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Thread: Please help me choose a softener for a well with iron

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member scooby074's Avatar
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    Default Please help me choose a softener for a well with iron

    Hello all. Ive been lurking for a while here but its usually in the plumbing section ,drains, vents and the like/

    I just bought a house that had a old softener that wasnt working. I know the water was hard and had iron issues as theyre was significant rust staining on the fixtures.

    So i need a new softener to deal with the rust/hardness.

    I had a couple reps out already.

    THe first rep recommended a softener and a separate air injection machine for iron - approx $4000

    His testing determined 14 hardness with 4 PPM iron.


    THe latest guy was out today

    His testing was more thorough:

    Ferric - 1PPM
    Ferris (clear iron) - 2.5 PPM
    Hardness - 10 grains. Less than previous test due to manganese. Which this rep says will cause false hardness readings.
    H2S - minimal
    Sulfates - minimal
    Manganese - "A bit" He showed it to me participated out in the test bottle. Might have been 1/16" in the bottom of a ~250ml bottle.
    Sedimate- Some small black "sand like" residue. May be from the pressure tank as it really hasnt been used in over a year.,

    Salt - likely present do to the high TDS.
    TDS- 488 PPM
    Arsenic - 0

    ph - 7

    Sorry for some of the inaccurate quantities, but the guy didnt really quantify the manganese, just showed me the bottle.

    I did smell sulfur, but only once after the water was off for a week +. Running water really doesnt smell At least i cant smell it. There was no iron bacteria (scum) in any of the toilets or anything like that

    End result was $3400 for a softener with "iron removing Redex resin", fancy resin cost an extra $600 and a Reverse Osmosis system to get the salt out of the drinking only water.



    This is on a dug well (60-80 ft) with a jet pump. Pump is 1/2 hp. Family of 4 (2 adult 2 children). Unfortunately i cant determine total demand as theyre is no plumbing installed to turn on, but theyre will be a bath and a 1/2 bath, both with low flow fixtures.

    I ran garys sizing chart and got a total capacity of 49920 for a week.

    I dived by 2, due to the hardness .. so 25000 rounded up is a 30,000 softener?

    I can get a Clack headed 30k softener for 699 delivered.http://www.aquatell.com/canada/water...da-30000-grain WHile this is not a great deal for the states its pretty awesome for here.

    As an example the 40k Ge's at home depot are $999 up here

    Would this deal with my water conditions?

    Im not concerned with the Ferris, but am concerned with the ferric iron. I really dont want to destroy the softener or stain m new fixtures. the guy that ran the test, ran a sample of my water thru his portable "water softener".

    He then compared the before iron reading to the after. THats where he came up with the PPM for each. Is this the normal procedure?

    Even the second "after" vial was pink/red in colour although it was much lighter than the before.

    He said that theyre would still be staining even after treatment due to the ferric. Is that correct?



    Any information will help. Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by scooby074; 02-27-2010 at 08:02 PM.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Your most likely in an area much like south central alaska.. 35F water right out of the ground.
    That can be a good thing.. as I get away with some things that others can not, softeners on water with iron up in 20ppm.
    If you are looking for a unit that is going to last YEARS.. stay away from the GE type units as I see them and others with the same valve last only a few years around here and the iron is hard on them, iron will work on any unit that you get..
    Stay away from the air suckers.. as the iron will build up in side the pipes from where it is pulled in to where the filter is at, 1" going down to 1/2"...


    Water has a salt taste? only RO or Distiller is going to change that.

    If one can try to keep things simple. big blue 20" with say 58 micron filter... might be changed every 4-6 months for some of the iron, then a 1.5 cubic foot unit and if possible have a turbolator in it so that the resin bed is changed over every cleaning.

    In my spreed sheet the 1.5 cubic with a full capacity of 48000 but run at a capacity of 40k would run you about 1.5 bags of salt per month.

    Questions?

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    DIY Junior Member scooby074's Avatar
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    Thanks.

    Our water isnt quite that cold lol/

    I cant taste any salt in the water, I mentioned it because the rep today said that due to the high TDS reading there had to be salt in there. I believe he said there was something like 170 ppm calcium and 250? ppm of total "something" i cant remember but it included the 170 ppm calcium.

