Black Water and Potassium Chloride Water Softener Pellets

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    • #273362

      I have a problem with black water coming from the hot water supply. It usually happens when the faucet is first turned on and clears up within a short time. The water supply is from a well that we have been using for over 20 years with no problems. This problem started last year and I have been trying to figure out what could be causing it. Recently, I have been thinking that the problem began after I purchased a new water softener and switched from using sodium chloride pellets to using potassium chloride pellets. Could the potassium chloride pellets be causing the plack water? Any thoughts you might have on this problem would be appreciated. Thanks.


    • #287449

      Firstly, potassium chloride is colorless in solution, so that isn’t your problem. BUT too much potassium can induce heart attacks, since it is a neurostimulator. My intuition is to check for iron contamination, but definately get the water tested for other cations and bacteria as well.

    • #287450

      Using Potassium Chloride as a regenerant for a water softener will not cause black hot water. Neither will it cause heart attacks.

    • #287451

      Great response from Scott Crawford taken from

      RE: More questions from Scott Crawford, CWS-VI: 8/22/00 6:11:22 PM
      We have seen this type of problem many times and usually breaks down into 3 different catagories. In order of frequency:
      1. My first question to you would be if there were any type of odors associated with this water. We have treated thousands of ground water wells with sulfide problems and have seen this happen a lot. We feel it relates to the dissolved organic carbons in the water. Usually shock chlorinating the heater and flushing it good a couple of times might clear it up. In some cases we have had to add an organic trap (softener set up with anion resin that has a high attaction to organic matter) ahead of the heater and plumbing system to solve this permenantly.

      2. Magnesium anode rod breaking down. Again flushing it down and replacing the rod with aluminum or removing it all together can clear this type of problem.

      3. Iron and manganese bleeding through. Need to determine the source of the iron and manganese to solve it. Sometimes, it is iron bleeding withing the heater itself, requiring the heater to be replaced. We have seen this a few times.

      Potassium chloride should have no effect one way or another. We use it all the time. If anything, we have seen in some cases, a reduction of odors on the hot side without having to remove the anode rod or even chlorinate the heater, but just switching the softener over to a potassium chloride regenerant from sodium chloride.

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