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Tim M

Master Neutralizer and Softener NS-30T

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Tim M

.   This is one the plumber that installed it couldn't figure out.

.   This system was installed to increase the ph of the water.  Water was leaving blue stains in bath as it dissolves the copper pipes.  Plumber installed the system to solve it, but it often leaves blue stains again.  I'll go through the pictures in the attachment first.

. Top picture shows the front of the Master Autotrol Performa Valve with 400 series control.  Model 268/440i (also listed as just Model 440i).  The system w/ tank is listed as NS-30T.

. Middle picture shows the side view of the same with the cover off.

. Bottom picture shows the two tanks connected to the timer control.  In the background is the salt tank.  To the right is the well tank, and an Aqua Pure AP801 sediment filter.

.   The problem is that it isn't working.  She's still getting blue in her tub, and the NS-Mix of Calcite and Mag Oxide needs to be, according to the plumber, fluffed back up with a rod.  After it is fluffed up, it starts leaving blue stains in about 2 months, so the ph is probably off even before that.

. The problem according to the plumber and the regional rep (a salesman, I'm guessing, and not a technician) is that the MS-Mix is getting channels in it during the regenerating process (I assume they think it is not during water use because of their proposed solution).  The water then passes through these channels and not the MS-Mix and therefore isn't getting properly treated.  The manual states "Recharging Neutralizers should be done between 6 months and 1 year."  So stirring it up every couple months is a lot considering only one person lives in the house.

. They believe that the channels are caused by low water pressure during the recharging process because the run of pex pipe he ran to the washing machine in 78 feet long.  The Installation and Operation Instructions for Combination Units states "Recommended pipe length less than 20 feet and a pipe diameter greater than 1/2 inch."  The valve manual says "use 3/4-inch tubing for runs up to 40 feet."  He originally put in 1/2 inch and replaced it with 3/4 inch I believe.  They believe the back pressure from the long run is causing the media not to fluff up and create channels.  The water seems to come out at a pretty good clip, though I don't have a "normal" to compare it to.  The 78 foot run does have one rise along it to cross over a beam, though I would be surprised if it is getting air locked, though I do wonder.

.   The system is set to regenerate once every six days at 2:00 am.  3 times, twice in the middle of the night and once in the afternoon (after a powerfailure) she was awakened by a huge bang, presumably from the water conditioner right under her bedroom.  The first bang was probably when it first stopped conditioning.  Until that first bang, six to nine months had passed with no blue in her tub.  Now the tub starts turning blue after about 2 months and then needs stiring.  The manual says recharging the NS-Mix should take 6 months to a year, when you should stir it up too.

.   Other things of interest.  The sediment filter, which was there even before this ph treatment system, is now installed after the treatment tanks.  Could this create backpressure during water use?  Works fine for awhile when stirred.  Set to regenerate every six days.  One occupant.

.   Plumbers proposed solution: dig a dry well outside for this system to drain into as it recharges.  (I don't know how they plan to keep the line out to it from freezing!)  This will eliminate the "backpressure", increase the flow during regeneration, and eliminate the channels.  The homeowner isn't so sure and doesn't want to dig up the trees and bushes outside her window for a dry well, to try out a shorter drain pipe run, that may not solve anything, and why did it work for so long the first time (on a smaller drain line) and now will only work for a couple of months even when the MS-Mix is emptied out and completely (remixed or) replaced? especially now that it has a bigger drain line.

. If I were to buy into the back pressure theory, I would just put a tank and pump for it to drain into, but I can't say I care to try that idea.

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Tim M

. Aha!  Drat it!  The manual hopes that the system is above and not more than 20' from the drain.  Now he had the pex pipe run up to the ceiling!  Which is OK, but it can't go up more than 6 feet, which it doesn't, but then the run is only 15 feet and not less than 40psi water pressure.  It just makes 40psi as it is on a well, but then runs over 70 more feet.  (It can push for 2 more feet each additional 10psi.)

. So I'm wondering about putting in a tank and pump right next to this?  So it pumps down 4 feet, then something else pumps it away.  What do you think?

. So it is starting to look like the plumber's diagnosis is plausible, but the manual doesn't tell us WHY it wants it that way.  Is the reason for these specs the problem he sites or some other problem.

Then, it also tells us an elevated drain line needs a 7" loop in it if the drain level ends up LOWER than where the drain tubing connects to the water softener.  That is, is the drain pipe from your washer higher or lower than the connection of the drain tubing to the control valve?  This prevents siphoning which is interesting that you have to avoid both backpressure from too long or high a drain and that siphoning is also undesirable?  Could siphoning be the problem here???

Still considering setting a tank and pump on the floor of the basement  OR  running an 1-1/2 inch pipe over for the 3/4 inch pipe to spill into.

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