discolored brine tabk water

grandmumMay 25, 2014

I let the salt level go below the water line for the first time and I notice a slight brownish, redish tinge to the water... looks kind of frothy.

I don't have hard water and the water quality seems excellent. I use course salt. This discolorization is in the brine tank only, not the taps. There is no resin particles in the tap water.

Is the from the salt or is this rust/iron leaking thru?

How do I maintain this?

This post was edited by grandmum on Sun, May 25, 14 at 13:43

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Depends entirely on what is in your water. If you have some iron in the water, that could account for the slight discoloration. It could also be manganese, copper, silica, silt, clay or some sort of bacterial or fungal growth.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 10:21AM
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KI do have significant iron in the water. We do have a sediment filter in place. With the filter its not an issue showing up in the toilets.

Should I use a product like Iron out inside the brine tank?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 7:47AM
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If you have iron in the water, ferric (particulate) iron should be removed with a filter before it ever reaches the softener. Ferrous iron can be removed by the softener, but the settings have to account for the iron content of the water.

The problem with iron-laden water in a softener is that softener resin has a great affinity for iron and does not release it easily. Iron will slowly foul the softener resin from the inside out. Extra measures need to be taken to remove the iron. For this you have several options.

  1. The easiest option may be to simply use Iron-Remover salt.

  2. Alternatively, you can use Super Iron Out. You may choose to layer this in with your salt. If you choose this option, use 1/4 C per 40 lb bag of salt.

  3. Super Iron Out is more effective if used monthly with the following procedure:

  4. Ensure you have a strong brine in your brine tank - at least 24 hours since the last regen.

  5. Dissolve 1 C Iron Out in cool water and pour it into the brine well inside your brine tank. If you don't have a brine well, for some reason, pour it down the side of the tank rather than through the salt.

  6. Place your softener into manual regen and stay right there.

  7. When backwash is complete, the softener will move to the brine/slow rinse mode. Pay attention to the way it sounds. After 10 minutes or so the sound will change when there is no more brine to draw. At this point, we want the Iron Out to sit in the softener for an hour. To do that, push the button to advance to the next regen step, then the next until your softener is back in service mode. Do this as quickly as you can.

  8. Switch your valves so your softener is bypassed and wait one hour minimum.

  9. Place your valves back in service mode and manually start a softener regen.

  10. Once the regen is complete you're good to go for another month.

  11. A liquid iron removal system such as Res Up can be installed in your brine tank to feed citric acid to the brine to aid with iron removal.

My preferred methods are A or D because they employ citric acid, which is a much safer chemical than those in Super Iron Out (sodium hydrosulfite and sodium metabisulfite). The choice is yours - pick a method and follow it religiously and your softener will give you many years of reliable service.

I'm going to assume you haven't been doing any of the above to mitigate the iron problem. How long has the softener been in operation? How much iron is in the water? I can provide a procedure to clean a fouled softener that MAY be successful if it hasn't gone too long.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 2:01PM
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Thanks, I have some stuff to consider.

FWIW the softener has been in service 6 months I don't have the exact number for how much Iron is in the water... I just know it would be a moderate problem with staining of fixtures without the sediment filter.

What is your procedure for cleaning a brine tank or fouled softner as you mention?

When you say brine well, is that the cylinder inside my tank that has a cap which the overflow float resides in?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 2:38PM
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