Iron Filter Spews Iron after Outdoor Sprinklers are ran

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by branjo101, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Oh, so you think he has an air leak in the house too and it allows air into the plumbing so water can move out of the house to the sprinklers. I wouldn't bet on that but for water to leave the house there would have to be an air leak.

    Anyway, how does so much rusty water that he has it at all faucets then get back into the house and through the filter, the sediment filter and the softener.

    In your other reply you say that after he installs teh check valve you think will cure his rusty water problem, he should watch his T/P valve on the water heater to see if it leaks, and if it does, then add an expansion tank... I know that when a T/P starts leaking, they rarely stop leaking. That's going to cost him to replace the T/P valve after just installing the expansion tank after just installing the check valve. To then find out he didn't solve the rusty water problem because the check valve didn't solve the problem.

    And I see that big drip is going without your check valve too. He thinks the cause is leftover rust in the control valve, tank and "tubing". Now if you don't agree that there would be enough to cause rusty water all over the house for IIRC 3+ days, I'm with ya. I guess he missed the part that the media is Birm and that when the water is rusty and run some it goes clear. And that after backwashing it is clear until the sprinklers run the next time.
  2. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    702
    Location:
    VA
    You could pull a small amount of water from the house when the pressure drops at the tee, but it really would be small. Say the lines are all at 50 psi, the sprinklers come on and now the pressure at the tee drops to say 40. Since there is a dp, flow will go in that direction. However, unless a facuet was open or there was a hole in the system, just losing a little bit of liquid would drop that house pressure to 40 psi and the flow would stop.

    What Wally may be talking about (and what my concern would also be) is backflow between the sprinklers and the house/drinking water. There should be some backflow protection outside on the sprinklers, but you should verify. It does look like iron, but it would be worth checking. Without the proper backflow preventers, you could draw water from the irrigation system filled with dirt and whatever else.
  3. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    If a T&P valve leaks for whatever reason and will not stop leaking, after the temperature and or pressure are relieved, it is bad and needs replacing. But you can go on and argue that too if you feel the need. LOL
  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    That's what I've been saying but why would the house lose 10 psi unless the sprinkers drew it down due to them being on?

    Wally is saying the lack of a check valve allows backflow and that is the cause of the rusty water. And you are saying there would be very little backflow ONLY IF there was an open faucet etc., which is what I have been saying, and we haven't heard of any open faucets or any leaks.
  5. branjo101

    branjo101 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Michigan
    Hello All,

    Here's what I found out:

    1. I ran the sprinklers while I was away for the day. The Iron Filter and Softner were in bypass.

    2. Came home and noticed a little bit of iron in the particulate filter between the iron filter and softner. No water house water was used during the day, so that was kind of puzzeling.

    3. Went to the outside spigot (fed directly from city supply)

    4. Ran for about a minute and then the water turned really bad (loaded w/ iron like picture). There was NO iron filter and softner in the loop.

    5. The water supply to the house seemed to be normal after about 40-50 gallons went through.

    6. Put the iron filter and softner back inline and house water was crystal clear.

    I ended up calling the city and they are going to send someone out to blow out the incoming feeder line to the house. I don't don't know if this will work; I'm pretty skeptical. Anyway, that is where I am today. So, it sounds like the sprinklers are drawing in or loosening up iron that is sitting in the line. If blowing out the feeder line does not work, I'm trying to think of an alternative solution. I would need to somehow purge the incoming line of that bad water.
  6. branjo101

    branjo101 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Michigan
    Gary,

    The city states that the water is about 18 grain hardness w/ .7-2ppm iron. I have had the water tested and it is about 20 grain w/ 2-2.5 ppm iron. Coming out of my iron filter, I get about .5 ppm iron. I have my water softner set for about 25 grain hardness. For the most part when I don't get the bad injection of iron into the house, the water seems pretty good for showers, dishwashing, clothes, etc. I wouldn't mind looking into getting a bigger iron filter when it is due for another rebedding. My neighbors only have softners. I don't know how they get by. I asked my neighbor next to me and they said they don't get the big plume of iron coming in. When they first moved in, they said they did, but then had a Kinetico Water softner put in and it has solved there problems. They run their sprinklers more oftne than I do. Probably every day...sometimes twice a day. From reading what you guys are saying, I don't think any water softner could handle what I'm seeing coming in.

