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Thread: Water consumption increase?

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    DIY Member dmendiol's Avatar
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    Default Water consumption increase?

    I increased my salt setting from 6 to 10 lbs. my water softener is undersized so it regens every 3-4 days. I think it was about once a week with the old setting.My water bill almost doubled! Yikes! How much water does a regen cycle consume? I checked for a leaky pipes and all looks ok. I think I am going to buy the new equip as suggested by some.

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    dunno, what valve do you have and how do you have all the settings set? but at any rate you almost doubled the salt setting so yes, expect higher water use
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    We need more information. Even a picture of the system would help. Changing the salt setting requires considerable reprogramming of the valve. Changing the settings in the valve incorrectly can cause massive waste. If you are considering new equipment, please give us your pipe size, bathroom count, any excessive water users (super bath tubs, rainforest type shower), hardness, and people in the house. We can recommend a size for you. Be sure the softener feeds the house only and no irrigation.

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmendiol View Post
    I increased my salt setting from 6 to 10 lbs. my water softener is undersized so it regens every 3-4 days. I think it was about once a week with the old setting.My water bill almost doubled! Yikes! How much water does a regen cycle consume? I checked for a leaky pipes and all looks ok. I think I am going to buy the new equip as suggested by some.
    To raise the salt lbs from 6 to 10 lbs is 4 more lbs of salt but 1.5 or less gallons of additional water (use) in the refill position to dissolve the additional 4 lbs. (3lbs of salt per gallon).

    That is unless you changed (increased) other settings like the length of the backwash or final/rapid rinse, which you don't necessarily have to but....

    You would have to increase your K of capacity setting or the number of gallons on a meter or the number of days on a day timer control valve. If you don't, you won't get any additional time (or gallons) between regenerations.

    No softener should double the amount of water used before the softener was installed or put in service so, if yours has, there is something programmed wrong or a water leak. Check the drain line for water running out it when the control is not in a regeneration.
    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.

  5. #5
    DIY Member dmendiol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    We need more information. Even a picture of the system would help. Changing the salt setting requires considerable reprogramming of the valve. Changing the settings in the valve incorrectly can cause massive waste. If you are considering new equipment, please give us your pipe size, bathroom count, any excessive water users (super bath tubs, rainforest type shower), hardness, and people in the house. We can recommend a size for you. Be sure the softener feeds the house only and no irrigation.
    The system is a Fleck 5600 controller (metered) with a 10x44 tank, 48,000 grain. The manual specs reference 2.4, .45, 2.4 and .5 GPM for backwash, brine draw, rapid rinse and brine refill, respectively. The only thing I moved when I replaced the resin was what appeared to be the salt setting, a small white indicator with a screw on the back of the controller. It was at six and I moved it to 10. Is this even the salt setting? I also followed the instructions where it mentioned to set the hardness and the number of people. As for the size of softener, the consensus was 80000 grains/2.5 cuft of resin.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information. That system should not be causing excessive water usage from what you did. It is an electromaechanical valve. The electronic controls are commonly "adjusted" in the programming which can cause all kinds of problems.

    The 5600 Electromechanical (Econominder) is a bulletproof valve. Simple intermittent maintenance and it will last 20 years.

    Now to get technical,

    10x44 w/ 50% freeboard = 1 Cu. Ft. of resin assuming the lower dome has a gravel base. most companies overfill them with 1.25 Cu. Ft. This is not a problem, it is just technically incorrect. (50% freeboard means 50% of the media height, or 1/3 of the non domed portion of the tank)

    For your capacity, assume 24,000 grains removal with 8# of salt per cu. ft for regeneration. How much resin did you put in the tank? The total capacity of that tank, without gravel, just stuffed with resin is only 1.75 Cu. Ft. so your calculations are incorrect somewhere. Do not fill the tank, it should have 1 Cu. Ft. possibly 1.25 Cu. Ft. maximum!

    The proper amount should have been 10 pounds of gravel, and 1 cu ft of resin, though 1.25 Cu. ft. is ok.

    1 Cu ft = 24,000 grains capacity @ 8 pounds of salt.
    1.25 Cu Ft = 30,000 capacity @ 10 pounds of salt.

    Your Drain Line Flow Control DLFC should be 2.4 GPM
    Injector, white
    Brine line flow control will be indicated near the brine line on the valve, this should match the salt setting you were adjusting. Lets assume the BLFC is .5, it should have a black sticker near the brine line indicating this. Youer salt setting in the back of the valve should be from 6-36 lbs, newer valves go to 6-30 due to some minor recalculations that were done recently.

    To set the meter correctly, we need to know the hardness and if any iron or manganese are in the water.
    Dont bother with the people dial/hardness... just let us know how hard the water is and how many people are in the house and we can help you set it fairly accurately.

  7. #7
    DIY Member dmendiol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    Thanks for the information. That system should not be causing excessive water usage from what you did. It is an electromaechanical valve. The electronic controls are commonly "adjusted" in the programming which can cause all kinds of problems.

    The 5600 Electromechanical (Econominder) is a bulletproof valve. Simple intermittent maintenance and it will last 20 years.

    Now to get technical,

    10x44 w/ 50% freeboard = 1 Cu. Ft. of resin assuming the lower dome has a gravel base. most companies overfill them with 1.25 Cu. Ft. This is not a problem, it is just technically incorrect. (50% freeboard means 50% of the media height, or 1/3 of the non domed portion of the tank)

    For your capacity, assume 24,000 grains removal with 8# of salt per cu. ft for regeneration. How much resin did you put in the tank? The total capacity of that tank, without gravel, just stuffed with resin is only 1.75 Cu. Ft. so your calculations are incorrect somewhere. Do not fill the tank, it should have 1 Cu. Ft. possibly 1.25 Cu. Ft. maximum!

    The proper amount should have been 10 pounds of gravel, and 1 cu ft of resin, though 1.25 Cu. ft. is ok.

    1 Cu ft = 24,000 grains capacity @ 8 pounds of salt.
    1.25 Cu Ft = 30,000 capacity @ 10 pounds of salt.

    Your Drain Line Flow Control DLFC should be 2.4 GPM
    Injector, white
    Brine line flow control will be indicated near the brine line on the valve, this should match the salt setting you were adjusting. Lets assume the BLFC is .5, it should have a black sticker near the brine line indicating this. Youer salt setting in the back of the valve should be from 6-36 lbs, newer valves go to 6-30 due to some minor recalculations that were done recently.

    To set the meter correctly, we need to know the hardness and if any iron or manganese are in the water.
    Dont bother with the people dial/hardness... just let us know how hard the water is and how many people are in the house and we can help you set it fairly accurately.
    Sorry for the confusion. The 2.5 cu.ft is the number for the new softener I am considering.

    I put in 1.25 cuft in the 10x44tank, so I am at capacity. The reading near the bloc is .5gpm and 1.5 lb salt/min. Hardness is 22 avg , no iron or manganese. 5 adults + 1 infant.

  8. #8
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmendiol View Post
    Sorry for the confusion. The 2.5 cu.ft is the number for the new softener I am considering.

    I put in 1.25 cuft in the 10x44tank, so I am at capacity. The reading near the bloc is .5gpm and 1.5 lb salt/min. Hardness is 22 avg , no iron or manganese. 5 adults + 1 infant.
    Here is the simple form of the calculation

    6 people X 70 gallons ech = 420 Gallos per day

    30,000 Grain system / 22 grains, = 1363 gallons system capacity.

    Meter should be set to total capacity - 1 days usage, so... 1363-420 = 943 gallons. Set the meter to 900 gallons. The system will regenerate approximately every third day. It should regenerate no more than once every 5 days for proper efficiency.


    This system is definetly unsdersized. You should have the 2.5 cu. ft system. I would highly recommend the 7000SXT for your application. An electronic controller will be able to monitor your usage and regenerate more efficiently.

    Hope this helps.


    FYI, even though your system is undersized, it will still work, it is just less efficient than it technically should be.

  9. #9
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmendiol View Post
    Sorry for the confusion. The 2.5 cu.ft is the number for the new softener I am considering.

    I put in 1.25 cuft in the 10x44tank, so I am at capacity. The reading near the bloc is .5gpm and 1.5 lb salt/min. Hardness is 22 avg , no iron or manganese. 5 adults + 1 infant.
    You shouldn't use average hardness, use the actual hardness if you have your own well and the highest hardness in a city water system.

    BTW, most if not all resin manufacturers say a residential softener should be sized to regenerate on average once a week. That gets you much better salt and water efficiency than regenerating every 5 days.
    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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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Gary is correct on the efficiencies. Their is a point of dimnishing returns though. Once you get past 5 days, you gain very little additional efficiency. Less than 5 and you lose considerable % of the potential system efficiency. I always prefer no less than 7 days between regenerations, but if you have a system that will go every 5th, you are doing fairly well. 7+ is better. More than 14 days should be avoided but... I have a lot of accounts that have had the 5600 with no "override" for 20 years with 1 person in the house, low hardness, regenerating once a month with no problems. Not recommended but...


    Here is an old efficiency chart, these are stricly approximations, there are too many factors to make a perfect chart. This is the same chart we use for water cycles on a cooling tower or steam boiler. Once you get past a certain point, the efficiency gains become silly.
    3 days = 66% approximate efficiency
    4 days = 75% approximate efficiency
    5 days = 80% approximate efficiency
    6 days = 83% approximate efficiency
    7 days = 86% approximate efficiency
    8 days = 88% approximate efficiency
    9 days = 89% approximate efficiency
    20 days = 95% approximate efficiency
    30 days = 96% approximate efficiency
    50 days = 98% approximate efficiency

    7 days gets you to the point where any futher out and your gains become insignificant.

  11. #11
    DIY Member dmendiol's Avatar
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    Default Found the source of the increase in water

    Found the source of the water increase...it was a leak right past the water meter. I just did not see it because of the surruonding mulch and recent rain.

    Thanks for all your help, guys. It's nice to have access to a site like this--25 years ago this was unheard. Dial-up modems were the norm! LOL.

  12. #12
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    300 baud! I could read the incoming data faster than it would come in.

  13. #13
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    Gary is correct on the efficiencies. Their is a point of dimnishing returns though. Once you get past 5 days, you gain very little additional efficiency. Less than 5 and you lose considerable % of the potential system efficiency. I always prefer no less than 7 days between regenerations, but if you have a system that will go every 5th, you are doing fairly well. 7+ is better. More than 14 days should be avoided but...

    Here is an old efficiency chart, these are stricly approximations, there are too many factors to make a perfect chart. This is the same chart we use for water cycles on a cooling tower or steam boiler. Once you get past a certain point, the efficiency gains become silly.
    3 days = 66% approximate efficiency
    4 days = 75% approximate efficiency
    5 days = 80% approximate efficiency
    6 days = 83% approximate efficiency
    7 days = 86% approximate efficiency
    8 days = 88% approximate efficiency
    9 days = 89% approximate efficiency
    20 days = 95% approximate efficiency
    30 days = 96% approximate efficiency
    50 days = 98% approximate efficiency

    7 days gets you to the point where any futher out and your gains become insignificant.
    IMO, using a chart used for boilers etc. to size or set up a residential softener is not the right way to go because normally the equipment is not the same nor is the water quality from a residential softener acceptable for most commercial boilers.

    If we were to use the chart, I see a 6-8% increase in efficiency from 5 to 7 or 8 days and IMO again, 6-8% over the 10-20 years of the normal life of a residential softener seems like a fair amount of salt saved. Or, we could say a substantial increase in salt efficiency.

    And I do not believe the "efficiencies" are talking about water efficiency, just salt used. Water efficiency would be greatly increased with 7-8 day regeneration.

    Residential softeners should be sized and programmed for a regeneration on average every 7-9 days, using 60 gals/person/day.
    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.

  14. #14
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Residential softeners should be sized and programmed for a regeneration on average every 7-9 days, using 60 gals/person/day.
    My Autotrol 440 timers on both the softener and iron filter came with a 6 day wheel.

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    The actual difference between 5 days and 9 days is so small as to be of no consequence at all. I for the life of me don't understand the need to micro manage salt use. Yes, we should avoid excessive salt and water use but 99.9% of the time, if the unit is properly sized and set according to the manufacturers directions, the unit will perform just fine and requires no extra twiddling at all.

    Those of us that actually sell, install and service these things on a daily basis are not so concerned with micro managing customers salt or water use. We want equipment that gets the job done efficiently and does not generate call backs that cost us money. It's easy to sell stuff over the internet because you don't have to install it or take responsibility for its operation.
    Last edited by Tom Sawyer; 02-18-2012 at 08:23 AM.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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