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Thread: Iron removal

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member F6Hawk's Avatar
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    Default Iron removal

    I had the water tested a while back in a rental that is not far from my house. More iron than my residence, I believe it was about 4 or 5 ppm. about 9 or 10 days ago, I threw in a Kenmore softener to replace an aging one at the rental house. At the same time, I replaced the pleated cartridge filter. This is on a well (that I have not yet had tested, but plan to) with a Gould J05 0.5 hp pump and tank, with 1/2" copper lines. When I installed the new softener, I used the old bypass due to the fittings, but replaced the pushrod and seals.

    There was so much red crud in the lines! I'd estimate the ID due to rust/iron (I assume; it was very orange) was about the diameter of a #2 pencil or smaller.

    At any rate, the renter complained tonight of LOW pressure, and after looking things over, decided the filter was clogged. Removed it, and voila! flow was restored. Threw in a new cartridge, and we were up and running again.

    Pending some good water testing, what is a viable solution to remove that much rust/iron from the water? If it kills a cartridge in 10 days, that seems pretty bad to me, whose cartridge can last 6 months.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    With that much iron in the water, I don't know if you will find one to last that long. At the least, you would have to increase the size of the filter, but that does not say it will last 6 months. I would recommend an auto backwashing BIRM filter.

  3. #3
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I agree.

    Also, Kenmore or any other big box brand is a very poor choice for high iron.

    A disposable cartridge filter is also a very poor choice with high iron.

    And if you don't know how much iron and hardness, I suppose the tenant is paying for the salt?
    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 Senior Member F6Hawk's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, I fell in on the system as-is when I bought the house. Yes, Gary, the tenant pays for the salt. Currently have the Kenmore 300 set at 15 gpg of hardness, and the water coming out is good, very minimal smell as opposed to pre-treated, and looks clear. So the softener is doing its job. But for how long? And yes, the cartridge filter is a poor choice, but I suspect the previous owner (single guy) didn't mind running until a pressure drop, then throwing a $2.50 filter at the problem 2-3 times a month. But I would prefer to tackle the problem as a homeowner, not a landlord trying to do it cheap. At least, that is my stand until I find out just how much removing iron will cost me, or conversely, how much to install a holding tank...

  5. #5
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    To use a softener to remove iron you take the amount of iron in mg/l and multiply that by 3, 4, or 5 and add that figure to the hardness. I always used 4. Manganese I used 2 times the mg/l.

    Wherever you bought the Kenmore, unless it was used, could have tested the water.

    Now the softener (resin) has been dealing with whatever amount of iron etc. for awhile and the unit has an easily blocked up cartridge filter with an already severely reduced flow to it and the softener even if you removed the cartridge from the housing.

    I suggest not using any disposable cartridge filter in front of any softener other than Kinetico, and then only due to not using one voids their warranty because their water powered wonder control valve chokes/gags on any build up of invisible or other sediment.

    I'd get some Iron Out etc. into the plumbing to the softener or the fixtures to clean out the rust build up. I'd replace any plumbing to the softener that was less than 3/4". I'd run some IO through the softener then too.
    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.

  6. #6

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    My questions would be; when you replace the filter cartridge that was the 'iron' residue in a rather solid form or in a mud-like state? If it was the latter, then you may have a bacterial iron problem and additional consideration/treatment is needed. Left untreated, it can greatly hinder the production and service life of any softener. Secondly, what was the micron rating of the cartridge? Your neighbor may be using a different cartridge but then again you may have completely different water conditions. That's why I never go on what may work for one house should work for another without proper testing and evaluation.

    F6Hawk, it is clear you are not talking about a Kinetico, but a Kenmore, right? I am afraid some don't understand Kinetico products, their function, and certainly their warranties. I always loved that 'invisible' dirt philosophy. I wonder if he means transparent or miniscule? Anyway, if it's invisible, then it won't be a problem.