    BTW, what's a good backwash and rinse setting time for the iron filter. It is currently set for about 15/15 minutes and goes off every 3 days.

    Thanks for your help...I've learned a lot from reading the posts and comments
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    If that is true then that means there was water flow into the house. That says you had water running in a toilet such as overfilling the tank or the flapper valve leaks and then the toilet refills the tank or water use like an RO/icemaker or a leak somewhere else. Check the height of the water in all the toilet tanks is about 1" below the top of the overflow tube, usually there is a Water Line_________ on the tube; that is the most common cause of this type problem.

    Just as I said, no water backwards thru the equipment; dirty city water.

    Yep, just as I said was the only possible cause. Now the water company guys have experience in this so I go with them as to their cure (it should work or reduce the rust volume so your filter can remove it) and I have done the same thing on private wells with this problem.

    No, if there is still some rusty water, your filter should be able to remove the reduced volume and you shouldn't see any rusty water past the filter.

    In your last post you say the filter is backwashed every 3 days, do it every 2nd day if the filter can't handle the reduced volume of rust after the city guys flush the line.

    You haven't said how many people live in the house but with 2.5 ppm of iron and using Birm, I can see the size of the filter is about 3/4 cuft or 1.0 cuft, right (an 8" x44" or a 9" x 48")? If so the filter is too small for more than 1 person with the rust in the main line problem unless you backwash it like every or every other night.

    WALLY HAYES, apologies expected ASAP.
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The iron filter should be removing all the iron, since it isn't you can backwash it every other night and see what to does. Any iron it allows thru, the softener has to deal with.

    Your neighbors flushed their line out sooner than you have because they run more water thru it than is going thru yours.

    A regular softener (w/o any prefiltration) can not be used on dirty water.

    With clear water a regular softener can be used on up to 5 ppm as long as you use a resin cleaner and with special resin etc. I've used a softener on up to 13 ppm of iron.
  9. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    I'll get right on that just as soon as I get the whole book of apologies for every wrong post you have ever made LOL

    In the mean time though, I stand by my post. there should be a BFP on the supply inlet
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Please, anytime you see me say anything wrong like your check valve here, point it out and either debate your position or prove me wrong then instead of your single sentence stuff. And, like Bob's 11K and minutes for backwash, speak up.

    So far there has been no need shown for a check valve, or then the have to let the water heater T/P valve to leak to have to add an expansion tank and then to replace the leaking T/P valve.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  11. branjo101

    branjo101 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Michigan
    There's 4 people in the house and water usage I would say is probably about average for a family of 4 - we have all low pressure heads on the shower, energy efficient washer....etc. We have a 10" X 56" Tank; it has 1.5 cuft of BIRM with a PROFLOSE valve on top. I'll go to a 2 day regen on the iron filter if the filter can't handle the line blowout.

    How many minutes should the backwash and rapid rinse cycles be?

    The house sat vacant probably about 9-12 months before we moved in. Hence, the inlet to the house was probably not flowing that much. We had 1 ppm iron coming out of the iron filter and then had it rebedded. The water conditioning company recommended us to increase the water softner by 5 grain in the event we had a .5ppm iron leakage out of the iron filter.

    The city is coming out Monday or Tuesday. I'll do the same test a couple of times and report back on what they said and my results. I would imagine if they blow the line out, things will be a little dirty until everything flows through. BTW, we do have a ice maker and I'm watching the toilets to see if tanks are dropping (will fix if I see drop) - good suggestion.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  12. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    That's larger than I thought it was and it's big enough for 4 people. I'd set the first backwash for like 10 minutes and the second or Rapid Rinse (if you have one) for like 8 minutes and then Settle Rinse to like 5 (that just compacts the mineral). If not two backwashes, then 10, and 8 minutes.

    I might backwash every other night for a couple weeks and test before the softener for iron. If the filter gets all of it go back to the 3rd night and see if it does and if so then leave it.

    Run your outside faucet to get rid of any rusty water when you come home Monday instead of getting it into the filter. Maybe every day for a week to make sure all the rust is gone in the main line. That will help flush the line of rust build up until you shut off the sprinklers for winter. And any time you see rusty water.

