By: Jake Gallagher | August 23, 2023

Everyone wants a well pressure tank that works in harmony with the well pump. However, that harmony isn’t a guarantee. Like any mechanical system, a little TLC goes a long way. 

In this article, we’ll take a journey into the world of well pressure tank maintenance. We’ll explore everything from recognizing telltale signs of wear and tear to understanding the critical pressure settings that dictate your water flow. 

We’ll discuss how to rid your tank of pesky sediment that can compromise both performance and water quality, and we’ll touch on the safety measures in place to prevent pressure-related mishaps. 

Let’s get started.

Water Well 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 energy 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 water well 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, often near the tank, and use a pressure gauge to accurately measure the current pressure. 

If the settings are off, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to make precise adjustments. 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. Draining sediment

Regularly draining sediment from your well 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.

5. Insulation and protection

Especially in colder climates, 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. It comes in rolls or batts and can be wrapped around the tank and pipes. It 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.

6. Check for air volume control issues

The air volume control (AVC) is responsible for maintaining the correct air pressure within the tank, which affects the tank’s ability 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.

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. 

9. Keep a record

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.

Maintenance for Captive Air Tanks

Captive air tanks, also known as bladder tanks, are a more modern pressure tank design that addresses some of the shortcomings of old-style water pressure tanks. In a captive air tank, a flexible rubber bladder separates the water and air within the tank. As water enters, the bladder expands, compressing the air and storing potential energy. 

The key advantage of bladder tanks is that the water and air remain separate, preventing issues like waterlogging. This design results in more stable pressure regulation, fewer pump cycles, and less wear and tear on the pump.

While both types of tanks require pressure adjustment and water quality testing, the key difference lies in addressing issues specific to each tank’s design. Captive air tanks generally have a more straightforward maintenance routine due to their bladder design:

1. Pressure settings

Begin by consulting the manufacturer’s guidelines or your system manual to identify the recommended cut-in pressure and cut-out pressure settings specific to your captive air tank. These settings dictate when the pump starts and stops, controlling water flow and pressure. 

Using a pressure gauge, measure the current pressure within the tank’s air chamber. If the pressure is not aligned with the manufacturer’s recommendations, make adjustments accordingly. 

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.

2. Pressure-relief valve

The pressure-relief valve plays a crucial safety role in maintaining a captive air tank by ensuring that pressure doesn’t exceed safe levels. Regular maintenance involves testing the pressure-relief valve to confirm its proper functioning. 

Begin by turning off the pump’s power and then opening a faucet to release any pressure within the system. Next, manually lift the valve’s lever to allow a small amount of water to discharge. This action tests the valve’s responsiveness to releasing excess pressure. 

If the valve doesn’t release water or fails to reset properly, it might be clogged or malfunctioning, requiring cleaning or replacement.

3. Air pressure check

Begin by turning off the pump’s power and opening a faucet to release any pressure in the system. Using a pressure gauge, measure the air pressure on the valve stem at the top of the tank. This air pressure acts as a counterbalance to the water pressure, enabling consistent water delivery. 

The measured air pressure should align with the manufacturer’s recommended pressure, typically noted on the tank or in the accompanying documentation. If the air pressure is lower than recommended, use an air compressor to add air until the desired pressure is reached.

4. Water quality tests

Just as with traditional pressure tanks, Monitoring water quality helps detect issues such as bacterial contamination, excessive mineral content, or changes in pH levels that could impact both the captive air tank’s performance and the well’s efficiency. 


In the end, taking care of your well pressure tank turns out to be pretty important. 

Just like a well-loved garden needs a little attention to bloom beautifully, your well pressure tank needs some care to keep your water flowing smoothly. Remember, it’s not just about fixing problems; it’s about preventing them in the first place.

By sticking to these simple steps and keeping a little log of your efforts, you’re making sure your well pressure tank stays healthy for years to come.

Interested in delving deeper into the significance of the well water pressure system? Here, you’ll find additional insights that can aid your understanding.