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Thread: Junk in water

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member F6Hawk's Avatar
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    Default Junk in water

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    Ok, so about 1.5 weeks after installing a temporary softener until my 7000SXT arrives, I turned on the water today and this came out of my tub faucet. Is this because the hard stuff built up inside my pipes is breaking up? I would turn on the cold water full blast, it would run clear for about 5-7 seconds, then pressure would drop and this junk would come out. I did this about 5 times, and was still getting gunk. The aerator piece in one pic is about the diameter of a nickel, just to give a size comparison.

    Just wondered if this is normal or not. I'd guess the pipe run from my softener to my tub is about 20' laterally, then 16' vertically of 3/4" copper.

    TIA!

  2. #2
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    That is unusual. I would recommend opening the hose bib on the bottom of the hot water tank and see how much debris you have in the bottom of it. I usually see considerable hardness flaking when a softener is installed, white flakes and chunks falling off the plumbing and clogging the aerators, not usually dark chunks unless it is on galvanized plumbing. In my old house, the water ran red for over 6 months after I installed my softener. The Galvanized plumbing was over 80 years old so this was not unexpected. Try bypassing the softener and see if any more stuff comes out just to make sure you do not have a damaged lower screen inside the softener.

  3. #3
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    It looks and sounds like resin to me.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
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    DIY Senior Member F6Hawk's Avatar
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    What would the resin look/feel like? When I rub some of the orange particles left in the tub, they crumble, feeling kind of like sandstone that is very fragile. Easy to break up. But there WAS some gel-like stuff last night, felt sort of slimy and I was not able to pi

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by F6Hawk View Post
    What would the resin look/feel like? When I rub some of the orange particles left in the tub, they crumble, feeling kind of like sandstone that is very fragile. Easy to break up. But there WAS some gel-like stuff last night, felt sort of slimy and I was not able to pi
    Resin should be small shperical beads that are very hard. They should not crush between your fingers unless they are bad. I cant see color so I cant tell by the picture if it has resin in it, but see if this picture helps a bit. The resin in most water softener systems is an amber/orange color. Name:  resin.jpg
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  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member F6Hawk's Avatar
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    Definitely not resin then. Nothing symmetrical nor consistent about this stuff. Random sized particles. And varying colors from grey ( looks like fine filings ) to orange to dark grey (some pieces as large in diameter as a pencil eraser ).

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member F6Hawk's Avatar
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    I also think it only happens with the tub due to high flow rate. If I turn tub water on slowly, or use the shower, no gunk comes out. It's like the initial pressure surge is knocking stuff loose. But I am concerned with the fact that I could repeat this over 20 times last night, and again today. Seems like stuff should all be purged by now (minus the orange water I expect to happen for a long time).

  8. #8
    Licensed Plumber Superplum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by F6Hawk View Post
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    Ok, so about 1.5 weeks after installing a temporary softener until my 7000SXT arrives, I turned on the water today and this came out of my tub faucet. Is this because the hard stuff built up inside my pipes is breaking up? I would turn on the cold water full blast, it would run clear for about 5-7 seconds, then pressure would drop and this junk would come out. I did this about 5 times, and was still getting gunk. The aerator piece in one pic is about the diameter of a nickel, just to give a size comparison.

    Just wondered if this is normal or not. I'd guess the pipe run from my softener to my tub is about 20' laterally, then 16' vertically of 3/4" copper.

    TIA!
    Are you sure you didn,t accidently leave it in bypass? I've seen similar dirt & debris when someone bypasses a filter or softener allowing the accumulated dirt & debris from the pressure tank into the plumbing system (especially if the tank is allowed to lose pressure, power loss, working on the system, etc.) If not, are you sure this temporary softener wasn't gutted?

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member F6Hawk's Avatar
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    Good ideas, Superplum, but no. It was in a shed in the original box for the last 2 years, all components still shrink-wrapped. And when I installed it, I never put it in bypass (but I WILL go check now to make sure; however, if it WERE in bypass, then my water would not taste and feel as soft as it does now). No pressure tank, I am on community water that comes from three huge wells, then pumped to the neighborhood. Untreated well water. And the cartridge filter between the source and my softener is dirty (as in looks "dusty" with silt), but no large particles at all. (Renter cranked it down TIGHT while I was gone, and I have broken two wrenches trying to get it off and replace the cartridge... gotta get this done soon!)

