Sulphur Water Filters - Things To Think About When Considering a System
If you have sulphur in your residential home you know the havoc this can bring. Sulphur stinks! It makes for smelly showers, smelly kitchens, and in extreme cases can cause a terrible odour in your entire home. There are highly effective ways to remove sulphur including whole home sulphur filters that can solve the issue for every water using outlet in your home. But there are important things to understand in the process of selecting a sulphur system and we cover them below.
Know Your Water First - Especially the pH
The pH of your water plays a critical role in the removal of sulphur. If your water has a pH that's below 7 (making it acidic) the sulphur will want to stay in solution (bad). If the water is above a pH of 7 (basic) the sulphur will have more of a tendency to want to come out of solution (good). So knowing the pH of the water plays a very crucial role in understanding which technologies will work to remove and how to size those system properly. For instance, if you have very high pH (optimal conditions for sulphur removal) a small filtration system may work really well for you even if you have a severe sulphur issue. Conversely, a very large sulphur reduction system may work very poorly to remove even modest concentrations of sulphur if your pH is too low.
Another reason to know your water chemistry before making a filter purchase is because water that contains problematic concentrations of sulphur almost always contains concentrations of iron and manganese. These two contaminants are very closely related to sulphur, chemistry-wise, and create problems of their own. The good news is that you can often filter for all three contaminants at once but it's important to know this at the point of system selection as some systems will not remove all three.
What Kind of Well Pump Do You Have?
Sulphur reduction systems use media that is quite dense and to properly backwash the media and flush it of all the accumulated sulphur (and iron/manganese) it requires a substantial flow rate. The vast majority of sulphur system failures occur because the household water pumping system cannot provide an adequate flow rate. So our general rule of thumb at Aquatell is that we don't sell a sulphur system to a customer unless they have a submersible pump. Submersible pumps are pumps that are down the well shaft. Submersible pumps are generally the highest flow pumps available to residential customers and knowing that a customer has one is part of the way we insure they can operate a sulphur reducing filter longterm. The other type of pump that's common residentially is a jet pump. Jet pumps sit on dry land and draw water out of the well and then push it to the home. Generally speaking, a jet pump will not have enough flow capacity to properly backwash a sulphur filter.
Do You Have 3/4" Plumbing?
Having a good pump is half of the water flow equation. The other half is the plumbing that delivers the water from the pump to the water filter. In order to operate a sulphur filter properly, we strongly recommend that you ensure that the pipes that deliver the water are no smaller than 3/4". So this includes the piping that runs from the pump to your home, through the pressure tank, and to where the sulphur filter is located, which is typically before the pipe splits to the hot water heater. If at any point between the pump and your filter the pipe is reduced to smaller than 3/4" that bottleneck will likely prevent the sulphur filter from being backwashed properly even if you have a submersible pump.
When we say 3/4" plumbing it's important to understand that residential plumbing is named for it's inside diameter. So, a 3/4" pipe will actually measure larger than this if you measure it from the outside. For instance, a residential copper 3/4" pipe actually measures much closer to 1" on outside diameter.