Dirty(grey/brown) water coming from softener

Old 12-24-05, 07:16 AM
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Dirty(grey/brown) water coming from softener

In January 2004 I installed a PureTech 3000 softener. It's been running fine until recently when I began to notice grey/brown water coming from the unit. Bypassing the unit yields clear water so I' msre it's the softener.

Calls to that supplier have gone unanswered so I've been doing some research and found something called Pro Res Care which claims to clear foul resin beds. I ran the softener twice using 1/2 of this product with each cycle but the water remains dirty.

Can anyone offer an suggestions/advice?
Old 12-25-05, 08:37 AM
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Location: Northwest Ohio
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I can only assume from your posting that you purchased your unit from a remote location, possibly through an internet business. Getting service from them is often a problem and, if they do make contact with you, they may just recommend you to locate a local plumber to help out. What was the warranty that came with it?

I imagine your system to be a single tank, timer (or demand) with a Fleck valve. I am not familiar with a Fleck "3000" valve. There is the 1500, 2510, 5600 so I am guessing that it is just a seller's item designation. Correct me if I am mistaken. This is a standard for economically priced units.

There are a number of possibilties that may cause your service water to be discolored.

Let me ask a few questions:
Have you had your service water tested for hardness in the meanwhile? Both cold and hot?
How does it compare with source water hardness, iron, etc.?
Is there an accompanying smell to the water?
Does it produce this "bad" water all the time or only sometimes, say, every third day or at night?
How old is your well?
Have you chlorinated your well?
Who did original test on your water?
How many people using water?
What is the condition of your toilet tank?

All single tank units regenerate with hard water. Also, only hard water may be entering your brine tank. So your water softener is designed to wash itself with the very elements it is meant to remove from your water. This is one reason why resin may be fouled prematurely.

I don't suppose your water softener is prefiltered (10" x 2.5" sediment filter, for example). It is very possible that sand, gravel and other foreign matter has entered your resin bed and caused it to deteriorate. If the particles are heavier than the resin, chances are they are not being backwashed out and actually being driven into your resin bed. This can cause damage through friction.

Adding a prefilter will keep those large items (20 microns) out of your resin and will let you monitor how your water can change throughout the year. Some will say it is unnecessary, but I always recommend it. Naturally, it involves an extra cost and a little babysitting, but if it prevents major problems....

There are many different qualities of resin, high capacity, fine mesh, etc. Dealers in discount, economical, cheap equipment save money by taking shortcuts on the quality of filters, resins, valves and other items because they can make nothing on service, but do offer replacements.

Once a resin is 'shot' it needs to be replaced. Its ability to exchange ions has degraded so much that water is essentially just passing through it.

Using a quality salt (99.+%) salt may help. Rock salt and solar salt may contain 'dirt' and contribute to water quality or service problems. Your brine line (injectors) may be plugged and needs to be cleaned.

There are other reasons your softener is not performing as promised by the seller. Find a local professional and get his on-site diagnosis.

Old 01-03-06, 12:01 AM
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Does the water eventually turn clear and does this this usually happen after the unit regenerates (brine cycle)? I suspect you have dirty brine which comes from low purity salt, as previously sugested. Check the bottom of your salt tank for sediment build up. Once this gets to the resin bed it can be difficult to get out. Try running the backwash (first step of regeneration cycle) for a little longer. If that doesn't work or if you are unsure then call a local water treatment dealer for help.


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