Planning a DIY whole home filtration system

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by Uellee, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. Uellee

    Uellee New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Louisiana
    My wife and I live in Louisiana have recently been discussing getting a whole home filtration system. I was at Home Depot a few days ago and saw a small tree with free water test kits so I picked one up an sent a sample of my water in. Of course we got a call back giving minimal results and requesting to schedule an in home presentation of our results. RainSoft strikes again! We were thoroughly unimpressed by their sales tactics and of course their price which started at $6,900 and worked all the way down to $3,950. We did not buy.

    Either way, this interaction prompted us to get off our butts and seek a solution for clean water in our house.

    I did a decent amount of research and found that I should have no problem building and maintaining my own system for a fraction of the price. The reason I am seeking help here at this point is for planning. I have some unanswered questions which I believe would be easy for some of the knowledgeable members of this forum to help me find answers to.

    We are interested in softening our water, removing chlorine/chloramine/etc., and removing other unknown but potentially harmful dissolved solids. We are seeking a whole home solution not just a drinking water solution although we are also planning an RO system for drinking/cooking water.

    From what I've collected this is what I have planned so far. Any helpful suggestions are welcome!

    32k or possibly 40k grain softener with a Fleck 5600 sxt and some sort of carbon filter for chlorine

    I am concerned about the chlorine causing increased degradation of the resin and from what I understand the resin doesn't remove much if any chlorine and I think my chlorine seems to be pretty high. This leads me to believe I want a charcoal filter of some sort for the chlorine, not just for inside my house but also to protect my softener. Maybe some resins are more susceptible to chlorine damage. Suggestions?


    My Situation

    Water Supply: Municipal
    Existing Filtration: None
    Occupants: 3 now but planning on 2 or 3 more
    Number of Bathrooms: 3
    Plumbing: Mostly all PVC and CPVC
    Supply Line: 3/4"

    Unprofessionally Tested Water Results

    TDS: 390 - 470 (two separate tests at different times)
    Hardness: 3-4 grains (two separate tests at different times)
    Chlorine: 4-6 (two separate tests at different times)
    PH: 6.8 - 7.2 (two separate tests at different times)
    Iron: <.15

    Thank you for the help!
  2. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,842
    Location:
    Ontario California
    A few questions.

    TDS is far higher than what is indicated by the hardness of 3-4 grains. Check with your municipality, they will have a full detailed water report outlining what else is in the water causing the higer TDS. Chloride, sodium, etc are common.

    Chlorine, 4-6... that is higher than swimming pool levels. Are you sure its not.4-.6? This is a huge difference.

    Iron of .15 is going to be ferric with chlorine and is easily removed with a sediment filter.

    Lets see the municipal water report and we can go further.
  3. Uellee

    Uellee New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Louisiana

    Thank you Dittohead.

    Here is what my municipality has online.
    http://www.vpwwd1.com/documents/98/CCR_2012.pdf

    It is a bit out of date and doesn't look like it provides much of the information I am looking for so I will be inquiring further for specific details and I will post the results what I get them.

    As far as the chlorine level, oftentimes while filling the washing machine I come back and open the lid and it smells as if someone added a generous amount of Clorox (we don't even use chlorine bleach in our house). Would this happen with a .4 - .6 or is this an indicator that I have very high levels of chlorine? All of the numbers I gave in my original post were given by softener salesmen from two different companies and for the chlorine test they both used a pool testing kit.

    The TDS numbers were obtained by both salesmen using one of those blue TDS EZ testers.

    The hardness was tested by both salesmen by adding drops of something to a sample of my water until it changed color and then the number of drops was supposed to correspond to the number of GPG.
  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,303
    Location:
    IL
    https://sdw.oph.dhh.la.gov/DWW/JSP/...21774&tsasampl_st_code=LA&history=0&counter=0 appears to be related to 1 sample with 1 source in your water district. I thought maybe I could find something more comprehensive. You water would be a mix from different wells potentially, or your neighborhood might get most of its water from a different well.

    This sample would be about 6.5 grains of hardness. This would be before chlorine treatment I presume. Getting further info makes sense.

    What is it about your water that is causing you to seek a whole house filter? Chlorine smell, colors?

