Water Treatment Questions

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by BS, Nov 10, 2007.

  1. BS

    BS New Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Central Ohio
    We just moved from New England where we had a well that produced outstanding quality water; the only treatment was a sediment filter. The well in our new Ohio home is over 100' deep and the only treatment is a water softener which is about half-full of salt and appears to be functioning, though I'm not sure how well. I'm surprised that there's no sediment filter even though we've had no sediment coming out the tap.

    The water right out of the well tests "very hard" (~425 ppm) using a colormetric test strip from Lowe's. The water out of the tap tests "soft" (close to 0 ppm) but leaves skin feeling slimy (which I know is a sign of hard water). Most of the time the water (hot and cold) has a hydrogen sulfide odor to it.

    Before I attack the problem, I'd welcome your opinions and advice about using franchised water treatment companies (Kinetico, Rainsoft, etc.), local plumbers, or purchasing the equipment and assembling a system myself. What questions should I ask of the contractors? What issues do I need to be aware of? Do I need a more detailed water test? Can I rely on the treatment company's water test or should I get an independent one?

    Thanks in advance!

    - Bernie
  2. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    The water feels slimy because it is softened water, not a sign of hard water. I'd say the water softner is doing it's job. Most wells do not need a sediment filter, and most well people will tell you that they don't do a good job anyway, I filter by a sediment and carbon filter my drinking water only.

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  4. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    The slippery feel (I prefer that term to slimy) you get with softened water is the feel of actually successfully rinsing away soap residue and precipitated solids (which hard water leaves on your skin and in your hair). You will quickly get used to the feeling and will stop thinking that you haven't rinsed off the soap!

    It will make you appreciate soft water when you travel and have to try to rinse shampoo and soap off your body with hard water.
  5. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Nov 23, 2006
    disabled-retired industrial fabricator
    200 miles south of Little Rock
    Some water softeners need sediment filters to protect their inner workings, but maybe yours does not.

    My well is a little west of yours and has the same problem. The best I have ever accomplished is to get rid of that odor for a few weeks at a time, but periodic chlorination of a well can cause mechanical problems within. There are people here who can tell you how (and who can even sell you the equipment) to deal with that sulfur odor more effectively and efficiently.
  6. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Oct 20, 2005
    New Hampshire
    Ion exchange softeners will produce water with zero hardness, which causes the slippery feeling.

    Most public water systems that soften the water will blend the softened water with the raw water to produce water with 80 to 120 mg/liter (same as parts per million).

    You can blend your water if your softener is installed with an external bypass valve, as many are. By opening the valve a bit you will get blended water. You can adjust the bypass valve to bypass just enough hard water to make the slipperiness go away.

    It is not the softener that is half full of salt. (Reference your post: ". . . water softener which is about half-full of salt . . ." )

    Your softener system consists of two parts (even if you have a package unit that looks like one part).

    The softener is a cylinder with a control mechanism on the top. That controls the regeneration and backwash process. The cylinder contains ion exchange resin in the form of fine beads.

    The beads contain sodium ions which replace the calcium and magnesium ions in the hard water. The calcium and magnesium ions are absorbed in the resin. Calcium and magnesium cause hardness; sodium does not.

    The control usually measures the flow of water and starts a regeneration process perhaps once a week while you are sleeping; more frequently if you use a lot of water. The regeneration process consists of passing salt brine through the resin bed so the calcium and magnesium ions are replaced with fresh sodium ions. The resin bed is washed to remove the brine before it is returned to service.

    The second part of the system is a tank where you keep a good layer of salt. The control valve sucks brine from the salt tank to regenerate the resin and then adds more water to make more brine for the next cycle.
  7. BS

    BS New Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Central Ohio
    Thanks for the info. I stand corrected about the cause of the slippery feeling. Somewhere I had read (or thought I had read) that hard water creates the slippery feeling, not soft water. That's very interesting about blending the well water with the softened water; I'll have to look into that.

    What's the best way to deal with the intermitent sulfur odor? Charcoal filter?

    - Bernie
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    Softeners with an Autotrol, Clack or Fleck control valve do not require a prefilter. Only the rotary disc type valves like the big box store brands and Kinetico do. And having one usually causes premature resin failure due to decreased water flow to the softener for successful backwash during regenerations. That's because the cartridge usually isn't replaced when they should be.

    Soft water is 0 gpg, not just close to 0, that's hard water. Squeaky clean is hard water and squeaky means 'it' isn't clean; soft slippery smooth is soft.

    H2S has to be oxidized or absorbed to remove it. You can use air, chlorine, ozone, hydrogen peroxide or a number of various oxidizing minerals in a backwashed or regenerated filter. I don't like using carbon for H2S removal but it's an option.

    You must ask yourself if you want to be a self sufficient DIYer or be dependent on a local dealer for service, and if the dealer is a franchisee, then parts too.

    If you are a DIYer, then I suggest a correctly sized softener with a Clack WS-1 control valve that is sized for your family size and the SFR flow rate your house requires. To learn more... correct sizing.

    You need current hardness, iron and pH tests at least; it doesn't matter who does the tests (dealers don't have to lie to you when you contacted them with complaints about YOUR water)....
  9. Mike Swearingen

    Mike Swearingen New Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Independent Real Estate Broker
    On Albemarle Sound In Northeastern NC
    We just replaced a 22-year-old water softener with a $2,200 water conditioning and softening system with a large charcoal filter (to eliminate offensive odors and tastes, such as sulpher and chlorine)...a WaterCare Elan T system. This is a "whole house" system, except for our three outdoor spigots, which are plumbed separately.
    We're on public water, which is very hard. It is chlorinated, but not softened by the county.
    This has greatly improved our water and ice maker ice. The water is crystal clear, "fully" softened, and the water and ice now have no after taste. Everything tastes better, including our coffee, and soap foams much better, etc., etc. This system is so good, that we've even stopped buying bottled water.
    AND it supposedly uses half the salt and half the water that our old system used. We'll see.
  10. speedbump

    speedbump New Member

    Jul 15, 2005
    Water well and pump tech.
    Riverview, Fl.
    I would think that would only be true if your old system was working half what it should be. The technology has always been the same, so I don't know how they could make that claim Mike.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2011
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