About a year ago I installed a large Whirlpool whole-house filter
housing (model WHCF-DWHBB) before the softener, using carbon-based
filters that have a 3 gallon-per-minute flow rate. My question is,
what is the general opinion on using this filter before the softener,
as opposed to after the softener? Our water has a lot of iron (2
ppm), as we get the rotten egg smell at the farthest faucet and orange
stains in the sinks, etc. I installed this filter before the softener
thinking that I would extend the life of the resin. But lately I have
read some posts that mention this drops the water pressure and can
cause the resin to fail over time. My softener is a 1 cu ft model, if
that helps any. What is the general opinion on installing a filter
like this before this softener?? Should I remove it??
Thank you very much for the feedback!
Properly maintained, there should be little pressure of volume dropped
across the filter. If you are filtering for solids in the water, yes, it
should be ahead of the softener. If you are filtering for taste, I'd put it
after and only on lines getting the water to drink or cook with.
Thank you for the input. At each filter change interval (every 3
months), there's about 0.25 inch of orange sludge at the bottom of the
filter housing. There's an orange film that also coats the entire
inside of the housing as well, that I actually have to scrub off. I'm
assuming this is all of the iron, as it's the same color as the stuff
that stains the sinks. Would this be considered solids?? My main
goal was to filter this stuff from getting to the softener, and
further down to the water heater, etc. Will this orange sludge harm
the softener over time, or is the softener meant to handle this
(possibly by using the iron buster green salt)?? Just looking for
Thanks very much ! ...
In our house, the kitchen has a single faucet for cold water that does
NOT pass through the softener (to reduce sodium consumption). The toilets
and the outside taps also get unsoftened water. We live in a fairly hard
water area. Filtering for taste would be most sensibly done on human
consumption lines anyway, wouldn't it?
Unless you have a softener using centuries old technology (read
Kinetico) water power, you don't need a prefilter unless you have
visibly dirty water. The Kinetico needs one because their water
powered softener control valve has MANY small close tolerance gears
and any buildup of invisible dirt chokes them.
Note the 3 gpm flow rate of those cartridges? Depending on the number
of people in the house and the number of bathrooms, your peak demand
gpm is WAY over 3 gpm. And carbon cartridges can plug up quickly and
replacing them on a time basis usually is long past when they should
be changed. Then the softener can be starved for backwash water and
that kills resin.
Carbon is a great media for bacteria growth. Carbon is not to be
installed on water of unknown biological content. It can cause odor
problems or may make someone sick. That 'stuff' in the fliter housing,
it sounds like it could be IRB (iron reducing bacteria), a nonharmful
group of bacteria that colonizes softeners etc. and that prevents a
softener from working. Check the toilet tanks for a slime at the water
line or an oily film on the water. If it is IRB, and enough to cause
the softener a problem, you must kill it with a disinfectant and
sanitize the softener.
All the water in a house should be softened. The formula for added
sodium by a softener is 7.85 mg/l (roughly a quart) per grain per
gallon (gpg) of exchange (includes hardness iron and manganese). Ten
gpg hard water adds 75.8 mg of sodium and a slice of white bread
usually has 140-160 mg of sodium. An 8 oz glass of skim milk, 530 mg,
V8 juice has 560 mg. Check the labels for per serving sodium on food
and drink packaging/containers in your house.... If you used potassium
chloride instead of salt, you have no added sodium.
Quality Water Associates
I would suggest the following. I would have a prefilter in front of
my softener. You need a sediment unit with a nominal rating of
approx. 20-30 micron. This is mainly for sand, sediment, or small
amount of ferric iron. Carbon should not be used at this point. I
would also check the port size of the prefilter. Many that have the
valve in head design have a very restrictive flow. Make sure you are
3/4 or 1 inch full port. I have worked with city water and years of
well water applications. You never know when a main break or a well
will malfunction. Would you run your car without a oil or air
filter? Also when there is iron present it is important to use a salt
with a iron/resin cleaner. Iron is 3 to 4 times harder to remove so
salt alone needs some help. It only costs a little more per bag.
Resin which is inside the unit is not intended to be a filtering
media. It is a ion exchange process. As far as having the cold raw
at the kitchen sink I would not do that. A much better option would
be to have a simple seperate tap if someone wants to have a raw water
supply. Mixing treated soft water with raw water results in raw
water! Make sure your unit is adjusted correctly and check toilets
for internal leaks. Toilets will rob all of your treated water if
they run over at the stack or leak at the flapper. Hope this helps.
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