Gary's "trick" and how effective is Iron Out?

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by LLigetfa, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Below is a post of Gary's from another thread that I'd like to discuss here. The line I redacted from the second quote is in the first quote.

    I have a question about the extended backwash. My softener has cam driven valves and so the time is not adjustable and I've always wondered why the backwash is so long. My softener dumps into my sump pit and so I can see the backwash water is crystal clear so it must be backwashing invisible dirt. Could it perhaps need the time to stir up the resin? I'd like to shorten the time, not extend it as Gary suggests.

    As for stopping the clock immediately after the brine/IO solution has all been sucked out of the brine tank, I fully agree with. From my experience with IO, it needs time to do its thing. I simply turn off the water and unplug the clock so that the cams don't advance. I found that works better than simply adding IO to the brine tank and letting the regen run its normal course.

    It's easy to freeze time with my mechanical clock and cams, but I do wonder how it's done with electronic clocks.

    I've recently switched to Morton System Saver II with resin cleaner and wonder if it will more effectively clean the resin without having to "stop the clock" as is needed with Iron Out. Reading the MSDS, the ingredients are as follows:
    Sodium Chloride >99.5
    Citrates <0.1
    Anionic Surfactant <0.01
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Oh, one more question...

    Gary, you said to "unplug the control valve for 20 minutes" in both procedures. Now, in the first I would expect the intent is to extend the length of time it is backwashing so I'm guessing unplugging the control valve does not stop the flow. On to the second part however... the brine is sucked up using a venturi and blended into the flow so would not the flow continue even after you unplug the control valve? I'm guessing one should infer from your instructions to manually turn off the water for the second procedure.
  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You need to put the sentence/paragraph that you moved back where it was and then reread what I said.

    All the brine will not be drawn out when you plug it back in.

    You can shut off the water to the softener during brine draw if you want to but not during backwash.

    BTW, Iron Out converts rust (ferric iron) to 'invisible dirt', so looking at the drain water is not going to tell you when the conversion if finished.

    If you have a day timer/time clock type control valve you normally can not change the length of time each of the cycle positions of a regeneration run for. Electronic controls allow you to if you can find out how to do it; many service manuals that come with a softener do not tell you how.
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Since the backwash happens before the brine cycle which is where the Iron Out is introduced, the fact that Iron Out makes the iron invisible has no bearing on my question. So what does the extended backwash do? If there was turbidity in the water, I could perhaps see a longer backwash cycle.

    I'm still not clear on stopping the flow 10 or 12 minutes into the brine cycle. You at first made no mention of it and later make it sound like it is optional. I guess I'm confused as to why to unplug the control valve.
  5. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk New Member

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    Wouldn't unplugging valve while drawing brine (and SIO) into the resin allow the cycle to stop, and keep the SIO working on the resin longer? (I'm thinking of my 7000SXT, electronic meter valve)
  6. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    It is important to begin using Iron Out early on because once the resin bed is badly fouled, all the Iron out and back washing in the world won't clean it up.
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Extended backwash cleans the resin better and flushes broken beads to drain while reclassifying the beads in the column of resin. BTW, unless you have some fairly dirty water, you can't see the turbidity in it.

    In the context of a guy with a badly iron fouled resin bed I said to turn the power off to allow more time for the IO to work on his resin. For regular maintenance, it isn't needed so I don't mention it.

    You should ask Tom how he knows IO won't clean up iron fouled resin, or do you think he'd take the time to use my "trick" as he calls it?
  8. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    Ooooh Ooooooooh Ask me, ask me LOL Why don't you ask me?

    It is important to begin using Iron Out early on because once the resin bed is badly fouled, all the Iron out and back washing in the world won't clean it up.

    See, I made the part you missed bigger and changed the color so you could follow along Einstein. LOL

    I have NEVER in over 35 years of installing and servicing water filtration equipment know anyone in the business (and I mean installing and servicing, not taking orders and drop shipping product) that doesn't know about Iron Out and your "trick" but you like to call it your trick because it's one of the few you have. Now quit trolling and post something useful for a change.


