Replace pre-filter housing on home water filter system

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by Betsy Callahan, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. Betsy Callahan

    Betsy Callahan New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2019
    Location:
    Phoenix
    I have an aquasana EQ-600 whole house water filter system and the 12 year old pre-filter unit plastic cracked and it leaks from the top, so I need to replace the whole pre-filter plastic unit. The printed material from the company says that the warranty is void if you use pipe dope on any of the components of the system. The original plumber that came and installed the pre-filter used some kind of pipe dope, I think. It is a light green color and it surrounds all the threads on the pipes going in and out of the pre-filter. I have 3 pictures, one of the entire unit and two close ups of the pre-filter. The new pre-filter unit is coming in the mail and is supposed to be here by Monday. I don't know if short threaded plastic pipes will come with the pre-filter unit or not.
    What do I need to use to clean off all the green stuff surrounding the threads? Can I use the same original plastic pipe if I clean off all the pipe dope or whatever that green stuff is? Do those cylindrical plastic parts along the pipe before and after the pre-filter unscrew and then screw back the same way when I replace the pre-filter with the new one? Is this something I can do by myself or do I need to call a plumber? I would like to try to do it myself if I can. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you. IMG_1317.jpg IMG_1318.jpg IMG_1319.jpg IMG_1318.jpg
     
  2. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Teflon Tape (aka: T-Tape) would have been the preferred choice as opposed to pipe dope.

    A wire brush is usually effective to remove pipe dope, but as you said the 'threaded nipples' are plastic, a wire brush may damage the plastic threads. It would likely be best and inexpensive to just replace the nipples, but that will require also unthreading both nipples from the 'union' fittings on both sides of the filter housing. Each union nut will unthread to allow the entire filter housing including nipples to be removed. You will likely need a large slip-joint plier (aka: Channel lock) to loosen each union nut.

    There will typically be an unthreaded section at the midpoint of each nipple so as to use a pipe wrench or large vice-grip plier to unthread the nipple from the other fittings without damaging the threads with the plier jaws.

    Is it the Blue part of the filter housing that is cracked? If the blue part remains undamaged but only the clear 'sump' that is damaged, you may be able to simply replace the sump and O-ring while leaving the filter housing in-place. The clear sumps are usually brittle and easier to break compared to the opaque White or Blue sumps. If you had not already ordered a replacement housing, a Pentek housing would have been a great replacement as shown at this link: https://view.publitas.com/impact-water-products/2018-catalog-final/page/196-197
     
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  4. Betsy Callahan

    Betsy Callahan New Member

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    Thank you for replying Bannerman. It is actually the blue part on the top that the plastic is cracked and the water comes out at the top. It is not surprising though, it is 12 years old, and the temperature where I live gets very hot. I have an opaque replacement filter already coming from aquasana. If I am gentle with the wire brush do you think I can use the same threaded plastic pipe, or can I buy the same length and diameter pieces of pipe at Home Depot or Lowes? I will be happy to do that rather than risk damaging the plastic pipe threads covered with the pipe dope. I just don't have room to lengthen or shorten the pipe, so if I can't get the exact length I will have problems.

    Are the union nuts the cylindrical pieces along the pipe? So they are unthreaded in the center where the 2 pieces of pipe meet? I think it is all plastic.
    I don't think I have slip joint pliers, but I might. I have a pipe wrench.
     
  5. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Most likely. There are standard stock lengths available. Difficult to determine the pipe diameter from photos, but they appear to be 3/4".

    You can see 'ribs' protruding to make it easier to grasp and turn the nuts. There will be threads internal to each nut. The valve union nut will turn counterclockwise from the pre-filter side to unfasten it. The one on the left without the valve will unthread the same way from the large filter side.

    That will likely be suitable to loosen the union nuts, but a pipe wrench will often be too wide to fit onto a short nipple between two fittings. Perhaps once the unit is removed at the union fittings, unscrewing the union adapter within each nut will unthread it from the nipple or will remove the nipple from the filter housing so as to allow the pipe wrench to fit onto the nipple without interference.

    edit: It appears the valve on the right may have been installed backwards. There is an arrow below the handle which I think is to indicate the correct flow direction. Since it is controlling the incoming flow to the pre-filter, water flow will be right to left but the arrow appears to be pointing right. Probably not critical for regular use but since you will be removing a union nut that is integral to that valve, it may not hold back water flow once the union nut is removed. While you are replacing the pre-filter housing, suggest using the home's main water valve so as to not rely on the pre-filter valve.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  6. Betsy Callahan

    Betsy Callahan New Member

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    Apr 13, 2019
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    Thank you again for responding Bannerman,

    IMG_1320.jpg IMG_1321.jpg I just got the new pre-filter in the mail today and it came with new two union nuts and four pieces of pipe threaded only on one end. I took pictures of what I was sent, including the new pre-filter. This makes it easier, right? All I have to do is put it together and attach it to the main pipe. I don't have to worry about cleaning off pipe dope off all the old pipe connections. Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated. You are right about the flow direction. The same plumber that put all the pipe dope on all the threads also set up the flow direction. I will do it right this time. Thanks for all your help so far Bannerman.

    Betsy
     
  7. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    It appears the new nipples will need to be cut shorter before using the appropriate adhesive to glue them into each union adapter. After cutting the appropriate length for each, suggest assembling everything dry to confirm everything does fit before anything is glued permanently.
     
