Well water has 3 different stages of decaying bacteria causing odors. The range consists of Stage-1 to Stage-3 with Stage-3 being the worst smell, odor, taste making the cabin or house water very unpleasant. Heavy metals like (Zn, Fe, Pb, Cd, Cu, Cr, Al and Mn) range in the 0.75-micron down to the 0.45-micron (micrometer [um]) size. The Smoky Mountains of Tennessee consist of high concentrations of one element namely Iron, but Iron is not the problem, the bacteria is, it loves to feed on these Iron microns. Once the bacteria die, this is when it gets bad, they release a decaying gas or rotten egg odor. The decaying gas attaches to oxygen atoms in air and water. Also when you fill a glass, take a shower, water your lawn, or put ice in a glass you smell this gross rotten egg. I recommend to your family, for health reasons, to add a filter-system.
This is the second article: The first article had reviews of being very good, but too long, so now that article is now unpublished and will be broken down into multiple KNOL’s under my account. Knowledge needs to be revised once something you have learned in life is better than the last.
Learn and teach your children the importance of clean water!
Learn the fast way to clean Hot Tubs!
Learn how to solve the problem of never having frozen water pipes again!
Learn how to install PVC and CPVC, when professionals do not follow these simple rules!
Learn why the sulfur or rotten egg smell sometimes occurs.
The articles written are designed to help you understand how to buy, set up, and install a filter system that removes bacteria and other containments from the water in your cabin or house. The article is full of information that I have found interesting while installing these filter-systems.
The cost of some filter systems that filter the water well, but are only designed for low flow area’s like the kitchen sink. Most all of the systems of this type are the reverse-osmosis systems. The system that I used deals with micron oxygen bubbles that attach themselves to the iron molecules and convert the mineral to iron oxide.
The cost for softener systems are designed for hard water. The softener systems feed sodium (salt) into the water consisting of heavy metals. These systems do not kill the bacteria, aerate the water or remove the smell. They introduce the dead bacteria back into the water system (not good). A company that is willing to set up a water softener system but not put in a system that cleans the water before it, is just setting you up to take your money.
The Ozone injection system injects a series of ozone molecules consisting of 3 oxygen molecules linked together called ozone gas. There are problems with these systems in that they require a massive holding tank and constant water movement even when the water not being used. These systems kill the bacteria in the water system, but problems arise with the ozone gas destroying metal pipes or other chemical systems adding something to harm the body.
Ozone gas is designed to kill bacteria by providing an environment unsuitable for the bacteria to survive. Note, this will remove heavy metals from the water like iron, because over time the ozone gas returns one oxygen molecule back to the environment to stabilize, thus attaching to the iron and converting it to iron oxide.
One day, they may find out that all or some of what goes through your water system causes or adds to diseases / cancer.
Today we will learn how the micronizer works on well water that is loaded with iron, eliminating the terrible odor caused by decaying bacteria.
The following are Stages one through three known to occur in wells within the Mountains of Tennessee:
v Iron molecules are present with no or very little bacteria in the water causing brown rust stains as it clings to copper piping, CPVC, PVC, plastic, fiberglass, cloth but not to porcelain like commodes, but possible over years of no filter.
v No odor is present in the cold running water.
v No odor is present in the hot running water.
v Some Bacteria feeding off of the Iron molecules clings not only to items as in Stage-1, but also under the rim of the commodes. Opening the commode cover to the tank will reveal a dark brown retaining tank and a black film ring present. Draining the water and using “The Works” reveals a very unpleasant odor.
v No odor is present in the cold running water but is present in Ice cubes as they dissolve in drinks.
v Odor is very evident in the hot water especially taking a bath.
v Dead bacteria and heavy bacteria feeding on the Iron molecules usually in wells not dug very deep or with the water table very low as in droughts. The bacteria is present in everything, iron clings to everything.
v Odor is present in the cold running water.
v Odor is present in the hot running water.
Before we get started, I would like to recommend Nicholas Wise who has written an article about Reverse Osmosis.
Present Filter System:
This little item above is the heart beat to converting iron and magnesium to their oxidized state on a very cheap level. We will talk about iron being oxidize by using micron air bubbles to convert the iron to iron oxide. This unit like others causes micro air bubbles to be introduced while the well pump is running. The micronizer is inline after the one-way valve and before the pressure tanks. The one-way valve is designed to prevent water returning back down the well causing the well pump to reprime the water line leading to the house or cabin. After the pressure tank(s) come the sediment tank consisting of an air vent on top to release excess air. Then the back flush tank with resin bedding to flush out the accumulated iron oxide, then a water softener system if you have issues with hard water. Air does accumulate in your pressure tank(s) only to speed the process of iron oxide. If air does get in your pipes, the air vent is there to remove any excess air.