    He said the difference between the TDS reading of 488 and the 250? was the remaining salt in the water???

    big blue 20" ? is that just the typical blue filter you can get at home depot? or something special?

    I assume this is for the ferric? You would install this before the softener after the tank?

    Air suckers? Your taking abut the air injection for iron removal?
    Last edited by scooby074; 02-27-2010 at 09:35 PM.

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    TDS is made up of the hardness that is in the water.
    Water by its self will not pass elect... it is the stuff in the water that will pass ie the calcium and the like.
    One might find salt in the water if they are right on the coast and they are getting some of the ocean water in the well.
    The big blue is a larger filter than what is normally at a hardware store.. the filters at most stores are 2x10 the big blue uses a 4x10 or 4x20 filter..
    Think of the fire department.. they use what size hose from the hidrent to the truck? 6" Why ? to get the water from there to the pump, they want gallons... from the truck to the fire they need more pressure so they drop the size of the hose to help increase the pressure coming out.

    Often times I will use a filter as a pre filter to take some of the iron that is coming out of the water that the softener will not handle to remove it.
    That is why I use that little mini softener on my testing.. but if I slow the water down going through the mini that too will some times remove all of the iron down below the .3ppm

    The challenge is figuring out the flow through the mini to make sure the test is getting it right.

    Air suckers or air injection.. are the same thing, there is either air getting pulled in, or a pump to put air in.. but both use air to get the iron to fall out of the water.

    Take a dogs water dish... fill it with fresh water, it is clear.. but let it set for some time frame and one will find iron or orange on the bottom of the bowl and form a ring where the water meats the bowl.

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    DIY Junior Member scooby074's Avatar
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    Akpsdvan, thanks

    So, like i asked the tester, whats making up the difference in TDS? He said it wasnt manganese, due to the amount in the 250 ml bottl2 (1/16" in the bottom). He said if it was manganese it would have been 1/2" deep or more???? Thats where he said "it must be salt"... Thats why he said i need a RO for drinking water.

    Assuming the testing was correct and i have 1ppm ferric and ~3ppm Ferris, along with a small amount of manganese, would a Big Blue as a prefilter and 30k softener meet my needs? and not destroy itself?

    I was also reading on here about a chemical injector that helps in flushing out the iron during backwash? Is it a good add on?

    I also heard about a turbiditor (i spelled it wrong) that will help stir the bed during flushing. Can it be added to the clack system above?

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Not sure what He was mixing to get some thing to settle out at the bottum of the bottle... there is a test for Mn and it starts staining at .05ppm.. pink is what it is on the wheel that I use.
    Sounds like he might have been trying to add an RO to the sale,, but that is just me.

    With what you have in the way of water and people the pre filter(big blue 20") then the softener 1.5 cubic foot with turbo should do nicely. chemical injector? I would just use some Iron out in between each bag of salt and maybe once a year add about 4 cups of bleach to the brine tank for cleaning..
    I like the Fleck, but I have been using them for 20 years.... I only use the computer ones when needed... I like the older style because it is like the old Timex,,, takes a licking and keeps on ticking...
    it is simple, and only one motor for the timer part,, $50.00 to replace.. computer controls can run up to 200.00 if and when they go bad, now they go bad less and less... and they are better.. but even if the 50.00 motor goes bad and it is going to be awhile for the replacement one can still cycle the unit with out it..by hand and a watch to turn to the next cycle... computer goes out? and that is it till it is replaced.
    Turbos started with Autrol and is used under just about any valve that is out there save for the Culligan, Kinetico, Eco....sears GE,,,, but if it is a Fleck,Clack, Autrol.. you should be able to get it ...might have to ask for special from who ever you are dealing with.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by scooby074 View Post
    Akpsdvan, thanks

    So, like i asked the tester, whats making up the difference in TDS? He said it wasnt manganese, due to the amount in the 250 ml bottl2 (1/16" in the bottom). He said if it was manganese it would have been 1/2" deep or more???? Thats where he said "it must be salt"... Thats why he said i need a RO for drinking water.
    Sounds to me the tester was doing a persipation test. 2 chemicals are added (1 clear 1 yellow) to get the hardness to settle to the bottom so you can see it.
    If it's not h2o, it's TDS. So iron, calcuim, manganese, copper and so on is TDS.

