Problem with water spots on chrome fixtures

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by mrmichaeljmoore, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The salt dose can't make too many ions but can be set with no concern for salt efficiency.

    That 50 gpm/1.5lbs/minute is .5 gpm, a half gallon of refill water dissolves 1.5lbs of salt.

    I suggest setting the valves and then doing the backwashing of the AN filter I mentioned in my previous post.

    For common tests like hardness, pH etc. you can usually get kits at big box stores, or find them online. For the uncommon tests you mentioned, and sulfate, chlorides, TDS etc. I suggested, a water testing lab is the best choice. Unless you want to spend many hundreds of dollars buying specific test kits or a professional kit from Hach Co or other companies which I wouldn't suggest. Turbidity would be OK too. A lab may be able to help with what tests.

    But before buying anything, I'd set the equipment up as I suggested and do the AN filter manual backwash until the drain water runs clear. If it didn't run clear within a couple minutes, I'd regenerate the softener too. Then run water at the shower for a few minutes and do the plate evaporation again.
  2. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,942
    Location:
    Ontario California
    the 50 GPM is actually .50 GPM. Water will disolve approximately 3 pounds of salt in a gallon of water. This will vary depending on water temperature and other factors, but 3 pounds is close enough. In huge industrial systems at 60-70 degree water we use 2.7 pounds per gallon, but that is for applications that are using 20,000 pounds of salt a day, the .3 pounds can make a huge difference in costs. Resdientially, the difference would be less than a half a bag a of salt a year, it is not worth doing temperature compensation charting. Lol, all that for 50 is .50.

    Test kits: I am sure others on this board will have some excellent recommendations as well.

    My personal preferance for

    Hardness: Hach 5B, available anywhere for under $35.00 Highly accurate, simple, and has a great shelf life. A little overkill for you, but if the $35 price isnt too bad, then you will not be disappointed.

    For iron, etc... www.sensafe.com has a great selection of test strip kits. I use the Exact EZ micro 7+ for my personal use and when I travel it goes with me for training and analysis. It is a bit expensive and is more for the field technicians. They have many test parameters available. it is a very simple electonic Photometric test kit, and highly accurate. The ability to repeat difficult tests accurately speaks volumes to its quality.

    Silica, if the water is from a municipal supply, call them and they will provide you with a very thorough detailed water analysis. Otherwise, I specify that it be tested during the initial well drilling testing. If it shows up, it usually does not go away, and since their is no real good way to treat it other than with a double pass RO with some ph adjusting chemical, not really a good idea for a residential application. If it is silica, you dont really need to test for it in the future if the cost for testing is high.

    I am curious what other posters on this board recommend for test kits. I am nearly black and white color blind so the old style dial a color wheel kits are not good for me. What other manufacturers have you had good resluts with, or bad results?

    As a side note, any TDS in the water will leave a build up when evaporated. Some elements will wipe off easily, others will not. Calcium, magnesium, Silica are rock and will act like it. Sodium, chloride, and many other elements will wipe off with ease. Spot free showers will not happen with softened water, only "less spotty, easier to clean" showers.

    A little cheat that will help, but does not solve the problem. Clean the shower until it looks new, spend some time and get it perfect. The wipe everything down with Rain-x. Be sure to check the compatability of rain-x on plastics, a few are potentially damaged by it. Do this monthly and you will probably be good. Use the rain-x on faucets, or anywhere you have this problem. It doesnt fix the real problem, but it will make it much easier to deal with.
  3. ForkWheelDrive

    ForkWheelDrive DIYer / Mech Engineer

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Fork, MD
    Hi all - I am back with my lab results! Hopefully this can shed some light on the white build-up issue I am having (as described above).

    Please look over these and let me know your opinion in regards to my treated water causing white build-up. My treatment system consists of a Acid Neutralizer (Filter) and Softener (see post #18 for details). Any RED FLAGS?

    RAW:
    raw_cropped.jpg


    TREATED:
    treated_cropped.jpg


    I think my conundrum is that softened water may leave spots, but they should be easy to clean. The build-up/corrosion I am experiencing (photos in post #10) is not easy to remove and has caused permanent damage in less than a year. Thank you!
  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    My guess is the TDS and silica are the cause of the problem.

    Ion exchange softening adds 2 ions of sodium for each ion being removed, so the TDS increases some. A softener doesn't reduce silica.

    A partial cure is to wipe down the shower after every use. it won't remove the stuff that's there but will prevent more of it building up.

    And I'd change the settings of the equipment to what I suggested previously.
  5. ForkWheelDrive

    ForkWheelDrive DIYer / Mech Engineer

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Fork, MD
    Gary, thanks for the quick response.

