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Thread: Softeners, resin, and iron removal

  1. #1

    Default Softeners, resin, and iron removal

    I have been shopping for a new softener, since the old sears model has given out. My well water tested with a hardness of 35 gpg, and with significant iron. Water usage average is 161 gallons a day with 2 people.

    Have been reading the forum here enough to learn to avoid the box stores softeners. But a whirlpool unit (WHES-HC) at the store claims to handle 10 ppm iron, and even has an iron removal setting. How are they doing this? Are they using a fine mesh resin to get these results? Or is there an iron filter built in somehow? A unit made by morton was making the same claims, thiers said up to 12 ppm iron.

    Can you get this kind of performance (10 ppm iron) from a clack or a fleck by ordering it with the fine mesh resin? Are there any disadvantages to the fine mesh resin (I have read lower flow rate, but no description as to how much lower or if it is really a problem). Does fine mesh resin not last as long as regular resin?

    I was thinking of a 40,000 grain unit, may be oversized for a small 1 bath house, but the water is really bad here and is amazing how fast everything is turning orange after the old softener stopped working. Still turned orange when it was working too, just took longer, so looking for a heavier duty unit.

    Lots of places online selling the flecks, all their prices have the shipping already built in. Being very heavy, they must cost alot to ship. Will these companies quote a lower price for cash and carry if they are close by (I have 2 of these companies within 10 miles of me). Anyone have any experience with that?

  2. #2
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Others will be along to answer you questions better but Morton does make a salt that you can use if you have high iron...Im not sure how it works, or how well it works, but I have seen the bags...

  3. #3

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    Well, thats quite a picture!

    The iron number is 7, so I think it is right on the borderline on what a regular softener can handle. The old softener, which was a Sears Genius, could handle it kind of, the orange stains would still show up it just took longer. Everywhere I have read it says regular softeners can only handle 5 or so, thats why I was looking into the fine mesh.

    I hear what you are saying biermech, but could you explain your reasons for not recommending a fine mesh (other than regular resin is good enough)? I have not seen the fine mesh talked about much, what are the pros and cons of using it?

    If it can handle more iron and only costs a little more, Im thinking thats the way to go, unless there are other disadvantages?

  4. #4
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ddanrr View Post
    Well, thats quite a picture!
    Seeing how they took care of their shower says they didn't take care of any water softener or iron filter either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ddanrr View Post
    The iron number is 7, so I think it is right on the borderline on what a regular softener can handle. The old softener, which was a Sears Genius, could handle it kind of, the orange stains would still show up it just took longer. Everywhere I have read it says regular softeners can only handle 5 or so, thats why I was looking into the fine mesh.
    Yes, for regular mesh a max of 5 ppm of clear water, soluble ferrous iron, no ferric iron (rust). Over that you should use SST-60 resin. It won't iron foul near as much as regular and fine mesh resins because it can't due to it having a solid inert core so iron can't get down in the middle of the bead. And a Turbulator is a good idea. Which means no gravel underbed.

    Fine mesh resin causes a higher pressure loss across the softener than regular mesh or SST-60 resins and a softener with fine mesh resin will have a smaller DLFC which means you don't backwash as good as with regular mesh or SST-60 resins.

    So if you want the softener to consistently remove all the iron for the longest time frame, and are going to a more expensive resin like fine mesh or SST-60, go with SST-60. Otherwise use regular mesh but only on up to 5 ppm of iron.

    I suggest you look at a correctly sized softener using a Clack WS-1 control valve. It has many features other controls don't have. BTW, I teach all my customers how to fix their Clack WS-1 valve if needed. Anyone can totally replace all five parts in under 30 minutes even if they have never done anything like that before.

    To learn all about correctly sizing a softener click Softener Sizing and at the bottom of that page, after doing your math, click on Calculator and it will check your math.
    Last edited by Gary Slusser; 11-28-2009 at 10:40 AM.
    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.

  5. #5
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    Andy, I often work in areas up here where the iron is so high that any treatment system used requires constant and expensive maintenance. Of all the mineral conditions that exist, iron is by far the hardest to control.

  6. #6
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    As a local dealer for 18 yrs on problem well water and now for the last 7 yrs in selling equipment all over the US as an online dealer, including Andy's area of NW OH and other areas in OH, along with other areas around the country, like IN, IL, MD, PA, NY, GA, MN, MI, etc. etc. where high iron is present.

    I find that it is simply a matter of the equipment owner paying attention to their water quality and the equipment they have and operating it and maintaining as it should be and when it's needed.

    Any DIYer can maintain it themselves or call a local dealer; preferably an independent dealer rather than a national brand dealers' service guy or salesman.

    My national customers want to maintain their equipment themselves and prevent what we see in these pictures, so I teach them how to do that at no cost to them. Unlike most local dealers, salesmen and servicemen, I also did that as a local independent dealer. It is as easy to do it on the phone as it is in person on site but... but not all dealers etc. can do it on the phone, or are willing to donate their time to do it, especially at no charge. So I see no need for a followup on site visit.
    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
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    All resins are NSF Standard 61 compliant, approved for potable water use. And I've never had or heard of any bad SST-60 resin and I use it fairly frequently and have for a number of years, in water softeners, on potable water which includes drinking water.

    You can check the spec sheet at www.purolite.com

    It sounds to me that somebody had a poblem and mistakenly accused the resin, or there was a bad batch that wasn't caught before being shipped. I've had that with regular mesh resin once (bad taste and an odor) and I've read of another dealer having the problem with two customers. That was a year+ ago.
    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.

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member liveinfixer's Avatar
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    Default Iron eats salt

    Iron equates 4 grains for each part per million. (Gary's figure) Sears and some other softeners say to consider it as 5 grains. Regardless, your iron content equates to at least 28 grains of hardness.

