Help with water results and salt settings


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Old 08-16-07, 10:07 AM
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Help with water results and salt settings

Hi folks, first post here but have done a lot of reading and trying to educate myself on lots of projects. Latest one is getting a better idea of my water softener.
Let's start with this, we bought a home in texas one year ago. House had water softener and liquid chlorinator allready installed. Water softener is a alamo series, 45000 grain, with a fleck 5600 control valve, and seperate brine tank. Liquid chlorinator also has a seperate tank for water/chlorine.
When we moved in I had to replace a toilet float, and noticed the toilet tanks had a slightly slippery/slimey red substance in the tanks, but the bolts were not rusted out like every other toilet I've worked on, hmm, this was new to me, since I've always had city water.
Anyway a company comes out every quarter and puts in salt, checks the fleck 5600 for operation, operates well pump (shallow well, 125 feet, we were told), makes sure liquid chlorinator works, then they leave. I bought about 3 months ago a big blue 20in sediment filter because I noticed a little bit of sand in sink aerators.
I noticed about two months ago, water wasn't as soft. Now we have noticed since we bought the house that any sink you turn on smells rotten eggy for about 15 seconds, and occassionaly a slight tinge of reddish tint when you first turn on sink. Well I thought this all might have to do with water softener so I went out and visually checked things out. I noticed the brine tank had a lot more water in it than salt, that seemed unusual for what I had seen in past. I read on the internet and including this site about the 5600 control valve and some filter or screens in it. By now I'm coming to the conclusion that I might have iron in my water. My sediment filter is showing lots of red iron material in it as well, so I am cleaning it monthly. I decided to take the 5600 apart, cleaned it in a bucket of water/iron out. Valve, piston, disks, and screen, all red initially. I also poured in some iron out in the softener and then some in the brine tank, then ran 3 regeneration cycles to clean out iron in softener. I also poured in 1 quart of bleach in my sediment filter housing without filter and ran it through my house. After letting it sit for a half day, rinsed it all out. I no longer smell the faucets and water is soft again.
I just had my water tested and here are the results.

pH 8.38
Total disolved solids 594 ppm
hardness mg/L 119
alkalinity mg/L CaCO3 530

Fluoride 1.3ppm
Chloride 45.3ppm
Bromide 1.0ppm
Nitrite 0.0ppm
Nitrate 0.2ppm
Phosphate 1.0ppm
Sulfate 26.0ppm

Sodium 265.4ppm
Potassium 0.0ppm
Ammonium 0.0ppm
Magnesium 12.9ppm
Calcium 26.5ppm

Iron Ferric .42ppm
Iron Ferrous 0.0ppm
Iron Total .42ppm
Manganese 0.0ppm
Copper 0.0ppm
Nickel 0.0ppm
Zinc .10ppm
Cobalt 0.0ppm

I bought an iron filter for my big blue housing, what do these numbers look like to you guys/gals. Am I doing things okay or do you see the need for something else. I also would like to know how to use these numbers to come up with how much salt I should be going through. Two people in house with two cats and 2 dogs so I am figuring 3 people with them included, I think I read the average person uses 75gallons a day so that's 225 gallons, but I'm confused as to how to use the hardness number and derive salt useage. I think right now the fleck is set at about 9lbs and the tanks are pulled on the dial at 6 and twelve.
Long post I know but wanted to give as much information as possible for input, thanks very much for help.
 
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Old 08-16-07, 08:42 PM
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Ferric Iron, Hardness, Odors

I'm presuming these test results are on your influent water. If this is efluent then the advice below doesn't count...

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Ferric Iron is pre-oxidized and can be filtered nicely with a sediment filter. I prefer self-backwashing multi media depth filters so that you're not having to continuously deal with filter changes.

Is this test sample on unchlorinated water or chlorinated water ?

If it's ferrous before chlorination, then you might have issues with your chlorinator.

Do you have a retention tank with baffles, or is it just a regular tank - how big is it ?


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Eggy odor can be a number of things - is it uniform on hot & cold - does it smell like rotten eggs ?
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Hardness at 119 mg/l calculates to approximately 7 grains per gallon.
A 45Kgr system at 9lbs salting will yield around 30Kgr of actual capacity in a perfect world bassed on the 7% x-link gel resins that Alamo usually uses. That would translate to a THEORETICAL MAXIMUM capacity of around 4,000 gallons.

