Hydro-Pneumatic Tank For Domestic Water Booster System

Booster system hydro-pneumatic tanks are commonly confused with expansion tanks because both types of tanks use the same bladder type/cylindrical construction; however, each tank serves a different purpose: an expansion tank is used to compensate for liquid expansion due to temperature change, and a hydro-pneumatic tank is used primarily to store extra capacity in a domestic line.

 

The extra water in the tank is used to compensate for low demand situations and/or small leakages without energizing a pump. Eventually, a hydro-pneumatic tank prevents a booster system from short-cycling.

Hydro-pneumatic tank connected to discharge manifold of a booster syste.

Connection details of hydro-pneumatic tank.

IMPORTANT: Do not install check valve on the tank connection line.

A Hydro-pneumatic tank only provides certain drawdown capacity (typically 20-30% of a bladder rated capacity); therefore, it is incorrect to assume that a 185-gallon bladder tank will provide and extra 185 gallons of pressurized water. Please check the manufacturers’ drawdown tank characteristics in order to receive a correct estimate.

Hydro-pneumatic tank on a variable speed booster systems

Whether or not there is a need for a hydro-pneumatic tank on a variable speed booster system is a subject of speculation in the plumbing industry. Some specialists claim that flexibility of a variable speed booster system eliminates the need for a tank. VFD pumps are able to pressurize a domestic line above a set point and create extra capacity. In addition, some specialists argue that a tank may allow Legionella bacteria to develop due to the existence of static water in the tank; however, no evidence exists that proves there is bacteria development in hydro-pneumatic tanks. Conversely, proponents of hydro-pneumatic tanks claim that they prolong the life of a booster system by reducing operating cycles. In addition, tanks installed with booster systems on high-rise building applications may act as compensators protecting check valves and piping.

There is no concrete answer to whether or not it is necessary to install a tank on a variable speed system. Elimination of the need to install a tank does give advantages to competitors of booster manufacturers, but ultimately, it is a customer’s decision whether or not to use a hydro-pneumatic tank.

 

 Hydro-pneumatic tanks on constant speed booster systems

Hydro-pneumatic tanks are widely used with constant speed booster systems. As a result, they provide extra storage capacity and expand the life of a booster system. Constant speed booster systems typically are used in smaller residential/light commercial applications with a limited single phase of 115V electrical supply. In such settings, booster pumps often do not keep up with a set pressure due to high demand; therefore, users have limited options for increasing pump capacity without performing changes in the electrical box because booster manufacturers typically require 208-460 three phase or 208-230 single phase supply for pumps over 1HP. A hydro-pneumatic tank is a cost effective solution that allows for extra capacity during low loads without necessitating an increase in motor HP.

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