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Condensate.

nibs
nibs Member Posts: 462
Picture if you will, a unit that looks similar to an expansion tank.
The tank collects the condensate, and when a float switch in the tank signals that the tank is almost full, a valve opens and begins adding tap water to dilute the condensate. At the same time the drain valve opens and the condensate drains to the sewer diluted by a regulated amount of water. When the float switch reaches a low level the drain and fresh water valves close.
Dilution being the classic solution to pollution.
The advantage of course is that the home owner no longer has to neutralize the condensate with chemicals on a regular basis.
PS.
If somebody has already invented this, I would like to buy one.

Comments

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,974
    edited September 2019
    Sounds like a waste of water, no?

    Wasn't there something about just using marble chips as a neutralizer? I didn't realize people were using chemicals.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,029
    Doesn’t it get diluted
    when it enters a public sewer, or septic tank that gets all the other household water? The main issue is the low ph in contact with metals or concrete before it is diluted
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,974
    hot_rod said:

    Doesn’t it get diluted

    when it enters a public sewer, or septic tank that gets all the other household water? The main issue is the low ph in contact with metals or concrete before it is diluted

    Setup a timer to trigger the pump any time someone flushes a toilet.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,065
    If you get caught using it, you are going to have to be able to prove that your system adds enough water to bring the pH into the range considered acceptable. Good luck with that.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Canucker
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,974

    If you get caught using it, you are going to have to be able to prove that your system adds enough water to bring the pH into the range considered acceptable. Good luck with that.

    Let it pump into a clean empty bucket and check the ph?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,029
    caught by whom? I’d be more concerned with drain cleaners and pharmaceutical flushed daily
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,974
    hot_rod said:

    caught by whom? I’d be more concerned with drain cleaners and pharmaceutical flushed daily

    Drain cleaners are a very high PH, harmless to metal and plastics. No?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    hot_rod
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,065
    Most jurisdictions -- not all -- have very strict limits on how low a pH you can put in a drain (not, usually, how high -- such as drain cleaners, which are alkaline). Granted, they probably will never check. If they do the consequences can be mild (please don't do it again since you are not supposed to) to draconian -- disconnection of your sewer and water and a bill to replace whatever they think is wrong with the sewers in you neigbouhood.

    Why do it? Marble chips are cheap. A tank to run them through is cheap. Why not do it right and not worry?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    HVACNUT
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 462
    Done properly and calibrated, a manufactured system should be able to pass any test. I envision a marketable product.
    The biggest drawback is the use of water to dilute, it takes 10 gallons to raise a gallon of distillate from ph3 to 4, and since it is logarithmic, not much more to raise it to ph6 which is close to drinking water. For many places using 20 or 30 gallons of water per day for dilution at peak heating times, is not a problem.
    Am unable to find a table of ratios and my log tables are long gone, so cannot calc the precise ratios.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,974
    nibs said:

    Done properly and calibrated, a manufactured system should be able to pass any test. I envision a marketable product.
    The biggest drawback is the use of water to dilute, it takes 10 gallons to raise a gallon of distillate from ph3 to 4, and since it is logarithmic, not much more to raise it to ph6 which is close to drinking water. For many places using 20 or 30 gallons of water per day for dilution at peak heating times, is not a problem.
    Am unable to find a table of ratios and my log tables are long gone, so cannot calc the precise ratios.

    I don't know @nibs.
    I understand your thinking and it is an interesting idea.

    However they recently changed toilets from 1.6 GPF to 1.28GPF which only saves 0.32 GPF. You're talking about wasting 20 or 30 gallon per day to dilute condensate from a boiler which doesn't need any dilution using marble chips. That's literally 23 flushes of a 1.28 GPF toilet.

    Practical or not, I don't see it happening.



    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,029
    > @ChrisJ said:
    > (Quote)
    > Drain cleaners are a very high PH, harmless to metal and plastics. No?

    > @ChrisJ said:
    > (Quote)
    > Drain cleaners are a very high PH, harmless to metal and plastics. No?

    >
    Hercules Sizzle says hydrochloric acid on the label Virgin hydrochloric acid😲
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    ChrisJ
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 462
    @ChrisJ ,Just last week we had our septic system installed, so far since last winter have been doing the bucket and chuck it routine with our condensate, and want to automate the system. So looking on Amazon for marble chips, is not too satisfactory, have to find them, then remember to charge the condensate system from time to time and wonder just how many residential systems are running from year to year with depleted marble wash systems?
  • Canucker
    Canucker Member Posts: 701
    @nibs A slight correction on using water to raise the pH. If you had 1 gallon of 3 pH condensate, it would take 10 gallons of water to raise it to 4, provided that the water you use is higher, obviously. It would take 100 gallons to raise it to 5 and 1000 gallons to hit 6. That is a lot more water to use, which is why we don't use it to neutralise spills. It just makes the mess bigger
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,065
    The problem, @nibs , is the pH does not respond to dilution in that way. Rather, the pH of water depends on the equilibrium of whatever ionic species are present, or could be present, in it. Which in the case of condensate is a truly unfortunate mix of nitrous and nitrate, suphuric and suphuros, and carbonic ions. I say it's unfortunate, because without knowing what the concentrations of those are, you can't calculate the pH -- nor can you calculate how it will change with dilution. Perhaps worse, the ionic makeup of the diluting water also matters -- a lot.

