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Water softener settings adjustment

Posted by toukeki (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 21:43

We could use some advice on how to adjust the current settings on our water softener in order to account for an increase in our family's water consumption/usage. We still have the same amount of people (2 adults, 2 teens) but the usage has gone up due to more showers, friends,etc. We also seem to be experiencing an increase in orange staining wherever the water is hitting the bath tiles.

I realize (in order to get the proper guidance for our situation with the staining) we will need to get a current and complete water test done, but I was hoping there would be some sort of adjustment that would help us out while we wait on those results since I am unsure of the process and how long it takes.

The current settings on our Fleck 7000SXT are as follows:

C = 50
H = 26
RS = RC
RC = 248
DO = 8
RT = 2:30
BF = 10

Water test as of Oct '11:

iron .8
22 gpg hardness
ph 8
tds 500ppm
slight yellowish tinge to water taken at pump.

Thank you for any help.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

What size is your softner (volume of resin)?

What size is your BLFC (brine line flow control)? There should be a sticker on the back of the unit with the information printed on it. Often a 7000sxt is shipped with a 0.25 gpm BLFC, but we need to confirm this.

Are you using Iron Out or other resin cleaner periodically to remove iron from the resin?

On the water taken from the pump, does it always have the yellow tinge? Is it colored immediately, or does it come out clear and then gain color?


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Okay, I searched for your name and located your previous threads. For future reference, please post additional questions on the same subject/equipment to your original thread so we have the whole history in one location. It will save everybody a lot of time and trouble.

So, you should have:

1) 2.5 cuft softener
2) 0.5 gpm BLFC
3) 4 people
4) 22 grains hardness
5) either 0.8 or 2.5 ppm iron. It is very important that we know which is correct. Additionally, when your iron was tested, did the analysis indicated whether the iron was ferric or ferrous?
6) At one point you were using a sediment filter. Are you still using it? If so, what is the filter rating (microns)? If not, how long have you NOT been using the sediment filter? Did the problem grow worse without the filter?


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Thanks for the responses and for referring to my original post... I wasn't sure if I should post to the old one but now I know.

I do not recall the analysis indicating the type of iron and unfortunately I cant seem to locate the original information to confirm the numbers. The water at the pump immediately has a slight yellow tinge.

We are no longer using a sediment filter since installing the current softener almost a year and a half ago. The discoloration problem improved with the new softener but is currently becoming more noticable. Perhaps it's due to the fact that we have indeed neglected to use the iron out as instructed.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Okay, you have more than one problem:

1) If the water has color immediately, then you have particulate iron and MUST remove it with a filter. Your softener CANNOT remove it. Particulate iron tends to form a sticky film. Once it adheres to your softener resin it is very, very difficult to remove. With color in your water immediately, you should have been told to install a filter.

2) We still do not know whether your iron is 0.8 or 2.5. you have indicated both. So, with that in mind, we need to set your softener for 2.5.

3) You are using a salt dose that is just plain too low for water with iron. MINIMUM is 8 lb salt per cubic ft of resin when you have iron.

4) You haven't been using Iron Out or other resin cleaner.

The first thing you need to do is get a particulate filter installed. If you want to keep pressure drop to a minimum, install two big blue filters in parallel. Install valves such that each filter can be blocked and changed separately while allowing water through the other filter.

Second, you need to try to clean your softener. Force the softener to regen and allow it to go all the way through. Bypass the softener and allow it to sit for 24 hours to develop a strong brine solution in the brine tank.

The best way to remove particulate iron is with acid. So, you want Resup Pro Res Care, which is phosphoric acid. Take the softener out of bypass. Pour 1/2 C of the Resup into the brine well in your brine tank. Force your softener into a manual regen. Give it another Resup Pro Res Care Treatment and regen again. Run water for about 10 minutes to ensure all acid is out of the system.

