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Thread: Rust colored brine and chlorine smell - related?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member ksouthwell's Avatar
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    Default Rust colored brine and chlorine smell - related?

    I have three issues that I'm wondering if they are related. I have city water that has improved over the years, but have still kept using the softener. Family of 4 Autotrol 255 I believe.

    Point #1 - when we have family up, they sometimes say they can detect a chlorine smell to the water? Sometimes more intense than others.
    Point#2 - water that sits, in toilet for instance, sometimes leaves a very light rust colored film in the bowl (can be easily brushed away)
    Point #3 - the softener seems to be cycling correctly, but when I look into the salt tank, which is roughly 12-18" filled with water, the water is slighly rust colored, and you can see a mark on the side of the tank where it's discolored compared to the top 2/3 of the tank. There was also some salt that had compacted at bottom of the tank that I broke up.

    Are these points related? Normal? Do I need to clean out the tank, refill with that amount of water and top off the tank with salt? I've kept the tank filled with salt consistently. But now wondering if I have something else going on.

    Thank you for your help.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member Bob999's Avatar
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    With chlorinated city water the smell of chlorine is sometimes detectable. Some municipalities are going to the use of chloramines for sanitation and the use of chlorimines can increase the "chlorine" odor. You should be able to get a detailed analysis of your water from your water supplier--they are required to test reqularly and the results are public information. Many municipalities post the results on a web site.

    In any event the chlorine odor is not an issue related to your softener.

    Chlorination removes iron from water by chemical conversion and precipitation so I expect the municipality test results will show no iron or only negligable amounts of iron.

    I suspect you have sediment in your water and over time the softener bed has been contaminated with the sediment. Have you confirmed that the softener is regenerating normally and that there are no obstructions in the drain line that would prevent full flow for the backwash cycle (the cycle that would normally flush out any trapped sediment)?

    Do your neighbors have similar problems?

    What is the material of your water pipes--plastic/copper/galvanized, etc?

    Post your softener cycle settings along with the amount of resin (cubic feet or softener capacity in grains) and your city water test results.

  3. #3
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Most if not all city water has chlorine added to it. Chlorine rusts galvanized and corrodes other metals. That adds rust and metals to the water and that is why water companies periodically flush their distribution lines; to remove sediment.

    Chlorine also damages softener resins over time. You should put your softener into teh backwash position and then unplug it for like 20 minutes and tehn plug it in and let it finish teh regeneration. Do not use water during any of that time. That will rid the resin bed of sediment.

    The dirt in the salt tank is not a problem (wipe it out if it bothers you, it doesn't get into your water) unless it blocks the injector, injector screen or throat if any in the control valve. If that happens you will know because you'll get hard water and the water in the salt tank will rise because those blockages prevent the valve from sucking the salt water out as it is supposed to and then the softener doesn't regenerate all the capacity it would have so you run out before a regeneration.
    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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