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

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    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    Default water softener advice, 32K grain, twin vs single, 1" valve

    Hi,

    I'm new to water softeners, having been driven here by steel pipe narrowed with scale deposits. I live in an area that averages 3 - 9 GPG hardness, but apparently that is enough to corrode the pipes over my house's 40 year life.

    I will now repipe with schedule L copper, and extend the 1" main to both ends of the 3 BR 2 BA house, tapping off 3/4" lines for individual bathrooms, tankless HW, washer, etc. I will bypass the water softener for the hose bibs, of course. I will also install a hotwater recirc for the kitchen on the opposite end of the house from the tankless.

    I would like to maintain good flow throughout the house. Worst case use is probably one bath, one shower, washing machine and dishwasher. I'm guessing not more than 12-14 GPM, and I am watering a family of 4. I would like to minimize pressure drop in the water softener and valve. To this end, I am asking for recommends on specific valve and tank models that will maintain high flow with a low pressure drop, and match my 1" piping. Fleck 7000 and Clack are two brands I have heard good things about.

    What about twin tank vs single tank? Are the single tanks smart enough to regenerate in the middle of the night when nobody is using water? Is the twin tank regeneration with softened water that much of an advantage in low maintenance and long life?

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    A twin tank is better than a single, but... for your application I would use the single tank. The twin tank is used primarily for applications that have very high hardness, or very high water usage, or that require 24 hour soft water. Most commercial applications use some form of twin, triple, or quad configuration. The water use of a residentail application is so small that the advantages offered by a twin tank installation are simply not worth it. All modern single tank systems use a computer to calculate the most efficient regeneration day, and all come programmed for middle ofthe night regeneration.

    The Clack or Fleck 7000SXt are the best valve on the market, I would not recommend any other. My personal preference is the 7000SXT. Either way, you will not be dissapointed.

    Regarding your 40 year old plumbing going bad, soft or hard water, galvanized plumbing has a limited life expectancy. Your Copper repipe will serve you for longer than you will be alive, assuming your pH is under control. Test to make sure your pH is very near or slightly above 7.0 and you will do fine.

    For size, a 1.5 Cu. Ft. system with the 7000SXT will do fine. Your hardness is low so the system may only regenerate every 10-15 days, but that is not a problem. You will usually see the 1.5 cubic foot listed as a 48000 grain system. You should set your system to 30,000 grains and use only 6 pounds of salt per CU. Ft per regeneration, or 9 pounds.

    Let us know what you decide.

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Not much can be added, D said it all.

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Spot on................
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. After testing, it appears my water is actually around 15 grains of hardness. That may not change your recommends much. One of my local water guy likes Performa valves. But, to be honest, I don't feel a compelling need to go with his suggestions. While there is clearly some science to understand behind a water softener, I think the knowledge gained in this forum and elsewhere will serve well enough to understand the programming of said system.

    I have read good things about the Fleck 7000SXT, as well as Clack WS-1 CS. I understand the Fleck has 1.25" riser tube, vs the Clack 1" tube. I am very interested in minimizing pressure drop, so perhaps the Fleck would be the way to go? I think using the maximum amount of resin that doesn't push regeneration times out too long helps here also?

    I guess the Clack claim to fame is that even with a single-tank setup it is still able to regenerate with softened water? Or am I getting mixed up here.
    Last edited by lifespeed; 03-27-2012 at 10:24 AM.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    A little mixed up, The Fleck 7000 and the WS1 use soft water to refill the brine tank. A twin tank system is required to regenerate with soft water.

    The 32MM riser is very large but the pressure drop between a 1" and 1.25" in a small system would be difficult to measure. There are other items that will restrict flow before the riser pipe will. Technically, the 32MM is better, but on my test bench, on a 1.5 Cu. Ft. system, it is nearly unmeasurable.

    the Performa Valve is an excellent valve, you would not be disappointed. I still feel the Fleck and Clack designs are better, but the Performa is a proven, long term performer.

    Length between regenerations will not affect flow rate unless your water has considerable sediment. A resin bed, based on round beads, will not affect flow rates over time assuming the beads do not change shape (break) or are fouled up with sediment. That is why a portable exchange softener tanks can stay in place for several months without affecting water flow. The round media will only settle so much, irregular medias like GAC, GFH, Birm, etc, will start to restrict flow if they are not backwashed occassionally. Even so, many customers on municipal supplies only backwash GAC once a month.

