Water softener and AIO problems - choose A B C or none of the above?

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by watersoftenerrookie, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. watersoftenerrookie

    watersoftenerrookie New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2020
    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    I moved into a home recently with well water. The home has a 30 year old Kinetico 60 and a 7 year old Nelsen AIO system with a Fleck control head (EDIT: AIO is first and then leads into softener). Neither one of these seems to be working properly.

    EDIT: Water tests conducted by a lab prior to the home purchase showed 18 GPG hardness, about 2 ppm iron, no manganese, ecoli and coliform were 0, dissolved solids were about 360 ppm, 7.2 pH, and the presence of H2S gas.

    There are 9 people in the home (including baby).

    The softener: Kinetico dealer doesn't want to service the control head because of the age of the tanks. They claim the tanks could leak and they don't want to be blamed for equipment fatigue. I could potentially buy a used Kinetico control head and rebed the tanks. Or I could buy something new.
    Vendor A suggests this:
    AFWFilters WS-96k-91SXT Fleck 9100SXT Dual tank water softener
    Vendor B suggests a Vesta 110,000 grain capacity water softener.
    Vendor C suggests a Fleck 5600 (48,000 grain capacity)

    The AIO: the Fleck control head might need to be cleaned but the issue seems to be the media needs to be replaced. There is some argument locally about what media to use. One vendor suggests katalox lite. The other vendor suggests using a blend including KDF.
    Vendor A suggests katalox lite. They say KDF doesn't work in a blend.
    Vendor B suggests a custom blend including KDF. They say Katalox lite will result in a black sediment in my water from the release of the sulfates.
    Vendor C says the AIO needs to be much larger in capacity (currently the AIO is 48,000 grain capacity) and we can use whatever media we want.

    Who is right, A B or C or are they all wrong?
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020 at 2:46 PM
  2. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    A current lab report will be needed. If you haven't obtained a recent lab test, National Labs is highly recommended on this forum. http://watercheck.myshopify.com/?aff=5

    As you mention the softener first, is that the order of your current setup? Iron removal should occur before the softener otherwise, the softener's resin will become fouled with iron residue as has likely occurred.

    KDF is very heavy media and so will not mix with lighter media but will sink to the bottom of the tank. As it will require an excessive backwash rate that will blow lighter media out from the tank to drain, mixing KDF with other media will not work. There are KDF Media Guards that might possibly be used, but a comprehensive lab report will be needed to determine conditions and appropriate treatment methods.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
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  4. watersoftenerrookie

    watersoftenerrookie New Member

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    What test is needed from that company? It looks like they offer several types/options. Also, whoa, this pricing? Are the water tests that I've done at home and the ones done by the vendors all wrong to the point that I would need to do this?

    The AIO happens first in the current setup, yes. I edited the post to clarify.
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    IL
    Click inbox.
     
  6. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    The basic WaterCheck test will be suitable for the treatment advice you are requesting. If you have other water concerns (chemicals, radiation etc) which one of the other tests can help to identify, then you have the option to upgrade to that test.

    With a private well, you are your own municipality as you are fully responsible for the safety of the water and the treatment methods being utilized.
     
  7. watersoftenerrookie

    watersoftenerrookie New Member

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    Vendor B's mix is Centaur carbon for H2S removal, Manganese greensand for iron removal, and KDF and crushed garnet as the base media kit. The vendor says they don't use media guards because they restrict flow and are prone to plugging up.

    EDIT: I had forgotten about the lab tests before the home sale. Edited to add the results in the OP.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020 at 2:47 PM
  8. watersoftenerrookie

    watersoftenerrookie New Member

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    I forgot that a private lab did tests for total coliform and ecoli prior to the home sale. Those were 0. Total dissolved solids were 360 ppm, 276 of 360 were calcium, magnesium bicarbonate and iron.
     
  9. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    As it seems some testing has been performed, post those complete reports as it is often necessary to consider all results together. Some results you may consider as irrelevant, may impact relavant results and may change which treatment methods will be most effective or recommended.

