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Thread: Do I need a softener?

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member F6Hawk's Avatar
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    Default Do I need a softener?

    I have community water which comes from large wells here in North Pole, AK. The hardness was tested as 9gpg, with only trace iron (the lady said zero). We have a family of 4, pressure is 50psi, and 3/4" service from the main. 2.5 baths, with 5 sinks, 2 bath/showers, 3 toilets, and a washing machine (I have a dishwasher, but prefer to use the two-legged one). 3 outside spigots, which are rarely used. I don't have any idea yet of my flow rate via a bath or faucet, can get that in the next day or two if it helps.

    Our water tastes good, no odors, but my wife has long, straight hair, and I have read that hard water is hard on hair (no pun intended). And of course, there is the scale that can form inside the boiler. So should I mess with installing a softener? If so, what would be a recommended size? I was considering something like Fleck 6600 Microprocessor system at 32K capacity.

    My house is already copper-plumbed and has fittings for a softener (but it was removed when I bought the house), so I will do this myself, just want someone smarter than me about softeners to weigh in. Tried calling a couple of local places for assistance, but realized in about 60 seconds they know less about softeners than I have learned online in the past month.

    Thanks in advance for your assistance!
    Dave

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    Hardness is ranked on a scale of less than 1 (soft) to 10.5 (very hard). At a hardness of 9 GPG, I would recommend a softener. The last occupants saw a need for one based on having the connections already there.

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Well, a 24K would do it but........I would go with a 32K. Fleck 7000 would be my valve choice also. However, what's your incoming water temperature?
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    DIY Senior Member F6Hawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    Well, a 24K would do it but........I would go with a 32K. Fleck 7000 would be my valve choice also. However, what's your incoming water temperature?
    Tom, I have never measured it, but in the winter time, it feels like a very cold glass of water, say fresh out of a refrigerator. The pipes are buried 8' underground, but at -30~-50°, it gets cold!

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Alaskan water temps are cold.
    I have heard of many systems in your area, an old dealer that I know down here was a dealer there in your area.
    Digital controls are good, but if your area has brown outs then it would not be a good idea as I have seen boards go out because of
    the low voltage.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    I agree with Tom, the 1.5 Cu. Ft would cost almost the same, and it would give you a 50% increase in size which will give you greater efficiency. The 6600 (is that even still made? ) and 6700 valves are a glorified 5600, not a bad valve in any way, but the 7000SXT would be a better choice. you can order the 7000 with 3/4 copper sweat connectors to make installation a little easier as well. The 7000SXT board has been very resilient to low voltage damage, the transformer they are using tends to act as a fairly good protection device for it. I have not had a single board returned in over 6 months. Considering the number of 7000's we sell, that is fairly impressive.

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    DIY Senior Member F6Hawk's Avatar
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    Brownouts are not an issue in AK. Power goes out rarely, but it's just OUT. And typically back on within a minute or two.

    Water temp was 50° when I turned the faucet on, but after about a minute, dropped down to 42°. I'd suspect that it gets as low as 38° in the dead of winter.

    I am a bit cornfused about sizing... you mention 1.5 CuFt (which I saw on Gary's site), but when I reference this site: http://www.apswater.com/water_soften...0&perperson=80
    all I see are numbers like 32K, 64K, 40K, etc. How do these relate to each other?

    Also, on the site above, it shows my peak flow of 7gpm, which I feel is a little low... I thought when sizing for flow (not grains), one must consider the max flow that the house can sustain, say measured at a bath tub with a couple of other faucets running as well? Just using simple formulas, with 3/4" inlet and 50 psi, I should expect nearly 17 gpm, right? Of course, I don't expect to be running all faucets at once.

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    It has gotten better in the power supply side of things, not as many outages as there where years ago.
    Fairbanks area can have some Cold winters and Ice fog.
    That aside.
    The XXK is the max capacity of the unit , based on amount of media and the salt load.
    A 1.5 cubic foot is also the 48k by most companies, and for you the system with a salt load of 9lbs per regen and a cap of 30K would be the best over all for capacity , flow rate and salt use.
    The best that you will get out of 3/4 line is about 12gpm, 1" starts at 16gpm.