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member Bob999's Avatar
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    Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is as Skip wrote anything that is dissolved in the water. "Salt" means sodium chloride or common table salt to most of us but it is also used to refer to many other chemical compounds that can be found in water. Given you can't taste sodium chloride in your water I think the individual you spoke with was simply using the broader meaning.

    With the iron and manganese in your water you would benefit from use of SST-60 resin--it has superior characteristics with iron laden water but costs more--typically more than twice as much as a generic "high capacity" resin. In the US it would add less than $200 in a 1.5 cubic foot softener.

    You will also need to regularly use a resin cleaner with your iron and manganese. Iron Out is commonly used. Personally I prefer Pro Res Care which is supplied in liquid form and can be used with an automatic dispenser. Here is a link that shows the product: http://www.qualitywaterforless.com/S...earch=res+care

    I believe you should definitely get a softener that is at least 1.5 cubic foot--a 1 cubic foot softener will use substantially more salt.

    While your TDS level is somewhat elevated it is not so high that a reverse osmosis system is required so I see that as a personal choice unless there is somewhat in the household who is on a sodium restricted diet.
    Last edited by Bob999; 02-28-2010 at 06:40 AM. Reason: add information

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Wolverton View Post
    Sounds to me the tester was doing a persipation test. 2 chemicals are added (1 clear 1 yellow) to get the hardness to settle to the bottom so you can see it.
    If it's not h2o, it's TDS. So iron, calcuim, manganese, copper and so on is TDS.
    Now that I will claim as palm to forehead.............
    I have not used that test in some time.

  10. #10
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scooby074 View Post
    ... So i need a new softener to deal with the rust/hardness.

    .... air injection. His testing determined 14 hardness with 4 PPM iron.
    Air injection is probably more for the H2S/odor you mentioned later than iron or manganese.

    Quote Originally Posted by scooby074 View Post
    THe latest guy was out today. His testing was more thorough:

    Ferric - 1PPM
    Ferris (clear iron) - 2.5 PPM
    Hardness - 10 grains. Less than previous test due to manganese. Which this rep says will cause false hardness readings.
    H2S - minimal
    Sulfates - minimal
    Manganese - "A bit" He showed it to me participated out in the test bottle. Might have been 1/16" in the bottom of a ~250ml bottle.
    Sedimate- Some small black "sand like" residue. May be from the pressure tank as it really hasnt been used in over a year.,

    Salt - likely present do to the high TDS.
    TDS- 488 PPM
    Arsenic - 0

    ph - 7

    Sorry for some of the inaccurate quantities, but the guy didnt really quantify the manganese, just showed me the bottle.
    This guy is leading you astray. TDS (total dissolved solids) is a total of everything dissolved into the water. Use the 14 gpg hardness, manganese does not interfere with hardness; they are separate tests. He did a TDS precipitation demo, that is not a test and it is what BS artists do. Black specks/sediment/particles can be from H2S or manganese residue coming off the inside of the plumbing or from galvanized pipe/fittings.

    Quote Originally Posted by scooby074 View Post
    I did smell sulfur, but only once after the water was off for a week +. Running water really doesnt smell At least i cant smell it. There was no iron bacteria (scum) in any of the toilets or anything like that.

    End result was $3400 for a softener with "iron removing Redex resin", fancy resin cost an extra $600 and a Reverse Osmosis system to get the salt out of the drinking only water.
    You should have a Coliform bacteria test done.

    I don't think I've ever heard of a resin called Redex, but there is no resin worth $600 more and with 4 ppm of iron, you don't need more than regular mesh resin and a Turbulator distributor tube.

    Quote Originally Posted by scooby074 View Post
    Family of 4 (2 adult 2 children). Unfortunately i cant determine total demand as theyre is no plumbing installed to turn on, but theyre will be a bath and a 1/2 bath, both with low flow fixtures.

    I ran garys sizing chart and got a total capacity of 49920 for a week.

    I dived by 2, due to the hardness .. so 25000 rounded up is a 30,000 softener?
    No. The 49920 is what you round up but that is not the size of the softener. You use the Minimum cuft from the calculator page; that is the size of the softener because all softeners are sized by the cuft of resin them; which dictates the size of the resin tank. That does not give you the SFR size you may need.

