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Draining condensate into a septic tank/field ?

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Dave Carpentier
Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 589
I would think not an issue, if it's properly neutralized.
How to test that it's neutralized ? Maybe a valved drain/test port after the neutralizer where you can take a sample (while the boiler is running and condensing, of course).
Im up for suggestions if someone has done this already.
30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
Currently in building maintenance.

Comments

  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,962
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    Yes, but why if u can drain elsewhere?   Depends on how much discharge too.  Even neutralized condensate probably does not help Bacteriologic breakdown   mad Dog 
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,323
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    Properly neutralized it wouldn't be a problem -- unless your local health authority cuts up rough on it.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 511
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    We started our condensing boiler and a new septic field at the same time, we found that we needed to add baking soda by the cupful to neutralize the acidic condensate water. every time it smelled off, in went another cupfull. So I built a 3" diameter 30 " vertical 'tank' and filled it with marble chips, put the condensate in to the bottom and let it flow up through the chips, this settled the septic down to its current sweet smelling self. Not that my favorite wife it a retired clinical microbiologist so we had an expert onsite. Now that we have a robust septic system I feel that we could skip the chips, but since it is very low maintenance we are keeping it in place. Tank is simple 3" pvc pipe with a glued cap on the lower end and a threaded cap on the top end. two fittings for 1/2" pex one about four inches up and another about four inches down, put them in before you put the bottom cap on as you need to get your hand inside to tighten the inlet & exhaust fittings.Keep the chips below the outlet fitting so that you can make sure it is flowing.
    Mad Dog_2Dave Carpentier
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 975
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    Pump the condensate into a working washing machine standpipe. laundry detergent will neutralize the acid. Fact.
    Mad Dog_2Intplm.
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 835
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    I've asked "experts" about the discharge from water softeners and the effects on biological activity in septic systems. I got "crickets."
    Mad Dog_2
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,158
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    seem like you could just pump it on the ground or into a soak away pit. It ends up in the ground after it goes through the septic tank anyways

    A basic ph test strip would indicate ph before and after any neutralizers 
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Mad Dog_2
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,909
    edited March 15
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    Unpopular opinion: the septic for an occupied home will never even notice condensate whether it's neutralized or not. Those <4 gallons of condensate made daily will be neutralized in the tank by a single toilet flush. If you have iron piping or are using an iron pump to get it into the septic, then there may be some trouble. The same can be said for an unoccupied space. I've been in thousands of residential mechanical rooms around my parts, and have never once seen a neutralizer that I didn't install- which only happens in the above exceptions to my rule. With that said, I've also never seen any negative effects on the septic of an occupied home caused by flue condensate. Is it "right"? Probably not. Does it work perfectly 99% of the time? Absolutely.
    pecmsgethicalpaulrick in Alaska
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,323
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    Agreed, @GroundUp . Septic systems are astonishingly poorly understood, and very little usable research on them. But like most living organisms -- which is what they really are -- they can adjust to an astonishing variety of "food" as long as you don't overload them or change their "diet" too fast.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    GroundUp
  • yellowdog
    yellowdog Member Posts: 157
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    I use a neutralizer to protect the pump more than anything. I now use the PurePro combination pump with neutralizer built in.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,569
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    I think it depends on a few things. With a properly maintained neutralizer in a house that is occupied most of the time, I have never seen an issue. In second homes, I have seen high PH damage the tank pump and the low flow from the boiler freeze up in the underground pipe. A system in an unoccupied house does not dilute the PH and is not warm enough to prevent freezing of the condensate.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 589
    edited March 16
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    psb75 said:

    I've asked "experts" about the discharge from water softeners and the effects on biological activity in septic systems. I got "crickets."

    The only thing I found, 24 yrs ago, was a study out of University of Wisconsin (hope I recalled that correctly) where they found no adverse effect (slightly positive effect, it seemed) on a properly sized, built, and maintained septic system. Ultimately, I wont know about my personal experience until mine fails but I'd say 24 yrs later , it seems okay to do.
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 589
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    Thanks guys, good replies.
    Draining it directly outside is not an option in the layout.
    The drain/septic is all plastic except for the concrete 1000 gallon tank.
    The dilution into the tank water would make the concern moot, it seems.

    Still, if I have enough vertical space between the bottom of the boiler and the available drain point (with an air gap), I'll probably diy some kind of tube neutralizer. If it requires a lift pump , I'll give it a pass.
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • exqheat
    exqheat Member Posts: 185
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    Is there an effect if it gets to the well?
    John Cockerill Exquisite Heat www.exqheat.com Precisions boiler control from indoor reset.
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,259
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    How does wee bit of carbonic acid harm soil? If it does bury some ashes.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,323
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    exqheat said:

    Is there an effect if it gets to the well?

    Well? What well? Domestic water? If your septic leach field is close enough to your well for that to be a concern, you have much bigger problems...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ZmanGGross