Green or Yellow?

sofaspudMarch 19, 2010

Hi, I have a standard softener with resin bed and salt tank for renerating the resin. I use the yellow salt bags. However, iron is much more of an issue in my water than other metals. Would I get any benefit from switching to the green salt bags that are supposed to promote the removal of iron?

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Hopefully your softener is correctly sized and correctly setup for your water use and water conditions. If not, there's no salt that will correct those failings.

With iron in the water you should be routinely using Iron Out, Super Iron Out, or equivalent. The salt with the rust out built-in(?) is less effective.

Without routine resin cleaning iron can foul a resin bed...

It would help if you'd post your water conditions, # of people, # of bathrooms, well or water system, brand and size of softener. Then we can advise further.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 3:56PM
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Thanks, lurker. We have a well and the water in these parts is routinely loaded with iron, though it isn't all that hard. It's a single family home with 2.5 baths and 4 occupants.

I don't know the softener brand, but it is a tank-style resin bed with a flush timer that counts gallons. Obviously, it also has the brine tank into which I dump the salt. We also have a 10" GAC whole-house filter. I use resup on occasion for the resin.

While this gets out most of the iron, we still have rings in our toilets, so I am naturally interested in something that might do a better job.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 7:11AM
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A properly sized and correctly set up softener will remove one kind of iron, but only up to a point. Beyond that, you'd need a stand alone iron filter or other treatment.

The resin in the softener removes the iron and ResUP or Iron Out merely cleans the resin.

If the softener is undersized or old or the resin is iron fouled then you'll have staining problems.

In order to help you'd need a comprehensive water test, which you should be doing routinely anyway, so we can see what you've got in the water that needs to be treated.

BTW, if you've got bacteria in your well water then that 10" GAC filter may be colonized. Carbon filters are not a great idea on well water.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 9:13AM
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Excellent, thanks! I have had the "raw" water tested, and though it contains hard-water minerals, the softness of the water is actually quite good. Therefore, the only thing the sofyener is really doing for me is removing the iron. We don't have a staining problem except along the waterline of the toilets, and on the edges of the showerheads. The former I can take care of with a little wet/dry sandpaper, and the latter we just live with. My softener is 9 years old, and the guys who sold it to us said the resin would last about 10, so I am starting to think about what to do next. It seems I really don't need the "softener" but rather a system to remove just the iron.

Excellent feedback on the GAC filter. My method when it's time to change the GAC is to remove it, put 2 cups of bleach in the housing, reseat it without a new filter, then let the cold faucets all over the house run for 30 minutes. Then I take it apart again and put in a new filter. I do this because we start noticing an odor in the water, so I presume you are correct and we have bateria colonizing in the filter. What alternative would give me filtration without baterial growth?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 10:14AM
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"though it contains hard-water minerals, the softness of the water is actually quite good" is an oxymoron. Water is hard or soft, simple as that, and there is a definitive test to determine how hard.

Your filter and bleach routine may treat the symptom of the odor but it will not cure the disease. What is the odor? What is causing the odor? Does your well have nitrates or bacteria?

Any stain that you can "take care of with a little wet/dry sandpaper" would be better cured than sanded away.

At 9 years old with iron in the water and no routine maintenance there is a good chance that your resin is iron fouled or depleted. You can rebed that softener but now would be the time, with a comprehensive water test, to look into a softener that is correctly sized for your treatment and water use needs.

To speak intelligently on water treatment a comprehensive water test is an absolute necessity. Until you provide those results there is little anyone can do to help you.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 10:24AM
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Thanks, lurker. I could be wrong, but my guess is that water hardness is directly proportional to the PPM of the minerals it contains that cause hardness. My point was that even though my water contains minerals that tend to make water hard, the PPM is low. The test results I do have prove that -- I just haven't dug them out and posted them.

Thank you SO much for being patient with me. You've offered a lot of good information and given me a lot to think about.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 3:51PM
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Living on a well is more complicated than living on a municipal water system. You may or may not choose to make the water nice (to the advantage of the plumbing, fixtures, appliances, and people) but you have to make the water safe. Not routinely (at least annually) having your well water tested is negligent and IMO dangerous. Well water conditions can change dramatically and rapidly. Better to find out from a water test than your doctor how your water may/is effecting your health.

My point is that those numbers will tell us what the condition of the water is and what may need to be treated. Water over 1 grain of hardness is considered hard and the higher the grain count the harder and more abusive it is. 17ppm = 1 grain of hardness.

A little light reading for you...

Post the... hardness, iron, manganese, TDS, PH, nitrates, bacteria from a recent water test by a certified lab.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 4:27PM
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