Please help to identify a water treatment system (w photos)

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by fleur, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. fleur

    fleur New Member

    Aug 8, 2011
    Chandler, AZ
    Hello everyone,

    We bought a house and there is some water filtration system.
    Control valve says Autotrol Model 263/440i

    Can somebody help me to identify what kind of system we have by looking at the photos below? Thank you.




    We're about to do some bathroom remodeling, and our GC said that he would advise us to invest into some water softening system. When I asked him what we had in a garage, he said he didn’t know.

    I see some magnetic softeners attached to the pipes. I do not believe they work and think the idea behind them doesn’t make sense.

    I recently had to test our tap water for total calcium hardness since I have problem with our pool (total calcium hardness is >900ppm).
    Our tap water had a calcium hardness of 250ppm. I used Taylor K-2006 Test Kit
    I called our water treatment facility, and they said that their measurements are around 750ppm, but I think the technician I spoke with made a mistake. I will verify this information again because this doesn't make any sense.

    Also, when our GC told us about investing into a water softener, I pulled out one of the Aquachek test strips for pools and tested our tap water for total hardness. The result was 250ppm (250 x 0.058=14.5 grains). I know these strips are not the most reliable, (they jump from 0 to 100 to 250-500-1000), but when I test our pool water using them, total hardness shows >1000ppm
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  2. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 In the Trades

    Nov 24, 2010
    Owner of SWS Systems WWW.SWSSYSTEM.COM
    Ocala, Florida
    Not sure what is in each tank, but would guess the in/out is carbon. As for the tank, it could have one of several medias. Best thing to do is get a water sample taken before both tanks. This way you can narrow it down. Test should be for hardness, pH, iron, sulfur and turbidity.
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  4. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Dec 29, 2009
    Business owner/service and sales
    I would go with a micron of some size, then maybe a calcite like filter and then maybe carbon?
    one is an in out head and the other is a filter set up... no softener in line right now..
    As for the mags..... some like them and others say that they do nothing....

    as for the in out head on that one tank, it was a one way trip... on unions so that the media can be changed or added to ....
  5. fleur

    fleur New Member

    Aug 8, 2011
    Chandler, AZ
    I ordered today Watts Premier 173006 All-In-One Water Test Kit
    Test kit includes: 2 Free Chlorine, 2 Total Chlorine, 2 Chloride, 2 pH, 2 Total Alkalinity, 2 Total Hardness, 2 Nitrate, 2 Nitrite, 2 Iron, 2 Sulfate, 2 Hydrogen Sulfide (egg odor), 2 Copper, 1 Lead, 1 Pesticide and 1 Bacteria test

    I find it strange that the company who makes these tanks would not bother identifying them. If I had to buy one of the tanks online, how would I know if I received the right product at the end?

    I found several systems on which look like the one at our house. I don’t understand if each set-up is unique and requires more items than just this almond colored tank which they show for almost every Autotrol system, but it seems these are the possibilities:
    - Acid neutralizer (
    - Iron, Sulphur, and Manganese Filter (
    - Water Softener / Tannin Removal (
    - Backwashing Carbon Filter (http://www.water-softeners-filters....backwashing-carbon-filter-1-5-cubic-feet.html)

    Since our set-up has 2 tanks, I don’t know if it is possible for them to perform different functions (?) or they’re duplicating each other.
    I would love to add a softener to an existing set-up, but I don’t know if it can be done and where to start.

    It is my second day reading about water softeners, so I have to decipher your reply and make sure I got it right

    micron of some size, = osmonics micron sediment filter (that little white thing installed before our 2 tanks)
    then maybe a calcite like filter =?
    and then maybe carbon = backwashing carbon tank (according to the website "Carbon tanks are great at removing taste, smells, odors, chemicals, chlorine, organics and many other impurities").

    one is an in out head and the other is a filter set up...
    What does "one is an in out head" mean?
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Feb 6, 2011
    NW Ontario, Canada
    The one in the middle, with no timer or valves is the "in and out head". Since it has no valves, it does not get backwashed or regenerated. The odd thing is they did not put unions on the lines so it cannot even be taken out to replace the media inside without cutting pipes.
  7. fleur

    fleur New Member

    Aug 8, 2011
    Chandler, AZ

    I wonder if this system was professionally installed or it was DIY...
    I tried to find out how long the media inside usually lasts, but realized that there are so many factors that it is almost impossible to get a certain number. It looks like you just have to test water in order to see if it is time to replace media.

    Also, is there a way to add a softener to this system or we have to choose between one or another?

    I’m worried about properly sizing our unit. There are 3,5 bathrooms in the house, but most of the time we’ll have only 2 people living there.
    The deal is we have multiple spray shower heads in our master bathroom, which can generate 10gpm when all turned on at the same time.
    What am I looking at? I read somewhere that undersizing your softener or oversizing is equally bad.

    Should I contact one of the installers listed on or I should do more research first?
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Water softeners DO filter to a certain extent. Filters, like you have, do NOT soften the water. IF those filters are still functional, you could add a softener before, or after them, but it would take up more space and require an extensive revision to the piping.
  9. rjh2o

    rjh2o Member

    May 10, 2011
    Can't see the forest for all the trees!
    This is what you have.
    1. # 10 sediment pre-filter housing with replaceable cartridge.
    2. In-Out carbon tank (9x48)
    3. Birm (or similar) Backwashing iron filter (9x48)
    4. Magnets on the "outgoing" plumbing line to the house (similar to easy water system) GIMMICK! Does NOTHING!

    My suggestion is to get a thorough water analysis from an independent lab to determine the water chemistry and the proper water treatment application
  10. fleur

    fleur New Member

    Aug 8, 2011
    Chandler, AZ
    Thank you! One of the tanks is wider than another, I measured (don't remember exact numbers)

    What are the chances that the second tank is backwashing carbon filter?
    Like this one:

    What's the advantage of having a backwashing carbon filter vs in and out type?

    I will be adding a softener and replumbing the whole thing anyway (not myself though!).
    Is it possible to install an in and out tank so I don't have to cut pipes next time I decide to change carbon inside? What will they need for it?
    Can media inside be identified by looking at it?

    Also, anybody knows the max flow rate of that #10 micron sediment filter?

    So far I tested our water for chlorine with Taylor FAS-DPD Water Test Kit K-2006 and it showed 0 chlorine. Outside test showed presence of chlorine in water. I assume carbon is still good and doesn't need to be changed yet.
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