of your well pressure tank is an important part of maintaining a healthy well system.

If you regularly monitor the tank, its fittings, and fixtures, as well as checking the settings regularly and draining buildup annually, you can ensure your pressure tank will keep working optimally.

Interested in learning more about well water systems? Check out these articles:

Do you have lots to say about well water? Share your thoughts below in our comment section! We’d love to hear from you.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments