Little iron still in water after brand new Softener installed

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by ktthomas, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. ktthomas

    ktthomas New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Ohio
    First some basic background of my situation; I had my house re-plumbed in Oct of 2011 with all new PEX plumbing, water fixtures, toilets, tubs, water sofetner, hot water heater, etc. The only thing I did not replace was the pressure tank because it looked like it had recently been replaced. The water softener is a Fleck SXT 1.5 48,000 with a turbulator. My family is 3 adults 2 toddlers. House has 2 full bathrooms.

    After 10 months of use I am starting to see signs of iron in the back of the toilets and on the new white tub (orangish tint) and the tests confirm with the untreated water reading 29 gpg of hardness and 2.2 ppm of iron. The treated water reading is 1 gpg of hardness and .7 ppm of iron.

    Although the softener is taking a lot of the iron out, is it possible to reduce that even further ?
    I have the DO set to 5 days, BD=60, BF=15, BW=15, RR=5. Hardness is set at 40



    Thanks,
    Keith
  2. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    722
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    Have you been using anything to clean the iron off of the resin like iron out? If not, that is the reason you are starting to see iron staining. You should but Super Iron Out from the grocery store and follow the directions to clean the resin.
  3. ktthomas

    ktthomas New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Ohio
    I have used regular iron out once about 4-5 months ago. Diluted about 1/4 cup in a gallon of water and poured it in the salt tank and regenerated. Maybe I should be doing that more frequently ?

    Keith
  4. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,078
    Location:
    Maine
    Dottohead originally posted this and the only thing I would add is that the iron out should be poured into the brine well not over the salt as it will dissipate. Personally, I think you should be using Mortons resin saver salt.

    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.
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,843
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I've never used regular Iron Out but with Super Iron Out, I get better results if I stop the clock and turn off the water for an hour after the SIO/brine has drawn out of the brine well.
  6. Chad Schloss

    Chad Schloss Member

    Messages:
    328
    Location:
    USA
    i just use the salt in the green bags. i think they may already have iron out in them ?
  7. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,792
    Location:
    Ontario California
    With iron out, Super iron out, etc, please use caution. The fumes, and skin contact can be problematic. We used diethylenetriamine penta(methylene phosphonic acid) for years, and the residual odor in the brine tank, especially on larger units where large amounts were required would just about drop you to your knees.

    Like Tom said, contact time is critical. The iron out salt is another way to do it, this will help lessen the need for heavy cleaning. You should also consider removing the iron prior to the softener.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012
  8. ktthomas

    ktthomas New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Ohio
    Thanks for all the comments.

    I guess I was thinking I had more of an issue with some settings on the softener rather than iron already accumulating in the resin, since the softener was less than a year old. i can't say for certain that it ever took all the iron out from day one.

    Keith
  9. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,480
    Location:
    Alaska
    A few more questions.
    at what rate is the unit refilling the salt tank?
    .25 gallons per minute or .50 gallons per minute?
    How many gallons are showing up after a regen or cleaning cycle?
    What capacity setting did you use in programing the system?
    How much salt have you been using per month?

    Could be that the unit is trying to treat to many gallons between regens or cleaning cycles.

    Is the meter tripping the cleaning or the day over ride?
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Yeah I think you're right. I think there are problems with your programing.

    We need answers to what Akpsdvan asked and explain why the days override is set at 5 days..
  11. ktthomas

    ktthomas New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Ohio
    Well I think I discovered the problem but 1st let me answer your questions;
    The unit is refilling at .5 gpm.
    After regen i get 1200 gal.
    The capacity is set to 48,000.
    I've been using about 2 bags a month.

    So I decided to run some iron out again and watch the regen process closely. Problem I discovered is the Brine Fill was stopped by the float after only 8 minutes of fill. The problem here is that I can't raise the float any or the brine will overflow. So what are my options ? That would only be 12lbs. max per regen correct? That would certainly limit my capacity.

    Keith
  12. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,480
    Location:
    Alaska
    The 1200 gallons is way to high, should be about 800 with the 12lbs of salt (42k capacity)and with a RC in the programing of 200 gallons.
    Day over right of 4 days.
  13. ktthomas

    ktthomas New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Ohio
    I think its going to be even less than that since my capactiy looks like it is now limited by the salt dose of 12lbs per regen or 8lbs/ft. On a 1.5 cu ft. system that only gives me 36k capacity. 36000/40gpg (hardness) = 900 gal total or 700 with 200 reserve. I guess my question now is will the gallons displayed correct itself after the next regen just by lowering the brine fill to 8 minutes (which is my max before overflowing) from the 15 minutes it was set at ? Or do I need to lower the capacity to 36k from 48k as well ?


