[Please forgive bad terminology - I'm new to this]

My water tank doesn't seem to take a charge at all. I'm hoping to get some suggestions as to what is happening. I have a bladder tank. If just a single tap is open, the pump turns on after only 5-10 seconds.

My theory is that the air nozzle leading to the bladder is blocked.

I've tested this theory with the following:

  1. Turn off the pump, open a tap and let the pressure drop to zero
  2. Open up the air nozzle and try to inflate the bladder manually with a bike pump.

When I do this, it feels like no air is getting into the tank:

  1. When I connect the air pump, there's no hiss of air escaping
  2. The gauge on the air pump immediately spikes. I've had it up to 50 psi, and it does not decrease over time
  3. The water pressure from the tap does not increase with the air pressure.

I've even removed the schraeder valve and tried the above with the same results.

Does anyone know what might be happening? (or is anyone willing to tell me how stupid I am for missing an obvious cause :)

  • Do you see water leaking from the bladder tank?
    – 3264
    Jul 5, 2011 at 21:19

2 Answers 2


The bladder has a leak in it, causing the tank to essentially fill with water. There is no room for air to go to charge the tank.

Replacing the tank is the cure.

  • But if the bladder had a leak in it, wouldn't I see a water pressure increase as I pumped air into the tank? Jul 4, 2011 at 15:24

The problem ended up being a mineral buildup around the air nozzle. I poked through that with a drill bit (after letting the pressure drop to zero). Once the nozzle was clear, I could use the air pump.

However, it looks like there is no bladder at all (or it has a massive rip, not just a tiny leak). The tank empties completely, and no amount of pumping will increase the air pressure.

So eventually I'll have to get a new tank, but for now, I'll just settle for draining it every once in a while.

  • 2
    If you have mineral buildup around the air nozzle, that should be your first indication that the bladder has failed. And rather than poking it with a drill, next time try washing it with water. The minerals should dissolve.
    – BMitch
    Jul 12, 2011 at 14:09

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