Frequently Asked Questions about Acid Neutralizer Filters:
Q. What size should I get?
A. If you have 1 bathroom and there are 1 or 2 people in the home, the 1.0 cubic foot models (which come with 110 lbs of calcite media) are best. For most homes with over 1 bathroom up to 3 bathrooms and 1 to 4 people in the home, 1.5 cubic foot model systems are best. If you have a larger home or large family and use a lot of water you can get the 2.5 cubic foot model. One important consideration is the backwash flow rate. Your well only needs to flow at 5 gallons per minute to backwash the 1.0 and 1.5 cubic foot models, where as your well must produce 10 gallons a minute at least, in order the 2.5 cubic foot model to work.
Q. I see you offer 6 models, what is the difference between the models?
A. Three sizes are listed, the 1.0 cubic foot size, the 1.5 cubic foot size and the 2.5 cubic foot size. This means that it has 1.0, 1.5 or 2.5 cubic feet of neutralizer media included with the order. There are these three sizes, but in two types: the standard calcite only for water with a pH of 6.0 to 6.9, and the so-called calcite-blend type which comes with both calcite and corosex, for water with a pH of 5.0 to 5.9. We have many other sizes available for special order, such as short fat neutralizers for under crawl spaces, or giant neutralizers for commercial facilities, so please email us or call if you are looking for a different size. However for 90% of homeowners, one of these six sizes will work great.
Q. I see you offer the neutralizers with the Fleck 7000 control valve as well as the Fleck 2510 backwash control valve. What is the difference? Why would I want a 7000 model over the 2510 model?
A. The Fleck 7000 is 1" control valve and allows a higher volume of water to flow through without causing a drop in pressure than most other control valves available for these types of systems. The Fleck 7000 has a digital timer and clock display, and is easy to change and program. If the power goes out, it keeps its time and program. The Fleck 2510 is a 3/4" pipe size control valve and is better for homes with 1 or 2 bathrooms and where the pipe size is 3/4". It has a mechanical timer, that is very simple and reliable, but does need to be reset back to the correct time if the power goes out in the home. Both the Fleck 2510 and the Fleck 7000 have a 5 year warranty and have been used for years. If you want to avoid digital and are more comfortable with a simple clock and you have 3/4" piping with 1 - 2 bathrooms, we often recommend the Fleck 2510 systems.
Q. What if I don't know my well's flow rate?
A. It is very easy to find out! Click here for easy steps to measuring your well flow rate in gallons per minute.
Q. What maintenance is required?
A. There is very little maintenance. A quick once per year refill of the tank with calcite is all that is usually required. Periodically, and depending on raw water pH and the amount of water used, additional mineral is easily added to the filter tank. This is typically once a year for the average home. In some cases, the calcite or calcite-corosex blend is added twice a year depending on the pH and amount of water that is used through the neutralizer filter. Because our neutralizers have a top fill plug and a bypass valve it easy to add the mineral. Just put the neutralizer on bypass, release the pressure by manually backwashing the neutralizer filter, and unscrew the top plug using any medium sized channel lock pliers or crescent wrench (available at any hardware store). Stick a tape measure into the fill plug hole and determine if the calcite mineral is less than 2/3rds full. If it is, simply add more calcite until the neutralizer tank is 2/3rds full again, re-install the fill plug and backwash the neutralizer. This entire process takes about 20 minutes.
Q. Does the neutralizer systems come with the media, or do I need to order the calcite separately?
A. Yes it comes with the calcite, it is included in the price. You can get a discount upon check out if you want to order additonal calcite or calcite corosex blend, but you won't need it for six to twelve months at least.
Q. How much does it cost to ship the calcite neutralizer to me?
A. Nothing, it is included in the price.
Q. Does the neutralizer come with instructions on how to install it? Can I do it myself?
A. Yes, you can read and print out the instructions if you wish by clicking on this link: Neutralizer Start-Up Instructions for Vortech Tank Neutralizers. The neutralizers are quite easy to install by anyone familiar with the most basic plumbing. You can also hire any plumber to install it.
Q. I have heard that the calcite (or calcite-blend) neutralizers will make my water hard, and then I will need a water softener. Is this true?
