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  1. #1
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    Default How do water tanks on the roof work?

    Can someone please explain to me the whole process of how the water tanks on the roof are supposed to work? Our apartment has one on the roof, but when the power goes, there is no backup water. While I was down in the DR, I tried to speak to the manager, but I got nowhere. Our apartment has an inverter, so at least we have backup power. Now if I knew how the whole system was supposed to work, then I could sound a little more knowledgeable the next time I'm down there. Could it be as simple as an empty tank? How do I get water into it? How does it stay full?

    I managed to solve most of my other maintenance issues while I was there, but I couldn't tackle this one. Maybe I just need some big DR1 thugs to come and pay my manager a visit! Half the time, he doesn't know what he's doing!

    Maryanne

  2. #2
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    Default Your water tank?

    1st, Does it belong to the building, or did a single tenant, have it installed?

    It needs to have water pumped up, to it.
    best way to turn the pump on & off, is with a float switch. It kind of works like your toilet bowl, low=on, high=off.

    Maybe the pump is out?
    Bad or cracked tank/ and or plumbing?
    Maybe the suction check valve, in the ground tank, is clogged?

    It's a pretty simple set-up, that should only take less than a day to diagnose.

    Tim H.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Tim!

    The tank belongs to the building and it was only installed this past November. It's new, so I doubt there are cracks and quite frankly, I don't think it has ever worked. The water pump is working but maybe it isn't strong enough. I'll have Guillermo (mi novia) talk to the manager (again!).

    I might have to bite the bullet and get someone out to look at it the next time I'm in town. But I was hoping the manager would take care of this!

    Thanks,
    Maryanne

  4. #4
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    It could be as simple as the stop-cock being turned into the 'Closed' position so that water can not pass into the house!!! Check for a 'circular tap handle' on the "down pipe" & make sure it is turned into the 'open' (turned fully to the left) position.

    Is there water in the tank?? Does the pump that pushes water from the cistern/street water system come on to push water UP the pipes & into the tank??

    The system of water entering into the house after it has been pumped into the tank, is on a simple 'Gravity' feed. The tank is higher than the water outlets in the house, so the water flows down!! If you find a good plumber to fix it, let me know - I could do with one myself!!! - Grahame.

  5. #5
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    Tinacos or the water tanks on the roof are indeed very simple. The problem is not the pump. It doesn't need a lot of pressure to fill. All that is required is that the water get there. The problem is probably the non-plumbers who installed it.

    In the tank, there are two fittings and a lid. The water comes into the top through a float valve similar too, but simpler than a toilet stool-more like the floats used in livestock tanks on the farm. When the water reaches the designated level, the float raises and shuts off the water.

    That brings us to step number 1. Climb up on the roof, open the lid and look inside the tank. There should be water. If not make sure the water is actually on. If it is, but is not getting to the tinaco, check the pipes and any valves starting in most cases with the float which could just be stopped up. It should more up and down easily.

    At the bottom of the tank, there is an outlet that will be connected to the house plumbing. There must be a check valve in that line between the tinaco and the house. A check valve is a valve that allows flow in only one direction. If water starts to go through it the wrong way, it shuts off. It has a flapper like mechanism in it. Very simple. Its purpose to make sure that when there is pressure from the street or pump that no water enters into the tank through the bottom outlet because there is no shutoff.

    That brings us to step number 2. Climb back up on the roof and make sure there is nothing clogging the bottom outlet and that the check valve is installed correctly. It should have an arrow on the outside indicating proper direction of flow. If it was installed backwards, you would have a full tank with nary a drop every draining out.

    Normally, there is only one pipe that goes from the ground or house plumbing up the roof to the tank. When the water is on, water goes up through that pipe to fill the tinaco. When it is off, it come back down through it to run into the house. Somewhere in the vicinity of the tank, usually, the line is split so that one part goes into the top and the other connects to the bottom of the tank. The check valve must be after the split or it will never fill.

    There is one more thing that is very, very important.

    There must be another check valve between the house and the street. This prevents the water from your tinaco from entering the public water supply and essentially being a water tower for the street. It would be a kind gesture and supply water for your neighbors for a few minutes, but of course your tank would drain very, very quickly. Should that valve not be installed or not be functioning, you will actually have water for a short time from your tinaco when the water is off and it will fill normally but it will drain very quickly- perhaps in an hour or so.

    Step 3 Climb back up on the roof and put the lid back on the tinaco. Like a dummy, you remebered it just as you finished putting the ladder away.

  6. #6
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    Thank you...thank you....thank you!

    I feel armed with much knowledge now! I'm going to print this off and have Guillermo translate this to the manager. He'll probably just shake his head in disbelief, but I don't care!

    Now, it would appear that Grahame and I might be in need of a good plumber in the Puerto Plata area. If you know one, please let us know.

    I'm collecting a list of people to be on standby for repairs!

    Thanks,
    Maryanne

  7. #7
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    We have tinacos on the roof of our complex. Like you, from time to time we have no water when the power is out. Up to now, all it has taken is a maintenance man going up to the roof and clearing something that is blocked.

  8. #8
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    You've had most of the answers already and providing the water is getting into the tank via the pump when you have power then it will feed to your outlets by gravity!
    When the power goes out and you're on the inverter batteries then a lot of properties do not have the pump connected for this situation. Simply because the water pump will eat up electricity and soon drain your battery power. (Then you'll have no water and no lights)!!!
    When the mains power is off then conserve the water that should already be in the tank as it will not be replaced until the mains power comes back on.
    Peter

  9. #9
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    Default Guillermo is a dyke?

    Maryanne: "Novia" is the girlfriend and "Novio"is the boyfriend.

    He must be a real winner if he can't figure this one out. "Wax on; wax off"

    HB

  10. #10
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    LMAO Hillbilly!

    Thanks for correction....I won't do that again.

    Guillermo doesn't care about the water tank. It just bugs me. It's up there and it's not working.

    Thanks for everyone assistance! It's good to learn new things everyday!

    Maryanne

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