Air Pumps, Aeration Tanks, Aeration Supplies, Package Aeration Systems and Filters for Iron and Hydrogen Sulfide Reduction
Please note! Because of the complexity of the products on this page, you may want to call for advice or more information before ordering. (940) 382-3814
Products from this page can be ordered directly from our shopping cart, but if you want information, feel free to place your order by phone.
Iron and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) are common well problems that frequently occur together and often lend themselves to similar treatment. The standard methods used to treat both are variations on the same three-step principle of oxidation, precipitation, and filtration. An oxidizer is added to the water, which induces precipitation of the iron and hydrogen sulfide, and the precipitated contaminant is then filtered out of the water.
The methods vary according to the oxidizer and the filtration methods used. The common oxidizers for years have been chemicals like chlorine and potassium permanganate. Ozone and hydrogen peroxide are more natural oxidizers that are gaining in popularity. Precipitated iron is most commonly filtered out with specially prepared media called Birm, Filter Ag, and Filox. The old standby carbon is most frequently used to filter hydrogen sulfide, although carbon can also be very effective for filtering iron. A new specialty medium called Centaur, or "catalytic carbon," is designed to be more effective than standard carbon with both iron and hydrogen sulfide.
Our preferred oxidizer is plain old air. Air is a powerful treatment for both iron and hydrogen sulfide, and air systems have the great advantages of low cost, safety, reliability, effectiveness, and ease of installation. Aeration systems add no chemicals to your well water and you avoid on-going chemical expense. Aeration systems are relatively trouble-free and completely safe.
AER-MAX™ pressure injection aeration systems represent the state of the art in non-chemical treatment of iron and hydrogen sulfide problems. Aer-Max provides a totally automatic treatment that does not require constant monitoring or the addition of chemicals. By using pressure injection of air into its own aeration tank, Aer-Max systems avoid the severe flow restriction associated with less expensive Venturi valves, or “micronizers,” as they are often called.
You don't need to be an expert in water chemistry to recognize either iron or hydrogen sulfide.
Hydrogen sulfide gas is easily detected with your nose. Most people describe the odor as a “rotten egg” smell. You can smell it in amounts so small that standard tests won't find it. It is most often evident in hot water, but you can usually smell it in cold water as well. Since it is a gas and it goes away quickly, it has to be tested on site. This means you can't send a sample to a lab for testing. Often an amount of hydrogen sulfide so small that a test will not detect it can present a really serious aesthetic problem with your water.
Iron is more complex. It exists as clear water iron (the water is clear when it comes from your well, but it drops out rust if you leave it standing in a container overnight), or red water iron (which looks rusty when it comes from the well). There is also a condition called “iron bacteria,” which takes the form of a dark, stringy slime in appliances and toilet tanks. You should look for an alternative treatment, like chlorination and filtration, if your water has large amounts of iron bacteria. Likewise, manganese, which often accompanies iron and is evidenced by dark brown and black staining of fixtures, can be difficult to remove with aeration unless there is considerably more iron than manganese. Please call for advice if in doubt.
Pure Water Products does basic water testing at no charge. If you'd like, send us a sample.
It is always best to have a complete water test done by a qualified laboratory before undertaking water treatment. Not everyone does this, however, and a great deal can be learned with some pretty basic testing. The main things you need to know about your water if you aren't going to have a comprehensive test done are at right.
You should probably not attempt to buy equipment to treat your well without having at least the basic information described above. If you need help, please call (940) 382-3814 for information. Before planning a strategy for iron removal, it is essential that you know the pH of your water. The success of the treatment depends heavily on pH, and the pH of your water may even have to be altered to make iron removal possible.
(With wells, you should always have periodic testing done for bacterial contamination, whether you're planning to treat your water for iron and hydrogen sulfide or not.)
Please note that aeration equipment is sold for the treatment of iron and hydrogen sulfide. It does not treat bacteria or hardness. It does not reduce chemical contaminants like pesticides.
If you have iron and no hydrogen sulfide, you will need to decide if you need an Aer-Max system or an iron filter only; or if you will need to increase the pH with a neutralizing filter in order for your iron filter to work.
If you have a small amount of iron and no hydrogen sulfide and the pH of your water is 6.8 or above (7.0 or above is better), you can probably clear up the problem with a backwashing birm filter only. Birm is a specially prepared iron removal medium that both oxidizes clear water iron and catches the precipitated iron. Unfortunately, it doesn't work when pH is below 6.8.
