Recommendation for well water softener system

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by Cblsurfr, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. Cblsurfr

    Cblsurfr New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Gatineau, Qc
    Hi,

    I recently( about 2 months ago) moved in to a new house that has a well/septic system. I had the water tested prior to purchasing and it revealed that the water is hard. Here are the results I got :

    Alkalinity mg/L 273
    Baryum μg/L 239
    Chlorides mg/L 93
    Iron μg/L 362
    Fluorides mg/L 0.6
    Manganese μg/L 78
    Sodium μg/L 68000
    Sulfates (ES & EP) mg/L 51
    Hardness mg/L 277
    Bore μg/L 64

    If I calculate right, I would have about 16 or 17 GPG. Also, we are getting a rotten egg smell from the hot water, so I'm guessing that we might need to look into treating for sulfur or would a softener be able to treat this ?

    Another issue we have is a slight staining in the sinks, toilets and shower...didn't notice it at first as all the fixtures were cleaned(or had been on the home visit) and were grey...when we moved in, I replaced the toilets (20 years old) for 1.28GPF models and it's more apparent on white fixtures...kind of a brownish red and is easily cleaned, but the shower stall is another issue...seems like it's caked in...but this I will replace eventually.... right now I want to get a solution in place to fix the root cause.

    Tomorrow I have a sales rep from Kinetico that is coming over to test the water and give me an estimate....but after going through this forum I'm thinking of going the DIY route and installing one on my own. I'm trying to find dealers from Canada...but perhaps some could be recommended? A few popped up.. Aquatell, Pelican, Hague, Culligan (which I was told to stay away due to proprietary heads...)

    I've yet to find a local Clack dealer in my area (Ottawa Ontario) and was strongly considering a Fleck 7000sxt....but wanted some recommendations if possible for the optimum system... I'm thinking 48000 grains, but want to have something that I can grow into.

    We have a 1.5 bath house, but in the future want to go to 2 full baths. 2 adults and a child, but want more...so I dont want to have to change the system in 4-5 years if another one or 2 add to the family..

    I plan on digging a dry well for the backwash as I can't send it in the septic system as it did show a small saturation and don't want to kill it yet. I also want a system that will not be going through salt like crazy.

    Any feedback you can provide me would be appreciated. Let me know if I forgot to provide some info.

    Thanks

    Dominic
  2. chevy427

    chevy427 Banned

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    USA
    No, the softener will not reduce sulfur odors whether they come from the source or through the heater. I suspect your sulfur odors are coming from you water heater. Others will comment more here and on other matters of your post.
  3. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,137
    Location:
    Maine
    If the smell is from the water heater the best thing to do is drain it and then change the anode rod once it is empty. Re-fill and bump the temp up to about 150 or so for about a half hour. Run that really hot water through the piping for a few minutes and then drop the temperature back down to 120. Make sure anyone in the house is aware that the water is really hot until the tank cools down. Change the anode to an aluminum rod instead of magnesium
  4. Cblsurfr

    Cblsurfr New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Gatineau, Qc
    I'll try that out this weekend and update the thread. The date on the heater is from 2010. could this still be a possible cause on a recent tank ? One thing I forgot to mention is that when running the bathtub hot water tap...if we don't use it for a few days (my daughter started taking showers...) the first minute or 2 seems like I have some debris and it runs almost black...then all comes back to normal. Is this from the heater's anode or could this be sediment from the well ? I haven't noticed it from the other faucets...but again they all have a screen... I'll take one off tomorrow to check if there's a buildup.
  5. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,828
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Tom said it perfectly, try changing the magnesium anode to a aluminum/zinc anode and sanitize the hot water plumbing as he described. This will usually take care of the smell from the water heater, You can also remove the inlet line of the water heater, drain off some water, and pour a bottle or two of hydrogen peroxide into the top. Let it run through the house for a few minutes, then let the system soak for an hour. reconnect the water heater and run a considerable amount of water to be sure to purge the hydrogen peroxide from the system. The trace amounts of iron and manganese can be treated efficiently with a softener. A 2 Cu. Ft 7000SXT would be fine for your application and you will not outgrow it in your application. I would recommend a little citric acid in the brine tank every 6 months or so to minimize fouling of the resin. The rest of your water looks fine, though I would definetly recommend a RO system for your drinking water.

