Whole house filter before softener?


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! -- Chris
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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.
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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 suggestions.
Thanks very much ! ...
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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?
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That's the right spot for it; you have the same setup we have.
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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.
Gary Quality Water Associates
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Hello Chris, 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. My 1500 plus customers are happy! Ben B.
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