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Thread: Iron Filter AND Water Softener?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member TaraC+3's Avatar
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    Default Iron Filter AND Water Softener?

    I just bought a house with very bad private well water. I have had the water tested by 3 different companies and, though the numbers varied a bit, these are approximately the results of the water tests...
    Iron = 3.0 mg/L
    Hardness = 40 gpg
    TDS = 650 mg/L

    According to 2 of the tests, I have ferric iron, not just the clear water iron. I have iron/rust staining on toilets, tubs, sinks, dishwater, etc. My pH is fine. There are 4 people and 3 bathrooms in the home which was built in 2001.

    My very limited research has led me to believe that if I get a water softener alone, the ferric iron will slowly destroy the softener. If this is correct, I would need an iron filter/removal system installed before the water softener.

    So my questions are...
    1) Do I need both an iron filter AND a softener?
    2)Do I have to pay for a $3,000-$6,000 system like the salesmen want me to buy or is there a less expensive option?

    I hate salesmen. I don't trust them. They don't care about your budget or your personal sacrifice; they just want to fill their own pockets. I need advice I can trust. I am a single mother of 3 kids. I have saved and sacrificed to buy this house for my family so I really cannot afford to be ripped off by a greedy salesman.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Considering the water conditions, an iron removal system ahead of the softener is a good idea. Many companies charge whatever they can get away with, others charge a reasonable price. You can always call a couple more companies to see what they can offer you for pricing. If you want to install the system yourself, or have a feind that is capable of installing the system properly, then it can be done for much less. I may know a few reputable companies close to you, I sent you a PM.

  3. #3
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Tara, if you have not seen rusty (discolored) water, especially when you first run the water in the morning or after not using it for many hours, you don't have ferric iron problems. A correctly sized, programed and maintained softener for your hardness and iron, bought online and installed by a plumber with experience installing them, or a DIYer type friend will save you thousands compared to the prices you mentioned.
    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 Member WorthFlorida's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaraC+3 View Post
    I...water tests...Iron = 3.0 mg/L, Hardness = 40 gpg, TDS = 650 mg/L

    So my questions are...
    1) Do I need both an iron filter AND a softener?

    ...if I get a water softener alone, the ferric iron will slowly destroy the softener.
    I sold these water conditioners at $ear$ and they had a training guide that was very good.

    With 40 GPG of hardness you just about have rocks in your water and do not alone depend on the water softener to remove the iron. You can read this site to learn how a softener works; http://home.howstuffworks.com/question99.htm but it does not mention what the iron does to the resin. The iron ions stick to the resin bead and it slowly coats the beads and the sodium ion exchange is slowly choked off. The solution is, and it can be bought in most hardware stores and home centers, is "iron remover" for softeners. You mix it in the salt tank and run it through a regen cycle one or two times. Then run the water at the bath tubs and you see the rust being flushed out that didn't get flushed on the regen cycle. Run it until it's clear. You also want to run the hot water side to fully flush the water heater tank and replace the some what hard water to fully soft water. A second and the usual method it water softener salt with "System Saver". It's iron remover mixed in with the salt and each time it regenerates it removes a little iron and no flushing is required. Iron does not destroy the softener.

    Here is the problem that many customer would run into. The water report from a lab would read that this model will remove the iron quantity that "your water was tested for" but in reality a water softener is not an iron remover. Customers would get their water retested and scream bloody murder that the water still has iron in it after the softener was installed. The amount of iron adsorbed depends on how fast the water was run through the softener and 100% ion exchange is not always possible.

    You will need an iron remover. A iron remover that uses potassium permanganate is probably the most common. Depending on your water type (usually clear water iron) a sanitizer that uses chlorine also works. It looks like a water heater and a small pump injects the chlorine into the tank . The chlorine oxidizes the iron into red iron and than this water must pass through a filter.

    At the end of all of this it helps to have a carbon filter as the last stage to polish the water and give it better taste. A carbon filter also removes some contaminants.

    So when you get bids from $2,000 to $6,000 is because each salesman has a different approach on what needs to be done. It can be very intimidating but don't let not one salesmen ever tell you that need all of this for better health and you will die at an early age. I've heard of these scary tactic stories.

    What to do? Asked your neighbors what they do and who they use for repairs and maintenance. I'm sure they also have the same situation. You can also call on the companies that drill wells. Find one that been in business for 20 or 30 years and they'll know exactly the water problems in your area. They usually know what to get for the best water treatment equipment and people with the knowledge. Do ask, if you can find who drilled the well, its depth. A good well driller will know at what depth gives the best water. Some home builders will only go down deep enough to get water, but going deeper can result in better water but cost more to drill. You must budget maintenance and chemicals to operate the equipment at 100%.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by WorthFlorida; 11-29-2013 at 06:29 AM.

  5. #5
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Softener resin removes all positive charged ions such as copper, lead, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese etc.. Iron is the only one that causes a problem and it is easily removed from resin with Iron Out or Super Iron Out.

    The best way to use it, depending on the volume of resin, is to mix a 1/4 to 1/2 cup (dry measure) to a couple gallons of warm water and pour the solution into the water in the salt tank and do a manual regeneration. You should not have any IO get into the house plumbing. And if the softener is working correctly there should be no IO left in the resin tank after the regeneration is finished.

    As long as you keep the resin free of iron and regenerate properly iron is no problem for a correctly sized and programed softener; regardless how much hardness is in 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.

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