Incomplete Backflush or Rinsing

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by ksnakes, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. ksnakes

    ksnakes New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Illinois
    Thank you for any advice.

    3ppm Iron, 25 hardness, ~~7.1 ph, medium tannins, medium sulfur smell, medium methane.

    I have a chemical pump (chlorine/soda ash), Terminox Iron Filter and a mixed bed softener. All works well except imediately after a resin regeneration. I basically have a lot of unflushed or unrinsed muck coming through. The water is soft but what is coming through should have already gone down the drain. I have to open all cold water faucets for 5-10 minutes in order for this to clear. Then all is well.

    My dealer had me increase both backflush and rinse cycles (twice) on the Autotrol head, but this does not help. I have yet to open my tank to inspect for any abnormalties.

    Thank you and sorry if this is covered elsewhere.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2011
  2. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,490
    Location:
    Alaska
    What kind of increases did they have you do to the backflush and rinse cycle?
    How many minutes to each?
    I know that the older Autotrol's did not have a way of increasing the time for the backflush or rinse.. all that you could change was the brine refill time.
  3. ksnakes

    ksnakes New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Illinois
    This is a newer Autotrol, don't remember the modle; but it is programmable. I don't remember, either, the increase in minutes but it was significant.
    BTW, I used to have iron bacteria issue untill I installed the chlorine injection. Am wondering if there could be an issue with the resin screen inside the tank.
  4. JKERN

    JKERN New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    Artesia NM
    That is something you might want to look at if you have an upper basket and the unit is a couple years old. It may have considerable build up, if it does clean it thouroughly and then run it through a cycle and see what it does. Also do you have the units plummed just as you wrote the pump, the iron filter and then the mixed bed softener? Also what is exactly the type of mixed bed you have?
  5. ksnakes

    ksnakes New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Illinois
    Yes, it is plumed in that order; chem injector, pyrolox, softener. The system is a year old. And the mixed bed is Cation and Anion resins; 50/50.
  6. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,490
    Location:
    Alaska
    If there is an upper basket ,, then yes there could be a challenge with it.. if you can I would remove it, might have to slow down the back wash from say 5gpm to 4 or 3gpm so that the media does not leave the tank..
  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,079
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Is not the final fast rinse and pack in the forward direction? The top basket should not be an issue then.
  8. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,490
    Location:
    Alaska
    But if the upper basket is blocking the resin from moving as free as it should and the so called trash from getting thrown out in the backwash.. then yes the upper screen/basket will be a challenge.
  9. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You can not treat methane with chlorine etc..

    Chlorine and methane don't play well together and are thought to be carcinogenic in combination.

    You depressurize and aerate the water and then vent the methane to atmosphere in a way to get it away from people, sparks, flames etc. etc..

    I see no need for soda ash, why are you using it?

    Your equipment should not be getting rid of any methane.

    Why are you concentrating on the softener and not the Pyrolox/Terminox filter?

    Why is the chlorine left in the water instead of being removed with carbon?

    Did you buy the system from betterwater.com?
  10. JKERN

    JKERN New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    Artesia NM
    Well like Gary said first you might want to consider is getting rid of the methane and then treating the rest of your problems. Remember when using an atmospheric tank and aeration system you must always use an explosion proof rated air vent when dealing with methane. The other reason I had asked about the layout of the system is that with mixed bed softener systems it is typical to use tham as a polisher not as the main softener this muck you speak off is probably the result of the way you have your system installed also there is a large amount of issues when chlorinating into an iron filter and then into a mixed bed without removing the chlorine. Another qeustion I have is what kind of flow rates do you have and what pressure, whenever you use multiple tanks in sequence flow and pressure become more and more an issue.
  11. ksnakes

    ksnakes New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Illinois
    I understand that methane is not being treated and that the only way to do this is with a aeration tank. This tank and additional pump is quite expensive compared to a nuisance gas at the tap. I simply included this fualt in my water profile (for sympathy:)).

    I treat with chlorine to kill iron bacteria and to assist the pryrolox with sulfer and iron removal and possibly some tannins. The iron bacteria would surely clog up the iron filter and the softener. I only inject enough chlorine to does these tasks. The pyrolox should enjoy a minor amount of "free" chlorine and I test to ensure that little if any comes past it. Any more than a little would not bode well for the resin.

    I understand your concern about chlorine and methane forming trihalomethanes. The water we drink is from a RO with a carbon block. I understand this to be enough, let me know if you feel differently.



    Lastly and interestingly, Gary S., you ask why I am not looking at the Terminox as the possible reason for this effulent being present right after a regenerationl. I suppose it is posible that the effulent could be coming from the iron filter and is present at the tap until the resin bed is sufficiently repacked and begins to behave as a mechanical filter. I have a sample tap after the iron filter, but have not noticed an issue here. I will check again, though.

    JKern, I use a mixed bed because i was told this would be sufficent. In hind site, and after much reading, I realize that cation tank into a anion tank would have be more effiecient and long lasting. BTW. My flow rate going into my Terminox is 9 gpm. This is supposedly plenty of flow in oder to back wash the heavy pyrolox media and still have enough leftover for lifting the resin. I can see with a flashlight that during backflush of the pyrolox, it is lifted 10" and close to the neck of the tank.