Now, we try to address the iron in the center of your resin beads. After the resup treatments, bypass the softener and allow to sit for 24 hours to form a strong brine. Dissolve one cup of Iron Out in 2 gallons warm water. Pour this into the brine well in your brine tank. Place your softener into a manual regen. Stay right by it. When the backwash is complete, it will move to the brine/slow rinse mode. When the softener enters step two and starts drawing brine, pay attention to the way it sounds. After 10 or 11 minutes, the sound should change when there is no more brine to draw. Now, we want the iron out to sit in your softener for 12 hours (once resin has iron in it, it takes time to get it back out). Push the button to advance to the next regen step, then the next, then back to service mode. Now, bypass your softener so no water goes through it and allow it to sit for 12 hours. Add 5 gallons of water to your brine tank manually. When 12 hours have passed (longer won't hurt if scheduling is an issue), open the valves to allow water to the softener and force another manual regen - allow it to complete the regen normally. Wait 24 hours and repeat. Once a month, you should repeat this basic procedure, but only let it soak for an hour instead of 12. No need to do it twice in a row after this initial treatment - once will do. If you don't feel you will do this, then install a resin cleaning system like Res Up or use red-out or iron out softener salt.

I realize cleaning your resin will be a lot of work and a huge pain for you. The problem is partly due to poor advice and partly due to your failure to use resin cleaner on a regular basis. Unfortunately, now it is all your problem to fix. Hopefully the resin isn't too badly fouled and this will correct it.

Now, let's address the incorrect softener settings. You need to be regenerating your softener with 9 lb salt per cuft of resin. Currently, you are using only 6, unacceptable for iron-laden waters. Reset your brine fill time to 15 minutes to get the right salt dose.

Increasing your salt dose increases your softener capacity, but I don't want you to change that right now because I have to assume your resin is not in the best shape from a year of poor operation.

Reset your hardness to 35. I am erring on the side of caution and using your highest reported iron analysis of 2.5 ppm.

This post was edited by aliceinwonderland_id on Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 0:20


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

We are up to the work it will require of us and are appreciative of your information and especially the detailed instructions.

Before I order the Pentek Big Blue Filters, do I go with the original size recommendation and get two of the 4.5" x 20" ? Also, is there a standard filter cartridge that these come with or will I need to order a specialty filter cartridge for our issue?

As for the water testing, my husband has taken a sample into work with him this morning and is planning to stop by our local water treatment company when they open... what should we ask for when requesting an adequate test of our water? I am assuming we will need to have someone come out in order to do a complete test but we wanted to be prepared either way.

Thank you very much for your help so far.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

I see there are many filter cartridge options including the Pentek Radial Flow Iron reduction Filter which sells for around $70 on sale... would it be best to get our complete water test done before ordering and installing the filters?


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

If water is not going to a certified lab, pretty much all they can probably verify for you is pH, TDS, hardness, iron.

What you really need is a test from a certified lab. In that case, you want to ask the lab how best to obtain your sample [make sure you inform them you have particulate as well as clear water iron and need to know both because it will affect sampling procedure] and then get the following analysis: pH, TDS, hardness, ferric iron, ferrous iron, manganese, sulfides, nitrates, tannins (since you mentioned it as a potential problem), alkalinity. It is likely the lab will have a testing "package" that includes those along with a few others as a standard well water analysis.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

I found out through our health department that many of the certified labs have closed and the closest one to our area is over an hour away. I called the lab and they require us to pick up the test kit and drop it off after our water collection the same day which would be a total of nearly five hours driving time to complete.

What is the chance that we may be able to remedy our current water situation with the results of the free test which we had done today? The lab suggested testing for iron, hardness, tds, nitrates and nitrites, since there aren't any obvious concerns due to the newness of the house, location, septic issues, etc.

If the free test is not reliable enough to help us, is it possible to get the water testing we need done via the mail? In hopes that it will be enough to remedy our situation, here are the results that were emailed to us from today's test:

Water Test Raw:
H- 17
I- trace
TDS- 481
PH- 7.4
CL/S- site test needed
TAN- med

Water Test Soft:
H- 12
I- trace
TDS- 512
PH- 7.4
CL/S- same
TAN- med

I spoke to the local water treatment company that gave us the free test and they quoted us aprox. $350 to collect and send our water out to a lab for testing. The certified lab (which I mentioned above) gave me a price of $80 plus $35 if we want to add a bacteria test.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

For now, follow the cleaning instructions, reset your softener as specified, and install the filters. After the cleaning and reset, have raw water and softened water tested again and we will see where we are at. It is possible that your resin is fouled beyond repair, If that turns out to be the case, you will want to get the full certified analysis before proceeding with resin replacement. Have you contacted the company from which you purchased the softener? Perhaps they can be of some assistance as well.

