Hydro-Charger reducing flow rate?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by Flipperman2a2w, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. Flipperman2a2w

    Flipperman2a2w New Member

    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I have a well in a vacation home in the mountains with considerably high iron (over 20ppm). The previous owners of the house had a Birm filter in place that they used to backwash periodically and a water softener.

    I tested the flow rate on the well about a year ago and only got 2.5-3gpm. The tag that is on the well says it should yield 20gpm, but the well is almost 5 years old. As I understand it, the geology below our feet can change and cause flow rates to drop. The real bummer is that the 2.5-3gpm isn't enough to properly backwash any iron filter, let alone one that is filtering the amount of iron we have.

    In any case, I was fooling around under the house the last time we were on vacation (because that's what I do to relax), and I discovered a Hydro-Charger that is plumbed into the PEX supply line. It was dripping a tiny bit and had some rust on it. I shut the water off, drained the pressure tank, and unscrewed the nipple on the Hydro-Charger. There was some rust and gunk on it that I cleaned off. After reinstalling the nipple, it no longer dripped, which makes me think it was clogged or not working properly.

    My questions:

    1. Why was there a Hydro-Charger installed? Is this to oxygenate the water and create larger iron particles that can be filtered out?
    2. MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION: I read that Hydro-Chargers can significantly reduce the flow-rate from the well. Is it possible that my well is actually yielding 20gpm, but the Hydro-Charger was/is restricting the flow rate down to 2.5-3gpm?
    3. Would I be better off getting rid of the Hydro-Charger and installing a retension tank with an electric air injection pump?


    The people who owned the house before us lived there for about 3 years full-time. I just can't believe that they were changing the filter media every month because the flow rate was too low to backwash. Maybe the Hydro-Charger got clogged, stopped working, and caused the iron filter to fail?

    Water treatment folks have been trying to sell me the Greensand (due to my low backwash rate), but I don't want to mess with all the chemicals. Someone else told me I absolutely had to chlorinate to filter the iron, but that's more chemicals and a separate charcoal filter to get the chlorine back out. I'm not crazy about changing the filter media as often as every other trip (or the cost), but it doesn't make sense installing a more elaborate system in a vacation home that we visit 5 or 6 times a year...
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,050
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Yes the venturi even when clean severely restricts the flow. Clogged and it gets worse. They need to be removed and cleaned periodically as well as the valve replaced if it is leaking. Some models have an adjustable bypass to allow more GPM through but the more that bypasses, less air gets added to the stream. What I do is periodically open up the bypass during a manual backwash.

    I have considered going with an air-pump system but they are expensive here.

    http://www.air-pump.com/technical.php

    I also thought of going with an Excalibur system but there was not enough technical info on there site to satisfy my curiosity of how well they would work.

    http://www.excaliburwater.com/iron_sulphur_filters_residential.htm
  3. Flipperman2a2w

    Flipperman2a2w New Member

    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Thanks so much for the quick reply, my friend! I will have to remove it the next time I'm there and test the flow rate again. The first time I backwashed the filter that the owners used, all kinds of red nastiness came out. A few trips later, the filter failed and I replaced it with a better model. Ever since then, my backwash is crystal clear (which makes me think the filter isn't backwashing properly).

    I wonder if the Hydro-Charger was working and then got clogged, due to the intermittent use... That would explain how the original owners were able to use the system for 2-3 years...

    I will have to look into the air injection. With so much iron, I believe we either need air or chlorine to help precipitate the iron (or whatever it is called).

    At this point, I'd be happy knowing that we have a flow rate that can properly backwash a filter...
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,050
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
  5. Flipperman2a2w

    Flipperman2a2w New Member

    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I believe it is adjustable- there's a screw on the side that you can open and close a few turns. Would that be to allow more air in? At this point, I don't think I want anything to restrict flow rate, so I might remove the Hydro-Charger and see what air injection does for me.
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,050
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    The screw on the side of mine opens (CCW) or closes (CW) the bypass. Closing the bypass increases the air at the cost of reducing the water flow. Opening the bypass means more water flow but less air. If you have clear water iron, you need the air to oxidize (and precipitate) the iron for the filter to work.
  7. Flipperman2a2w

    Flipperman2a2w New Member

    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I believe I do have clear water iron, so the clogged hydro-charger may be part of the reason I've been having such a rough time with the filtering. Granted, 20ppm of iron is beastly for any system to properly filter and backwash. When we first bough the house, I used to see iron particles filtering out during the backwash process. The past several trips, though, I haven't seen any of it coming out. I literally change the media once every 2-3 trips (and each trip is only about a week long). If I can extend the life of the media (even only a little) with air injection, I would be a happy camper. I already have a spare tank I can use, so I guess I need to source an air pump...
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