    Katalox Light is the newest recommended media for both iron and sulfer reduction. Often, KL may be all that is required, but adding an oxididant such as hydrogen peroxide or chlorine can ensure the KL media will be most effective.

    Alternate iron reduction methods include injection of an oxididant such as hydrogen peroxide, chlorine or air to the water stream in conjunction with a contact tank. An AIO back washing media filter tank may also work, but water flow to fixtures will usually become too 'airy' which some find objectionable unless methods to remove air are also incorporated.
     
  10. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    The issue regarding KDF MediaGuard, is usually due to an insufficient backwash rate. Although there is a reduced quantity of KDF material contained in a MG, the backwash rate needs to be increased to that required for the KDF media. When that is not understood, many installers will continue to configure systems that use MG, to backwash at the standard rate for softener resin or filter media without a MG. Unless the BW flow rate is sufficiently increased, there will will be insufficient backwash flow to lift, clean and reclassify the heavy KDF media within the MG which will lead to flow reductions or plugging.

    Edit to add: Proprietary brands such as Cul___n and K are not commonly recommended in this forum as those systems tend to be expensive as their equipment is only offered through each brand's respective dealer network. There will be no competition and service and parts availability will be typically only available through their dealers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  11. watersoftenerrookie

    watersoftenerrookie New Member

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    What about the complaints that the Katalox Light produces a black sediment when the sulfur is oxidized? Some people say the sediment eventually goes away?
     
  12. watersoftenerrookie

    watersoftenerrookie New Member

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    Doesn't the increased flow rate mean I would burn through way more water, though?

    It seems like the only negative to the Katalox Light is the black powder. It seems like KDF could work but I've yet to come across anyone happy with using it in a mixture like Vendor B suggested.
     
  13. watersoftenerrookie

    watersoftenerrookie New Member

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    I've noticed that, yes. There is not much info about Vesta. Is this considered to be a good system/brand?
     
  14. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    A higher Backwash rate will mean a higher flow rate to drain. The Backwash rate required is determined by the type of media and the diameter of the tank. Although a MediaGuard has a small diameter to fit within the standard 2.5" tank opening (tank within a tank), KDF media is extremely heavy by weight, so the Backwash flow rate needed will be relatively high.

    A benefit to a MediGuard for KDF is, it keeps the KDF at the top of the tank where it will be of most benefit since the incoming flow will be in contact with the KDF media before flowing to the other media below.

    See Ditttohead's post #7 https://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?threads/setting-up-fleck-5600sxt.67554/#post-501959

    While use of KL will often result in higher pH initially, I have not heard anything about 'black powder'. Again, that may possibly be a result of insufficient or infrequent backwashing.

    I don't know anything about Vesta. Their systems appear to utilize a Clack valve with a custom cover, but that may also be a clone. While the tank appears to be an Enpress Vortech, again, that could be a copy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  15. montelatici

    montelatici Member

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    Location:
    Upper Marlboro, Maryland
    I have used a Katalox Light filter for reducing high levels of iron and sulfur in my well water for 5 years, no black residue.
     
  16. watersoftenerrookie

    watersoftenerrookie New Member

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    what is the benefit of having the KDF be the first media touched as opposed to the last?

    As for KL my well pump is capable of 20 gpm but when the well inspection was done it said 6 gpm. This seems like it could be a concern with the KL since it would require a higher backwash rate.

    I’m a little bit concerned no vendor brought up these issues. Maybe Bc they knew I would balk at a new well pump on top of the other costs,”?
     
  17. watersoftenerrookie

    watersoftenerrookie New Member

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    Vendor B says Vesta is the top of the line Clack product. It does have a Vortech tank.
     
  18. blaze4545

    blaze4545 New Member

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    Occupation:
    Water Treatment Consultant
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    what is the benefit of having the KDF be the first media touched as opposed to the last?

    Put the KDF media first to prevent their water softener resin from fouling with iron? No experience with KDF 55, but seems as beneficial
    as putting 10lbs in a water softener and calling it a water softener, chlorine filter and iron filter all in one!

