Can Anyone Identify an Unknown Plumbing Device?

Hello,
We are on a small farm and have horrible water that we don't drink. It buggers and clogs plumbing something terrible.
A couple of years ago, we decided to go the fiberglass pressure tank route as we got tired of rusting issues. The local well and pump guy came out and, despite my reservations, installed one that has a vent gizmo on top instead of my usual draining every few months after waterlogging. My concern was it would plug up... after about 2 months, it did. He then added another gizmo in front of the tank that is the device in question:
it is about 10 inches long, has what looks like a tire valve sticking up from it and is supposed to suck a little air into the tank every time it runs... and it does that well (never have waterlogged since). My concern with this item was that it has, according to him, a 3/8 orifice inside that hurt my flow very badly. Now that this thing has had time to gunk up a bit (everything always does) the flow is now almost unacceptable. Relations with this guy deteriorated long ago and I'm about to scream uncle and tackle things myself as I always used to do before him.
What is this thing called? Can it be taken apart to clean? He mentioned that there was another version with a larger diameter innard... I'm wondering about swapping it since I need to do something anyhow... does it allow more air proportionally? I do not like the idea of even more air in my tank as I wish there were more drawdown than there is now.
Does anyone know anything about this gizmo?
thanks
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On Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at 9:44:24 PM UTC-4, rdoc wrote:

This seems backwards. With a fiberglass tank that is a few years old, it should have a bladder so that no periodic addition of air is needed, ie it doesn't get water logged because the air is trapped inside the bladder and remains constant. And with an older type of tank without an air bladder, it should have an automatic air volume control that maintains the correct air volume, so once again, no manual addition of air is necessary. Further what doesn't make sense is that neither of those should affect the water flow rate, unless it's by them not working at all, the tank gets water logged and the pump can't keep up with the water flow without the tank water assisting. The air volume control for the older tanks was mounted on the side of the tank and reacted to the air level. If there was too much water, not enough air, it would allow the pump to suck in a little bit of air when it runs, increasing the air in the tank.
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That is not the type of tank that many folks around here use... our water does not play well with bladders and treating it can get very costly. Around here, many use older fashioned systems using galvanized tanks that deteriorate rapidly and I thought it very good news to find that they now make 'old-fashioned' 40 gal tanks in fiberglass.
Here is the previous tank I used: http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/countyline-galvanized-tank-vertical-42-gal?cm_vc=-10005
Here is the new one: <http://www.wellmate.com/en-US/product/residential-products/hydro-pneumatic-air-water-tanks/hp-quick-connect-series/
The flow issue is, I believe, related to the 3/8" orifice in the device inserted in the pump supply line in front of the tank (that 3/8 figure is based on what the installer said was in it). I used to run this small house off a 1 1/4" line into the tank and reduced it to 3/4 after. The installer reduced it to 1" before the device and then 1" again between the device and the tank. It seems to me that a system is only as strong as it's smallest diameter supply and running a home on 3/8" is doomed... then add deposits and such and the flow is brought to it's knees.
That is the crux of my questions... what the heck is this thing and is it serviceable and what are the ramifications of using a larger one (providing that the installer was not as wrong about that availability as he was about so much else)?
I do not have a web page to post photos on.
Also, upon looking it over better, it really is not much longer each way than a 1" tee... the 1" black hose make it look bigger. I see no markings on it other than an arrow in the dirction of the air flow.
thanks for reading and replying.
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I haven't asked a silly question for at least a couple minutes now. It isn't the microionizer shown in the picture of the tank by chance? http://tinyurl.com/ntjaren
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No, it doesn't look like that, but... that link that you show, although not looking the same, either... makes me wonder if there is another style of these beyond these two. When I looked at that, maybe I dismissed the concept because of the difference in appearance.
What do you know about these things? Are they used even without the filtration system you linked? Can they be attained in high flow versions?
Maybe I need to start searching on the microionizer term.
Thanks for the reply.
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I really don't know anything about them. I just got curious so looked up a few. The description of them acting like a venturi got my attention. The link was just one I happened on. There was no real reason I linked to it.