    Is 26 mg/l silica considered a high level of silica? Enough to cause the build-up and difficult cleaning I am guessing. I know the TDS is high, but is it the silica component alone that is making it hard to clean?


    Some questions about the well itself:

    Since the raw water has 26 mg/l silica and 70 mg/l sodium, and the well is 60', would it be worth having the well inspected for damages in the casing, etc?

    Do people have new wells drilled to try and get rid of the silica? I guess that would be a last resort, but in my case, the current well is only about 6' from the back of the house and in the path of a future walkway and back door.
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I don't know if 26 mg/l is enough to cause the problem or not but, it really doesn't matter how much it takes, you have the problem and so far there is no other evidence of anything that would cause it other than your silica and high TDS.

    Drilling a new well will probably get you a much deeper well and hopefully better water quality but there is no guarantee that you won't get the same or worse water; but you could get better water too. A 60' well is a very shallow well and they are very prone to water quality issues. Usually but not in your case to remove silica, buying equipment is a better choice IMO than drilling a new well.

    You don't want to put a sidewalk etc. over a well. You want the well head up out of the ground at least 12"-18" (it's code and a very good idea) and enough space around it to get a well drilling rig or service truck up to it. The size of your property may cause problems in drilling a new well. There are set minimum distances from septic systems and property lines.

    If you could get a drilling rig to it, the old well may be drilled deeper and the old water cased off or separated from the new. But I wouldn't want a well that close to my house/basement/sewer lines/floor drain or sump pump hole etc..
  7. mrmichaeljmoore

    mrmichaeljmoore Member

    Messages:
    132
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Original Poster back.....with an update

    Hey everyone....original poster mrmichaeljmoore here with an update on my water spot saga.

    It's been a while since I've posted, so let me give a quick summary of what I've done.

    I've had 3 water quality professionals come to my house to help me diagnose my water spot problem.
    The first guy (a Kinetico rep) had no idea what the problem was but offered a solution: install a Kinetico system and if the problem goes away, then great! If not and the spotting problem still exists, then he will uninstall his Kinetico system for $200. I passed on that offer.
    The second guy was unsure of what the problems is. I mentioned I had some silica in the raw water (lab tested it 15.9 mg/L) and he suggested utilizing polyphosphate/siliphos. Although he said it was food grade and harmless, my wife and I weren't so sure about adding that to our water supply, so we passed on that too.
    The third guy pretty much said "it is what it is"....he said they installed a whole house RO system for someone with similar problems....obviously, i declined that expensive proposal....

    I recently contacted another water professional. He's a little far from me, but he has been helping me over the phone. He had me do a Langelier Saturation Index (LSI) test with a local lab.
    The results were a -1.5 (serious corrosion) on the LSI Index and the lab stated "Water is undersaturated with respect to calcium carbonate. Undersaturated water has a tendency to remove existing calcium carbonate protective coatings in pipelines and equipment."
    So, the professional had me use a blending screw on my softener to leak a little hardness into the treated water (approx 1-2gpg of hardness). Well, I'm still getting spots unfortunately...and the water is no longer slippery/slick. I think I am gonna try and back off the blending screw a bit and see of that makes the water a little softer... BUT one thing I noticed is that the spots seem to be able wipe off the chrome a little easier than before I used the blending screw....
    That's kinda where I am at right now......I am still gonna tweak the blending screw a bit to see if I can get a mixture that has still has a soft feeling, but that leaves the least amount of spots (that are also easily removed).

    As far as the silica, does anyone have any input on that?
    Are the levels (15.9 mg/L) high enough to cause issues? Has anyone used any siliphos or polyphosphate treatments? Are they safe? Do they work?

    I think I read in an earlier post......someone said spot free water is impossible?? Really? If thats true, thats really disappointing. Are me and ForkWheelDrive trying to achieve something that cant happen.....that is spot free water??


    One other thing: I have noticed that I have some etching/pitting on the glass shower door chrome hinge and chrome screws....Not sure what would cause that....and I did have that before I tried the blending screw....


    thanks.
    mm
  8. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk New Member

    Messages:
    166
    Location:
    Alaska
    Removing silica stains is tough; typically, CLR and similar products will not work ( they are acid-based, as is silica). When I lived in Hawaii, it literally ruined vehicle paint jobs as well as glass. There WAS a removal product that worked well on the glass, though I can't remember the name of it (liquid). I also found that abrasive stainless steel cleanser worked well on glass; of course, it will scratch metal or plastic fixtures, so cannot be used. Something else you can try is a paste of baking soda and water (silica is an acid, so cleaning with a base may ease the process); again, be wary of scratching. Perhaps applying the paste to the faucet, keeping it damp for a bit with a spray bottle of water, followed by rinsing it off, then some gentle scrubbing? LOTS of work, but that's the deal with silica. I finally gave up on my dark windows on my car, it was just too much work.

