Designing Systems

June 25, 2008

Tips & techniques to designing water treatment systems

When designing a water treatment system, there are several things to consider and several things that often get overlooked. The following article offers insight and solutions to consider when designing water treatment systems for your customers.

One of the most important aspects of design is to have accurate information from your customer so you both are on the same page. This includes information not only on influent water quality but also on effluent water quality desired for the application.

Another question to consider when designing a system would be: Is this going to be a stand-alone type of system or will there be a need to add on to it in the future? When asked at the beginning of the project, these questions can help determine cost-effective design considerations in the future.

In Control

When designing a water treatment system, you need flexibility. Both versions of the NT electronic controller (3200NT and 3214NT) offer a solution to this need. When sizing a unit for a customer looking for constant soft water, the 3200NT package is a good choice. A dual alternating NT system with each unit having its own meter instead of the single remote meter can be expanded in a few years if the customer’s needs change and more capacity is desired. This type of expansion is a good selling point—it will give the customer and the water professional options because cost can be reduced since the original system can be utilized and not replaced.

The electronics also make these systems desirable because maintenance is easier and troubleshooting is more manageable. The information these valves save on regeneration, flow rates and gallons used help technicians solve problems when the unit is not working properly. These valves are user friendly and many times service calls can be eliminated, thus creating another cost savings for the customer.

The 3214NT is ideal when a customer has sporadic highs flow rates. This option allows units to come online as needed and then take a unit off line when flows return to normal. Both of the NT systems can have up to four units linked in various programming modes for flexibility and ease of operation. The electronics may seem to cost more in the beginning, but when designing for future needs and growth of a system they are the best answer to most water treatment problems.

Brine Tank Size & Grids

One of the most important things that often gets overlooked in system design, in my opinion, are the brine tanks. Too often a system does not get the proper brine tank or grid, causing system failure. It is very important that the customer understands maximum grain capacity and salt efficiency. Installation constraints and how the system you are proposing will use the salt from the brine tank can change system design.

Let’s take a look at how much salt is going to be used per regeneration for sizing issues. How many pounds of salt are going to be used—8, 10 or 15 lb? This is where the grid is a very important part of the equation.

The height of the grid in the tank is where you want to have the level of the water. One inch above the grid is ideal for wet storage. Water treatment professionals must know their brining goals in order to be sure the grid is cut to the proper height.

Grids offer many features. One, for instance, is the space for water storage so that the brine tank does not overflow. The grid will also allow for easier maintenance of the tank. A grid with a properly sized brine tank can offer faster saturated brine than brine tanks with no grid at all. This will help in systems that use a lot of water and if the need arises for quick regeneration at peak flow or water usage. Each gallon of water can only dissolve 2.6 lb of salt.

There are several questions that need to be asked when choosing brine tank sizes, but many times it is the room size or door-opening size that determines how large or small of a brine tank can be used. The wrong size tank can have disastrous effects on a system’s performance if it is not carefully designed. Some customers want to fill their tank once or twice a year and they want salt efficiency.

A good water treatment professional must help the customer understand the system and salt usage. A large brine tank is always an option as long as you remember that grid heights differ as the diameter of the brine tank changes. Be sure to do the math so that the system is regenerated with the proper amount of salt for the type of influent and effluent water needed for the application and that it is designed for optimum efficiency.

In summary, have a good overall picture of what your customer wants from all standpoints in the system design. This will provide everyone with a satisfactory outcome to a water problem. Do not just sell products, but provide solutions for your customers.

John Payne, CWS-VI, is a customer support specialist for Watergroup, Inc./Hydrotech. Payne can be reached at 800.354.7867.

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