I need sleep! Noisy air pump is driving me crazy

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by tlvancouver, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. tlvancouver

    tlvancouver New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    First, a confession - I know very little about well water, we're new to a rural environment. Here's our set up, shallow well, cistern, pump in cistern and well.

    In our house we have a 1.5 cubic foot nexan iron filtration system a 1.5 cubic foot Ultramax water softener, and a UV system with a 5 micron prefilter. (We probably got drastically upsold, but that is another story).

    The problem is that the way this has been installed in our home means it is so noisy that we are getting little sleep.The utility room is indoors and directly below the master bedroom

    The challenge is that the air pump they have added to infuse air into the iron system is SO noisy - they originally had it attached up above the system attached to the concrete wall - the pump runs every time a tap is run or a toilet is flushed and the pump is amazingly loud. They moved it to the concrete floor and while it is better, it still wakes us up when it starts to run.

    Finally the backflushing of the system wakes the whole house up.

    Is there anything that we can do or install to let us sleep again? I'm at the point of taking the whole darn thing out if I can't figure out how to fix this.

    • Are there other alternatives to this noisy air pump?
    • If needed, could the air pump be installed outside?
    • Does anyone have suggestions on limiting the noise associated with backflushing the system?

      Thank you so much for any help you might be able to give us!
     
  2. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

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    What makes you think you were "drastically upsold"? Obviously you have an iron and/or H2S gas and possibly manganese problems, plus hard water and then, a bacteria problem. If so, those 3 pieces of equipment are one way to treat the water among other choices. Although some would have cost you less. Didn't the folks you bought from explain this equipment and what it was used for, along with giving you other choices? If not they should have and probably will still explain it to you if you call them now.

    Anyway, there are rubber feet for the air compressor, or set it on a rubber pad or some other vibration type insulator material but, it should not come on every time you open a faucet. Unless they are using a flow switch to turn it on instead of using a 230v compressor and wiring it into the well pump switch so it comes on with the well pump. That way it only runs for about 80% of the pump's run time.

    The water lines to/from this equipment and/or the drain lines from the filter and softener can be insulated from wood etc. that will transmit the sound into the house. The same for the compressor. And you could work toward getting to the point where you relax about living 'out in the country' so you don't wake up at the slightest sound. Thirty years ago I bought next door to a volunteer fire company and had 5 little kids and in a short time we got to the point where we slept through fire alarms. If you think about it, you're probably waking up because it's so quite out there in the dark. lol
     
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  4. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

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    MN, USA
    I a noisy fan helps mask other noises.

    The thing to remember is that the brain only wakes you up if a noise changes.

    This is why the newer fire alarms alternate the sound since a single tone can be ignored by the brain if it starts during this one sleep state.
     
  5. drick

    drick In the Trades

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    These are easily solved problems. First the back washing. There is no rule that says you have to backwash at midnight. Ideally yes, but you can set it to backwash at noon. Yes there is more of a chance that your filter will be bypassed when you are using water, but you have two stages of filtration anyway. You will always have at least some filtration whether it be the softener or the iron filter and either should filter out the iron. You don't want the softener to be filtering out the iron long term but a few minutes a couple of times a month won't hurt it.

    Now about the air pump. Put it on a timer. Who cares if it doesn't run at 2am when someone flushes a toilet. Its not enough new water to make any real difference in your filtration. If its a 240V air pump you will need to get creative in how you wire up the timer, but its still very doable.

    BTW where is your cistern? You might be able to use it to help with your iron problem. If you airate the water in the cistern the iron will settle to the bottom of the tank. I would buy a fish pond air pump (tetra makes a whether proof heavy duty one for about $50) and airate the cistern 24/7 -its small and won't use much A/C. Then I'd raise my pump up a foot so it doesn't suck up the iron water. Finally I'd buy a sump pump, sit it at the bottom of the cistern and put it on a timer to run 1-2 minutes a day and discharge the water on the ground or you could make a drywell with some gravel and rocks. This will get rid of much of the iron water off the bottom of the tank and your iron filter will have much less work to do. I'd also be willing to bet you wouldn't need the large air pump any more as your water should be thoroughly airated by the fish pond air pump.

    Oh, and if you have an iron problem I agree with Gary you weren't oversold. You might have paid too much but generally that is what is needed to do the job right. Personally I think your current setup should have included a 120gal retention tank as iron doesn't instantly convert to a solid when you add air. If you airate your cistern you wouldn't need a retention tank.

    -rick
     
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

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    When you use water when a filter or softener is in its backwash or regenerating, you get raw untreated water. You also rob water flow from the equipment which is not a good idea. And you certainly don't want ferric iron to get into a softener in the volume there will be in the vent tank described below.

    This iron filter is (usually) an air pump system consisting of a backwashed filter, oil less medical grade compressor and automatically vented tank. There is a head of air maintained in the vent tank that is vented off some as the water pressure falls before the well pump comes on and then the air is replaced by the compressor as the pump runs.

    You should never use equipment that does not meet the NSF Standard 61; for use in potable water systems, like a sump pump and fish tank aerator....
     
  7. drick

    drick In the Trades

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    May 16, 2008
    >>And you certainly don't want ferric iron to get into a softener in the volume there will be in the vent tank described below.