    A little more info on the system, cuz I have another issue I can't figure out...

    Incoming from community water is 3/4" copper. Then...
    gate valve
    Watts PRV
    Check valve
    Pressure gauge
    ball valve
    cartridge sediment filter
    ball valve
    bypass tree going into softener with ball valves
    the rest of the house plumbing

    When I am in the crawl space, pressure is 58 psi static.
    Had my wife turn on the tub, and it drops to 52, then 44, then 38 (remains here as flow continues) in about 4 seconds. This corresponds to the pressure drop we "see" at the tub.
    5-6 seconds after opening the tap, the crud (and orange water) hits the tub for about 3-6 seconds, then runs clear.
    Turn off the tub, and it takes about 10 seconds for pressure to return to 58 psi.

    Now here's what I can't figure out... if I turn off the ball valve feeding the cartridge filter, pressure increases from 58 to 74 psi in about 4 seconds.
    Open the valve, and it DROPS instantly to 58 psi. This is very repeatable.... and leads me to think I have a leak somewhere. Looked all over every pipe that I can see, and all appears fine. Outside, one freeze-proof faucet is dripping about 1 drop every 90 seconds (hardly a pressure-dropping leak).

    So why does the pressure increase/drop 16 psi when I close/open the filter valve?

  10. #10
    Licensed Plumber Superplum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by F6Hawk View Post
    Good ideas, Superplum, but no. It was in a shed in the original box for the last 2 years, all components still shrink-wrapped. And when I installed it, I never put it in bypass (but I WILL go check now to make sure; however, if it WERE in bypass, then my water would not taste and feel as soft as it does now). No pressure tank, I am on community water that comes from three huge wells, then pumped to the neighborhood. Untreated well water. And the cartridge filter between the source and my softener is dirty (as in looks "dusty" with silt), but no large particles at all. (Renter cranked it down TIGHT while I was gone, and I have broken two wrenches trying to get it off and replace the cartridge... gotta get this done soon!)

    A little more info on the system, cuz I have another issue I can't figure out...

    Incoming from community water is 3/4" copper. Then...
    gate valve
    Watts PRV
    Check valve
    Pressure gauge
    ball valve
    cartridge sediment filter
    ball valve
    bypass tree going into softener with ball valves
    the rest of the house plumbing

    When I am in the crawl space, pressure is 58 psi static.
    Had my wife turn on the tub, and it drops to 52, then 44, then 38 (remains here as flow continues) in about 4 seconds. This corresponds to the pressure drop we "see" at the tub.
    5-6 seconds after opening the tap, the crud (and orange water) hits the tub for about 3-6 seconds, then runs clear.
    Turn off the tub, and it takes about 10 seconds for pressure to return to 58 psi.

    Now here's what I can't figure out... if I turn off the ball valve feeding the cartridge filter, pressure increases from 58 to 74 psi in about 4 seconds.
    Open the valve, and it DROPS instantly to 58 psi. This is very repeatable.... and leads me to think I have a leak somewhere. Looked all over every pipe that I can see, and all appears fine. Outside, one freeze-proof faucet is dripping about 1 drop every 90 seconds (hardly a pressure-dropping leak).

    So why does the pressure increase/drop 16 psi when I close/open the filter valve?
    First I,d change that filter. Make sure that after you shut of the ball valve before it, you open & leave open a faucet to relieve the pressure. A large pair of pump pliers (channelocks) works well for this. A large pipe wrench might be required if he really socked it down. Clean the o ring good or it will likely leak (could be why he over tightened it). Sounds like you could have a bypass somewhere allowing water into the building from another source. This could explain the heavy dirt as well as the pressure increase. The kind of dirt you're getting shouldn't make it through a PRV or a cartridge filter (if it has a cartridge in it).

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member F6Hawk's Avatar
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    It's definitely in the cartridge; the housing is clear, so all I see on the filter is "normal" sediment, appears as small dust particles evenly coating the entire filter. The filter has ball valves on either side of it, with a pressure release button on top, so too easy to change it. Guess I will have to buy me some of those super big channel locks, mine are normal size, not big enough. Will see if I can locate some silicone for the o-ring, too.

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