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Thread: ROI comparison between on-demand versus timer based systems

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member edcapko's Avatar
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    Question ROI comparison between on-demand versus timer based systems

    Hi,

    I'm trying to get the straight facts on pro's/con's between paying for an on-demand regeneration system or stick with my timer based system.

    Scenario: 5 year old system with timer based regeneration. Every 3rd day. Company one comes in and says, you are wasting way too many chemicals (soft water and hard minerals) and overkill (spending more on operational costs). You should buy our $400+ on-demand system per tank.

    Company two comes in and states, on-demand causes issues in that the system could "stick" and you end up paying more for repairs and problems. On-demand benefits is primarily for massive swings in consumption. For houses where 90% of the time the consumption is the same (except for vacation), it's better to stay with timer system.

    I recognize that I need to do a comparison in use between purchasing volume of salt, hard metal remover per year versus capital cost to get the on-demand system. To do properly I need to get the water tested prior to any filtration to see what consumption would be.

    However I'm concerned with the other aspect on "sticking" which I don't understand. Is that a significant risk / potential cost and what can I do to mitigate it? any other issues to be aware of?

    thanks in advance.

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Both day and metered systems use most if not all of the same parts save for the meter and the part that trips the control into a regen when gallons are used.
    Day is going to regen ever x days and it does not care what the water usage is, meter might at times if there are large numbers of people there clean more often and when say just 2 it will take longer.

    What control are you using right now?

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    I do not know of any "good" softeners which do not use a demand timer. The ideal cycle is to regenerate just prior to reaching the softeners capacity. A clock regulated softener regenerates on a specific cycle, regardless of the amount of water which has been used. Sometimes, such as during a vacation, NO water was used so the regeneration is redundant, and other times heavy usage could deplete the capacity before it is time to regenerate. Demand units address both conditions, plus varying daily usage, by only regenerating when the softener is nearing its rated capacity. ROI is seldom an issue, although the demand units will be cheaper to operate, given that they only use materials when they are needed.

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    DIY Junior Member edcapko's Avatar
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    Default Response

    Thanks for your responses guys. I am using a day timer. My core question is what is the impact if the timed system doesn't work and the system gets "stuck". Do I have to replace all the beads? How expensive is that.

    I understand how both systems work but the company that sells the day timers is saying DON't go metered because it will get stuck. Is that true or not?

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Both systems can get Stuck if some thing hangs up the piston, so on that level neither one is better than the other.

    Softener resin is forgiving if one opps and it runs long or out of salt... some extra salt and a few cleanings or regens and it should be as good as new..
    What control are you using right now?

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member edcapko's Avatar
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    Default L5600 Fleck time based meter

    Hi,

    I have a Fleck time L5600 system in place right now.

    Ed

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Your day control head can be replaced with a meter control and a meter. Nothing else would have to change on your system.

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member edcapko's Avatar
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    Default Thanks for confirming and followup question

    Thanks for confirming I can switch and all I have to do is determine the potential cost saving in going metered versus timed. According to the plumber promoting meter, for a 6 person household + dishwasher, he expect me to use 20 lbs/yr of potassium permanganate which would be $260/yr. As I just moved into the place the previous owner informed me that 5 lb would last a year. Does 20 lbs seem reasonable?

    No further concerns about the sticking issue which the timer plumber was making lots of noise if I went to a metered solution.

    Ed

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    I thought that we where talking softener and not a green sand iron filter with pot perm....

    Most of the time Pot Perm is done with day clocks over the meter because of the regular cleaning that the day has over meter.
    Some times the meter while it is on gallons might go more days than it really should.

    Yes you would save on pot perm over a year or over 5 years but that might be at the expense of the media, be it normal green sand or the MTM ..

    5lbs per year might be low, but if there where only one or two in the house the unit might be able to go more days before cleaning,,, where now if there are more in the house there is a need to clean more often.

    I my self would not be using a 5600 as a green sand pot perm set up... they work, but not as good as the 2510 or 2750 units.

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