A. The calcite and calcite-blend neutralizers work by adding calcium to the water, and it will increase the calcium hardness of the water, making the water 'harder'. However, most acidic well water is soft to begin with, and after passing through the neutralizer, will be harder, but still not hard enough to warrant a water softener. Generally if the water is less than 170 mg/L or 10 grains per gallon, most customers can avoid having to use a water softener. If your water is 3 grains/gallon to begin with, after the neutralizer it might be 5 to 7 grains per gallon, as the neutralizers will add 3 - 4 grains per gallon on average. You can always add a water softener later if you find you want one, but we generally do not recommend a water softener be installed. If you are having white spotting on fixtures and you want a water softener, you could install them both at the same time, but its better for the elimination of copper corrosion, if you wait 3 - 6 months to give the neutralizer a chance to stop the copper corrosion before adding the water softener.
Q. What are the dimensions of these acid neutralizers?
A. The 1.0 cubic foot size has a diameter of 10" and a height of 51-3/8".
The 1.5 cubic foot size has a diameter of 10" x 61-3/8". The 2.5 cubic foot size has a diameter of 13" x 61-3/8".
Q. Why does it need to backwash?
A. A periodic backwash once a week keeps the calcite media clean and "re-classifies" the calcite bed. This means that the calcite is stirred up which prevents channelling around the calcite, which often occurs with non-backwashing up-flow neutralizers.
Q. How often do the neutralizers need to backwash?
A. Once a week is enough for most well waters. If there is a lot of sediment or rust, you can adjust it to backwash every 3 or 4 days instead of 7 days. The backwash lasts for about 8 minutes and it is equivalent to running a garden hose for 6 to 8 minutes. The backwash control is fully automatic and is typically set to backwash in the middle of the night.
Q. Can I order the neutralizer so it backwashes based on flow and not days of the week?
A. Yes you can. The Fleck 7000 model can be ordered with an optional flow sensor, when you check out you are able to check this option ($69 additional). This not only allows the neutralizer to backwash based on gallons used, but it allows you to see the flow rate in gallons per minute of the water used in the house.
Q. How much water is used during a backwash?
A. About 30 to 40 gallons once per week. If your well is low on water you can backwash once every two weeks, or use an upflow neutralizer. The backwash types work better and the amount of water used is quite minimal.
Q. Can the neutralizer dissolve too much calcite into the water??
A. No. The calcite (calcium) is what is called "self-limiting' by the manufacturer. It only dissolves until the pH reaches th 7.0 - 8.0 range and stops dissolving so you don't have to worry about the pH being to high. If you have a pH of less than 6.0 in your well water, you do need to use some Corosex (magnesium) blended or mixed in with the calcite. In some cases if too much Corosex is used it can raise the pH to over 8.0, however if that happens the neutralizer can be partially bypassed to lower the pH until the media dissolves over a period of months, and then next time the media is added, less Corosex can be used. If the instructions are followed for the blend-neutralizers, this rarely occurs as we recommend a very small amount of Corosex be added to the calcite media.
Q. Why do the neutralizer no longer require gravel?
A. We use the Vortech tank from Enpress which had a better internal screening system than the old style tanks. Not only is gravel not needed, it actually works better and uses less water than standard gravel tanks.
Q. This is for a cabin, can I leave it drained and turned off for several months when I leave for the winter?
A. Yes, this is not a problem.
Q. Do you sell 2.0 cubic foot size neutralizers?
A. Yes. Please call our office if you need this size. The 1.0, 1.5 cubic foot and the 2.5 cubic foot models are the best sizes over-all and fit almost all residential applications though.
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 3 to 5 psi and is not noticeable. At the peak flow rate, or the absolute maximum flow rate the control valve can allow, which is around 35 gallons per minute for the Fleck 7000 control, there would be a pressure drop of 15 to 20 psi. However, for most typical homes with 1 to 3 bathrooms and wells with flow rates of 10 - 20 gallons per minute, and the average flow rate of 8 gallons per minute, (a shower running, washing machine filling, or toilet flushing at the same time for example) the pressure drop is hardly noticeable at around 3 - 5 psi. However if you have a very large home with 4 or more bathrooms, and a larger family, or commercial application with special requirements, we have other larger sizes available so contact our office for more details. For high peak flow rates two 2.5 cubic foot neutralizers can be installed in parallel.
