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Thread: Acid Neutralizer suggestions

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member RWL's Avatar
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    Default Acid Neutralizer suggestions

    Our water's pH is 5.5 so I need an acid neutralizer. Our experience with our dying current conditioner is that we need the calcite - corrosex mix to neutralize the acidity. A flow test by the Culligan rep showed a flow rate of 8.4 gal / min. Two adults live here and there are 2.5 baths. The pipe coming off of the well tank is 3/4", but the rest of the distribution system in the house is 1/2". I've read enough in the forum that I decided to get a downflow (one that has a back flushing valve) system.

    How much calcite / tank size? I'm guessing 1.5 cu ft.

    I'm inclined to go with the newer Fleck 7000 series valve based on dittohead's description of this valve (for softeners) in another post. My question is, which 7000 valve? If I've misinterpreted some of the other threads and the 7000 series valve really isn't a good choice for a neutralizer, explain why, and what's a better choice?

    Anything else I need to specify, or look out for?

    What is the maximum number of days between backflushes on an acid neutralizer?

    Who on the web has good prices and service for this?
    Last edited by Terry; 04-18-2012 at 10:13 AM.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Not sure if straight calcit will be enough, one might need some magoxide to help out in bringing up the 5.5 ph to above 7.0

    As for backwashing there is no hard and fast rule , but the more the better in keeping any bed from forming channels and going hard in one large block.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member RWL's Avatar
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    Any feeling on the cubic foot size of the neutralizer I need? Is the Fleck 7000 a good choice for this?

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    Licensed Plumber Superplum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RWL View Post
    Any feeling on the cubic foot size of the neutralizer I need? Is the Fleck 7000 a good choice for this?
    To repeat another thread, I think you should address the PH problem as a whole. Low Ph can be a bigger problem then hardness. Didn't you get a water test before installing a softener? A softener won't raise the PH. If you don't have too high of a TDS (total dissolved solids) you can use a Calcite type of neutralizer. If the TDS is too high it will diminish the ability of the water to absorb the Calcite. Then you should use a chemical feed pump injecting a soda ash solution into a 40 gallon retention tank (preferably before the well tank). If you can use a calcite unit, which is lass troublesome (IMO) it would go after the well tank but before the softener. Make sure you order one with a dome plug to fill the Calcite. Believe it or not I have a competitor in my area who has installed at least 2 without the dome hole in the tank. I have to remove the entire head to add Neutralizer. A Master NS 20 combo unit would have been a great choice if you didn't already have a softener (depending on TDS)
    I don't know if you have a softener yet like this other guy, but I thought this would be helpful. Master has used Autotrol heads for decades but has recently started using Clack heads, I believe you can order it with any head you want. They also sell a non backwashing upflow unit which is less money & doesn't require electric or a drain. These are not for every situation though & you need to have a sediment filter ahead of it since it can't remove dirt.

  5. #5
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    I agree with the domehole, but... many of the dealers we sell to do not use the dome hole. They simply pop the head off, add calcite as needed, and put the head back on. It only takes a minute to remove the head, and their reason for doing it this way was that filling through the larger 2-1/2" opening is simpler than filling through the dome port. Either way is correct. I prefer the dome holes and Pentairs/Structural new design is much better and less troublesome than previous dome hole designs.

    Now for upflow acid neutralization, I really like the Clack 1190 in-out head with the fill port built into the head itself. No need for a dome hole with that head.

    Upflow can be very effective, I prefer it when it can be done correctly. Like you said, proper filtration prior to the calcite is important. The majority of upflow calcite systems we sell are for equipment where the flow rates and water quality are known, and consistent. A downflow calcite system is a safer bet when these factors have variances.

  6. #6
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Most homeowners should not use upflow AN filters. Upflow requires a prefilter and most people use a disposable cartridge filter and they don't change the cartridge based on pressure loss as they should, they use calendar time or how it looks. That causes a flow reduction and possibly changeling of the AN mineral and insufficient neutralization.

    Downflow/backwashed it the best way to neutralize acidic water.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  7. #7

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    Are you recommending an Upflow AN system before or after the pressure tank?
    Last edited by water solutions; 04-17-2012 at 04:29 AM.

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    Licensed Plumber Superplum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by water solutions View Post
    Are you recommending an Upflow AN system before or after the pressure tank?
    If you meant me Water Solutions, it would have to go after the pressure tank. I didn't say I would definitely use an upflow, only that it was an option. Unless he is starting out with a near zero hardness, than a softener should also be used (after the neutralizer) since he is raising the hardness. If that is the case then a back washing combo unit would be a better choice. It would have one head for both neutralization & softening. For that reason there is only one backwash for both saving incoming water, with less water going to drain (maybe septic) & one head to service.
    If he has a high TDS, he may need a chemical feed pump injecting a soda ash solution into a retention tank to reach 7.0 PH. That [I][/II would install before the pressure tank to protect the tank & control tee from the low PH water. This would not obstruct the water flow as the others units mentioned could (possibly causing very high pressure & damage).
    As far as having to remove the heads to add neutralizer, this usually takes two guys (one to hold the tank & one to spin the head). Both of the units I service this way have Fleck heads which require removing the screws on the hold down clips every time & pulling the unit out where you can spin the head. One of them has a stripped out screw hole in the head from repeatedly removing & re installing it. I have a self tapping screw in it for now. Eventually the whole head will need replacement as a result. A dome hole is much easier. I use a stick ruler to settle the bed & push the new powder to the other side making it close to level. ]

  9. #9
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    I am recommending downflow, but many people see the upflow price and decide to go that way. Upflow is great, but only when the water quality and flow are consistent. Post whole house RO, acid neutralizer for industrial applications, remineralizer for a water store, etc. are common applications where upflow can work well, Not really ideal for this application.

