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Thread: Questions from a man on a softener quest...

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member bgauweiler's Avatar
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    Default Questions from a man on a softener quest...

    Good Evening all,

    I've read a few threads trying to educate myself about what to look for (and look out for) when purchasing a water softening solution for my new home. So far I've received quotes from Culligan (who tested my water and said I had 20 grains), Kinetico, a local plumbing firm for a Northstar system and from Puronic.

    Based on what I've read here and the fact that non of the fore mentioned solutions back up there big warranty claims with included labor beyond a year (two for the Kinetics), I'm inclined to seek out my own solution and have a qualified plumber do the installation. I still have a few questions I hope the knowledgeable group here can help me with...

    1. How does the regeneration cycle interval play into the efficiency of a softener (i.e. I read a softener should be sized to regenerate every 7 to 8 days, why?)?

    2. It's my understanding that Clack makes one of the best (and easiest to service) valve/control units but are no longer available on the internet for purchase. Is it worth the extra effort to try and find a Clack dealer locally or are Fleck or Autotrol good options?

    3. When I sized my water softener it recommended a 24K solution for a two person household and 20 GPG. What's the disadvantage/advantage to sizing up to a slightly larger 32 or 40K softener (I'm guessing the answer to question 1 comes into play here).

    4. Is the cost of advantage of SST-60 Resin worth the additional expense?

    5. I was told by the Culligan rep that I should purchase a 1" "unit" (which was more money BTW) to match my home plumbing... Is this correct?

    6. If I go the DIY purchase route, who are some reputable online resellers?

    Thanks for helping a softener newbie... Just trying to be 2% smarter then the equipment I'm trying to purchase.

    Bernie

  2. #2
    DIY Member rjh2o's Avatar
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    I would not get too fixated on the 7-8 days between regenerations. Once every 3-7 days is average. The capacity of the system (30k, 45k 60k), the water chemistry and household usage determine when the system has to regenerate. The less a system regenerates, the less salt and water used, simple as that. That is the most efficient way to set it up. The capacity also helps determine the gpm flow rate through the system. In general 30k=10gpm, 45k=12gpm, 60k=15gpm. Matching the valve size to the plumbing size is a good idea, but will not solve the flow rate issues alone, as stated above. Fixture counts also need to be taken into consideration, toilets, faucets, dishwasher, showers.
    Here is an example of sizing, regen cycles and flow rates using a capacity of 45k.
    20 gpg x 300 gallons (4 people) = 6000 grains per day usage
    45k - 20% reserve = 36k practical capacity / 6000 = 6 days between regenerations.
    12 gpm flow rate.
    Clack valves are quickly becoming the standard for the industry. They have very good electronics and are user friendly to work on. Many plumbing supply houses are carrying Clack valves now. A Fleck 7000 is a good choice in 1" valves and is available from ohiopurewater and uswatersystems.
    As far as SST resin, it can be more efficient but I don't see that big of an advantage with it.
    I would go the DIY route before I bought a Culligan. Way overpriced and they change models so frequently that parts are now becoming obsolete much sooner.
    RJ

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    DIY Junior Member bgauweiler's Avatar
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    Hi rjh2o,

    Thank you for your response... In you calculation:

    "Here is an example of sizing, regen cycles and flow rates using a capacity of 45k.
    20 gpg x 300 gallons (4 people) = 6000 grains per day usage
    45k - 20% reserve = 36k practical capacity / 6000 = 6 days between regenerations."

    Is the 20% reserve to allow the system to have sufficient softening capability to get to the regeneration time once the gallons capacity has been sensed by the flow meter?

    Is there any specific advantage/disadvantage to slightly oversizing (i.e. purchasing a 32K instead of a 24K) system?

    What's the disadvantage to regenerating every 14 or 21 days (does is adversely affect the softening resin)?

    Bernie

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    DIY Member rjh2o's Avatar
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    The reserve capacity is designed to keep you in softened water if your normal usage has been used up in morning that way you have at lest a full days run before the system runs out of soft water.
    With too large a capacity and 14-21 between regenerations there is the greater likelihood of hard water channeling through resin bed. 7 days is the max there should be between regenerations.
    I prefer 4-7 days. As stated with the flow rates going larger helps with the flow rates and helps efficiency. So if the system calls for 24k it might be more beneficial to use a 40k system.
    RJ

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    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgauweiler View Post
    Hi rjh2o,

    Thank you for your response... In you calculation:

    "Here is an example of sizing, regen cycles and flow rates using a capacity of 45k.
    20 gpg x 300 gallons (4 people) = 6000 grains per day usage
    45k - 20% reserve = 36k practical capacity / 6000 = 6 days between regenerations."

    Is the 20% reserve to allow the system to have sufficient softening capability to get to the regeneration time once the gallons capacity has been sensed by the flow meter?

    Is there any specific advantage/disadvantage to slightly oversizing (i.e. purchasing a 32K instead of a 24K) system?

    What's the disadvantage to regenerating every 14 or 21 days (does is adversely affect the softening resin)?

    Bernie
    Using a 45K unit, you would be using 22.5 lb salt. You don't want to use 45K grains. For efficiency setting, use 30K @12 lbs salt

  6. #6
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    bgauweiler click on the link in my signature. Everything you need to know to correctly size and set up/program a softener is there.

    If your valve has variable reserve, you don't program in any reserve. If it doesn't, use a 24 hr reserve, that's one day's total grains. Resin manufactures say the best residential regeneration schedule is usually 7-9 days. SST is not worth the extra money unless you have a serious iron problem. You can't get high efficiency if you're regenerating more frequently.

    The 7000 is a 1.25" valve.
    Last edited by Gary Slusser; 06-06-2011 at 09:18 PM. Reason: corrected name
    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.

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    DIY Junior Member bgauweiler's Avatar
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    Gary,

    What are your thoughts on this system Synergy Continuos twin-alternating 26K system

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member bgauweiler's Avatar
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    Gary,

    Is there any advantage to a twin tank system (I'm looking at a 26K Synergy system with Fleck 9100 SXT controller on uswatersystem.com)? This system uses soft water to regenerate and fill the brine tank. Is there any significant advantage to that?

    Bernie
    Last edited by bgauweiler; 06-05-2011 at 04:44 AM.

  9. #9
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    The only people that need a twin tank type softener are those that are regularly using softened water 24/7.

    A "26K" will have a low SFR. You only get water through one tank at a time (with the 9x00).
    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.

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