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    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice. When I go to order a system is there anything else I should look for? I think the 8% crosslinked resin is satisfactory for most applications without iron issues. I think you may have mentioned in another post that there are big differences in quality of the screen used. Perhaps I should also enquire about this piece when I order.

    Edit: one last question - what about chlorine? My neighbor has a chlorine (charcoal?) filter preceding his softener. That struck me as possibly unnecesary. I have RO filter for drinking water and fridge, which will be on an unsoftened pipe with the hose bibs.

    I can only smell/taste a slight hint of chlorine in the water where I live. Not a scientific measure. Should I look into an exact measurement of chlorine, or are most softeners OK with some chlorine?
    Last edited by lifespeed; 03-27-2012 at 12:49 PM.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    If you can smell the chlorine in your water, and you do not want to add a carbon tank in front of the system, you should use 10% crosslink resin. Personally, I would put in a GAC tank to remove the chlorine. The shower is the primary problem with Chlorine, the amount of Chlorine you are breathing can be considerable. You should put in a GAC tank. Where in California are you? I know several guys who can offer you great equipment at a reasonable price.

    The RO for the drinking water and refrigerator is ideal, your results will be exceptional. Just be sure to sanitize the RO system annually.

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    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lifespeed View Post
    I have RO filter for drinking water and fridge, which will be on an unsoftened pipe with the hose bibs.
    I understand bypassing for the hose bibs but why hard water for the RO filter?

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    I understand bypassing for the hose bibs but why hard water for the RO filter?
    LOL, I missed that. RO's prefer soft water, they will last longer, work better, etc... Considering the cost of membranes, it is not as big of a deal as it used to be. I hope you didnt pay extra to bypass it.

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Did you say that you have iron in the water also? If so I missed that somewhere and if so, how much?
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    The plumbing hasn't happened yet, should be next week. The hose bib is near the RO anyway. So, you're saying the CaCO3 is worse than salt in the water as far as the RO membrane is concerned?

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    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    Did you say that you have iron in the water also? If so I missed that somewhere and if so, how much?
    No iron, city water.

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    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    If you can smell the chlorine in your water, and you do not want to add a carbon tank in front of the system, you should use 10% crosslink resin. Personally, I would put in a GAC tank to remove the chlorine. The shower is the primary problem with Chlorine, the amount of Chlorine you are breathing can be considerable. You should put in a GAC tank. Where in California are you? I know several guys who can offer you great equipment at a reasonable price.

    The RO for the drinking water and refrigerator is ideal, your results will be exceptional. Just be sure to sanitize the RO system annually.
    I can barely tell there is chlorine in the water. Perhaps I should measure, or maybe my neighbor knew what he was doing when he installed the chlorine filter. If a chlorine filter is helpful and not too much $$ and maintenance I will do it. I'll tell the wife it is to keep her hair and skin beautiful.

    I am in San Jose, CA. I change the RO pre-filter plus two charcoal pre-filters annually. Don't know what you mean by sanitize, which would just be the membrane which is 4 years old now.

    PS - GAC = Granulated Activated Charcoal?

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    RO membranes definetly prefer sodium over calcium and magnesium. The sodium is easily rejected and will not scale the membrane. Hard water will shorten the membranes life expectancy. The real question is how much is the very small amount of additional salt going to cost you versus the cost of the membrane. Modern residential membranes will typically last 1-5 years on hard water, double it for soft. Now, this is not set in stone, and there are calculations I could do to estimate your membranes life, it is not worth bothering with since your membrane is lasting on the high side.

    I would also highly recommend adding a permeate pump, this will reduce your waste water considerably and give you much better performance.

    GAC = Granular Activated Carbon

    Send me a PM, I will let you know of a couple people up your way that will take great care of you.

    Sanitizing the ro, search the forum and it should come up, if not let me know and I will post how to do it. It isnothing more than removing all of the filters, and adding some bleach, pressurize, wait, purge....
    Last edited by ditttohead; 03-27-2012 at 04:08 PM.

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