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Thread: Need a Water Softner! Which One?

  1. #46
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    It is all a fine dance on the head of a pin.

    Sizing the resin for both a good flow rate, cap. taking in the numbers iron, mn, hardness...

    To little and the higher the psi drop, to much and channeling ...

    If Iron is in the mix, then to long and iron and resin get to know each other TO WELL.... and that is not good.

    Some of this is in the books and some of it is what one has found out the hard way..

    Water temp also comes into play in what kind of flow rates one can get, how much Iron one can remove with a softener, along with the flow rate for the backwash.

  2. #47
    DIY Senior Member Bob999's Avatar
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    This question is for Gary Slusser and Akpsdvan.

    What constitutes an oversized softener which leads to channeling? What are the parameters of an oversized softener which leads to channeling?

    Most literature charaterizes softener size either on the basis of flow per cubic foot of resin or flow per square foot of tank size. Residential flow rates are variable--from a gallon or two per minute for a single faucet to ?? depending upon the number of fixtures and size of piping. So how does one determine when a softener is oversized?

  3. #48
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob999 View Post
    This question is for Gary Slusser and Akpsdvan.

    What constitutes an oversized softener which leads to channeling? What are the parameters of an oversized softener which leads to channeling?

    Most literature charaterizes softener size either on the basis of flow per cubic foot of resin or flow per square foot of tank size. Residential flow rates are variable--from a gallon or two per minute for a single faucet to ?? depending upon the number of fixtures and size of piping. So how does one determine when a softener is oversized?
    Say a 2 bath house that has a flow rate of no more than 10gpm because of a large tube. If one then puts in 3 cubic foot unit, there is every chance that there is going to be channeling going on. The water is going to be looking for the path with no to the least resistance, thus channeling and it will happen more if the flow rate is down around 1-2 gpm

    Here is one for you, years ago the State of Alaska told a community home owner association that they needed 120pgm, after putting a digital meter in place and monitoring it different times of the day for a month the best that was seen was 20gpm so they where able to go with some thing in the middle 65gpm.

    Channeling is not just for the down flow, but also for the backwash. To much media could also lead to channeling on the backwash if the gpm is not there for the lifting of the media.

  4. #49
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob999 View Post
    This question is for Gary Slusser and Akpsdvan.

    What constitutes an oversized softener which leads to channeling? What are the parameters of an oversized softener which leads to channeling?

    Most literature charaterizes softener size either on the basis of flow per cubic foot of resin or flow per square foot of tank size. Residential flow rates are variable--from a gallon or two per minute for a single faucet to ?? depending upon the number of fixtures and size of piping. So how does one determine when a softener is oversized?
    What Akpsdvan said.

    It comes down to an accurate educated guess. The key is determining peak demand gpm. Then using hard figures for your constant SFR gpm for the volume of resin that just exceeds the peak demand gpm.

    Going over the peak too far would get you into channeling IF there were sufficient small flows like a home office or other full time daily use with lots of toilet flushes, rinsing dishes or glasses of water, ice making, an RO etc..
    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. #50
    DIY Junior Member abernat's Avatar
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    'nother water softener sizing question.

    We have an old softener that's on its last legs. As a reasonably handy homeowner I'm looking to replace it. I looked at Gary's web site for sizing but the numbers I'm getting are... odd. Can someone double-check these for me?

    1) Hardness. I live in Madison, WI, and the water reports for the municipal water are:
    Hardness - 17gpg
    Iron - 0.20 ppm
    Manganese - 14 ppb; I assume that's 0.014 ppm?

    So that would give an adjusted hardness of (17) + (2*0.2) + (4*.014) ~ 17.5 ~ 18 grains, right?

    2) Water usage. From our water bill we use 178 gallons per day, so that's 178 * 18 = 3,204 grains per day, and over 8 days that's 25,600 grains. Now some of that water is unsoftened, but would we want a 24k or 32k capacity?

    3) Resin tank size. We have two baths, two kitchens (a 2-flat), one dishwasher, and one front-loading (so theoretically low flow) clothes washer. From the 1997 UPC (which Madison follows) I get an estimated 17 gpm, which seems high. This is from:
    2x bathtubs = 8.0 wsfu
    2x lavatories = 2.0 wsfu
    2x HET = 5.0 wsfu
    2x kitchen sink = 3.0 wsfu
    1x dishwasher = 1.5 wsfu
    1x clothes washer = 4.0 wsfu
    1x hose bibb - unsoftened = 0.0 wsfu
    Total = 23.5 wsfu ~ 17.0 gpm

    I take it those numbers are assuming some average use. We rarely use the tubs and have low-flow showerheads; also, a front-loading washer. Do either of those affect the flow rate?

