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Adding Filter Media to Upflow Neutralizers

Pictured: Calcite media (50 lbs.)

Yesterday we described how to add filter media to a backwashing calcite neutralizer, with or without a top fill plug.  Today we'll explain how to replace filter media in an upflow neutralizer, with or without a top fill plug.  First, though, let's look at the differences between upflow and downflow neutralizers.

In a standard downflow neutralizer the water enters the top of the tank, flows down through the media, and back up the distributor tube.  The downflow type neutralizer removes sediment and can be backwashed, which cleans & re-classifies the calcite and prevents channeling.

During backwash, the water flow is reversed and water flows down the distributor tube and up through the media, lifting and expanding the calcite media.  The calcite is cleaned by the action of the water flowing through it.

Illustrated cutaway of an upflow neutralizer
Illustrated cutaway of an upflow neutralizer

In an upflow neutralizer, the water always flows down the distributor tube and up through the calcite media.

Upflow neutralizers have no backwash control valve and are not backwashed because the water is always flowing up through the calcite – as such, there is no need for a backwash.

This type works well in some applications and prevents the need for any backwash drain connection.  However, the up-flow types often have problems with channeling, wherein the calcite media partially solidifies, channeling water around the filter media and reducing the filter's effectiveness.

Now, as for adding calcite media to an upflow neutralizer:

Adding Calcite to Up-Flow Type Neutralizers with or Without a Top Fill Plug

1. Begin by putting neutralizer filter on bypass, or turning the water pressure off before the Neutralizer. Open up faucet or hose bib downstream of the neutralizer to release pressure in the neutralizer tank.

2. Unscrew the media fill plug with channel locks or pliers and, using a tube or hose, siphon 2 to 3 gallons of water out of the filter tank.  If you don't siphon water out, when you add filter media, water will flow out the fill plug hole and flow onto the floor. If water on the floor is OK then you do not have to siphon water out before pouring calcite media into top fill plug hole.

3. If there is no top fill plug, then unscrew the top tank manifold to get access to the tank.

4. Place cap or wrap tape over distributor tube, and add neutralizer filter media until the tank is 2/3 full. Do not over-fill: be sure to leave at least 12″ of free space above media to allow room for the media to expand during a backwash.

5. Remove distributor tube cap and re-install the top fill plug or tank manifold.  Close the valve after the upflow neutralizer so no water can flow to the house.  Open up the hose bib after the neutralizer and slowly turn on the water to the Neutralizer.  Allow the water to run slowly at first for 10 minutes, then turn on water to full force and rinse the media thoroughly for 20 minutes before putting into service, if possible.

We hope you find this information useful.  If you have any further questions or comments about water or water treatment, you can e-mail us at [email protected], leave us a comment on Facbeook, or use our online contact form.  Thanks for reading!

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