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Thread: Softener/treatment system guidance, conflicting contractor bids

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member llavey's Avatar
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    Default Softener/treatment system guidance, conflicting contractor bids

    Hi,

    I'm looking for a little help with water treatment/softeners, sorry for the lengthy post.. I have read through some previous posts but without knowing much about this topic I'm asking for recommendations from the forum. I have a cabin with a sand point well, the water is clear and doesn't have any oder, but I do have rust stains in my toilets. I've received conflicting quotes from three different company's. Below are my water tests and a range of solutions/prices. Each contractor said their solution will correct my water yet the pricing varies by as much as $3000.00.

    Some help sorting this out and recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I'd like to move forward but want to make sure I select the best, most cost effective solution. Thanks in advance for your help. Please let me know if you need more information.

    Water tests from fist company 3/5/11
    2 Hardness
    1.4 Iron Clearwater
    0 Iron, ferric
    1 Nitrates
    6.6 PH

    5/13/11
    2 Hardness
    .8 Irron ferrous
    0 Iron ferric
    1 Nitrates
    7.2 PH
    32 T.D.S

    Recommendation from first company:

    - CSP844 +HMF
    $1860.00 to purchase, lease option also offered at $35.00 per month plus $275.00 install, first salt $81.00, first filter $50.00

    Water test from second company 5/16/11

    - Total Hardness 1 g/g as CaCo
    - TDS 20 mg/l
    - Iron .22
    - Nitrates 0.0 mg/l
    - Manganese 0.019 mg/l
    - pH 6.88
    - Alkalinity 15 mg/l
    - Saturation Index -2.76
    - Total Comp Hardness 2 g/g as CaCo

    - Recommendation # 1 from second company: Big Blue #10 sediment filter with 30 micron cartridge and ProMate 32,000 gr water softener H100 10x44. Installation, first salt and filter $2,777.75

    - Recommendation #2 from second company: ProMate 5.0 (10x44), PCM 10 Chemical feed/PH Correction w/out meter, Big Blue filter with 30 micron filter, first salt and installation. $3,595.00


    Test by 3rd company
    Ph 60
    Iron 1 PPM
    - nothing else listed in their test.

    Third company recommendation: Fleck model #5654. Tank filled with 1 cu ft of resin and 3/4 cu ft of calcite. They also stated that the calcite will need to be replaced every few years. $600.00 Installed

    Thanks for your help!
    Link

  2. #2

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    With that water source, you may well get different test results at different times. You have what is essentially, surface water, which can change according to the season and even throughout the day. Your hardness will be quite low and your pH may need to be addressed. Do you have copper plumbing?

    Your tests don't indicate that health issues had been addressed. With that type of well, a disinfection may be recommended and a drinking water purifier is recommended.

    I would avoid a 'chemical feed' neutralize with pH at those levels. A mineral-based system would be better. Does PCM mean power control modulator?

    More later...

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    Your water is only slightly acidic. You may not notice much of a problem from the pH. If the water sits in the pipes you may need to run the water for a while if you notice a metallic taste in the water. If the water is acidic enough it will dissolve some of the metal pipes over time. As far as the iron problem you may only need a simple filter. Here is a video about iron filters...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzIBz...ayer_embedded#!

  4. #4
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Is this cabin a year round residence?
    Do yo spend more than 5 months a year there?
    Do you leave the power on all year long
    If its only a seasonal cabin do you mind disconnecting the equipment and bringing it somewhere heated for the winter?
    Do you want to haul bags of salt to camp?

    Is not having to clean rust stains off your fixtures worth 2 to 3 thousand dollars?
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  5. #5
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    Is this cabin a year round residence?
    Do yo spend more than 5 months a year there?
    Do you leave the power on all year long
    If its only a seasonal cabin do you mind disconnecting the equipment and bringing it somewhere heated for the winter?
    Do you want to haul bags of salt to camp?