Some cabins only have a water softener system installed to remove heavy metals, but some how, most of all the short drilled wells have large amounts of iron in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
When iron is exposed to air it converts to iron oxide thus preventing the bacteria from being born and feeding on iron, thus not existing. The resin bedding removes the iron oxide material through a back flush system with resin bedding designed to attract iron oxide. This bedding is called resin and different resins are designed for different metals.
Micronizer – designed to introduce micron air bubbles into the water as the well pump is operating before the pressure tanks. The adjustment on the side is designed for tuning the amount of air entering the system. When the system is at zero-psi you will need to turn the adjustment counter-clockwise until it stops. This adjustment is at zero for a starting point of air being injected into the water system.
While the well pump is building pressure the air will stop entering the micronizer because of back pressure and the adjustment will need to be turned clockwise. You will note on the pressure gauge the pressure in the system. Adjustments should be every 10-psi. Normally the system will have a 20-psi variable pressure regulator. What this means is that the power to the well pump will shut-off for example at the 60-psi on the pressure gauge and when the pressure reduces down to 40-psi the pressure regulator will trip the power back on causing the well pump to turn back on. The pressure regulator in the image above is the one with the gray top. Removing the gray top and adjusting the screw on the end of the spring tighter or looser for more or less pressure respectitivly is the way to adjust it. Careful the electrical power is usually 240 VAC for well pumps and can be very dangerous.
Adjustment as in the example above with the variable of 40-psi (on) to 60-psi (off) for the pressure regulator, the micronizer injects air while the pump is pumping at 40-psi, when the pressure reaches 50-psi the micronizer will reduce injecting air and before 60-psi is reached the micronizer should have stopped injecting air. This is the perfect adjustment for the micronizer and the amount of air being injected.
The air is injected through the brass barb on top of the unit. The barb is also allowed to inject liquid instead of air if you wish to treat your system with some sort of chemical, like “The Works” or “Bleach”. Like air, the liquid can only be injected while the well pump is pumping between 40-psi and 55-psi. Running the water from a faucet or garden hose will cause the pressure to reduce and start the well pump again.
The dual tank water filter systems like the one’s below start at $500.00 and go up. Our system does not have any electronics, but just a simple motor and manual slide pins to tell the system when to perform the back flush. I mention Culligan because of the current system under our cabin. There are numerous companies with the ability to perform the same functions as our Fleck system. Culligan seems to have supplies for Fleck products and could have asked Fleck to build the product and have Culligan put their name on it, more research on that subject is needed.
The 10-year old unit is a Fleck model 5600 currently installed under our cabin. The Fleck system is without the softener control valve, which could be added, but currently our well does not have hard water and is not in need of the water softener unit thus cutting cost.
Our system from Fleck developed a problem with iron buildup because of the micronizer not working correctly, so we had the resin bedding replaced for a cost of $300.00, this included labor, reinstalling the system with 1” PVC piping, adding unions, tee’s and other PVC material to attach the current cabin and a second cabin to the system.
Along with the iron buildup the piston valve and seals in the back flush unit were worn and clogged with iron buildup. Our problem was indicated by having to use a lot of effort in order to turn the dial on the timer. Our service call and kit parts totaled $245.00. The knowledge from the service call was needed in order to write this document, I later found out that we could have ordered the whole 12-day timer for the same price as the service call. We did learn that any motor with a red gear in the Fleck units is a defect part and should be replaced for the original brass gear. Our old model had the brass gear and did not need changing.
If you find a model like this one that does not turn the dial when power is applied to the back flush units motor. I would unplug it and open it up and remove the motor to see if a red plastic gear exists, that may be part of the problem with the unit, well along with replacing the seal kit with 5 seals, 4 directional chambers and the piston valve. The 3 pistons are available by the color of the tops which indicate what the pistons is used for. Fleck was smart in color coding the valves, so all you have to do is match color for color.
Duel tank systems can also be added with an external water softener unit. This You could add a water softener system that should come after the duel tank system and before the house or cabin. The cost sometimes requires a special technician to install and maintain it. These alternative systems need a separate special softener system in order to convert and remove the heavy minerals called “Hard Water”. Most softener systems need to be taken apart, cleaned out, and refilled every month for general maintenance. The Fleck unit can be purchased with the water softener valve so that no maintenance is needed, except for adding softener.