If you have a small amount of iron and no hydrogen sulfide and the pH of your water is below 6.8, you'll need to add a neutralizing calcite filter in front of the birm filter. Calcite is a natural substance used by the water treatment industry to increase the pH of acidic water. The calcite filter will also catch some of the iron in addition to greatly enhancing the performance of the birm filter.
If you have a larger amount of iron and no hydrogen sulfide and the pH of your water is 6.8 or above (7.0 or above is better), you will need to oxidize the iron with an Aer-Max system and follow the aeration with a backwashing birm filter.
If you have a larger amount of iron and no hydrogen sulfide and the pH of your water is below 6.8, you'll need to oxidize the iron with an Aer-Max system, add a neutralizing calcite filter, and then a backwashing birm filter.
If you have a very small amount of hydrogen sulfide and no iron, you may be able to keep it under control simply by adding a carbon filter. We have a good, inexpensive carbon block unit that you might look at. Or, you can use the larger, backwashing filter described below. Carbon filtration alone will remove hydrogen sulfide, but if you have a significant amount that is not pretreated with an oxidizer, you'll have to service the filter often. This can be troublesome and expensive.
If you have a larger amount of hydrogen sulfide and no iron, you'll need to oxidize then filter with carbon. For this, you would need an Aer-Max system followed by a carbon filter. The Aer-Max system consists of an air pump and a vent tank, plus everything needed to install them. The carbon filter could be a large-sized cartridge unit or—better—a backwashing filter.
If there is iron in your water as well as hydrogen sulfide, a cartridge-style filter will not work.
If you have both iron and hydrogen sulfide in your water and the pH is above 6.8, you'll need an Aer-Max system followed by a backwashing carbon filter.
If you have both iron and sulfide in your water and the pH is below 6.8, you'll need an Aer-Max system followed by a calcite neutralizer filter and a backwashing carbon filter.
It is important to understand that increased amounts of iron, or the need for higher flow rates, may require multiple filter tanks. Here's a handy chart to help you decide.
The standard Aer-Max system consists of an air pump, a 10" X 54" aeration tank, and an electronic venting system called Maxi Vent, plus everything necessary to install the system. The extras include the vent head for the aeration tank, check valves, an air release valve, an aluminum mounting shelf for the pump, and more.
In the standard installation, the air pump runs when your well pump runs and turns off when the well pump is off. When water is being drawn from your well, the air pump forces air into the vent tank with enough pressure to form a large pocket of air in the top of the tank. Water enters the tank and sprays down through the air pocket. The Maxi Vent, which is held open electrically while the air pump is running, allows some of the gases to escape and thus provides a turnover of air in the aeration tank. Iron and sulfide are both oxidized by the compressed air in the tank so that they can be easily captured by the filter that follows.
The illustration shows the Aer-Max system with a single filter tank. Additional filters and treatment may be required.
There are many water issues that aeration does not address. If your water is hard, for example, a water softener is the treatment of choice. Aeration and filtration do not cure hardness.
With the standard installation, the Aer-Max air pump and the Maxi Vent are both activated by your well pump. They are wired into your well pump's circuit so that they are activated when the well pump runs. They should, therefore, be purchased in the same voltage as the well pump.
The Aer-Max can also be turned on and off by device called a flow switch. This is a water activated switch which turns the pump on and activates the vent system when water is flowing through a service line. We have a high quality Harwil flow switch available in the Aer-Max options below.
|am001||115 Volt Aeration System. Consists of 115 volt air pump, 115 volt Maxi-Vent, 10" X 54" aeration tank with vent head, plus all needed accessories for installation.||$699.00|
|am002||230 Volt Aeration System. Consists of 230 volt air pump, 230 volt Maxi-Vent, 10" X 54" aeration tank with vent head, plus all needed accessories for installation.||$759.00|
The chart at right lists the basic Aer-Max systems. Both systems are complete. They contain everything you need for installation. (A check valve is required in the incoming water line in front of the aeration tank. This is not included in the package.) For all Aer-Max models, the vent head has 1" threaded inlet and outlet for the water line.