    I tried https://sdw.oph.dhh.la.gov/DWW/index.jsp and inserted LA1113034 as the water system no. I did not find much useful info regarding what you would want to be filtering, but others might be better at using the results. I get the sense that there may be some chemical plants nearby, and I see some form of carbon filter in your future to deal with chlorine and chemicals.
  5. Uellee

    Uellee New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Louisiana
    We are interested in a whole house filter primarily to remove chlorine and hardness. From what I understand by removing those two items we will potentially be removing many other unknown and probably mostly unwanted components from our water supply.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  6. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    I didn't read the test results but for hardness and chlorine......GAC and a softener will do the trick.
  7. Uellee

    Uellee New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Those two pieces of equipment will probably run me about $500 each?

    Do you know what order people generally put them in and do you use any sort of a simple filter for larger debris ahead of the rest of the filtering system?
  8. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    GAC 1st. If you have a lot of crap in the water go with a back washed GAC filter
  9. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,842
    Location:
    Ontario California
    With or without sediment in the water, go with a backwashing carbon.
  10. Uellee

    Uellee New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Louisiana
    I paid them an office visit this morning and feel that I have some better results. I spoke with the system manager and he gave me some good information as well as the sampling report from a range of sample taps in January of this year.

    According to the January 2014 report-

    Iron is all zeros

    Hardness is recorded as a constant 102.6 so they are probably converting from 6 grains

    Chlorine ranges from 1.00 - 1.45

    PH is 7.2 -7.3

    Manganese - 0.00 - 0.02


    The 2012 CCR:

    Water Report.jpg


    *** Does a carbon filter do anything about DBPs? ***
  11. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,842
    Location:
    Ontario California
    That makes more sense. GAC does a good job but contact time is important. Upflow allows the GAC to not pack well enough for effective removal. Downflow is preferred. A properly sized GAC bed is important. Most GAC systems have a generic rating of 3 GPM per Cu. Ft. This rating is for organic chemicals, etc removal. Chlorine removal is faster.
  12. Uellee

    Uellee New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Either I am a bit confused or I may have some mixed suggestions about the order of the filters.

    At this point the first filter for incoming water is a 32k grain softener with a Fleck 5600 SXT followed by a 1.5 cu ft GAC filter and a second Fleck 5600 SXT with no additional inline filters.

    Does this look right for my situation as far as I have explained it?
  13. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,303
    Location:
    IL
    You want the GAC filter first.
  14. Uellee

    Uellee New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Louisiana
    I think I figured out where my confusion was. You had mentioned "Upflow" and "Downflow" and I mistakenly took that to mean upstream and downstream but now I realize that you were probably talking about the direction of water flow through the GAC. Upflow would push the granules against gravity and keep a looser pack resulting in poorer filtration whereas downflow would be pushing the granules down with gravity and therefore creating a more effective filter.

    Thank you all for your help and your patience with DIYers!
  15. Uellee

    Uellee New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Is there any reason I should see about getting the 10% resin rather than the 8% or a Vortech tank?
    I see those options available but don't know if it is necessary for my situation.

    Because of my low consumption and hardness (currently only about 4,000 gal./month and 6 grains) I was considering a 24k softener rather than a 32k. Any comments?
    If I was using the full capacity of the softener I would be regenerating less than once per month. It looks like the 32k bumps me up to 11gpm from 9 but how much does that matter with a 1 or 1.5 cu ft charcoal unit running no more than about 5 GPM? It looks like I have to choose based on either my estimated GPMs or the rated capacity for my usage and hardness but I'm unsure of which one takes priority.

    I think I am getting the feeling that it doesn't really matter what I choose within this approximate range, it will probably not make much of a difference either way. Thoughts?
  16. Uellee

    Uellee New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Bump

    Input?
  17. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,842
    Location:
    Ontario California
    10% is not necessary with a GAC pre-filter, the Vortech tank is neat, but mostly marketing.

    Regenerating every 30 days is fine.
  18. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    California
    Best to size the softener for a reasonable Service Flow Rate (tub and washing machine simultaneously, a reasonable max - not everything at once). This will cause longer times between regenerations when you have low hardness, which is fine.

    Calculate your capacity based on 6 - 8 lbs of salt per cu ft of resin, not the theoretical 48K for 1.5 cu ft salted at 15 lbs per. Unless your house, number of residents or bathrooms are pretty small you may want at least 1.5 cu ft for flow rate.
  19. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    California
    double post
  20. Uellee

    Uellee New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Thank you Lifespeed.

    I that is good information on softener sizing. I am looking at a whole house carbon filter too. Would you offer any suggestions for sizing there? It looks like that will potentially be my limiting factor as their flow rates are so painfully low.
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