Iron out in water softener, toxic?

Hello, I am curious to know if adding Iron Out to a water softener is toxic for drinking? Also what are the long-term effects on the softener itself from doing this?
We do not drink the soft water directly, we run it through a reverse osmosis filter, but our pets like to drink straight from the faucets. We have noticed an orange tint that builds up over time on various things that use the water (dishwasher, sinks, etc). From reading these groups it would appear that using Iron Out may help. I have read and been told it can be added to the softener, but I wanted to see how safe this is first.
Thanks for all feedback on this issue! -- Chris
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snipped-for-privacy@groupinfo.com (Chris Szilagyi) wrote in message

Hi Chris, the answer to your question is its very toxic, basically the softener bypasses the water thru the head when its in a regeneration cycle. So you can use water (not Softened) when this is happening. Do this proceddure when your going to bed, that way nobody will be using water anyways. Iron is a softener killer, it coats the resin beads and the only way to clean them is with a similar product like what you have mentioned. Softeners can only remove small amounts of iron (depending on the size you have) it sounds like you really need to address the iron issue. If its showing on the appliances then I would have to say that your softener isn't working either (no soft water)or the capacity of the softener will be reduced so you will be running out of soft water really quick.
Hope this helps. Garry
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What is the secret ingredient in iron removing salt? for that matter, how does iron removing salt differ from "system saver" salt? WHat does "system saver"salt do that iron removing salt doesn't? My water softner guy said to use regular salt and add 1/4 cup iron out for every bag. Been doing that for the last 5 yrs.

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I'm not sure what the formulation of Iron Out on the store shelves today is but when my wife brought some home this weekend I started looking. A recent patent issued to Iron Out, Inc. (#6297208) describes an improved product that utilizes fluoroboric acid. The MSDS for fluoroboric acid, among other things says:
The product [fluoroboric acid] causes burns to eyes, skin and mucous membrane. Ingestion may cause gastro-intestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
The argument that is frequently advanced is that Iron Out and other like materials are introduced with the brine in the softener and the brine solution with the added chemicals are then passed over the ion exchange resin during the regeneration process and then the resin is back washed and rinsed with water. Supposedly all brine and chemicals are removed this way. In theory it may work but in practice I submit that it may not. I sometimes can taste salt just after a regeneration so the rinse is not flawless. Of more concern is what happens when the seals in the softener mechanism wear out or fail so that the brining, backwash and rinse operations do not occur as intended. Then you could have large unintended amounts of residual brine and chemicals mixed with your "softened" water.
I don't like adding anything toxic to the water my family or I drink. Even if it "may" be removed before I drink it. Machines do fail and the risk of possibly ingesting something toxic is too great.
RB
Chris Szilagyi wrote:

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On 2 Feb 2004 08:36:18 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@groupinfo.com (Chris Szilagyi) wrote:

Right AFTER regeneration is when the iron gets through on my Water Boss softener. I think all the movement during the softeners regeneration process breaks the particles free. Typically I just run a faucet for about 10 seconds or so. It's most noticeable if a toilet is the first fixture used right after regeneration. The water in the bowl will be a little cloudy, flush the toilet again and everything is fine. If not flushed again the iron settles out after a few hours and leaves the orange film. A little bit of Iron Out in the bowl and it disappears like magic. It's pretty minor and doesn't effect sinks, tub or Jacuzzi.
I've kept the cloudiness at a minimum by programming my softeners back flush time to it's maximum setting, using iron reducing salt and more frequent regenerations (every 400 gallons). About every 4 months I do use Iron Out in the softener. When I replaced my well pump the softener took a big hit after disturbing 100' of 20 year old poly tubing. I was getting really nasty brown water after regeneration which didn't clear up until 50+ gallons were used. I contacted Water Boss and they sent me instructions on their approved process of using Iron Out (not in the regular manual). The crap that came out was mind boggling. I repeated the process 4 times until things finally cleaned up. Now I just use it regularly to keep it operating at its peak. The Iron Out should be completly flushed away during regeneration process but I don't believe any softener is going to be 100% fool proof...to be on the safe side, every time I use the Iron Out, I do wait a few hours and then manually start a second regeneration. Also just as a precaution the 10 year old house rabbit goes on bottled water for a few days.
I also recommend contacting the manufacturer of your water softener to find out what process they recommend. Mine was quite a bit different than the generic instructions on the Iron Out bottle.
George
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Thank you for all of the advice. I will do the recommended steps on adding some iron out to the brine tank, for this model softener (Autotrol 460i). I(like anybody else) would like to prolong the life of the softener! I agree that an additional manual flush is probably not a bad idea just to be sure the chemicals are all removed from the resin tank.
Just to address Garry's questions I know that the softener is producing soft water, and we haven't run out of soft water before. Also the softener itself is about 1 year old. But I should probably have the water re-tested, the hardness is high (22) so I'm guessing the iron level must also be very high.
Thanks for all of the information, I really appreciate it!
-- Chris

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If you look on the back of the large size of IronOut, it recommends spreading IronOut with every 50 lbs of salt. I think the recommended amount is 1 cup, but I'm not sure and I don't have the container handy.
I've been doing this for about 7 years and have never tasted any traces of a foreign chemical or salt in the drinking water. My well water has quite a bit of iron and I also have a whole house filter after the water softener. I've never had a problem with my water softener as a result of the iron.
However, I am skeptical of using salt that contains a iron removing product. Some people say water from a water softener with the iron removing salt pellets has a funny taste.
snipped-for-privacy@groupinfo.com (Chris Szilagyi) wrote in message

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I too have been wondering how these anti-iron water softener products work and what they affect they might have on our health.
I just got off the phone with Morton Salt company and they answered my question.
The active ingredient in Morton Rust Remover Super Pellens is Citric Acid. I am very familiar with the ability of citric acid to remove iron and iron stains. It does an exceptional job!! If your dishwasher tub is iron stained, fill the detergent dispenser with citric acid, and run it through a cycle. You'll be amazed how this stuff makes the tub look new. Here's a source for citric acid.
http://www.chemistrystore.com/Citric_Acid.htm
Its health risks are non-existent as far as I'm concerned. Citric acid is present in many food products at much higher concentrations than what you'll find in your treated water. If it was in your softened water at concentrations as high as what is found in Kool-aid or Sweet-Tarts, your water would be sour. Now that I know this, I would use the Morton pellets instead of Iron Out.
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