  9. #9
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    I agree with Tom, the 1.5 Cu. Ft would cost almost the same, and it would give you a 50% increase in size which will give you greater efficiency. The 6600 (is that even still made? ) and 6700 valves are a glorified 5600, not a bad valve in any way, but the 7000SXT would be a better choice. you can order the 7000 with 3/4 copper sweat connectors to make installation a little easier as well. The 7000SXT board has been very resilient to low voltage damage, the transformer they are using tends to act as a fairly good protection device for it. I have not had a single board returned in over 6 months. Considering the number of 7000's we sell, that is fairly impressive.
    You agree with Tom?, He suggested a 24K (3/4 cuft) or a 32K (1.0 cuft). Then you go on as if he suggested a 1.5 cuft (48K)....Man I think that's taking PCness to its limit.
    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.

  10. #10
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    The capacity used by companies is a way to standardise the systems size. The capacity they list is the maximum capacity, but this should never be used for programming the systems. Actual system capacity is based on the amount of salt used per cubic foot per regeneration.

    1 cu ft of resin =
    32,000 max capacity at 18 pounds of salt
    30,000 max capacity at 15 pounds of salt
    24,000 max capacity at 8 pounds of salt
    20,000 max capacity at 6 pounds of salt

    This is a good example of efficiency. By using 6 pounds of salt, the system is good for 20,000 grains removal. Triple the salt usage from 6 pounds to 18 pounds and you only gain 12,000 grains removal capacity. A system that is programmed to actually give you 32000 grains removal per cubic foot will be an extremely wasteful system.

    The gains in efficiency continue below 6 pounds of salt per cubic foot, but the quality of the water your softener will produce increases dramatically. 6-8 pounds has become the industry standard for the past 10 years due to the balance of high water quality, high salt efficiency, and water efficiency.

  11. #11
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    You agree with Tom?, He suggested a 24K (3/4 cuft) or a 32K (1.0 cuft). Then you go on as if he suggested a 1.5 cuft (48K)....Man I think that's taking PCness to its limit.
    Simple mistake. I rarely use total capacity, we use application capacity, and we usually assume 24K per Cu. Ft. We also use Cu. Ft. more than grains ratings in our system sizing too due to this confusion that is seen in this thread here. I assumed the 24K was a 1 Cu. ft, and the 32K was 1.5, when it should have read 36K. Thanks for the catch on that one.

  12. #12
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    The capacity used by companies is a way to standardise the systems size. The capacity they list is the maximum capacity, but this should never be used for programming the systems. Actual system capacity is based on the amount of salt used per cubic foot per regeneration.

    1 cu ft of resin =
    32,000 max capacity at 18 pounds of salt
    30,000 max capacity at 15 pounds of salt
    24,000 max capacity at 8 pounds of salt
    20,000 max capacity at 6 pounds of salt

    This is a good example of efficiency. By using 6 pounds of salt, the system is good for 20,000 grains removal. Triple the salt usage from 6 pounds to 18 pounds and you only gain 12,000 grains removal capacity. A system that is programmed to actually give you 32000 grains removal per cubic foot will be an extremely wasteful system.

    The gains in efficiency continue below 6 pounds of salt per cubic foot, but the quality of the water your softener will produce increases dramatically. 6-8 pounds has become the industry standard for the past 10 years due to the balance of high water quality, high salt efficiency, and water efficiency.
    Tom, you should print this and study it.

    Then you should get into the constant Service Flow Rating (SFR) of various sizes of residential softeners. Commercial too if you're into them. That is the most important part of sizing a softener.
    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.

  13. #13
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    You agree with Tom?, He suggested a 24K (3/4 cuft) or a 32K (1.0 cuft). Then you go on as if he suggested a 1.5 cuft (48K)....Man I think that's taking PCness to its limit.
    I did not recommend a 24K unit, when are you going to learn to read and comprehend what you read. I thank you much for the advice though, especially on that there SFR thing which I'm sure I have never heard of before LOL Here's the thing though. I've been doing this for a whole lot longer than you have and probably have sold and serviced more than twice as many softeners than you have too boot. I have NEVER had a dissatisfied customer in well........38 years now so though I am sure you mean well (lol) your advice is of very little use to me whatsoever.

    Didn't my post recommend the Fleck 7000 valve? Why yes, I believe it did, didn't it? Hmmmmm. Ok, now you tell me why I recommended that valve and...........what SFR might have had to do with that recommendation. Dohhhhhhhhhhh......... Then ask me why I asked about his incoming water temperature? Dohhhhhhhhh................. This is way too much fun. LOL
    Have a wonderful and productive day.
    Last edited by Tom Sawyer; 03-22-2012 at 06:00 PM.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    Déjà vu all over again.
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  15. #15
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Yea, it's like having a circular driveway........You can't get out LOL
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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