    Anyway, as an exercise, if I use the numbers as given I get the following:

    Resin: 2.5 ft^3 for 17gpm SFR

    But using the hardness/salt calculation as given on Gary's site I get 1.5 ft^3 for ~30k grains of hardness.

    So which would we use? 1.5 or 2.5 ft^3?

    Thanks!

    ... as a note, if you misread the water report as manganese in parts per million instead of parts per billion, you get _really_ hard water.

  6. #51
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    17gpm if every thing was on at the same time... chance of that ?

    I would go with the 1.5 cubic foot unit , 10gpm with a peak if needed it could get to the 17 with a pressure drop of 25psi....

    17 grains is getting up there, I have a few around here that are in the 20's or low 30's...

    Just my thoughts on the matter

  7. #52

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    What I have seen from my customers with iron is that if the run time (days between regens) is too long, they get a iron colored water right after a regen. I would reccommend a 32k unit and regen every 6 days @ 8# salt vs every 8 days @ 12# Salt.

  8. #53
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abernat View Post
    'nother water softener sizing question.

    We have an old softener that's on its last legs. As a reasonably handy homeowner I'm looking to replace it. I looked at Gary's web site for sizing but the numbers I'm getting are... odd. Can someone double-check these for me?

    1) Hardness. I live in Madison, WI, and the water reports for the municipal water are:
    Hardness - 17gpg
    Iron - 0.20 ppm
    Manganese - 14 ppb; I assume that's 0.014 ppm?

    So that would give an adjusted hardness of (17) + (2*0.2) + (4*.014) ~ 17.5 ~ 18 grains, right?

    2) Water usage. From our water bill we use 178 gallons per day, so that's 178 * 18 = 3,204 grains per day, and over 8 days that's 25,600 grains. Now some of that water is unsoftened, but would we want a 24k or 32k capacity?

    3) Resin tank size. We have two baths, two kitchens (a 2-flat), one dishwasher, and one front-loading (so theoretically low flow) clothes washer. From the 1997 UPC (which Madison follows) I get an estimated 17 gpm, which seems high. This is from:
    2x bathtubs = 8.0 wsfu
    2x lavatories = 2.0 wsfu
    2x HET = 5.0 wsfu
    2x kitchen sink = 3.0 wsfu
    1x dishwasher = 1.5 wsfu
    1x clothes washer = 4.0 wsfu
    1x hose bibb - unsoftened = 0.0 wsfu
    Total = 23.5 wsfu ~ 17.0 gpm

    I take it those numbers are assuming some average use. We rarely use the tubs and have low-flow showerheads; also, a front-loading washer. Do either of those affect the flow rate?

    Anyway, as an exercise, if I use the numbers as given I get the following:

    Resin: 2.5 ft^3 for 17gpm SFR

    But using the hardness/salt calculation as given on Gary's site I get 1.5 ft^3 for ~30k grains of hardness.

    So which would we use? 1.5 or 2.5 ft^3?

    Thanks!

    ... as a note, if you misread the water report as manganese in parts per million instead of parts per billion, you get _really_ hard water.
    You are confusing things. There are two parts to sizing a softener correctly.

    1. The regenerated capacity/salt use efficiency stated in K grains and lbs of salt used per regeneration.

    2. The constant SFR gpm of the softener's volume of resin which must be greater than the maximum peak demand flow rate gpm run through the softener.

    For number 1... all softeners have an adjustable K of capacity because they all allow setting a varied amount of salt used per regeneration. To get 30K in a 1 cuft of regular mesh resin you need a 15 lb salt dose per regeneration. In a 1.5 cuft you get 30K with only 9 lbs; 6 lbs less per regeneration; or a max of 45 K with 22.5 lbs..

    I. E. Skip here says "a 32K" (1.0 cuft/9 gpm constant SFR) but then he is not setting the salt dose to be able to regenerate 30K... at 8 lbs he won't get 24K in real life. And, he is going to get you into a regeneration at 6 days instead of 8 days so he'll cost you (365/6 and 8) 61-46= 15 more regenerations per year. That will use substantially more city water that you pay for and more salt. His 6 days @ 8 lbs* 61= 488 lbs/yr - 46* 8.5= 391/yr or 97 lbs more and if I did it you'd save 46* 8=368 so 488-368= 120lbs saved. Times say 10 yrs and that is literally over a half ton of salt saved.

