Introduction: Safe Drinking Water
Water System Repair and Maintenance
Living out in the country, there are no city services. You have to take care of certain things yourself. One of these items is the water supply. It needs to be clean, safe and as efficient as possible. In this Instructable I will do my Yearly and monthly maintenance. I also have a repair to complete.
I will need a few items.
A compressed air supply with a tire inflation attachment
A socket set
An adjustable wrench
A rubber belt wrench
A large pot
Calcium hypochlorite tablets
New UV bulbs
New quarts tube
3 to 4 spare hours
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: The Yearly Maintenance Issue
My pressure tank has no liner inside. The newer tanks have a separator baffle that keeps compressed air separate from the water inside. When I use water the pressure switch / blue box pictured above, turns on a pump to keep the houses water pressure between 40 and 60 psi. As the months pass the compressed air in my tank is absorbed by the water we use. This causes the pump to switch on and off more often. Eventually the pump would turn on as soon as the tap is turned on and off as soon as it is closed. This is costly in two ways, electrically and mechanically. It uses more electricity to turn a pump on and off repeatedly than to run it continuously, to pump the same volume of water. The pump motor will also wear out faster.
Step 2: I Need Compressed Air Next
My air compressor is rather large so I employ a portable air tank. There is a fill valve located on the tank, but it takes to much time and effort to fill it that way. I made an adapter for the job. It must be connected in the proper sequence to be safe.With the tanks valve closed connect the adapter to the tank. Now connect the air supply line.
Step 3: Fill Er Up
Now open the valve. When the pressure reaches the full zone close the valve. Remove the air supply line first then remove the adapter. I will repeat this process six times or more before my job is complete. I wish I had a portable compressor.
Step 4: Power Off Your Pump
Locate the water pump`s power source and shut it off.
Step 5: Prepare to Add Air
The tank has a tire tube type valve on the side for this purpose. Remove the cap.
Step 6: Turn on the Water and Add the Air
I put a large pot In the laundry tub and then turn on the water. I'll use the potted water later. With the water running I now add compressed air to the system. When my air tank looses pressure I shut off the tap and head back to the shop for more. As the air is added the water in the tank bubbles. I will continue to add air until there is no more bubbling sound. I then shut off the tap an add air until the pressure in the houses system reaches 60 psi. There is a gauge on the pump I can use but I`ll also hear the pumps pressure switch click when I get up to pressure. When the breaker is turned back on the pump is active and waiting for the pressure to drop to 40 psi. Now when the pump starts it runs for close to two minutes before shutting down. I'll do this again in a year or so. When I had 5 kids at home I would pump in air to the system while they were in the shower. That was much less wasteful.
Step 7: Monthly Maintenance
My water is from an aquifer 185 feet below ground. It is high in iron, calcium and some other minerals. There are also some particulates that I want to filter out. I have a UV light that requires 05 micron water to work properly. More on that later. I use twin filters to achieve the clarity of water I'm looking for. The first is a 25 micron, the second is a 05 micron.
Step 8: Shut the Water Off
I have two valves to shut off before I begin. The large yellow handle shuts the main water line to the house. The little silver one goes to a carbon filter, it feeds a tap on the kitchen sink.
Step 9: Depressurize the Filter Housings
I depressurize the filter housings by turning the valves located on the top of each housing. This also closes the flow through the housings.
Step 10: Loosen Filter Container
With a rubber belt wrench I loosen the filter containers.
Step 11: Remove and Dispose Filters
I start with the 25 micron filter first.
Step 12: Rinse Wipe and Replace
Now I rinse the housing with the water I saved in the pot. Wipe the rubber gasket clean and drop in a new filter.
Step 13: Chlorinate
To be safe I chlorinate the system whenever I open it. I keep a small bottle of chlorine tablets with my water filter stash. These are made for automatic well chlorinators. They are units that connect to a drilled well pipe, they automatically drop one of these at predefined intervals to chlorinate the water supply. I don't want to consume chlorine daily. I just do this when I've opened the system. I just drop one in beside the filter. We'll smell chlorine for a few days when we run the water.