    You have a Fleck 5000 control valve.
  13. branjo101

    branjo101 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Michigan
    I checked my settings and here's what I have:

    Step 1 - Backwash - 20 minutes
    Step 2 - Brine/Rinse - 1 minute
    Step 3 - Rapid Rinse - 15 minutes
    Step 4 - Brine Refill - 1 minute

    If I go w/ the every other day at 10 and 8, then I will be essentially be saving more water, but running more frequently. I asked the service technician (who rebedded the filter..or at least took it away and installed it) what these setting should be, but he didn't know (was new). I think the original bed had some pyrolox in it (had a cocktail of a couple of minerals), so maybe that was the reason for the long backwash and rinse. I felt like I was seeing money go down the drain w/ these long backwash and rapid rinse settings
  14. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Pennsylvania

    The ProFlo SE (you correctly identified the valve on your Birm filter--it is not a Fleck 5600) can be set with 0 time for cycles and the valve simply skips those parts of the cycle. With Birm you do not regenerate or refill so Step 2 (Brine/Rinse) should be set to 0. Similarly Step 4 (Brine Refil) should be set to zero. The ProFlo SE does not have a second backwash.

    As to the times for Backwash and rapid rinse you will probably need to experiment to find good times for your water situation. Ideally you would be able to watch the backwash discharge to see how long it takes to get a (reasonably) clean discharge. Given you are presently using 20 minutes for backwash but still having problems I would stick with that value for now but cut the rapid rinse (also called settling rinse) to 5 minutes and set to clean every other day.

    If that solves the problem I would then experiment with a shorter backwash time but in no event less than 10 minutes. I would stick with 5 minutes for the rapid rinse no mater the time of the backwash cycle.
  15. big dripper

    big dripper New Member

    Messages:
    71
    Location:
    Ohio
  16. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    True it is not a 5600. Although no one said it was a 5600.

    When first introduced and then for many years it was called the 5000. And a number of dealers still refer to it as a 5000, as I did here. 5000 or ProFlo, it is one in the same. BTW, the SE timer has been replaced with the SXT so it is now the ProFlo SXT

    To prove that 5000 part, you can look at the names of some of its parts in the parts breakdown pages of the manual and you'll see 5000 mentioned. You can also see various 5600 parts.

    Here is a link to that manual, see pages 27 and 45;
    http://www.pentairwatertreatment.co...s/ProFloSXT Downflow Service Manual 42772.pdf

    IMO twenty minutes of backwash is too long for 1.5 cuft of Birm. That will probably load up the mineral which will shorten the service run capacity allowing iron to get through the filter and into the softener.

    I would go with my 10 and 8 minutes now instead of fooling around watching the color of the drain line water and guessing how clear it is in probably an opaque drain line or having to disconnect it on the far end to look at the water coming out of it.

    Andy/Big Drip, he doesn't have a softener, he has a 1.5 cuft Birm filter.
  17. branjo101

    branjo101 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Michigan
    Hello All,

    The city came out to clear the inlet line. There wasn't much to what they did; I was expecting some type of equipment to be used in the process. They simply removed the water meter and connected a hose to the 1" inlet feed which drained into the sump pump. With the 1 inch feed, the water flow rate was pretty high (backed by 50psi pressure). No iron came out until he turned the valve on and off several times, which created a water hammering effect. He checked the water coming out and said it was clear. He did this a couple of times and said I was good to go.

    I wasn't convinced so I put a white bucket down into the sump pump (which was black) to see the water better. He repeated the process and then it was evident that there was a big plume of iron coming out. The water would eventually clear up, but I made him repeat the process until we didn't see anymore iron bursts. We did the entire process probably about 15-20 times. He said he's never seen something 'this' bad, but seemed somewhat confident that this helped to rid the inlet feed of loose iron on the pipes.

    It's been rainy here, so I have not had a chance to run the sprinklers. I'll give them a shot probably tomorrow. I can easily do this myself in the spring by opening up all outside water valves + sprinklers, while actuating the inlet valve. I'm hoping this solved my problems.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  18. big dripper

    big dripper New Member

    Messages:
    71
    Location:
    Ohio
    Are those lines galvanized or copper? Sounds like iron build up in the lines. Mine where like that and I had the lines from the city feed (55') replaced with copper lines. Better pressure, flow and no more iron.
  19. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    He probably never used a white bucket before to actually see what he was doing...

    So now you've saved the money etc. for Wally's check valve and identified the cause of the rusty water and have an idea of how to prevent the build up.
  20. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    So now you may or may not have solved the problem and you won't know until you run the sprinkler system. I'm guessing, probably not.
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