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Yellow/Brown Water From Idle Water Softener

I've seen a post similar to this, but not exactly what I'm experiencing.

When we return from vacation, after a week or two, our water is yellow to brown.  It flushes out of the system after running water for 5-10 minutes, which I do from the first faucet entering the house.  Here are some clues:

  • I'm certain the discoloration is originating in the water softener.  If I bypass the water softener, there is no discoloration when we return from vacation.  As soon as I put the water softener back on-line, the discoloration appears until the system is flushed.  (5-10 minutes, as mentioned above)
  • The water softener is about 2 years old.
  • The house was remodeled 2 years ago with completely new copper piping all the way to the street.
  • We never see any discoloration when we're home and using water normally.
  • I use KCl in the water softener.  Not NaCl.
  • The "before you call for service" section of the water softener's use guide has an entry for the yellow/brown water problem.  It lists the possible cause as "unit was idle for a period of time".  Bingo.  The solution is to run their sanitation procedure.  I did this.  Three weeks later, after a 10-day vacation, the discolored water was back.


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