I'm a new homeowner looking at installing a water softener in my house. There's just 2 of us living there, and our water is moderatly hard (I forget the actual number from the quality report). I'm looking at installing an inexpensive whirlpool model, any idea on how those stack up against more professional models?
One problem I've run into is my sewer line is very high in my basement. Is the drain on most softeners under pressure, or will I need to position the softener to be gravity fed somehow?
Another related question, how much discharge can I expect from the softener? Would draining it into a drain into the ground be a possible solution?
That brand, the GE, Sears, North Star, and one or two more are all made by the same company, Ecowater and share the same control valve with few if any differences internally. It is a rotary valve and wear on the disc and its gasket is a very common problem. The parts are fairly pricey for what they are and made of and the longest warranty is 3 years. Many are failing in 2-6 years. A softener using an Autotrol, Clack or Fleck control valve lasts service free much longer and the warranty is 5 years; tanks are 10 years; so there's little comparison.
You can go up 6-7' from the control valve and then sideways for say 20' or 30' if the drain line comes back down. To go farther, you increase the ID or the drain line flow control (DLFC). All drain water is at line pressure.
The best place for the drain water, and the volume depends on the size of the softener, is in the septic system or sewer. Dry wells are usually illegal and going to pollute the groundwater and that can be a serious charge, and you really don't want one if you have a well. In some areas the septic or sewer is not allowed.
I suggest a softener with the Clack WS-1 or Fleck 7000 control. IMO they are the two best choices due to their ease of repair and neither requires any special tools. They both have variable reserve and soft water brine refill while the 7000 has variable brining also.