Trouble with Hach 5 test

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by paul8028081, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. paul8028081

    paul8028081 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2016
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Hi All,

    I have a whirlpool softener that I'm looking to ensure is working effectively and have purchased the test strip type water analysis tests in the past. Wanting something more accurate, I purchased the hach 5b test. I tested it on my treated water and after one drop the water turned immediately blue, problem is I cannot get it to turn blue with the untreated water, no matter how many drops I put in. I also tried the suggested 4-1 diluted sample with no results where the sample turns blue, I've done up to 60 drops of the non-diluted sample and 20 of the diluted.

    I had some extra test strips for hardness and they both came back in the 200-250 ppm range. I also tried a hardness test kit intended for fish tank water analysis and that came back at 220 ppm (a test very similar to the hach where you count the drops until the sample changes color). I compared these results to my log from 2 years ago and matched the 200 ppm for hardness that I got then.

    Anyone have any ideas what's going on? Do I have a defective Hach kit? I have tried numerous times, numerous samples, numerous cleaning procedures. I've followed the directions to a T, watched videos online of others doing it...the kit isn't expired either.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Dilute more. To 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of distilled water, add one tablespoon of water being tested. Test the mix. Multiply the drops by 5 to get the hardness.
     
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  4. paul8028081

    paul8028081 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2016
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I'll give that a shot tomorrow. We have high iron content in the untreated water, I wonder if that is messing with the kit.
     
  5. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Occupation:
    Water systems designer, R&D, Technical Director
    Location:
    Ontario California
    yes. You should try a different test method. Removal of the iron first will give you a more accurate test. Maybe try a drop of bleach into a cup of water, mix and let it sit overnight. You should see that the iron has precipitated out as a sediment on the bottom. Try testing the water after that.

    You really should get a real water test done by a good lab.

    http://watercheck.myshopify.com?aff=5

    Here is a link to one of the best labs around.
     
  6. paul8028081

    paul8028081 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2016
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I have been meaning to have a lab test the water but $$ is in tight supply right now. I have a BIRM iron filter, I'll take a sample after that with the softener on bypass and try then.

    Assuming my hardness is 225 ppm/ about 13 gpg, is our current softener size 30,000 grains an appropriate set up? We are a family of two adults and two small kids.

    The reason I decided to test is that for about two weeks my softener had too much water in the brine tank so much so that it was going through the overflow discharge....so wanted to see if it was shot. There was no salt bridge or issue I could see, so I took apart the Venturi, cleaned it and reinstalled it. Since then I go though about an 1/8 of the salt I was previously going through and no longer can see any water in the tank except for the bottom 8ish inches. Previous to the Venturi clean out, the water was always at least up to the middle of the tank and I was going though about two bags of salt a month.
     
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    In marketing-speak, that could indicate that you have 0.9375 cubic ft of resin. Since that is not a common amount, your softener may be something else, such as a 9" x 48" tank with 1.00 cu. ft. Usual for your load, if we presume no significant iron after the BIRM, would be 1.5 cubic ft in a 54x10 tank. With 1 ppm of iron, 2 cuft in a 52x12 tank would be normal if buying new.

    What is the size of your resin tank and what are the dimensions of your brine tank (18 inches diameter, for example)?

    https://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?threads/recommended-water-testing-lab.75253/ discusses other water lab tests.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  8. paul8028081

    paul8028081 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2016
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Not sure about those details, based on my research here our softener is the joke of the carlot....we have a WHES30

    www.amazon.com/dp/B004TT8J3I/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_gz6mCb4VJQZAF and a 1.0 cubic foot BIRM iron filter in front of the softener.

    The iron filter backwashes daily and we have 5ppm iron in the water.
     
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I see people who say that WHES30 has 0.82 cubic feet of resin. I am not going to predict how much the water should rise in the brine tank during brine fill. It could be that you were not drawing out all of the brine before your cleaning operation.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    The owner's manual is for both the WHES20 and WHES30 models. A resin tank indicated for the '20' model is 8" X 35" and 9" X 35" for the '30' model. The parts list only shows 1 part number for resin which is for 1 cuft. A 1 cuft softener normally requires a 9" X 48" tank.
     
  11. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Occupation:
    Water systems designer, R&D, Technical Director
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Birm can reduce iron significantly in many applications if the DO is high enough and the pH, the sun and the moon all align perfectly. You need to test the iron before and after the Birm system to be sure it is working.
     
  12. paul8028081

    paul8028081 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2016
    Location:
    Connecticut
    IMG_20190109_203150.jpg

    I think you might be onto something. I tested the water in the following formats with a different brand of test strips and it's clear the iron filter isn't working as well as it should, putting more work on the softener. I haven't had time to do the dilution with the hach test but I also found an environmental testing lab in my town where I could bring a sample in for a precise test which I plan on doing instead. In the meantime...

    - Untreated 200 ppm hardness 10 ppm iron
    - Treated through the BIRM Filter 200 hardness 5 ppm iron
    - Treated through the softener 70 ppm hardness 0-5 ppm iron
    - Fully Treated through both - same as softener

    pH was about 6.4 for all samples. Looks like the BIRM is temperamental especially with a slightly lower pH and today I noticed my fleck valve was leaking from the green unit on the valve.

    What would be the best solution for my situation? What filter system works best for iron?
     
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