    I don't remember implying it was a good thing, what I said was the softener can handle it for short periods of time. There is a cheap simple solution to this too- add a cartridge filter after the iron filter. It should last for months!

    Also, the iron filter you described would most likely not remove all the iron before it converted to ferric form anyway because the retention time will be too short, so the softener is already being contaminated to some degree anyway.

    >>You should never use equipment that does not meet the NSF Standard 61; for use in potable water systems, like a sump pump and fish tank aerator....
    Then gravity drain the cistern and buy an aerator for a cistern that is not under pressure. My Koi give the weatherproof Tetra fish POND aerator with only 1 moving part and no lubricants a thumbs up however:)

    -rick
     
  8. speedbump

    speedbump Active Member

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    Put the air pump outside. As long as it has no water in it, cold weather shouldn't bother it. We use air pumps a lot for sulphur removal and oxidizing iron where the nozzles in the heads plug up a lot. I mounted one on a house once inside the little alcove that is designed to hide the tank and filtration equipment. Turns out the owner's bedroom was inside that wall. It didn't stay there long. About one night if I remember correctly.

    bob...
     
  9. tlvancouver

    tlvancouver New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Thanks

    I appreciate the help, the pump is right below our bedroom - it isn't a small sound we'll get used to, (we used to live by a railroad, noise I know!!!)

    I will talk to our water contractor about the options here - especially the outside option. We're new to this house, so I'm not sure how often the system is set to backwash, but it is likely we could find a daytime period if we planned it properly!

    Has anyone had success with using sound insulation with a pump like this? Are there any other options for getting air into the system other than the pump (I like the aeration of the cistern, not sure I really understand it but will explore it).

    Thanks again, and if there are any other ideas i would sure appreciate it.
     
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

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    The filter is after the aeration vent tank so depending on the amount of iron being removed/oxidized, there will be a lot of ferric iron getting to the softener if water is used when the filter is in backwash, and that is a very bad idea for any softener for any length of time. So is a disposable cartridge filter.

    The filter needs to do its backwash at a time when water is not going to be used and, before the softener regenerates.

    I have sold many air pump systems over the last 15 years. They work very well if you know how to correctly size one. I sized right and used a special carbon in the filter, meaning all the ferrous iron had to be oxidized by the air or it would get into the carbon but, most air pumps are not used for iron, they are used for H2S gas. My softener after the filter was never 'contaminated'.

    Gravity draining of a cistern doesn't drain the last 2 or more inches of water off the bottom. That's where the rust sediment will settle but away from the tank outlet a foot or two because the water flow currents will drag it out of the tank.

    Using air in a cistern is not a good idea because it will cause a lot more rust build up on the bottom of the tank, and could cause slime and airborne bacteria conditions/problems in the cistern; which then would require sanitation type maintenance in the cistern.

    If conditions are right, putting a compressor outside in cool/cold weather can cause condensation in the line from the compressor to the vent tank and that is a problem if it gets cold enough to freeze. The condensation is formed by cool air temps and hot (and maybe humid) air from the compressor. And if the air line check valve on the air line connection on the vent tank leaks, it allows water up the line to or into the compressor, which would freeze if it gets cold enough.
     
  11. drick

    drick In the Trades

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    >>snip....and that is a very bad idea for any softener for any length of time. So is a disposable cartridge filter.

    So your saying that a disposable carbon filter is bad and won't solve the problem because????? Are you now implying that the ferric iron is going to get past the carbon filter and contaminate the water softener????

    >>I have sold many air pump systems over the last 15 years. They work very well if you know how to correctly size one. I sized right and used a special carbon in the filter

    To clarify, by 'special' you mean centaur carbon.

    >>Gravity draining of a cistern doesn't drain the last 2 or more inches of water off the bottom. That's where the rust sediment will settle but away from the tank outlet a foot or two because the water flow currents will drag it out of the tank.

    We're not trying to empty the tank here. Again as I previously stated you only need to open the lower valve for a minute or two each day. This will drain off the worst of the water and the remaining 90+ percent of the water can stay in the tank.

    >>Using air in a cistern is not a good idea because it will cause a lot more rust build up on the bottom of the tank, and could cause slime and airborne bacteria conditions/problems in the cistern; which then would require sanitation type maintenance in the cistern.

    Again we're draining water off the bottom of the cistern every day! It's going to be cleaner than it was before. Even with the addition of air.

    >>If conditions are right, putting a compressor outside in cool/cold weather can cause condensation in the line from the compressor to the vent tank and that is a problem if it gets cold enough to freeze.
    If you are aerating a cistern you would do it 24/7 using a different type of pump. No risk of freeze up in this case.

    Anyway good luck tlvancouver and feel free to pm me if you have additional questions.
     
  12. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

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    drick, you are redesigning a system and adding to the maintenance requirements, of a system that is working fine without problems that only has a noise complaint. IMO, your redesign has the potential and a high probably, to cause additional water quality problems.

    IMO again, all tlvancouver has to do to get rid of the noise is to isolate or insulate the air compressor, water line and drain line from the wood and/or cement those things are touching. I've done this as part of my installation of the type of equipment he has and the customer has not had a noise problem.
     
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