    Kenmores are sold at my local home supply stores and department stores and they don't do water testing, at least not in my area. Maybe he is thinking of a Sears store, which may test for basic water issues.
    Last edited by water solutions; 05-08-2012 at 04:02 PM.

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member F6Hawk's Avatar
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    The softener was installed brand new on 28 April 2012, Kenmore 300. So it hasn't been TOO contaminated yet. Now that I see what is going on, I WISH I had torn into the old softener before I threw it away to see the condition of the old resin, which was in place about 9 years.

    Based on what I saw in the old softener bypass valve, I am considering cutting open the existing copper (whole house is 1/2") just to see what I can see. If it's a gunked up as the bypass valve was, then I suspect replacing the entire current set of pipes will be in order. (But still need to resolve the issue of what is coming out of the well, and can it be treated/corrected) If correcting the current "yuck state" of the water, I may have to install a holding tank and just have water delivered.

    I would prefer not to use the softener to remove the iron, I know it is not the wisest practice. And with the levels of rust/iron sludge I am seeing, I can only imagine any resin would quickly be ruined. Then again, the house was built in the 70's, os the plumbing has quite a few miles on it already.

    Trying to locate a good water testing company locally, so we can get a full-spectrum analysis, then go from there. Thanks for all the input so far!

    Gary, not sure if IO would do much for the pipes, unless it was run thru for weeks (see below). I'll be able to tell more after I cut open the piping and see how clogged they are.

    Water solutions, it is NOT a Kinetico, but a Kenmore 300. (It came with the house, I didn't buy it. And locally, Sears does NOT test nor even service their products) And the red junk was more slimy than gritty (thin mud-like state...). And when I scraped it out of the old bypass valve, it was like red clay, not a hardened residue that had to be chipped away. As for testing, it's not required in AK, but hindsight tells me I should have insisted on it before buying the house. The renters don't drink it, but they do take showers, so I need to know better what we are dealing with, to make sure no toxins or bacteria exist.

  8. #8
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Get a water test and get back to us but.....I don't ever use a softener to remove iron. Though it will to some degree there are more effective ways to get rid of iron.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  9. #9

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    Yes, I know you have a Kenmore. Not really sure why Kinetico was even brought into it.

    I suspected you had bacterial iron from your description. There ways to manage it but cost and maintenance is a must. Most at least start with well sanitation but may prove temporary. A more permanent solution may be required.

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    DIY Senior Member F6Hawk's Avatar
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    Just spoke with a local engineer, and he said some wells "collapse" this time of year. He recommends running a hose into a bucket for 3 hours until the water runs clear. If that doesn't get it, he said a high-pressure blast might be in order, whatever that might do, IDK...

  11. #11
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by F6Hawk View Post
    I would prefer not to use the softener to remove the iron, I know it is not the wisest practice. And with the levels of rust/iron sludge I am seeing, I can only imagine any resin would quickly be ruined. Then again, the house was built in the 70's, os the plumbing has quite a few miles on it already.

    Gary, not sure if IO would do much for the pipes, unless it was run thru for weeks (see below). I'll be able to tell more after I cut open the piping and see how clogged they are.

    Water solutions, it is NOT a Kinetico, but a Kenmore 300. (It came with the house, I didn't buy it. And locally, Sears does NOT test nor even service their products) And the red junk was more slimy than gritty (thin mud-like state...). And when I scraped it out of the old bypass valve, it was like red clay, not a hardened residue that had to be chipped away.
    You don't know how much iron there is and you are making incorrect assumptions. Like not using a softener to remove the iron and hardness.

