You’ll Know You’re Getting Chemical Free Home Water Disinfection When …

Ozone has been used to disinfect water for over 100 years. Many water treatment plants throughout the world not only use ozone to disinfect water, but also remove organic compounds and improve taste and smell. Ozone is an attractive alternative to chemical treatment because it is very effective and does not introduce any new chemicals to the water you use. The drawback has been a high initial cost and equipment maintenance. Advances in technology have brought ozone within the reach of the average home owner, and small scale reliable ozone generating equipment has stood the test of time. Our ozone water treatment (WT) system is simple to operate and monitor to ensure that it is working properly to provide safe water. Here are five routine, simple, and quick checks of your ozone WT system to maintain your peace of mind.

You will know your water’s staying clean when …

1) The desiccant air dryer feels warm.

Put your hand near the top of the air dryer. Does it feel warm? If it is cold, something is not right. The air dryer contains two cylinders of desiccant material. It is the same stuff you find in little packets sometimes placed in the packaging of sensitive electronic equipment. This material absorbs moisture from the air. Eventually it becomes saturated with water and no longer absorbs moisture. The water is removed by heating the desiccant material. The desiccant air dryer is designed to cycle back and forth between two cylinders filled with desiccant material. When air is flowing through one to remove the moisture, the other is being heated to drive off the moisture. If the outside of the box feels warm, this is a good sign that all is well.

2) The moisture indicator is blue.

The moisture indicator provides additional assurance that your ozone equipment is getting dry air. This little viewer contains crystals that change color in the presence of moisture. When it is blue, you can be sure the air feeding your ozone generator is dry. If it is not blue, it could mean that the dryer is not working properly, the crystals have been contaminated in some way, or the crystals need to be replaced. Don’t become alarmed right away. The dryer requires a good six hours of uninterrupted operation to stabilize. If the location is excessively warm or humid, the dryer will not perform well.

If you continue to suspect that the air dryer is not performing as it should after a number of checks over the course of a few days, try to determine what has failed. If the dryer feels warm but the moisture indicator is not blue, it may be that the moisture indicator is contaminated. New moisture indicators are available from our store. It is also possible that the desiccant material has been contaminated or worn out. In that case, you will need one of our desiccant refill kits. If the air dryer feels cold, check the power connections. We also sell replacement heater tubes that contain the desiccant. If you are unable to verify that the air dryer is working, it may be time for a new dryer.

The only part of the treatment system that is active 24/7 is the desiccant air dryer. All the other components wait until the well pump turns on.

3) The little silver ball in the flowmeter jumps up and hovers when the well pump turns on. (Newer models have a digital reading of air flow)

The flowmeter is a simple device telling us how much gas is flowing through the system. Air is pulled through the air dryer and ozone generator by suction produced by the black plastic venturi. Suction is created by the flow of water through the venturi. When the well pump turns on, water rushes through a narrow passage in the venturi. With sufficient flow, the water pressure differential between the input and output of the venturi creates air suction. Air flows through the tubing as it is pulled into the venturi. The little silver ball is lifted by this gas flow giving a visual indication that air is flowing through the system.

If no air flow is created when the water pump turns on, remove the ozone tube connected to the black venturi. Place your finger over the hole to see if suction is created. As long as the pump is running, the venturi should create air suction. If there is no suction, remove the check valve that is threaded directly to the venturi. Clear out any rust or mineral deposits. If the pump stops, water will squirt from this port, so try to open enough faucets to keep the pump running. If you are unsuccessful with getting air suction from the venturi, it could mean that the well pump is not pumping enough water through the venturi to create suction, or the venturi has worn out.

If you do have air suction at the venturi, but still no air flow indicated on your flowmeter, it may be that a check valve needs to be replaced or something else is blocking the flow. The source of blockage needs to be found and cleared before ozone generator will operate. The ozone generator turns on when it senses a sufficient flow of air. Most ozone generators will have a blue light indicating that the ozone generator is running.

