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Thread: Water Test and Softener Selection

  1. #16
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Thanks for the kind words Jim, and you're welcome.

    Reputable internet dealers.... I've spoken with many local and internet dealers and only a very few operated as I did. Most didn't want to be bothered with educating a prospective customer. They'd rather bitch and complain about everything and each other. Many internet dealers want the person to buy off their web site without having to answer questions etc. for days as some people want to do. That gets old very quick. My guess is that some, maybe the majority, have never installed a softener or serviced one in a customer's location, or if they did they couldn't make it as a local dealer. IMO they are in 'it' for the money and couldn't care less about customers unless they don't have enough of them. But, I'm cynical after all these years on the internet (started my 14th yr this month) and taking many arrows from many local dealers and a few internet dealers. So all I can say is to use your gut instincts as to who you think you can trust, pay the money and adapt to what comes. You usually can't go very wrong with just a softener purchase as long as you buy a good control valve and the correct size softener for your peak demand and volume of water used per day.

    Any home water test will have a hardness test in it and if you think the softener isn't giving you soft water, test to see if you're right. Many internet sites sell test kits, as do hardware stores etc..

    I never planned on retiring, so as yet I'm not sure I like it much. I don't like the loss of the income but I am very glad to not be spending my days on the phone answering questions as I did for all those years. Actually I burned myself out and took a few months off when Clack dumped us and finally decided to quit.

    Come spring we are going fishing, and we are getting ready for the coming economic/financial catastrophe/depression while hoping we are wrong. It's giving me something to do and to think about other than someone's water problems. I've designed and I'm building a dual axis solar panel tracker for my motor home. I have one about 60% assembled and it's looking good. I have most of the parts for two and have 6 panels on the roof but only need 2 on a tracker. After that I'm going into fresnel lenses and potable water production with solar power and a solar powered portable dehydrator, smoker and oven. At least that's the plan for now. I've been totally off grid for 2+ yrs except for gasoline and propane. I haven't owed anyone anything since about 1992 and I pay cash or don't buy it. We still need to wean ourselves off the debit cards though and get cash in hand. Recently I've been telling myself what Ben Franklin said... if you fail to plan you've planned to fail. Along with my old Boy Scout motto; Be Prepared.
    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.

  2. #17
    DIY Junior Member jimt2007's Avatar
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    Gary, another question and is key to me is MAINTAINANCE OF THESE WATER SOFTENER SYSTEMS!! What things should I look for/test/clean/etc. basically what to do to keep it at peak effiency?? Obviously testing the water for hardness and checking the brine tank...but what else?? I have heard systems "plug up" How do they and why do they?
    Seems like many in society take to the "NEW" scout motto..."on my honor to do my best...to help myself and cheat the rest" ):
    Having been retired since Feb 2008...31 years teaching wood shop to Middle School and driver ed to HS...I wasn't ready to retire either...really enjoyed what I did...kids were awesome and appreciative! Many teachers bitch because of the pay etc. but they knew that going into the job...I always found extra work...had a handyman business on top of teaching... but like you say, you get burned out and have to step away...I envy your ability to travel and your new venture of the solar dehydrator/smoker/oven ...sounds like lots of fun...would like to know more about that. The loss of income is an adjustment...planning ahead is indeed a life skill ...that many have forgotten or don't seem to have...like I told my shop kids..."plan it out, do it right or do it again"

  3. #18
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Basically all that is needed is to keep the salt in the brine tank about half full and the time of day set correctly on the control valve. If the water gets bad, troubleshoot the problem and correct it. Don't let it run low or out of salt. You can pour half a 50 lb bag in and make a black marker line on the inside wall facing you and then add the rest of the salt that you want to and weekly look for the line and add salt when you see the line.

    I like a salt grid to keep the salt up out of the water as much as possible which helps to prevent salt bridges. They are like $5 wholesale. I also suggest solar crystal salt and not pellets because it is less expensive and totally dissolves without any residual mush in the bottom of the salt tank.

    My homemade dehydrator and smoker will have to be able to be taken apart for transport due to our limited space in the motor home and 4 dr Jeep. That makes the deign somewhat challenging and I may not be able to do that with the limited tools I have. So... we may tear out an unused couch/pull out double bed we don't use and make room there. Then we buy those things instead of making them. We'll probably do that since SHE is OK with it, and we need space to store the bulk beans, flour, sugar, rice, potatoes, meat grinder, pressure and slow cookers, bread machine etc., and to lay the guns and trolling motor down. lol
    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.

  4. #19
    DIY Junior Member jimt2007's Avatar
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    Gary,
    What about assembly of the control valve to the tank/loading the gravel/media recommendations?? ...any expert thoughts on how to get it tight w/o leaks?? ...and I am running the brine waste line to a downspout (4'corregated black pipe) any info on distances to run that line/hook up/etc.??..... would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for all the advice...love your storage senario...LOL indeed
    Last edited by jimt2007; 01-15-2011 at 04:13 PM.

  5. #20
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I don't think you'll need any practice so I suggest loading the gravel and resin before putting the control on the tank....

    You simply pour the gravel and resin in through a funnel that most internet dealers supply with the unit. Of course you block the top of the distributor tube so nothing can get in it. And remove the plug or tape before screwing the control valve into the neck of the tank. Lefty loosey, righty tighty until it's tight but since it seals with an o-ring, tight is enough.

    The drain line can go any distance you want since it is going downhill from the control valve.
    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. #21
    DIY Junior Member jimt2007's Avatar
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    Ok Gary...I will put all this knowledge you have given me to good use....thanks again for all your time and help! My brother lives in Calif. and wants to get a Filtersorb sp3....what is your opinion on those units??

  7. #22
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    They normally don't do much except reduce some hard water spotting and make soap suds a bit more than in the hard water. So he should save his money and vote out the dummies that think water softeners should be banned, or move to AZ or TX 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.

  8. #23
    DIY Junior Member jimt2007's Avatar
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    Thanks Gary...I'll pass along the info. Another question....if there is 15 psi drop at the control valve and I only have 20 psi at the faucet...what can I expect in terms of pressure in the house????
    Last edited by jimt2007; 01-18-2011 at 10:59 AM.

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