    What you can do, if you are experimentally inclined, is get a good pH meter and some really accurate lab. glass and record the pH as you accurately titrate the specific condensate in question with the specific dilution water in question. Then you will be able to determine how much dilution water is needed to raise the pH to where you want it.

    This must be done individually for each combination of condensate -- the ionic composition will change with the fuel and the burner adjustments -- and diluting water.

    For a commercial application such as you may have in mind, it would be necessary to have an accurate pH meter on the system, and control the dilution water with the signal from that to ensure the correct pH is reached. I might note that accurate pH meters aren't cheap -- and have to be calibrated at regular intervals (the ones we use in water and wastewater treatment, at least daily, or every time they are used, if less often, and have to have the measuring element replaced rather frequently, as well).

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    CanuckerJean-David Beyer
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,974
    Several questions.

    Does low PH harm a septic system? I assume yes, because it could inhibit growth. But, I would like an actual answer rather than my assumption.

    Next, if you have a septic system and are concerned about condensate, can't it just be pumped directly outdoors rather than into the septic? Could you install a dry well and dump it there?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,065
    Not really, @ChrisJ , unless there is a lot of it (which there wouldn't be). The pipes -- unless they are ABS or PVC -- going to it would be more of a concern. Septage has -- as you might expect -- pretty awesome buffering capacity!

    And a dry well on a more rural property where they are allowed should work just fine.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,306
    I've wondered about a 1000 gallon septic and 3 gallons of condensate a day. All PVC pipe and a standard concrete tank.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,029
    I’ve used a handful of gravel from my driveway for the neutralizer. Good old Missouri limestone.
    I think any small rock works, doesn’t need to be marble.

    Septic tanks that I have looked at tend to slime over the bare concrete and I suspect warm condensate runs across the top and into the gravel lined leach field

    Simple enough to get a box of rocks and treat the condensate and all is well.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 462
    @Canucker , I may sit to be corrected, but perhaps you have it reversed, as the condensate nears 7 the amount of water needed to raise it say from ph4 to 5 is a fraction (decimal) of the water needed for 3 to 4.
    My new septic is all plastic, so once the condensate leaves the boiler it will not impact any metal.
    @Solid_Fuel_Man, my favorite wife, a retired microbiologist, tells me that certain micro organisms like a more acidic environment, and they will thrive, others like a basic environ and they won't grow as well.
    @Jamie Hall some years back was involved in site remediation dealing with BTEX contaminated water, one of the solutions is to cycle and recycle the water over a bed of rocks, organisms will grow and feed on the contaminants, eventually making the water safe for the environment.
    I guess there are too many hurdles to overcome to make this idea work, many of my ideas are failures, so far only one patent that earns me a few dollars a year. I did not want to go through a patent search on this one, (to old to get on that bicycle) so just turned it loose, perhaps it will trigger an idea with someone here who can put it to use in another way.
  • Canucker
    Canucker Member Posts: 701
    @nibs here is a snippet of a fairly simple explanation. As @Jamie Hall has mentioned, there is more to it but I think this is a decent description
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 748
    My gosh I wonder what all that make up water (fresh water) to the boiler is doing to metal in the boiler. I assume this guy somewhere out in the woods and is using well water for his home because government supplied water cost money.

    I been in this business 55 years and this is a new one on me.
    I don't care what kind of steam system this guy has unless he is commercial or industrial he will not dump condensate to the sewer and use potable water to neutralize the PH of the water.

    Gee I wonder how much chemical this guy uses to treat his boiler.

    I would worry more about that problem than the PH.

    Jacob Myron
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,974

    My gosh I wonder what all that make up water (fresh water) to the boiler is doing to metal in the boiler. I assume this guy somewhere out in the woods and is using well water for his home because government supplied water cost money.

    I been in this business 55 years and this is a new one on me.
    I don't care what kind of steam system this guy has unless he is commercial or industrial he will not dump condensate to the sewer and use potable water to neutralize the PH of the water.

    Gee I wonder how much chemical this guy uses to treat his boiler.

    I would worry more about that problem than the PH.

    Jacob Myron

    Are you being serious?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,065
    @ChrisJ -- I think @dopey27177 has confused steam boilers -- and condensate -- with mod/con boilers and their condensate! Very different critters!

    And yes, @nibs -- that bioremediation trick for BTEX and the like works remarkably well. I've used it a few times myself.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ChrisJ
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 462
    At the risk of flogging a dead horse, if "any old rocks" or even limestone chips, are used to neutralize the condensate, what are the numbers? How much exposure time/unit volume, is required, or to put it another way, how effective are the neutralization systems, and how much attention is needed to keep the system in balance?
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,029
    my neutralizer is a homemade piece of 3” clear PVC about 12” tall. I can see when the bed is used up. I get about 3 years out of about two quart size cans of limestone
    The amount you need to treat depends on return temperature, run time, boiler size, etc I’d suspect in the heat of the season you might see a few gallons a day. There are some formulas to calculate the amount based on return temp size, etc
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream