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Thread: How is softener capacity programmed or calculated with lower salt usage?

  1. #16
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    You haven't given all the programming data but, it certainly sounds as if it is not programed correctly.

    Go to my web site's Sizing page, the link is in my signature. You'll see that the K of capacity is adjustable and it is dictated by the lbs of salt set for the salt dose per cuft of resin.

    IIRC the WS-1 Clack you probably have allows down to 1 lb and 5K but don't hold me to that. The Clack sets the reserve every night based on actual water useage, 2 hrs before the scheduled time for regeneration, usually 2AM so midnight.

    Meaning that you don't add to the hardness figure or K of capacity etc.. Use the highest hardness in your city water system (not what it tests as at your house) as the hardness figure. Use 60 gals/person/day and round up to the next higher whole K and then for a scheduled regen every 8 days. Set the salt lbs to get that K based on the cuft volume of resin you have; 1 cuft; resin manufacturers' figures are on my web site.

    That regens the K of capacity you used between regens, adding more salt or K wastes salt. The remaining K is like the gas still in your gas tank when you buy more gas; you can only fill the tank as much as you used and the remaining is still there to be used if needed. That can't harm the resin because what capacity you didn't use is still fully regenerated; unless you aren't programmed right and use more water than programmed for....

    Set the calendar override for 8 days so you don't use more capacity than the salt dose can regenerate or you end up not fully regenerating all the resin and that leads to hard water getting through the resin down the road. Then you must do 2 manual regenerations with no water use during or between them at the max of 15 lbs.cuft of resin, in your case 15 lbs each or a total of 30 lbs. All because you didn't program right to begin with.

    The "32K" for a 1 cuft softener is a slang term. You get a max of 30K/ft @ 15 lbs.; 32, 48, 64, 96 etc. is the same slang type term. 15 lbs regens 30K max per cuft of resin so, 30, 45, 60, 90 etc. is the max operating K of capacity at the max capacity based on cuft of resin, at the max salt dose of 15lbs/cuft. Most guys do the CYA thing by adding to the hardness and/or K of capacity or use a percentage of reserve etc.. That proves to me that they really don't know what they are doing, like a mechanic that can't troubleshoot and keeps suggesting a part and throwing parts at the thing until it works. That behavior also says they don't know how the thing should work; like most softener guys.

    Salt efficiency is figured like fuel mileage. The K of capacity divided by the lbs of salt used per regeneration.

    30K/15lbs= 2K per lb per cuft of resin. 20K/6lbs = 3333K/lb with 1 cuft of resin etc. etc.. The lower the salt dose, the higher the salt efficiency and most mainline (all Autotrol, Clack, Erie, Fleck) control valves allow for setting the salt lbs used per regeneration; of course there are those that don't want the consumer to find out how to do it.... So the K of capacity and the efficiency is adjustable on most if not all softeners. It's like your right foot controls your vehicle's fuel efficiency.
    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 Member teve's Avatar
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    Thanks for chiming in Gary. I have a few comments and questions for you but others are most welcome to comment.


    "IIRC the WS-1 Clack you probably have allows down to 1 lb and 5K but don't hold me to that."
    Mine goes down to 0.1 pounds of salt. Where would that setting ever be used?


    "The "32K" for a 1 cuft softener is a slang term."
    Who came up that and why? It seems it can only cause confusion. I can see marketing people preferring the bigger number. I read somewhere that 32K refers to "ideal lab conditions", and 30K is the more practical value for home use.


    Let me clarify something about my understanding about computer controlled, water metered softeners. Their regeneration is basically determined by metered water use which is determine by programmed capacity and water hardness. Mine is currently set to 30,000 grains and 30 gpg which gives 1000 gallons between regenerations (and set with 7 pounds of salt). It seems that I could set these values to 20,000/20 or 150,000/150 or 7,200/7.2 or 1000/1. All give 1000 gallons of capacity. It seems that is all that is done with those numbers. I assume the control valve would operate exactly the same, not knowing the difference. Is that correct or could the softener do something different?


    "Set the calendar override for 8 days so you don't use more capacity than the salt dose can regenerate"
    (Now I have heard 4 different numbers.)
    I don't think the day override is meant to protect against using too much capacity, I think it protects the resin from going too long without regeneration due to low water use. The water metering ensures regeneration is done when capacity is reached. Low water use is when the day override kicks in. High water use is when the water meter kicks in. Or am I missing something?


    I am assuming the desire is efficient salt use, as low as is reasonably possible, with the longest reasonable time between regenerations that is not too long (harming resin) and not too frequent (wasting water and valve wear). I think that basically sums it up. I am not sure what other factors might come into play. One question I have is this. Is there a salt dose that can be too low? I would think there must be.


    It seems that one should aim for days between regeneration based on expected water use and set a day override a somewhat larger for infrequent occasions when water use happens to be lower than normal. But maybe it should be set to ensure regenerations are done regularly at the expected water use. I'm not sure.


    With a 30K tank, 20 gpg hardness, one person, 60 gpd water use (1200 grains per day), regen in 8 days, after 9600 grains, would take 3 pounds or less of salt I think. Is that salt dose too low? For 14 days, 16,800 grains, 4 pounds of salt. For 20 days, 24,000 grains, 8 pounds of salt. Is 20 days getting too long?


    Of course with more people/water use or more water hardness, the longer time between regenerations is less of an issue and frequent regeneration and water use more of an issue.


    I have read/heard that 14 days is recommended as the longest time that should be allowed between regenerations. I am assuming that is for routine regenerations. But maybe it is OK to go longer if it is infrequent. It seems different people have different recommendations.

    Note that I am not trying set my softener as cheaply as possible. I am thinking it could possibly be set less conservatively.



    Last edited by teve; 08-30-2011 at 11:53 AM.

  3. #18
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Program for an 8 day service run and set the override to 8 days, that is best for resin etc.. 9600 should rounded up to 10K. Answers to the rest of your comments/questions are on the Sizing page on my web site, link in my signature.
    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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