Foamy, Brown, Hard Water after regen - Clack WS1

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Mattmouth182

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I'm looking for advise with my Sterling water softener. It appears to use Clack WS1 parts.

My water softener has seemed to be losing effectiveness over the past few months. I started noticing odd behavior like foamy and gross tasting water some mornings and harder water than normal all the time.

After doing some reading, I thought that maybe my media had been fouled by iron. I have an iron filter before the softener, but not too long ago had an issue where the iron filter drain got plugged and the filter itself started under performing. I fixed that issue, but figured the higher iron for a few months might have dirtied my softener's resin.

So I decided to try some "Rust Out" in the brine tank. After a manual regen, I ran the tap into a bucket and noticed the water was REALLY dark brown and foamy. Now I knew that the backwash process should have drained everything from the regen process down the drain and not into the house water. But I figured that it might just be that the Rust Out freed up a lot of iron and it didn't backwash enough.

Since it was so nasty, I did another treatment of Rust Out and let it regen overnight. I got the same results. I decided to do a manual regen with just salt and see how it looked. Less brown, but still really foamy and definitely bad. I did a 4th regen overnight a results were about the same as the third but the water seemed to clear up after about 2min of running the tap compared to probably 5+min after the first regens.

Something is clearly mechanically wrong since I am getting such dirty water after the regen. I was thinking about buying a seal pack and piston kit, but I'm wondering why it's not softening? I Could see the seals causing the leak to the freshwater, but not the lack of softening.

I checked the drain during the brining and backwash steps. It's slow during brining, but looks to be flowing plenty during the backwash step. I removed the drain fitting and checked it to be sure, it was unrestricted.

The water level rises in the "brine fill" stage, and seems to correctly draw during the "draw/slow rinse" stage.

Not sure where to go from here? Does it make sense to continue to try to repair this thing or does it sound dead? I figured if I can get it to soften the water, then that's proof its working, and I just need to repair the seals? But why isn't it softening?

Thanks for any help!
 

Reach4

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1. Tell us about your iron filter? What media, size, backwash gpm?
2. How much "rust out" did you use for each treatment, and how did you introduce that to the brine tank?

I would have taken steps to let the dissolved "rust out" sit in contact with the media longer. This could have been done by closing the bypass when the chemical was in contact with the resin.

I had not heard of "Rust Out" but it appears to be close to a copy of Iron Out by looking at the MSDSs. https://www.menards.com/main/grocer...tain-remover/io10n/p-1444444183163-c-7097.htm

I recently did something where I recirculated water with Iron Out thru my softener after changing out my iron filter media. I first tried to rejuvenate my iron filter media by recirculating Iron Out, but that did not work as I had hoped. So I replaced the media. It had been in service longer than the media was expected to last. https://terrylove.com/forums/index....e-other-related-operations.99044/#post-715276

I used a small utility pump to power recirculation.
 

Mattmouth182

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I'll have to do some research to comment on the iorn filter, will get back. I can say that it is only about 6yrs old.

I used an amount according to the directions (maybe slightly more as I did not measure it exactly). I dissolved about 1.5-2 cups into a half gallon of water and poured it into the brine tank while the salt level was was very low (could see the grate). After this, I immediately manually started a regen cycle.

That is an interesting idea. Should I close both the inlet and outlet from the softener? You think it might just still be really clogged up with iron? I also have a lot of tannins in my water. Should I try citric acid as well?
 

Reach4

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Citric acid smells better. I think Iron Out is more effective.

I have a boiler drain valve that supplies hard water. I think I put the softener into reverse rinse, and pulled the power. Then running the softener drain into a big container (pre-filled half way), I pumped from the container into that boiler drain valve. That circulated water.

My other hard water drain valve is at the pressure tank. If you bypassed your iron filter, you could circulate into that and out of the softener drain.

In the future, when you pour treatment liquid into the brine tank, pour into the brine well rather than onto the salt. Pouring onto the salt can cause the pellets to stick together.
 

Mattmouth182

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Thanks for the tip, I didn't think about pulling the cap off the tube that leads to the brine well, instead I had just got the salt really low (scooped a lot out). That is an interesting recirculation idea that I might need to give a try, my water is still harder than it should be, but making progress!

The citric acid question was specifically for the tannins. I figured Iron Out wouldn't do much for the tannins?

To your original question:
1. My Iron filter is an EcoWater AIV-10.
- 1 ft^3 Zeolite media, 17lbs of quartz gravel
- 10"dia x 47in tall
- 7-10gpm, 7gpm min backwash flow

I was worried about how dirty water was getting into my tap water after a regen, so I did some testing:
1. After 2 days the water was quite clear, but it's still hard. I used the manual mode to force a regen, but skipped through to the backwash phase, then skipped brine and just did the final 4min rinse. The water was still very clear with no foam after this process. So i know that the issue isn't simply from stirring things up from the backwash.

