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Thread: Recommendations for system

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member woodguy00's Avatar
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    Default Recommendations for system

    Hello all,

    Hoping to get some advice as we are new homeowners who have not had a water treatment system before. Our house is on a well yielding about 4 gal/minute and have a 5 gal/minute well pump. We will have four adults living at the house and may add two more if my daughter and her husband move in for college. The current water softener is about 12 years old and needs replacing as the knobs barely turn and the water level in the brine tank is too high. The house has been vacant for several months but we ran the water for an hour the night before testing.

    The raw water test from a local lab shows the following:

    Coliform negative
    ph: 7.11
    Sodium 38 mg/l
    Total Iron .41 mg/l
    Manganese .12 mg/l
    Total Hardness 277 mg/l
    Alkalinity 147 mg/l
    Chloride 115
    Turbidity 7.1
    Free CO2 92 mg/l

    We see some brownish staining in the toilet bowls and there is a lot of blue staining wherever water has dripped from the plumbing in the basement. The washer hose bib and the bottoms of some of the faucet assemblies is blue green and "fuzzy" We've been told it is a problem with the CO2 in the water.

    Can folks make some recommendations on a treatment programs and equipment please.

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by woodguy00; 04-11-2012 at 07:36 AM.

  2. #2
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    You are correct regarding the Co2 in the water. I have charts that estimate the waters corrosivity potential in relation to pH and c02, but I am out on a business trip for the next week. Maybe someone else here can provide some better insite. I dont do the c02 charts often enough to kow the exact formulas, but looking at your report, I am not surprised that you are seeing some copper staining and erosion. Many companies look only at the pH, this is usually adequate. This is a great example of why regional water dealers are usually preferred when it comes to well supplied water since the water treatment methods can be very difficult to properly and adequately treat.

    C02 removal from water can be simple, or complex depending on many factors. I would recommend calling a local water guy and ask if they are familiar with your particular issue. You should know right away if there level of expertise is adequate by there reply.

    Degassification of water can be done through aeration, membrane (liquicel) technologies, or through sacrificial medias like calcite and corosex. pH plays a large role in the systems ability to function properly. and with the high level of co2, you may raise the hardness considerably.

    You could try a simple pilot test to see how calcite or corosex will work if you do not want to pay a professional. Simply install a filter housing with a calcite an/or corosex cartridge, run the water through it at approximately .2 GPM for an hour, and have the water retested for c02, pH, and hardness.

    Your softener will have to be sized according to the new level of hardness after the calcite filter, if it works.

  3. #3
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodguy00 View Post
    The house has been vacant for several months but we ran the water for an hour the night before testing.

    We see some brownish staining in the toilet bowls and there is a lot of blue staining wherever water has dripped from the plumbing in the basement. The washer hose bib and the bottoms of some of the faucet assemblies is blue green and "fuzzy" We've been told it is a problem with the CO2 in the water.
    Running a low recovery well for an hour etc.can cause problems, including water quality problems. It can also screw up water test results.

    Brown staining is usually from iron and/or manganese. Blue staining from water dripping off copper plumbing is copper due to the condensation of humidity forming water drops on the outside of the pipe and dripping off on the floor; not CO2 in the water, unless you have a water leak, which should be fixed.

    Water splashing on faucets/fixtures causes corrosion on the outside of them, usually due to air quality parameters and not the water in the pipes. "fuzzy" says they need to be cleaned more frequently. So so far there is no evidence that the CO2 in the water is causing any problems in the water line plumbing and the best way to tell if it is, is to have a copper test done with first draw water in the morning after the water hasn't been used for many hours; like overnight.

    To learn how to size a softener correctly, click on the link in my signature,
    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.

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    DIY Junior Member woodguy00's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Gary Slusser;341026]Running a low recovery well for an hour etc.can cause problems, including water quality problems. It can also screw up water test results.

    Oh crap, that is what the water testing lab and the local water well guy told us to do so that the water in the well bore and the pressure tank wasn't old.

    Brown staining is usually from iron and/or manganese. Blue staining from water dripping off copper plumbing is copper due to the condensation of humidity forming water drops on the outside of the pipe and dripping off on the floor; not CO2 in the water, unless you have a water leak, which should be fixed.


    We just bought the house so not sure of origin of the blue stain - leak or otherwise. Will fix any leaks. I don't remember any blue staining at a house we had years ago on a well and that had copper plumbing.

    No doubt you are right on the need to clean. We've been doing that since we closed - it was a foreclosure so the the cleaning and maintenance has been lacking.

    Thanks for the info. Other than a properly sized water softener, are you seeing any other issues I need to deal with? The

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member woodguy00's Avatar
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    Dittohead, Thanks for the info. It sounds from the two posts that there is debate on the effects of CO2 in water. I will try to find a local water guy familiar with the issue.




