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Thread: Iron Remover/Water Softener redesign

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member BDrivenByDemons's Avatar
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    Default Iron Remover/Water Softener redesign

    Take a look and tell me what you think. This my current setup. I put it all in myself when I built my house in 2008. High iron/hardness.



    I installed this layout per the directions that came with the terminator. I currently have 3 issues I would like to solve.

    #1 - The air valve is a POS. It works but severely restricts the flow from the pump to that tank. Seems to me it's putting an extra load on the pump but I did get a 3/4HP pump to be safe. I keep meaning to put an amp-clamp on the pump and see what the current differential is when I bypass it.

    #2 - The bladder tank is fouling up with iron because it precipitates out here first. Do not want.

    #3 - I have iron bacteria that I can eradicate with a bleach cleaning as described on this site but I have to do it again a year or so later and I read somewhere the bleaching isn't good to do over and over.

    This is my new idea...



    Here's my thinking.

    #1 - New air injector (or possibly chlorine injector??) that won't restrict flow as bad. A compressible air pump of some sort would cause zero restriction I'm thinking.

    #2 - Put the mixing/precip tank first in line. I've read where some of you ONLY use this tank. It's also your pressure tank. I tried this and it causes the pump to cycle a lot more often. There's simply not enough air in this thing for that to be feasible. I'm thinking I run the works through the terminator system then store that iron free water in the bladder downstream. About the check valve - That mixing tank does not tolerate reverse flow well. I put the check valve there to prevent that (yes, I've read about multiple check valves but I can't imagine a situation where I would get negative pressure with the small air buffer in that tank).

    #3 - Should I forget the air injector and use a chlorine injector instead to oxidize/precipitate the iron and kill the iron bacteria? I have heard of them but have no experience at all. Would you then need to somehow remove the chlorine before the softener so I don't destroy my resin???

    And for those wondering I like to run my hose bibs after the iron remover to keep my driveway from turning brown.




    Criticize, critique, destroy my new plan and tell me what I'm doing wrong. I tried to be as detailed as possible and drew the nice pictures to make it easy to follow. I want to fix this once and be done with it.
    Last edited by BDrivenByDemons; 07-19-2012 at 07:49 AM.

  2. #2
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Rust in the bladder tank is not a problem. If you absolutely insist, you can flush it out like once or twice a year but don't have to.

    You do not want anything between a submersible pump and its pressure switch that can block up. If there is a blockage the pump can build enough pressure to blow pluming or itself off the drop pipe in the well. That includes a venturi and the pipe from it to your pressure tank....

    The placement of the venturi before the pressure tank is a very bad idea but done by dealers that don't sell properly sized retention tanks so they use the bladder tank to add some retention/contact time; which is very little.

    If you don't want to shock the well annually, then you must kill the bacteria some other way, like using chlorine etc,. for the bacteria and the iron instead of air injection for the iron and then a disinfectant for bacteria. You need the correct size retention tank in either case AND the outside faucets being after the Birm filter is going to cause that tank to be very huge.
    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.

  3. #3

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    First of all, what are your water test results. This should be the first question anyone should ask. When you say "high" iron that is subjective as for some 0.4 ppm is high whereas for others 3.0 ppm is not. Hardness in gpg? TDS? Etc?

    The ONLY place for the venturi to be placed is before the pressure tank; it won't work anyplace else. Venturis require high flow rate. It is not done by dealers for lack of retention. I will agree that some neglect to put adequate retention, though. With 'high' iron, I prefer using an air compressor rather than an venturi.
    Here are some other ideas:
    http://www.wellandpond.com/sulfur-systems/

    You mustn't put any backwashing device before the pressure tank because of water flow direction will cause it to run 'backwards'. A flow-through tank can work as long as blockage is avoided.

