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Thread: Best Water Softners

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member biznitch15's Avatar
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    Exclamation Best Water Softners

    Hello Everyone,

    New to the Forum, nice to meet you all (not Ya'll).

    I would like to hear everyone's best water softner's list. And yes I am currently loking for one. I would greatly appreciate some info on the water softner you chose to be the best. Thanks!!

  2. #2
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    That's like asking what brand of vehicle is the best. Let's narrow your options a bit.

    Do you want to be a DIYer and repair your softener when needed or dependent on a local dealer for service?
    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.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member biznitch15's Avatar
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    Well, sorry i didnt mention that earlier.

    I would like to do repairs myself but that's why I need a softner that will not give me those problems in the short to medium range time frame, say 3-7yrs. I expect problems in the long run of course.

    I have seen some buzz on other sites that do sales about the GE Logix and the Fleck. Also some Culligan buzz too. Any Comments on thos eproducts?

    But if it means installing myself to save a few hundreds possibly even thousands on install, I'm willing to DIY this project.

    (Basically I'm looking for the most cost effective choice with quality in mind)

    thanks!!

  4. #4
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Excellent. I suggest a correctly sized softener with a Clack WS-1 control valve having a constant SFR (service flow rating gpm) based on your family size, the number of bathrooms and the type of fixtures in them. Your peak demand gpm must be lower than the softener's constant SFR. You can visit the Sizing page on my web site to learn more about that.
    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.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member biznitch15's Avatar
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    Gary, is your recommendation biased? Anyhow, i went to your website and i will consider it with a little more reasearch, thanks.

    Here is some more info to better help you guys make recomendations.

    2 story Home
    2.5ba
    5 people (2 adults/ 3 kids under 2yr)
    water hardness 30-40grains (as Per the city annual reports)
    city water
    constant sulfuric smell only in the Master Bath but not too disturbing.
    Last edited by biznitch15; 04-21-2009 at 09:11 AM.

  6. #6
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking The Clack is the best...

    Gary does sell one of the best units you can buy for a do it yourselfer....


    I suppose he has a vested interest in selling them,
    but I used to install the Autotrol and he used to tell
    me how much better the clack valve was over the autotrol

    and we finally went to them and

    he was right, they are much better.

    and they are better then the fleck too....




    although I dont take the time to try to size them exactly for
    the demands of each customer...


    I usually just install the 45,000 grain unit for the common house hold
    and it seems to be the best one for our area....


    I have installed a few 30,000 grain units , they work fine too
    but I feel that if you pay a water and sewer bill the larger unit
    has the same efficiency with less regenerations involved. ....per week...month


    so go big or stay home, is my atitude.....


    of course that is going to stir up a debate...



    the 60 ,000 grain unit I have put in a few for
    a few 5--7 bathroom homes...never a problem



    I got about 50 .....45,000 grain units out there
    without a problem .....


    in my own home I have a 3 bathroom house with
    2 kids, one dog,, high maintaince wife and me

    I am on city water at 24 parts hard with plenty of lime...
    we are usineg about 50 lbs of salt per month..

    I went through about 14 ...40 lb bags last year...

    I think that is pretty decent..... perhaps if I tweak it a bit
    I could get down under 40 ls .

    but I like to take a bath every night...

    ...
    look at a few here

    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryii/.

  7. #7
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default softener

    The only thousand dollar installs I have seen are from the companies that come to your house and give you a great deal. By accepting the deal you usually only pay about three times what the softener and installation are worth.

  8. #8
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking HJ under 1000 is resonable installed....

    HJ..I dont know about where you live, but in this area
    their are companies like Culligan that are getting on
    average about 2200 for the install of a water softener.
    to rebuild a 8 year old culligan unit, I recently saw the estimate for 800..


    Kinnecto is getting about the same and more

    Rainsoft units installed around here have gone for
    over 3000...


    Of course the customer finds this out after the sale
    and usually regrets his decision....


    of course this is a DIY forum, and people are looking
    for the bottom dollar to install them themselves..


    but still their is a reasonable range for a price
    and then their is absolute rape...

    gary susslers price is pretty reasonable to do it yourself


    my price is ok for a lisc plumber to do the same.

    their are other companies (good guys ) I know that are putting in the
    Autotrol unit for 1100...

    i dont lose many that i get the chance to bid on against
    culligan........

  9. #9
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by biznitch15 View Post
    I would like to do repairs myself but that's why I need a softener that will not give me those problems in the short to medium range time frame, say 3-7yrs. I expect problems in the long run of course.
    Big box brands usually only last that long but softeners using an Autotrol, Clack or Fleck control valve usually last 10-20+ years problem free, and then they can be repaired IF the person will. Many national brands use one of those controls or a proprietary version of them. In some cases the owner can't get the parts from the one'n only local dealer. So it's best to buy from an independent online dealer (or local, for nonDIYers), and buy parts online.