    Anybody else have thoughts?

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Carbon dioxide quickly combines in water to form carbonic acid, a weak acid. The presence of carbonic acid in waterways may be good or bad depending on the water’s pH and alkalinity. If the water is alkaline (high pH), the carbonic acid will act to neutralize it. But if the water is already quite acid (low pH), the carbonic acid will only make things worse by making it even more acid.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  7. #7
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodguy00 View Post
    Dittohead, Thanks for the info. It sounds from the two posts that there is debate on the effects of CO2 in water. I will try to find a local water guy familiar with the issue.




    Anybody else have thoughts?
    Regarding the debate on the effects of c02 in the water, sometimes people say things just to be confrontational and to spice up a forum. I guess the real question would be that if c02 does not have an affect on anything, why test for it?

    Simply put, you should have the water tested for the SI (saturation index), a testing lab will take into consideration the corrosivity or scaling potential of the water, which is in large part caused by co2. It is a calculation that takes into consideration several water tests and designates the waters potential for corrosvity, or scale formation. A negative Saturation Index indicates that the water is would be undersaturated with respect to carbonate equilibrium and the water will have a greater corrosive potential.

    This is why regional water issues sometimes require regional expertise. Some people have recommended that well water really doesnt need to be tested... your application is a perfect example of why it must always be tested. Condensation/dripping from copper and brass can also cause the issue you have, especially since condensate water is typically high in co2, creating carbonic acid. Very natural and normal, but considering the high level of co2 in your water, you do not want to find out a couple years later that high levels of co2 and the resulting -SI has caused you to have your entire house replumbed since all your copper piping is now as thick as tin foil. A simple SI test, or a regional water treatment expert who is familiar with your local ground water would be a cheap investment.

  8. #8
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    I often find that water that is either acidic or alkaline will erode copper piping and leach out that blue color you are experiencing. In my area high alkaline is very common. There are some studies that say high levels of CO2 can alleviate high levels of alkalinity however, some studies also say that co2 has no effect either way. It is a problem that truthfully, I have no experience with and I'm not sure what a "high" level of Co2 number looks like. I like ditto's suggestion of doing some experimentation with low cost calcite or corosex to see what changes or does not change. Simple and effective.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  9. #9
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    Regarding the debate on the effects of c02 in the water, sometimes people say things just to be confrontational and to spice up a forum. I guess the real question would be that if c02 does not have an affect on anything, why test for it?
    The only debate is your twisting of what I said. Which was based on what the OP posted, which is: "and there is a lot of blue staining wherever water has dripped from the plumbing in the basement.".

    I went on to say that so far there is no evidence of the CO2 IN THE WATER causing any problems. And mentioned a simple copper test to see if there are corrosion problems INSIDE the plumbing due to the CO2 content.

    BTW, a copper test is much better than trying to draw a sample of water without having a lot of the CO2 escape.

    Since the house has a 12 year old softener, we should assume the plumbing in the house is at least 12 yrs old too. And so far we see no evidence of internal corrosion of the copper plumbing.

    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    Simply put, you should have the water tested for the SI (saturation index), a testing lab will take into consideration the corrosivity or scaling potential of the water, which is in large part caused by co2. It is a calculation that takes into consideration several water tests and designates the waters potential for corrosvity, or scale formation. A negative Saturation Index indicates that the water is would be undersaturated with respect to carbonate equilibrium and the water will have a greater corrosive potential.
    Actually the Langlier Saturation Index (LSI) was made to determine IF cement pipe was being damaged internally (thinning of the wall from the inside, which it was, and adding asbestos fibers to the water) due to aggressive water. OR IF the water would form scale inside the pipe to protect the cement instead of dissolving it.

    It was never meant to be used to identify corrosion of metal water lines. It is a very poor indicator of corrosion in metal water lines although it's widely used.

    The LSI is used to see IF a water will create scale in a pipe or not, period.

    http://www.eng-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=212531

    http://www.corrosion-doctors.org/Coo...orrosivity.htm


    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    This is why regional water issues sometimes require regional expertise.
    Speaking of regions, I have all but 20 years experience in the region of the US with the most aggressive water there is. That's the NE/Mid Atlantic of the US.

    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    Some people have recommended that well water really doesnt need to be tested... your application is a perfect example of why it must always be tested.
    I say a copper test is quicker, easier and probably costs the least (I always did one for my prospective customers if there was a possibility of a corrosion problem) while leaving no room for error.

    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    Condensation/dripping from copper and brass can also cause the issue you have,
    It is the only cause unless you have pin hole leaks in the copper tubing.

    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    A simple SI test, or a regional water treatment expert who is familiar with your local ground water would be a cheap investment.
    A copper test is much better and the rest sounds anti DIYer or anti online dealer to me.
    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.

