Soda Ash Solution Questions

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RhodeIslander

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Hi all, I had a soda ash system installed (along with an Iron filter) for our well about 6 weeks ago now.

Our low ph is now around 7.0-7.2, up from the 5.8 we needed to address, and I can see less staining around the tub so I know things have improved and it's working.

My question is related to the Soda Ash solution itself -- the company I used did a good job with the equipment install but the actual mixture they have struggled with. They put in a 35 gallon tank, a Pulsafeeder pump and used Neutra5 (which they said I needed because of the iron filter), but after a time, the ph was extremely high and kept going up over time.

I've had them back several times to address it. They watered it down and lowered the pump intensity, but the ph again kept going up. After a week or two, I ended up lowering the pump intensity myself -- all the way down to 10% for what they initially put in (1 quart of Neutra5 per 15 gallons of water at 20% pump intensity, which they later told me to change to 20 gallons) -- to get the ph back to the 7.0 level or thereabouts. It's been that way comfortably now for a few weeks.

They also showed me how to mix the Soda Ash in myself, but I was wondering if anyone who has done this kind of thing either could
1) give me some advice on the proper procedure -- is it normal to have the brownish material on the bottom of the tank? How dissolved should the soda ash be when it's mixed in? For a while, there was the actual white powdery mixture sitting on the bottom as if it wasn't dissolved right away -- is this normal?
2) are there any good videos, etc. on this (I've looked online but most seem pool-specific)

I contacted the Neutra5 manufacturer as well. Seemingly what the company used (again, 1 quart of Neutra5 per 15 gallons of water) wasn't totally out of whack with their own recommendation, but I was wondering why the ph got so high so quickly...did they put in too much? Was it not dissolved enough?

I'd like to know more about what they put in without having to rely on them -- because they seem less knowledgeable about the mixture than the rest of it -- so any kind of suggestions and advice would be appreciated...especially considering I have to do the "next batch" of this myself once it gets down to the 5 gallon remaining mark or so. Is there another solution I could buy online that might be superior?

Thanks!
 

Reach4

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They put in a 35 gallon tank, a Pulsafeeder pump and used Neutra5
As far as I can tell, Neutra5 is a brand of soda ash (sodium carbonate).

Some iron filters raise the pH, mainly when new, and that effect will probably reduce; the effect is temporary, as I understand it. Katalox Light has been described to have that effect, and there may be others.

So keep monitoring and tuning. pH 9 would not be dangerous, but you would like to keep pH under 8.5.

Regarding the brown stuff. Dunno. I would use treated (softened if you have that) to top off the solution tank, rather than using raw water for that. I am not a pro.
 

ditttohead

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Can you post a picture of your equipment? What controls the soda ash injection? If it is a flow switch and not properly metered you will never have good pH control.
 

Reach4

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Injector before the pressure tank, and the injection pump runs when the well pump runs?
 

RhodeIslander

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Sorry, next time I'll take another shot later of the whole thing.

But yes, just like you said -- they have the injector before the pressure tank and the injection pump running when the well pump runs
 
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H22lude

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This is an extremely strange post. I thought I wrote it for a second. I'm from RI, just had this exact set up (the exact soda ash barrel and pump and an iron filter) installed 2 weeks ago and I'm having issues with the pH being high now. My well water pH is 5.5. I checked it a week after they installed it and it was over 9. When they came back they checked as well. They lowered the pump from 60 to 55. That was still high so I lowered it to 45. Just checked now and it is still close to 9. If I had to guess, I only need about 1/4 of the soda ash they recommended.

Did AB install your system?
 

Reach4

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This is an extremely strange post. I thought I wrote it for a second. I'm from RI, just had this exact set up (the exact soda ash barrel and pump and an iron filter) installed 2 weeks ago and I'm having issues with the pH being high now. My well water pH is 5.5. I checked it a week after they installed it and it was over 9. When they came back they checked as well. They lowered the pump from 60 to 55. That was still high so I lowered it to 45. Just checked now and it is still close to 9. If I had to guess, I only need about 1/4 of the soda ash they recommended.
Let's call your current water 8.9 pH for discussion purposes.

Here is an idea for a test. Try 1 cup of your 8.9 pH water with 3 cups of raw acidic water into a clean Homer bucket. See what that pH is. Still too high? Add 4 more cups of raw water. Still too high? Add 8 more cups of raw. Still too high? Add 16 more cups (1 gallon) of raw. You should get close to knowing the needed dilution after a few cycles of that doubling the volume.

