#1
Old 08-14-2011, 09:43 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 3,785
Dirty water in house.

the San Jose Water Company is the source of my water. Every so often the water out of my tap comes out black. I am not on a personal line but a water company.

This morning when I opened the cold water tap in the bathroom I got black water. I checked the water facuet just outside the house and got clear water. I then checked a hose bib in the garage, the water was not black but it has some sediminate in it.

I figure I have one of two choices. 1st dirty water from the water company that was clearing up as I tested it. 2nd choice clear before water softener dirty after the softener, softener problem. The softener may have regenerated last night. I am thinking the brine tank is the problem, the tank is half full of salt so rinsing the tank is out of the question for now, but before I put any more salt in the tank I will completely flush the taank.

Has anyone had this kind of problem?
#2
Old 08-14-2011, 10:06 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 5,114
I work for a water utility company. If the water department is conducting maintenance or flushing lines, you can get loose corrosion products in people's lines. All you have to do is to run your tap to flush out the sediment.

Secondly, if you are on public water, why on Earth do you need a water softener in the first place? I have one, but only because I have a private well and we have very high iron in our groundwater.

If I were on public water, I'd be more concerned about the residual chlorine from the disinfection process (which can be removed with a Brita-type carbon filter) than hardness.
#3
Old 08-14-2011, 11:17 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: San Jose, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robby View Post

Secondly, if you are on public water, why on Earth do you need a water softener in the first place? I have one, but only because I have a private well and we have very high iron in our groundwater.

If I were on public water, I'd be more concerned about the residual chlorine from the disinfection process (which can be removed with a Brita-type carbon filter) than hardness.
In San Jose I always advise that you chew the water before swallowing. The Ca hardness runs from 700 parts to 900 parts. That is why I have a water softener. As for the residual Cloramines, my drinking water goes through filters and a RO system.

I do not drink San Jose water, it eats up brass valves. I do not know what is in the water but it eats brass.

By the way a softener will not properly take care of Iron, you should be using a deironizer.

Last edited by Snnipe 70E; 08-14-2011 at 11:18 PM.
#4
Old 08-15-2011, 01:01 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Leominster MA
Posts: 5,195
Do not mess with the brine tank. I've never seen an issue caused by one other then the issues caused by clueless people trying to clean them or otherwise 'repair' their softener. The only thing you check on the brine tank is how high the water level is. If it is lifting the float there is an issue with the softener. If you don't have a float just make sure the water level isn't climbing each day.

Most likely you got something off the utility, them flushing lines or shaking things up in some fashion.

A water softener is a poor filter but does function as a filter it's possible it is collecting sediment and a regeneration shakes it up and you'll see cloudy water after regeneration.

My first step would be to test the treated water for hardness to see if the softener is working correctly. If you bring a sample to the company that installed it they should do that free of charge.

You could also experiment and trigger a regeneration. Then run the water with it's regenerating, you'll get untreated water, if that's black it has nothing to do with the softener. If you get black water after the regeneration it's a softener problem but the brine tank still isn't the issue, leave the thing alone and get a professional out there.

Also you need to confirm this is an exclusively cold water issue. If you have a problem with the hot water tank or coil causing black water you'd only see it inside the house because that's where the hot water goes.


Softeners do take care of iron very efficiently more so then any other equipment provided the iron is in the ionic state(ferrous iron). Ferric iron must be physically filtered which softeners do a poor job of.
#5
Old 08-15-2011, 02:12 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 3,785
Quote:
Originally Posted by boytyperanma View Post
Do not mess with the brine tank. I've never seen an issue caused by one other then the issues caused by clueless people trying to clean them or otherwise 'repair' their softener. The only thing you check on the brine tank is how high the water level is. If it is lifting the float there is an issue with the softener. If you don't have a float just make sure the water level isn't climbing each day.

Most likely you got something off the utility, them flushing lines or shaking things up in some fashion.

A water softener is a poor filter but does function as a filter it's possible it is collecting sediment and a regeneration shakes it up and you'll see cloudy water after regeneration.

My first step would be to test the treated water for hardness to see if the softener is working correctly. If you bring a sample to the company that installed it they should do that free of charge.

You could also experiment and trigger a regeneration. Then run the water with it's regenerating, you'll get untreated water, if that's black it has nothing to do with the softener. If you get black water after the regeneration it's a softener problem but the brine tank still isn't the issue, leave the thing alone and get a professional out there.

Also you need to confirm this is an exclusively cold water issue. If you have a problem with the hot water tank or coil causing black water you'd only see it inside the house because that's where the hot water goes.


Softeners do take care of iron very efficiently more so then any other equipment provided the iron is in the ionic state(ferrous iron). Ferric iron must be physically filtered which softeners do a poor job of.
When ever we have the dirty problem it always start in the moring. So the utility working on the lines does not seam right. This last time was a Saturday night. Clear raw water, cloudy at tap closes to water softener. I got the softeners in both of my high rises working by messing with the brine tank, that was where the problem was. Although I did not think about the zelite having dirt suspended in it and that is possable. Tomarrow I will take a sample into work and test it, I have not done it for a few years.

The problem is in the cold water side. And it is not a everyday problem.
#6
Old 08-15-2011, 12:17 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Phoenix,AZ
Posts: 340
NM

Last edited by Sandra Battye; 08-15-2011 at 12:18 PM.
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