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Thread: Iron staining, Sulfur smell, water options

  1. #31
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    I have used a chlorinator without a retention tank many time and it works fine. I do not recommend it if you have bacteria. You have to have contact time. As for the pellet chlorinator, I sold a few of them and saw the problems they have; o ring leaks over time, can not regulate the strenght of chlorine like you can with an injection pump, the ports get clogged with calcuim and the center stem get brittle. Injector chorinator have there problems as well, but I have found there are less than that of the pellet chlorinators.

  2. #32
    DIY Junior Member Bobby Jordan's Avatar
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    I measured the space I have available. There is a raised platform next to the water heater and space on the floor next to the pressure tank.

    The raised platform is 17"x31" the area next to the pressure tank is 16"x31"

    Height is not a problem.

    Most retention tanks above 40 gallons appear to be at least 17" in diameter. So I may have trouble fitting a larger one in that area. I'm not sure if I would be able to fit both a carbon filter and a softener as well. The two tanks might fit, but the placement of the brine tank might be fun.

  3. #33
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby Jordan View Post
    How does that unit work since it doesn't have a pump? Does it use the flow of the water to meter how much of the chlorine is put in water? Do you have to buy proprietary chlorine tablets to work with that unit?
    It is a large venturi and a volume of trapped air. You always have it empty of water when you put the lid on. The trapped air causes 2 levels of water in it once you turn the water on. For your water quality you would set it for the minimum dose by following the included instructions. You would add pellets and swap the spare center tube with the used one and clean the used one after you are done adding pellets, about every 6-8 weeks. At the same time you would drain the bottom of the mixing tank until the water runs as clear as you can get it, usually not more than like 5 gallons. The tank has a bottom drain with a 3/4" PVC valve on it.

    You should buy the manufacturer's pellets because they are harder than others and will not turn to mush as the competition is known to do.

    If you buy the original, the one at the link I posted, there are knock offs that don't work well or for long without problems, and follow directions and do the maintenance, it's a fool proof system that works every time. I've sold over a hundred of them and on water much much worse than yours.

    I had like 4-5 customers over like 10 years that screwed up their lid o-ring while putting the lid on, you can buy a spare or a pack of 5 with the unit or later if needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby Jordan View Post
    What are the chances a chlorine injector will work without a retention tank? I'm thinking of space issues in terms of laying things out. I'm going to go home today and measure out the area to see how much room I have to set things up.
    I would not buy a solution feeder/injector without having the proper size retention tank.

    The chlorinator hangs in the plumbing but has to be supported like on a shelf that allows taking the unit out of the plumbing for cleaning etc. which is done with unions that come with it. And you drain the water out before taking it out of the plumbing. And you install the boiler drain to be able to drain it first and and a stop valve before and after it so you are only working with the water between the valves. The mixing tank and carbon filter and a softener can be fit in a 3'+ space along a wall and out about 2' or a bit more from the wall.

    You'd put the salt tank under the chlorinator so you can use the top of the salt tank as a work space by taking the lid off it and setting a board or piece of plywood on the tank to set a 5 gal bucket under the chlorinator to easily drain the chlorinator into it and then put the chlorinator in the bucket to take it to a sink, tub or outside to clean it.

    The mixing tank would go along side the chlorinator back against the wall with the backwashed carbon filter in front of it and the resin tank along side it.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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  4. #34
    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    I know one family member and one acquaintance both successfully using ozone to treat their water. One of them has exceedingly bad iron problems, the other is moderately iron-laden. It is true that their are two different methods for generating ozone - Corona Discharge and UV bulb.

    The CD method is more potent, but does require an air drier in humid weather. This method is extremely powerful, effective, and is so fast-acting it requires no storage tank for contact time. One can simply inject the ozone upstream of the filter (typically mangox or other iron and H2S removal media. Catalytic carbon can also be used depending on the water). Yes, you have to maintain a drier, but all water treatment requires some level of proper design, implementation and maintenance.

    The UV method places the bulb directly in the water storage tank. It requires contact time to be effective, and must be periodically cleaned, but is fairly low-power, simple and effective.

    Choose whichever method and maintenance chores you find more suitable to your specific situation. It is my opinion that ozone is worth considering as an alternative to chlorination.

  5. #35
    DIY Junior Member Bobby Jordan's Avatar
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    I didn't get a chance to chlorinate this weekend. We are going on vacation for a week soon and won't have a chance to do anything/make any decisions until we get back from that.

