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lhowemt

Water pump & accumulator

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Hey all-  I am going to replace our water pump and want to install an accumulator tank.

Tank: I am tied into this type of tank:  

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Utilitech-2-Gallon-Vertical-Pressure-Tank/1038561

And have some fitting/winterizing questions.  I was thinking that I want to T that in to my water line, and go valve, union, valve, tank.  This would allow me to remove the tank for the winter, while not spilling water all over the place.  The valve on the system side would allow me to glycol in the fall (and spring bleach/flush) without the tank in.

Question - what do others do, regarding these tanks and glycol?  I was thinking it would be a freeze hazard, as it will be installed on its side so nearly impossible to drain well.  Removing it I can fully drain it and safely put it in the basement.

Question - any recommendations on piping, valving, unions to make these connections to pex?  I have never worked with PEX, easy DIY options for connecting to this new T?

Water pump-  Ours is nearly 20 years old, so as it is weakening I am just going to replace it.  Recommendations of make/model?  How about easy to purge inlet filters (we get a lot of debris in our well water/piping system at the house).  Existing pump is a Shurflo 2088-403-144, 2.8 gpm.

Also, any recommendations on a product to use for an outlet loop on the pump for noise?

 

Thanks so much!!!

Laura 

(II am an engineer, very skilled at DIY stuff, just FYI)

Edited by lhowemt

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I installed a similar 2-gallon accumulator from Home Depot in our coach. I purposely oriented it upright with the water port at the bottom to ensure good drainage if I needed to winterize, I used a Watts quick connect inline shutoff valve, similar to ones from Sharkbite and others, so I can isolate the tank after draining the system.  I have the same pump as yours, albeit a bit newer, and it works fine providing a nominal 45 PSI. When connected to a park water or residential source where the pump isn't needed, I use a commonly available replaceable element inline filter that catches debris and reduces chlorine taste plus other unwanted elements right at the tap. Our pump was originally located in a cabinet right next to the bed, a completely unacceptable location for my light sleeper wife. I relocated the pump down into the water bay and mounted it on a foam pad made from some old mouse pads. I used 40" replacement nylon shower head hoses for the vibration isolation loops. Much more flexible than the isolation hoses sold by Camco, etc. Now we just hear a low hum when the pump runs. Not having the pump run every time we open a faucet makes the modest cost and labor to add an accumulator tank well worth while. We often go all night with the usual old age bathroom trips and no pump running until morning. The fewer pump starts probably extends the life of the pump motor as well. A "win-win" as I see it...

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I am going to respond based upon the assumption that this will be done in your RV. My first comment is that I strongly recommend that if you will be installing this tank in a horizontal position, don't use a vertical designed tank but get one intended for horizontal use. I checked several sets of instructions for such tanks and all say not to do that. If installing it into an RV, I wonder why such a large tank as most RV accumulators are 1 liter or less.

For winterizing, I have never concerned myself with going to the trouble that you are but I always mounted the tank in the position as designed and so when the system was drained of water the pressure on the diaphragm forced all water from the tank. Even if a very small amount of water were left in the tank, freezing would not harm it since there is room for expansion,. When adding antifreeze, I never worried about the accumulator since I never pumped antifreeze into the system to pressurize it but only ran the pump until I got antifreeze from the faucets and then shut off the pump leaving the faucet open, relieving any pressure. Why store the RV with water system pressurized?

On the plumbing issue, if you use the one you link to, the instructions for it also state that it must be installed with a pressure relief valve. Those designed for RV use are also intended to be left in place and don't require a pressure relief. Shurflow does make a 2 gallon, stainless steel tank for RV/boat use if you think that you need that much but I tend to wonder if that isn't overkill? 

On the pump, I replaced ours in our previous RV with a Flowjet pump and was quite happy with it for the 5 or so years that I owned it. 

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Kirk, we had one of the smaller Shurflo tanks in an earlier RV, but it really didn't do a lot to minimize pump starts, although it was an effective hammer eliminator. Our 2-gallon tank is much more effective for both anti-hammering and minimizing pump starts. I think the Shurflo 2-gallon SS tank is way overpriced though, when a standard painted steel tank serves the same purpose at a quarter of the cost. For RV use in particular, I think no relief valve is needed regardless of the tank supplier, since the whole RV plumbing system is typically pressure rated at or below the tank rating. The weakest failure point is the bladder itself, and the tank we have is rated for a max working pressure of 120 PSI.

