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Thread: Stinky water, high iron, need softener and overwhelmed

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  1. #1

    Default Stinky water, high iron, need softener and overwhelmed

    I apologize in advance for the long story but I feel the need to give the specifics. I am completely overwhelmed after reading all these softener forums.

    Bought home in country 2 years ago and completely remodeled it. We lived there for a year and the whole time the water smelled terrible. Attempted to shock the well but it did not improve the smell. It stinks on hot and cold. Home sat for one year (did not sell) and we currently have renters dealing with the smell and terrible iron problem. You can fill a glass of water and you can see iron sediments. Toilet red, bathtub water tinted red and back of toilet looks terrible. Had a Culligan guy come out to the house and I believe the hardness was 18 (I do not know any terminology) and he sent a sample in for testing. I believe a small amount of sulfur bacteria was present but I can't remember anything else. He told me a unit through another company was going to cost me $2500 and then after getting water tested (we need to still pay $50) I was told the unit would actually cost $4800 (softener, something for the iron, and something that would chlorinate the softener). We said no way. He then suggested we buy a softener and then rent a pellet system and something for the iron. Again; too expensive. Finally he tried selling me a used unit for $1250 and then an even older and smaller unit for $750. I agreed and then called back today and left him a message saying I was uneasy with the how thing and thanks but no thanks. I never saw any of the tests, just bits and pieces over the phone. And now after reading water softener forums I feel very clueless and confused. Meantime our renters would like the hard water and smell resolved. We have a sediment filter but it's clogged shortly after replacing it. It's hard to keep up with it. Thanks for taking the time to look over this. I will try to get the results from the Culligan man and post more tomorrow. If someone could point me in the right direction I'd appreciate it. Also, I might add that we are in a smaller town with limited options (Culligan and I'm hoping Ecowater - left message tonight).

  2. #2
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    You need actual test results for TDS (total dissolved solids), hardness, pH, iron, manganese, Coliform bacteria, nitrates and sulfates, nitrites and chlorides would be nice.

    Be careful of Ecowater. They are usually the most expensive and may not work well for long. You can not buy parts or service from anyone other than the one and only local dealer.

    If you want to be independent, you could buy from me or other online dealers and install it yourself or hire a plumber to do it and probably save up to a $1000+.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  3. #3
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chatterk View Post
    If someone could point me in the right direction I'd appreciate it.
    Gary and others here can offer some good suggestions, but there is no "magic bullet" anywhere. It sounds to me like your situation might be sufficiently severe as to call for a settling tank ahead of any kind of treatment equipment.

  4. #4

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    You are getting some good advice here . Don't do ANYTHING until you have your water tested by an independent water testing company. You don't really know what the problem is or should I say you don't know how bad it really is.

    At a minimum you need to know, hardness, manganese, iron, PH, and TDS. For hydrogen sulfide Your nose is the best tester - its smells a little in the morning, it smells a lot, its so bad the neighbors are complaining....
    Expect to pay some $$$ for the right equipment, probably half as much if you DIY, but it still isn't free.

    Post your water analysis, type of pump and max GPM water output from the well with all filters bypassed (you can measure that with a 5 gal bucket at an outside spigot) and someone here will be able to tell you what you probably need.


    I just want to add one more thing. Even if you don't want to DIY, consider ordering from Gary or someplace online and hire a local plumber to do the install. Going through a water filtration company you run the risk of being stuck with proprietary equipment. It will be a problem if the company pulls up roots and moves out of town and you need service.
    -rick
    Last edited by drick; 03-19-2009 at 09:58 AM.

  5. #5

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    Thank you everyone for your input. We are in a bit of a sticky situation because we just found out this morning that our vehicle needs a new transmission. Money is tight right now but may free up soon. What is the downside of putting in a cheap softener for the moment to give us time to get the water tested and save money for something better. Obviously we would be out $400-$500 but it would buy us some time maybe??

    I know you all are experts and possibly shaking your head at this but we have 3 little kids, double mortgage (one of which is being rented) and tenants that want the iron water out of their tub/toilets. We are in a bit of a time/financial crunch.

    Thanks so much for all your input. My husband is going to swing by Culligan to give them $ for the water analysis they had done (through another company) and I will post the results.

    Thanks again!
    C

  6. #6
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    A softener of any type is not going to give your tenants satisfactory water quality. And no one should sell you anything that doesn't but, many will if given half a chance.

    Have you heard from Ecowater and what do they have to say?

    It takes patience to do something right. They've lived with the problems this long and will for awhile longer to get it done right, the first time. BTW, doing 'it' right' the first time always costs the least.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  7. #7
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    It takes patience to do something right ... [and] ... doing 'it' right' the first time always costs the least.
    Absolutely! Where there never seems to be enough time or money to do something right the first time around, we still almost always later find whatever we need to do the job over. Go figure, eh?!

    Anyway, and as a temporary, possibly-slow-it-down-a-bit measure, you might try using a bank of two or more 20" filters, and with the second having a lower micron rating than the first. My water troubles are not nearly as bad as yours, but that is how I keep the red out of my fixtures ... and please know I am not an expert on water treatment.

  8. #8

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    It really depends on what the water analysis says.


    Softeners max out around 4ppm for dissolved (ferrous) iron removal. If you have ferric iron it will foul the softener in almost any amount. And to the best of my knowledge softeners won't solve your hydrogen sulfide problem.

    For the money softeners are a great solution IF --IF they are a match for your conditions. Your money may be better off spent on a centaur carbon filter which will remove hydrogen sulfide gas and ferric iron. It all depends on the water analysis.

    And I would plan on spending more than $500. Sorry.

    -rick

  9. #9
    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
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    I have heard in some cases a softener can remove a rotten egg odor from the water. Iron in the water can sometimes be in the form of iron sulfide and a softener will grab it.

    sammy

    www.tylerwellandpump.com

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