Well water. Request some design help please

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AtomicSquirrel

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First I’d like to thank everyone who posts help to this board. I enjoy reading through and gathering as much information as possible.

I’m in need of some design help to condition my well water here in my Hunterdon county NJ home. The home and well were constructed back around 1993. Unfortunately I don’t have any details on the depth of the well or well pump. We moved in about 1.5 years ago and finally have some time and $ to address the issues. As far as I know all equipment is probably original to the house but I don’t’ know for sure. In any event I really want to start with a clean slate.

The house is approximately 3900sf including a finished basement with additional kitchen. House has 4 bedrooms upstairs and 2 more bedrooms in the basement level and 3 ½ total bathrooms. Since my mother was moved into senior living it’s only the wife and I, so basically two people utilizing the water resources. We have guests but they rarely stay for more than three days.

Our current water setup is well to 4 x10 big blue whole house filter, to old Culligan softener unit, to a 5 gallon Culligan RO system that services both kitchens as point of source drinking water as well as two icemakers. Point of source being a side mounted separate filler for drinking water only. Additionally both outdoor hose bibs are fed with softened water. This is no bueno for watering the plants so I’d like to separate the two existing hose bibs from the softener and add a new exterior hose bib with both softened and hot water to wash the vehicles.

I’ve tested for water softness with the drops kit and the softener appears to be functioning as the water is soft. It does however seem to suck down a ton of salt considering its only two people living in the house. The salt is cheap but its PIA to carry down the stairs and I worry about all that backwash being dumped into the septic system.

My RAW water test at time of home purchase indicated hard water, iron and manganese outside satisfactory levels, everything else was good. Iron at 0.51mg/L and manganese at 0.21 mg/L. I called two local well installers to inquire as to how I should remedy water with these levels. Both stated my levels are low and water softer is what they would recommend.

Overall I don’t think our water is too bad but we do get red, brown, orange staining in the toilet bowl and tank. Additionally our steam shower has orange stains on the glass and shower door gaskets. I also notice a funky smell in the shower area, not sure if this is iron bacteria or just iron? We leave the doors open for airflow but I’m not sure what causes the smell. Also when I wash the car we get some serious water spots, I must rush to dry as quick as possible with a microfiber towel. It’s a real problem especially etching into the glass.

How should I go about selecting equipment to replace my current system? I know I will need a new softener and I’m going to upgrade the RO unit as well but I’m unsure if I need additional equipment to handle the iron or manganese? Is the softener really the right tool for the job and if so what size, brand should I get? I like to do things the right way, spending appropriately without waste. I plan on a self install as I’m more than capable. Thoughts and comments are much appreciated.
 

Mikey

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Hard to believe the county doesn't keep track of wells somehow. Check with the health dept, or building dept, and see if they require a permit to drill a well. If they do, then they probably require a "completion report" after the job to close out the permit. If they keep those reports somewhere, you may be able to get a copy of it, and thus find out the depth, type of soils encountered, etc.
 

Reach4

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My RAW water test at time of home purchase indicated hard water, iron and manganese outside satisfactory levels, everything else was good. Iron at 0.51mg/L and manganese at 0.21 mg/L. I called two local well installers to inquire as to how I should remedy water with these levels. Both stated my levels are low and water softer is what they would recommend.
I would put in a nice iron+manganese backwashing filter. That will do a better job, and it will take a big load off of the water softener. Is there a sulfur (H2S) smell? If so, the backwashing filter can do that as a bonus.

I suggest you get a lab water test. I like kit 90 from http://www.karlabs.com/watertestkit/ for a home well.

So get your pH, iron, hardness, Mn, and more from the test. Say how many people are using the water. Describe your existing softener, and maybe you could even keep that. Tell us about your pump... 7 GPM, 10 GPM, or what?

Search this forum for "katalox" to see some of the interesting prior discussions. Sometimes an injection of peroxide or bleach is needed. Sometimes not, and it is not easy to predict, it seems.