    For number 2... you say you need 17 gpm (I'd have to go over that with you because that is higher than you need for 2 bathrooms because you're using the code which is done as if you have water running at every fixture in the house all at once, and no one lives like that, and I don't size like that) so by code you'd need a 2.5 cuft softener because it has an 18 gpm constant SFR.

    That is not the SFR of the softener at X psi pressure loss.

    That is the max gpm the resin can remove all the hardness from and the gpm @ 15 psi pressure loss you would get many more gpm through the softener but, the water will not be 0 gpg soft; there will be some hardness left in it. That hardness is called hardness leakage, and no one should buy a softener that isn't going to constantly remove all their hardness. Nothing but the cuft volume of resin controls that SFR.

    So... once you know the peak demand gpm of the house, then you select the cuft volume of resin to provide the constant SFR needed which sets the cuft size, then you set the salt dose lbs to cover the K of capacity you need for a regeneration on average once every 7-9 days.

    Your softener doesn't have be that large (2.5 cuft/18gpm SFR) and you only need 27K of capacity. So... 9 lbs in a 1.5 cuft gets you 30K and you would set the lbs at 8.5 lbs for 27K (with 12 gpm constant SFR) or go to a 2.0 cuft and set it at 27K @ 8 lbs. and get a constant SFR of 13 gpm.
    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.

  9. #54
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Wolverton View Post
    What I have seen from my customers with iron is that if the run time (days between regens) is too long, they get a iron colored water right after a regen. I would reccommend a 32k unit and regen every 6 days @ 8# salt vs every 8 days @ 12# Salt.
    That's because you sell a mechanical metered Fleck 5600 that does not allow you to change the length of minutes that your backwash, rapid rinse and final rinse run for.
    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. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    That's because you sell a mechanical metered Fleck 5600 that does not allow you to change the length of minutes that your backwash, rapid rinse and final rinse run for.
    That's because I see the control boards lasting an average of 4 years. Had a service call Fri that the board had to be replaced. It was only 6 years old.

  11. #56
    DIY Junior Member tnewman10's Avatar
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    Finally got my softener installed and up and running... I can tell the difference in water, nothing like a clean shave in the morning with soft water... The instruction were super detailed... My only recommendation is to merge all of the pictures and text file of instructions into a pdf file so everything is all wrapped up in order in a nice need tidy file (I work in the technology field, LOL)... Picked up some of the super iron out Gary recommended for the softener and started cleaning up fixtures the washer and toilets around the house.. Man that stuff works great, if there were only a way of running that stuff through all the house plumbing easily to clean it out... Had my first regen the other night and everything went perfectly..

  12. #57
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Wolverton View Post
    That's because I see the control boards lasting an average of 4 years. Had a service call Fri that the board had to be replaced. It was only 6 years old.
    That's because you work on Kenmore and other big box brand cabinet models.

    I've sold over 1300 Clack valves and had 8-9 circuit board problems in 6 yrs; since Jan 21 2004. They have been installed indoors and outdoors all over the US and Canada, including Alaska and one or two in Puerto Rico.
    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. #58
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Mr G is correct on the Kenmore, GE, Polor Star control boards, there must be some thing like a kill switch in there that after x years it goes out...

    There are some Fleck and Clack Control boards that are 8+ years old a still going strong.

    Part of any Digital control challenge is Humidity, if where that board is at has more humidity in the air, it may not last as long.

  14. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    That's because you work on Kenmore and other big box brand cabinet models.

    I've sold over 1300 Clack valves and had 8-9 circuit board problems in 6 yrs; since Jan 21 2004. They have been installed indoors and outdoors all over the US and Canada, including Alaska and one or two in Puerto Rico.
    I've worked on them all. All of them, Fleck, Autotrol. Eco, Sears, Culligan and Clack. I'm just saying I've seen control boards give out on the average of every 4 years.

  15. #60
    DIY Junior Member abernat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    So... once you know the peak demand gpm of the house, then you select the cuft volume of resin to provide the constant SFR needed which sets the cuft size, then you set the salt dose lbs to cover the K of capacity you need for a regeneration on average once every 7-9 days.
    Ahh... I see. So instead of the code (which has us running two tubs + sinks + toilets + washing machine... all at once) I want to go with what actually can happen and then possibly round up a bit. That makes a lot of sense. Thanks!

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