    Use extreme caution when the water heater is turned up that high, it will cause instant burning of the skin. I would recommend sending the kids and wife out shopping while you do this heat sanitizing procedure. A new water heater, or old will have a sacrificail anode, these can cause a hydrogen sulfide smell on occassion, we usually switch to an aluminum/zinc rod instead of the standard to get rid of this problem.

    Good luck!
  6. Cblsurfr

    Cblsurfr New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Gatineau, Qc
    The Kinetico rep passed by before lunch and tested the water. His results for hardness came back at 20 grains which is a bit higher than the 16/17 I had. Can the hardness change this much over a period of a few months ?

    The rest of the tests came back pretty close to what I had. Iron .3 ; PH 7.2 ; TDS 405 which he suggested an RO, but this is more of a preference as he said it's still below the Fed. norm of 500.

    He said there is no trace of sulfur and that the odor is from the heater and that a change of anode and sanitize with bleach should resolve. Which now my wife finally started believing the information I received from this post...and after seeing the close to 4000$(cdn) for the softener system.... I think she may be inclined to let me go the DIY route.

    The system that I was proposed doesn't seem like a bad one (mach2030 + sediment filter) but the one thing I didn't appreciate is the way he was putting down the electric systems and single tanks and how limited they are due to the backwash cycle that runs during the night and all...I grew up with a softener in the house and I can only recall one time where I got a glass of water in the middle of a backwash and got a nice dose of salt...so the fact that a system can regenerate at any time without notice isn't really a selling point for me.

    He also mentioned that his system uses softened water for the backwash as well as going from the bottom of the resin bed and up compared to the "others" that uses non treated water and backwashes from the top down... Not sure if this is correct ? didn't I see some systems that does the same using a Fleck or Clack valve ?

    Would the use of a sediment filter be an advantage ? He said that they don't install a system without it.. I saw a lot of 10" or 20" filters available, but they use a 16" that can be rinsed up to 3 times before replacing the cartridge. Is this correct and are 16" cartridges easily available ?

    For the anode change...seems I will have to wait as none of the stores I called seem to carry aluminum anodes in stock... I'm not surprised for the big box store, but 2 of the local plumbing shops need to order them....only magnesium on hand. I was even told by one that in order to remove the odor, I would need to buy special "pills" to disinfect the tank ?

    I might at least start to disinfect the tank while I get an anode ordered. For a 60 imp Gal tank would you still suggest 2 bottles of hydrogen peroxyde or would bleach be a better sanitizer ?
  7. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,137
    Location:
    Maine
    I would use non scented bleach and you only need about a 1/2 cup. Changing the anode is going to be a bitch, they are screwed in there really really tight. If you can get your hands on an impact wrench life will go much smoother for you.

    Kinetico; yes, a lot of money but there are some distinct advantages such as not needing power and no need to reset the clock and you do not have the unit bypassed and back washing at any time. They are very good and very sturdy units that require little to no maintenance on your part but you get what you pay for. If you are determined too save money, and that's not a bad thing either and you have the plumbing skills you can get you a Fleck valve and the rest of the stuff online pretty reasonable.
  8. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,828
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Modern softeners do not bypass any salt during regeneration. A modern single tank system will maintain 90%+ efficiency if it is sized correctly. A twin system will maintain 95%+ efficiency. Electricity, modern systems will not care if the power goes out occassionally. You dont even need to reset the time of day anymore. If the power goes out for an extended period of time (12 or more hours), then you may have to reset the timer. The Single tank systems offer considerable initial cost savings, and the Fleck valves are easy to repair (rebuild the valve every 10-15 years is typical), and the parts are fairly inexpensive. Soft water regen is a double edged sword, you use capacity to regenerate with soft water, so it is a push, also uplflow brining... amaxzing on paper, in the real world, it is not a big deal. Understand marketing, anything can be called a feature. the double backwash was an unintentiaonal (originally considered a semi design flaw) byproduct of an electromechanical design, it is now a "feature". The kinetico lack diagnotics, electronics, current flow metering displays, water usage trends, variable brining, etc. All of these "features" are more marketing than anything else.