    Quote Originally Posted by biznitch15 View Post
    I have seen some buzz on other sites that do sales about the GE Logix and the Fleck. Also some Culligan buzz too. Any Comments on those products?

    But if it means installing myself to save a few hundreds possibly even thousands on install, I'm willing to DIY this project.

    (Basically I'm looking for the most cost effective choice with quality in mind)

    thanks!!
    For a couple of years I was one of only 5 dealers in the US that was approved by Autotrol to build a patented distributor system for a very special limited availability control valve they have and, I've sold many Autotrol valves and thousands of Fleck valves, and right at 1100+ Clack valves.

    My experience (bias if you will) is that Clack is the best valve for a DIYer because it was designed to be an improved version of the Fleck piston, seals and spacers design and the easiest and fastest control to repair. There are only 5 parts not counting the valve body. No valve body ever goes bad unless frozen or the pressure rating is exceeded or hot water is run through the Noryl types; which is used by all those manufacturers.

    The 5 parts are the meter turbine assembly, the motor, the piston, the stack (all the seals and spaces in one piece; 2 seals and 3 spacers more than Fleck) and the circuit board. Anyone that can wield a pair of Channel Lock type pliers can replace all 5 parts and have the water back on in 30 minutes. That includes checking the operation of the new parts.

    The 5600 can not come close to the features of the Clack. The 5600 is a 3/4" valve and can not be used on larger than a 2.0 cuft softener or 1.5 cuft filter. The Clack WS-1 can be used on up to and including a 21" diameter tank, that's like a 7 cuft softener or filter. The 5600 does not have variable reserve or soft water brine refill or the ability to change the length of time the various cycle positions of a regeneration run for, so water efficiency suffers. And it doesn't have the ability to do an immediate regeneration and a delayed regeneration. It also doesn't have any of the extensive history and diagnostic abilities of the Clack WS-1, such as recording the highest gpm that has ever been run through it and the max gpm of each of the last 6 days, the total regenerations it has done, the gallons used for each of the last 63 days etc. etc.. And if you don't have the special 5600 tools, it is difficult to impossible to replace the seals and spacers.

    Anyone that tells you that electronics corrode on Autotrol, Clack or Fleck valves is wrong. They go on about salt water environments, Cabinet models for those brands of control do not let air from the salt tank get to the control valve. And the distance between the valve and the salt tank on a two tank softener is like 3-4', so there is no possibility of salt air corrosion.

    Out of 1100+ Clack WS-1 valves, I've had 21 problems in 4.75 yrs.. Three to 4 were lightening strikes. Had I sold that many Fleck valves, I would expect 4-5 times that number of problems. I quit selling the Fleck 7000 because of problems and high water use because of the variable brining feature.
    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.

  10. #10

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    I agree about the Clack valve. I recently had a problem with the water softner after 8 years of working flawlessly. After some online research, I bought a new seal pack online and it took about 20 minutes to install. The water softner is like new now.

  11. #11
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by biermech View Post
    Gary speaks highly of the Clack valve. That is what he chooses to sell. I'm not convinced that they are the better valve. I've talked to several friends in the business and get mixed opinons. I talked to a dealer that was returning 2 valves because they didn't work. I spend over 6 hours in class going over the programming of the system. I'm sticking to the Fleck 5600 because it has a longer history (Clack hasn't been around that long) of dependablility. I don't sell bells and whistles.
    Yes I've I've sold 1100+ of them over all but 5 years now, so I have extensive field history with them. You have been a service guy for 16 years with experience with cabinet model SEARS etc.. And now an independent dealer for a couple years at most. But you've never bought, used or sold a Clack valve. Yet you have an opinion against Clack because it is electronic!! I say you have a 'I guess I'm right 'cuz I'm scared of problems' feeling. Or, you want to sell a very popular valve instead because it's easier.

    Any dealer that can't troubleshoot a Clack isn't a dealer, they are pretending to be a dealer. I doubt the two guys had a clue of what was wrong with those two valves so they bad mouth the Clack and you spread their gossip.

    Clack has been around since the beginning of 2000 and was invented by an ex Fleck engineer that invented your 5600 (and two other ex Fleck engineers; the 3 had 72 yrs experience at Fleck).

    I don't sell just the Clack, I sell Autotrol and Fleck also. You are against online dealers, I'm for all local or online dealers and I can only sell to people that want to be a DIYer or hire a plumber to install the thing themselves. You guys have the rest of the market.

    Your two friends that nixed the Clack are outnumber many to one when we see many online dealers and many more local dealers selling the Clack and plumbing supply houses selling it.

    BTW, I've replaced a number of Fleck valves because of problems right out of the box as my customer (or I) have pluged them in after installing the softener or filter.

