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Thread: water softener advice, 32K grain, twin vs single, 1" valve

  1. #16

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    Membranes are technically not filters, but a water separation device. Filtration media hold what is being removing from the flow whether it be oil, air, water, etc. Filters need to be either cleaned or replaced. With RO membranes, the electric charge on the surface of the membrane rejects contaminants which are then washed down the drain. What really kills a membrane, regardless of the contamination, is not the production of water but its idol time between production stages, which can be for extended periods of time. As the membrane produces water, the lateral flow wipes the membrane down and keeps it fairly clean; a well-used RO will last longer than one that sits for long periods of time. The old "Misuse By Disuse" comes into play here.

    As the membrane sits idol, the contaminants have a chance to adhere to the membrane and this can include fouling elements including calcium, iron, and even bacteria. That is why ROs are generally not considered a microbiological barrier even though the membrane pores are much smaller than any bacteria or virus. You're right Dittohead that sodium from a softener is hydrophilic and rinses down of the membrane easily. Another reason for having a softener that always produces softened water is an advantage.

    Keeping the membrane clear of these contaminants is key to a prolonged life and excellent production rates resulting in higher quality water for much longer periods of time. Of course other factors are involved but an RO membrane that has a self-rinsing mechanism, leaving RO treated water, free from not only sodium but other contaminants as well, resting against its surfaces will greatly benefit the system as whole. The life-expectancy of the membrane can be tripled--if not longer.
    Last edited by water solutions; 04-14-2012 at 06:53 AM.

  2. #17
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    The flow rate of water past the RO membrane is boosted by the pump during normal operation. I imagine that the increased pressure differential would increase efficiency as well. On my RO system, I have a manual valve to flush the membrane but found that it only works when the pump is running.

  3. #18
    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    I just started up the Fleck 7000 SXT water treatment: 1.5 cu ft Centaur carbon to remove the chloramine, followed by a 1.5 cu ft softener. I tasted the water out of the carbon filter and could not taste any chloramine. Took a shower this morning in softened water - what a difference! I actually felt cleaner. I expect the softened water will protect the new Noritz NRC-1111DVNG tankless water heater, allowing an annual vinegar flush to keep the heat exchanger clean and in good working order.

    I bought the hardware over the internet and configured somewhat worst-case for hardness based on parameters suggested by the vendor. I think I need to test my water hardness and program it more conservatively for maximum salt efficiency.

    I really like my new plumbing with softened dechlorinated water

  4. #19
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Congratulations! Tankless water heaters should never be installed witout softened water. We manufacture several tankless water heater filters, and none of them work well compared to a traditional softener. If you buy the HACH 5B test kit, you can get an accurate reading of your raw water hardness and that will allow one of the guys on this board to help you program it for efficiency.

    Amazing how good the water can taste when it goes through a large column of carbon, you have chosen wisely!

  5. #20
    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    The HACH test kit is on order. I already have an RO filter for drinking water and the fridge. I don't really want to add sodium to drinking water, even in small amounts.

  6. #21
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    An RO system will eliminate 92-98% of sodium from your water. This will bring the level down to trace amounts. You should make your softener as efficient as possible for many reasons. Salts in the waste stream are difficult to treat and by minimizing it, the sewage costs can be minimized as well. Especially for areas that resuse the waste water. It is very comon for waste water to be treated, then allowed to go down into the aquifers, and then pumped back up for resuse by the next municipality. Toilet to tap has been common in the US for many years.
    Last edited by ditttohead; 04-23-2012 at 03:04 PM.

  7. #22
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lifespeed View Post
    The HACH test kit is on order. I already have an RO filter for drinking water and the fridge. I don't really want to add sodium to drinking water, even in small amounts.
    When the city sends you harder water than your test shows, and they do that from time to time, than you have the softener programed for, you will start getting hard water through the softener.

    Then you change the salt dose lbs to 15 lbs/cuft of resin and do 2 manual regenerations with no water use during or between them, and then reprogram for your new hardness level and K of capacity. That blows your previous salt efficiency away in a hurry. You should program for the highest hardness in the city system to begin with. Or do a lot of testing.
    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.

  8. #23
    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    You should program for the highest hardness in the city system to begin with. Or do a lot of testing.
    I plan to do both. I think this summer should represent heavy use of groundwater, which is hardest. I will keep the softener programmed for a few grains harder than tested until I get an idea of what the maximum is.

    Will that Fleck 7000 SXT tell me how much capacity it has left until it thinks a regen is in order? I should have the test kit on monday, just wondering if I'll have the info soon enough to reprogram before the next regen.

  9. #24
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    No. Metered Fleck etc. valves show how many gallons are left before the next regeneration.

    Unless those you bought it from programmed it for you based on data you gave them, you should program it yourself because otherwise you get to use factory default settings that are not based on water quality.
    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. #25
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    The metered SXT controllers will alternate between the time of day and gallons remaining before the next regeneration. Name:  sxt.jpg
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  11. #26
    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    Ah, yes, I see that now. At the rate we are using water I'll have another week and a half before regeneration. I am currently programmed with 44,000 grains capacity at 17 GPG incoming water hardness, which I'm guessing is 2- 4 grains harder than actual. Test kit will tell me the answer next week. I intend to modify the programming for my actual hardness plus some margin early next week, and switch to 6lbs/cu ft in my 1.5 cu ft setup for improved salt efficiency and regeneration intervals less than two weeks.

  12. #27
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    That would be a great way to do it. The SXT also has an adjustable safety factor in the programming that you can use to give you a little buffer for varying hardness. If you know your hardness changes significantly at certain times of the year, testing the hardness occassionally is a good idea. With the Hach 5B, an accurate test takes less than a minute, and reprogramming the hardness on the SXT also takes less than a minute.

  13. #28
    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    When you change the salt dose to 6 lbs/cuft, the regeneration will not regenerate any capacity above the K of capacity the new dose will regenerate. So if you use capacity above that K now, that resin/capacity will not be regenerated.
    I understand the capacity will be reduced and the programmed capacity adjusted accordingly with a lower salt dose, requiring regen more often.

  14. #29
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lifespeed View Post
    I understand the capacity will be reduced and the programmed capacity adjusted accordingly with a lower salt dose, requiring regen more often.
    Maybe I wasn't sufficiently clear. You said "I am currently programmed with 44,000 grains capacity...." I asked what your present salt dose is and you didn't answer but if it isn't sufficient to get 44K, and a couple weeks from now you reduce the salt to 6lbs/cuft (9 lbs) your K of capacity will be 30K. None of that additional 14K will be regenerated. In other words if you have used any capacity above 30K in the first 2 weeks or so, it will not be regenerated.

    To prevent the problem you have to set the salt dose for 44K (22.5 or 23 lbs). When you want to reprogram to 6 lbs.cuft you do a manual regeneration at 22.5 or 23 lbs and when it is finished, program for 6 lbs/cuft and the 30K; or you don't get all the resin fully regenerated.
    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.

  15. #30
    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    It is currently programmed for 12 minutes at 0.25 GPM. I am told it is configured for 0.25 GPM by the softener vendor. Any way I can independently verify this? I assume it is a restrictor in the brine port.

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