Then you will get a smaller measuring scoop appropriate to the dose you actually need.
 

RhodeIslander

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This is an extremely strange post. I thought I wrote it for a second. I'm from RI, just had this exact set up (the exact soda ash barrel and pump and an iron filter) installed 2 weeks ago and I'm having issues with the pH being high now. My well water pH is 5.5. I checked it a week after they installed it and it was over 9. When they came back they checked as well. They lowered the pump from 60 to 55. That was still high so I lowered it to 45. Just checked now and it is still close to 9. If I had to guess, I only need about 1/4 of the soda ash they recommended.

Did AB install your system?

Yes! I sent you a PM

I think we will need to figure this out on our own.
 

ditttohead

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I prefer metered methods myself, this takes away a lot of the variables. Pumps run at specific flow rates which very based on back pressure. Slightly complex, but the simplest way to put it is that some updated designs came out n the past 10 years that have made using a meter cost effective and far more accurate. We use meters on 90% of these types of applications now so as to eliminate the variables and to greatly increase the consistency of the water quality.
 

aw-terry

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Hi, I recently installed a soda ash system as a DIY and I also have a brownish material on the bottom of the chemical solution tank. It almost looks as if there is some sand in there, this is with the soda ash mixed with distilled water. The soda ash is light soda ash from Tata chemicals (https://www.tatachemicals.com/Asia/Products/Chemicals/Soda-ash/Light-soda-ash), I don't know if this makes a difference. I'm not sure what/why that brownish material is there though. I also have a mixer inside my chemical solution tank.

For my system I mix 8 cups of soda ash to 3 gallons of water (this is roughly a 10% solution mixture of soda ash) to bring the pH from 5.5 to 7.06 (lab tested) with the pump turning on 3.5 seconds for every gallon of water pumped. I have a water meter system that ditttohead speaks about, when the water meter detects a gallon of water it signals the pump. I have an at-home pH test with drops and based on the colors the ph is 7-8. Hopefully this helps out.
 

Reach4

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Hi, I recently installed a soda ash system as a DIY and I also have a brownish material on the bottom of the chemical solution tank. It almost looks as if there is some sand in there, this is with the soda ash mixed with distilled water.
I really don't think there would be a problem with using softened tap water for that. Hauling 3 gallons of distilled water from the store to load your solution tank is a chore.

For my system I mix 8 cups of soda ash to 3 gallons of water (this is roughly a 10% solution mixture of soda ash) to bring the pH from 5.5 to 7.06 (lab tested) with the pump turning on 3.5 seconds for every gallon of water pumped. I have a water meter system that ditttohead speaks about, when the water meter detects a gallon of water it signals the pump.
About how many gallons of raw water do you think you treat with your 8 cups of soda ash and 3 gallons of distilled water ?
 

aw-terry

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About how many gallons of raw water do you think you treat with your 8 cups of soda ash and 3 gallons of distilled water ?
The water meter reads 13903 gallons and I've used about 13 gallons of the chemical solution, so I would say probably 3208 gallons treated per every 3 gallon mixture. We are averaging about 2 gallons of the chemical solution per month.

Thank you for the tip about cleaning the tank, I'll add that to the maintenance schedule.
 

RhodeIslander

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Advice for how to clean the tank? I have some of that brownish stuff on the bottom also.
 

ditttohead

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Let the tank get low, rinse the tank out. Be careful, soda ash is considered fairly safe but precautions should be taken. Proper PPE especially eye protection must be used.
 

Reach4

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Advice for how to clean the tank? I have some of that brownish stuff on the bottom also.
Besides yourself, gonna be bad for plants, wherever you do it.

I presume you want to avoid putting it into your septic system.
 

RhodeIslander

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Definitely not going into the septic. The company that installed explained to wear gloves and glasses but I didn't know if it required any additional attention. It's a 35 gallon tank and there's not a lot of sediment in there at the moment (just coats the bottom) so I think I can handle it with contractor bags, gloves, glasses, etc. when it gets low enough. Thankfully I won't have a problem finding a mask lol.

Another question -- should I turn the mix off when having the deck power washed? I can just turn it off ahead of time, didn't know if that would cause an issue.
 
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