A couple of folk have sent me notes pointing out that I have spent more money and time on the Acid Pump <link> than is justified. They're right. Totally, absolutely right. That doesn't change the fact that I'm going to continue this project until I finally get a nice working device that maintains the Ph of my pool with minimal human intervention. Yes, it's cost me more time than just pouring acid from a jug into the pool every few days and more money than many, many gallon jugs of acid. But that's not the point to automating a house.
The latest problem is a failed check valve. Originally, I had a problem finding a check valve that was acid resistant and had a pipe fitting on one end and a tubing barb on the other. I finally got one from the people that supply the pump I'm currently using. It has been in service for the last year and did a good job. However, when I replaced the tubing as part of my twice yearly maintenance, the valve stuck and wouldn't open. I had a spare and installed it to get things going but I wanted to know what went wrong. This is the valve I'm talking about:
The problem came when I tried to get a replacement. There were lots of them out there in the marketplace, but suppliers wanted between $17 and $50 for these little plastic parts. Frankly, that ridiculous. I called the manufacturer and asked for advice. A nice lady there found me the industrial number of the same device and a supplier of their valves in Colorado that I could call. I called him and ordered six of them because that's all he had in stock. The cost was $8.60 each, and the shipping was around $10. Quite a savings going the industrial part route instead of a swimming pool repair part. Especially since the swimming pool suppliers wanted from $15 to $18 for shipping and handling to get them to me.
Basically, I got six of the valves for the price of one of them as a swimming pool repair part. That makes treating it as an expendable part reasonable. So, now each year I replace the tubing with tubing I get from Home Depot, a piece of Tygon tubing that I order in five foot lengths, and a check valve I buy from this supplier. Sure, that's a bunch of stuff to remember, but just write down in a book somewhere the part numbers and suppliers and there shouldn't be any problem, and I won't have to pay more than twice what it's worth.
When I get the new ones in I may sacrifice one of them to see what the Viton seal looks like and how it fits in place. It may be possible to get a Viton seal and just replace it as a maintenance part. There are places out there that make Viton and even Teflon seals and washers; it could be possible to build up a replacement that will last even longer, or be easily repaired.
I'm starting to understand why so many people buy from Chinese suppliers.
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