I live in the country and have a deep well for my water source. The water is very acid, with a pH of about 5, and loaded with iron. So I have to treat my water to bring the pH up to an acceptable level to prevent my copper piping from eroding.
But, I still had the problem of large amounts of iron in the water, which stained everything, and clogged up the water sediment filter (5 micron, 20 inch whole house sediment filter) every few days. The filter cartridges cost about $8 each, so I was spending $2 a day for filtering my well water.
Shopping around for a solution, I came across BudgetWater.com and saw they had a selection of iron filters. After talking to one of their technicians, it was decided that the only solution which would work for me was a greensand iron filter because all the other technologies required a pH of the water above 7. So I ordered a large greensand system, with a 12″ diameter tank, and a Logix 268 valve/controller system.
The system came with 2 cubic feet of greensand which was put into the tank, and the system plumbed into my house. The chemical tank was filled with potassium permanganate which is used to regenerate the filter. Basically, the system is like a water softener, except there is greensand in the filter, and the chemical tank holds potassium permanganate (Pot Perm) instead of salt.
The system worked for almost a year, until one morning when we were taking our baths, the water came out of the faucet pink in color. Potassium permanganate colors the water pink. So I went into the basement, and found that when the unit recycled in the night, it had pumped the sand from inside the tank into the drain, which plugged it up, and kept the filter from backwashing.
This was a new one on me, so I called up the BudgetWater techs, who had never heard of this problem before. They were totally unhelpful, so I had to figure out how to fix this problem. Two of their suggestions were: a broken pipe inside the tank, or using water from a faucet in the middle of the night. A broken pipe was unlikely, but I had to check that. Using water would not cause sand to go down the drain; if anything, it would have pulled sand into the house plumbing which would have filled up and clogged the sediment filter. Because of the valves inside the controller, the only thing using water while the system regenerated would cause is unfiltered water to go into the house plumbing.
The bottom line is that the technical support at BudgetWater.com was not much help.
First, I bypassed the system, so was back to $2 a day for sediment filter cartridges.
Next, I was faced with the problem of removing the remaining wet sand and water from the filter tank. BudgetWater suggested using my shop vac. This did not work well at all, and made quite a mess. Finally though I did get enough of the sand out of the tank to see that there was no broken pipes inside.
After that, I had to figure out how to get about a cubic foot of sand out of the drain pipe that was buried in the basement concrete floor. This took me 3 days to get the drain open again. I was not happy at all.
I certainly didn’t want to pay over $700 a year for sediment filters, so I really needed to get the greensand filter working again. Taking stock of what I had or didn’t have, showed me that I would have to buy new greensand, and since I couldn’t be absolutely certain that the tank was ok, I should replace the tank.
Greensand is expensive. BudgetWater’s price was $96 per 1/2 cubic foot, so it would be almost $400 to buy from them. A local supplier had it for 1/2 the price, so I bought it from a local source. The tank was not available locally, so I bought a new one from BudgeWater. They gave me a small discount, and it cost me almost $200 for a new tank.
Continued in part 2.