If you are unable to add the duel tank back flush system to your whole cabin or house, then at least add an alternative system to the water that you drink, brush your teeth, or use for ice.
Iron Deposits – pipes:
This pipe was broken showing the iron deposits that accumulate over time inside everything. The orange stain is what we are looking at inside the broken pipe. Over time this orange rust from the Iron builds and produces a dark brown when exposed to air and then turns to a black fungus. I am sure this is not healthy for anyone wanting to take a bath, or even wanting to drink this water. I see now why some visitors become sick during their cabin stay, just think, they paid money for this.
Mineral Deposits – hot water heaters:
Lime, Calcium, Magnesium and other minerals are also found in well water. Most everyone is using a water softener to capture the minerals in the water and allow them to crystallize inside the water softener tank instead of the hot water heater and pipes.
A cabin I worked on does not have a micronizer, duel filter-system or water softener installed to remove the minerals as indicated in this article. The 2 copper heating elements at $8.50 were installed 3 weeks ago and have already burnt out because of the white chalk buildup. To prevent future burn outs is to purchase the Chromium – Nickel heating elements, they range from $20.00 to $35.00 at various stores. Most all of the stores do not carry the 240-vAC 3500-watt elements. The ones that were installed are the following (240-vAC): 3800-watt, 4500-watt, 5500-watt. Be careful not to look at the 208-vAC printed side of the heating elements, because this will cause you to purchase the wrong element.
Another solution are large Neodymium Rare-Earth Magnets or low voltage DC current wrapped around the pipes to change the electrical ion properties of the minerals. It is to prevent and eliminate these minerals from attaching themselves to pipes. A transformer could be used to convert the AC house current to DC current. The attachment of a long copper wire wrapped around the inbound pipe then attaching one end to the DC (+) and the other end to the DC (–). This child experiment can be found with the copper wire wrapped around a nail to make a small magnet. This same technique will cause a magnetic field to be established for the inbound water for ionization via a magnetic flux field. The greater the DC voltage, the greater the magnetic flux field.
About Pressure Tanks:
These pressure tanks hold air pressure in a rubber bladder in the top half of the container, an air valve is at the top of the tanks, this valve is like the one your car tire has on its rim, it is used to fill the rubber bladder with air pressure. When no water or pressure is present in the tank and you wish to use 50-psi for your house water pressure. The rubber bladder valve needs to be filled with 25-psi (50%) of your desired house water pressure. The tanks are pre-filled with between 27-psi to 32-psi from the factory for the house water pressure to be between 55-psi and 65-psi respectively.
The pressure tanks prevent:
(a) water pipes from rocking in the walls when the faucet is turned off like in houses that reside in the city with water pressure regulators.
(b) prevent excessive high pressure from the hot water heater heating up the water; as the water expands the water thus builds pressure in the pipes, when the hot water faucet is turned on, a surge of high water pressure results, then reduces to the normal pressure after a few seconds.
(c) and prevent well pumps from destroying well motors from excessive on and off surges when the water is running as in using the shower.
PVC vs CPVC:
The cabins brass piping is 20+ years old and full of iron residue. I have converted the system and installed PVC in the system and isolated the bladder pressure tanks before the filter-systems. To replace the cabin piping with CPVC would be too expensive for the owner, since it was installed with copper. Remember, you have to use CPVC for hot water and not PVC, this is why the whole plumbing system for hot and cold water is made up of CPVC or brass piping in new construction. Using CPVC for both cold and hot is recommended for new housing so when the hot water heater is installed it will not matter which line is the hot and which is the cold.
I also found out in the duel tank filter systems, that you can purchase the beads called “Chelating Resin” that is present in the tall cylinder back-flush filter tank in the fore-ground, small gravel pebbles are added first then the resin is added to within 12” to the neck of the tank. A licensed company can direct you to the correct purchase of bedding for the filter tanks. The company will ask the question, what mineral are you wishing to flush from your water? They will give you the correct bedding.
Bedding that is filled to the top neck of the tank does not have enough room to expand and perform the back flush thus causing the system to fail in removing the iron oxide.
The back-ground tank is seen with an air valve on top of the tank. The check valve is operated by a float that works by shutting off when water pushes it up, otherwise it falls to allow air to be release from the tank. The tank also is used for trapping sediment.