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Of course this is for a RV, is this not a RV forum? :)

Yea the acc tank is to reduce pump cycling, especially for nighttime (noise) as the pump is under the bed.  Installation orientation doesn't matter on bladder tanks, except for the freezing (draining) issue.  I believe that is why they say upright installation.  I want the 2 gal one because it is the biggest I can fit and 1 gallon or so of water expansion will be a HUGE improvement.

 

What about the pex connection, diy methods?

Edited by lhowemt

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I used Watts/Sea Tech quick connect fittings for my accumulator tank installation. They work fine with the PEX piping in our coach. Sharkbite or Gatorbite fittings from the big box stores also work well. No tools needed except a sharp utility knife for any of them.

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Laura - We actually have 2 accum tanks. The 1 gallon tank came with the trailer when bought and I added a second tank for RO drinking water. 

The original tank (1 gal) is located in the storage compartment of the trailer and is mounted on it's side. It is a Camco SS tank and has a shutoff valve right next to it. I have never used the valve - but it is there. 

 

The second tank is a accum tank used for the RO water and is a painted steel but it looks like the fittings on the tank are SS which would make sense as aggressive as RO is. 

 

I did as your attempting but used the push lok fittings and left out the union. With the pushloks, and a loop of tubing, it stops the vibration pulses, allows the disconnect, drain (tank side tube is about 5-6 foot extra long so I can get it out of the compartment and away from me when I open the second valve)  and any trim that may be needed next year if the tube gets marred. 

So, from the tank back to existing plumbing, tank, 90* fitting, xx_feet of tube+5-6'  extra coiled with tyraps, pushlok valve, 6" tube, pushlock valve, tee into existing point.

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18 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

I am going to respond based upon the assumption that this will be done in your RV. My first comment is that I strongly recommend that if you will be installing this tank in a horizontal position, don't use a vertical designed tank but get one intended for horizontal use. I checked several sets of instructions for such tanks and all say not to do that. If installing it into an RV, I wonder why such a large tank as most RV accumulators are 1 liter or less.

For winterizing, I have never concerned myself with going to the trouble that you are but I always mounted the tank in the position as designed and so when the system was drained of water the pressure on the diaphragm forced all water from the tank. Even if a very small amount of water were left in the tank, freezing would not harm it since there is room for expansion,. When adding antifreeze, I never worried about the accumulator since I never pumped antifreeze into the system to pressurize it but only ran the pump until I got antifreeze from the faucets and then shut off the pump leaving the faucet open, relieving any pressure. Why store the RV with water system pressurized?

On the plumbing issue, if you use the one you link to, the instructions for it also state that it must be installed with a pressure relief valve. Those designed for RV use are also intended to be left in place and don't require a pressure relief. Shurflow does make a 2 gallon, stainless steel tank for RV/boat use if you think that you need that much but I tend to wonder if that isn't overkill? 

On the pump, I replaced ours in our previous RV with a Flowjet pump and was quite happy with it for the 5 or so years that I owned it. 

Kirk, I installed one of these in a previous RV and the difference between having it in-line with the pump versus not is like night and day,  Since the larger tank is the same price as an RV one liter accumulator tank I decided to go with the larger capacity one.

Another benefit of adding an accumulator tank to the cold water system is it eliminates the need to maintain an expansion air pocket in the water heater.  The reason you need an air pocket is an RV has a closed water system with one way check valves at the pump and at the utility water inlet.  When the water in the tank is heated it expands, in a house the excess can expand into the connected city water lines.  In an RV there's no place for it to go until the system pressure rises enough to expand the plastic plumbing or the water heater's overpressure valve releases the excess pressure.  An accumulator tank on the cold water side solves this problem.

You're right about the pressure relief valve for the tank referenced in the original post - it's only rated for 100 PSI.  I'd go with this one instead, which matches the 150 PSI rating of the relief valve on the water heater:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Utilitech-2-Gallon-Expansion-Pressure-Tank/1038591

Edited by Lou Schneider

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While I have no disagreement with the theory that larger is better for an accumulator/pressure tank, the law of diminishing returns applies. Even the smallest of the RV accumulators will give you most of the benefits that the largest ones do, such as no longer needing to worry about the bubble in your water heater. No doubt about it, the larger ones do have a longer period between pump operations, but they also then cause the pump to run for a much longer time when it does turn on. Every benefit also comes with a cost in some way. Larger tanks take more space and may cost more. The small vertical ones for the RV market cost more for the size but they don't have any problem when you winterize so no need to remove one and they take far less space to accomodate so are often more easily located near the water pump. I got my first one it was one of the smallest of those in the RV market, because of very limited space to install it into a pretty small RV. I was amazed by just how much effect it had so when we moved up to a larger RV, I also put in a larger accumulator. In many ways that larger one was better, but the difference in pump run time was very noticable. 