  4. #4
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Rust in the bladder tank is not a problem.
    The rust that I see is almost the consistency of baby poop and I imagine it would not "rinse out" particularly after it gets pressed in between the bladder and the sides of the tank. I would never place a bladder tank before the filter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    The placement of the venturi before the pressure tank is a very bad idea...
    The only place it works is before the tank. It relies on a pressure differential across the venturi between the pump and the tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    If there is a blockage the pump can build enough pressure to blow pluming or itself off the drop pipe in the well. That includes a venturi and the pipe from it to your pressure tank....
    There is already significant hold-back pressure caused by the venturi. That is how the venturi works and the pump/piping should have been spec'd for it. This is similar to the hold-back pressure of a CSV. Most if not all micronizers have an adjustable bypass valve so only some of the flow goes through the venturi. My micronizer manufacturer specifies that there be a 100 mesh filter in front of it to prevent it from clogging. Of course, both the micronizer and the prefilter require routine maintenance.

    The current draw on most pumps follows a curve commensurate with the GPM. That means that the venturi likely reduces current draw because it reduces GPM.

  5. #5
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by water solutions View Post
    You mustn't put any backwashing device before the pressure tank because of water flow direction will cause it to run 'backwards'.
    Agreed but in this case the OP plans to put in a checkvalve to prevent that but it should not be before the filter.

    I don't think it is wise to run all outside hose bibs through the iron filter. I have both filtered and unfiltered water going to separate hose bibs. The hose bibs feeding soaker hoses are filtered so as not to clog them up. Hoses for hand watering foundation beds are also filtered so as not to rust stain my white siding. For hand or sprinkler watering away from the house, I use unfiltered water. My iron filter uses a simple day timer so if/when I use a lot of water, I will do a couple of manual backwashes.

    My thoughts were to add a 240V air compressor to connect to and "boost" the micronizer rather than replace it. I would slave the compressor to run when the pump runs and I would open the bypass on the micronizer to allow more GPM throughput. I have my eye on a compressor made specifically for iron filters but have not found anyone to sell me one at a reasonable price. The one price I got from a Canadian reseller wanted more for the bare compressor that what I could buy a complete iron filter system for online in the US.

  6. #6
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    I agree with getting some numbers first. TDS, hardness levels, iron, pH etc. This will give us a baseline as to what treatment methods can be used, and what should not be used. The air injection works great but careful attention must be used for them to work without creating other new problems. If you have iron bacteria, I would lean towards a simple chlorine injection system, and depending on the iron levels, some simple design changes can produce far better quality water.

  7. #7

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    I'm with you; the venturi always goes before the pressure tank. That is very basic water treatment sequence.
    Last edited by water solutions; 07-17-2012 at 08:26 PM.

  8. #8
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by water solutions View Post
    First of all, what are your water test results. This should be the first question anyone should ask. When you say "high" iron that is subjective as for some 0.4 ppm is high whereas for others 3.0 ppm is not. Hardness in gpg? TDS? Etc?
    What does how much of whatever is in his water has nothing to do with his questions about replumbing his present equipment in a different order etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by water solutions View Post
    The ONLY place for the venturi to be placed is before the pressure tank; it won't work anyplace else. Venturis require high flow rate.
    I'm glad to hear you think that is the only way.
    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.

  9. #9
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    The rust that I see is almost the consistency of baby poop and I imagine it would not "rinse out" particularly after it gets pressed in between the bladder and the sides of the tank. I would never place a bladder tank before the filter.
    I said flush out, not drain out, there is a large difference; I've done it many times and told people how to do it and works very well.

    The only way to get a bladder type tank to do as you describe is due to a leak allowing water on the wrong side of the bladder.

    You may want to rethink your comment about; "I would never place a bladder tank before the filter.".

    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    The only place it works is before the tank. It relies on a pressure differential across the venturi between the pump and the tank.
    A "pressure differential" can be caused anywhere water moves. Also see below.