The fore-ground tank consists of the resin beads for filtering sediment and iron oxide with a back flush control unit at the top. The back flush is to expel the waste sediment and deposits through a small line to the sewer or to the outside of the building.
Electrical wiring is needed for the back flush unit to be plugged into a 120vAC wall socket. The tank resin beads can last for 20 years or more with proper maintenance, but with heavier medal concentrations from wells could cause the bedding to be changed sooner around the 10 year mark before clogging up the system and damaging the seals. The beads have an attraction for heavy metals and over time the beads become a shiny dark purple in color from all the deposits.
All of the tank filter-systems only take away particles (greater than) 5.0-microns, this does not work for heavy metals like Iron with bacteria attached to them, that are between 0.45-microns and 0.75-microns. What is removed is the iron oxide, but can only be converted by the air micronizer. This conversion of changing the iron to iron oxide causes clumping to occur which is greater than 30-microns.
Water companies will try to sell you pieces and parts to increase their bottom line. Some companies will sell you the water softener system, leading you to believe that it will rid your water of the smell. This is false, what happens is that once you complain about the water smell, they simply state that your water is worse than normal. “Which is a lie” and sell you the double tank system and add the mironizer before the pressure tanks.
They also indicate once you purchase the tank filter systems, it would be in your best interest to purchase the 0.5-micron filter for the whole house filter system and place it under your cabin or use a reverse osmosis system under your sink; if you wish to have fresh drinking water. The reverse osmosis contains a carbon filter in the system to remove chemicals like chlorine.
If you wish to use the secondary system, there is a 2.0-micron carbon filter that you can purchase to help improve the taste of the water, but if you wish to purchase the expensive version of the 0.5-micron filter with carbon you are more than welcome to do so.
Some companies claim that you will need to add a chemical injection system so that they can sell you the special chemical, which turns out to be the $2.00 bleach at Wal-Mart.
A filter-system had to be out there for much less than these systems and easy to install. After about 2 years of research, knowledge base web searching, and numerous trips to store’s that sold filtration systems, inline injection, off line injection, mechanical injection, and self-feeding injection. Everything required constant maintenance and expensive repairs or expensive replacements when they broke.
The picture shows the old in-line chemical feeders that required expensive tablets every month. The chlorine tablets only added to the smell and the bromine tablets just added to the cost. The bad part is that these units will only hold about 30-psi max of water pressure and that is pushing it. Chemical feeder units that are for 50-80-psi cost more – a whole lot more.
When one of the tops crack and pops off, the replacement cost for R-13 insulation under your cabin and cleaning is nothing to laugh at. The kicker was, every one or even all of the solutions could not guarantee to remove the smell with a money back guarantee. Well, that was enough for me to find something that worked, and easy to maintain.
Conclusion: Biology and Water Levels:
My brother, thank God for his education and loving Biology (the good Lord only knows why) and the great teacher he had; told me how the bacteria live and die feeding on different heavy elements in a water environment. Cause and effect; by what happens when temperatures change occurs in the hot water heater with bacteria dieing at certain temperatures, light or darkness affecting the living bacteria. Like the difference in well water table levels rising and lowering, or in the winter verses the summer, of ground water temperatures changing thus all relating to the well water switching Stages back and forth. Finally it made since, the answer was so clear that it was stupid of me not to see it before. Funny how knowledge works for someone, but passing it along to anyone else that will listen and learn from it is golden.
Micronizer Air Injection Valve:
Air vent eliminator :
Reverse Osmosis filter information: http://www.espwaterproducts.com/about_reverse_osmosis.htm
Heavy Metal abstract: http://eprints.qut.edu.au/4696/
Example of bladder pressure tanks: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=pressure+tanks&x=18&y=20
Home Improvement Centers like Lowe’s and Home Depot stock these items.
PVC pipe cutting tool example: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_auto?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=pvc+pipe+cutter&x=0&y=0
Super Lube TFTP Teflon Grease: http://www.amazon.com/Super-Lube-Synthetic-Grease-21030/dp/B000XBH9HI
Joining PVC example, the example uses the Gold Can and is UPC approved: http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/plumbing/technique/pvc/gluing/joining_pipe.htm
Images from Lowes:
Water Filter tanks – whole house tank systems (sediment and filter): http://www.waterfiltercomparisons.com/whole_house_filter_comparison.php?d=gp
Electric Heat tape
very good resource for different types of heat tape:
30 feet of heat tape.
Other links for heat tape.