    So for good salt efficiency you need a 1.5 cuft with a constant SFR of 12 gpm if your bathroom fixtures are a regular size tub and shower. And you then program it for the K of capacity you need for a regeneration on average every 4 or 8 days. Then you use a small amount of Iron Out or Super Iron in a couple gallons of water poured into the water at the bottom of the brine well once a month and do a manual regeneration. That's instead of expensive Res Up.

    Quote Originally Posted by scooby074 View Post
    Im not concerned with the Ferris, but am concerned with the ferric iron. I really dont want to destroy the softener or stain m new fixtures. the guy that ran the test, ran a sample of my water thru his portable "water softener".

    He then compared the before iron reading to the after. THats where he came up with the PPM for each. Is this the normal procedure?
    His portable softener didn't remove all the ferrous iron, you can't measure ferric iron that way. He probably ran the water through it too fast. So unless you have discolored water or rust particles in it when you draw a glass of water, you don't have ferric iron. So no prefilter.

    This guy is making things up as he goes, stay away from him.
    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 scooby074's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the replys.

    I currently have limited internet access as were moving so i may be slow responding.

    I also have some confusing results to ask about. These results are from an accrededited lab that i paid to have my water tested. The results dont jive with either of my reps tests????? Thats the reason i posted this thread. You all have been helpful in sorting thru the bull that
    the reps push!!

    heres the results:

    PH 7.39
    nitrate + nitrate n (mg/l) <1
    Conductance (mmhos) 847
    alkalinity (mg/l) 342
    chloride (mg/l) 63
    Total hardness (mg/l) 341.54

    Calcium (mg/l) 95.5
    copper (mg/l) <.01
    Iron (mg/l) 0.95
    Magnesium (mg/l) 25.03
    Manganese (mg/l) 0.22
    Sodium (mg/l) 49.92
    sulfate (mg/l) 39.57
    zinc (mg/l) .001
    Potassium (mg/l) 5.96

    So as you can see, the results are quite different in places.

    Total hardness is > 341.54x.07=23.9 gpg

    How did we get from 10 or 14 grains '

    What about the iron? isnt that .95ppm? the others were like 4ppm. I Know there is iron there because of the staining, so who do i believe?

    Gary the water has been tested for fecal and its ok.

    Ill re run the calculator with the above info and see what i get.

    gary, i re-ran the calculator and now have a 3cuft requirement. does that sound correct? sounds like a lot?\\

    or can i do a 1.5 cuft with twice aas many regens?\

    54220 total grain
    15 lb salt dose\

    then after looking at the main sfr page it looks like i only need a 2cuft softener for a 13 gpm sfr?\

    \Sorry if i havent calculated it correct.


    Thanks for the iron info. especially the whole house filter, when i draw a glass of water, theyre is no discolouration. however over time the water will discolour. so if i understand there is ferris iron there, not ferric????
    Last edited by scooby074; 03-06-2010 at 11:56 AM.

  12. #12
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    341.54/17.1=19.9 grains.
    Comp hardness 1ppm FEX4 + .5Mnx4 + 19.9= 25.9

    If the people that came out and took the test at the start and the well had not been run much, but by the time the test was taken for the lab the water had been run much longer and the well cleaned up some that would lower the iron and Mn...

    I have been asked to test the water on a well that has been setting for some time, I request that the customer run the water out a hose for 24-36 hours straight before I take a test.. it turns the well water over and cleans up some of the stuff that might give a false test..

    Not every one does that ..

  13. #13
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I agree with the numbers except I do not use 4 for this small amount of manganese, just 2.

    And new wells do have water quality changes but running all that water for a couple days and testing them doesn't give you any idea of what it is like after sitting around in the well overnight etc. and that is what your equipment has to deal with but was sized and installed for what you found in that test after running the water so long.

    Scooby, although I don't know about the bartrooms etc., it looks like a 1.5 cuft unless you have a peak demand higher than 10-11 gpm or higher.
    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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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Even if there is a peak of 13gpm the 1.5 will work nicely.. as the 1.5 cubic will handle that flow.

    Iron stains at .3ppm
    Manganese stains at .05ppm
    And that is why I use 4 and not 2....

  15. #15
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Over 12 gpm and the volume of resin 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.

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