Filters: You can install 2 of the 10" x 4-1/2" filters if you would like, since they will operate in parallel. The shorter filter cartridges are easier to find locally than the longer ones and are a little easier to handle. Either way, if you get them in the "Big clear" model, you will be able to see exactly how much sediment they are removing. You also want the models with the pressure relief button - it makes filter changes much easier.

This post was edited by aliceinwonderland_id on Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 13:09


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Okay, today we were able to find time to purchase the Resup and prepare for the treatments you suggested. Since this was a different company than before, we also decided to take samples along to have them test the iron in our water. Their results were 1.5 before the softener and 0 after. They did not suggest an iron filter for our situation and said the softener should be enough to remove the iron we have. However, they did suggest putting a filter in for sediment and stated that they do so for every job in our area of Florida. We did leave the housing in place from our original sediment filter so we would just need to add a filter cartridge to that.

Considering the owner of this particular company has been a neighbor (within two blocks of us) for aprox. 11 yrs, we felt confident that they would know the water in our area extremely well as compared to the first company that did the testing last week. I spoke to the owner over the phone and he suggested we set the hardness to 45 (from 26, since hardness in the area is usually between 20-30) and that we set the salt at 9lbs.

So before we go any further, do we still proceed with the cleaning as you wrote above or might you have additional advice or suggestions to offer now that we have new information to work with? If we do go ahead with the cleaning, are we to change the settings before any other step in the process? If so, could you provide your opinion on what settings we should be using until our next water test?

Thank you again for your time and help.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Basically, your local guy told you to install a sediment filter, increase salt dose to 9 and increase hardness setting, which is what I already suggested for you. Although, setting your hardness to 40 is overkill based on your actual iron levels.

If you simply place a cartridge in your old sediment filter, you will run into the same pressure drop problems you had when you used it previously, which is why I suggested two operating in parallel.

Yes, change your settings immediately. Then perform the cleaning. Right now your softener is only removing 20% of your hardness because it is fouled. If you don't clean it, it won't matter what you do with the settings. Settings you need to change:

Hardness: 35 (based on your highest iron test)
Brine fill time: 15 minutes (this controls salt dosage)


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Beginning the Resup treatments this evening.

We are big water drinkers... is it safe to resume drinking the water after the Resup treatments and the 10 minute flushing of the water? How about after Iron Out treatments now and in the future when we use it monthly?

Is it still advisable that I start with the 20 micron filter cartridge for the Big Blue filters? It will be several days or more until we can get the filters installed but we will update with the water test at that point.

Thank you.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

The Resup Pro is phosphoric acid - While you should ensure your resin bed is thoroughly rinsed, you can find phos acid in many sodas.

Monthly treatment will be followed by a regen completion which will thoroughly rinse your resin bed.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Thank you.

Also, Pro Res Care bottle says to use 1/2 cup per cubic foot of softener resin (for fouled unit) but I was under the impression that our softener contained 2.5 cubic ft of resin since I recall ordering that amount. If this is the case, am I to use more per the bottle instructions?


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Yep, good catch. That was my intent, just neglected the very important "per cuft resin." So, you want 1-1/4 Cup.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Thank you :)

As for the Iron Out treatment tonight,are we to go ahead with the 1 cup to 2 gallons of water?

In regards to the setting changes, we can expect the softener to be regenerating closer to every 4-5 days instead of 7 since the setting for capacity isn't changing?

Will we be increasing the capacity in order for it to go back to regenerating weekly at some point?


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Iron Out: correct

Time between regens: Could be as longas 6

Capacity: We have no way of knowing until you complete the cleaning procedure and we see how well it works. Without a sample and a microscope, the only thing we know for certain right now is that your resin is fouled badly enough to only remove a small portion of the hardness in your water. After the cleaning you will test hardness before and after your softener daily during its first cycle and we then base capacity on that testing.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

What would be the best way to go about the daily tests?

Currently, we rely on our local water softener dealer and I wouldn't think they would be pleased with daily requests from us "do it yourselfers" for a week.

Is there a readily available home test kit that we should be purchasing which would be easy to interpret and give accurate results?


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

You can purchase a hardness test kit from your local hot tub/pool supply store. You may also be able to find simple test kits at box stores such as Lowes or Home Depot. A titration kit, such as a Hach total hardness kit, is better but test stips will work in a pinch.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Thanks very much. I will check into those options.