Q. I have 1-1/4" (or 1-1/2") piping, do you offer larger sizes?
A. Yes, these same systems come with 1-1/4 and 1-1/2" pipe size for an additional charge. We also have many larger sizes not listed for very large homes or for businesses etc. Please contact our office with your particular requirements.
Q. How do acid neutralizer filters work?
A. Acidic neutralizers slowly dissolve the calcium and/or magnesium media on contact as the water flows through the filter, raising the pH of the water and increasing the alkalinity. This eliminates the effects of corrosive water chemistries, eliminating the effect of acid well water, and can help to prevent corrosion of piping and fixtures. They contain either 100% calcite, or a blend of calcite and corosex. Calcite is a natural calcium mineral that is mined for this purpose. Corosex is a trade name that is a natural mineral product which contains magnesium oxide. Also read our guide How to Treat Acid Well Water.
Q. Do you sell the Clack WS1 control valves for neutralizers?
A. We sell parts but do not offer the WS1 control valve anymore. The Clack Corp did not want us to offer it at a discount online anymore and required that we install every neutralizer that used the WS1, to protect their local dealers, so at their request we stopped offering them. Over the last five years we have sold many hundreds of both Fleck 7000 controls and the Clack WS1 controls and continue to sell the Fleck 7000 with great customer satisfaction. The Fleck 7000 has some advantages over the WS1 in that it offers a higher flow rate with less pressure drop and is easier to program. The battery back-up is built-in and lasts longer than the Clack in our experience.
Q. Do you sell neutralizers with Fleck 5600 controls?
A. No we don't recommend the Fleck 5600 control. It is an economy model backwash control and unlike the other models, there is no way to adjust the length of the backwash time. In place of the Fleck 5600 we recommend the Fleck 2510. However, if you want to replace an existing Fleck 5600 neutralizer please contact us as we can order it for you.
Q. Do you offer manual backwash neutralizers? I don't it want to backwash automatically, I want to do it myself manually.
A. Yes, we offer the Fleck 2510 manual backwash neutralizers. (Click here). We have them in both standard calcite for pH 5.0 to 6.0, and calcite-blend containing Corosex for pH below 5.0. However, one problem with the manual backwash neutralizers can be that the neutralizers end up being backwashed very infrequently. We often hear from customers who set up or purchased manual backwash neutralizers over the years, and then discovered the filter media had partially solidified. The calcite and particularly the calcite-corosex blend neutralizer media can start to form solid blocks and become partially solid if they are not backwashed at least once every two weeks. Generally its better to get an automatic control but for many people off-the-grid, or those who do not have electrical power nearby the manual backwash Fleck 2510 neutralizers are a good option.
Q. I see that some neutralizers use gravel in the bottom of the tank, but your neutralizer does not. Why is gravel used and why doesn't your neutralizer require gravel?
A. Gravel was used in standard neutralizers to prevent the media from clogging the bottom distributor screen, and to allow the water to disperse evenly. Our neutralizers use the Vortech tank with special built-in distributor that has many times the area that the standard distributor screen requires. No gravel is needed and the Vortech distributor disperses the water much more evenly. Less backwash water is required since the distributor screen covers the entire bottom of the tank, instead of the smaller distributor located only in the center of the tank with gravel.
Q Do you offer any other sizes of pH neutralizers?
A. Yes. We have sizes up to 1200 lbs or 12 cubic foot, so contact use if you need a quote for a commerical or other special need.
Q. I have a very small space the neutralizer needs to go in and I do not have the height required. Do you offer smaller tanks that have a lower height?
A. Yes. Please contact our office with your height requirements. Note that the smaller tanks are also narrower in diameter and do not hold as much calcite media, so they may not be large enough to properly neutralize the pH. Generally 1.0 cubic foot with a 10" x 44" tank and an over-all height of 51-1/2" is a good minimum size to get for a residential application.
Q. I sometimes get a lot of sediment in the water after a storm. Is there anything to gain by installing cartridge-type sediment filters before and/or after the neutralizer (possibly extend life of neutralizer, additional filtration, or having smaller particles filtered out)?
