Autotrol Iron Filter Problem

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by tnixa, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. tnixa

    tnixa New Member

    May 13, 2009
    My house was built about 8 years ago on a shared well and the plumbers put in a Autotrol 268/440i (had to put in a logix 700 controller last year) potassium permanganate iron filter and a 255/400 water softener. The system has worked fine for the most part until about 3 months ago the water was brown for a little bit so I cleaned the filter and injector on the iron filter. The water was OK for a couple weeks after that but then we got some pink and some more brown. I ran the water until all the pink and brown were gone and the water was fine for another couple weeks and then the same thing happened again with pink and brown. I then cleaned the filter and injector again on the iron filter and changed the regen from every 3 days to every 2 days. About a week later we got brown but no pink.

    I called my plumber and he thought the resin in the iron filter might be worn out as he has another unit like mine with the same problem. He is going to ask around and see what the best solution would be. He didn't think it would be worth it to replace the resin/tank in the iron filter as he says these potassium permanganate filters "are not what we thought they would be." I'm not crazy about having to monitor and add the potassium permanganate or getting pink in my water.

    I talked to a couple neighbors and they both have a chemical free iron filter. One of them has a Chem-Free Iron Filter CF1047A. The other one didn't know the brand or model. I know a couple other neighbors have a paper filter system.

    Here are my questions:
    1) Do you think the problem is due to worn out resin in the iron filter or something else?
    2) Assuming the resin is the problem, would it be worth replacing the resin or should I go with a different iron filter setup?
    3) Assuming a different system is the way to go, what system is better? Paper filters or chemical free tank or something else? I did a little research and found some paper filter systems that touted filtering out lots of different stuff and not losing water pressure.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!
  2. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Nov 29, 2010
    I'm not a fan of potassium permanganate filters and there are other options for iron removal but, you need to test the water so you know how much iron you are dealing with.
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  4. tnixa

    tnixa New Member

    May 13, 2009
    I'll try to get some iron numbers soon. Am I correct in thinking the paper filters would be a decent option if my water didn't contain a lot of iron where the other tank systems would be needed if the iron amounts were higher?
  5. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Nov 29, 2010
    Usually, permanganate is used when there is a lot of iron and if you have a lot of iron a paper filter will fill up in a very short period of time making it expensive to maintain.
  6. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Jan 9, 2012
    Water systems designer, R&D, Technical Director
    Ontario California
    When was the last time you had a good water test done on the well? If it is a shared well, split the cost for a good water test. They are not that expensive, and will provide a lot of useful information.

    Iron removal systems are much simpler than the old Pot Perm design, and the modern medias and designs rarely need chemical anymore. Let us know what your water test shows, even if it is just iron. At minimum, iron, hardness, pH, are simple tests you can buy cheap and do yourself. A real test of a well should be done every few years at minimum. Any sediment filter in the 3-5 micron range will usually remove the precipitated iron, if the iron is still in a ferrous state, the paper filter will do nothing. That is the purpose of the pot perm system, it converts the ferrous iron to ferric, changing it from a dissolve iron, to a precipitated sediment that is physically filtered. I simplified the process, but the basic idea is there. And as Tom said, the disposable filters will usually require very regular changeouts, this can get costly. A self cleaning backwash system for iron removal is usually preferred.
  7. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Nov 29, 2010
    I don't know Ditto, you got a little technical there with that micron talk. Might get spanked for that LOL Did you get my Email?

    Some methods for removing Iron. concentrations are in ppm

    Polyphosphate 0-3
    Ion Exchange (softener) 0-10*
    Greensand Filter 0-10**
    Chlorination and Filtration 0->10***
    *Most softeners are rated for use at the
    lower end of the range. Check with the
    **Most greensand filters are rated for use at
    the upper end of the range. Check with the
    manufacturer. If water pH is less than 6.8,
    greensand filters will not perform as rated.
    ***Chlorination and filtration will work at
    all levels of soluble iron; however, it is
    recommended only for levels above 10 ppm
    of soluble iron.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2012
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    Is the equipment just treating your water or others' also?

    When you say you cleaned the "filter" and injector... the filter is the filter screen inside the control valve and not a sediment prefilter, right?

    Have you ever cleaned the drain flow control area its ball in the control valve? If not you may want to. How about the 'channel' (port) between the filter screen area over to the injector?. A smoking pipe pipe cleaner or a small diameter twisted piece of rag works well. Or run a #2 Phillips head screw driver through it but don't scratch it. Of course the injector and screen has to be removed first.

    Most plumbers do not know this stuff and yours doesn't know what he is talking about. A water treatment dealer is a much better choice.

    You have a manganese greensand filter, there is no resin in it. Resin goes in your softener. Manganese greensand is regenerated with potassium permanganate, a poison so the pink water contains PP and that is not good. If your efforts hadn't produced good water for weeks afterwards, then maybe the greensand would need to be replaced but not yet. I'd start a regeneration and when the control goes into backwash, unplug the control for like 20 minutes and then plug it back in and let the regeneration finish on its own. Then see how the water is and if OK, then go back to 3 day regeneration and see. If not good water, then the mineral/greensand is probably bad.

    Too much PP during a regeneration can be caused by loose brine line fittings, a partially blocked/kinked drain line or the drain line controller, low water pressure, blocked filter screen or injector or the port between them, etc..

    Chemical free would be like air injection, Birm etc.. Paper would be a disposable cartridge filter and will not remove dissolved iron, only rust and that will block them up very quickly.

    I do not suggest air injection, and Birm can work or not, so I'm not a fan of it either. You could replace the greensand with MTM. It regenerates with PP periodically but is much lighter and easier to backwash. You would probably need a different drain line flow control and maybe shorten the backwash and rinse cycle times. You should be able to go more than 3 days between regenerations and use much less PP. The dealer you would buy it from can give you all the info you'd need.

    Do you have any clear to black slimy, snotty, slippery 'stuff' built up from the water line down in the toilet tanks? Flush and as the water goes down, wipe your hand on the inside of the toilet tank to see.

    If so, that would be iron reducing bacteria (IRB) and although harmless to humans/animals, it can cause the mineral in your iron filter to fail.

    If you have IRB then you would have to use chlorine or another disinfectant to kill the bacteria and remove your iron using your present filter with different mineral in it to filter out the chlorine and 'dirt' (rust) caused by the oxidation of the iron; like Centaur carbon.

    You can do all that checking this'er that before getting an iron test done.
  9. tnixa

    tnixa New Member

    May 13, 2009
    Thanks Gary and others for the responses so far. This is a big help. I am trying to get the results from our last well water test. Sounds like they do them every year.

    The equipment I mention is only treating my house. I don't believe there are any chemical filters coming out of the well pump. Each house on the well has their own filters.

    The filter I cleaned is the filter screen inside the control valve. This process is listed under the regular maintenance part of the owner's manual. I have not cleaned anything else but sounds like I should try cleaning the other parts Gary mentioned.

    My plumber has been talking with his water treatment dealer as I think he knows that they know more about these kind of issues.

    I'll check for IRB later today.
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