Rural Water Systems – Controls

The tee at the base of your pressure tank probably has a 1/4 inch tap for a pressure switch, along with other connections for a relief valve, drain valve and pressure gauge.

If you only have one such tank, you can install the pressure switch on the tee.

If you have several tanks in parallel (recommended), mount the pressure switch on the line that feeds the tanks.  Some day you will want to isolate and drain each tank to remove sediment and check the air pressure in the upper chamber.  But you don’t want to shut the entire system down to do it.

Water Diagram

The only valve normally closed in the diagram above is the bypass.  In colder climates, the valve at the exterior hose bibb would be closed during the winter, and water trapped between the two valves would be drained.  If your horses stay off the pasture in the winter you might close that valve as well and drain the line for freeze protection.

This pressure tank is in the loft of a barn.  It is one of several that ‘ride the line’ between the well and treatment system.  Note the tap for the pressure switch is plugged.


To service the tank, you’d shut the valve on the left and open the drain valve near the pressure gauge.  Connect a hose to the drain valve to route the water to a safe location.  Remember, it’s still under pressure even though the isolation valve is closed!

You’ll need 120/240 VAC for your water system.  The motor on your pump probably runs on 240 volts.  Equipment in your pump house likely needs 120 volts but in colder climates you may also need 240 volts for a space heater.

Your contractor will likely install a device that automatically shuts off the pump if it detects low flow or dry running.  If it activates you may have to reset it manually.  The device may be located near the well or in the pump house with other controls.  Ask your contractor so you’ll know what to do when the time comes.

If everything works properly, you’ll have a reliable source of water for your horses.

You’ll only have to worry about a power outage and that won’t be a problem if you have a back-up generator (to be considered in a subsequent post).

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