2. Next I re-applied the Iron Out cleaner to the brine tank as directed. This time I wanted to give the cleaner more time to work. So, I did a manual regen, but shut off the water flow into and out of the softener at 10 minutes. Then let it sit for 10 minutes before opening the bypass valves again. I repeated this every other 10min until the 60min brine cycle was up. To make sure i used all the brine/cleaner, I restarted the brine cycle manually and repeated my 10 on 10 off procedure, ending on brine with the bypass valves open. I then repeated the final rinse cycle 2 times.

While the softener was in brine, but bypassed and "soaking", i tried the tap water. No discoloration/foam. So it seems the dirty water isn't "leaking" into the tap water here either - and likely not at all. So I'm thinking not mechanical issue! This is good news because i didn't want to replace the media or parts on a system that was failing in multiple ways.

After this process and then a salted regen, no foam, no bad water after the regen. ( I started playing with the softener settings and now do an 8min rinse every regen).

I got soft water! But it seems like it only lasted 2 days :( The water is nowhere near as bad as when the softener is bypassed, but it's not what it used to be.

Has anyone used this stuff? Feels like overpriced Iron out/scammy but might be worth a shot?

I guess if none of this works (including rigging up a recirculation cleaning process), it's time for a resin swap?
 
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Reach4

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I am ignorant about treating tannins.

I share your skepticism on the Crystal Clean. Organic acid, FAQ says "WHAT IS CRYSTAL CLEAN MADE OF?
The Crystal Clean treatment is a custom formulated organic water treatment. It is considered non-hazardous and contains no acid." So it is not similar to Iron Out. I found no MSDS.

The other popular type of resin cleaner is based on phosphoric acid. Res-Up and ResCare are examples.

If you continue to only get softening for 2 days, raise the hardness setting to compensate. That will cause regen to happen more often.

For longer contact time with resin, I would not stop the water until after the TDS in the drain line has taken a big jump. I expect it to over-range. It takes a while for the drawn brine mix to make to and through the resin. If I did the bypass, I would leave that in place for hours rather than minutes.

The recirculation takes care of that, and the total amount of water in play will be bigger.
 

Charlie Bosco

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I'm looking for advise with my Sterling water softener. It appears to use Clack WS1 parts.

My water softener has seemed to be losing effectiveness over the past few months. I started noticing odd behavior like foamy and gross tasting water some mornings and harder water than normal all the time.

After doing some reading, I thought that maybe my media had been fouled by iron. I have an iron filter before the softener, but not too long ago had an issue where the iron filter drain got plugged and the filter itself started under performing. I fixed that issue, but figured the higher iron for a few months might have dirtied my softener's resin.

So I decided to try some "Rust Out" in the brine tank. After a manual regen, I ran the tap into a bucket and noticed the water was REALLY dark brown and foamy. Now I knew that the backwash process should have drained everything from the regen process down the drain and not into the house water. But I figured that it might just be that the Rust Out freed up a lot of iron and it didn't backwash enough.

Since it was so nasty, I did another treatment of Rust Out and let it regen overnight. I got the same results. I decided to do a manual regen with just salt and see how it looked. Less brown, but still really foamy and definitely bad. I did a 4th regen overnight a results were about the same as the third but the water seemed to clear up after about 2min of running the tap compared to probably 5+min after the first regens.

Something is clearly mechanically wrong since I am getting such dirty water after the regen. I was thinking about buying a seal pack and piston kit, but I'm wondering why it's not softening? I Could see the seals causing the leak to the freshwater, but not the lack of softening.

I checked the drain during the brining and backwash steps. It's slow during brining, but looks to be flowing plenty during the backwash step. I removed the drain fitting and checked it to be sure, it was unrestricted.

The water level rises in the "brine fill" stage, and seems to correctly draw during the "draw/slow rinse" stage.

Not sure where to go from here? Does it make sense to continue to try to repair this thing or does it sound dead? I figured if I can get it to soften the water, then that's proof its working, and I just need to repair the seals? But why isn't it softening?

Thanks for any help!
If you are treating well water you may need something extra to keep the Resin clean. I use Rescare in a continuous drip in my brine tank. I love it.. this stuff made my 15 year old Kinetico work like new again. You can see the feeder in my Avatar photo.

Its phosphoric acid and pretty much makes the resin perfect. Cheap too.
You will notice over time the softener get more and more efficient as the resin gets cleaned on EVERY backwash. Once you have had it running for a month or so you may even need to dial back the Regen schedule. Originally I upped my REGEN because I was running out of "Soft Water" but after some time with Rescare I had to dial it back.

 
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