Step 14: Now 05 Micron
After putting the 25 micron filter back on its housing, repeat the process with the 05 micron.
Step 15: Snug and Open
Now that both filters have been replaced and spun back onto their housings, snug them up with the rubber belt wrench. Turn both valves back to the open position. Start with the 25 micron valve, then the 05 micron. Both canisters will fill with water. Unfortunately the air that was trapped inside is now compressed into the system as well.
Step 16: Turn on Water and Purge the Air
Now turn on the main water valve. Remove the pot from the laundry tub. Turn on the cold water tap and back away. The air that was compressed into the filter housings is going to spit and sputter. The pipes will shake and dirty water will run for a bit. The 05 micron filter lets some of the iron in my water pass through. It clings on the inside of the pipes and this always shakes some loose. I run water until the system runs smooth and clean. Normally I would now turn the carbon filtered water line back on and I'd be done. Today I have another job to complete first.
Step 17: Shut the Main Line Off Again
Replace the pot of water and then shut off the main line.
Step 18: Service and Repair UV Light
This is my UV system. It is designed for hard water applications. I like my water and don't want to soften it in order to use UV protection. The Hallett UV has two bulbs that are located on either side of a polished clear quartz tube. As the water runs through the tube, minerals can build up on the quartz. This could cause the ultra violet rays to miss bacteria and not sterilize it. To avoid this, super thin stainless paddles are put inside the tube, a motor turns them periodically. They scrape away anything that sticks to the quartz and it flows away with the water. Therefore no build up. Once a year I replace the bulbs. When the green light is on and a red light is flashing, I am reminded that its either time to replace the bulbs or, they are becoming weak and require replacing. This has been happening on and off through this year when it shouldn't. There is also a beeping warning. The silencing button also causes the wiper motor to cycle inside the quartz tube. I have found that once the wiper runs the red light stops flashing and the system is back to normal. The last time I replaced the bulbs, I noticed the quartz tube was scratched and dirty in spots. The tube is a $200 part so I left it, we have been silencing the alarm. Now it doesn't help any more. The red light continues to flash and the alarm sounds every 24 hours. So its time to spend the money to fix it. The system is 17 years old so I guess it did a good job. So lets take it apart and fix it, as well as replace the bulbs. That`s another $184 a yearly cost.
Step 19: Pull the Plug
Unplug the two cables from the bottom of the unit
Step 20: Unplug the Solenoid
There is a solenoid water release valve, it drains water from the unit if it gets to hot. A hose runs into the sump drain. This goes off mostly at night when the bulbs are heating the unit and no water is being used to cool it. Unplug the power pack.
Step 21: Remove the Top Cover
One screw and the top comes off.
Step 22: Remove the Front Cover
The front cover was held in place with the same screw, just lift and remove it. Not to quickly, there's a ribbon cable to unplug as well. It just pulls off no clips involved.
Step 23: Remove Bottom Cover
Again only one screw involved. Remove it and the bottom cover slides off easily.
Step 24: Remove the Side Panels
There are 4 star screws on the top. Two for each side panel. Remove them, then tilt and then lift out the side panels. We`re getting quite a collection of pieces I am using a chest freezer as a table.
Step 25: Now We Can See
Now we can see the bulbs and the dirty scratched quartz tube.
Step 26: Remove the Old Bulbs
At the base of the bulb, with a tiny flat screwdriver carefully pry the bulb loose. It then slides strait up and out the top.
Step 27: Set the Bulbs Asside
Set the bulbs in a safe location. They will go to hazardous a waste site.
Step 28: Eew
With the bulbs out of the way, we get a clear view of a not so clear quartz tube.
Step 29: Drain the Unit
Before draining shut off the 05 micron filter. Now place a bucket below the lower water line and undo it.
Step 30: Open Top Waterline
The top waterline has a hose clamp attaching the heat sensor of the solenoid we unplugged earlier. Loosen it and slide it up the pipe out of the way. Hang the sensor out of the work area as well. Now loosen the pipe from the unit. In a later step I removed the line all together. Do that now it will be in the way later. When you loosen this pipe, water will quickly drain out the bottom into the bucket.
