Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages to Using a Pellet Feeder for a Small Community System?


We have a well that we need to chlorinate for some cabins in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I would assume the liquid chlorinator would have to be housed or in a location where it isn't subjected to freezing temperatures, which might be difficult up here. 

A pellet chlorinator does not have to be, right? Maybe I am wrong, but if the chlorinator is between the well and the reservoir and at times there is hardly anyone on the system, that injected chlorine could be sitting in that reservoir for a period of time before it is pumped up to a cabin.

We really wanted to know which type you recommend and why.

Thanks for all your help,

Mr Ferlin

Dear Mr. McFarland,

Dry pellet feeders are easy to deal with and afford a great solution.  There are two types of pellet feeders that can be used: Well Pellet Feeders (which drop pellets down the well when the well pump runs) and In-Line Dry Pellet Feeders such as the Model 400 Chlorine Pellet Feeders.

The Sentry Dry Pellet Well Chlorinator is a great chlorinator that is easy to install, requires less maintenance than a liquid chlorine feeder.   Many wells cannot use this type however, as there can be obstructions preventing the pellets from dropping down into the water, such as wire guards, or pipe supports.  In some cases, the pump may be much higher than the water level, so the pellets drop past the pump.   Usually it is best to use these feeders with the assistance of a pump or well contractor so they can install a basket to catch the pellets so they land about a foot below the well pump.

You are also correct that you will not have to worry about the pellets freezing; they store well, and will last for many months.  In your case, a dry pellet chlorinator may be a better fit for you if you do not want to worry about maintenance during times when no one is using the cabins.
Sentry Dry Pellet Well Chlorinator
However, for some wells, it can be difficult to dial in the precise chlorine residual with a pellet feeder, so we don’t always recommend them first. For example, the pellets may drop to the bottom of the well, and the pump may be farther up above the bottom, causing the chlorine residuals to be erratic. 

Some wells are not well set up for pellets, for example if there are wire guards, or other obstructions that prevent the pellets from properly dropping into the wells.You may want to check your well before purchasing.
Required modifications to ensure that a pitlless adapter does not prevent the pellets from dropping into the water
The other type of chlorine pellet feeder is the Model 400 and is installed above ground, after the pressure tank. It offers a lot of benefits. It does not require any messy chemicals or electricity. It also does not require priming. The Model 400 is designed to resist corrosion as well. Corrosion is a problem that commonly occurs with chlorination, and the Model 400 pellet feeder is designed to resist corrosion. It does not have any moving parts, so it's hassle-free to use. To top that off, the Model 400 can also operate at varying pressure.

If you go with a dry pellet feeder, you will not have to deal with mixing liquid bleach or have to worry about it freezing. Also, the pellets are more concentrated than liquid chlorine and contain 60 to 70 percent, rather than 10 percent chlorine.

If you go for the Model 400 pellet feeder, you will also need a contact tank to give some time for the chlorination process to be completed. To avoid chlorine odors after chlorination, it is also highly recommended for you to install a carbon filter after the contact tank.

Better Water Chlorine Pellets

Here's a diagram on how your water system would work after you've installed the Model 400 Pellet Feeder:

Model 400 diagram

We have installed hundreds of chlorination systems and can give you expert advice on the exact type of chlorine solution to use, how much to use and what settings to use with your new chlorinator. We hope this information helps you solve your problems, if you have any further questions, or would like to update us on the progress of your water treatment systems - we love pictures and testimonials! - you can reach us at or on Facebook. Thanks for the letter!