A. Yes, you may want to install a big blue filter before the calcite neutralizer to help in trapping added sediment and prolong the life of the control valve. However, the control valve on the neutralizer is mostly affected by grit or sand, not fine sediment. Sometimes its best to put a filter strainer before the neutralizer to take out large sediment, and a 5 micron big blue type 1” filter housing, after the neutralizer. The calcite is not affected by fine sediment, as long as it can backwash once a week.
Filter Strainer 1” 100 mesh $69
Great for Pre-Filtration for all automatic filter and neutralizer systems
Pentek 'Big-Blue" 5-micron whole house filter 1" inlet/outlet $89
Q. Why not use an up-flow neutralizer
, which does not have a backwash control valve?
A. Many people call us regularly with problems they are having with the upflow neutralizers. The biggest problem is channeling where the water flows up the side of the tank and the media does not dissolve properly, sediment or iron fouling of the calcite, and the formation of balls or solid blocks of calctite or corosex inside the tank. If you use an up-flow neutralizer with a Vortech type tank it will help minimize this problem with the upflow neutralizers. However you do need a screen inside the neutralizer, or a filter after the neutralizer to prevent calcite fines from entering the downstream piping. Our up-flow neutralizers come with this screen built-in, however, if your water has any iron or bacteria in it, this screen will need to be cleaned periodically. Upflow neutralizers do not offer any filtration or sediment removal like standard backwash neutralizers afford, and the media inside the upflow neutralizer can become fouled if there is any sediment, iron, manganese or sulfides in the water, which does not occur with backwash types. Generally we have found backwash neutralizers allow the calcite media to dissolve over time more evenly and are worth the extra cost and small amount of backwash water required. Backwash type neutralizers work better because the media is periodically flushed with water (usually once every one or two weeks) which keeps the media in good shape and prevents channelling.
Q. I notice in your diagram that you show the neutralizer after the pressure tank. Why can't I install the neutralizer filter before the pressure tank?
A. All backwashing filter systems (such iron filters, softeners, any type of backwash system) must be after the pressure tank because when the backwashing filter goes into a backwash, say at 2am on a given night, there must be pressurized water entering the inlet to the sediment filter, in order for it to backwash properly.
If the pressure tank were after the system, and the filter system went into a backwash, the well would not turn on because there is a check valve before the pressure tank to prevent the water from being discharged back into the well, and the pressure switch would not register that the pressure had dropped and the pump must turn on. If the check valve was down the well, or on the other side of the sediment filter, say on the inlet to sediment, when the sediment filter went into a backwash, the water would enter the sediment filter through the outlet on the sediment, not the inlet, causing it not to backwash and causing other problems.
The pressure tanks have the in and out pipe (typically one pipe on captive-air pressure tank) on the direct bottom of the pressure tank, so usually no sediment will build-up in the tank. But in any case, there is no way to use a backwashing filter before the pressure tank. Also, say you wanted to use a cartridge filter instead of a backwashing filter system, and you placed a cartridge type filter before the pressure tank. After a while if this filter became plugged up, your well would not be able to shut off properly because the pressure on the inlet side of the filter from the well is much higher than the pressure tank pressure. This will cause the pressure switch to rapidly turn on and off and eventually cause damage to the well pump motor.
Generally it is NOT a good idea to put any type of flow restriction such as a filter cartridge or backwash filter before your pressure tank and it is not necessary in any case because modern pressure tanks are lined with a special coating to prevent corrosion.
Q. Regarding the drain line for the backwash, can I run that with a garden hose and use it to irrigate my garden?
A. Yes, the backwash line can be run with a garden hose. In some areas local codes prohibit the re-use of backwash water from filter systems or water softeners.
Q. Can I run the drain line up and over the top of the neutralizer filter? My drain is in on the ceiling above the where I want to install it.
Yes it is no problem to run the drain line up several feet higher than the top of the neutralizer tank, because the neutralizer filter backwashes under line pressure from your pressure tank and well pump system.
Q. Do you ship to Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, or internationally?
A. Yes, for a an additional charge but we do ship regularly all over Canada, Alaska and many parts of the world at a discount over the actual freight cost. Please email us with your postal code and we will quickly give you the cost.
Q. What is the warranty?
A. It comes with a 10 year warranty on the neutralizer tank, and a 5 year warranty on the control valve. Click here for warranty information.
Q. What if it doesn't work? Can I return it?
A. Yes. It can be returned within six months if it doesn't work.