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Thread: Iron pre-filter for RO

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member OldBat's Avatar
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    Default Iron pre-filter for RO

    Hi, new here. On a drilled well and have suffered with clear water iron >5PPM plus iron bacteria for years. Simple filters are not effective and every time I have researched something that might work it was cost prohibitive.

    Was recently given a 5 stage with RO for just drinking water. Have it mostly installed but not hooked up yet because iron is one of the few things it can not handle. While the manufacture recommends an iron pre-filter they will not recommend a *specific* one since they do not sell them... Argh!

    Want to avoid the expense of any thing whole house so what are my options? Will a washable ceramic be enough? Do they make a tiny softener system that can handle iron that high? Currently buying an average of 3 1/2 gallons per day for drinking and cooking, so 1 gallon per hour should still be plenty even with the RO wasting 2 gallons for every 1 produced.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Chlorene injection
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    When was the last time you had the water tested? Can you post those results? Otherwise we are just wild guessing. Tom hit it right with Chlorine injection to start. But what to do after that?

    FYI, RO's do not typically run at a 2:1 ration, depending on the system design, 4:1 - 8:1 is more common. If you are running at a 2:1 ratio, the water should be carefully pre-treated or you will be replacing membranes regularly.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member OldBat's Avatar
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    Thanks both! Searching for "chlorine injection" and not liking what I have found so far. Complete systems that are way over my budget and components that are not specked in a friendly to DIYSers way. Will keep searching...

    Last professional test was long ago. Just ran a cheep kit a few days ago to re-confirm what we have know for almost 20 years. Iron is off the scale and a few other minor issues that are trivial to fix.

    The 2:1 ratio is from the RO filters literature. Have not started using it yet so can not confirm. None of the reviews, even the negative ones, mentioned this so I have to take their word.

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    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Check this online vendor's "Complete Guide to Home Chlorination Systems" at http://www.cleanwaterstore.com/chlorinator.html. It's a pretty comprehensive, step-by-step guide to choosing a chlorinator system. It's got some prolems:

    1) They sell Stenner injection pumps, which some pro's like, others don't;
    2) They suggest injecting the chlorine before the pressure tank, which some pro's like, others don't;
    3) They say you can't use bleach for the chlorine solution, but that's not true for Clorox brand;
    4) They show a carbon filter (required as part of the system) in their illustrations, but don't give much detail. There are many discussions of carbon filters on this forum.

    And, of course, the cost problem remains, but you get what you pay for.

  6. #6
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Yea, unfortunately there is no cheap way out of treating IRB and clear water iron and both will mess the RO filter up in short order.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member OldBat's Avatar
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    Sorry for the delay, just received my TDS meter today. Good news is that it is only 55 ppm and agrees with the test strip result below. Not a whole lot worse than our bottled water at 16 ppm.

    Mikey, thanks for the lead! ~$500 is a bit more palatable than the $1,200 I had been finding for 'systems'. Will continue to research various chlorine injectors though it looks like a whole house is my only option.

    Summary of test strip results:
    Iron > 5ppm
    Copper 0
    Nitrate < 5ppm
    Nitrite 0
    Chlorine 0
    pH 5
    Alkalinity 80ppm
    Hardness 3 grains (or 50ppm)

    Iron bacteria confirmed by slime in toilet tank.

  8. #8
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    http://www.qcsupply.com/advancedsear.../?q=chemilizer

    Here is a link for a company that sells the Chemilizer. You should remove the chlorine after you inject it with a carbon tank and a contact tank is often used to give the chlorine time to do its job.

    Let us know what your plans are, these projects are fun!
    =Chemilizer
    Last edited by ditttohead; 07-03-2013 at 11:50 AM.

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    It sounds like you have a significant iron problem. Unfortunately, while there are many good solutions to iron that may be tailored to your specific situation, you will not find a *true* solution for cheap. I would estimate $1 - $1.5K.
    Lifespeed

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