Do-it-yourself hydraulic accumulator: device, principle of operation, installation features

Nikolay Fedorenko
Checked by a specialist: Nikolay Fedorenko
Author: Elena Pykhteeva
Last update: April 2019

A hydraulic accumulator is an extremely useful device, both for organizing autonomous water supply and for improving the performance of a system connected to a central water supply.

The master, who has at least minimal experience in performing plumbing, will install a hydraulic accumulator with his own hands without any problems and connect it to the water supply system.

Agree, the key to successful work is understanding the device and the principle of operation of the equipment. We will help you understand these issues, as well as describe and illustrate the step-by-step technology for installing a hydraulic accumulator.

Information about connecting, setting up and conducting current repairs of the storage tank will come in handy during its operation.

How the accumulator works

Principle accumulator devices simple, like all ingenious. A rubber conical, pear-shaped or other form of rubber is inserted into the body of the metal tank.

The gasket or membrane is most often made from butyl, which has a significant margin of safety and is resistant to constant stretching and water.

This material is also characterized by high antibacterial properties and meets all hygiene standards. Water entering the tank is held by this gasket; it does not come into contact with the walls of the metal casing.

A nipple is installed on the back of the case, which allows air to be pumped into the tank.

Water and air are separated by a gasket. By pumping or bleeding air, you can adjust the pressure that it exerts on the water. As a result, water enters the system under pressure, and this provides the necessary pressure.

A mandatory element for a hydraulic accumulator is a manometer, with which the current pressure in the tank is controlled. The optimal pressure indicators in the air compartment of the accumulator are considered to be 1.5-2.0 atmospheres.

The scheme of the accumulator
The diagram clearly shows the device of the accumulator. Water enters the upper part, which is held by a rubber membrane, and air is pumped into the lower part, which provides the necessary water pressure

Wherever good pressure is needed, the installation of a hydraulic accumulator will be more than relevant. And the requirements for good pressure are constantly increasing.

For example, for normal operation of an automatic washing machine or dishwasher, at least 0.7-2 atmospheres may be required. A shower with hydromassage or the famous bathtub with a jacuzzi will work normally only in four atmospheres.

It is immediately worth noting that overpressure in the water supply system is not the most useful phenomenon, since this creates an additional and completely unnecessary load on the structure.

This reduces their life and leads to leaks, breakdowns and other problems. Although the pressure can reach even 10 atmospheres during pressure testing of the system, it is best to keep performance at 4-5 atmospheres.

Types of accumulators
Hydraulic accumulators vary in volume, and they can also be oriented horizontally or vertically. Hydraulic tanks designed for operation at high temperatures are designed for heating systems.

Even if the house does not have modern household appliances that are sensitive to the pressure of water in the water supply, a hydraulic accumulator can still come in handy. On the upper floors of high-rise buildings, the water pressure in the water supply system is very, very weak. The accumulator allows you to effectively solve the problem of this kind.

The capacity of the accumulator can vary between 5-100 liters. Of course, to store water, these are very modest numbers. If there is a need to always have a substantial supply of water, it is better to use a storage tank of sufficient volume.

When organizing autonomous water supply, a hydraulic accumulator is used in combination with a surface or submersible pump. The device pumps water into the tank until the pressure reaches a certain, predetermined level. After that, the equipment is turned off automatically.

Water decreases, pressure decreases, reaches a minimum level. At this point, the pump switches on again and runs until the previously empty tank is filled with water.

To regulate the operation of such a system, use pressure switch. This allows you to reduce the number of on / off pumping equipment to a minimum, which significantly increases its service life.

The inlet for supplying water to the accumulator is equipped with a special pipe, which is mounted on a threaded connection.

Modern models are relatively easy to disassemble and then assemble, having performed the necessary maintenance, replacement of elements or other types of repair. If the accumulator is installed correctly, then it will not be necessary to drain the water from the water supply system for its maintenance.

Calculation of the volume of the accumulator
This table can be used to calculate the volume of the tank for a specific situation, based on the predicted working conditions (+)

At choosing a hydraulic accumulator, you should pay attention to the diameter of the pipe and compare it with the size of the water pipe. Experts assure that the more accurate these indicators are, the less hydraulic losses will be in the system. If the diameters of the structures do not match, you will have to use an adapter.

Water has the ability to evaporate, which can affect the pressure in the device. To bleed such excess air on large-capacity hydraulic accumulators - about 100 l - a valve is installed.

Small-volume models do not have such a device. It is recommended to install a valve or tee in the system, which will block the water supply to the water supply system and will allow to remove excess air.

Installation, connection, configuration

Understanding how the accumulator is arranged and works will allow you to correctly install it, competent connection and fine tuning.

From this device during the day the water is drawn and pumped. As a result, the unit is constantly influenced by the working process, during which it is noisy and vibrates. This point should be considered when choosing a place for its installation.

Accumulator installation rules

First you need to choose the most suitable place. It should be spacious enough, especially if a large tank is used.

After installing the container, sufficient space should remain around it so that the master can freely inspect the hydraulic tank, take measures for its maintenance and repair, and, if necessary, dismantle and disassemble the unit.

