Iron testing and what are the effects of iron on my softener and neutralizer

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Clydesdale6

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Hello Everyone,
For starters, I thank everyone for all the help that I have gotten over the past few months. I had a new well pump installed and then a Clack softener and Neutralizer. I had two companies test my water and they both came to the same conclusion that my water was acidic. Neither company was stunned by my iron levels and did not think I needed an iron breaker. But, when the installer was last at my house he did say that my water has higher iron levels. Can you guys recommend a good iron test kit and what effect will iron have on my new equipment? Thanks.
 

Bannerman

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When you operate a private well, you are your own utility. Don't rely on testing performed by suppliers that will benefit by selling you equipment. Obtain a comprehensive lab test to know all water conditions so you will know which conditions will need to be addressed and any treatment or equipment considerations will be based on consistent and accurate information.

For well water testing, National Lab's Standard Well package is recommended.
http://watercheck.myshopify.com/?aff=5
 
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Skyjumper

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i'd recommend the Hach HA-77 for hardness and iron. don't use the cheap iron test strips they are not reliable (I have never used Hach iron test strips, but the ones you get on Amazon are junk).

if you don't care about the hardness test you can just get the Hach IR-18 its the same as the HA-77 but without the hardness drop titration. but since you're on a well and need to monitor your water I'd get the HA-77 thats what I have, I use it often.

I'd also suggest you immediately begin using resin cleaners in your softener if you have not already done so. add citric acid to your salt and add rescare or one of the other phosphoric acid cleaners to the brine well.
 

Clydesdale6

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I already have the HACH water hardness kit. So, sounds like I should have just bought the one that does iron as well. I will purchase the IR-18. Can you please tell me a little more about the resin cleaners? How often does one put this stuff in the brine tank? Thanks again.
 

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you could always just get the Hach iron powder packets item # 92799 for $23. you add one packet to 5ml test water and shake. it will turn orange if there's iron in the water. the darker the orange the more iron you have. that will not tell you exactly how much, but roughly a light tint is a little bit, and a dark tint it a lot. you can get a feel for that gradient from pics of the color disc on the website. I don't use the color disc anymore since I'm just checking to see how well my iron filter is working and I've done it so many times.

citric acid is what's in the Morton rust remover salt. you could just buy the salt, but I like to add it myself. 1/2 cup per 50lb bag salt. this is what I use https://www.amazon.com/Milliard-Citric-Acid-Pound-NON-GMO/dp/B01DKRP1GM

Phosphoric acid is what's in the popular Rescare and similar cleaners. They make a dispenser I'm not sure how much it adds. You can add 1-2 oz manually to the brine well with every regeneration, or once a week if you regenerate weekly, etc. if you skip a regeneration no big deal.

These 2 work well for me. Others here use Iron Out, which does work but in my experience requires more contact time with the resin. I'd use it for semi-annual cleaning where you dissolve it in water, add it to the brine tank, initiate a manual regen, then stop the brine phase once all the brine is sucked into the resin, and let it sit for a couple hours. if that sounds like too much hassle then don't bother with it.

edit. this is the color disc. if you can get a 10ml graduated test tube and the powder packs you have what you need. just note the numbers don't align with the colors because of how the viewing box is constructed. you get the idea

color disc.JPG
 
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Clydesdale6

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ok. Thanks. I currently use a HACH 5-ep test kit for hardness. I use Hydrion strips for pH. Are the pH strips accurate? I am going to purchase an iron kit. I will get the one that ranges from 0-7 HACH IR-18c part number 2667200 But, do I need to purchase a better kit for pH or will my Hydrion strips suffice? Thanks again.
 

Clydesdale6

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The more I think about it, how often will I have to check iron? I understand that my hardness and pH can fluctuate because I have a neutralizer and a water softener. But, shouldn't my iron be pretty consistent and not require a lot of monitoring? Thanks.
 

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Are the pH strips accurate?
The narrower the range, the better. I found that Hydrion (O67) Urine & Saliva pH Paper 5.5-8.0 took several seconds to hit the color where the scale agreed with my lab water tests. Matching colors against a printed scale is not that easy.

I now think the cheap pH meters are better. They often include packets of buffer salts. Mix one of those with 250 ml of distilled water to make a calibration solution. Use the calibration solution each time, and adjust the meter with a screwdriver. Use the packet closest to the pH you are trying to measure. I suggest you keep a wide mouth glass jar with a screw on lid to hold the solution. A gram kitchen scale is nice for measuring 250 ml (250 grams) of distilled water.

