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Using Air charger iron filters to filter water

Air charger iron filter
Pictured: Terminator Plus Iron Filter System

In our last blog post we discussed the difference between air charger iron filter and Maxi-Vent air compressor systems.  Today we got a letter from a customer who was experiencing acidic water with high levels of iron.  For solving both problems with one system, we recommended he use a Birm blend iron filter with either an air injector tank or a Maxi-Vent air compressor.  Note that the air injection system is not the same as an air charger system.

Air charger systems draw in air as they backwash, and perform the entire oxidation and filtration process inside one tank.  Air injection systems use a venturi air injector (basically, a constricted tube that creates a vaccuum to draw in oxygen and introduce it to water) for oxidation, while air compressors perform roughly the same function without a venturi port, preventing the iron fouling and pressure loss experienced with venturi style air injectors.

For neutralization of acid water plus iron filtration with an air injection system, we recommend our Terminator Plus filters.  They use a blend of gravel, calcite, and Birm media to neutralize and filter water in one tank, and come with an air injector that oxidizes water before filtration.  However, as mentioned, the venturi port on these systems can cause pressure loss, and will become fouled by iron over time, requiring periodic maintenance for peak performance.  Further, these filter tanks don’t have a top fill plug, meaning you’ll have to remove the control valve when you want to add more calcite, something you should do about every 4-6 months when using a Birm blend.  The diagram below illustrates a typical air injector installation:

Air charger iron filter

If you’d rather use an air compressor system, we recommend using a Birm Blend 2510 iron filter and Maxi-Vent compressor.  These systems address the problems of the Terminator Plus system by including a top fill plug on the filter tank, and utilizing an air compressor instead of a venturi port.  This system is more powerful and more effective at filtering iron, and requires less maintenance than a Terminator Plus system.  See the diagram below for an illustration of a typical Maxi-Vent installation:

Air charger iron filter

Note that, if possible, it is preferable to use a separate calcite neutralizer tank instead of a Birm blend iron filter for neutralization.  Such a system would require replacing the calcite media only once every 12-18 months, whereas a Birm blend will require new calcite every 4-6 months.

Also keep in mind that you can always use chemical injection to oxidize your water if you’d rather not use an air injector.  This method will work with either a chlorinator or a soda ash feeder, though it also necessitates a carbon filter as a final treatment to remove the chemicals from your water.

If you have any questions or comments about water or water treatment, please e-mail us at, leave us a comment on Facebook, or use our online contact form.  Thanks for reading!

Air charger iron filter


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  • Clean Water Systems & Stores, Inc., Water Treatment Equipment,Service & Supplies, Santa Cruz, CA

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