    As for KL my well pump is capable of 20 gpm but when the well inspection was done it said 6 gpm. This seems like it could be a concern with the KL since it would require a higher backwash rate.

    The well technicians determined you had a 6GPM flow restrictor? Or their well recovery/flow test rated your well at producing 6GPM?

    I’m a little bit concerned no vendor brought up these issues.

    Some dealers assume that since you have an existing iron filter, you should be fine.

    Vendor B says Vesta is the top of the line Clack product. It does have a Vortech tank.

    Ask for a maintenance manual and compare it against a Clack WS1 to determine how "top of the line" it really is.
    Looks like it has a back light, which is pretty uncommon for Clacks here in Ontario.

    Vortech Tanks

    Great Idea! just like upflow brining and proportional brining! Will you as a residential user notice the benefits? probably not
     
  19. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    IL
    I was thinking the 6 gpm was more likely the well test recovery where drawdown is observed over a few hours.

    The 20 gpm could be a lot of different things. It could be the water brought up at 0 psi surface. Well people often do this handy test after installing a pump. It could be the nominal number from the pump at 0 ft of head (likely with inferior well pumps), or could be the gpm rating on the pump at the most efficient pumping (normal well pumps). Knowing the pump make and model, depth to water, and maybe the depth the pump is mounted at and the well diameter would be best for analyzing your options.

    To measure the gpm yourself, run water from at least two high-flow faucets (tub and hose bib for example) simultaneously, and measure the gpm by timing the time to fill 5 gallon buckets. And also check that while these simultaneous flows have been happening for maybe 10 minutes, what the water pressure at the pressure tank is. This is not an official methodology. I am not a pro. The point is to figure out how much backflow rate is available for maybe a 10 minute backwash while the pressure stays at at least 30 psi.

    If the well can only maintain the required flow for a couple minutes due to running short of water, it is possible to get a controller that can do a series of 2 minute backwashes with a well recovery period between.
     
  20. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    In most water treatment processes, the outcome of each treatment will often be determined or at least influenced by the order in which treatment takes place.

    By your question, do you mean by having the KDF prior to KL media?

    KL is not always 100% effective in fixing the concern, so often, an oxidizer such as hydrogen peroxide or chlorine is utilized to supplement the media.

    KDF is often used to supplement other media to assist the other media work better or extend its effective life. As KDF-85 relies in a redox process to oxidize and reduce contaminants, it can remove a substantial quantity of iron. The KL media to follow, will further remove any residual iron the KDF missed, and also has the potential to filter out other elements formed in the KDF redox process.

    I can't say if KDF will be appropriate for your water situation, but since one of your vendors recommended blending KDF with other media, I then suggested a MediaGuard would be a more effective method to use KDF. IMO, mixing KDF with other media will be a waste of money as the KDF will settle to the tank bottom where it will be of least benefit, and will receive inadequate back washing.

    Forum posters are often advised to contact local water treatment professionals as they will have the most experience in treating similar water problems in that region. You have now contacted 4 vendors (incl Kinnetico) with each offering very different recommendations.

    Vendor A's advice regarding using KL and not mixing in KDF seems most correct, but his 'brand' of equipment is often offered online on A__n and EB so I am hesitant to say 'A' is the correct choice due to the lower quality of many products sold online.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020 at 11:14 AM
  21. watersoftenerrookie

    watersoftenerrookie New Member

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    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    No, they're competing solutions. Two vendors are quoting ways to revive my AIO:

    1) One vendor says to use centaur carbon, manganese greensand and KDF with crushed garnet at the bottom with basket style distributors to ensure that the KDF doesnt get clumped and gets properly backwashed even at the bottom.

    2) The other vendor says Katalox is much better for AIO .

    Oddly, neither vendor says to use H2O2. They say it's not done in Ohio?

    That's a solution nobody has proposed--using both KDF and KL.

    Do you think the basket distributor would resolve the inadequate backwash problem? I could see how it would expose more of the KDF to the wash?
    I wish these things were more cut and dry and it was just a matter of comparing price and which company has better service!
     
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