Water Softener Sizing Help

bmickydFebruary 24, 2013

I have tried to do my homework to get all the info I need before posting this so I am hoping I can get some help sizing a new softener. I am a new homeowner and the house currently has a rented Culligan softener that is also not functioning so I would prefer to replace it completely. There is also an inline filter downstream from the softener but I have to admit I don't know much about it.

House details are: 2 full baths (plans to add a half bath in the future) 2 adults (plans to add 2 children also in the future), dishwasher and washing machine but no hot tub or other high usage fixtures. It has a private well.
3/4 inch copper line to and from the old Culligan softener.
Bucket test -- at bathtub, both faucets wide open: ~34 seconds to fill 5 gallon bucket (9 gal/min).

Water test, 01/2013:
MF T. Coliform: absent
Nitrate: 0.50 MG/L
Nitrite: Iron: 1.5 MG/L
Manganese: 0.50 MG/l
pH: 7.2
Hardness, total: 280 MG/L
Alkalinity: 165 MG/L
Arsenic: E Coli: absent

There is a slightly sulfurous odor when running cold water but interestingly not much when running hot water. Any advice on that would be appreciated as well.

I have read enough to know that I want a gravel underbed and a top distributor basket but any other help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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The iron and manganese in your water present a challenge for a softener. The best way to treat your water would be to remove the iron/manganese first, then soften the water. If you do that you would use a 1 cubic ft softener and use about 23 lb of salt per month.

Your analysis does not include sulfur compounds (sulfates, sulfides). Since you know you have a slight odor, we should have that analysis. They will damage your softener. Sulfates in low amounts are fine, but hydrogen sulfide will damage a softener.

If you wish to remove the iron and manganese with a softener, you can only do so successfully if sulfates/sulfides are not an issue. You would need a 2.5 cubic ft softener with fine mesh resin, and use about 56 lb of salt per month. Any particulate in your well water would need to be removed prior to softening.

Installing iron removal would mean higher initial cost and an additional piece of equipment (it would look the same as a softener, but it's function would be different), but lower salt use and more reliable iron removal. Additionally, the right iron removal system will remove hydrogen sulfide as well.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 12:01PM
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Thanks alice, that is most helpful. Sorry for the delay, due to the move, I had to find the water report again. It looks like sulfate levels are 60.5 mg/l and sulfide is 1.5 ppm. With the sulfide levels where they are, I assume I need the separate systems rather than the 2.5 cubic ft system, is that correct? Is there a best system for removing the iron and sulfide (From research I am picturing a Fleck 5600 Auto Backwash Manganese Greensand Plus Filter)? Would that be sized similarly to the softener you suggested or will it need to be different? Thank you for all of your help with this. This was never something I gave even a moment's thought to until it was my own house and my own family's safety.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 9:31AM
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There are many ways of removing iron. I will list them and leave you to research. If you have more specific questions after reading up a bit I can likely help. There are a few other threads on this site about this issue as well. You can use oxidation followed by filtration, birm, greensand, Pyrolox, Terminox, Aeration followed by filtration. I tend to lean toward the Pyrolox, Terminox, or other MagOx systems as they are catalytic and don't require you to mess with chemicals.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 2:52PM
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