Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Home Well Water Chlorinators: Pellet Feeders or Liquid Bleach, Which is Better?

Dear Gerry,

My neighbors showed me your website, we live near Little Rock on our own well.   Our question is, what is the difference between the chlorine pellets feeders and the liquid bleach feeders?   We have a slight odor to the water, but its not bad.  There is also some slime in our toilet tank, but all we have is a water softener.  I like the idea of a pellet feeder, but I am not sure which is better.

Bill S.
Little Rock Arkansas


Thanks for emailing.  Chlorine bleach is a popular and low-cost method of disinfecting well water and eliminating odors.  Chlorination combined with a small contact tank and a carbon filter allows the chlorine to do its job while remaining residual is removed before it used in the home. The result can provide clean, odor-free, disinfected water at a low cost.

 As for your question regarding the difference between chlorine pellets feeders and liquid bleach feeders, you have to know that there are actually three types of chlorinators used at home, two of which are pellet feeders.
The Three Types of Chlorinators
Metering Pumps 
Metering pumps are popular and this is the type of chlorinator that uses liquid bleach. This is a popular method due to its convenience. The chlorine pump turns on and off with the well pump. You can then install a sensor so that the chlorine pump will turn itself on and off depending on the flow of the water.

Well Water Chlorinator Pump System

With these types of chlorinator, we usually use common household bleach which is 5% chlorine, or liquid swimming pool bleach at 10% chlorine. A plastic solution tank holds the chlorine bleach solution and the metering pump draws the chlorine bleach solution straight from the solution tank. 

The metering pump also ‘meters’ the chlorine at a controlled specific volume, inserting it into the water pipe. The injection point should be placed before the pressure tank to be effective. The quantity of chlorine in the water, called the “chlorine residual” can easily be maintained if you go for metering pump chlorinators.
Note that you will have to use a contact tank with this system to allow sufficient time for the chlorine to work.

  • Chlorinator Well Water Proportional Feed 1" J-PRO-22 110-240V

  • CWS Lead-Free 1 "pipe size heavy-duty nylon engineered plastic flowmeter with unions. Operates accurately down to 1 gallon per minute flow rate.
  • Good for chlorinating well water flow rates from 1 to 31 gallons per minute
  • Metering pump can deliver up to 22 gallons of chlorine solution per day and is easily adjustable to get just the right chlorine residual that is needed.
  • Works for line pressures up to 100 PSI
  • Tank Dimensions: 15 gallon model: 14.5" wide x 25" height 35 gallon model: 18.5" wide x 34" height including pump.
  • Dosage is controlled by the flow sensor and/or the stroke knob for maximum control
  • De-gassing vent built-in makes the pump great for chlorination use
  • Unlike Stenner-style peristaltic pumps: no pump tube failures, no rollers to go bad, needs less service, and good for continuous duty
  • Uses regular household bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite) or liquid pool chlorine (12% sodium hypochlorite)
  • These heavy-duty metering pumps systems are designed to last for many years with minimal maintenance.
  • Pump easily mounts on the top of the tank or a wall
  • Primes super fast, and won't lose its prime.
  • Complete system includes chlorinator pump, solution tank, injection check valve, tubing, fittings
  • Easy and fast to install!
  • Dual Voltage! Works out of the box with 110v to 240V 50/60hz. 
  • Uses only 22 watts (0.2 amps) of power when operating.
And here comes two different types of pellet feeders.

In-Line Pellet Feeders
We can also do chlorination using solid pellets rather than liquid bleach. This type of chlorine is 70% calcium hypochlorite and is very powerful. The pellets can be utilized inside a chlorinator called “erosion feeders”. In these types of chlorinators, water flows through the feeder dissolving some part of  the chlorine pellet. These types of chlorinators do not require electricity to work so it's a more practical option. They are simple to manage and can also last for several months before you will have to add more pellets.

  • Dry Pellet In-Line Chlorinator Model 400 MADE IN USA
  • We recommend a contact tank be installed after the Chlorinator to give some time after the chlorine has been injected
  • After contact tank, if desired install a low cost whole house carbon backwash filter for clean water throughout the house!
  • If being used for residential applications, a whole-house carbon filter is recommended after the contact tank.
  • The Model 400 dry chlorine pellet feeder will operate on a varying pressure such as a home well system or on a constant pressure such as a sprinkler or pool system (up to a maximum of 75 psi).
  • No messy chemicals; no moving parts; no electricity required.
  • Corrosion-proof construction.
  • Adjustable metering of chemicals. Fast and easy refilling.
  • Never needs priming.
  • Holds about 4 lbs of 3/8" pellets in one filling.
  • For best results use the Sentry 3/8" 1 gram pellets.
  • When adjusted to the #1 hole setting, the unit should dispense approximately 2.0 ppm of chlorine and the system should process approximately 15,000 to 20,000 gallons of water before needing to be refilled.
  • Easy to install.
Pellet feeder diagram

With this type of chlorinator, you will also need a small contact tank after the feeder to allow the chlorine to disperse. A carbon filter is also recommended for residual use.
Pellet Drop Feeders
This kind of feeder works whenever the well pump is working. It drops pellets into the well at specific intervals. You can control how often the pellets should be dropped into the well. This is not the most recommended option when you want to get rid of bacteria though. Dropping too much pellets in the well can cause the water to be corrosive as well. It can eventually cause damages to the well pump.
Since you have a water softener, this is how your water system will work once you install a pellet feeder chlorinator, depending on the type of pellet feeder you choose:
Pellet Drop Feeder Chlorinator System Diagram

In case you have more questions, please feel free to contact us.