On another note, How would it affect the overall situation if we do not install the Big Blue filters at this point?

We just got word that we will have to place our home up for sale due to a work transfer occuring in the next few months.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

You are living with that scenario right now - you already know the outcome.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

We are leaning towards not buying and installing the water filters now because we have to relocate. This transer was unexpected. Were we to stay here however, we would install them, without question.

In the meantime, we do want the best quality water with minimal iron issues, so any suggestions will be appreciated given the change in our circumstances. Thanks again.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

We may have gone too far into the brine draw step while doing the Iron Out treatment last night. The sound didn't seem to change much from what we could tell but the "hissing" seemed to get faster. We put it back into service mode around 17 minutes into step two. The pump kicked on twice during this time. Your thoughts?


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

You may have gone about 2 minutes too long at most - should be fine.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Okay, thank you. We will see if we can do better during the second and final treatment today.

Your suggestions will continue to be followed through. This project has been an important one and considering the great amount of time by us and others helping, it is best that we see it through to the end despite the fact that we are soon to leave. Initially we would have spent the money had it been done properly the first time around and as you have indicated, the equipment isn't capable of handling it on it's own and will only continue to deteriorate.

So with that being said, are we to begin with the daily water testing after this final step is complete or is it best to bypass the softener and go on hard water until the filters are able to be installed? Hopefully we haven't caused problems all ready since we have been using the softener without filters in place since the last Iron out Treatment.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

The cleaning treatments are finally done! Thank you again so very much for your time, help, detailed instructions, and especially your patients : ) Hopefully it will work for us.

The big blue filters will be here this Thursday and installation will be by the weekend if not before. We went with the 4 1/2 x 20" size and the 20 micron pleated sediment filter cartridges (SPC 45-2020) I can hardly wait and am so excited to experience good water without staining for a change!

One final question at this point, do you suggest we put the softener in bypass until the filters are installed so we don't undo any good results of the cleaning treatments?


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

If you want to have softened water for the next few days, you could go ahead and use the softener, but every night force a manual regen, allowing it to go through the backwash, then force it quickly through the rest of the steps and back to service.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Thank you and thank goodness! Anything to avoid using the nasty water.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

I hope you don't mind, but my search for water hardness tests kits brought about a couple more questions...

In regards to the water having color immediately, what is the possibility of this being tannin (organic iron) instead of particulate (ferric) iron? Both local water companies mentioned tannin being the issue and our testing showed medium levels, so I wanted to be sure to address this concern with you before moving on. I just learned that tannin is one of the 4 types of iron, so I am wondering how we know it isn't the cause of our color and staining.

If tannin (and/or ferrous iron instead of ferric iron) is the concern, would there be a need for the sediment filters we are about to install?

I am also curious as to how a lab is able to determine the presence of ferrous iron when receiving samples via mail since, from what I have read and understand, it starts turning to ferric iron fairly quickly.

As for the iron amount, we will be having our daily water hardness tests done by the health department and since our iron numbers are in question, I will request that be checked tomorrow and post the new information here when we recieve it. It should be a number we can rely on when it comes to settings and hopefully solutions.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Health department results from today...

UNTREATED:
Hardness- 274 PPM
Iron- 0.7 PPM

TREATED:
Hardness 17.1 PPM (or less)
Iron- 0.1 PPM (or less)


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

First the good news - It appears your softener is working once again. Hopefully we have gotten back most of your capacity.

Tannis vs. Iron: Tannis ARE NOT organic iron. Tannins are phenols and organic acids. Tannis can react with dissolved iron or complex with particulate iron, but they are NOT iron.

Removal of tannins requires anionic exchange resin. Softener resin is cationic. Tannis will pass through a softener and you cannot remove them with a simple filter. While you may have tannins in your water, if the color problem in your water was caused by tannins, the color would still be there after filtration and after softening. You have stated that with the softener working your water has no color.

Further, when you used a sediment filter in the past, flow to your home decreased over time. This tells us the filter was actually removing particulates so we know they are there and need to be removed. If you fail to remove particulates with the appropriate filter, they will be removed by your softener and foul your softener.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Thank you! So great to hear the good news and I appreciate you clearing up the facts on tannins.

