low PH / copper pipes -- polyphosphates

spgassOctober 23, 2010

Hi, our pH level is low (6.3) and we're looking at putting in a neutralizer. One company suggested we first add polyphosphates (by replacing our whole house filter with a polyphosphate insert) for some time to recoat the inside of the pipes to help protect them. Does this make sense? About how long should we do this for?

He seemed confident that once we get the neutralizer, we won't have any future issues. Thanks!

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justalurker

Difficult to answer that question without knowing all the parameters of your water conditions. Well or water system? Hardness, iron, manganese, TDS, copper, chlorine, arsenic, and for a well nitrates and bateria?

An acid neutralizer will increase the hardness of the water and that may need to be addressed.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 10:47AM
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spgass

Thanks, we're on a well... no leaks yet but some minor blue staining is starting. Hardness is 3 grains... I believe the copper is below 1.3 with no other known issues. House is about 4 years old.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 4:50PM
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justalurker

A neutralizer will probably bump you a couple grains and @ 5 gpg I'd want a softener that was correctly sized and properly set up.

The softener will do as much to prolong the service life of your appliances and fixtures as a neutralizer will do to prolong the life of your copper pipes.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 6:10PM
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andy_c

How big would that polyphosphate feeder(PPF) be? For water to affected by polyphosphates, a certain amount of contact time would be required to dissolve the chemicals. Also, metering the chemical feed to provide an even amount over time is important; simply replaced a sediment filter with a poly-"cartridge" is a not ideal. A housing that permits a portion of the line water (adjustable) through the cartridge or housing are available but require additional plumbing and parts.

It would be putting a thin 'coating' on the pipes but will not be permanent and a continuous feed will need to be done to accomplish that. Polyphosphates also encapsulate molecules--such as iron and calcium. Oxygen wouldn't interact with iron, which causes staining.

Calcium wouldn't cause scale build up, which keeps pipes clean, I am familiar with any 'coating' of plumbing. In your case this is to prevent corrosion. The effect may also break down with higher temperatures so hot water lines would not show the same effects.

Polyphosphates are considered a pollutant because they don't readily breakdown in nature and can cause damage to oxygen levels in lakes and ponds. Not to say that yours will be a lake-killer, but more study might be recommended on the use of polyphosphates and biphosphates.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 10:40AM
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