    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    There is already significant hold-back pressure caused by the venturi. That is how the venturi works and the pump/piping should have been spec'd for it. This is similar to the hold-back pressure of a CSV. Most if not all micronizers have an adjustable bypass valve so only some of the flow goes through the venturi. My micronizer manufacturer specifies that there be a 100 mesh filter in front of it to prevent it from clogging. Of course, both the micronizer and the prefilter require routine maintenance.
    You size a venturi based on gpm, you don't size a pump based on a venturi, you size the pump and the plumbing based on the TDH (total dynamic head), pressure required/desired and the max gpm of the peak demand flow rate required for the building.

    BTW, a venturi works by increasing the velocity of the fluid going through it, which in the venturi decreases pressure of the fluid flowing through it. That causes a vacuum if you add a hole to the outside of the venturi in the right position and the vacuum can draw in a fluid or a gas, in this case air. And a venturi can be added to any water line anywhere you want to add one.
    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.

  10. #10
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    Agreed but in this case the OP plans to put in a checkvalve to prevent that but it should not be before the filter.
    You really need to rethink that.

    A check valve will not allow the pressure switch to see a reduction in water pressure when the filter starts its backwash and therefore there will be no water to the filter because the pump will not come on unless some fixture in the house is opened. And then when the fixture is closed, the pump will shut off either before that or just after that.

    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    My thoughts were to add a 240V air compressor to connect to and "boost" the micronizer rather than replace it. I would slave the compressor to run when the pump runs and I would open the bypass on the micronizer to allow more GPM throughput.
    Let us know how that works for you...

    By passing the venturi does not get more water through the venturi to suck in more air, it will actually increase the volume of water not going through the venturi (that's what a by pass does). Which will reduce the volume of air injected into the water.
    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.

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member BDrivenByDemons's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies, I DID have all my water testing numbers from when this was first put in but may have misplaced them. If it's really that critical to have them I can get it retested.

    I also screwed up the placement of the check-vale and understand that filter would have never backwashed properly. I had updated my diagram and posted it here. In my mind this setup would maintain great house pressure and ALSO prevent that bladder tank from becoming fouled up by the precipitating iron. The hose bibs are all negotiable and not my main concern.


  12. #12
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    What size birm tank? I think see a flaw in your design unless your submersible pump is a VFD type. The birm media is rated for 5 GPM per sq. ft. of bed area assuming a bed depth of 35". A 10" tank has an estimated service flow rate of 2.7 gpm. You should not run water though the birm tank at a higher rate for proper function and life. (we all know that we exceed that number all the time, just going by the manufacturers specifications...) while the backwash rate is 12 gpm per sq. ft, or on a 10" diameter tank, your backwash rate should be 6.5 gpm. Your design does not allow for variances in flow rate across the birm media ( I think, we need more infor to determine this for sure) http://www.clackcorp.com/downloads/i.../birm_2350.pdf

    Without having all the details, water analysis, pump types, controls, etc, this is only a guess.

    And yes, you should have your water tested if you do not have current test results. Well water supplies change, and you should monitor it at least annually.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by ditttohead; 07-19-2012 at 10:58 AM.

  13. #13
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Does the mixing tank with air bleed-off maintain a volume of air so as to make it a hydro-pneumatic pressure tank, or does it remove most or all the air to make it just a contact/retention/precipitation tank?

    A 3/4 HP pump set that shallow can pump faster than the filter will flow and as a result the pump may rapid cycle while the bladder tank is being refilled. The micronizer acts a bit like a dole valve, slowing the GPM so without it, you are likely to get excessive cycling.

  14. #14
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Dole makes valves? They make flow controls but I don't know about valves.

    Short cycling is based on gpm not hp.
    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
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Dole makes valves?
    Dole makes bananas but then any monkey should know that.

    A pump's HP is decided on two factors, the depth and the GPM. Pumps are made with more or fewer stages to match the requirements of depth and GPM. Most everyone knows that pumps run on a curve as shown in the pic below. If you oversize a pump motor, based on a shallower depth, you will see more GPM than if you undersized it.


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