You do need to calculate and derate for attrition loss (how old is the system ? - derate by 5% per year with your water chemistry if your residual chlorine is 1ppm or less. If chlorine is 1 - 2 %, derate by 10% per year)

After derating for attrition, derate your capacity by another 15% since you have such high influent sodium levels

Once you have the derated capacity, then you can calculate the interval in days between regeneration as follows:-

Gallon capacity/average daily water consumption = maximum days between regen.

Always round the number down to the nearest whole day.

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What iron filter did you buy for your big blue housing ?
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Does your water stain the sidewalk/house/fence when you water the garden ?
 
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Old 08-17-07, 08:31 AM
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Thanks very much for the reply, okay here is some of the information I have so far.

I don't know what the difference is between efluent and influent water. Is that like grey water and waste water? The water tested and results posted are for the house we live in and occassionally watering of flowers/plants. I searched google and still don't have a laymans deffinition of efluent and influent water.
The test water is right after my holding tank which is chlorinated from the pump to the holding tank, so yes this does have chlorine effects in it. The chlorinator is called chem feed and is set at 4.

I am guessing that rentention tank is the same as holding tank or pressure tank? The product information sticker has weathered away (sits outside on concrete slab), but it says 75 psi (I'm guessing max pressure recommended). Basically it is a galvenized steel looking tank that is 63inches tall by 21 inches wide. The bottom 34inches are kind of cold/condensated and the top 29inches are just outside temp. I was told that this is a bladder tank with air on top and water on bottom, I'm guessing this is about 40-50 gallons.
I'm going to say the smell is primarily on the cold side, and really I have only noticed it in the bathroom (3) faucets, not the kitchen sink or showers. It's a rotten egg smell, and I have not noticed it since I whole house chlorinated or shocked 2 weeks ago.
The house was built in dec 01 so I am guessing water softener about 5.5 years old. Residual chlorine less than or more than 1ppm chlorine?? Is that to do with the chloride number, because that's like 45ppm

So right now I have an attrition loss of about 27.5% plus 5 or 10% from the chlorine plus another 15% for the high sodium (does that mean my water is allready hi in salt).

So roughly my water softener is close to 50% after time,wear,and my water makeup, that would mean about 2000 gal between regens and say for 3 people, 75 gal a day would be 8 days between cleaning cycles.

The big blue iron filter I bought is

Pentek RFFE20-BB Radial Flow Iron Reduction Filter (RFFE20-BB)




The Pentek / Ametek / US Filter RFFE20-BB Radial Flow Iron Reduction Filter effectively reduces up to 3 PPM of dissolved iron from your water. The RFFE20BB improves the metallic taste caused by iron and will reduce the orange & brown staining found in your sink, toilet, tub, and other plumbing fixtures.

Currently the filter I am using is this
FM-BB-20-20 20"×4˝" 20 µ Flow-Max® Pleated Sediment Cartridge

To tell you the truth, I hadn't noticed the water staining or rusting the sidewalk when we water or wash a vehicle, so I don't believe it is.
Thanks again for your time and help.
 
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Old 08-17-07, 10:10 AM
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iron and odor issues

influent = water into the system - inflow
effluent = water out of the system - outflow

I'd recommend an additional test PRE-chlorination, to determine the original state of the iron.

Residual chlorine would be the amount of total chlorine in the water. You can get a pool test kit to do a quick & dirty test or run a DPD colorimetric test. Just make sure you test chlorine very soon after drawing the sample, since it will offgas.

Once you know the chlorine level, you can make guestimates on chlorine attrition.

Your elevated sodium level reduces the ix resin's ability to exchange properly with ions in the water, so you have to compensate for that. Not technically "salt" in the water but just sodium.


That pentek cartridge works reasonably well, change it once your net pressure drop across it exceeds 30psi.

Is the water used in your garden pre-chlorination or post-chlorination ?
 
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Old 08-17-07, 05:53 PM
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Thanks again for the reply and the info.

Any recommendations on alternative testings of water, I spent a hundred dollars on the last one and the shipping to me and back and turnaround time, was about a month.
I'll look up some pool stores in the houston area and see about some test strips before the chlorinator.

