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Thread: New Water Softener Install Question

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Johnvickib's Avatar
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    Default New Water Softener Install Question

    I want to install a new water softener in my water heater closet (there is a drain line there). The house (built in 1981) did have a water softener before I bought it but it was outside and the previous owner took it. I want all water softened (hot and cold) except for the 2 outside faucets that were installed with the old softener. They rise from up the ground and not attached to the house.
    My question is: What is the best way to tap into the water line on the side of the house and get incoming housw water to the new softener location by the water heater? I would think the water line runs from the meter perpendicular alongside the garage, then turns and heads towards the water heater where it splits for a hot water line into the heater and cold water line, then after the heater they were kept in the same trench to each faucet but I don't know where it splits. Would the split be right before it rises for the water heater? I would be willing to cut the concrete to tap the hot and cold line if it was there. 2nd option would be to tap into line next to house, run Pex inside house and up wall into attic and over to water heater closet. I have included a rough diagram if it helps.
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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default softener

    We have absolutely no idea what is the best way to get the raw water from the outside of the house to the softener, but once it is done, the softened water can connect to the house system at a point between the wall and the water heater shutoff valve. Be sure to cap the current location where the water enters the house.

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    DIY Senior Member Mike Swearingen's Avatar
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    I'm not a pro plumber, just a long-time DIYer. As stated, if your home is on a slab, there is no way to determine where the water supply lines run just by looking at a layout.
    One guess is that the cold water main supply line runs straight down the center of the house from right to left from the garage area to between the bathrooms, with branches off to the various fixtures along the way, beginning with the kitchen. The hot lines, of course would be branched from the heater location.
    I realize that this may be a longshot, but have you checked with your local Building Inspection Department (you need to anyway for plumbing permit and inspection requirements) to see if they have records of original plans and permits?
    Good luck!
    Mike

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    DIY Junior Member Johnvickib's Avatar
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    I guess it is just hard to tell how it was ran when trenched 26 years ago. The only thing that I could see the plumber caring about is that it passed inspection and installing it where it required the least amount of trenching and materials as possible. The inspection dept. doesn't have anything, I have checked before but it is a good idea. I may call my plumber out to give me some consultation advice for an hour or two service charge. He is a master plumber and has been around since the house was built so he may be my best bet since he knows the local codes and how houses were made here. I am a D-I-Y'er but he has been a lifesaver/stress reducer on occasion.

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I'd put it where the old one was and have it done with.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member Johnvickib's Avatar
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    From my understanding, if I put it outside I will have to get a softener with mechanical controls. I would rather have the digital one and have it inside, away from the pets and easy to get to.
    Our water here is anywhere from 25 gpg to 36 gpg so I think it would really make a difference for our household. I hope it will make a big difference with less bathtub soap scum, water spots, etc.

  7. #7
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I have many of customers from FL to CA that have their softeners and filters outside and whoever told you that you can't use an electronic valve outside doesn't know what they are talking about. Plus, for $20 you can get a water tight cover.

    I have no idea what type pets you would have that would cause a softener any problems.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  8. #8
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking What is the reason???

    Why in the world would you want to cut the
    concrete and re-do that system???

    Cant you go overhead in the attic and come down
    into the water heater room ??

    Honestly ,
    It appears that it looks pretty good where it presently is

    If that water softerner is outside and has worked fine
    for years and years why dont you leave just leave it there???

    why would you want to lose the space in the house??

    put a cover over it if you are worried about weather or
    pets getting into it..


    When you have a unit in the middle of the home their
    is also the issue of hearing it re-generate in the middle
    of the night...and possibly wakeing you up at 2.30 am.....

    the way yours is presently set up outside you will never hear it regenerate.
    thats a pretty nice set up...

    perhaps you are worried about wakeing up the neighbors??

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member Johnvickib's Avatar
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    Thanks for the good advice, I will re-evaluate the outside installation. I should have soft water by February, (sounds like it will be outside where the old unit was).