My iron+H2S filter works very well for me. Calgon does not do much to tout their media for home use. I got it based on a friend having had very good results. Katalox Light was not available when I ordered. Mine is 1.5 cubic ft of media, and uses a 5 GPM backwash. KL would need about 7 or 8 GPM for that same size.
 

AtomicSquirrel

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Hard to believe the county doesn't keep track of wells somehow. Check with the health dept, or building dept, and see if they require a permit to drill a well. If they do, then they probably require a "completion report" after the job to close out the permit. If they keep those reports somewhere, you may be able to get a copy of it, and thus find out the depth, type of soils encountered, etc.
I checked with my local municipality for my housing plans , they told me they are legally allowed to throw them away after 10 years. Lady when to check the file room and sure enough they were purged. maybe tomorrow I can check with someone at the state level.
 

AtomicSquirrel

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I would put in a nice iron+manganese backwashing filter. That will do a better job, and it will take a big load off of the water softener. Is there a sulfur (H2S) smell? If so, the backwashing filter can do that as a bonus.

I suggest you get a lab water test. I like kit 90 from http://www.karlabs.com/watertestkit/ for a home well.

So get your pH, iron, hardness, Mn, and more from the test. Say how many people are using the water. Describe your existing softener, and maybe you could even keep that. Tell us about your pump... 7 GPM, 10 GPM, or what?

Search this forum for "katalox" to see some of the interesting prior discussions. Sometimes an injection of peroxide or bleach is needed. Sometimes not, and it is not easy to predict, it seems.

My iron+H2S filter works very well for me. Calgon does not do much to tout their media for home use. I got it based on a friend having had very good results. Katalox Light was not available when I ordered. Mine is 1.5 cubic ft of media, and uses a 5 GPM backwash. KL would need about 7 or 8 GPM for that same size.

Thanks for replying. No sulfur smell or other from the water. I can gladly order another lab test but I think I have all the info from the last test. Hardness is 26gpg, PH is 6.95, Iron is 0.51 mg/l, manganese is 0.21 mg/l. Existing softener is a old Culligan Gold series 01017131 Softminder, 10" dia x 48" tall resin tank, acutal date is unknown but it looks old. I think the flow meter on it has stopped working too because it always reads zero although it does continue to soften the water. Pump GPM is currently unknown. I will try and contact the state to see if they keep any records.

What ever system I go with I'd ultimately like to install it myself. Although if I could figure out what I really need and hire a local company without getting raped I may consider that route too. I'm gun shy of having the same company designing, selling and installing a system without me knowing if I'm really getting what Im paying for and not over or under buying.

Cheers
 

Reach4

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The common sizes in that approximate range would be
9" x 40"
9" x 48"
10" x 40" 1.00 cu .ft. ( 32,000 grains )
10" x 44" 1.25 cu. ft. ( 40,000 grains )
10" x 54" 1.50 cu. ft. ( 48,000 grains )

For diameter, use a tape measure, and divide by pi. Then round down to the nearest inch.

If you get a new softener, you will probably go with the 10" x 54" for 2 people.
 

AtomicSquirrel

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The common sizes in that approximate range would be
9" x 40"
9" x 48"
10" x 40" 1.00 cu .ft. ( 32,000 grains )
10" x 44" 1.25 cu. ft. ( 40,000 grains )
10" x 54" 1.50 cu. ft. ( 48,000 grains )

For diameter, use a tape measure, and divide by pi. Then round down to the nearest inch.

If you get a new softener, you will probably go with the 10" x 54" for 2 people.

The house is almost 4000sf. We are only two living here now but for resale should be go for a 4 person size? Less frequent backwashes?
 

ditttohead

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A real water test should be seriously considered otherwise we are only throwing out wild guesses. Kar Labs or NTLlabs is great and reasonably priced. Typically less than $200 including shipping.

The water treatment system should be sized to the house, not to the number of occupants. Code compliance is important.

How old is the old test? If it is over a year it is not worth much.
 
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