    Keith
  14. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,792
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Lets get some more information. What Fleck valve do you have? The 5600SXT, 7000SXT, 5800SXT? Assuming it is the 5600SXT, what size brine tank do you have? Can you send a picture of the brine tank and the water level? It sounds to me like your BLFC is malfunctioning, or is missing. Even a small brine tank should handle 12 pounds of salt (4 gallons of water). The generic calculation is the brine tanks water capacity is 50% of volume with salt. (Salt takes up 1/2 the space, so if you 18" diameter round brine tank can have 1.1 gallons per inch, with salt, it should be approximately .55 gallons per ince, an 18" brine tank should have approximately 8" of water above the air check if it is set for 12 pounds). Since different salts take up more or less space, these numbers are only wild guestimates, the vast majority of the industry uses timed refill to eliminate the guessing.

    Let us know what you have.

    Hope this helps.
  15. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Your softener is too small but it's too late now to change it.

    Your programming has been wrong since day one.

    48K is not possible and the max for 1.5cuft is 45K requiring 22.5/23 lbs. 45,000/12,000 grains used per day = only3.75 days with no reserve.capacity and a very low salt efficiency of 2000 grains/lb so...

    Do two manual regenerations one right after the other at 23 lbs of salt each and add a 1/3 cup of Iron Out or Super Iron Out in a gallon of water (into the water in the salt tank, not into the salt) and do not use water during or between them.

    The best way to do that is start the 1st regen about 9:30 pm and it will be done in 90 minutes or so at 11:00 and on your way to bed, check that you have enough salt (add the IO water) in the tank and do whatever is needed on your control valve to cause a regeneration that night or manually start it then.

    That regenerates all the resin back to its usable max of 45K When you get up in the morning you do the reprogramming below.

    You didn't say what Fleck control valve you have.... So reprogram with 40 grains, 36K using 12 lbs of salt. That should get you a regeneration every 3 days allowing 9000 grains or 225 gals of reserve and you should have 900 gallons on the meter OR 900 - 225 = 675.

    If you can not raise the float up to about 1" to 2" below the elbow overflow fitting and get the right salt dose refill gals, you might want to add a salt grid to the salt tank so you can get more refill water in it than you can without one. Another way is to not store salt in the salt tank, just the refill water and add say 13 lbs of salt to the salt tank before a regeneration. That would be a PITA fer sure...

    For 23 pounds of salt it takes 7.7 gallons or call it 15 minutes at .5gpm/1.5lbs per minute. Your tank holds about 1 gallon per inch of water with nothing in the water. You figure 3 lbs of salt per gal of water.
  16. ktthomas

    ktthomas New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Ohio
    IMG_2640.JPG

    My valve is the Fleck 5600 SXT. Salt tank measures 14" x 16" X 32" tall

    The white tape mark on the salt tank shows my water line after regen this morn.

    It ran for 8 minutes before almost overflowing (and being shut off by the float) at .5 gpm. So it can handle 12 lbs of salt but that would be the max.

    Gary, I agree with everything stated. I wasn't sure if I should lower to 36K so thanks for clarifying. A few questions; Lowering the time of the brine fill to 8 min at .5 gpm will effectively set it to 12lbs of salt correct ? And since I just regenerated with Iron out this morning should I do it again this evening or omit it from the back to back regeneration.

    Thanks for all the help.

    Keith
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  17. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,792
    Location:
    Ontario California
    you need to check your refill rate. It looks like you are flowing a lot more than .5 GPM.

    My math is a little rusty on rectangular tanks but here it goes.

    14x16=224 cu. inches per inch of height, so 8" would be approximately 1 Cu. Ft, or 7.5 gallons, , you need 4 gallons so you would have approximately 5" of water, times 2 for salt displacement, add 2 inches for the aircheck, you should have approximately 12" of salt in the brine tank.

    The picture of your systems is also a good example of why round brine tanks are preferred to square, unless it is pregnant. :)

    Can someone else here recheck my math? I dont have time today to pull my cheat sheets.


    You need to remove the tube at the brine tank and measure it in the refill position. Be sure it is flowing at .5 GPM. I am guessing it is exceeding that considerably. Unless my math is totally wrong.
  18. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,843
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    LOL

    I have a square tank and it doesn't bulge like that. They must be making them thinner now.
  19. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I sold 15 x 17"rectangular salt tanks and never had them change shape. I think they may have been made by Clack.

    How much salt do you have in it? Otherwise see my last reply..

    The best would be to do the 2 regens with the max salt dose of 23 lbs but, do another one with IO tonight and see how it does for a few weeks with the new programming.

    I suggest you buy hardness and iron tests somewhere and test each week for a month or so just before it regenerates. If you see hardness or iron getting through, then do the 2 manual regens at 23 lbs.

    Also do the IO with a 1/2 cup in a gallon of water poured into the water in the salt tank once every 4-6 weeks.
  20. ktthomas

    ktthomas New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Ohio
    If you are going to do the math on the salt tank then for accuracy sake i should tell you the tank is obviously tapered and the bottom is actually smaller at 12" x 14" and I measure the water line at 21". Even using your displacement value and the new measurement, I still only come up with 14" of height instead of 12". Still a HUGE difference from the 21" that I have. I would then question the accuracy of "times 2 for salt displacement". My guess is the salt on the bottom is probably packed in pretty tight and displacing more water than that and that is why you are seeing the big belly in the middle. But I am only guessing and will defer to the thoughts of others on the board.
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