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On Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 9:06:42 PM UTC-4, rdoc wrote:

The "micronizer" is shown in the pic of the tank you supplied. It's not exactly the same as the one Dean found, but it performs the same function, which is to constantly inject a small, adjustable amount of air whenever the pump is running. The air volume control that is inside the tank apparently then maintains the correct air volume by venting the excess. I've never seen a setup like that.
If that micronizer gets gunked up, then per the diagram of the tank that you supplied, it would only affect how fast water gets pumped into the tank and/or the air volume in the tank, but your complaint is flow rate. So, some questions?
Is the tank water logged, or behaving OK with respect to drawdown?
Is the flow rate OK when the tank is full, then becomes a problem when the pump runs?
If the flow rate is a problem with normal air in the tank and before the pump kicks on, then I don't see how it can be caused by the mircronizer because it's not in the flow path at that point. Assuming of course it's installed like the diagram that you provided from Wellmate.
Also, I'm curious what the issue is with your bad water and a bladder type tank. I would assume the bladders are made of a vinyl or similar type material that would be impervious to acidic water, etc. so I'm curious what happens to bladders?
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As I understand it from those around with horror stories about bladder tanks... the deposits on the bladder compromise it and they fail but more importantly, our water corrodes and rusts heavy galvanized tanks in as little as two years causing leaks with the cheapo tin of bladder tanks sometimes seeing half that long. If you've ever walked into your basement to find that your holding tank has blown a hole and your pump just keeps pumping it up again and again, it's something you don't ever want to risk experiencing again.
When the installer first put the tank in, he did not install the microionizer and all was fine until the tank waterlogged... great flow and pressure. As I now understand things according to a local with some good experience with this thing, the ionizer was a required element to the self adjusting air volume control. He tried to cheap out on me. It was at the very moment that he installed the ionizer on the service call that the flow issues began and have only worsened since then. This installer and I have gone round and round ever since.
What it appears, according to the local who helped identify the gizmo, is that he didn't want to by the new one at $120 and so used one from a hot tub or jacuzzi deal and, as I'm told, the angle is not adjustable and so his original statement (that he now denies) about it being about 3/8 inch diameter inside is probably accurate. 3/8" is woefully small for a primary supply for a home when you are trying to pump a 40 gallon tank at the same time as needing to maintain the concurrent demand of say, a toilet, a washing machine and a dishwasher when the whole family is beating the system up at once. At times, if one flushes while filling the bathtub, it all comes to a halt. These state occurred instantly when he installed this thing.
As I understand it, those suggesting micrionizer are right on except that it also has a thing called a vacuum break with it. I see well-mate branded ones on line for about half of what he would have paid at the local distributor... if I can figure out how to set it up, I may pick one up. Until this, I took care of my water supply myself and got by fine... this is what I get for paying money for someone else to do it.
thanks for the replies.
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On Monday, September 7, 2015 at 2:45:49 PM UTC-4, rdoc wrote:

There are lots of bladder tanks available that are composite. If that water can make a bladder fail, it must have some interesting stuff in it. It's plastic and seems to me plastic hold up pretty well to most things, even acid.

I asked before if the flow rate problem was also when the tank was full or if it only happens when the tank draws down and the pump kicks on. If it's only when it draws down, then I'd agree it's the micronizer. If it's all the time, then I don't see how it can be the mircronizer, because it's between the well and pump.
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This is not correct with respect to plumbing. The length of reduced diameter pipe does matter, as there's resistance to flow all along the pipe. This isn't to say that even a 3/8" ID washer is a good idea, but 10' of 3/8" pipe will resist the flow a lot more than 1" of the same.
Edward
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A picture (or more) of the item in question would be worth thousands of words.
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snipped-for-privacy@att.net posted for all of us...

+1
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I do not have a web page to post photos on... is there binary group that posters here have started using?
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http://imgur.com/ and make a photo album.
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Seymore4Head posted for all of us...

Did he ever post any images? I see ones others posted about the micrionizers.
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with a vacuum break... never knew there was such a thing until now. That imgur link looks like an interesting place to kill a few hours except that I have a hard time getting a few killable minutes let alone hours.
thanks for the reply.
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If everyone in your neighborhood has the same poor quality water, what do they do???
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It's not much of a neighborhood as most think of neighborhoods. There are other homes in the area but it is a small farm in an area of other small and large farms with a few patches of homes with a handfull of homes in each... some now empty because of water issues. There is a village about 3 miles down the road that has city water. Folks here do what they can/will spend. Some have elaborate filter systems that are rather pricey... most just do things a more old fashioned way that requires keeping up to the simpler systems, i.e.: dealing with frequent tank maintenance/replacement. (See my reply to trader_4 for links.) It doesn't take long to learn that expensive systems on this water are a money pit that constantly require servicing beyond the regular guy's skills/finances... much easier to keep up with water-logging tanks, water heater issues and lugging drinking water from the car.
The big benefit to it is that it keeps the developers at bay for now. They are raping most of the county farmland and we know it's only a matter of time until they are coming down the road with city water and sewers at what time there will be no more farms, just a bunch of 'neighbors' staring down our noses.
Again... see my reply to trader_4 to see a link to the type of tank many of us use who can't or won't spend the insane bucks needed to deal with the water for results suburbanites might expect. I look forward to any contributions you might supply on the device identification.
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On Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at 6:44:24 PM UTC-7, rdoc wrote:

From the replies 'micronizer' seems right. Common name back when was "snifter valve".
Harry K
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