To dampen vibration, the accumulator should be installed on a solid base, for example, on a concrete slab. The mounting base should be carefully leveled. Between the base and the body of the accumulator put rubber gaskets, which should partially dampen the vibration.

How to connect a device

The accumulator is connected to the water supply system through a special fitting with five outputs.

It is through this element that the remaining elements of the system will be connected to the nozzle of the hydraulic tank, namely:

  • water pipe;
  • source of water intake (e.g. submersible pump);
  • pressure gauge;
  • pressure switch.

The fitting can be installed directly on the nozzle of the hydraulic tank, and on the transition element in the form of a rigid hose. The decision should be made based on where the hydraulic tank is installed and how convenient it is to connect other communications to it.

The pressure gauge, pressure switch and other elements are connected using threaded connections. Of course, all of them should be well sealed and sealed with linen thread, FUM tape or other suitable material.

Accumulator fitting
To connect the accumulator to the water supply system, as well as install a manometer and pressure switch, use a special fitting for five outputs

The pressure switch should also be connected to the mains and to the pump, which is used to supply water. For this, there are two pairs of contacts under the cover of the device. They are usually signed as “pump” and “network”.

If there are no such marks, but the master who connects the relay has no experience in performing electrical work, you should ask for a consultation from a professional electrician.

During the operation of the hydraulic tank, all threaded connections are checked for leaks. To do this, just feel the nozzles of the nozzle and make sure that they remain dry. If a leak is detected, repeated sealing and sealing operations should be carried out.

Pumping station
Very often, a hydraulic tank is part of a pumping station, which also includes a surface pump, pressure gauge and pressure switch.

The hydraulic accumulator in combination with a surface pump is most often used in the form of a complete pumping station. This is an almost ready-to-install unit, including the accumulator itself, and the pressure switch, and the surface pump, and the pressure gauge.

It remains only to connect the pump to a source of water, and the hydraulic tank to the water supply system of the house. After that, it is necessary to provide the pumping station with power, as well as competently set pressure switch.

Schematically, the connection of the pumping station can be represented in the form of the following steps:

  1. Prepare a solid base in a suitable place for installation.
  2. Install the pump station on the base.
  3. Measure and adjust the air pressure in the empty accumulator.
  4. Install a fitting with five exits on the accumulator outlet pipe.
  5. Connect the surface pump pipe to the outlet of the fitting.
  6. Connect a water pipe to the other output.
  7. Install pressure gauge and pressure switch.
  8. Fill the accumulator with water.
  9. Check for leaks at threaded connections.
  10. Set pressure switch.

A surface pump is not always used in the autonomous water supply system of a private house. Owners of deep wells have to use special submersible pumps.

The process of connecting the accumulator to the water supply system with submersible pump perform as follows:

  1. Lower the submersible pump prepared for operation into the water source (well, well, etc.)
  2. Connect the pressure hose or water supply pipe of the pump to the five-piece fitting.
  3. Connect the accumulator pipe to one of the outlets of the fitting.
  4. Install pressure gauge and pressure switch.
  5. Connect the accumulator to the water system of the house.

When connecting the hydraulic tank to the submersible pump, installation check valve, which will prevent the outflow of water into the well when the pump is turned off.

Battery connection diagram
This diagram allows you to understand the procedure for connecting the accumulator to the water supply network with a submersible pump. As with the installation of the pumping station, a special fitting (+) is required here

Some important nuances

To connect the accumulator use special flexible adapters. This helps to reduce the effect of vibrations on the plumbing system.

It should be borne in mind that in this section, between the water supply and the accumulator, it is unacceptable to reduce the clearance of the connecting structures, since this will worsen the hydraulic characteristics of the system.

Accumulator connection
To reduce the effect of vibration that occurs during operation of the hydraulic tank, it is recommended to use special flexible inlets. Their sizes should not be smaller than the diameter of the output to which they are connected

The initial filling of the tank with water must be performed very slowly. The fact is that during prolonged storage the rubber membrane made in the form of a pear could simply stick together.

A sharp stream of water can break the gasket, and with a low pressure it will neatly crack. Another really important point - before supplying water to the accumulator, you should completely remove air from the part into which water will be pumped.

Immediately after unpacking the purchased battery, and / or immediately before connecting it, you must measure the pressure of the air that is pumped in. This indicator should be 1.5 atm, that’s how accumulators are pumped up during production. However, during storage at the warehouse before the sale, leakage of part of this air is a completely natural phenomenon.

The most reliable option for such measurements is a conventional automobile pressure gauge with a suitable gradation scale that allows measurements to be taken with an accuracy of 0.1 atmosphere. As practice has shown, using cheap Chinese plastic models for these purposes is not worth it; their accuracy is very doubtful.

Electronic models are sensitive to the environment, and this is too expensive an option for a conventional accumulator.

What should be the air pressure in a water tank filled with water? It all depends on the situation.

A pressure of 1.5 atmospheres will provide a pretty decent pressure of water in the water supply system. But it should be remembered that the higher the pressure, the smaller the volume of water stored in the tank. If you need a solid supply of water, and a good head, it makes sense to look for a large tank.

