If you choose to install an ECOsmarte system yourself rather than to hire a plumber, there are some things you should know in order to assemble everything correctly.
- Suggested shopping list for tools and parts
Plan on spending around $900 on materials for installation using Pex-a and 1″ PVC.
- (60′) 1″ Pex-a pipe ($2/ft)
- (10′) 1″ PVC Schedule-40 pipe ($12)
- (30′) 1/2″ ID plastic tubing ($1.50/ft.)
- (4) bags of 1″ sleeves ($18/bag)
- (20) poly 1″ Pex elbows ($6/each)
- (4) poly 1″ Pex tees ($6.50/each)
- (10) brass 1″ male thread to Pex ($9.00/each)
- (3) brass 1″ female thread to Pex ($7.50/each)
- (3) brass 1″ Pex to 3/4″ male thread ($9.00/each)
- (3) brass 3/4″ female hose bibs with metal ball valves ($16/each)
- (7) brass 1″ ball valves ($24/each)
- (4) PVC 2″ female glue to 1″ female thread ($5.00/each)
- (2) PVC 1-1/4″ female glue to 1″ female glue ($2.00/each)
- (1) PVC 1″ elbow ($1.80)
- (3) PVC 1″ female glue to 1″ male thread ($1.50/each)
- (1) PVC 1″ female glue to 3/4″ male thread ($1.50)
- (1) PVC 1″ union ($6.50)
- (1) PVC 1″ ball valve ($10)
- (4) two-foot lengths of 2″x4″ wood
- (12) 1″ metal horseshoe clamps
- (4) 1/2″ hose clamps for tubing ($2.75/each)
- (1) box of 1-1/4″ screws
- (1) box of 2-1/2″ screws
- (1) can of PVC purple primer
- (1) can of PVC cement
- (2) 1/2″ barb to male thread ($0.50/each) for tubing from backwash drain
- (2) 1/2″ check valves $40.00/each)
1. Positioning the Tanks
Clean the space, remove the tanks from the boxes, and move them around until you are happy with where they might sit.
Number the tanks.
- The large tank is #1. Label it “Retention Tank” or “Contact Tank.”
- Select one of the small tanks and label it #2, and write “”BIRM” or “HYDROXITE.” Depending on your water test results, you may receive one of several different types of media.
- Label the remaining tank #3 and write “GAC,” which stands for “Granular Activated Carbon.”
For the two smaller tanks, allow room behind them for the pipes to be able to come out of the valve: allow at least a foot from the wall. Set them apart sideways to allow enough room for the door of the timer valve to swing open enough to access the control buttons: allow at least a foot and a half between them.
The large retention tank needs room for the ingoing pipe to enter from the bottom on one side, and for the drain to exit on the other. Allow room to make it easy to connect a hose to the drain bib.
Decide where the drains will run. Does the location of the tanks determine how the drain plumbing will run? Will the drain tubes or pipes go through the floor or the wall? Where will the effluent be deposited? Will they be separate tubes or joined into one larger drain pipe?
Plan where several things will be mounted on the wall: the white control box, the transformers for the backwash valves, and the two electrode chambers.
2. Preparing the Tanks
Over time, the media in the filter tanks will foul, break down and become ineffective, and must be replaced. The Birm media in the second tank will last 3-5 years. The Granular Activated Carbon in the third tank will last 8-10 years. Re-bedding a filter tank can take about and hour, and should be done by a professional. If you are inclined to do this yourself, here is the procedure.
- Tape the end of each riser so nothing can enter it. Duct tape is thick is not easily punctured, unlike masking tape. Fold the ends of the tape onto themselves as tabs so they will be easy to grip and remove once each tank is filled. I make two layers of tape, crisscrossed, to make sure that no particles enter inside the riser tube.
- Center the taped basket and riser in the tank. Look inside the tank and note the dimple in the center of the bottom. Holding the top of the riser, make sure that the tip of the basket at the bottom end of the tube seats in that center dimple.
- Put on a dust mask, because the filling process is dustier than you might think. Place a funnel on top of the tank. Open the bag of gravel and pour it into a 5-gallon bucket. It is much easier to handle a bucket than a wiggly bag of gravel. Slowly pour the gravel into the tank.
- Open the bag of media that was supplied and pour a portion of the bag into the 5-gallon bucket. Add the media. Fill the bucket and pour the media through the funnel until the bag is empty.