    Liggy; If you let the bed go too long all the iron out in the world won't bring it back. Dosing with I/O is certainly worth a try but anymore than twice without results is a waste of time. I have pulled fouled resin from tanks that looked like red mud and while it can be rinsed off in a big bucket and treated in the big bucket with Iron Out, unless you are a homeowner and doing the job yourself it is not worth the labor to have someone else do it and frankly, it's a lot of work and hardly worth the effort if you do it. This I/O issue is the main reason why I never use a softener to remove iron. While the equipment is certainly capable of iron removal, unless it is regularly and properly maintained there are going to be problems down the road.
  9. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Well, that is the question that Gary doesn't want to answer. If the water stops flowing when you pull the plug, what is the point of pulling the plug during the backwash cycle?

    If pulling the plug keeps the water flowing during the backwash cycle, would it also keep the water flowing during the brine cycle? Actually it's called the brine and rinse cycle because once the brine is all sucked through, the rest of the flow time is rinsing. If it keeps flowing, it gets rinsed right away and has no extra time to do its work.

    I use Iron Out for various cleaning tasks and any kind of buildup requires soaking for a long time. I have to take apart my micronizer periodically and soak it. Same thing with the AVC on my precipitation tank. It took a 24 hour soak to get the AVC clean. A quick dip doesn't do squat.
  10. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Since the IO is not introduced until later, the "cleaning" action would be like putting a load of clothes in the washing machine and not using soap. I guess some dirt would get rubbed off just like it does in my iron filter.

    When I backwash my iron filter, the iron is very visible in the drain water. I can do two back-to-back backwash cycles on the iron filter and the drain water still has visible iron oxide albeit not as concentrated. I have never seen any turbidity in the softener backwash and wondered why the cycle is so long which was why I asked. I could see that stirring the beads would be good.
  11. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk New Member

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    At the risk of answering for Gary, getting it wrong, and getting a virtual slap in da face... I think he recommends the 15-20 minute pause in the backwash cycle to flush the resin thoroughly, mixing it all up and getting any loose dirt/debris/rust off the resin. Then you go on to the brine draw, get the SIO into the resin, then unplug it yet again to keep the SIO in the tank to work on the resin longer.

    Just guessing, though...
  12. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    For seriously iron fouled resin (any resin that is used for iron removal will end up as this in time), to clean using Iron out, put the system into regeneration and wait for the brine to be drawn completely into the mineral tank, you will usually hear a sudden change in the brine cycle when the brine check seats to keep air out of the system, then bypass the system and unplug the valve, let it soak for a while, an hour or more is highly recommended, then plug the system back in, put the valve back into service and let it finish it cycles. I would also recommend an extended backwash after this to help remove some of the iron that has been chemically released from the cation resin.

    Acids, bases, soaps, etc all work on simple physics, contact time and energy. Higher temperatures can assist in reducing contact time, but I would not recommend pouring boilg water into the brine tank. The amount of pH change will also greatly affect the IO ability to clean the resin.
  13. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Obviously you didn't see my reply to your question. It's in post number 7 above. And Hawk answered it twice IIRC.

    There wouldn't be any sense in pulling the plug if it shut off the water but... you've had your system for many years and you don't know that pulling the plug doesn't shut off the water going through the softener! Or your filter. Or as I suspect, you are just agitating but I'm probably wrong about that and you really don't know...

    Well yeah it would.

    Actually you have to have the flow in rinse to be able to suck heavy salt water into the resin bed, so the rinse flows from start to finish of the two but... usually the brine is sucked down to the air check level in about the first 10-20 minutes of the cycle and the rinse continues for the remaining time of the cycle which is usually 40 to 60 minutes total. And recall that the salt regenerates the resin, and the extra water we added with the IO adds more salt than a normal regeneration uses, which includes removing iron, so getting hardness and iron off the resin bead sites before the IO gets into the bed might be a good idea, ya think? And the rinse is a very slow flow rate, much less then the backwash flow rate, so we want the IO in the bed and then to be rinsed down through the bed so all the resin is washed in the solution, so we unplug the valve so as to not shorten the time frame.

    And shutting off the water would not allow that unless you watch the brine draw and shut off the water after the air check closes but, how would you know the IO is going out the drain line, meaning it has washed all the bed, unless you disconnected the drain line and smelled or tasted the water etc., which most DIYers (and I) are not going to want to do?

    And the backwash causes the beads to rub against each other and the inside of the tank etc. to slough off rust and dirt.

    BTW, I didn't call the process a trick, agitator Tom did. And no one has to do anything I suggest, or if you think it won't will help you (which it is not meant to be done on new resin) don't do it, but it has helped many guys.