    I'm still considering doing a water softener for hardness/iron removal and a backwashing carbon filter for sulfur smell removal. I guess the biggest downside to this approach is still bacteria?
    I understand that chlorine may be the best answer, I'm just not sure I want to deal with the setup and messing with a chlorine mixing tank, etc does not appeal to me.

    I'm also slightly still considering the "miracle" iron/sulfur filters that are advertised out there. From what I can gather though most of them seem to use "heavy" media and I'm not sure I have the GPM to backwash them. Even if I do have the GPM, I'm not sure I want the additional water requirements dumped into my septic. My wife and I will probably talk about options later this week.

  6. #36
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Yes bacteria determines what you should do if you don't want to spend money on a failure and then more money to do it right.

    Your septic tank should be sized based on the number of bedrooms at 2 people each; in other words the number of people that could live in the house.

    And... the number one cause of septic system failure is too little 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.

  7. #37
    DIY Junior Member bill marsh's Avatar
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    You dont need a water softener. Just for informational purposes if you softened water on 5.5 gpg it would add under 50 ml of sodium per quart of water. A cup on milk contains 120 ml og sodium. There are many aeration systems on the market that will solve your iron and sulfur problem. Most ofthese systems require an alkalinity of 100 so have the alkalinity tested by a lab and check the specs. of the equipment. Why should a guess be made at the amount of sulfur? There are simple test kits which most water treatment specialists carry. PS That price is absurd. Plus they did not listen to your concerns.
    Quote Originally Posted by astraelraen View Post
    I posted this on another forum, but I decided to pose the question here too as I have read a few good articles from here.

    We have well water and had the Kinetico guy come out today to chat with us about our water. Culligan is coming out Wednesday to give us a proposal.

    Here are the stats given by Kinetico.
    5.5 gpg hardness
    141 TDS
    .5 ppm iron
    6.9 PH
    Sulfur is 1-2ppm (this was a guestimate based on smell, I don't believe he tested for sulfur?)
    We have a sulfur smell in the hot and cold water, but it is much worse in the hot water.
    There is no slime or buildup in the toilet reservoir, so he doesn't think there is a sulfur or iron bacteria problem.

    He suggested a 2030S with K5 RO system at the sink + 20" carbon filter to try to remove the sulfur odor. This was a little over 4k installed with labor/tax.

    We really don't care for softened water. We get iron staining over time and the sulfur smell has to go. Those are the two objectives we are looking for. I have traditionally chlorinated the well every 6 months or so and the smell is drastically reduced for a certain amount of time afterwards.

    Is there a better or cheaper solution to mainly removing the iron and sulfur?

    Are there sulfur and/or iron filters that do not soften the water and actually work?

    It seems to me that if you start softening your water you have to add RO, etc on top of it to get back to drinkable water. The K5's price was fairly ridiculous in my opinion.

  8. #38
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    I'll add my $.02 as a completely unprofessional DIYer who's had lots of water problems similar to yours. All appear to be solved now, but I travelled a bumpy road to get here -- most bumps self-induced.

    Our well (200' deep, 84' of 4" casing, pump inlet at 60', 17' static water level) was drilled 8/24/2000. To me, the well water looked OK, but tasted and smelled bad, so I had a treatment system installed by a local old-timer whose only testing was done by feel, taste, and smell. I'm a recovering engineer, so I do some more scientific testing; over the years, test results have been pretty consistent: Hardness - 8gpg, Iron - 0.9 mg/L, pH - 7.5. A very fancy gas chromatography test run by a co-worker showed manganese sulfides, possibly as a result of bacterial action, and negligible hydrogen sulfides. Periodic Hach tests for H2S, IRB, SRB, SLYM have all been negative. Periodic Health Department tests are all negative.

    My local old-timer is a chlorine fan, so he recommended chlorine injection followed by a carbon filter and a softener. He hooked 'er all up, told me to dump a jug of Clorox in the chlorine tank and refill it when it got to 1/4 full, keep the salt level up in the brine tank, flush the contact tank periodically, and replace the carbon when the water in the house started to taste of chlorine. I've fine-tuned things a bit in that I monitor the residual chlorine and fiddle with the injector setting now and then, but all in all, it's a pretty easy system to maintain. I've learned that if you let the chlorine tank run dry you're in a world of hurt, and if you run out of salt we do see a difference in the shower and laundry; we like soft water. We've never smelled chlorine in the house, so our carbon filter is apparently doing a great job. In the house, the water feels, looks, and tastes great. For some reason, there's still some iron staining in the toilet tanks over the very long term, so I'm adding an iron filter.