    Thanks
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2011
  12. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Methane can be dangerous and should be treated properly. The carcinogen part probably is not trihalomethanes; I don't know what it creates but it is said to be carcinogenic and thereby you should not chlorinate with methane present..

    To kill any IRB you would first need to dose sufficient chlorine to oxidize all the 3 ppm of iron, all the H2S gas and any manganese present. And if you do that, you don't need the Pyrolox/Terminox filter and could swap it into a carbon filter to remove the 'dirt' caused by the iron etc. being oxidized and then remove the chlorine.

    You didn't mention the reason for the soda ash...

    Your filter and softener are set up to regenerate and backwash at different times with the filter to be done first and finished say 30 minutes before the softener starts right?

    Also, they way you are doing things now with a bit of chlorine, and not killing any IRB to speak of, loads up the Pyrolox with dirt and bacteria it doesn't need. So suspect the Pyrolox to be loaded up and probably the cause of your current problem. Although better water wouldn't admit it, they are into selling stuff more than solving problem water problems.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  13. ksnakes

    ksnakes New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Illinois
    Gary S, I have a response but need to find time to inspect inside the resin tank and see what there is as far as an obstruction or loaded up resin. I don't believe the pyrolox (iron filter) is the issue. This unit back flushes every night (14 mins), and yes before the resin tank (every 4 days). I will be very reluctant to inspect the inside the pyrolox filter tank. The risk is dislodgeing the tube from the bottom of the tank and being not able to return it through the heavy medium.
  14. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,079
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I don't think it is best practice to backwash an iron filter every day unless there is so much iron that it is impeding flow. The iron trapped in the pumicite acts as filter media, improving the filtration.

    That said, frequent backwashing can allow more iron to pass through the iron filter and contaminate the resin bed in the softener.
  15. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You're talking mechanical filtration where dirt buildup increases the filtering being done but that is a turbidity filter, not an iron filter.

    Iron filter minerals should not be used for turbidity removal and the only one that will work some is Birm. And it can not be used with H2S in the water.

    An iron filter oxidizes ferrous clear water soluble iron into ferric iron/rust particles then traps those particles and periodically backwashes them out to drain. An iron filter needing daily backwashing is seriously undersized and won't normally do a good job but backwashing daily will not prevent an iron filter from oxidizing iron and other things in the water like H2S and manganese.
  16. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You asked for help and advice and now are going off in your own direction... which is amusing because if you knew what t odo adn how to do it you wouldn't be here asking for help with your system; which can't work the way you have it set up and for what it is, to remove what and how much of it is in the water.

    Example, taking the valve off the Pyrolox filter is not going to pull the DT up (but you mistakenly think it will). The bottom basket is very unlikely to be blocked up (but you think it probably is). But the Pyrolox is, and the only way to see if it is, you dump it out of the tank. Which makes it very easy to then remove the DT and look at it. When you dump it the gravel underbed will come out mixed with the mineral and you won't be able to separate the two so you'll have to solve that problem before putting the filter back together. Usually it's best to buy new of both replacing the old.

    And when yer all done, the amount of chlorine you are using is not going to kill IRB or oxidize much if any iron or H2S gas to speak of and within months the new Pyrolox will be like the old is now and you'll be looking for a new solution while being substantially poorer and more frustrated. And I may still be here to tell ya "see, I told ya so".
  17. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,079
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    If a system is allowed to build up and then vent gas through the filter and/or softener, you are asking for trouble. Gas behind water will create bursts of excessive flow that can and will drive filter media up into the top basket if one exists and/or into the valve assembly.
  18. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,079
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Are you saying that the OP's iron filter is not mechanical filtration? I'm not familiar with brand names, just concepts.

    BTW, I have a basic understanding of how an iron filter uses a micronizer to aerate and oxidize the iron so that it can mecanically filter it. Now a system with micronizer should also have a tank with air volume control to properly vent off the air and other gasses. The OP should not be passing gas through the filters.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2011
  19. JKERN

    JKERN New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    Artesia NM
    That right there explains the problem with most iron filters. Trying to use a pump to encapsulate air into a tank thats ment to remove any air from itself during cycles. It's kind of like trying to sell the advantages of a square wheel it will work in theory and do something for a short time a cost you a lot and then breakdown and destroy everything down stream from itself. This is the main reason why you don't see many people who actually have to stand behind their product trying to push a lot of these units they are troublesome and more often than not you can fix your problems with a softener that has the proper resin and size with out all the fancy pumps and ludicrous name branding like terminox, iron buster, etc... Mr. Snakes you have the same problem that a lot of other people have and it's very easy to remedy if you do it right the first time. Like Gary and I mentioned before aeration is your best bet first then oxidation with chlorine then carbon and then a water softener. These are tried and true methods for removal of the contaminants you have mentioned. These methods have been standard in our industry not because they have a catchy name or that they are distributed through a special dealer but because they work. And with a little know how and some proffesional advice most anyone with some DIY knowledge can implement them. You say a holding tank and a second pump are too pricey but you keep on with that system and five years from know come back and let us know how much money you wasted on these gimmics.
  20. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,079
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I'm curious what muck there would be in a water softener. Really, by the time the water gets through the iron filter, all there should be in the water is dissolved mineral, no muck, no turbidity, nothing visible. I really have to wonder if the muck isn't softener beads that have deteriorated into fine particles because of the clorine.
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Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r Incomplete softener flushing May 3, 2010

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