  10. #10
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I suspect non electric is not needed because I also suspect that the electric for the old softener is still there.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member Johnvickib's Avatar
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    I have my new softener being shipped to me so I dug up where the old softener used to be (it was taken by the old owner of my house) and came across the old pipes (see attached picture). On the soft copper, I assume it is the drain line, what should I do to hook it up to the new softener drain? I know I need to cut out any kinked parts but do I get a coupling and solder it in and keep it copper or do I convert it to plastic? If I convert it to plastic, what part should I use to convert it over?

    Also, to confirm which way the water runs on the loop, I guess I need to turn off pressure at main, open a faucet somewhere to relieve pressure, cut pipe in half, turn pressure on a tiny bit and see which side has water flow, is this the best way?

    I will run electric over to the location this weekend and pour a slab and make a little building to enclose the softener since it can get between 10 to 20 degrees in the winter.
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    DIY Senior Member Pewterpower's Avatar
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    Why can't you just use those existing pipes, but extend them up a couple feet along that garage wall, and then through the garage wall. Then your softner will be in the garage.
    That's where mine is. I built a little closet around it, a few 2x4's and some plywood, just for protection. I've never had any problems with noise, and I know it's safe.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member Johnvickib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pewterpower View Post
    Why can't you just use those existing pipes, but extend them up a couple feet along that garage wall, and then through the garage wall. Then your softner will be in the garage.
    That's where mine is. I built a little closet around it, a few 2x4's and some plywood, just for protection. I've never had any problems with noise, and I know it's safe.
    Pewter, I like your idea. This weekend I started digging up the pipes so I could tell what was what. I am the 3rd owner of the house and it looks like there were 2 separate water softeners installed, 1 for each owner at two close but different locations, they tapped into the same pipes. I dug up all the pipes just to be sure of what I had. I am having a master plumber friend come by to make sure what I show as hard water supply and soft water entry into house is correct.
    If this is correct, I can remover most of the existing water softener pipe which is a mess, then I just have to go over 4' underground the other direction to the garage, come up and drill into brick and run into garage at new location. I have a drain line tap in wall on outside that I guess was put in by 1st sprinkler company?? I will also have a sheet metal company make a little cover to go over the pipes an fit into the hole and back down into the ground to seal the install and shield the pipes and insulation from weather and weedeater, etc.
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    Last edited by Johnvickib; 05-27-2008 at 11:30 AM.

  14. #14

    Default kansas master Plumber

    are you saying that all the tees are under ground? If that is so then you need to tie onto original feed to old softner and get it back into the water heater closet then back feed into cold water line before the water heater. I hope that line is 3/4".
    hope this helps. I would think the 2 outside faucets were bypassed on the first softner installation. you may have to check that out.
    Last edited by dwpecksr; 05-27-2008 at 03:10 PM.
    kansas master plumber

  15. #15
    DIY Junior Member Johnvickib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pewterpower View Post
    Why can't you just use those existing pipes, but extend them up a couple feet along that garage wall, and then through the garage wall. Then your softner will be in the garage.
    That's where mine is. I built a little closet around it, a few 2x4's and some plywood, just for protection. I've never had any problems with noise, and I know it's safe.
    Thanks for the idea. I added that into my plans and have everything finished except I am having a sheetmetal cover made to cover the pipes and insulation where the pipes come out of ground and go into the hole I made in the brick wall into the garage. I insulated my pipes and I don't have to worry about freezing or putting softener in when muddy after a rain. I had to do a lot of digging and knock a 4" x 5" hole in the wall (the size of 1/2 a brick) in 104 degree weather but it is worth it to get unit out of weather and to get hot and cold water softened.

    I am very pleased with the water already, our water is usually 25 GPG and higher in the summer but with our unit (Fleck 5600SE 64,000 grain) right away I see NO SPOTS, I stuck our 1 year old silverware (which has started looking horrible recently) in the dishwasher this morning and hopefully it looks good again soon.

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