    A few words about chlorine: There's an anti-chlorine bias on the part of some water treatment experts, but every time my wife sees a horse take a leak in the field across the street, she LOVES our chlorine system. I find it easy to manage, with one exception: there's a 120-gallon steel contact tank -- big, poorly designed for draining precipitated iron and other sludge, and showing evidence of nascent rust. I wash it out with a pressure-washer once every couple of years, which is a major PITA. One vendor offers a tall skinny Polyglas retention tank with a bottom-drain blowout and a fancy mixing device in it, claiming it's as effective as the big bulky steel tank. Might be worth a try (http://www.terrylove.com/forums/show...od-stuff-or-BS). I noticed that my system was set up in the order: pump->pressure tank->chlorine injector->contact tank, with the injector controlled by the pump switch - a common arrangement. However, this means there could be zero flow past the injector much of the time, when the pump is running but there's no demand in the house. I'm going to rearrange things so the order is: pump->injector-> contact tank->pressure tank to ensure the full flow from the pump is passing the injector. This order is recommended by several on-line vendors and the manufacturer of my pressure tank. For unrelated reasons, I'm going to use a flow switch instead of the pump switch to control the chlorine injector pump.

    A few words about Clorox: Many people have given me flak about not using "special" chlorine. They claim that Clorox has benzene and other impurities in it, loses effectiveness over time, and is "illegal" to use in potable water. However, according to the Water Quality Association, it is approved under NSF/ANSI 60 International Standard for Drinking Water Additives (http://www.wqa.org/goldseal/detail.c...panyID=1031933), which is good enough for me. It's cheap, available everywhere, and if you adjust the concentration so as to require refilling the chlorine tank once a month or so, there's negligible loss of effectiveness over time.

    After a while I noticed a sulfury smell in the hot water. I replaced the 30-year old electric water heater, which was really disgusting inside, but the smell returned after a while. A little Googling told me that a) it's a bacterial thing, b) it's related to the sacrificial anode in the tank, and c) it can be aggravated by using softened water. This led me to periodically adding hydrogen peroxide to the water heater tank, which worked OK, but got old pretty quickly. I moved on to replacing the anode with a special no-stink anode, which also worked. It requires inspection and possibly replacing (they're called "sacrificial" anodes for a reason) every few years, so I will probably replace it with a powered anode (hopefully solar powered) when the time comes. I now use a solar water heater, and the water temperature in the tank is usually over 160 unless we have an extended cloudy period. This should, by itself, kill any bacteria in the tank, so a fancy anode may no longer be needed.

    All backwash effluent goes to a drywell, so there's no impact on the septic system.

    Now, of course, they're threatening to run city water down our street, and state law requires us to hook up if it's available. City water is legal, but tastes awful, so my investment in my current system won't be money wasted.

    Finally, a word about Kinetico. A neighbor a few doors down has one and swears by it. He also swears at his water, which stinks to high heaven and stains his toilets badly. In fairness to Kinetico I think the smell is the same water heater problem I had. I've never tested his pre- and post-treatment water, so can't say if the Kinetico system is softening and removing iron as intended, but for the money he's paying it sure ought to be. All in all, I wouldn't have one.

  9. #39
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Your old galvanized/steel tank is probably adding iron to your water as it rusts inside. I've never seen iron cause a ring in a toilet bowl, it causes an orange/brownish/tan coating the the whole bowl from the water line down.

    Replacing that tank with the mixing/retention tank would cure that.

    If you were dosing the correct strength and volume of chlorine and had the proper retention time, you wouldn't have bacteria using the anode rod in the water heater to create an odor or... iron getting past the carbon filter and through the softener to the toilets. I doubt the softener is allowing that, an iron test on the softened water would show if it is.

    I think you are over thinking this. And you sure don't need an iron filter. BTW, if you wipe the ring off the toilet bowl, that is a lot less expense than buying equipment.

    You don't need to install the injector ahead of the pressure tank and if you do that, and the injector blocks upyou can cause serious problems for a pump and, assuming the pressure switch is on the pressure tank and it is in the house, if a submersible pump, plumbing problems in the well or underground to the house.

    pssssst you could tell the wife that usually urine is bacteria free and that the stuff from the other point of exit of mammals that contains bacteria. And that it being on the ground is highly unlikely to contaminate your well water.