    I have never used it myself, but have read that Amaz works pretty well...Use at your own risk, however.

    [h=1]A-Maz Water Stain Remover 14oz Jar[/h]
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2014
  9. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk New Member

    Messages:
    166
    Location:
    Alaska
    I thought I might add, if you really want to remove water spots from glass (not from metal, many metals react by forming hydrogen gas, which is highly flammable)... sodium hydroxide (lye) is a common, STRONG base that is used to make sodium silicate. I have never tried it, but I would suspect a weak solution of it with water would be more effective even than baking soda and water (though BS & water is MUCH safer, and I would try it first!)

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_146450-331-...Ntt=drain cleaner&pl=1&currentURL=&facetInfo= is what I am referring to, 100% sodium hydroxide.

    Always remember to add the chemical to water, NEVER EVER add water to the lye. It can erupt and splatter you with this powerful chemical. Again, try it on ceramic or glass surfaces, not on metal!!
  10. mrmichaeljmoore

    mrmichaeljmoore Member

    Messages:
    132
    Location:
    Connecticut


    Well.....still no luck playing with the blending screw.....so I'm selfishly bumping my thread to the top in frustration with my water situation.
    I'm still getting spots on fixtures that can only be removed with chrome cleaner.

    Any help from the water experts here would be appreciated...I'm desperate for a solution for this spotting.

    The quoted text above lays out the issues.

    Thank you in advance.
    mm
  11. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    It would probably take less than 90 seconds to wipe the water off the fixtures after using the shower. Or, maybe something like a chrome polish or Rain-X might prevent the spots.
  12. mrmichaeljmoore

    mrmichaeljmoore Member

    Messages:
    132
    Location:
    Connecticut

    That is what I've been doing as I search for a solution to this problem.
    But, and maybe I should have made this clear in my original post, but I'm also concerned about the buildup of the spotting on the shower tile, tub. I concur that wiping down the fixtures takes just a minute or so, but you surely wouldn't suggest drying down the entire tub and shower?
    And like I said in the earlier post, I've noticed pitting on some of the chrome hinges for the glass shower door.....where water may collect as it dries.

    I've tried rain-x, car polish, etc. It helps a bit, in that it causes the water to bead up much more, thereby having less spots...But the spots still accumulate.

    So, yes, I will continue to take the various preventative efforts to minimize the damage of the spots, but I would prefer to alleviate the problem altogether.....

    You've been in the water business a long time.....any thoughts on the silica possibility? And any experience using the Siliphos or Polyphosphate treatment?

    Thanks.
    mm
  13. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,942
    Location:
    Ontario California
    I am not a fan of whole house RO, but if you really want to alleviate this issue, this may be your only real solution. Modern Whole house RO's have become very common and the price has dropped significantly over the past 10 years. We distribute a turn key whole house RO system that has proven very effective for your type of water. The real problem is that it is costly to maintain and to purchase. If you have the money to spend on a whole house RO and dont mind the maintenance requirements, send me a PM. I can probably recommend to a few different companies that can be of great assistance to you.

    Polyphosphate feeders are chep, but rarely effective. It would cost very little money to try.
  14. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,736
    Location:
    Central Florida
    It might be worthwhile to contact your local County Extension Office. They usually can do limited testing locally, but more importantly have a relationship with your state land grant university, who often have some pretty exotic testing capabilities.

    I like ForkWheelDrive's dinner-plate methd of capturing the culprit's tracks. Take the plate to a good testing lab and ask them to identify the white stuff, and Viola! you know what's causing the problem. Instead of the plate, though, start with a beaker and evaporate a LOT of water to get a nice big sample. A local university, or maybe even an exceptional high school, with a good chemistry department might even do it for free as a class project to illustrate that chemistry has a practical use :).
  15. jasper7821

    jasper7821 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Arizona
    I'm a total noob and this is my first post to someone else's thread.
    I have a CR Spotless car washing system that takes the TDS to zero and is supposed to leave no water spots whatsoever.
    I live in Tucson and after washing my silver car I still saw just a tab of spots. I just got a new car and it's black and after washing the car I saw tons of spots.
    After sending a water sample to CR Spotless and them having it tested it they found silica in the water.
    They sent me another cartridge called a Silica Buster.
    I washed the black car again and and let it dry in the 100 degree temp and now there was not a spot anywhere.