  10. #10
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by water solutions View Post
    Are you recommending an Upflow AN system before or after the pressure tank?
    No I'm not.

    DIYers, do not install an type of filter between a well pump and its pressure switch. Or anything else that can block up preventing the switch from seeing the pressure increase in real time or you run the risk of damaging the pump, the filter housing or the plumbing.
    Last edited by Gary Slusser; 04-17-2012 at 07:36 AM.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  11. #11
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superplum View Post
    If you meant me Water Solutions, it would have to go after the pressure tank. I didn't say I would definitely use an upflow, only that it was an option. Unless he is starting out with a near zero hardness, than a softener should also be used (after the neutralizer) since he is raising the hardness. If that is the case then a back washing combo unit would be a better choice. It would have one head for both neutralization & softening. For that reason there is only one backwash for both saving incoming water, with less water going to drain (maybe septic) & one head to service.

    If he has a high TDS, he may need a chemical feed pump injecting a soda ash solution into a retention tank to reach 7.0 PH. That [I][/II would install before the pressure tank to protect the tank & control tee from the low PH water. This would not obstruct the water flow as the others units mentioned could (possibly causing very high pressure & damage).
    DIYers, any time you use a sacrificial mineral filter to neutralize acidic water, you will add some hardness to the water. Usually not more than 4-8 gpg.

    Any type combo unit (tank over tank) is very difficult to work on if you need to replace mineral or resin. And to backwash mineral you need high gpm, that may damage resin in the softener part by wearing down the beads due to friction. The combo being mentioned is the Master Water Treatment brand and is only sold through plumbers and well drillers and they purchase it from their supply houses; it is not sold online.

    IMO a separate backwashed type of filter, mixed bed [< 6.0 pH] or regular mineral [=> 6.0 pH] is much better than an an UPflow filter or solution feeder and retention tank.

    Captive air/bladder type pressure tanks do not need protecting from acidic or any other type water because they have an internal epoxy coating and impervious 'bladder'. Non glass lined galvanized tanks don't have that protection.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  12. #12

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    I agree not to install any type of filter before the pressure switch. An upflow AN, however, is not a filter and there are applications where this is alright and even preferred.

  13. #13
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by water solutions View Post
    I agree not to install any type of filter before the pressure switch. An upflow AN, however, is not a filter and there are applications where this is alright and even preferred.
    So you are saying an UPflow AN something can't block up. I know they can. Also, the prefilter for the AN something can also. That's some pretty bad advice IMO.

    Nothing that can block up should be installed between a well pump and its pressure switch.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  14. #14

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    I think you missed it. I said I would never put a filter before the pressure switch. I don't recall saying anything about a prefilter. Not sure why you didn't get that.

    No, an AN upflow Calcite system will not block up under normal circumstances and applications. I have never had any of my customers have this problem or anything approaching this problem. All of my personal follow-ups actually show that it works very well. This position actually provides the most thorough expansion of neutralizer tanks and avoids channelling. It is not used in all cases but is very effective

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    Licensed Plumber Superplum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    DIYers, any time you use a sacrificial mineral filter to neutralize acidic water, you will add some hardness to the water. Usually not more than 4-8 gpg.
    So if you start out with 4-8 gpg you wind up with 8-16gpg & should use a softener.
    Any type combo unit (tank over tank) is very difficult to work on if you need to replace mineral or resin. And to backwash mineral you need high gpm, that may damage resin in the softener part by wearing down the beads due to friction. The combo being mentioned is the Master Water Treatment brand and is only sold through plumbers and well drillers and they purchase it from their supply houses; it is not sold online.
    You commented on a 20 year old Master NS-10 combo unit in another thread. It had a brine draw problem (simple to fix) & now it's working fine. I have units out there older than that & have not had the problems you're talking about. What's wrong with a DYIer buying from a local supplier and doing his own installation? Where will he be buying the 50lb box's of NS mix (calcium & Magnesium) or calcite to service it, online? How much is shipping on that item? I have seen other makes of combo units sold online for those who think online is the only way to shop.
    IMO a separate backwashed type of filter, mixed bed [< 6.0 pH] or regular mineral [=> 6.0 pH] is much better than an an UPflow filter or solution feeder and retention tank.
    I agree for the solution feeder/retention tank, when a neutral PH can achieved this way. If not (usually due to high TDS) they will still be getting blue/green stains & corrosion. What do you tell them then?
    Captive air/bladder type pressure tanks do not need protecting from acidic or any other type water because they have an internal epoxy coating and impervious 'bladder'. Non glass lined galvanized tanks don't have that protection.
    Captive air/bladder tanks usually have a galvanized steel inlet elbow on the bottom. This is where they tend to get pin holes when subjected to corrosive water. If the tank is under warranty, it will be covered since the elbow is considered part of the tank. Of course you still have to change the tank. I have never been able to replace one of these elbows without damaging the bladder. You still have to remove the tank & lay it down to try. The control tee, check valve, & all the other components are brass. Brass is highly sensitive to corrosion. Despite all that I still would not install an up flow, down flow, softener, cartridge filter, shut off valve or anything else that could restrict the flow before the pressure tank/pressure switch. Only a retention tank if needed would be suitable for this location. For those who don,t know, a retention tank is only a water tank piped so as not to retain air (in the bottom out the top usually) with an injector fitting on the incoming pipe. I use fiberglass tanks with plastic pipe for this as it stands up to corrosion.

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