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My entire 2-gallon accumulator tank installation cost was about $50 including the tank, fittings, and the support and trapping to hold it in place. With the tank mounted vertically with the water port at the bottom, there is no need to remove it for winterizing. I learned long ago that one of the worst things we can do to all electrical devices is turn them on. That initial thermal shock is when most failures occur, as I'm sure most people have noticed when light bulbs almost always burn out at turn on. In fact there's a light bulb in a firehouse in CA that's been burning steadily for 115 years except for one 9 hour period in 2015 when the UPS power supply failed. It's long life is generally attributed to the lack of power cycling. Given that, the fewer times our water pump motors start up, the longer the motor will likely last, and a larger accumulator assists with that. Sure the motor runs longer, but the fewer startup thermal shocks the better.

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My acc tank is factory OEM. It has only one pipe connection, which connects to a Tee in the cold water line, with a 1/4 turn ball valve between Tee and tank. Winterization is quite easy, when the system  is drained, close the ball-valve then continue with winterization. NO antifreeze gets in the tank this way. Pre-pressurization psi is critical for proper pump operation (your specific pump's high/low cutouts)

Our pump is hard to hear anyway, but it seldom runs during the nightly visits to the throne room, thanks to the acc tank. Speaking to the comment about having an acc tank to "help" the water heater, I just installed a residential water heater here at home. The instructions recommend an acc tank to prevent the overtemp/pressure relief valve from weeping.

Yes these tanks must be installed as designed,

Edited by Ray,IN

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Ray, that's exactly the way I installed our tank. And since I relocated the water pump from under a bedside cabinet down to the water bay, it's also super quiet.

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On ‎3‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 1:34 PM, lhowemt said:

Hey all-  I am going to replace our water pump and want to install an accumulator tank.

Tank: I am tied into this type of tank:  

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Utilitech-2-Gallon-Vertical-Pressure-Tank/1038561

And have some fitting/winterizing questions.  I was thinking that I want to T that in to my water line, and go valve, union, valve, tank.  This would allow me to remove the tank for the winter, while not spilling water all over the place.  The valve on the system side would allow me to glycol in the fall (and spring bleach/flush) without the tank in.

Question - what do others do, regarding these tanks and glycol?  I was thinking it would be a freeze hazard, as it will be installed on its side so nearly impossible to drain well.  Removing it I can fully drain it and safely put it in the basement.

Question - any recommendations on piping, valving, unions to make these connections to pex?  I have never worked with PEX, easy DIY options for connecting to this new T?

Water pump-  Ours is nearly 20 years old, so as it is weakening I am just going to replace it.  Recommendations of make/model?  How about easy to purge inlet filters (we get a lot of debris in our well water/piping system at the house).  Existing pump is a Shurflo 2088-403-144, 2.8 gpm.

Also, any recommendations on a product to use for an outlet loop on the pump for noise?

 

Thanks so much!!!

Laura 

(II am an engineer, very skilled at DIY stuff, just FYI)

The tank you listed, and most of this type, use an internal pressure bladder.  When the tank is emptied, the bladder is still under pressure so it drives out virtually all of the water.  I would only worry about the small amount of water in the lines after it is drained, that would be the only water that could freeze.

This type of fitting Tube fittings can be used easily to connect/disconnect, just watch sizes.  Normally PEX requires special fittings and crimp rings with a special tool to do the actual crimping, expensive!

Won't comment on the actual pump, several good ones available, look for 4 chamber models.

A loop of soft reinforced tubing at inlet and outlet plus placing the pump on a pad (carpet remnant etc.) will keep the pump quiet.  Consider putting in a winterizing kit at that time also.

 

Also a retired engineer: process, chemical and mechanical.

Edited by mscans
additions

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For the "quiet loop" pump vibration isolation, I'm using two 40" replacement shower head hoses. They're very flexible of course, even more so than the isolation kit  hoses that Camco sells. The fittings on them are correct for the pump threads.

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You'll likely also need a couple of 1/2" pipe couplings to connect the other hose ends to the existing fittings. I used CPVC fittings from a local hardware store. No rust... ;)

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Thanks everyone for the tips!  