    I've not had to do replace any of the 1100 Clack valves I've sold. And that is sold to DIYers! that play with them, program them and install them and then fool around with them before calling me if something goes wrong.

    You tell people that electronic valves corrode because of a salt environment, yet there is no way for corrosion because the salt is 3-5' away in a separate tank and 2-3 feet below the control valve in an all but sealed brine tank with the only holes in the tank being the 3/8" brine line tubing hole and the hollow 1/2" brine tank overflow elbow.
    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.

  12. #12
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Your own words in a post were something like 16 or 18 years in TX as a service tech. And within the last week or two you've said you had something like 18 yrs experience, 18-16 is two yrs selling Fleck I guess. If I'm wrong on the number of yrs, correct me. Do I have to go find and copy/paste the posts? The service tech part was mostly on big box store softeners. About 99% of them are cabinet models with the control valve just above the salt in the tank and usually under a cover.

    Your opinion about Clack valves is because they are electronic, not because you have seen them corrode, or heard of them corroding. Now you mention salt and water yet the Clack has no metal parts exposed. And if it leaks water, none can get on any metal.

    I can state an opinion about anyone's knowledge or abilities that can not fix a Clack, or has to ask a supplier to tell him what to do. They were designed to be very simple to repair. It only has 5 parts and each one does a specific thing.
    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.

  13. #13
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy CWS View Post
    Chlorine will damage resins and some rubber parts in some valves.

    Sorry the thread has degradated to a snipping match. Some members prefer to market themselves at the expense of others. Most reasonable people see right through it. I hope we haven't lost you; that happens at times.
    Andy, can you give us a list of control valves that have "rubber parts" that are damaged by chlorine?

    Autotrol, Clack, Fleck and Erie have no rubber parts, and all their seals and o-rings are unharmed by chlorine and anything else found in water. The same for their plastic parts.

    As to your instigating, I recall Terry telling you that you may be a bit too sensitive to post here and now, you are insulting members by calling many of them unreasonable... You are also attacking me and/or Biermech, the question is why when not a word was said to you or about you. Also, no one can apologize for the actions of others without it being a self serving apology.

    BTW, the vigorous and passionate debate that you call "snipping" is informative and a good thing for biznitch15 now and anyone else reading this in the future.
    Last edited by Gary Slusser; 11-18-2008 at 10:41 AM.
    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.

  14. #14

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    Gary,

    You mention the WS-1 as a good softener. I was looking up information about it today and it says it has an operating temp. of 40-110 degrees. I was planning on installing one in my garage in Arizona. The garages down here can easily get above 120-130 during the middle of the summer. Do you see a problem with this setup?

    Thanks,

  15. #15
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by biermech View Post
    I didn't realize I had to submit a resume. I started in the water treatment in Apr 1990. I soon sold my first Fleck 5600. I've sold a number of different valves (Eco, Autotrol, Erie, Hague, just to name a few) both for commercial and residental use. I've serviced almost all that you can name. Out of all the different units, I'ld say I've serviced 60% non cabinet models. I don't ever recall saying the Clack was a bad valve. All I ever say is that I don't like computers on water softeners. That includes Eco, Sears, GE, and the whole lot. I don't flip flop around. I found the Fleck valve to be the most dependable. But for you, you fliped from the Fleck to the Clack. Is it because you can buy the Clack cheaper that the Fleck? When I checked with my supplier, they sell the Clack cheaper, but yet I'm not in it for the cheaper price,. I choose quality for my customers. Don't take it so personal. For you to bad mouth someone you don't even know shows your lack of charater.
    When I get a chance I'll go look up the posts I mentioned.

    I sell what is best for my customer based on what they tell me they want. The Clack has proven to be exactly what they want an has the highest quality of any valve I've seen

    The suppliers I have compared equipment prices from, 3 of the largest in the US, using the Clack valve have always given me prices that are higher than Autotrol and Fleck. So I pay more and I have to charge more for the same softener simply because of the valve. So I'd love to know who sells for less than a 5600 or 2510 in mechanical or electronic versions.

    Talk about bad mouthing and lack of character... LOL you say you've never sold a Clack, I can not recall you saying anywhere that you've ever seen one! and yet every chance you get, you tell everyone that because it is electronic, it's not as good a choice as the 5600 mechanical metered that you sell.

    So, how are you helping people by voicing an unfounded and seemingly biased opinion with no hands on experience with any Clack valve?

    Dbrule013, I've been selling Clack valves all over FL to CA for all but 5 years and they are installed in garages and outside. In order of the numbers, most of my customers are in TX, AZ (especially Phoenix), CA and FL. There have not been any problems yet and IIRC, Autotrol and Fleck have the same high temp limit.
    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.

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