The Water Quality Assn. (WQA) shared highlights of its...
This article will serve as a troubleshooting principles outline that will quickly and simply guide you through ascertaining, locating and fixing the problem
This article will serve as a troubleshooting principles outline that will quickly and simply guide you through ascertaining, locating and fixing the problem.
Ascertain the Problem
A customer calls with an iron carryover. He is using an ozone system, which includes the ozone unit (ozonator), ozone injection system, off gas/air release tank and filtration.
Your job is to gather as much information as you can over the phone prior to dispatching your service technician. Certain questions must be asked. The customer invariably will help out in this department. Do not let his emotions sway you. Statements such as, "It never worked," have to be evaluated and given the credence based on the type of customer. Sometimes being a good troubleshooter involves a bit of psychology. You must hear between the words and keep the customer on track by asking specific questions. It is best to ask direct questions that require exact answers.
The questions can be asked over the phone, which will give the technician some insight on where to go first when inspecting the equipment. This timesaver will be tremendous and the professional impression left on the customer will be invaluable.
Technicians should be trained to follow a set protocol from the time the customer calls until the service call is finished. Everything that has been discussed, checked and discovered is recorded on a service form. There is no such thing as having too much information.
Locating & Fixing the Problem
The tools you will need include a five-gallon white bucket, appropriate test kits, 200 psi gauge and a short hose to adapt to the backwash outlet fitting.
First, use your test kits (iron and pH) to test the water at the location the customer has indicated. Test the water immediately after the filter. This will determine whether or not it’s the piping giving off accumulated iron. Then, test the raw water to verify that the iron amounts are within normal parameters for the system installed. Finally, draw the treated water after filtration into the bucket. Is there any yellow color? Is the water milky/cloudy?
Once finished and you find 1.5 ppm iron both in the house and after the filter, the raw is the same as it was when the system was installed (3.5 ppm), the pH is 7.1 and there is no tannic acid (yellow color) or colloidal matter (milky cloudiness), then you’ve established that there is indeed a problem somewhere in the system that is unrelated to water quality.
You can save yourself a lot of time if you have an iron test kit that can test oxidized as well as unoxidized iron. This will indicate if the problem is located at the ozonator, ozone injector or filtration. This is a standard item for field technicians.
Let’s move on assuming you do not have a ferric/ferrous iron test kit.
Ozonator. First, you must establish that the ozonator is producing the correct amount of ozone. Most manufacturers will have set guidelines and troubleshooting procedures to follow. Generally, there is an indicator light that is on when the ozonator operates. Check the inlet and outlet tubing and be sure they are securely fastened to the appropriate fittings. Loose fittings are air leaks. Air is a very weak oxidizer compared to ozone.
Testing for ozone residual is not a practical method of troubleshooting for two reasons.
It is not necessary to have a detectable ozone residual to oxidize iron, sulfur and manganese as it is with chlorine. While this is a benefit of ozone it makes troubleshooting slightly more difficult.
Checking for ozone injection. Once you’ve established that you are producing ozone you must be sure that the ozone is getting into the water. There are two methods of injecting ozone.
this by connecting clear tubing to the venturi’s suction port. Take the other end of the tubing and dip it in/out of water. You will see water/bubbles rushing toward the venturi while the well pump operates. There always should be movement/suction in the tubing while the well pump operates.
If the suction stops at any time before the well pump stops, the venturi will have to be serviced or exchanged for a smaller model. Sometimes a booster pump will have to be added to increase psi and volume.
Air dryers. The use of air dryers is not mandatory and you will not find them on every ozone system in the field. The purpose of an air dryer is to remove the humidity in the air feed to the ozonator. Dry air produces more ozone and reduces service on ozone related equipment. You will not find a malfunctioning dryer to be the carryover culprit unless
Off gas tank (OGT) troubles. This device either is waterlogged and venting properly or air logged and letting air/ozone carryover. The customer complaining of continuous air spitting from the faucets notes this problem.
Last stop ... filtration. Use your bucket and catch the first five to 30 gallons of backwash water. Let the bubbles rise. Can you see the bottom? If the media is fouled you most likely won’t be able to see below the surface. The water might be discolored and dirty, but never so bad that you cannot read a quarter on the bottom. Problems associated with filtration occur from
Treat service calls as a new opportunity to make money and inform your customer of your potential. Plumbers never run away from service calls. They have set charges and everyone expects to pay for their time and material. Water treatment customers are no different as long as they haven’t been promised something that you the dealer cannot keep.