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# Thread: Seeking Recommendation for a softener

1. Thanks for the advice Gary. I saw that you are now happily retired. I was using your calculator and I find it doesnt match w/ the kind of units I saw online. For example when the calculator came up at 35K total grain capacity for 1 week, it says I need a 2 cubic feet size unit. Typically I see a 64K for a 2 cubic feet size. Could you please clarify?

The table at the bottom is seems very useful as I haven't seen it elsewhere. But not sure how to read it though

2. A 2.0 cuft is called a 64K.

The 64K is inaccurate because you can only regenerate 2.0 cuft to a max of 60K and to do that you need to set the salt dose at 15lbs/cuft, or 30 lbs/regeneration.

To figure salt efficiency you divide the K of capacity by the lbs of salt so 60K/30 lbs gets you 2000 grains/lb (very poor) efficiency. If the calculator says you need 35K for a regen every 8 days then you would need 10.5 lbs of salt/regeneration and that is a 3333 grains/lb efficiency.

3. I guess I am unclear about what the "total grain capacity" is. I thought that we use this number to pick the size of the resin tank.

Whether 2cuft is 64K or 60K, why your calculator suggests 2cuft for 35K of total grain capacity? Are you implying it's more efficient to use a 64K unit to generate 35K TGC instead of using a smaller unit?

Thanks for the help, it seems it's more complicated to calculate than I initially thought which is just let it regenerate to the max capacity of the unit and just go thru it in N days. That is what the metered on-demand units are designed for correct?

4. You need the total size of the softener to avoid bleed through, even if you don't need to use it all up in between regenerations. So, your peak flow dicates how much surface area is required to soften it in that one pass. Too small, you get bleed through. It's a function of how fast it can treat the needed water. A 64k resin tank can soften about twice as much water /second as the 32K tank. So, you need to size it for both maximum draw to avoid hard water bleed-through, and one big enough to minimize the regens required. You don't want regenerations too long, or you can have problems, too.

5. The tank size is the part I understand better. How about the internal valve size? Going from a 1" to 3/4" would definitely cause loss in water flow, but some folks told me that w/ a 64K (or less) tank, the 3/4" is not causing any impact. I guess it means the tank size is the limiting factor at this level and the valve size only matter if we have much bigger tank. Is that true?

6. If that is the case I could use the 5600SXT (3/4" valve) instead 2510SXT (1" valve) and save \$150.

7. Originally Posted by jerome7
I guess I am unclear about what the "total grain capacity" is. I thought that we use this number to pick the size of the resin tank.

Whether 2cuft is 64K or 60K, why your calculator suggests 2cuft for 35K of total grain capacity? Are you implying it's more efficient to use a 64K unit to generate 35K TGC instead of using a smaller unit?

Thanks for the help, it seems it's more complicated to calculate than I initially thought which is just let it regenerate to the max capacity of the unit and just go thru it in N days. That is what the metered on-demand units are designed for correct?
You need to go back and read the sizing page text on my site and study it.

The K of capacity of all softeners (except Kinetico) is easily adjustable; you simply change the number of lbs of salt used per cuft of resin.

The cuft of resin dictates the size of the media tank and, the cuft of resin dictates/controls the SFR gpm size of the softener.

The control valve controls when the softener regenerates and you program them for the capacity you use, the salt lbs used per regeneration and is responsible for the volume of water used per regeneration etc..

So why run a softener at max capacity and get terrible salt efficiency when you can get much better if you program for only as much capacity as the family requires for say a once every 8 days regeneration? That is the "total grain capacity", you program for that and then set the salt dose at the required lbs for that based on the cuft volume and type of resin being used. Yes, the more resin you have the better salt efficiency you can get without requiring more frquent regenerations which leads to terrible water efficiency.

The SFR and maximum usable K of capacity size of all softeners is based on the cubic foot volume (and type of resin) used and what salt dose setting is used per cuft of resin. You need regular mesh resin, not fine mesh or SST-60. And no Turbulator, just a regular distributor tube and gravel underbed. No Vortex tank either.

8. Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
You need to go back and read the sizing page text on my site and study it.

The K of capacity of all softeners (except Kinetico) is easily adjustable; you simply change the number of lbs of salt used per cuft of resin.

The cuft of resin dictates the size of the media tank and, the cuft of resin dictates/controls the SFR gpm size of the softener.
I must have red your sizing page over 5 times, but I think I am missing on the big picture as how a water softener works. But I start picking up as this thread goes on.

