Use water straight from the well or from the softener system?

PoolDad2

Well-known member
Jun 24, 2007
63
Eastern NC
As I have posted in my other thread on our pool leak, this is a new house we are planning on moving into in the future. Just need to get things straight at our current home first.

This pool has a leak and I'm working on getting it fixed.

My question is we have a well and a Culligan softener system in the house. The previous owners have been adding water to the pool from the house water. It is to the point now that we have to add so much water I'm concerned about putting stress on the softener system. Our water has some iron, but not much from what Culligan has told me. It does have sulfur, or at least it has that smell to it and we have a separate system to take that out of the water. This is in eastern NC near the coast and the well is 70 ft deep.

I know how to check my chemicals. So my question is how bad would it be to just use water straight from the well?

I did a search and couldn't find information or another topic on it.

25k gallon, vinyl with SWG, sand filter and variable speed pump.
 

setsailsoon

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TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
1,598
Stuart/FL
PD,

Can you test both streams and post the results? Do you have the sample test results that Culligan provided for your water softener design? Is the sulfur smell like rotten eggs or burnt fireworks?

Thanks.

Chris
 

PoolDad2

Well-known member
Jun 24, 2007
63
Eastern NC
I'll see if they can get me the results of their test. I'll have to get both of mine and write it down and then post it.

The smell is like rotten eggs.
 

PoolDad2

Well-known member
Jun 24, 2007
63
Eastern NC
I finally got the water tested. It seems our well water is high in PH. It was at least 8 and the TA was 200. This was straight from the well not through the water softener system.

The pool had 0 stabilizer, which is what I expected since we have to add water on a weekly basis.

Did a 24hr test as in turned the pump off for 24hrs and marked the water level. It went down an inch. Turned the pump back on and checked in 24hrs and it was down another inch.

Will see if I can get the Culligan test this coming week.
 

Leebo

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Jul 21, 2011
8,965
Eastern Ohio
As you’re doing the best first step is fixing the leak. Once that occurs I suspect you’ll find things a lot easier. In my mind you’re really at a no win situation, if you use the well you will be adding iron yet if you use the softener you will be maxing the system. These filters do work well at removing iron yet so often are sized for day to day use, not for filling a pool.

What I personally do (we too have high iron) is focus on greatly limiting the amount of water you need to add. Do little things like tear apart your DE filter each time verses backwashing. Little things like screaming at the kids when they’re splashing too much. Things like not draining as much water if your pool gets filled too high after a strong rainstorm. Things like using a solar cover when possible. These things all (while are added work) help reduce the amount of water you’ll need to add thus limiting the times you’ll have to be put into a no win situation.

I’ve even went further (as our water is very high iron) and redirected downspouts into the pool. If I do ever need to drain some water off due to large rains, I’ll drain it into two 500gallon containers we store behind the pool.
 

setsailsoon

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
1,598
Stuart/FL
PD,

Please do post your complete test results and fill out your signature completely. It will help experts to provide you advice with fewer cycles of questions and/or better advice since they make fewer assumptions. For your water softener excess capacity we really need information. Such as it's capacity (gr/gal), and your water use to figure out the daily loading. You should be able to get the water use from your bill.. The best way to determine if you have a leak is to do a bucket test. Wind speed has a large impact on evaporation so if you just measure the amount of loss you don't really know how much was evaporating. That said 1" per day sounds like a lot. So why is more information needed? I'll go through the analysis with assumptions and you'll see my point:
  • Let's assume you are leaking 1" per day.
  • I have no how much hardness you have so I'll assume it's on the high end at 10 gr/gal (171 ppm).
  • I have no idea what your pool shape is so I'll assume it has an area of 850 sq ft. One inch of water is then 524 gal.
  • This calculates to 5240 gr per day of total hardness.
  • I have no idea what your softener capacity is so I don't know if 5200 gr per day is within the normal design safety factor or not. If your system is designed for 64,000 gr per day you should be able to handle this until you get your leak fixed if you have one. If your system is sized for 24,000 gr per day this is over 20% of your capacity is much more likely to strain your softener.
  • If "some" iron is less than 3 ppm, it can often remove this with brim and your system may have this in your system. Or they may have added an iron removal filter.
  • Do you have an analysis of the water discharged from the water softener? It's as important to know how much iron removal capacity you have so you can be sure you aren't putting iron into the pool which can cause discoloration.
As you can see, it's important to have accurate analysis and facts about your system to answer your question (how much stress/capacity on the water softener) could be a lot different. TFP methods rely on simple to perform, accurate, repeatable test results and facts about your pool. Armed with this information and TFP methods, anybody can figure out how to keep their pool in tip top shape and super cheap with generic chemicals. The same approach is required for the analysis of your softener. If assumptions are the most favorable for total hardness and iron are correct you should be OK on your softener 'till you get your leak fixed if you do indeed have one. But to give you a more definitive answer we really need some additional facts. And certainly, anything you can do to reduce water loss will also help as Lee pointed out.

I hope this is helpful.

Chris
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Sebring, Florida
Find your leak. That should be job #1.

Use the softened water. Adding iron to a pool in almost any amount, regardless how small, is a very bad idea and will come back to bite you
 
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Jimbarstow

Member
Jul 1, 2018
19
Oakland ca
We were in a similar situation but we lost ALL the water in our pool. (Fix was absolutely trivial with no impact on the systems. Best possible outcome.)

Do you fill with a outside hose bib? If so, are you sure it goes through the water softener? Softened water can be bad for plants so when our house was built, they put the hose bibs on their own plumbing circuit.

One thing that you haven’t mentioned is stressing your well. For us, in northern CA, a damaged well is orders of magnitude worse than a stressed water softener system or empty pool. We are spending $2500 to truck in water for filling the pool; a damaged well would make that cost look trivial.
 

setsailsoon

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
1,598
Stuart/FL
If you're not sure about the hose connection being softened or not just watch the "remaining gallon's" meter on your softener panel when the hose is running. Most modern softener's use an internal flow meter to set trip for a regen that is also set to run around 2 am so you won't have a high likelihood of getting untreated water in the plumbing. You can also run your TF 100 hardness test on tap and hose to see if there's a difference. Or get one of these Hach Total Hardness 5B test kits:

1574526145844.png

I'm a little anal about my drinking water quality so I use this quarterly. Also have an under sink RO to do the final cleanup and check it with a TDS meter.

Hope this helps.

Chris