    You've already got 35 grains which will require quite a bit of salt in and of itself. Point being you may want to consider an iron filter of some sort. (expensive, but doesn't use salt) You also need to know if you have iron bacteria. Take off the tank lid off your toilet and run your hand through the slime growing in there. Orange clustery slime is iron bacteria. If you've got it you'll need to cope with it as well. (there's other things that could be in your water that would need to be killed)

    In addition, you'll need to know your ph level as well. If it's lower than 7 (8 would be close to ideal) you may need to cope with that as well. Either bacteria or ph can make your softener inefectual.

    In answer to your question: The valves (Clack, Fleck, Autotrol) don't have much to do with the abillity of the softener to remove iron. The "active ingredient" is the resin inside the softener. They're all astonishingly reliable, with somewhat different features and very different designs. Gary sells the Clack and makes a strong case that it's the best end user valve with nothing else even getting close.

    All that said, your sears unit is probably fixable with a little effort. You can find the model number by lifting the lid of your salt tank and finding something like 625.******, then download the appropriate manual at: http://www.kenmorewater.com/website/...r-manuals.html

    Lots of luck. The only real advice I can give is: Don't buy anything from anyone until you know why to buy (and why not).

  9. #9
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartyO View Post
    Ive been educating my self on well water solutions and there is much to learn to do it right IMO.

    1)Grains 6
    2)iron 3.5 ppm
    3)ph 6.7
    4)used to get a smell, but don't anymore
    5) water flow about 20 gpm(my well pump is 2 or 2.5 hp at 100ft below grade)

    Also: I plan to install sprikler system next year and want to minimize zones cause they charge by the zone for flushing out the water before freeze comes.

    this is what I think Is good for me:
    1)30um pre filter
    2)dual 90k (180total) grain softener filled with SST-60 (if it is safe to use) and a turbulator (if they dont cause problems)
    3) post filter: whole house KDF + Carbon Block, two sets hooked in parellel. (both the non backwashing type)
    4)maybe reverse osmosis serviceing two drinking taps

    The sprinler will be tapped in at two different spots in the appropritate places.

    What do you think? other people are definatly welcome to comment.

    Appreciate constructive responses,
    thanks
    martyo
    IMO you need more education.

    I need more info from you.

    Like why a prefilter? I see no need for one and they cause problems.

    Why a 90K twin? Way too large from what I see so far.

    Why KDF? I see now need for this and don't like KDF because it is so hard to successfully backwash, plus it is so expensive.

    Is there a POE/whole house carbon block cartridge, and what is its SFR gpm?

    Where are you Teeing off the irrigation?

    What is the need for an RO?

    As to SST-60, I see no need for it but...

    *********
    The SST-60 process does not use solvents and the resin (Polystyrene) is completely non-toxic. If SST-60 is to be used for potable water, a field conditioning process is recommended by Purolite™ to completely rinse manufacturing residuals from the resin. This should eliminate aesthetic problems and allow use of SST-60 water for human consumption.
    *********

    If a softener is installed properly, all resins are backwashed and otherwise rinsed as part of the installation.

    BTW, why hijack this thread instead of starting a new one? This thread is months old.
    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
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Marty, no it doesn't.
    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.

  11. #11
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    ummm you think I don't understand SFR? Or it is something else? If I didn't understand SFR I wouldn't have been able to ask you this question: Is there a POE/whole house carbon block cartridge, and what is its SFR gpm?

    SST-60 is non toxic, it meets NSF Standard 61 for potable water use, regardless of what Water King says. I have been using SST-60 for a number of years and I've never heard of any aesthetic effects. So you're against SST-60, or what is your point, what are you trying to say?
    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.

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member Bob999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    SST-60 is non toxic, it meets NSF Standard 61 for potable water use,
    Gary,

    I went to the Purolite website and checked the SST-60 data sheet. So far as I can find there is no NSF 61 statement for SST-60.
    The 100E resin data sheet contains the following statement: "the resin is in compliance with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration Code of Federal Regulations section 21, paragraph 173.25; for use in the treatment of foods for human consumption." The data sheet for SST-60 resin does NOT contain this statement.

  13. #13
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I doubt you'd find that on any resins' spec sheet but it should be on the bag of resin or it wouldn't be legal to use it for 'potable' water.

    And now I just caught that that line about the USFDA says food, nothing about water: "the resin is in compliance with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration Code of Federal Regulations section 21, paragraph 173.25; for use in the treatment of foods for human consumption."

    And that would be why Purolite suggests the field process rinse so the food is not 'tainted' taste wise. The resin would be rinsed in a softener simply by running water in the house IF the softener wasn't backwashed and rinsed as part of the installation as all should be before putting them in Service.

    That would be where the 'food' like maple syrup, corn syrup etc. is run through the resin. That is much different than treating water.
    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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    As I said before, you need more education. There are serious errors in your plan.

    And if you were wanting to buy that equipment from me, I'd refuse to sell it to you because IMO it is not going to be satisfactory for very long.

    If you want me to discuss this with you, answer the questions I asked you and lose the attitude.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by MartyO View Post
    I'm guessing the sst-60 is mainly a commersial resign, what would be interesting to find out is what they mean by field conditioning. I'm no expert but I dont think its running the softener thru a cycle once before use, fits what they mean by conditioning, but I could be wrong.

    Interesting that folks recommend it and aren't aware of these things.
    Yes you are guessing and you are making and working with incorrect assumptions.

    SST-60 is non toxic as you've found and it is used for any softening application from residential to industrial.

    Your misplaced fears aside, there is no reason for any dealer to not recommend it except if they recommend it when regular resin would work as well.
    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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