How Best to Replace Media (Birm) in Filter

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by Vraz, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. Vraz

    Vraz New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Am using a Birm based iron removal filter that has worked well for almost 8 years. However, I have noticed performance degradation in the past six months or so. My understanding is that Birm has finite life and so was planning to replace the media. My setup uses a WS-1, 13x54 tank, 2.5 cu/ft media.

    Can somebody describe or point me to a good guide that discusses (in practical terms) how to replace media in this kind of filter? I did assemble/install the filter and am thus familiar with it. However, removing media seems more challenging that installing it. Have seen a couple videos on softener resin replacement, but they showed simplistic approaches of dumping over the tank. (With the weight of water in my tank, that is not realistic in its current location plus would turn into a huge mess.)

    My thought was to first siphon the water via the product tube to address the weight issue.
    Once that is done, should I remove the product tube before attempting to remove the media?
    It would be optimal if there was some method to remove some of the media in place (shop vac?)
    Once the weight is down, I can likely get the tank outdoors and use a hose/gravity to remove the rest.

    Appreciate thoughts on how to get this done with the least mess and hassle.
  2. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    738
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    The best way would be to use a shop vac. If no shop vac is available, drain as much water as you can. Bear hug the tank and move to where you can lay the tank down, elevate the button and use a garden hose to flush out the old media. To remove the bistributor tube (you called it a product tube), use a garden hose to shoot water down the center. This will loosen the media and you should be able to pull the tube straight out.
  3. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,836
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Simple and effective. A mineral extractor works well for this but since you will only be doing this once a decade, the cost of the tool would not be worth it. Mialynette said it perfectly, lay it down (carefully!) stick a garden hose in it and lift the bottomm up, the media will flow out easily. This is messy, but not a big deal.
  4. Vraz

    Vraz New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Great feedback. The reference to the mineral extractor was quite illuminating. As Dittohead notes, for a decade event it does not seem worth the cost, but is very neat. I will use a combination of siphon plus shop vac to get the weight manageable and then strap it to a dolly to move outside, Will finish the removal by gently laying it down and using a garden hose (on one of our slightly-above-freezing Minnesota days).

    Thanks again to both of you for the prompt and useful response.
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,987
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I've never done one myself but I don't think I'd bother to siphon off the water first. I think the water may help to keep the hose on the shopvac flushed clean and may in fact help to add more water as you go.

    When I plumbed in my iron filter and my softener, I did not put any valves in-line and don't have integral bypass so with either unit removed for service, I have no water at my outside sillcocks. I would have to run a hose from the pressure tank draincock through the house and out a window. I really do need to bite the bullet and buy three ballvalves so that I can put the system on bypass to have water available when working on them.
  6. Vraz

    Vraz New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Finally got around to pulling the Birm filter out of service, temporarily replaced with a Pentek 4x20 iron reduction cartridge. I dropped a siphon hose down the distributor tube and removed most of the water. Then used the shop vac with a home-made adapter to 1-1/4" PVC. Required three passes to remove enough media to easily move the filter. Siphoning the water was a huge help. The first shop vac "extraction" was the easiest as the topmost media was the driest and lightest (and the shop vac did fine). Manhandling the final wet load (my siphon did not extend to the bottom) was much less pleasant (and had to go slower to prevent the shop vac from plugging). Thus, based on my experience, I would siphon as much water as possible in advance to make emptying the shop vac easier.
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