Iron filter issue

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by LLigetfa, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,140
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    First off, I have a Banjo prefilter, then a Waterite micronizer feeding into a Wellmate precipitation tank, and an Autotrol Series 160 head on the iron filter. I don't have any bypass valves on either the iron filter or the softener which incidentally also has a Series 160 head. My pump is set to 30-50 and the miconizer stops sucking at 40 PSI.

    My pump cannot put out adequate GPM at the needed pressure to do a thorough backwash. When the iron filter is not clogged, the pump runs continuously with the pressure holding at 40 PSI during the backwash. When it becomes clogged, the pump will turn off at 50 and cycle. I think when the pump cycles I get less of a backwash and so it becomes a downward spiral.

    Every 3 or 4 months, or when I notice a reduction in pressure at the faucets, I will give it a manual "shake-up" as follows:

    I override the pressure switch to bring my storage in the precipitation tank up to 80 PSI but turn off the ball valve leaving the tank. First I flush the precipitation tank by opening the drain cock until the water runs clear and then bring the pressure back up to 80 PSI. Next, I have a drain cock on the supply line a foot before the iron filter that I open along with the one at the tank to purge the supply line.

    I manually rotate the cams on the iron filter head to the backwash position and open the ball valve at the precipitation tank, sending a surge of flow at 80 PSI pressure to the filter bed to shake it up. When the storage pressure drops off below what the pump can sustain, I close the ball valve to build the pressure back up to 80 PSI and repeat. I monitor the backwash discharge and repeat this until the concentration of iron diminishes.

    I then put the iron filter through a complete cycle at normal 40 PSI pressure. All this shaking up usually results in iron carrying across to the softener and beyond, so I put one cup of Iron Out into the brine tank and follow-up with a manual regen of it. After the softener regen, I flush out the cold water lines in the house as the iron filter "shake-up" sometimes results in some iron discoloured water in the lines. Since the Iron Out is introduced to the softener beads during the brine rinse stage, Iron Out invariable ends up in the water in service mode and I can smell it and the iron until the next regen flushes it away in the backwash stage.

    I have done this countless times always with the same results except I did something different this time. On Gary's advice, I put a cup of Iron Out into my Banjo pre-filter that is before the micronizer. This I did after the shake-up but before the complete manual cycle of the iron filter. The intent was to clean out iron from the precipitation tank and lines leading to the iron filter and to better clean the iron filter media. My local water guy advised that I not do that saying it can muck up the filter media (pumicite).

    Anyway, it didn't go so well. I ran the cold water afterwards until it ran clear and thought I was done. The next day the wife complained about iron in the water so I drew cold water into a white sink and it didn't look too bad. When I drew hot water into the sink it was much worse. Thinking that the Iron Out laden water in the hot water tank loosened up some bound iron, I dismissed it as that and told her it will clear over time.

    The following day it was much worse and now the cold water was equally as bad. I ran a complete manual cycle of the iron filter followed by a regen of the softener with more Iron Out. I had to drain the hot water tank and flush it and all the lines to get it to run clear again.

    What puzzles me is why the next day the cold water was OK but not the hot. The only thing I can think is the iron remained dissolved in the cold water without adequate oxygen to precipitate it out but that heating and storing it allowed it time to oxydize and precipitate. I'm still at a loss to explain why the iron filter didn't remove it and why the following day it was much worse.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2011
  2. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,493
    Location:
    Alaska
    If the pump is not pumping the needed gpm under pressure then nothing down from it will work right.

    Air draw with not be like it should, iron filter will not work right.

    Any iron and I mean any iron getting past the filter into the water heater will show up like it has been for your system.

    I would start with fixing or replacing the pump as it is KEY to the whole system working.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,140
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Ja, I'm still in the denial phase but starting to come around. The problem is I think I damaged the pump 13 years ago when it ate a whole lot of sand immediately on installing it and it hasn't gotten any better with age. Come Summer, I'll have to lift it and tear it down to see what's up with it. Is a Goulds 10GS05 worth rebuilding?
  4. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,493
    Location:
    Alaska
    From talking with some of the well drillers around here, not really... the way pumps are built now has it cheaper to replace the pump than rebuilding it because of parts and time.

