Need advice on how to clean water softener that has sat idle for years

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Tie Minnow

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Hey guys, I could use some advice on how to handle my situation. I installed a water softener in the beginning of 2021, we used it for a couple of months but bypassed cause I started itching every time I took a shower. Turns out it was my soap . Anyway it's been idle ever since early 2021. I occasionally go down and do a regen and than back to bypass. I do this every couple months.

I haven't used it because I've been meaning to give it a proper cleaning. The salt tank has had water in it the whole time and I'm concerned there may be a bacteria issue in the salt tank or in the resin tank considering it has sat idle for so long. I've attached a picture of what it looked like inside.

So now I'm wondering if I should use the morton cleanser which is phosphoric acid and I'm not sure if that is going to remove all the bacteria. Or if I should sanitize by pouring bleach into the brine well. I'm not sure how to go about this and any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone!
 

Bannerman

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You didn't specify if your water is sourced from a private well (unchlorinated), or municipal supply (chlorinated). Regardless, suggest adding a couple tablespoons of unscented chlorine bleach into the brine well, then immediately perform a full regeneration cycle which will draw in the chlorine and brine solution from the brine tank in through the resin bed.
 

Tie Minnow

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You didn't specify if your water is sourced from a private well (unchlorinated), or municipal supply (chlorinated). Regardless, suggest adding a couple tablespoons of unscented chlorine bleach into the brine well, then immediately perform a full regeneration cycle which will draw in the chlorine and brine solution from the brine tank in through the resin bed.
Yes sorry, I am on well water. And it's an all in one morton type from menards. Thanks for the reply.

I'm sorry but I'm fairly ignorant when it comes to the science of these units. Will the bleach clean the iron bacteria from the resin beads? I have seen some online suggest to do a pause during the regen cycle but I'm not entirely sure how to do that. Again I have very little understanding of these things. Just want to make sure it's safe for the family. I also had bugs and stuff floating in the brine. I don't understand why these units are not sealed does the brine water not go into the house lines?
 

Bannerman

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does the brine water not go into the house lines?
No, almost all of the brine will be drawn into the resin tank normally within the 1st ~15-minutes of the Brine Draw phase of the regeneration cycle. The Brine Draw phase is often 60-minutes duration as it usually 2 cycles (Brine Draw + Slow Rinse) which are combined into one setting. Once all of the brine has been transferred into the resin tank, the remaining ~45-minutes includes a slow rinse which will continue to push the brine & chlorine through the resin to drain, and will cause the resin to be rinsed with fresh water.

Will the bleach clean the iron bacteria from the resin beads?
Do you know for certain if there is actually Iron Reducing Bacteria present, or are you assuming such because your well water contains ? ppm iron?

Chlorine will kill any type of bacteria, but will not remove iron buildup from the resin. To assist the brine to remove iron deposits from the resin, an acidic cleaner such as Iron Out, ResCare, citric acid or other suitable acid will be commonly utilized.

As it seems you may be using salt pellets which contain an iron remover, there will be some amount of citric acid already mixed into the salt, but depending on the quantity of iron in the water and the water pH, additional periodic acid treatments maybe necessary.

Chlorine Bleach should not be mixed directly with an acid as toxic chlorine gas will be created.

I also had bugs and stuff floating in the brine. I don't understand why these units are not sealed does the brine water not go into the house lines?
Air needs to enter the brine tank when brine is being drawn from the tank, and air will exit the tank when additional water enters the tank to dissolve the salt that creates brine for each regeneration cycle. Since regeneration should occur on a regular basis, bugs and such are not usually a concern. Since salt will never be 100% pure, suggest cleaning the brine tank every few years by allowing the salt level to drop to near 0 and dump out the remaining brine along with debris, followed by rinsing and sanitization using a weak bleach solution.
 

Tie Minnow

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I am a little confused yet on using bleach when the salt contains citric acid. How is it safe to dump the bleach in the brine well?
 
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