Can I just put some calcium carbonate rocks in my Beckett water pump (see photo of pump, below) to neutralize the HVAC condensate, or do I have to spring for a whole assembly, like this condensate neutralization kit

(The refills are less expensive than the whole assembly, and just putting some rocks in the pump basin is easier than installing a whole kit.) If so, how often would I have to change or replace the rocks?Beckett water pump

  • Do you have a local ordinance requiring the treatment of the condensate? I would not waste the time and or $ trying to adjust the ph.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 18 '19 at 19:37
  • @EdBeal Are you saying there is no practical need to neutralize the condensate? Various websites say the condensate is corrosive, for example: welterheating.com/condensate-neutralizer
    – Yehuda_NYC
    Dec 18 '19 at 20:07
  • It depends, distilled water is it bad? Well condensate is similar. Just saying.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 19 '19 at 0:56
  • @EdBeal. The website says, "condensate is acidic, it can cause damage to your water pipes, causing them to corrode prematurely. Acidic condensate can also cause serious damage to local sewers, pipes, septic systems, and water treatment facilities." That sounds serious. But you are saying it is just distilled water. Do you know if and why the condensate is acidic?
    – Yehuda_NYC
    Dec 19 '19 at 16:09
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    FWIW: the drip pan in my gas furnace is made of plastic, presumably to resist the acidic condensation. And the copper pipe that was installed instead of the PVC that should have been used, has been eaten all the way through, requiring replacement (with PVC of course). It is clear that the condensate is not just distilled water. I don't know the chemistry...I would've guess nitric acid rather than carbonic acid, but either way, you'll want to neutralize if it's going to go somewhere that acid shouldn't be. Jan 20 '20 at 17:48

Your question doesn't clarify why you'd rather drop stones in the pump than to replace the stones in a filter cartridge. Regardless, the reaction between acidic water and caustic stone is going to take place anywhere they meet. I've seen limestone dropped into acidic rain water barrels to raise the pH for watering gardens.

The ordinance in my area is that the HVAC condensate must be discharged outside the building, or the condensate must be neutralized before it goes into waste water plumbing. My HVAC condensate is gravity fed to a side yard, with no special stones. The grass there grows like normal so I've never given it a second thought.

Back to your question. If the filter pump is a code requirement, i.e., the water must be treated before it can be discharged into your waste water system, I wouldn't mess with the pump filter system. It's not worth a fine or the liability.

Yehuda_NYC, the cartridges look like the end-caps spin off. They might be designed to be refilled. Putting stones in the cartridges shouldn't cost any more than dropping stones in the pump. The least expensive route is to re-route the distillate tubing to drain outside - if it is in compliance with your local ordinances.

  • I just want to avoid the time and expense of buying and installing the neutralization cartridge kit.
    – Yehuda_NYC
    Dec 19 '19 at 16:10
  • 1
    This goes back to is it required? I have never installed a neutralizer , most plumbing since the 70’s is plastic and it won’t affect plastic. When I install a system I drain to whatever is easy. Many times a hole through the wall others into the drain system. The condensate off the fire box or condensing coils is safe to be touched it is not like a drain cleaner more like rain water in some cases. The places that push treatment SELL the treatment systems.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 19 '19 at 16:42

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