    You might have a driller check out the well to see what the well can handle in the way of a pump. The well may only support a 6gpm pump.. so putting a 10gpm will strip the well recovery and run dry.
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,140
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    The well driller only tested my 55 foot mud well to 5 GPM using a 5 GPM pump 13 years ago namely because the morgage lender needed the well to be certified to 5 GPM. When I put down my 10GS05 at 50 feet (driller's suggestion), I think it quickly drew down the 60 gallons of storage in the casing and while it didn't run out of water, the in-rush sucked in mud and jammed up the pump. I lifted the pump 4 feet and it still jammed up with mud.

    The driller came back and dropped a few thousand gallons down the well, pushing the 9 feet of mud back where it came from. He then tossed a few feet of crushed stone down the well. The pump hasn't jammed up with mud since but it's not putting out anywhere near the GPM it should. I suspect the sand wore the innards.

    I don't know what parts cost but my time is free. I'd hate to drop in a new pump only to have the additional GPM suck mud up again. According to the driller's report, there was 50 feet of clay and 5 feet of sand/gravel before he hit bedrock. The water table at the time came to within 15 feet of the surface but I suspect that it has dropped since as both of my neighbors complained that I caused their wells to drop and both had new wells drilled since. One re-bored his mud well, increasing the storage. The other abandoned his shallow dug well and went down a few hundred feet with a rock well.

    I have since regretted stopping at 55 feet, settling for a mud well. I probably should have gone deeper and bit the bullet on cost for a rock well. My neighbor that went with a rock well sure paid for it but says the water quality is so good they have no need for an iron filter or softener. Some others in the area that I polled have rock wells hundreds of feet deep with terrible water quality. A guy 3 miles down the road said he threw away his iron filter and softener after he abondoned his mud well and put in a rock well. Not sure who or what to believe. I suppose I could ask them for a water sample and get it tested.

    If the water from this mud well was any good for irrigation, I'd consider a new rock well for the house and keep the old mud well just for watering the lawn and gardens. It can run sprinklers at 5 GPM all day long but it seems the plants don't much like it. I collect rain water for the garden and the plants sure know the difference. I need the iron filter so as not to clog up my soaker hoses and to not stain my white vinyl siding.
  6. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,493
    Location:
    Alaska
    Sounds like you are going to need some kind of storage, say a 500+gallon tank.

    There was a well here awhile back that as long as it did no more than 2gpm there was little to no sand coming up from the well. If the pump tried to do 5 gpm there was lots of sand coming up. The pump was cut to 2gpm and then a storage tank and MQE pump for inside the house.
  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,140
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    The thought has crossed my mind and I considered burying a 1000 gal tank in the yard, but that doesn't solve my iron filter woes. I wouldn't want to fill the storage tank with unfiltered water and have it gunk up with iron. If I pumped from secondary storage, I would want it to be aerated and filtered so that I can have higher constant pressure in the house.

    There is a guy here that has a home made drill rig that bores around a 16 inch hole. My neighbor that re-bored his well had them drill it originally but they use galvanized culvert pipe for casing and it rusted out over time. When he had them re-bore it, he used stainless steel pipe instead. Figures it will outlast him given that he's retired.

    Going to a 16 inch casing would give me 10 gallons per foot instead of the 1.5 gallons the 6 inch casing stores. I used to work constuction and worked on drill rigs that put down 36 inch caissons. Would like to have a rig like that to provide 50 gallons per foot storage. I partially hand dug a couple of wells using 48 inch concrete rings but wouldn't want to try going down 55 feet that way. My last home had concrete rings and I had to dig it out and reseat the top ring because frost shifted it so sand/gravel poured in.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2011
  8. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,493
    Location:
    Alaska
    Treat the water before it goes into the tank and then use the water in the tank to clean the treatment system.

    It is one way that we do it around here with low flow wells, treat the water going in and then use the treated water and auto valves to clean the set up.
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