    So maybe using something like that in the house will leave everything truly spot free.
    Just my uneducated guess to take it with a grain of salt.
  16. mrmichaeljmoore

    mrmichaeljmoore Member

    Messages:
    132
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Ill send you a PM regarding the whole house RO and polyphosphate....
    I don't think I want to go the route of a whole house RO.....I don't want to add anything else to my "honey-do" maintenance list.:D

    About polyphosphate feeders....can you recommend a unit? It might be worth a try.....

    thanks.
    mm
  17. mrmichaeljmoore

    mrmichaeljmoore Member

    Messages:
    132
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Thanks for the help and info......
    I may look into some sort of polyphosphate system for the house to reduce the silica as a last resort. Not sure what else to try at this point.
    Just have to find one that works for whole house and is DIY friendly....

    Oh, and the wife wants to me to do some research to make sure the polyphisphate is safe for home use!!

    mm
  18. mrmichaeljmoore

    mrmichaeljmoore Member

    Messages:
    132
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Original poster here....again....
    I have an update...but unfortunately, no solution to the spotting problem.
    As I said previously, I've been trying to get to the bottom of this spotting issue.
    Up to this point, I have been merely wiping down the chrome fixtures after each shower. But, that doesn't fix the problem..........that's the same thing as just adding oil to car that's losing a quart a day.;)
    Plus, I can see where spots are starting to accumulate on the tile walls of the tub....and on the sink bowls....and bathtub....:(

    So......
    In order to try to figure out what exactly the spots are made of, I took the lid from one of my wife's stock pots (I think it is aluminium?) and filled the lid with water.....about an 1/8" inch or so. Then i put the lid on top of my wood pellet stove. The heat caused the water to evaporate leaving only the white residue (and some wood pellet dust). I attached pictures of the lid for all to see.
    I did this for a few days and then I took the lid to the local lab and had him test it.

    Here are the results of the tests on the residue on the lid:
    Copper: 3.16 mg/L
    Iron: 10.29 mg/L
    Manganese: .96 mg/L
    Hardness: 64 mg/L
    Sodium: >1265 mg/L

    Just for reference, here are my water specs (from my original post):
    Here is my raw water analysis:
    Hardness - 21 GPG (grains per gallon)
    Iron - 0.05 mg/l (ferrous)
    Manganese - ND (not detected)
    pH - 7.3 standard units
    TDS (total dissolved solids) - 472 ppm

    My treated water analysis :
    Copper - none detected
    Iron - none detected
    Manganese - none detected
    Chloride - 11.9 mg/L
    Hardness- none detected
    Sodium - 110.7 mg/L
    Nitrate as N - none detected
    Nitrite as N - none detected
    Color - 0
    Odor - 0
    PH - 7.8
    Turbidity - 0.3 NTU
    Sulfate - 40.5 mg/L
    TDS - 364 ppm

    Silica: 15.9 mg/L

    My existing water treatment setup:
    1. Big Blue sediment cartridge filter
    2. Autotrol 255/762 48K water softener (installed in 2006)
    3. Big Blue RFC cartridge filter

    I confirmed that the treated water is at 0 gpg hardness at all fixtures using a Hach 5B Hardness Test Kit.

    On the stock pot lid, there is a bare spot. I was able remove some of the spotting build-up with CLR.
    BUT..............and here is the big BUT............the CLR will NOT clean the sink stoppers that have the spotting on them. The only thing that cleans them is my Never Dull chrome cleaner. :confused::confused:
    NOTE: I was also able to clean sections of the lid with water, vinegar, and Clorox cleaner...:confused:
    I attached pictures of the sink stoppers also showing the spotting accumulation. I had nothing to do with the clean spot in the center of the stoppers....i think it's because the stoppers are slightly rounded, no water sits there, so no spotting accumulates.
    I also attached pictures of the chrome cover piece for the bathtub overflow. There is some slight spotting there. I usually wipe it down after each shower/bath....but some spots have still accumulated. CLR will not remove them.....only the Never Dull chrome cleaner.

    So, in summary, I'm still at a loss.

    Thank you in advance for helping.
    mm

    Attached Files:

  19. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,185
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    There is an old saying... "the solution to pollution is dilution". What you've done is the reverse. By evaporating off the water, it skews the numbers. The numbers are more meaningful in the context of the original volume of water.
  20. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,806
    Location:
    IL
    Hmmm... Post #2 on the thread mentions silica. I presume that was not tested for in the raw water, or could something be adding the silica?
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