Alternative to Super Iron Out - horrific smell when used in softener

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by stockman20, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. stockman20

    stockman20 New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Westmont, IL
    Alternative to Super Iron Out - horrific smell with softener

    Hello all,

    Does anyone have any ideas for alternative products to periodically clean iron from softener resin? I am done with Super Iron Out. I noticed that my softener was set to regen one night (about 8 days ago) so I mixed in a half a cup of SIO in 2 gallons of water and poured it into the salt tank. The next morning the cold water had a terrible smell to it. It smells like sulfer/rotten egg and is definitely gaseous, as the odor disappears from a glass of water if you let it sit for a couple minutes. Eight days and 3 manual regenerations later the smell is still there. I have no idea if it will ever go away. Amazingly the hot water has no odor. Hot and cold water still tests 0GPG hardness.

    I bypassed the softener to smell the cold raw water - normal slight "earthy" smell, but nothing like what's coming out of the softener.

    I had this same problem with my old, undersized GE cabnet softener (I have posted about this before), but always thought it was because it wasn't cleaning itself out propertly during regen. I was shocked find out I'm having the same problem with my brand new softener. So I'm done with SIO.

    Any ideas for alternative products?

    Thanks all,
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,122
    Location:
    IL
    I would add an extra 4 gallons of water to the brine tank, and then right away do another regen to see if that washes the Iron out out. I would expect that regens, which includes emptying the brine and doing another backflush and rinse will do the job. So I would just go with a couple extra regenerations.

    I have seen people recommend Res Care, but I don't know how that will do.

    http://www.ohiopurewater.com/shop/customer/home.php?cat=536

    Many people recommend citric acid.
    Consider this salt; it has citric acid built in.
    http://www.mortonsalt.com/for-your-...ftening-salts/73/morton-rust-remover-pellets/

    I liked phosphoric acid for washing out pipes, but I did not put it into the softener.
  3. stockman20

    stockman20 New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Westmont, IL
    Thanks. I should add that the odor I'm smelling in the cold water does NOT smell like Super Iron Out. The odor is somehow a by-product of using SIO.
  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I've never heard of this happening before but it may be due to that earthy smell in the raw water, or something else you aren't aware of. Maybe the manufacturer of Iron Out could tell you what it might be.

    Possibly you have methane in your water. A simple test is to use a 2 liter soda bottle and run water in it with the bottle tilted so the water doesn't splash. Fill about half full with cold water from a faucet or outside faucet, cap the bottle tight and shake it vigorously as someone lights a match or lighter and you remove the bottle cap and then holding the top of the bottle toward the flame (from the side) you squeeze the bottle to cause the air in the bottle through/into the flame (but not toward anyone) to see if there is any ignition. If there is you have methane or some volatile chemical in the water.
  5. stockman20

    stockman20 New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Westmont, IL
    I fixed my problem last night by replacing the pleated filter in my whole-house filter that is plumbed before the softener. When I took the old filter out it reeked of the odor I was smelling in the cold water. The filter had been in place for about 2 months. I replaced the filter and did a manual regen and the smell was gone. Unbelievable.

    I must say that it is a mind-boggling coincidence that the filter happened to start stinking the very day after I used SIO in my softener. I still can't help but suspect that the two are related.

    Gary - I'd like to get rid of this filter, as you've mentioned in the past that you don't recommend having such filters before softeners. My question is, what happens to all the sediment that I find at the bottom of the sump casing after taking out the filter, if I completely remove it? I certainly dont want that crap in my brand new softener.
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,122
    Location:
    IL
    Congratulations on that troubleshooting. Think you will go back to periodic Iron Out use?

    You are not supposed to use cellulose elements with a well, but you should use polypropylene. I use one spun and one wound filter.

    I would do a well shock, myself. Wells differ.
  7. DonL

    DonL Banned

    Messages:
    3,956
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    You can just take the filter out of the Whole House filter and mount a big Permanent magnet to the housing. Or replace the filter every 30 days.

    A magnet out of a old Hard Drive works very nice.


    Good Luck.
  8. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,826
    Location:
    Ontario California
    When was the lasttime you had a real water test done on your well? If it is recent, can you post the results? If it is not recent, you may want to consider one.

