Orange Sand in Water

Old 05-07-07, 06:50 AM
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Orange Sand in Water

Would have searched for this but not sure what to search for.

Have just started getting a fine orange sand in my fawcets, tub, toilets and outside fawcets. I have a 10 year old Kenmore whole house softener. Have not pinpointed if its limited to hot or cold water or certain fawcets. I have one outside fawcet upstream of the softener but have not had time to check it yet. Thought I would also check with neighbors and water company.

Anyone know if this is likely filter media from the softener or coming in from the main water line. Beginning the process of cleaning out water heater and all fawcets, water screens and areators in the house.
Old 05-08-07, 10:32 AM
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Softener resin comes in different colors depending on manufacturer, etc. One resin does look orangeish, and my old softener started sending orange bits through the piping after the resin started to break down. It was particularly worse right after regeneration on my unit, the water would look like orange rust water for a few gallons. If you are on city water, the chlorine that is added for disinfection eventually takes its toll on the cross-linking within the plastic molecules of the resin and the beads begin breaking up. Ten years + or - is a pretty average life for resin on city water. Only solution is to replace the resin, or buy a new softener.
Old 05-09-07, 11:34 AM
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A couple of questions:
How hard is your source water and how much iron is it treating?
Test the hot and cold water after the softener and see if they are identical in results.

The "sand" may very well be resins. The distributor (screen) may be bad and letting some resins through, which it should not be doing. It may be that the resins are shot AND depleted.

When Formula described heavy redness coming out after each regeneration, that may be an indication that the regeneration stages are not set properly, the salt dosage is low (or poor in quality), the backwash flow rate is not adequate, or the resins are dying. The unit is probably backwashing with hard, untreated water and this may affect water quality.

I am surprised the Kenmore/Sears/Whirlpool type models have lasted that long without failing. It may be best to replace the unit with a new softener of higher quality.
Andy Christensen, CWS
Old 05-09-07, 05:55 PM
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You really need to remove the filter before the water softener to check for sand there.

Your house MAY be plumbed so that outside faucets do not go through the softener. Go outside with clear pail/5qt. ice cream pail and run water into it and see if IT turns orange-sand.

I do maintenance on a rich person's house who has the same problem. We even called out the well driller who put in a new well that year, and he went ballistic on me and the brother of the owner. He did not like our accusations that things maybe weren't done right. He was not about to redo his well in any way, as we suspected something was wrong either in the submersible pump screen or he set the submersible too far down in the casing (and that is actually what others in the know suggested is most likely the case).

The well driller told us to run the well (garden hose outside) non-stop for hours on end to flush it out. And yes, after this the water ran clear, like he said.

Now it's up to it's old tricks again! You would not believe the number of 1 micron filters I have gone through at the house. Those filters reduce the flow to 5 gpm's when new (it says so onteh label and it is correct). Then I get a call from the person of the house and they claim pressure is poor at the upstairs shower even though the pressure on the gauge in the basement says about 60psi . I come back to the house and do my timed water volume test at the utility sink faucets with both hot and cold going and see that the flow is down to like only 2 gpm's! So then I have to go down there and remove the filter yet again, and flush the line between the presure tank and filter, and drain off the pressure tank, before putting in new filter.

The last time I let the outside hose run for hours again, till it got clear again, before sending any water through the filter.

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