Advice on new softener

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Pineapple12

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Hello! Our house has a water softener that's gone neglected for 10+ years. From what I remember, the old one didn't work especially well anyway. I've decided to dedicate some time to sorting out my well water properly. We had a water test when we moved in. Most of the things they tested for were "not detected" but below were the key points:

pH: 7.48
Iron: 0.96 ppm
Manganese: 0.083 ppm
Gross Alpha Activity: 1.12 pCi/L

Besides the iron and manganese, the report doesn't list out other "hard water" constituents, but I'd imagine Calcium and Magnesium are there. We sometimes see white deposits on things. I'm not sure if the Gross Alpha is something to be concerned about. I live in South Jersey where Radon is prevalent.

When this test was done, they also tested the softened water. The water softener was working then. Results were:

Iron: Not detected
Manganese: 0.095 ppm

It looks like the softener alone wasn't enough to remove the Manganese.

I have no experience with this stuff, so I'm just reading online and trying to find a good solution. Below is a sketch of what I've come up with so far. I would buy a new softener as well as some "big blue" filters. I was hoping to get some feedback on if this sounds right?

95v2On2.jpg


I am trying to limit the amount of water used for backwashing. My hope is that the RFFE20-BB will take out the Iron/Manganese before hitting the softener. If I change this every year I'd be really happy (probably overly optimistic). The softener would then take out other minerals. The GAC just sounds like a good idea in general.

Any help you can offer is appreciated! Assuming I'm on the right track, I would need some help sizing and sourcing the softener. Are there specific details I need to watch out for when buying online?
 
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DIYMissus

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Welcome usually I ask questions but I think I have learned enough to give some initial advise.
You need to know the water hardness ( usually calcium carbonate) there is no way to size or program your softener with out knowing what the hardness is .
For this ; I use Hach 5B It's simple and accurate. https://www.amazon.com/Hach-145300-...008FM7WLU/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8 Its a good idea to get a test kit to check water quality periodically
The size of the unit will also be determined by how many people in your household to get an idea of how much water you use per day .
 

Pineapple12

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Thanks for your help! I'm starting to realize that A) my test from 10 years ago probably isn't valid anymore. B) it really doesn't have all the info I need. Besides hardness, others have suggested TDS, alkalinity, arsenic, etc. None of that is on the old report.

Should I try to get a more comprehensive test? I'd prefer not to hire anyone, so I'm happy to do the Hachs test. But I also want to make sure there's no lurking issues. I have kids now, so gotta think of their health.

Please don't judge my savage ways, but I have "total hardness" test strips for the pool. I realize this is a highly subjective method, but for what it's worth, looks like 180+ppm.

hQ5TVE8.jpg
 

DIYMissus

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No problem! It certainly would make sense to get a comprehensive test. You really can't design a system except for the sediment filter with out knowing what is in your water .

You don't have to hire anyone to do a water test there are places that you can mail a sample and for a fee they will give you the lab results.
Yes water does change over time this house had the original test results from when the softener was put in 15 years ago at the time 38 gpg and 6 ppm iron now its 120 gpg and 2.4 ppm iron.

I'd say replacing a water system is not a beginner DIY project but if you have already tackled a few projects then it should certainly be doable.

Divide the ppm hardness value by 17.1, the conversion factor for ppm to gpg. The result is the water hardness expressed in grains per gallon. e a water hardness value of 180 ppm. Work out 180 ÷ 17.1 = 10.526.
 
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DIYMissus

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Bannerman

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When operating a private well, you are fully responsible for the water's safety and treatment. You are your own municipality.

A comprehensive lab test is necessary to determine bacteria and chemistry, which are needed to assist with identifying appropriate treatment methods and equipment.

A testing lab most recommended in this forum for US clients is National Labs WaterCheck. They offer various well testing packages. The Standard package will provide the appropriate data for this purpose.

http://watercheck.myshopify.com/?aff=5
 

Pineapple12

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I went ahead and ordered the Hach 5B test. This will get me started, but I will eventually do a more complete test and appreciate the links you all sent.

However, the test yielded some unexpected results. When I add the reagent, the water turns a pale pink-ish, and with each drop of titrant it gets darker, almost grey. But never really blue. I went up to 30 drops.

Thinking I was doing something wrong, I tested on a sample of bottled water. Adding the reagent produced a BRIGHT pink color which turned to BRIGHT blue around 5 drops.

I searched on the forum a bit and found some others speculating that the Iron might interfere with the test. I was able to produce a closer to normal result by using 2x the reagent. That caused a color change to grey around 8 drops, but I'm guessing you need to compensate for the additional reagent?
 

Reach4

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I searched on the forum a bit and found some others speculating that the Iron might interfere with the test. I was able to produce a closer to normal result by using 2x the reagent.
Try 4 parts distilled water, and one part test water. As you approach the number of drops needed, see blue streaks turn to pink as the water mixes. Then multiply the drops by 5. Pure distilled may take zero drops to turn blue.

That will give you a rough number, and then you can consider a different mix... such a 1 and 1, and multiply by 2, or 2 distilled to 1 test water, and multiply by 3.
 

Pineapple12

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Try 4 parts distilled water, and one part test water. As you approach the number of drops needed, see blue streaks turn to pink as the water mixes. Then multiply the drops by 5. Pure distilled may take zero drops to turn blue.

That will give you a rough number, and then you can consider a different mix... such a 1 and 1, and multiply by 2, or 2 distilled to 1 test water, and multiply by 3.
Thanks! I'll try it, but I'll have to get some distilled water. In the meantime, someone also suggested adding a drop of the titrant to the sample before adding the scoop of reagent. I did that and got a much brighter sample to start. Adding 8 more drops (so 9 total) produced a distinct change from pink to clear with a blue tinge. Is this a valid workaround? The expired test strips say 11 if that's reference. My old softener (currently in bypass) is 32,000 grain / 100 grains per gallon.
 

Reach4

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Thanks! I'll try it, but I'll have to get some distilled water.
It's cheap. In a spray bottle, it makes a nice cheap final spray rinse after washing some things including eyeglass lenses.
 

ditttohead

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Adding double the reagent does not require any compensation. I am very color blind and use two scoops, the results are the same. The amount of water and the clear drops are critical.

Don't bother with BB iron filters or carbon filters. These are basically worthless although I do make a ton of money selling them constantly since they only last a very short amount of time.
 
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