    As to the pre-filter, it sounds like yours is needed, you may want to consider the Lakos Twist to Clean series. [video]http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=twist+to+clean+lakos+video&FORM=VIRE15#vi ew=detail&mid=3EF33144DA06E4E1592C3EF33144DA06E4E1 592C[/video]
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,122
    Location:
    IL
  10. stockman20

    stockman20 New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Westmont, IL
    Hey, those look pretty slick. I'll just have to make sure I get one with an appropriate flow rate.
  11. stockman20

    stockman20 New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Westmont, IL
    Yeah, I will try it again and post my results.
  12. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,826
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Calcium: 167ppm
    Iron: 3.37ppm
    Iron-Dissolved: 0
    Iron Bacteria: 9000 cfu/mL
    Magnesium: 75ppm
    Manganese: 0.037ppm
    Potassium: 5.4ppm
    Silica: 18ppm
    Sodium: 34ppm
    Zinc: 0.012ppm
    Alkalinity (Total as CaCO3): 430ppm
    Hardness: 720ppm (42gpg)
    pH: 7.6
    Total Dissolved Solids: 920ppm
    Turbidity: 14 NTU
    Chloride: 120ppm
    Sulfate: 240ppm



    The Lakos Twist to Clean are great! I have used their competitors product for many years and would not even consider them any more. The only thing missing from the Lakos is an automated version. Probably in the works now.

    What did your pleated filter look like when you removed it? Was it slimed up in red? Are you using cellulose of poly pleated filters? Do not use cellulose as mentioned earlier, those should only be used on chlorinated supplies.

    Anyway, with Iron Bacteria, I usually prefer to use chlorine injection and a contact tank prior to any water treatment, the contact tank also acts as a sediment trap.
  13. DonL

    DonL Banned

    Messages:
    3,956
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    How can Dissolved Iron = 0 and still have Iron Bacteria ?

    Sorry if that seems to be a dumb question.


    I am a old dog that likes new tricks.
  14. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I use a spun filter following the contact tank to get rid of the slimed red ferric iron. Lakos says their filter shouldn't be used in "chemically treated" waters, and I'm not sure the -140 filter (105 micron) will do the job. Any thoughts?
  15. stockman20

    stockman20 New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Westmont, IL
    I don't think the two are related, since iron bacteria is a living organism. That being said I've never seen any evidence of iron bactera in my plumbing. See my thread here: http://www.terrylove.com/forums/sho...water-test-results-back-recommended-treatment
  16. stockman20

    stockman20 New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Westmont, IL
    Is a contact tank different than the pressure tank? Sorry for dumb question.
  17. stockman20

    stockman20 New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Westmont, IL
    I have no idea what kind of filter it is - besides the fact that it is made by GE for their casing. Here is the HD link: http://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-1-in-Pleated-Household-Sediment-Filter-FXHSC/100041014

    It says "Carbon Spun Fiber"
  18. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,122
    Location:
    IL
    A contact tank is one where the water can have time to stay in contact with a treatment-- typically chlorine in some form-- to have time for bacteria to die off, and to have things settle out. In the case of iron, the IRB get killed, and the soluble ferrous iron in solution turns to ferric which precipitates out of solution. Some ferric iron oxide (rust) settles to the bottom of the tank, and some gets carried with the outflowing water to a mechanical filter.

    The chlorine dose can be fine tuned to have only a small residual, and/or there can be a carbon filter that removes residual chlorine.

    That carbon filter probably serves as both a mechanical filter and as a chlorine removal filter. GE Model # FXHSC filter seems to be cellulose pleated filter with some kind of carbon paper section according to the HD description. It is 9.5 inches x 4.5 inches, and is interchangeable with a lot of cartridges of that size.

    My spun filter looks like a roll of paper towels rather than being pleated.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  19. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You should use the empty housing as I suggested in your other thread a couple months ago. I doubt you would have had this odor problem had you done that. The softener will backwash any sediment out during regeneration.

    The odor proves a bacteria problem and in your other thread I see where I mentioned MRB (manganese reducing bacteria) because you mentioned an oily film. It could also be IRB, SRB (sulfate), Coliform or some other bacteria. All reducing types are harmless to animals and humans. Coliform is an indicator of harmful bacteria. I suggest a Coliform bacteria test be done.

    You kill bacteria with a chlorine system including a retention/contact tank and a backwashed Centaur (type carbon) filter to remove the chlorine and sediment created due to the iron etc.. Then you take the iron out of the formula to reprogram the K of capacity and then the salt dose needed to create that new lower capacity.

    You can also use a UV light for Coliform but, the other things in the water must be removed first, so the light would go in the plumbing after everything else and since you have iron etc., I would do it all with chlorine.

    Was there sediment in the housing when you removed the sediment filter? If so that would be trapped in the housing if there was no cartridge in it. Any other sediment will be backwashed out of the softener.

    Have you ever looked in the toilet TANKS (not bowls) for clear or colored slime?
  20. stockman20

    stockman20 New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Westmont, IL
    Our lab test for coliform bacteria came up negative.

    Still no slime in the toilet tanks - but I remember you saying that it could take months to grow.

    There was sediment in the housing. In fact, that is were probably 90% of the sediment was.

    Now time for a really dumb question - If sediment that collects in the softener is able to be backwashed out, what prevents the resin from being backwashed out right along with it? I'm assuming those beads can be similarly sized to the pieces of sediment I saw in the bottom of my filter housing.
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