Pressure gauge for accumulator
To control the air pressure in the hydraulic tank, it is recommended to use a conventional automobile pressure gauge, which allows measurements to be made with an accuracy of 0.1 atmosphere

It is recommended that in the accumulator, the operating parameters of the air pressure are less than the minimum pressure that causes the pump to turn on by about 0.5-1.0 atmospheres. Sometimes they act differently.

The air pressure in the accumulator is left at 1.5 atmospheres, as set at the factory, and the value of the minimum pressure or on-pressure is calculated as 2.0-2.5 atmospheres. Thus, to the air pressure in an empty tank - 1.5 atmospheres - this difference of 0.5-1.0 atmospheres is added.

Excess pressure does not affect the integrity of the elements of the tank too well, but low air pressure in it is not useful. If this indicator is reduced to less than one atmosphere, the membrane will touch the walls of the tank. This will lead to its deformation and rapid breakdown.

Pressure switch
Two springs are designed to regulate the pressure switch. Using the first set the pump shutdown pressure, and with the second - the difference between the maximum and minimum pressure

After the system is installed and connected, it is necessary to configure the pressure switch. To do this, under the body there are two adjusting nuts with springs. The procedure for adjusting the pressure switch is usually described in detail in the instructions that came with the device.

Rules of operation and repair

Connecting and adjusting the accumulator correctly is only half the battle. For the device to work for a long time, it must be correctly operated, periodically perform preventive inspection and maintenance.

The instructions require a professional examination twice a year, but practice shows that this is not enough. Check the condition of the accumulator every three months. It is advisable to observe the settings of the pressure switches with the same frequency so that they can be corrected if necessary.

Incorrect operation of the relay creates additional loads on the entire system, which can affect the state of the accumulator.

If dents or traces of corrosion are found on the device case during inspection, these damage must be repaired. This is best done as early as possible, otherwise the corrosion processes will develop, which can lead to a violation of the integrity of the body of the accumulator.

An important preventive measure is checking the pressure in the tank itself with a manometer. If necessary, pump the correct amount of air into the device or vent excess air.

If this does not help and the new gauge readings do not meet the expected ones, then either the integrity of the accumulator housing is violated or its membrane is damaged.

Accumulator repair
If the diaphragm installed in the accumulator has worn out, you can try to replace it with a new one. To do this, the device will have to be dismantled and disassembled

Some craftsmen manage to detect and repair damage to the hull, but such repairs are far from always durable and reliable. Rubber liner or membrane is the weak point of the accumulator. Over time, she wears out.

You can replace the membrane with a new element at home, but for this you will have to completely disassemble and reassemble the accumulator.

Place for accumulator
When choosing a suitable location for installing a hydraulic accumulator, remember that it must be spacious enough to carry out maintenance on the device.

If a home craftsman doubts his abilities in this area or does not have enough experience, he can do even more damage to the device than the previous failure. In this situation, it is better to contact the service center.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

An overview of the operation of the 50-liter accumulator is presented in the following video:

This video demonstrates the procedure for adjusting the pressure in the hydraulic tank and setting the pressure switch:

The advantages of using a hydraulic accumulator are obvious, therefore, this device is increasingly being used in private houses outside the city and in the apartments of a metropolis. If the unit is installed and connected correctly, it will work for many years without breakdowns and interruptions, providing the family with high-quality water supply.

Have experience in self-installation and connection of a hydraulic accumulator? Please share information with our readers, tell us about the features of setting up and operating the hydraulic tank. You can leave comments in the form below.

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Visitors Comments
  1. Vladimir

    We live in a cottage type village. The houses are economical, but all are connected to the central water supply and, which is especially nice, to the gas supply. The only thing that did not suit was the water pressure at a minimum level. There was enough pressure for a washing machine and a dishwasher, but it turned out to be completely insufficient for a shower in the hydrobox. The hydraulic accumulator solved the problem, I was able to connect it myself.

  2. Alyona

    We live in an old wooden house in which there is no water supply! It is expensive to establish autonomous communications; we do not have such means! There is no well either, we carry water from the column, which is 300 meters from us. The husband says that you can buy and install a pump station with a hydraulic tank. She plans to arrange it near a large storage tank with water, from which she wants to run pipes to the kitchen. He says that you don’t need to dig a well for this! Tell me, is my husband right, is it possible to make water supply in a private house in this way?

    • Expert
      Nikolay Fedorenko

      Hello, hello. Unfortunately, the question is not entirely clear. If you have a column 300 meters from the house and there is no other source of water supply, then how does your spouse plan to get water? A hydraulic tank is a hydraulic tank, but it must be filled with fluid from somewhere. Most likely, you misunderstood your spouse and he plans to drill to a water carrier.

  3. Eugene

    I plan to organize watering using a home-made accumulator. There is a garden ejector pump and in order not to run constantly turning it on and off I plan to put a check valve in the tank with a filter and weld a fitting with a pressure switch bolted to the pump outlet. The point is that when you turn on / off the watering gun, the pump turns on / off automatically.