Keep the tip in buffer solution when stored. You can use the cap to hold the buffer solution, and store tip-down.
 

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My Hydrion strips range 0-13. When you mention cheap ph meters, can you direct me to an example? The HACH ha-77 kit has an iron range that tests 0-7. That is why I was going to get the iron kit that measures the same range.
 

Aaroninnh

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For pH I use the Hach 17F. It goes in .2 increments but maxes out at 8.6. They have another one for higher pH ranges, and one wide range one that goes in bigger increments.
 

Reach4

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My Hydrion strips range 0-13. When you mention cheap ph meters, can you direct me to an example? The HACH ha-77 kit has an iron range that tests 0-7. That is why I was going to get the iron kit that measures the same range.
That wide range would not be suitable for drinking water IMO.

Narrow range color match tests, in general, are better if they are narrow range.

For pH meter, I would go to Ebay, and enter pH meter as a search. I am referring to the common cheap yellow ones with a black cap.

If you order one from a US seller, it will normally come much faster.
 

Clydesdale6

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That hach model 17f seems like the proper pH kit if I go that route. I am looking into the ebay meters now as well. How about the iron? Looking at their kits, it looks like the IR-18B is the proper kit. Any comment on the range of the Hach IR-18A vs Hach 18-A? Thanks again.
 

Clydesdale6

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I meant to say Hach IR -18A vs IR-18B. My issue is that I don't know enough about the range yet. The hach _R-24 does not have as large of a range. What if my iron levels are higher than 1mg/L?
 

Skyjumper

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I meant to say Hach IR -18A vs IR-18B. My issue is that I don't know enough about the range yet. The hach _R-24 does not have as large of a range. What if my iron levels are higher?

the difference between the 18, 18A, and 18B is the color disc, that's it. the 18B has color gradations that go out to 7ppm. The 18A goes to 1ppm. the regular 18 goes to 4ppm. The 18A offers more granular readings, but if you have more than 1ppm iron then you need the 18 or 18B, etc. Since you don't know how much iron you have, and you almost certainly do not have more than 4ppm or the water guys would've been all over it and you'd have nasty iron staining in every toilet/sink/shower, then the regular 18 is the best choice. Or the 18B will work too, you really don't need super fine accuracy.

The IR-24 uses a different chemical. more accurate, more expensive, lower range. the 18 is a better choice for you.

edit: BTW it looks like they sell the powder packs in QTY 50 for $13. I'd get these before you spend a bunch of $$ on a test kit you might only use a few times.
https://www.hach.com/ferrover-iron-reagent-powder-pillows-5-ml-pk-50/product?id=7640176727

edit2: one slight correction, not that it matters to you, but the 18A does in fact use a different size powder packet (same chemical). apparently you need more of it, and mix it with more water, to get more granular readings from <1ppm samples. you should still go for the standard 18 if you buy the kit.
 
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Clydesdale6

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I understand. I was leaning to the 18b because of the wider range. But, I did have two companies test my water. Neither one thought I needed an "iron breaker" or other device. So, if that gives you enough info that I don't have a major iron issue than it does seem like the regular 18 is the way to go.
How would I really use the powder only, if I don't have the color wheel? I have the test tube from the water hardness kit which is a 5.83ml.
Maybe I just get the powder and get a rough color idea and see which wheel would be best? Thanks for your help.
 

Skyjumper

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right, if you just got the powder packs it will give you a rough idea. just eyeball it vs. the color wheel I posted above. that will be accurate enough to know if you have 0.2, or 0.8, or 1.8ppm. you just need a way to measure the water. I thought it was 5ml (the tube they give you just has a line on it)... if they are saying 5.83 well then that might be a bit tricky. I'm sure there's some kind of graduated test tube with 1ml gradations you could find, but that might start being more trouble than its worth. although Hach does sell spare test tubes...

edit. of course its $18 for 4 of them when you only need 1 https://www.hach.com/plastic-viewing-tubes-with-caps-pk-4/product?id=7640212204
 

Clydesdale6

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It sounds like the powder is for 5ml and my current tube for hardness is 5.83. I was kind of thinking that I would use the hardness tube and just not fill it all the way, sort of estimate it to be 5/6th full. Do we think that will work or way too off now?
 

Skyjumper

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oh you've got the hardness kit?? well I bet that's the same tube then I think Hach uses common tubes. what kit do you have?
 
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