I have never seen the inside of a bladder pressure tank, I guess I didn't think that it drove ALL of the water out.  I don't think I will risk it, closing it off without glycol, living in MT we get below 20 below for extended periods.  However that may be good enough to just glycol the tank, and not mess with removal.  3 or 4 fill and flushes should do the job in the spring.  We don't drink it anyways, so a tiny bit of residual is not a huge concern.  And I'll  be bleaching it after flush and before use.

I like the loop ideas for noise, thanks.  And I am glad to hear pex has some diy connection options.  

Mscans we are the same!  I got a degree in Chem E, worked as a process engineer, then moved over to get my license in Mechanical.  A person has to be creative to stay in MT..... but hvac is not the most exciting engineering.  As a gal I find it better to just tell people up front that I have some knowledge and skilzz...

On the pump start/run time, the darn pump is going to run about the same time either way.  3 of 20s bursts is the same as a sustained 1 minute run....  living on a well, I HATE excessive pump cycling.  And yes it shortens the life of the pump.  Turn it on and let it run.  

Our camping area is still snowed in so one more weekend of truck camping for rafting.  I suppose I better start putting this stuff together so I am ready to do the job in about a month when it gets time to drain and dewinterize.

Happy camping all!!!

Edited by lhowemt

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The bladder tank doesn't need to drive all of the water out, just enough so that any small amount left doesn't cause any damage as it freezes and expands. I do suggest closing the valve to keep the pink stuff out of the tank though. It can be tough to get it all rinsed out in the spring. I rarely winterize any more, but when I do, I use the blow out method with pink stuff only used in the drain traps.

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10 hours ago, lhowemt said:

On the pump start/run time, the darn pump is going to run about the same time either way.  3 of 20s bursts is the same as a sustained 1 minute run....  

Well..................  True scientificaly speaking, but I assure you that a 1 minute run while you are awake is far less than 3 spurts of 20 seconds each when you are trying to sleep.

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14 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

Well..................  True scientificaly speaking, but I assure you that a 1 minute run while you are awake is far less than 3 spurts of 20 seconds each when you are trying to sleep.

Yes, I am in your camp.  Having worked with an acoustical engineer on hvac noise complaints,  science supports that change in noise is typically more noticeable than a continuous noise.  Let "er run!

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15 hours ago, Dutch_12078 said:

The bladder tank doesn't need to drive all of the water out, just enough so that any small amount left doesn't cause any damage as it freezes and expands. I do suggest closing the valve to keep the pink stuff out of the tank though. It can be tough to get it all rinsed out in the spring. I rarely winterize any more, but when I do, I use the blow out method with pink stuff only used in the drain traps.

Holy heck. I cannot imagine not winterizing.  And with my luck I'd have the tank side of the closed valve freeze and leak.  I don't trust anything over the winter without glycol in my area.  I have seen cooling coils get blown out and still pop leaks come spring.  No thanks for me.  We blow out the rv and then glycol, at least then we need minimal glycol.  

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I would recommend NOT running chlorine into these tanks  due to the corrosive nature of chlorine.  If you read the Use and Care Guide pdf, the warranty is void if anything other than water alone is introduced into the tank.  You also do not know what chlorine will do the the bladder of these tanks.  These tanks are really intended to be used with water well pumps, not RV systems, and the only thing that would be inside the tank would be water. 

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Quote

 These tanks are really intended to be used with water well pumps, not RV systems, and the only thing that would be inside the tank would be water. 

Interesting comment as clearly those sold to the RV market are sold for use with chlorinated water as well as with well water. Sanitizing an RV water system only calls for 1/4 cup of chlorine bleach per 10 gallons and that is only 8.25% chlorine as it cones from the jug. You only need 50 PPM(parts/million) to sanitize the system.  The environmental guides also recommend that wells be samitized periodically with bleach or some similar product. I have used chlorine bleach for both our well and for our RV for many years with no negative results to the pressure tank or accumulators. 

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19 hours ago, lhowemt said:

Holy heck. I cannot imagine not winterizing.  And with my luck I'd have the tank side of the closed valve freeze and leak.  I don't trust anything over the winter without glycol in my area.  I have seen cooling coils get blown out and still pop leaks come spring.  No thanks for me.  We blow out the rv and then glycol, at least then we need minimal glycol.  

Ummm, we rarely winterize because we live in the motorhome nearly year round? :D

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