These products can be ordered online, or they can be ordered by phone by calling (940) 382-3814. If you have questions, it's best to order by phone.
|AM005||Double Aeration feature that can be added to either Aer-Max system above. Double Aeration releases air through a fish stone emitter deep in the aeration tank to enhance performance in hydrogen sulfide reduction. Since iron oxidizes very quickly when exposed to air, however, it can quickly stop up emitters in the double aeration system. Double aeration, therefore, should not be used if there is even a small amount of iron in the water.||$26.00|
|CI205||Premium quality Harwil Flow Switch, mounted in a 1" PVC slip tee. A flow switch turns the AerMax unit off and on in response to the flow of water through the service line. Use with 115 Volt pump only. The flow switch makes installation very easy. Plugs in to 115 volt outlet. No wiring required.||$149.00|
|CI206||Harwil Flow Switch as described above in a 1.5" PVC slip tee.||$149.00|
|AM028||Check valve for 3/4" water line. Lead-free metal, with 3/4" female threads. See diagram above for installation location.||$25.00|
|AM029||Check valve for 1" water line. Lead-free metal, with 1" female threads. See diagram above for installation location.||$28.00|
The first group of filters below are for treating water with sulfide only. They will not work with iron. If iron is present, you will need a backwashing filter. The filters in this category are cartridge style filters and iron will clog them quickly.
Carbon Block Filters for Use With Aer-Max in Treating Sulfide Only
|WH102||Carbon Block Filter that uses 4.5" X 20" cartridge. Complete with cartridge, mounting bracket, and housing wrench. Go here for pictures of this filter.||$178.00|
|WH202||Carbon Block Filter that uses 4.5" X 9.75" cartridge. Complete with cartridge, mounting bracket, and housing wrench. Go here for pictures of this filter.||$130.00|
All filters below use Structural Fibers Fiberglass Mineral Tanks. Filters are complete. They come with everything you need, including 50' of drain tubing. A filter of this type consists of the control valve, the mineral tank, the filter media, gravel under bedding, and a 3/4" or 1" yoke to connect the filter to your plumbing. Filters come with installation instructions.
|BW006||1.5 Foot Standard Carbon Filter. 10" X 54" tank filter with 1 1/2 cubic feet of granular activated carbon controlled by a Fleck 5600 Valve.||Granular activated carbon is the best treatment for sulfide following an aeration system. It also removes iron after aeration. Use this filter after aeration if your water has sulfide only, or if your water has sulfide and iron.||$598.00|
|BW003||1.5 Foot Centaur Catalytic Carbon Filter.
10" X 54" tank filter with 1 1/2 cubic feet of Centaur catalytic carbon controlled by a Fleck 5600 Valve.
|Centaur is a specially prepared carbon made by the Calgon Corporation for the removal of hydrogen sulfide and iron from well water. It does everything that standard granular carbon does, but is much better at iron and sulfide removal. Use this filter after aeration if your water has sulfide only, or if your water has sulfide and iron.||$697.00|
|BW001||1.5 Foot Birm Filter. 10" X 54" tank filter with 1 1/2 cubic feet of Birm iron removal medium controlled by a Fleck 5600 Valve.||Birm is an especially prepared iron removal medium. It can remove small amounts of iron without pre-treatment, but works best following aeration. It works only if the pH of the water is above 6.8. Use this filter after aeration if your water has iron only. If sulfide is present, carbon or Centaur carbon is your best choice.||$592.00|
|BW002||1.5 Foot Calcite Neutralizing Filter. 10" X 54" specially designed dome hole tank filter with 1 1/2 cubic feet of calcite pH neutralizing medium controlled by a Fleck 5600 Valve.||This is neutralizing filter designed to raise the pH of acidic water. It uses the same 5600 valve, but has a slightly different tank with a dome hole that allows the addition of calcite without removing the filter valve. (Calcite dissolves slowly into the water and must be replenished from time to time.) The filter comes with a total of 2 cu. feet of calcite, more than is needed on the initial load. (Calcite is inexpensive but heavy, so shipping is a factor. Our price includes shipping of 200 lbs. of calcite, so delivery of this item is usually by freight truck.)
Go here for a picture and more details.
Use this filter after aeration if your water has iron and the pH is below 6.8.
For an interesting discussion of a calcite filter used with Aer-Max on an irrigation well, go here.
The Fleck 5600 control valve cannot be installed without either a yoke or a bypass valve. The filters listed above come standard with a yoke. In the chart below, you can upgrade the yoke to a bypass valve if you wish. For pictures an explanation, go here.
|BW523||UPGRADE unit to bypass valve. (The unit comes with a yoke. Ordering this option exchanges the yoke for a bypass valve.)||$38.00|
Note: The filter selection on this page contains the most commonly used media for iron and sulfide removal. Aer-Max will, of course, work with other media, such as Filter Ag and Multi Media. There are alternatives on our Backwashing Filter page.
We carry parts for your existing Aer-Max System. Replacement pumps, solenoid valves & misc parts are all available on our aeration parts page.
(whole house & well units)
(listed by part numbers)