Step 31: Remove Water Connection
The connection comes off the unit with four hex bolts. Once the blue bracket is removed the water connector pulls free.
Step 32: Remove the Wiper Motor
On the bottom of the unit we must firstly remove the wiper motor. Squeeze the plug clips open and pull the plug. Now remove the three nuts that hold it in place. Set the assembly aside.
Step 33: Remove the Wiper Assembly
In my instruction manual they tell me to remove the wiper assemblies retainer clip. There was no clip on mine. I just gently pulled up on the assembly and it slid out easily.
Step 34: Wash the Wipers
Wash the wiper assembly in the pot of water saved in the laundry tub. then set aside in a safe place. The blades are quite thin so be careful not to damage them.
Step 35: Remove Bottom Water Connection
To remove the lower water connection it needs to be unplugged. Then just like the upper connection 4 hex bolts must be removed. Set the bracket aside.
Step 36: Pull the Connector Free
Now with the bracket removed the lower connector pulls away easily. The lower flex water line stays connected to it. Now remove the rubber seal from the quartz tube.
Step 37: Remove the Tube From the Unit
The rubber ring on top doesn't need to be removed but it will be stuck to the aluminum housing. I found it easiest to hold the tube and pry the rubber loose. As you can see, the tube was ready for replacement.
Step 38: Reassembly Begins
New rubber rings are included with the new tube. It was packaged well.
Step 39: Install New Quartz Tube
Hold the tube firmly with the packing foam it was wrapped in. Take a new rubber ring and roll it onto the end. Gently lower the tube into the unit trying hard to not scratch it on the hosing.
Step 40: Add Bottom Rubber
With the top rubber holding the tube in place roll the lower rubber onto the tube. Make the extra top and bottom tube sections as even as possible.
Step 41: Replace the Bottom Water Fitting
The bottom fitting is a bit tricky. A helper would be nice, but not essential. Holding the fitting and the housing, while getting the first hex bolt in place, takes steady hands and lots of dexterity. Install all 4 bolts evenly, you want the housing to squeeze evenly against the rubber ring. When you start to feel resistance, do half turns from corner to opposite corner, then cross sides and corner to corner again. Repeat the pattern until every bolt is tight. Feed the wire back into place an plug it in.
Step 42: Reinstall the Wiper Assembly
To reinstall the wiper assembly you gently lower it into the tube while turning it clockwise the fins will flex to the contour of the tube and as it gets to the bottom the drive pin will line up perfectly with the hole. Turn the wiper so that the drive slot matches the motor drive pin's orientation.
Step 43: Install Drive Motor
Slide the drive motor onto the three threaded studs and snug it up. The nuts have a nylon insert that will stop them from loosening. Just snug the bracket into place don`t over tighten it. If you bend it the drive pin may not mesh properly and could damage the motor. Plug the motor back in.
Step 44: Install Upper Plumbing
As with the lower plumbing, install the bracket evenly, moving in a cross corner pattern pulling the housing down evenly. I`m wrapping the upper connection with Teflon tape to be safe. These flex lines don`t require it, but I don`t want to take a chance on water leaking into the unit.
Step 45: Attach Plumbing and Sensor
Tighten the upper plumbing and then, reconnect the heat sensor. Now reconnect the lower flex line.
Step 46: Install New Bulbs
Pick up a bulb from its box holding it by the white cap. Slide it into the housing carefully. Before pressing it into the plug, take note of it`s orientation. The stop sign must be turned inward toward the water inlet. Orient both bulbs in this way and push them into their sockets.
Step 47: Replace Side Covers
The side covers have a right and left. The left cover has a slot cut in it. Its there for the light sensor located inside the left front, just inside the case. Try not to strike the sensor when replacing the cover.
Step 48: Replace the Front, Top and Bottom
Now plug in the ribbon cable, and install the front cover. It slides over the white button and stays in place while you get the top installed. One screw holds both covers in place. Now pop the bottom back on. Again one screw does the job.
