New house came with a Rainsoft Water Softener and....

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by nate81, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. nate81

    nate81 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I've been meaning to do this for quite some time now, I'm hoping someone here can tell me what I have and how to use it.

    We bought the house a little over 2 years ago and it it has a shallow bored well, the previous homeowner installed a water softerner and (what I think) is a whole house filter. She showed me how to dump some chemicals and salt in it and that was it. But thats not enough for me, I want to know what these tanks do and why I have them and what I need to do to maintain them. I hired the company that installed them to come out and show me what they were and how to use them but they literally sent out a mute and I had to beat him to death for answers and I literally learned nothing.

    On to what I have....I'm attaching photos because they speak 1,000 words....


    This is a picture of the cap of my well and the pressure tank, the tank is about a year old, the original one was rusted and shooting water everywhere, I installed this myself with zero prior experience. Hope its correct lol


    This is the view looking inside my little well house. (Here is another shot) I know the salt tank is on the far right (squareish one) and the two shorter tanks are where I dump the chemcials...which are pictured here

    This is a picture of a tank....i have no idea what this is used for.

    So the two short tanks each have a power cord coming off of them, and the water softener does as well...and this and this have a power cord as well, and i have no idea what this does either.


    Right now I have all the power cords unplugged and I'm bypassing this whole system completely, I'd like to get it back up and running and learn how to adjust the timers properly. Is there a water testing kit that I need? ANY and ALL help is very much appreciated!
  2. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,054
    Location:
    Maine
    1st of...wow, what a mess

    Do a raw water test.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  3. nate81

    nate81 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I included a picture in my original post....its caustic soda and aluminum sulfate i beleive.
  4. nate81

    nate81 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    North Carolina
  5. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    720
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    The first thing you need to do is get a water test for hardness, iron and pH at a minimium. One of the chemical injection pumps uses the castic soda to adjust the pH while the other uses aluminum sulfate to flocculate most likely iron. The tank to the left has an Erie control valve (most likely for pH adjustment) and the other is a RainSoft control valve. The flow switch is used to control the injection pumps. When water is used in the home, the flow switch turns on the pumps so the chemicals are injected into the retention tank and not the pressure tank.
  6. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,789
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Mialynette, impressive!!! Not many people can recognise the old Erie valves like you did. What a pile that valve was. Erie 541... rebuild annually in comercial applications that had more than .5PPM chlorine...

    I especially liked the DLFC adjustment, and the "non replaceable" ceter rubber cup. This is 20+ years ago of course.

    Nate, please get an updated water test done. Do you know how old the equipment is?
  7. nate81

    nate81 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    North Carolina


    I had the water tested for metals this past June at a local Leslie pool store...we filled our pool from the well and the water was very dark, i thought it was iron...they CLAIM there are no metals...i dont trust his word. I have a test kit for my pool, I can check the pH myself with that....I'd like to check the hardness and iron myself as well....Where can i get a high quality kit to do this?
  8. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    720
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    Hach makes good test kits. The 5B is for hardness and will cost around $30.00 with shipping. http://www.hach.com/product.detail-overview.jsa?id=7640219508. The problem is if you have a lot of iron, the 5B is very hard to read properly. Here is a simple iron test kit. http://www.hach.com/iron-color-cube-test-kit-1-5-mg-l/product?id=7640216691&callback=qs. post the results of your tests here and we can direct you on the best coarse of action. I have a friend that lives in Waxsaw and we (wife & I) visit often. Love the hills of NC
  9. nate81

    nate81 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Is there a way I can get the softener part up and running and simply bypass the other units for now? I mean i'm currently using none of it, so It can't hurt anything right?

    I'm in the capital county of NC, wake.....great area to live! We actually just visited the Great Smoky Mountains in TN and loved it ;) Raleigh, NC has the benefits of being about 2 hours from the shore and 2-3 from the mountains! We frequently hit up the beach in the summer and go to the mountains in the fall for the colors! :)


    Using my pool test kit I found my kitchen sink water to be very 'basic'....the reading was so low i couldnt read the number. I tested for calcium hardness and i got 60ppm for that.

