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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Acid Well Water Neutralizers for Residential Wells

Jan 15, 2008
Calcite neutralizer filters for correcting acid water conditions come in different sizes and varying blends of Calcite and Corosex media. Here are some frequently asked questions homeowners have regarding acid neutralizers.

Q. I am currently remodeling my home and I discovered that my copper pipe has corroded due to my acidic well water. Will these calcite neutralizers correct this problem, or should I replace my piping?
A. You may not need to replace your pipe. Install the neutralizer which will correct the acidic water and you may find that you do not need to replace the pipe.

Q. How do I know if I need an acid neutralizer for my well water?
A. If you are seeing blue green stains on fixtures or if the piping has developed pinhole leaks you should have your water tested. If the pH is 6.9 or less you should consider installing a calcite neutralizer.

Q. How do calcite neutralizers work?
A. Acidic waters slowly dissolve the calcium (sold under brand name Calcite) and magnesium (sold under brand name Corosex) media on contact, raising the pH of the water and increasing the alkalinity. This eliminates the effects of corrosive water conditions.

Q. Can these systems be used for drinking water?
A. The systems are all made from non-toxic and potable water grade materials. Neutralizers do not remove any contaminants from water but merely add natural calcium and magnesium at controlled rates.

Q. Do these systems come in different sizes?
A. Yes. The size of the system is directly proportional to the flow rate of the water, in gallons per minute. The higher the flow rate, the larger the system required.

Q. Do these filters have any special conditions to work properly?
A. Yes. The systems come in varying blends of Calcite/Corosex, and it is useful to know the pH, alkalinity, hardness, and total dissolved solids in order to specify the right blend. The water must be low in tannins and free of oil.

Q. What type of blends of media are available?
A. You can either get 100% Calcite for water with a pH of 6.0 to 6.9, or add 10% to 30% Corosex or more for water with a pH of 5.0 to 5.9.

Q. My water has a pH of less than 5. What should I use?
A. Generally it is not recommended to use a Calcite or Corosex filter on waters with a pH of less than 5.0 because it will make the water very high in calcium hardness which may require a water softener. A soda ash feeder or sodium hydroxide feeder works better for very low pH levels.

Q. I have very high iron and manganese (greater than .05 PPM), will these filters remove these?
A. It may reduce iron and manganese, but generally it is recommended to have an iron filter system after the neutralizer filter for best results.

Q. What maintenance is required?
A. Under the right conditions there is little maintenance. Periodically, and depending on raw water pH and the amount of water used, additional mineral is easily added to the filter tank, usually once per year.

Q. Is there a pressure loss through the system?
A. Properly sized, the system produces a very low pressure drop at service flow rates, usually around 5 PSI.

Q. Can I route the backwash water to my septic tank?
A. Yes. The backwash water is non-toxic and can be routed to the septic tank with no problem. It can also be routed to landscaping, although the backwash may contain sediment or other particles removed from the water.

Q. How frequently do I have to replace the filter media?
A. Most calcite neutralizers need additional calcite mineral once or twice a year. If the neutralizer tank is large enough it will generally last one year. A neutralizer tank is initially filled to two-thirds full. After one year the level may drop to half-full as the mineral dissolves into the water over time, and at this stage more calcite is added to bring it up to the two-thirds level again.

Q. I have also heard of Up-Flow Neutralizers what are these?
A. Upflow neutralizers use the same calcite mineral, but instead of a downward flow of water, like standard backwashing neutralizers, the water flows up through the filter media. Generally these do not work as well as the backwash neutralizer filters for residential applications. These systems are not backwashed, and the media does not filter sediment. The backwashing neutralizer filters will remove sediment and oxidized iron particles. By periodically backwashing the filters, the sediment is discharged to drain. Backwashing also serves to clean and to re-classify the calcite media which is an advantage over the up-flow type neutralizers which do not backwash.
About the Author
Gerry Bulfin is a licensed water treatment contractor and WQA Certified Water Specialist IV specializing in treating acid well water. He may be contacted through the website www.cleanwaterstore.com or by calling 831-462-8500 or by gb@cleanwaterstore.com
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