    I see you say in another post that your iron filter drain water is colored when the backwash stops. To me that says incomplete backwash. That then is going to harm this new resin in the softener and any new mineral you put in the filter. And I seem to be the only one here that is telling you. You might want to ask yourself why.
  14. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    Hey fella's we've all been promoted to Agitator's...............sweet LOL Which is still about 5 ranks below Troll
  15. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    F6Hawk surmised not once but twice that the flow would stop, increasing the contact time for the IO. You say now, as I suspected, that the flow continues and is in fact extended by stopping the clock which is the exact opposite of what F6Hawk surmised.

    I do know how my manual valve works but was unsure about how the valve to which you prescribed your "trick" to worked. If/when you are doing an IO resin cleaning and then following with a second manual regen, this second backwash would take care of the extra rinse that you seem to feel is necessary.

    It looks like you are a one trick pony. I contend that increasing the contact time by stopping the flow could be a second trick to add to your repertoire. Others appear to agree with the concept of extending contact time working better.

    As for your prognosis that my iron filter backwash never running clear is evidence of a problem leading to iron bleed-through, I think you have a weak understanding of how my iron filter works. First off, the water used for backwash comes straight from my precipitation tank unfiltered, so it will never run clear. That was not my point however. My point was more about diminishing returns. When the filter bed is packed by the fast rinse and pack cycle, the filtered water is clear.

    You like to run down my system saying that I have inadequate aeration, inadequate retention, and that no iron should ever reach the resin. I could always use more aeration and more retention. What I also think is happening is that the shock wave from the water hammer caused by the valves on the softener slamming shut, shakes up the filter pack.

    Anyway, this thread is not about my iron filter. It is about getting clarification on your procedure. You like to counter any criticism by claiming that I/others are not properly following your procedure *exactly*.
  16. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    And your expectations going in were? LOL

    Remember Liggy, when you climb into the pen to wrestle with the pig you have to expect to get dirty.
  17. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I don't see anything in what Hawk said that would make you mistakenly think the water stopped flowing, so show me where he "surmised" that. And recall that you asked if the water stopped with the unit unplugged?

    So now your valve works differently than other valves... how is that? What's different in its operation as a backwash filter or your softener valve from others' operation? And why would you think I wouldn't be valve specific if there was a difference in valve operation? Damn man, the more you say the worse it gets.

    You can contend all you want, do it whatever way you think will work for you, You've been doing that for some time with your system and your filter mineral and softener resin has just been replaced IIRC. So I see failure in your contending things not having worked for you well up 'til now.

    Don't forget that most of the others here love to disagree with everything I say.

    Well of course you do but, there's only two ways to do air injection, the right way and your way that hasn't been working very well for you.

    REALLY !! LOL In a properly sized and type "precipitation" (read retention) tank, the water leaves them clear or fairly clear or there is something wrong.

    And the problem is that for some reason, all the iron is not being removed by the filter and the softener has to deal with it and that has caused your softener to fail.

    Your system has not been working since prior to you coming here like 16 months ago. And that has nothing to do with me because all I've done is try to help you figure out what is wrong with it and you don't like what I tell you is wrong.

    Now that's laughable, you're wanting clarification instead of following directions, for your system. And you've done nothing but question the procedure and certainly don't want to follow the directions. And now you want to do two backwashes and allow final (pack) rinse between them.

    So do it anyway you want to or don't do anything I suggest.

    You came here in Feb 2011 asking questions as to what might be wrong with your air injection softener system. You didn't like what I had to say and have disagreed with everything I've said since then. Yet, didn't you just replace the mineral in the filter and the resin in the softener?

    The problem is iron in one or both forms is getting into your softener. You need to find the cause and fix it.
  18. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk New Member

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    Sorry, LLigetfa, you are correct, unplugging stops the CYCLE, not the FLOW. My bad. If you wanted to introduce the SIO and increase contact time for say a couple of hours or so, you would have to bypass the softener altogether once the brine draw is done or nearly so.
  19. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    WOW! ...just wow. You do live in your own little world.

    So, you believe water leaving the precipitation tank is clear? Then what would the BIRM media filter?

    Before I had the softener resin replaced, I was doing the Iron Out YOUR way.
  20. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Thanks dittohead for confirming what I have seen, namely that Iron Out does need contact time to be truly effective. I read so often about just adding IO dissolved in water to the brine tank, or even to layer it in dry and then doing normal regens.

    Does Morton System Saver II with resin cleaner or Pro-ResCare Res-Up feeder work any better than IO without the extended contact time?
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