  8. Betsy Callahan

    Betsy Callahan New Member

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    Apr 13, 2019
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    Thanks for replying Bannerman

    What is the appropriate adhesive? Is it the Oatey PVC cement that also comes with the can of purple primer? Is that safe for water coming into the house? I have used that to fuse sprinkler plastic pipe in the yard before? No instructions came with the pre-filter and the union adapters. I didn't know I needed adhesive at all.
     
  9. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Since there are no threads on one end of each nipple, I expect they will need to be glued. Surprised instructions were not provided.

    I attempted to zoom in to attempt to see if the type of plastic is indicated on the unions. While I expect they are PVC, suggest taking a sample of each to your local plumbing supply to ensure you obtain the correct adhesive and primer if you don't already have them. As an alternative, you could contact Aquasana to ask them what they recommend.
     
  10. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  11. brocker

    brocker New Member

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    Love seeing all the help in this form.
     
  12. Betsy Callahan

    Betsy Callahan New Member

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    Apr 13, 2019
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    Thank you again Bannerman. That video explained alot. I will read the labels on the oatey glue and primer I have and if it is not NSF certified I will get some that is. Saturday morning I am going to attempt to do it. Thanks for your advice and the video.
     
  13. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    You will find they are NSF certified.
     
  14. gsmith22

    gsmith22 Member

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    gray PVC is usually schedule 80, white PVC schedule 40. Schedule refers to the thickness of the walls since PVC is PVC. This color/wall thickness isn't always strictly true but is a good general guide (well water work apparently uses white sch 80 so I have been told). Since your fittings are grey and look relatively thick, yours might be sch 80 PVC. The only reason I bring this up is that some PVC glues only work with schedule 40. I don't why that is or what Oatey glue and primer you have but make sure they are good for both sch 40 and 80 in pvc. I had some older cans that were only good for sch 40 and had to go get new stuff for sch 80 recently.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  15. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    Water systems designer, R&D, Technical Director
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    Ontario California
    Unfortunately we have seen that filter housing break regularly. The pipe dope did not cause this problem, it is a known issue. The filter should not be free hanging, it should be mounted properly.

    Grey is also available in schedule 40. We use a lot of sch 40 grey fittings for certain customers.

    http://63.156.201.111/smcweb/EINM022.pgm?TabCd=SCHDL40FTTNGS&SrchStrng=&Rndm=665576101

    Spears is one of the best PVC manufacturers. A little more expensive than the cheap stuff but worth it!
     
  16. Betsy Callahan

    Betsy Callahan New Member

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    Thank you reach4. You are correct, it says NFC certified on both cans and in the directions it says for potable water, so I think I am ok using it.
     
  17. Betsy Callahan

    Betsy Callahan New Member

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    Apr 13, 2019
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    Thank you for the information gmith22. I read the fine print on the oatey cans I have and it says will work with both sch 40 and sch 80 PVC. I have city water. The grey threaded pipes have no writing on them at all, but the paper receipt from aquasana indicates that the threaded pipes and the union couplings are both sch 80 PVC. The union couplings have PVC printed on them and NSF-61 and there is a crescent seal with UPC in the middle and it says the brand is flo by NDS USA. Thanks again for the advice, without this plumbing forum I would be overlooking so many things.
     
  18. Betsy Callahan

    Betsy Callahan New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2019
    Location:
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    Thank you for the advice dittohead. Can I buy Spears PVC products locally at Home Depot or Lowes or Ace hardware? I really need to get this done, my family is tired of placing rags and old t-shirts on top of the pre-filter housing, to absorb the water that is constantly leaking off the top. We have been doing this for over a week now. The grey threaded pipes have no writing on them at all, but the paper receipt from aquasana indicates that the threaded pipes and the union couplings are both sch 80 PVC. The union couplings have PVC printed on them and NSF-61 and there is a crescent seal with UPC in the middle and it says the brand is flo by NDS USA. I will support the bottom of the filter after I install it so that it is not free hanging this time.
     
  19. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    The 4 raised holes at the top of the filter housing, allow a bracket to be fastened to the top with screws. Brackets are usually 'L' shaped to allow fastening to a wall. as examples, see the single Big Blue brackets near the bottom of this page: https://view.publitas.com/impact-water-products/2018-catalog-final/page/225

    Unless you reconfigure the piping leading to the prefilter to relocate the prefilter closer to the wall, it appears the wall behind will be too far away. You may have few options but to build a support structure behind to fasten a bracket to, support the underside, or install 2 upright poles from the floor, 1 per side supporting the connection nipples, so as to support the prefilter including during filter cartridge replacement.
     
  20. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    IL
    The housings are intended to mount to the bracket with 5/16 x 1 lag bolts.
     
  21. Betsy Callahan

    Betsy Callahan New Member

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    Apr 13, 2019
    Location:
    Phoenix
    Thanks Bannerman,

    You are correct, the wall is too far away, and I really don't want to reconfigure the piping. I think I will build something that supports it from below. Would something that supports the bottom of the prefilter from gravity be good enough, or am I more concerned about supporting the connection nipples on each side of the prefilter? Or all of the above? I finished tonight and so far it is not leaking anywhere. Thanks everyone for all the advice, and taking your time to answer my questions, I couldn't have done it without you all.
     
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