The way my well and softener are set up, everything coming to my house is treated water, meaning softened and chlorinated, and that includes all the house exterior water spickets. The only faucet that is not softened is the spicket right off the holding tank, but that is still chlorinated. Basically they have the pump attached to a pipe coming out of the ground, then a pipe running over to the holding tank and that is where the chlorinator is injected, then coming out of the holding tank it goes to my big blue filter, then coming out of there it goes in softener, then out to house.
Which brings up another question, water softener company said to put filter AFTER water softener to let the softener filter out stuff first (since it is a backwash unit) then filter anything else after water softener do you agree or should I put my filter before softener.
I am also assuming that at a point where the atttrition rate of the softenr becomes too much, one should replace resin with new resin?
 
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Old 08-17-07, 09:05 PM
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Water testing, resin replacement

You can get test kits from hach.com or a host of other online test kit retailers.

If you stay with the basics, you can test the water yourself relatively inexpensively. In this case, I'd want to test for the following:- Hardness, Iron, Alkalinity, Total Alk., pH, TDS, free chlorine, total chlorine to get a baseline.

Search this forum for some previous posts about test kit part numbers and MSRP's

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If your chlorination is done right, you might not even need your iron cartridge, since it appears to be oxidizing all your iron to an insoluble precipitate. I would bet that your sediment filter would be doing most of the work anyway. I'd filter the insoluble precipitate before the softener, so that you protect it as much as possible from fouling and injector clogs.

I generally recommend resin bed replacement on residential systems when effectiveness is =< 50%. I'd encourage you to use a high-crosslinkage macroporous or structured matrix resin to provide maximum chlorine resistance and longevity. It has a significantly slower attrition rate than traditional gel resins.
 
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Old 09-29-07, 11:26 AM
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Been a while since I have been able to post back, some family issues and fed ex lost my hach test strips, ughhh.
Anyway, I just retested my water influent and effluent again with their 5 in 1 strips.

Influent water right out of the well pump...
Hardness 250 ppm or 15grains per gallon.

Alkalinity I guess greater than 250 because color is bright blue and chart only goes to a green color. Makes sense because the professional test I had the lab do back in August showed 530.

Ph 8.4

Total Chlorine 0
Free Chlorine 0

Now, Effluent water right out of the kitchen sink tap.
Hardness 0 (water softener doing it's job, I guess)

Alkalinity still bright blue (greater than 240?)

Ph 8.4

free chlorine 0
Total Chlorine .5

And for the fun of it, my R/O tap at the kitchen sink

Hardness 0

Alkalinity 140 (light green instead of bright blue)

Ph 7.2

Free chlorine 0
total chlorine 0

This is all with my system using the chem feed chlorinator, which has an adjustable dial set on 4 right now, then pressure tank, BB sediment filter, BB Iron Filter, Alamo 45000 grain water softener.

What do you think? I don't know much on alkalinity but seems like that is way high, is that a concern, would I notice something or would my plants notice something from that. Chlorine .5, should I play with that, maybe lower see if that maintains the iron in a soluable state?

Last thing is Greg you mentioned a high-crosslinkage macroporous or structured matrix resin to provide maximum chlorine resistance and longevity, I have looked on the internet but see stuff like hi capacity softener media, not really what you recommended, do you have a brand or place that carries what you suggested I could look at.

Thanks much for the info
 
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Old 09-30-07, 10:21 PM
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I posted a reply to this yesterday, but it seems like the database issues they've had nuked my post...

The following resins will work well and should be readily avaialble from most reputable resellers:- DOWEX Marathon MSC, Hydrolyte 525-3a, Purolite c100-x10, Purolite C160, Purolite SST-60. There are other good resins out there, but these are the ones I've specified over the years with very good results.

Did you get a chance to test for iron ?

pH has a negating effect on chlorine availability, check with your local ag. extension about the plants.

I'd suggest increasing your chlorination at this point, try to get your free chlorine to 0.5ppm
 
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Old 10-09-07, 12:43 PM
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Okay, I had to order some iron test kits from hach but finally got to test it.
The iron test from the kitchen sink is (effluent) 0.0ppm
The iron from right after well pump (influent) is .5ppm

I also did today just increase the dial adjustment on my chemfeed chlorinator slightly to obtain the free chlorine of .5ppm you recommended. I will test in a couple of days to give the chlorine ample time to mix in pressure tank.
Could you describe to me the difference in total and free chlorine, thanks much.
 
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Old 10-09-07, 01:17 PM
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Total Chlorine - simplified definition

Free chlorine = active chlorine available for reaction

Total chlorine = active chlorine + chlorine that has already been used in reactions with organics to form other chlorine compounds like chloramine

Keep us posted
 
 

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