Something that looks like fiberglass in water softener "out" plumbing

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by Pat Prince, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. Pat Prince

    Pat Prince New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Hello

    Our water pressure dropped significantly - we are on a well - we changed the pressure switch on the well but that was not the problem. Bypassed the water softener and disconnected it from the plumbing. The plumbing for water out of the softener was clogged with the stuff in the pictures. Does anyone know what this is? It looks like pieces of thin shredded plastic with a straw like material mixed in -- kinda like fiberglass. There was also three pieces of what looked liked ceramic or thick cream colored glass - each piece was about a quarter inch by a quarter inch big (roughly - they were symmetrically shaped).

    If it was coming from the well or well plumbing - would the "in" plumbing on the water softener also be clogged? Hoping this isn't something inside the well system - we had a new well pressure tank installed last year.

    Do we need to drain the water heater and could this be coming from the water heater? It is about 7 years old. I am thinking it is not coming from the water heater since the water went through the softener before the water heater - but want to confirm.

    Did this stuff come from the inside of the water softener tank? I am hoping the tank is messed up and that is where this crap came from. Going to dump the tank tomorrow and see if anything else is in the bottom of it. It is filled with rust colored resin right now - I am assuming that is what is called iron saturated resin??

    We have completely disconnected the water softener from our water lines but still getting the faucet screens clogged with this stuff - smaller amounts each time so hoping it is working out of the system. IMAG0475.jpg IMAG0477.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  2. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    718
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    Not positive but I was thinking it is coming from the well pump itself. If you are still getting it in the screens and the softener is on bypass, it's not from the softener nor is it from the heater.
  3. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,046
    Location:
    Maine
    Shredded pump impeller(s)
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,826
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Ja both "from the well" and "shredded impellers" came to mind. However, I have to wonder if the OP has his IN and OUT confused. I can see that collecting in the IN port, but for it to be in the OUT port means it had to go through the media and through the bottom screen.
  5. Pat Prince

    Pat Prince New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I dumped the media from the softener tank, and could see pieces of the white plastic material in the media - so it went through. The "in" water line on the softener had no type of screen or trap to catch debris coming in.
  6. Pat Prince

    Pat Prince New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    North Carolina
    So, the well guys said this stuff was not from the pump impellers and that anything passing through the pump screen is considered "good to drink" -- think i need new well guys. They advised us to put an inline filter on the lines. But, I would still like to know where this stuff is coming from.

    I attached an updated pic of the stuff now that it seems to have dried out some. It is still coming through the lines and cold water on kitchen faucet is plugged. Any ideas on how to back flush - I took the aerator out so it is not in there, we disconnected the cold line and blew it out best we could - going to buy a "snake" today and see if I can run it through to unclog better. I have also taken apart the whole faucet and blown it out where I could -- it is a brand new faucet installed two days ago because of the same problem.

    I have read lots of instructions on how to back flush, but my water heater does not have a cold water line shut off on it. So will back flushing like that still work - if I just shut off the water heater power?

    We also tried to drain the water heater -- we could get very little to come out - what did come out was a dark grayish color and mostly sediment - not sure if we just had a pressure lock that we didn't get released or if it is so clogged that more drastic measures will be needed to drain it - or should we just leave it alone?

    Any other ideas or comments would be greatly appreciated.

    IMAG0478.jpg
  7. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,713
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Looks like wood shavings. Does it burn? If so, what does the smoke smell like? I agree with the well guys -- I'd put some kind of cheap particulate filter in the line from the well for starters. As for the water heater, try opening the drain with the WH under pressure -- often that will blow out a plug of crud in the bottom. If that fails, and considering the age of the WH, it's probably time for a new one -- but not before you pin down the source of this stuff and eliminate it from the house plumbing. All in all, I'm pretty sure it's coming out of the well. How deep is the well, what kind of pump, how deep is the pump set (I'm assuming a submersible pump), and how old is the pump installation?
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