    I guess you've never used Iron Out or seen iron in a water line and what it looks like or how it acts. I've treated wells with 1" and 1.25" lines that were blocked as bad as yours and very much longer than yours. I cleaned then out.
    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
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by water solutions View Post
    I am afraid some don't understand Kinetico .... and certainly their warranties. I always loved that 'invisible' dirt philosophy. I wonder if he means transparent or miniscule? Anyway, if it's invisible, then it won't be a problem.
    Yep, as you should know, Kinetico requires a disposable filter ahead of their softeners to keep dirt/sediment from building up in their control valves, and not having one voids their warranty.
    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.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by F6Hawk View Post

    Gary, not sure if IO would do much for the pipes, unless it was run thru for weeks (see below). I'll be able to tell more after I cut open the piping and see how clogged they are.
    You're absolutely right. Soaking plumbing clogged with years of iron build with even a high concentrations of iron out for a few hours will have some, but little, effect on the pipes. I soak parts every day from disassembled softeners, and see some evidence of removal of surface rust but rust built up for years in plumbing would need a lot more attention, including scouring and scrubbing. Besides, how is it to be introduced, located, and isolated throughout the plumbing? That would be a trick. Iron Out is designed to work as a prophylaxis not a surgical cure.

    And again, with the inaccurate declarations on Kinetico, Gary! Wherever do you get your facts? You really must stop leading people astray. Listen, enough said on topics that the OP hasn't even brought up.

  14. #14
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by water solutions View Post
    You're absolutely right. Soaking plumbing clogged with years of iron build with even a high concentrations of iron out for a few hours will have some, but little, effect on the pipes. I soak parts every day from disassembled softeners, and see some evidence of removal of surface rust but rust built up for years in plumbing would need a lot more attention, including scouring and scrubbing. Besides, how is it to be introduced, located, and isolated throughout the plumbing? That would be a trick. Iron Out is designed to work as a prophylaxis not a surgical cure.
    That bold part says you don't know how to do it, yet I have done it a number of times and here you are saying it can't be done and won't work...

    Quote Originally Posted by water solutions View Post
    And again, with the inaccurate declarations on Kinetico, Gary! Wherever do you get your facts? You really must stop leading people astray. Listen, enough said on topics that the OP hasn't even brought up.
    Sources, ya want sources... OK I'll start with you, Andy Christensen, that's one source. Reading Kinetico warranties is another source.

    The 6th post in the thread at the link below is from you just last fall.

    You say SOME Kinetico models, although you don't mention not having a pre filter cuts the normal 10 year Kinetico warranty on all Kinetico softeners in half, to 5 years.

    Five years is the same length of time for the full non prorated warranty on all Autotrol, Clack and Fleck control valves.
    Last edited by Terry; 05-09-2012 at 03:36 PM.
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    That bold part says you don't know how to do it, yet I have done it a number of times and here you are saying it can't be done and won't work...
    That's OK. Think as you may. Instead of saying you CAN do something, why don't you tell the OP how to do it as he certainly demonstrated doubts of your advice. This is after all, his thread and you really should not pay me so much attention. Terry Love's forum rules: Companies participating in a Forum discussion should provide specific answers to posted questions.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Sources, ya want sources... OK I'll start with you, Andy Christensen, that's one source. Reading Kinetico warranties is another source.
    Funny, the last time you asked for sources, I produced them only to have them deleted. I am not going defend or accuse AndyC on what he said in another forum. I suggest you go to that forum and ask him in that forum since you earlier claimed you have not been banned in that forum.

    But I will say this I am holding a Kinetico warranty sheet in my hands and NOWHERE does it say what you claim anything about cutting ten to five for not having a prefilter. Nowhere does it say anything about not havig a prefiilter affects the warranty. First you say it "voids the warranty" now you are saying it halves it. I am afraid you are very confused and that you are completely wrong there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Now how about you proving my statement about the Kinetico warranty requiring a pre filter or cutting the 10 years down to 5 years wrong.
    Well, how can one prove something that is not true? On the other hand, one might ask you to prove that it IS true, which should be easy for you. I recommend you get a Kinetico warranty and check for yourself. Good luck, old boy. Please start a new thread if you want this discussion to continue. That way, it is your thread. I am finished on this thread outside of helping the OP.

    F6Hawk, I sent you a PM.
    Last edited by water solutions; 05-09-2012 at 07:52 PM.

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