Now for the (possiby) not so good news... I think I was wrong about the color and included a picture of how the water currently looks. I hope it is at least a little helpful.

With color showing up, should I be calling and adding tannin resin to the order we are receiving tomorrow? If so, what specific resin do I order and in what amount (is it replacing all of our resin?) and would we also have to order new gravel?

Thank you again for your time and help...


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

The order you are receiving tomorrow? I have no idea what you are referring to.

Tannins are an aesthetic and not a safety issue. As long as your water doesn't taste terrible (tannins taste tart, sometimes bitter depending on your palate) and there is not so much that your laundry is turning brown, they don't need to be removed. Further, "medium" is NOT analysis. It means nothing. It sounds like no actual analysis was done - somebody looked at the water and said it was "medium" in color compared to some arbitrary scale, perhaps?

Right now, your softener is doing its job. Continue to monitor to ensure you get soft water throughout the cycle. At present, there is no need to replace your resin.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Sorry, I mentioned in a previous post that our big blue filters will be delivered on Thursday.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! for that additional news with the tannin :)

We will monitor the hardness daily during the remainer of the week but unfortunately will have to skip Sat. and Sun. since the health department will be closed. Hopefully that is acceptable and the softener won't regenerate until Tuesday, Please let me know if this isn't acceptable so other arrangements can be made if necessary.

At the moment, the water seems to feel a bit tacky... is this normal after the resin cleaning or will we be adjusting settings next week which will make a difference?


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Final Hardness Results with iron included...

-DAY ONE-

UNTREATED
Hardness- 274 PPM
Iron- 0.7 PPM

TREATED
Hardness- 17.1 PPM (or less)
Iron- 0.1 PPM (or less)

-DAY TWO-
(didn't run the water as long before taking this sample)

UNTREATED
HARDNESS- 291 PPM
IRON- 2.0 PPM

TREATED:
HARDNESS- 17.1 OR LESS
IRON- 0.2

-DAY THREE-

UNTREATED
HARDNESS- 291
IRON- 0.8

TREATED
HARDNESS- 17.1 OR LESS
IRON- 0.1

-DAY FOUR-

UNTREATED
HARDNESS-309
IRON-0.9

TREATED
HARDNESS-17.1 or less
IRON-0.1

-DAY FIVE-

UNTREATED
HARDNESS-274
IRON-0.9

TREATED
HARDNESS-17.1 or less
IRON-0.1

Currently, the water still has that slight tacky feel to it. It does not feel as soft and soap doesn't seem to be lathering as well. Do you have new settings for us now that the cleaning process and daily testing is finished? Thanks much.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Thanks for your help so far alice...

Do you have further programming advice for us at this point in the process? We are still uncertain whether we are operating at the proper settings since confirming the proper iron numbers and posting the daily water test results after cleaning.

Will that "softer feel" to the water return or is there an adjustment that can be made if we want it to feel slicker in the future?


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Did you change the brine fill time?-

Try this: Run cold water only from your kitchen tap for a minute, then run some into a bowl. Warm the water in the microwave or on the stove to about the temp of your hot water. Now run some hot water from your kitchen tap. Compare the two. Does the warmed cold water have a slipperier feel than the hot tap water?


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Yes, we changed the brine fill time to what you recommended in an earlier post. The current settings are:

C = 50
H = 35
RS = RC
RC = 248
DO = 8
RT = 2:30
BF = 15

I compared the two sources of warm water and from what I can tell, the warmed water has more of a slippery feel to it than that coming from the warm side of the tap.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

What is likely happening is during the time your softener was not working properly, your water heater developed hardness buildup. Now, your soft water may be starting to dissolved that buildup and you can feel it. You could verify by testing hardness in your hot water. You will need to allow the water to cool before testing.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Okay, thank you. So our settings are correct and we do not need to address the change in capacity that you mentioned earlier due to adjusting the salt dose up?


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

You may adjust the capacity up if you choose. If you decide to change the capacity, go with 63K. Provided your softener is back up to capacity this will not change the water feel. You will want to check the hardness toward the end of the cycle after you change the capacity to see if you still have soft water. Remember, you may not be able to get the full theoretical capacity because of the previous fouling.


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RE: Water softener settings adjustment

Thank you for all of your help and advice alice. We are very thankful for this forum and all of the helpful people within it. I hope you know your time and knowledge is always very much appreciated.


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