- Blow or rinse off the mouth of the tank and remove the tape from the riser.
- Unwrap the backwash valves and find the valve with three wires coming out the back. The other valve will have only the power wire. Carefully thread the valve with the extra wires onto Tank #2. It is important not to cross-thread this connection, so make sure the threads are started correctly. The valve should spin freely onto the top of the tank. When it stops spinning, have someone hold the tank while you turn the valve an extra quarter to half-turn by hand.
- Place the tank in the approximate position where it might rest after it has been plumbed.
- Do the same procedure with Tank #3.
3. Organizing Tools and Parts
- Be organized.
- Lay out plumbing parts by category.
- Lay out your tools so they are visible, accessible, and in a logical order.
- Keep track of where you put things. Keep instructions handy.
- Sweep, clean up messes, and make a space for recyclables and garbage.
Take a close look at the installations pictured in the ECOsmarte photo gallery.
Call for real-time consultation: (206) 324-5055.
On the wall you will need at least three outlets near enough to the installation so that the wires reach: one for the white control box, and one for each of the backwash valves. In some instances, it is helpful to have at least one extra outlet available for a heater, a light, a radio, or some other accessory.
To connect the wires for the system, follow the instructions in the manual that comes with the unit. Here is a summary.
Look for two small wires on the back side of the backwash valve on the top of the second tank that contains hydroxite, birm, or the mineral-removing media that came with the system.
The shortest one has a plastic end with a flat side and a rounded side, sort of like the letter “D.” This clicks down into a hole of the same shape; its purpose is to detect the motion of the impeller that is inserted inside the out-going side of the valve.
The longer wire that has a white clip on the end snaps into the white clip at the end of the long thin wire from the white control box. It is the only wire that will match this clip, and it clips together only one way.
The longest thin wire coming out of the white control box has two female connectors on the end: one on a red wire and one on a black wire. This wire extends from the control box to the titanium chamber. Clip the red wire to either tab on one side and the black wire to the tab on the other side, so that one plate will be positive and one plate will be negative. Do not put a black and a red on the same plate.
The loose coil of thin wire has a red and a black connector at each end. Starting with the titanium chamber, slide the first red connector onto the second tab where the other red wire was just connected. Now there should be two red wires connected to one plate.
Clip the black wire to the only tab remaining available on the titanium chamber. Now there should be two red wires on one side of the chamber, and two black wires on the other side of the chamber: one plate is positive and one plate is negative. It doesn’t matter which plate is which, as long as the colors match.
Take the other end of this long coiled wire and connect the red to one side of the copper chamber and the black to the other side, so that one plate is positive and one plate is negative.
Now plug in the power cords for the controller, and each of the backwash valves. Everything is wi
After everything is plumbed and the system is running, whenever water is flows the red dot on the white control box should rotate. It will alternate rotating clockwise for about 90 seconds, then counter-clockwise for 90 seconds, back and forth as long as water is running. This alternates the current so that in each chamber the positive plate is active, then the negative plate is active, alternately. This balances the power between the plates.
Now that the plumbing is complete and the drains are installed, the tanks must be back-washed to flush out the initial powder before putting the system into service mode.
Open each backwash valve and check the values that were pre-set at the factory. In the beginning, it is best to leave the settings as they came. The only thing to change initially is to set the clock to the current time.
- TIME: To set the time, press and hold either arrow button until the letters “TD” (Time of Day) appear. Move the arrow buttons up or down to set the time to the current time.
- RUNNING A MANUAL BACKWASH: To run a backwash cycle manually, press and hold the left re-set button until the letters “BW” (Back Wash) appear. Release the button and let the cycle run. The tank will back-wash for ten minutes, and then rinse and re-pack for ten minutes. The display shows the time counting down. While each tank is back-washing, go outside and watch how the water is flowing out the end of the drain. Initially the water will be dark and dirty, but as the backwash continues, the color will become lighter. During the rinse the water should be clear. Are you satisfied with how and where the water is flowing, or do you want to change it? Now is the time. Let each tank run through a complete back-wash cycle before turning on water to the house.
Media Funnel: isopurewater.com, Item ID U1006 (714-541-6600, CA)
Pliers for Electrode Chamber Unions: FloTool 10627GT GRIPTECH Filter Pliers