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.