4) You can smell ozone from the off-gas vent

But can you be sure that that sufficient ozone is being generated to disinfect your water? When your system is operating properly, left-over ozone that does not get dissolved into the water is vented from the top of your contact tank. If you remove the tubing from the off-gas vent, you should smell ozone when the system is running. It might take a little while for enough ozone gas to build up for venting, but when it accumulates at the top of the tank, it will be vented, often in short spurts.

5) Testing your water for dissolved ozone levels.

Ozone is a more powerful disinfectant than Chlorine. It destroys, inactivates, and prevents growth of bacteria and viruses with very low levels of dissolved ozone in water. As little as .3 ppm dissolved ozone for contact time of 5 minutes provides a 5 log (100,000 bacteria reduced to 1, 99.999% reduction) reduction of most bacteria and viruses. Contaminants are exposed to much higher levels of ozone when it passes through the venturi. By the time the water leaves the contact tank, any contaminants have been in contact with ozone long enough for most of them to be destroyed. The ozone has done its job and very little is left in the water that is distributed to your home. Enough will be left over to prevent growth. As little as 0.01 ppm will prevent growth. These low levels of ozone leaving your contact tank can be measured with our low cost K-7404 dissolved ozone test kit. You don’t want much ozone left in your water. Too much ozone left over in the water can lead to irritating ozone off-gas at the point of use.

Learning How to Harness the Power of Ozone – The Balance Barometer

A balance barometer is a very simple device that provides fool-proof protection of ozone generating equipment in a venturi injection system.   As someone new to the ozone industry learning how to harness the power of ozone, I was intrigued by the balance barometer I was asked to construct for one of our systems.  How does it work?  Why are they useful?   Is there anything particular about the dimensions that make it work properly?

 

A balance barometer is used to keep water from backing up into the output side of an ozone generator.  Corona discharge ozone generators will reliably generate ozone if, and only if, they stay very dry.  Any moisture coming into the ozone generator will shorten its life.   In a system where a venturi is used to inject and dissolve ozone in water, a catastrophic flood of water into the ozone generator is always only seconds away.  Critical to the success of any such system is that point between the ozone generator and injecting the ozone into the water stream.

 

Under normal operating conditions, the venturi through which water is forced will create suction and prevent any water from flowing back to the ozone generator.  This water will immediately flow to the generator if water flow is reduced or stops in the venturi.  A simple check valve is built into Mazzei venturis to prevent this backflow.  An additional series of stainless steel and Kynar check valves will stop or slow this water most of the time.   But even “slowing the water” or “most of the time” is a risk that can be eliminated with a simple balance barometer.

 

A balance barometer is a U shaped tube with one side about twice as high as the other.  The top of the high side is capped off, and two holes are drilled into the cap: one straight down from the top, and one in the side at the bottom edge of the cap for ozone tube fittings. One inch clear PVC works well for visual monitoring, and the diameter allows bubbles and water to pass by one another without hindering its performance.

 

So let’s hook it up to see how it works.  The very top fitting goes to the ozone generator, and the side fitting just below the top fitting goes to the venturi suction port in our system.  If sufficient water flows through the venturi, it will begin to draw air through the check valves, ozone generator, and balance barometer.  If we put some water in the balance barometer, it will block off air flow through it and force all the flow to pull through the ozone generator.  This would be the normal operation.

 

Now if the particular water system has some water pressure when water isn’t flowing through the venturi, as in a well water system, water will be forced back out the injection port.  The check valve should prevent water back flow, but if ozone has deteriorated the seal or a tiny speck of something prevents a tight seal, water will begin to flow past it and toward the ozone generator.  When it reaches the balance barometer, it will simply add water to it until the short end overflows.  Once water flow is restored to the venturi, the suction will return.  Any water in the line or extra water in the barometer will be sucked into the venturi and normal operation resumes.

 

The balance barometer works well with ozone generators that operate under very low pressure or a slight vacuum.  Only 1 psi of pressure or vacuum will balance with 27 inches of water making the minimum size short side of the tube for such a system 27 inches.  Systems that simply use the venturi to pull air through the ozone generator work well with a balance barometer.  If a balance barometer is not practical for a particular application, our stainless steel backflow preventer will provide the same type of protection using a built-in float.