Step 49: Add Water
OK were almost done. Turn on the main water valve, then the filter housing. Next turn on the cold tap on the laundry tub and stand back. The air we added to the system this time will take a while to exit the system. Run it until it stops sputtering and clears up.
Step 50: Power Up
Now that the system has water in it, plug everything back in. It can take some time for the bulbs to come up to full power. Silence the warning beeper and keep an eye for the system light to show green only. The chlorine tabs added earlier, will keep the water safe, killing any bacteria introduced while the system was open.
Step 51: Turn on the Last Valve
Now that everything is completed, I turn on the supply to our carbon filtered kitchen drinking water.
If you have city water, you should now appreciate the value you receive, for the cost of your water bill.
A filter and UV system like this costs around $4000 with $200 a year bulbs $10 monthly for filters.
204 months in, my monthly water cost is $45 per month not including the electricity to pump it.
This doesn't include the pressure tank, pump, pressure switch or drilled well. Drilling a well is around $60 per foot mine would cost over $11,000.00.
I hope you enjoyed my Instructable on maintaining and repairing a rural water supply. Comments and questions are welcome.
Step 52: Not So Fast!!!!
Unfortunately the warning light came back on and the beeping began again arrgh!!
I decided to open the machine and clean the reflector panels to see if that would help. I opened the front to far to fast, and pulled the ribbon cable loose. You're supposed to pull it from the plug only. Once cleaning was completed and the machine reassembled, the warning light and beeping began again. There's a new problem now, the silence button won't work. I've either broken the ribbon cable or the main board.
So there I stand, What do I do now. There is no way to know what is causing this issue of lights and beeping, without spending more $. The main board may be faulty. I may also have just broken it as well. I may have only broken the ribbon cable, but the main board may still be at fault. One other possible culprit, could be the light sensor.
Taking the age of the machine into account, I decided to replace all three of these components. This will give me a brand new machine, pretty much. But it will add $963.89 to my final bill. This is for the safety of our drinking water so I ordered the parts.
Step 53: The Ribbon Cable
The old ribbon cable came off easy enough. I peeled the backing off the new one. Being careful to not let the ribbon touch the adhesive, I slid it into place easily.
Step 54: Press Down
The instruction sheet said, press the piece into place without pushing on the lights or hourglass area.
Step 55: Pull the Pluggs
I unplugged the wiring from the main board.
Step 56: Remove Board
I removed the four screws on each corner and removed the main board.
Step 57: Remove the Sensor
The sensor has two slotted self tapping bolts holding it in place. It came out easily.
Step 58: Looks Fine to Me
Nothing about these parts look off. No burn marks or broken solder visible. I hope the new parts fix the issue.
Step 59: Instal Main Board
I left the anti static bag on the board, while I started the first two screws. Once hanging securely, I slid the bag off and tightened all four screws. I was careful to just snug them up. I don't want to crack the board.
Step 60: Mount the Sensor
The sensor was a bit of a pain. The slotted bolts had to be finger started. Lucky I have good hand eye coordination and slim fingers.
Step 61: Plug All the Wires Back On.
Once all the wires were plugged in I held the front carefully and plugged the ribbon cable in and hung the front.
Step 62: Close Up the Patient
With the front in place I screwed the top and bottom into place.
Step 63: Plug the Unit Back In
I plugged in the power and the unit lit up. It had all the lights going, red and green, the warning beeper was also beeping away. I pressed the hourglass to silence the beeper. The water quality red light went out. A few seconds later the replace bulbs red light went out. The green light was flashing on and off, I haven't encountered that yet. I came up from the basement and checked my .pdf Manual on the computer and found no mention of flashing green lights. I figured I would take a short video, and post it for the company that sold me the parts to view. By the time I got back to the machine, It was solid green as it should be.
Special thanks to,
Drew, The customer service rep at Wahl Water.
He made sure I ordered the correct parts, and had them shipped the same day.
This is an entry in the
Fix It Contest