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I have a kinetico water softener system and we were having some pressure problems in outside hoses.

The installers came out and said that the issue was due to excessive iron buildup inside the unit (picture 1)

unit on left

The installer said we should replace the entire system ($8,500+!!!)

He showed me that there was indeed rust/iron inside the unit by taking the top off.

I called the well company to get their opinion - and they told me that the lack of pressure was due to the air pressure on the bladder tank being too low. They recharged it and since fixed the pressure. They also told me that the exterior faucets bypass the softener system - which makes sense.

Now I am left wondering how to clean out the rust from that tank - or if it is even necessary.

Do I need to replace that? Is there a temporary fix I can do to fix it?

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  • Softening outside hose water is usually a poor idea. Those should come off before the softener, maybe with an option to swap a few valves and put sof water out one when washing windows or the car...
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 23, 2022 at 1:45

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You got visited by a scammer, mostly, from your tale.

You can buy water softener salt that has additional material to help clear iron from the resin. (I see names like "Iron Fighter" and "Rust Defense" - not endorsing either, just mentioning the class of product)

You can also buy a product (Names like "Rust Out" and "Iron Out" - not endorsing either, just mentioning the class of product) specifically formulated to remove iron from softener resin separately.

If you have iron, you'll get some rust on the resin. If you have too much iron that may be an issue requiring a prefilter that removes iron, but if it's low (? under 4-10 PPM, I think) a softener will pull it out fine, and you can maintain with one of the above products occasionally.

What does your water test indicate for amount of iron in your water?

Anyway, if there's any iron, the resin will "look rusty" if you pop the top off to see if you can get a sucker to pay $8500 for a system replacement they don't need for a problem with water not even going through the softener. If you don't have issue with the flow of the water actually going through it, not something to worry about much. Given your well company sorted the problem without changing the softener, I diagnose a scammer.

Most you should need if your resin was utterly trashed (which it's not) is a few cubic feet of new resin, (typically 1-3% of your quoted system replacement price) not a whole new system. Scammers are a nickel for two dozen in the water treatment industry, unfortunately.

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  • Thank you!! That was my concern :) Nov 23, 2022 at 14:55
  • I would add that if (as I read to be the case) this is the folks that sold you the softener, they should have checked the iron level with a water test before installing the softener, and addressed that at the time of installation if it was an issue.
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 23, 2022 at 15:20

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