  10. #10

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    Thanks Gary for the statements you make that are helpful. You seem to enjoy how you react to helping others. Well done!

  11. #11
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    Carbon dioxide quickly combines in water to form carbonic acid, a weak acid...
    A pH test of softened/RO water will indicate whether it is a potential problem. I wonder if there were a problem if it would have manifested by now given the house plumbing is probably as old or older than the 12 year old softener. I agree that blue/green on the outside of the pipe and fittings is probably from condensation. Blue/green in the toilet bowl might indicate otherwise.

    I've read that RO membranes may allow CO2 concentrations to increase causing a drop in pH and personal experience seems to back that up. I don't have low pH before the RO filter but do have it after. My water is aerated with a micronizer before the iron filter.

    I could see where a hard drawdown of a slow producing well that sat idle for a long time could spike the CO2 readings so would take it with a grain of salt. There is no mention of whether the pressure tank is captive air or hydro-pneumatic. A hydro-pneumatic tank with bleeder/snifter/AVC might be enough to lower the CO2 if it continued to be a problem.

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by water solutions View Post
    Thanks Gary for the statements you make that are helpful. You seem to enjoy how you react to helping others. Well done!
    Well sure. It makes a lot more sense to spend the money on test equipment rather than ask someone from the area that probably has a lot of experience and could answer the question for free. Anti-DIY indeed. Do you know how many times the Slussman has bandied those words around? In his eyes, anybody that ACTUALLY INSTALLS AND SERVICES equipment is anti DIY. He is the only guy in the whole wide world that is qualified to give advice to DIY'ers. The rest of us lack the experience necessary to yack to someone on the telephone for hours on end. Remember folks 20 years of "helping others help themselves" Oh yes, and selling them stuff too wink wink, nudge nudge
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  13. #13
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=woodguy00;341034]
    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Running a low recovery well for an hour etc.can cause problems, including water quality problems. It can also screw up water test results.

    Oh crap, that is what the water testing lab and the local water well guy told us to do so that the water in the well bore and the pressure tank wasn't old.

    Brown staining is usually from iron and/or manganese. Blue staining from water dripping off copper plumbing is copper due to the condensation of humidity forming water drops on the outside of the pipe and dripping off on the floor; not CO2 in the water, unless you have a water leak, which should be fixed.


    We just bought the house so not sure of origin of the blue stain - leak or otherwise. Will fix any leaks. I don't remember any blue staining at a house we had years ago on a well and that had copper plumbing.

    No doubt you are right on the need to clean. We've been doing that since we closed - it was a foreclosure so the the cleaning and maintenance has been lacking.

    Thanks for the info. Other than a properly sized water softener, are you seeing any other issues I need to deal with? The
    Well the lab and driller aren't thinking things through.... Ask yourself this question, are you going to run the water for an hour each time you want to use water?

    Or this one... Should the equipment you buy be able to treat the water after it sits in the well and plumbing for hours or not? Or... Should your test results be on different water quality than the equipment should be sized and programmed to treat or not?

    As to the blue staining on the floor under the copper tubing. Ya got it in this house even if you didn't in a previous house and you said it was from water dripping off the plumbing onto the floor.

    No I don't see any other problems.
    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.

  14. #14
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    Well sure. It makes a lot more sense to spend the money on test equipment rather than ask someone from the area that probably has a lot of experience and could answer the question for free. Anti-DIY indeed. Do you know how many times the Slussman has bandied those words around? In his eyes, anybody that ACTUALLY INSTALLS AND SERVICES equipment is anti DIY. He is the only guy in the whole wide world that is qualified to give advice to DIY'ers. The rest of us lack the experience necessary to yack to someone on the telephone for hours on end. Remember folks 20 years of "helping others help themselves" Oh yes, and selling them stuff too wink wink, nudge nudge
    I see, you are saying that he should ask a local guy and get his OPINION, rather than having an actual copper test at a lab etc.to see if his water is negatively effecting his copper tubing. And you think he should buy test equipment instead of taking a sample to a local dealer or a lab... although he only needs one test.

    I see that as twisting what I said or suggested.

    And yes, the vast majority of local dealers, drillers and plumbers are anti DIYer or they would be selling equipment and parts to the DIYers instead of requiring they install and service the stuff themselves.
    Last edited by Terry; 04-15-2012 at 12:43 PM.
    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.

  15. #15
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Yeah I'm not the Professional type that looks the other way when I see BS being spread.

    And I have already been booted out of the trades forum. I really didn't mind, it was mostly filled with gossiping type whining and no one here, especially plumbers, has ever thought of me as a Professional anyway, and as a softener etc. salesman, I'm certainly not in the plumbing trade.
    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.

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