    Is not having to clean rust stains off your fixtures worth 2 to 3 thousand dollars?
    I was thinking along the same line. Not all water needs to be treated. A little Rain-X does wonders for minimizing staining on porcelain and lessens the spots on shower doors. It is also a lot easier to haul than 50 pound bags of salt. Tough one here, we like to sell equipment but....

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member llavey's Avatar
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    Trying to answer all questions at once....

    The cabin will eventually be a full time residence. It is easily accessible so caring salt is not an issue. Heat is on all year, at least to keep it above freezing. The plumbing is all pex tubing.

    Not sure what PCM, I'd guess you are accurate with your assumption.

    Questions regarding health. should all water from here be filtered? is a simple under the sink filter acceptable? or do I need something better?

    Thanks for the feedback!
    Link

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    It looks like you had a chemical test but to see if it is safe you need to do a bacteria test. They test for Coliform bacteria and fecal Coliform. If you have bacteria you can super chlorinate the well to get rid of the bacteria. Your county health department or environmental health department may do this type of test for a small fee.


    Here is a link that might be helpful.

    http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/e.../bacteria.html
    Last edited by Smooky; 04-17-2012 at 07:48 PM. Reason: link

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member F6Hawk's Avatar
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    First off, I am not the pro that the good fellows who have already answered are... just a guy much like yourself who recently discovered this forum trying to learn about softening water. Great advice has already been given, and I would add.... why do you want a softener? I am treating 8-10 gpg of hardness, and can tell a great difference in the feel of the water (as well as the taste.... don't like the taste of softened water!). But going from 2 gpg to 0 gpg, I am not sure it would be worth it. About the only place I can see it making a difference is in spots on washed glasses or your water heater.

    And definitely get the bacterial test done.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member llavey's Avatar
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    First I'd like to thank everyone for your comments and suggesting helping educate me and sorting this out. Thank you Smooky for pointing out the Aquaman video. I've watched the one you posted and many others. I also found that video with the transcript, if anyone is interested.

    http://blog.waterfilters.net/iron-in...o-problem/1243

    I had no idea so many filter options were available. WoW. My original questions were actually for my brothers cabin. Now I'm going to get my water tested and very likely be upgrading my filter system.


    For the cabin here is what I see as the course of action.
    Must do:
    1. Have the water tested by the health department for bacteria and Cloriform
    - treat based on test results

    Optional
    1. Don't add any treatment (no nothing)

    2. install a filter system
    - lots to choose from here. Single filter to 3 filter system
    It seems like a single filter is a necessity but a triple filter is really the way to go. Capture the sediment first, convert the ferrous Iron second and then capture that. - I'm going to recommend my brother either install or have a 3 filter system installed.

    3. add a softener, this seems a bit pointless based on everyone input

    Thanks again. Please let me know if my direction is on target or if I am missing something.
    Link

  10. #10
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    And, I'm not trying to talk you into or out of anything either but if it were mine I would probably not do nothing.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member llavey's Avatar
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    Tom,

    Doing nothing really isn't an option in my mind, I shouldn't have listed it. I am going to get a 3 filter system. Install that and then decide if I want to add a softener. Before I add the filter I will have the health department test the water to see if chlorination or other treatment needs to be done. Hopefully that sounds like a reasonable course of action.

    Thanks,
    Link

  12. #12
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    A Coliform bacteria test is a good idea with any well.

    If there is any Coliform shocking a well point well, which is usually a 2" galvanized pipe with screening on the end of it, shocking is not a good idea. There are two reasons for that. #1 you can't shock the the area under ground around the well. #2, galvanized and chlorine do not get along well at all and you will cause rusting of the pipe.

    MN, WI and MI have many well point type wells, usually 2" and up to 60' deep. Many have an iron problem and some of that is from the galvanized pipe but mainly from the groundwater. Although it happens, Coliform bacteria is not all that common in that area.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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