    I used the taylor k 2006 test kit
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  10. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    720
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    Your test being old may not be very accurate. Walmart has Ph test kit for about $5.00. Low pH will corrode medal and cause problems removing iron. You can turn off the pumps by unplugging the flow switch. Have you tried a manual regen? Is it using salt? I sent you a PM.
  11. nate81

    nate81 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Is there a 'water softener for dummies' guide that I can be reading on? I don't even know what 'regen' means...i'm assuming its short for regeneration. I understand that one tank holds the salt+water (Brine) and it does something electrically to remove the metals and stuff from the water...but thats all i know, and that is probably inaccurate.

    I pm'd you back mialynette
  12. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,054
    Location:
    Maine
    The problem with just running the softener is that if your iron is high it will quickly foul the resin. You need to treat iron befor the softener.
  13. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,789
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Considering how nasty your water seems to be, get a real test done. Check online, many companies do comprehensive tesing for less than $200. If you intend on bathing in and consuming this water, a good test is a solid investment.
  14. nate81

    nate81 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    North Carolina


    No offence but this doesnt help me at all. If I was going to hire someone else to do it for me I wouldn't have bothered coming to the forums.

    To me, a solid investment is buying the kit to test it myself and then i have total control of my water, not having to use some guy as a middle man. I use a high quality test kit to control my pool water to my exact specs...I don't see why i am unable to do the same with my drinking/bathing water.

    The previous homeowner was a paranoid old widow who would probably buy any garbage you send her way and tell her she needs it 'or else'. I'm still not totally convinced all of the equipment I have out there is totally necessary.


    Edit: http://www.wakegov.com/water/wells/Pages/wellfees.aspx this is the county website for where I live and their prices....or can I just order this? http://www.amazon.com/Watersafe-WS4...376522887&sr=8-1&keywords=iron water test kit
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
  15. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,789
    Location:
    Ontario California
    No offence taken. A forum can only provide assistance according to the available information.

    When I suggest a real test, we are talking about a company that does this as a business and has the hundred thousand dollar unit that can do a complete test in a matter of minutes. You can spend thousands of dollars collecting test kits to try to figure out what is going on but this still will not come close to what a water testing lab can do. Pool water is not the same as drinking water. You typically dont care, nor do you test for Arsenic, Tannins, Fluoride, selenium, boron, cadmium, lead, etc... that a drinking water test will test for.
    Once you have a baseline water analysis, then some simple test kits will be beneficial. I would recommend the exact micro-20 Well Drillers version. This is a simple kit that I use and is only $500. It does not test for a lot of other parameters, Fluoride, Arsenic, etc. but it will test for some of the most common problems.

    micro20 well.jpg The equipment you have was probably oversold, but without a water analysis, we cant really comment other than to guess.

    Check out this site, they are a reputable testing company that many of our customers use. I am not endorsing them, there are many companies that do this, I have simply had good results with them. http://www.ntllabs.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=NTL&Category_Code=Homeowner
  16. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    320
    Location:
    California
    LOL. A pool test kit won't give you the necessary information. If it was cost-effective to test for numerous contaminants with a home test kit you would have been so advised. Get your water properly tested so intelligent decisions can be made as to whether all that equipment is necessary. If your water is basic, contains iron and H2S, it may well be needed in one form or another although one could perhaps optimize the implementation. Do you think the original owner was just throwing money away on unnecessary water treatment? A possibility perhaps, but right now you have no idea.

    You can reasonably test hardness and pH at home. Beyond that you need a lab.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
  17. nate81

    nate81 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    North Carolina

    I would assume going through my local county government would be a trusted source right? Here is mine: http://www.wakegov.com/water/wells/Pages/wellfees.aspx How do i know what tests to pay for?
  18. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    320
    Location:
    California
    Tough call. If you aren't near agriculture you can probably safely skip the pesticides. Nitrates are usually from fertilizer, but can also be from natural minerals. You may want to test everything but pesticides. Or utilize the water test map on your county site to inform of any particular problems in your area.

    Perhaps others can chime in if anything is safe to cross off the list.
  19. nate81

    nate81 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I have tobacco fields all around me pretty much, one is a few hundred yards away and there are many more about 1/4 mile up the street. So I guess this means i need to test for every single thing they have? Wow, this is gonna be pretty expensive...
  20. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,713
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Too expensive, IMHO. Look for a national lab, which could run around $200 for everything you need. Some of the pro's have suggested some names in other threads.
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