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Mar 22, 2021

Furnace HVAC
Condensate Neutralizer

If you're looking to reduce your carbon footprint and use less fuel, high efficiency furnaces, water heaters and boilers are a perfect solution to help with that. But did you know that the condensation created by these appliances, and that is drained into your drainage system, can still contain harmful chemicals like acid? Learn why a condensate neutralizer is important and how to reduce your carbon footprint and minimize your risk of acid pollution in your sewer or septic system. 

What exactly is condensate?

Natural gas furnaces are powered by combusting gas, and when they burn they produce condensation. The burning of natural gas creates water and carbon monoxide as by-products — the wastewater gets drained into your sewage system while the gas is piped outside of your house. This wastewater, also known as condensate, is technically clean, but its low pH makes it acidic and potentially damaging to structures and the environment. 

The acid can cause premature corrosion in your water pipes, as well as leading to damage in local sewer systems and water treatment facilities. This small thing ends up having a huge impact, leading to a compromise of your carbon footprint.

What is a condensate neutralizer and how does it work?

As the name implies, a condensate neutralizer filters water by-products and brings them to a neutral pH so they are safe going down the drain. Condensate neutralizers look like tubes or boxes that are filled with gravel-like pellets. 

The neutralization takes place when the acidic condensate flows through a neutralizing tube into the device that usually contains pellets. These pellets, which include basic compounds like calcium carbonate, carbon dioxide and salt, filter and neutralize waste water as it moves through the drainage pipe. This lowers the PH volume and brings it down to a safe level before the condensation is drained. With the help of a professional like Romaniuk, the neutralizer can be easily attached to the drainage pipe coming out of your furnace. 

Do I need a condensate neutralizer?

In order to determine if you need a condensate neutralizer, you first need to know what kind of water heater and furnace you have. Gas-powered appliances will require some kind of neutralizer as the gas can produce acidic PH levels that drain into your drainage system. Many cities and communities actually require you to have a condensate neutralizer, especially if they’ve had problems with acidic water in their sewage systems in the past. That said, even if your city or community does not require one, you should still investigate and look into it, especially if you’ve noticed any corrosion in your pipes or you own a high efficiency furnace. All high efficiency furnaces, water heaters and boilers create acidic water as a byproduct of the combustion process, so it’s a good idea to be proactive and install a condensate neutralizer before any corrosion happens in your pipes. Many new high efficiency furnaces also come with a condensate neutralizer, so be sure to check this before installing a new furnace. 

If you're still unsure if you need one, you can buy pH test strips or a digital device to test the condensate coming from your appliances. You should measure a pH level of at least 5.0 after it leaves the condensate neutralizer. Check with your local municipality codes to see which pH level it should be at, but typically a pH less than 5.0 has the potential to cause acid-related damage.

Proper Maintenance

A good functioning neutralizer can last for years. That being said, regular maintenance is critical in order to maintain or improve its working lifespan.This can vary based on the amount of condensate your appliances produce.

It’s important to replace the pellets or limestone/marble chips during your routine maintenance, which should be done on an annual basis. This helps prevent any damage to your drainage system. 

Install a condensate neutralizer today

When it comes to installing a condensate neutralizer, HVAC professionals are best suited to help you select a condensate neutralizer that fits your furnace and your needs. Romaniuk has been serving HVAC needs in the Edmonton area for over 30 years and would be happy to help you minimize your carbon footprint and protect the integrity of your pipes and surrounding environment. Contact us today for your free quote.