    If you go with a Kinetico, you will have purchased an excellent unit that will serve you for many years without fail. The same can be said for any Fleck, Clack, or Autotrol valve. The China Knockoffs are even getting decent, I wouldnt own one, but they are better than they were 10 years ago.

    Kineticos are extrmely high quality, reliable, and you will pay a premium for them.
  9. Cblsurfr

    Cblsurfr New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Gatineau, Qc
    Just wanted to update on the state of the water heater. I followed your suggestion and added 1/2 a cup of non scented bleach through the anode port and it did remove the smell...I also raised the temp of the heater to 150 for half an hour and set it back a bit lower than its previous temp as it was at 140. When I removed the anode (was in there pretty tight as Tom said) it is starting to be eaten up... there are 2-3 lines along the whole lenght that is degraded...I took caution when pulling it out but ran into a small snag... I can't take it out completely as it hits the ceiling (actually the subfloor above the joists. I know that I can cut it to take it out...but will need to either shorten the new one or change my order for a flex or spend the $ and gor for an electric anode. Any thoughts if this would be a good investment >

    As for the softener, I do think that I will go with the Fleck 7000sxt. The system and the cost to dig a dry well will still be below what I was quoted for a Kinetico. If I do want the same type of benefit for the dual tank, would the 9100sxt be an option ?

    For sizing, Ditto you suggested a 2cu ft would this still apply for 20 grain hardness ? Would this be the same as a 64000 grain system ?

    I saw some systems with a turbulator and that it helps in the regeneration process. From your experience, does this help and is it prone to failure ?

    Thanks
  10. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,137
    Location:
    Maine
    You can bend the anode rod to remove it and whe you order or get a new on get one of the link type. they are more like a chain so you don't need the overhead.

    I think the 70000SXT is a very good choice indeed. dual tank is going to cost you more money for probably not that much benefit. I usually don't bother with a turbulator either although they do have some benefits.
  11. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,828
    Location:
    Ontario California
    I am not a fan of the turbulator, but... they are fine. They tend to overstate their ability. They are fairly inexpensive. They also use more water during the backwash and fast rinse cycles since the DLFC button has to be increased. Water is relatively inexpensive, and in most areas, it is plentiful. They also allow us to use a shorter tank, this is rarely critical, except for installations where height is a major factor.

    2 Cu. Ft would still be fine at 20 grains and will maintain great efficiency for up to 5 people.

    If you are going to have a lot more people, the 9100SXT would be a good choice, but... a single tank design is perfect for most standard residential systems. Even my own house, where I can have any system I want since I am not paying for it, I use the 7000 in a single softener design.
  12. Cblsurfr

    Cblsurfr New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Gatineau, Qc
    Thanks for the information.

    Would you know about how much water is used for regeneration with a 2cuft Fleck 7000sxt and should I expect that to occur once a week or maybe 8-10 days? I'm starting to gather the details to dig for a drywell in which the backwash will be directed and perhaps one of my downspouts as it's currently dropping the water in my driveway...so I don't want to make it too small...or too large.
  13. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,828
    Location:
    Ontario California
    The amount of water a system uses can be adjusted to meet your needs. If your water is fairly clean, or if you put a sediment filter ahead of the softener, a 2 cu. ft. system can be set as follows. These are estimates but they should be fairly close.

    BW1: 2-10 minutes at 3.5 GPM 14-70 gallons
    BD: 60 minutes at .5 GPM, plus brine water, 30 gallons plus 5.5 =35.5
    BW2: 2 minutes - 5 minutes = 14-35
    RR:2-5 mintes = 14-35 gallons

    So, a 2 cu. ft softener can be set to use as little as 77.5 gallons and still maintain extremely long resin life. You can lessen these cycles further but it is not recommended. You will see many systems on the market that only use 15 gallons per regeneration, this is "neat" but not the best way to operate a system.

    Your unit should treat approximately 2666 gallons, and it will use as less than 100 gallons to regenerate. That is less than 4 gallons of water to treat 100 gallons, I would consider that highly efficient.

    Estimated regeneration frequency with your current conditions, every 10-20 days.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
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