As i see it, the K of the softener in the specs is the max K (theorically) but the real K is the # of ions produced during the regeneration which is porportional to the amount of salt used

Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
The control valve controls when the softener regenerates and you program them for the capacity you use, the salt lbs used per regeneration and is responsible for the volume of water used per regeneration etc..
Interesting, I didn't know the water used per generation was proportional to the amount of salt

Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
So why run a softener at max capacity and get terrible salt efficiency when you can get much better if you program for only as much capacity as the family requires for say a once every 8 days regeneration? That is the "total grain capacity", you program for that and then set the salt dose at the required lbs for that based on the cuft volume and type of resin being used. Yes, the more resin you have the better salt efficiency you can get without requiring more frquent regenerations which leads to terrible water efficiency.
I am following you until this point. When you say running at max capacity is bad for efficiency, do you mean that I am generating more ions than needed then flush them out after 8 days resulting into waste? If that is the case is it still true w/ the metered on-demand type of units?

Then you say more frequent regen is bad for water efficiency. But the only way to reduce regen frequency is to produce more ions per regen, thus running at max capacity would reduce the number of regen per month.

Peter mentioned earlier that resin can go bad if we have too much time between regen, but that is a separate issue not efficiency.

Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
The SFR and maximum usable K of capacity size of all softeners is based on the cubic foot volume (and type of resin) used and what salt dose setting is used per cuft of resin. You need regular mesh resin, not fine mesh or SST-60. And no Turbulator, just a regular distributor tube and gravel underbed. No Vortex tank either.
Thanks for for help and patience

9. Originally Posted by jerome7
The tank size is the part I understand better. How about the internal valve size? Going from a 1" to 3/4" would definitely cause loss in water flow, but some folks told me that w/ a 64K (or less) tank, the 3/4" is not causing any impact. I guess it means the tank size is the limiting factor at this level and the valve size only matter if we have much bigger tank. Is that true?

Quoting Gary's sizing instructions "The constant SFR gpm is based on the cubic foot volume of resin and the volume of resin dictates the size of the resin tank. The control valve must be capable of servicing that size tank and they have a SFR also. "

If they are selling a 64K tank w/ a 3/4" then it must be able to keep up w/ the volume of the tank. Then I conclude, that getting a 1" valve size won't matter.

10. Andy, there's no helping you when you pretend to not understand the simplest of explanations. Really ions! Especially when no one has mentioned "ions" up to now but you. And IIRC "ions" are not mentioned anywhere on my web site; the same for most web sites of those selling softeners.

As to your last post, there is no 3/4" control valve (Autotrol, Clack, Erie or Fleck) that can not service the size tank(s) used for a 2.0 cuft softener.

11. Gary, I am not pretending. It's hard for me to wrap my head around this. If I knew how it works, i wouldn't have to come here for help.

The unit soften the water by exchanging calcium and magnesium ions w/ sodium and potassium. Aren't they producing sodium ions during regen?

12. Producing sodium ions no. Regeneration replaces only those ions that are sent to drain because they are used to remove the hardness, iron and manganese if present in the raw water from the exchange sites on the resin beads.

Now what does that have to do with sizing a softener for the proper K of capacity or SFR gpm to cover the peak demand of the house?

13. after some usage, the mineral tank is full of calcium ions. Then they need to be flushed down the drain an replaced by sodium ions. Salt is used to produce the sodium ions. That is what I mean by "produce", the new sodiums ions have to come from the salt (which i thought is what the K capacity means after you said it's adjustable by playing w/ the salt amount)

14. The volume of the resin determines two things, how much total water it can soften and how fast it can do it. The larger the amount or resin, the more surface area, and the more water it can soften at one time as it passes through. So, you must have enough resin generated and capable of softening the water for your maximum volume at any one time. So your peak volume (not total) determines the maximum size of the softener. Now, since you don't want to regenerate that every day, it must also be large enough to handle your average need over ideally 7-10 days or so. The resin only needs enough salt to regenerate what was used, and the larger the unit and the lighter it is used in total, the less salt per quantity of resin needed. So, the amount of salt you need at a regeneration is determined not by the overall size of the softener, but by how much of its capacity you've used. So, if you've only used say 1/2 of the total capacity when it comes time to regenerate (based both on the number of days and the total voluem used), you only need enough salt to regenerate 1/2 of the tank, not the whole thing. Where you might need X pounds to regenerate say a 60K tank IF it was totally depleated, if you've only used up 1/2 of its capacity, then you only need 1/2 of the maximum amount of salt, but in the process, because it has more surface area, you could use more water at one time without having hard water bleed through. You can only soften so many gpm with a certain sized tank so the size needs to take into consideration max instant use AND enough to cover the average useage to cover you for at least a week or so or it starts to get inefficient or invokes more wear on the media.

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