Did Super Iron Out ruin my softener?

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by stockman20, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. stockman20

    stockman20 New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Westmont, IL
    Hi all,

    I have a private well with a GE whole-house filter and GE GXSF30H cabinet water softener that is about 13 years old. We have owned the house for four months.

    Up until this past weekend the softener was working great - using salt normally and producing nice, soft water clear of odor and bad taste. After a recharge the GH is at about 20ppm. However, once every month or so we have to do extra cleaning on our toilets because iron builds up on the bottom of the bowel. We have the same problem with the tub.

    I'm sure we have plenty of iron in our water (have not tested for it) but I figured the least I could do would be to follow GE's instructions in the softener manual for combating iron. Maybe it would help clear up the toilets and maybe not - at the least it should clean the resin; or so I thought. So, last Saturday I used Super Iron Out (as recommended by GE) to flush the resin bed (1 cup with half gallon of water down the brine well then recharge, according to the directions) and since the salt level was low added some new Diamond Crystal pellet salt with Iron fighting additives. I was previously using the Morton standard yellow bag pellet salt. I performed a recharge after adding the salt and SIO, but after it completed the cold water had an strong odor and metallic taste to it. Per the instructions on the SIO I ran the cold water to flush it out and then performed another recharge. Several recharges later, and after running the cold water for hours I still can't get the odor/taste removed. I am absolutely stumped as to what is causing it. The water being produced is just as soft as before, about 20ppm GH, but now has this odor and bad taste. Do you folks have any ideas? Did the SIO destroy my softener? I wish I could better describe the odor; I want to say it's sulfur like but am not an expert so I can't be sure.

    One thing I discovered is that if you fill up a glass and set it on the counter for a couple minutes both the odor and bad taste disappear, which leads me to believe that some sort of gas is causing the problem. I've called GE and Summit Brands, but neither had much of an answer.

    I have also tried sanitizing the water softener per GE's instructions (using bleach) but to no avail - the odor and taste remain.

    I know it's the water softener because if I bypass it and run the hard water through the pipes it has the expected "earthy" hard water smell. But as soon as I un-bypass the softener the water produces the distinctive odor again. My point being that the water from the softener smells much worse than the untreated hard water directly from the well.

    Sorry for the long post but i wanted to provide as much info as I could.

    Thanks in advance everyone!
  2. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,836
    Location:
    Ontario California
    If you have staining at the bottom of the bowel, you need to go see a doctor.

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

    As to your specific system problem,

    Get a real water test. The GE whole house "filters" are just simple, small carbon tanks that are usually 1/3 the size they should be. Running bleach through an iron fouled softener can really make the iron stick to the resin, making cleaning with a mild acid pointless.

    Many counties require a water test be performed on a well prior to closing escrow. It is kind of a good idea to test the water at least every couple years, annually is preferred. it is fairly inexpensive, and very important considering you are drinking, bathing, and breathing the water.
  3. stockman20

    stockman20 New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Westmont, IL
    Thanks for the reply, Ditto.

    We had our well water tested during the house inspection and everything was a pass. However, I think they were only testing to determine if the well water was safe to drink. (Testing for bacteria etc)

    What I'd like to figure out is why I'm getting this odor/taste only AFTER using the Super Iron out.
  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,242
    Location:
    IL
    Does the smell you are smelling smell like Super Iron Out?

    Or does it smell like hydrogen sulphide, or what? Maybe ask your neighbors. They probably know the characteristics of the local water. A water softer mostly removes things that don't smell and replaces them with things that don't smell.
  5. stockman20

    stockman20 New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Westmont, IL
    It definitely does not smell like Super Iron Out, as in a citric/chemical smell. It's similar to the way brakes smell when the get too hot. Like I said though, the odor disappears after a few minutes of sitting in a glass. This makes me think it's a gas.
  6. stockman20

    stockman20 New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Westmont, IL
    Hello again all,

    Just thought that I would share that my problem was solved by changing the whole-house filter to a fresh one.

    The fact that this was a solution makes no logical sense to me since the odor was not present when I bypassed the softener, but oh-well it's fixed.
  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,980
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Assuming the WHF is after the softener it makes sense to me. After I run SIO through my system, it dislodges iron from my HWT and piping and I can smell the iron in the shower. It is the smell one gets with a bloody nose.
  8. stockman20

    stockman20 New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Westmont, IL
    My WHF is before the softener...so still a mystery.
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