    I have to ask, why is the "pump inlet" at 60' in a 200' well?
    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. #40
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
    A few words about chlorine: There's an anti-chlorine bias on the part of some water treatment experts, but every time my wife sees a horse take a leak in the field across the street, she LOVES our chlorine system.
    Unless you have a really shallow well, I doubt that horse piss ends up in your drinking water. Mind you, folks have changed their thinking WRT deep wells since Walkerton. As long as there are hacks and DIY'ers poking holes in the ground, it is always a possibility.

    I don't use chlorine. My untreated water smells from the manganese and iron. It does not smell like rotten eggs. When my water treatment system is working right, after aeration and iron filtering, it smells considerably less. After softening, I can no longer detect the odor. After RO filtering, it is also tasteless.

    When my treatment system is not working right, I detect a distinct smell of iron in the shower, like what you smell when you have a bloody nose. The manganese I only ever smell on the raw water. I don't advocate using just a softener to remove iron.

    I grew up as a country boy and never could tolerate the smell of chlorine with city water. Still can't. I have on a couple of occasions noticed a sulfur smell on two of my fixtures. One was the sprayer in the kitchen sink that very seldom gets used. The other was the cold tap at the lavatory. Both were caused by bacteria that got established in the plastic supply lines. A little bit of chlorine soak of the plastic supply lines solved it and chlorine shocking of the system kept it from ever returning. I set the temperature higher on the HWT so it cannot harbor bacteria.

  11. #41
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
    I noticed that my system was set up in the order: pump->pressure tank->chlorine injector->contact tank, with the injector controlled by the pump switch - a common arrangement. However, this means there could be zero flow past the injector much of the time, when the pump is running but there's no demand in the house. I'm going to rearrange things so the order is: pump->injector-> contact tank->pressure tank to ensure the full flow from the pump is passing the injector. This order is recommended by several on-line vendors and the manufacturer of my pressure tank. For unrelated reasons, I'm going to use a flow switch instead of the pump switch to control the chlorine injector pump.
    Why have chlorine go through the pressure tank? The chlorine will reduce the life of the P/T. To me, your set up now is good except for the lack of a flow switch. Add it to the outbound side of the retention tank and be done with it.

  12. #42
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    I doubt the softener is allowing that, an iron test on the softened water would show if it is.
    Iron test shows 0.0 in the house, but there sure is some there. The drainboard by the sink also shows a reddish tint after a week or so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    I think you are over thinking this. And you sure don't need an iron filter. BTW, if you wipe the ring off the toilet bowl, that is a lot less expense than buying equipment.
    I always overthink things. Only now, I don't get paid for it . I've accumulated all the parts for an iron filter, so WTH. And there's no ring on the toilet bowls -- just the redish stain in the tank.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    You don't need to install the injector ahead of the pressure tank and if you do that, and the injector blocks upyou can cause serious problems for a pump and, assuming the pressure switch is on the pressure tank and it is in the house, if a submersible pump, plumbing problems in the well or underground to the house.
    I overthought that quite a bit. Everything is within 15' of the pump. I think I can rig an overpressure switch in the line to detect blockages, shut things down, and raise an alarm in the security system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    I have to ask, why is the "pump inlet" at 60' in a 200' well?
    I guess you'd have to ask the well driller. I certainly didn't know any better back in '00, so I just went with what he did. It's a jet pump, but if/when it dies I'll consider switching to a submersible.

  13. #43
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mialynette2003 View Post
    Why have chlorine go through the pressure tank? To me, your set up now is good except for the lack of a flow switch. Add it to the outbound side of the retention tank and be done with it.
    Mainly for the reasons mentioned earlier. As it is now, the injector usually runs with no flow in the pipe, and as water is drawn from the contact tank the accumulated slug of chlorine slowly drifts into the tank, and isn't well mixed. Also, a few years ago I thought the pressure tank had failed, and when I drained it, a bunch of really disgusting goop came out. I cleaned it up, checked that it was working just fine, and resolved to look into chlorinating before the pressure tank.

    The only affordable flow switches I see typically have a turn-on in the 1GPM range, which I'm not comfortable with, given the flow rates and times for common uses in the house.

    Quote Originally Posted by mialynette2003 View Post
    The chlorine will reduce the life of the P/T.
    When I talked with the manufacturer of the pressure tank at the time of the incident mentioned above, they recommended chlorinating, and mixing well in the contact tank, before the pressure tank. They assured me that there would be no problem with the bladder, but maybe they just want to sell me another. Since right now I'm seven or eight years into their 5-year warranty, they probably will.

  14. #44
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Is the jet at the pump or in the well?
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  15. #45
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    In the well.

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