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Thread: 3 companies came to do tests, please advise on which softener

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    DIY Member dwassner's Avatar
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    Default 3 companies came to do tests, please advise on which softener

    I have had 3 local companies come out to test the water. All came up with very similar results. I am in Upstate NY, the well is 308 ft drilled in December. Hardness is 28 grains, 2.0 Iron (they stated it was ferrous) no nitrates/chlorine/sulfur, TDS of 460, pH of 7.1, tested neg for chloroform and e. coli. It is my wife and I plus our toddler and new born. We plan on having more children. House is 2 bathroom.

    I was quoted without install for a Kinetico K2060 + 10" filter and 6 salt bags at $2300, or a Powerline single tank no install with Fleck 5600 valve for $1198 + filter and salt. I called later for a price on a Fleck 9000; $1930. They said they could get a 9100 in but didn't have any in stock. After much research I would like to go with a twin tank system. They told me I will get hard water past the valve on the 9000 series; the Kinetico is better and will not do this. Also I will get more life or less parts replacement on the Kinetico due to the previous sentence, and the Kineticos are easier to service. I have read that the electricity that the Kinetico saves is equal to unplugging a digital alarm clock. They were pushing the Kinetico but I need to see a cost justification to go that more expensive direction. Not that i doubt there is one I would just like to see it.

    My questions are:

    Is this true what they said about the Kinetico vs the fleck valves?

    If I order online is there anywhere I should avoid? I can google Fleck 9100sxt and under "shopping" there are a few places they are available and at less than I was quoted.

    How much electricity does the Kinetico save?

    Thanks in advance

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwassner View Post
    I have had 3 local companies come out to test the water. All came up with very similar results. I am in Upstate NY, the well is 308 ft drilled in December. Hardness is 28 grains, 2.0 Iron (they stated it was ferrous) no nitrates/chlorine/sulfur, TDS of 460, pH of 7.1, tested neg for chloroform and e. coli. It is my wife and I plus our toddler and new born. We plan on having more children. House is 2 bathroom.

    I was quoted without install for a Kinetico K2060 + 10" filter and 6 salt bags at $2300, or a Powerline single tank no install with Fleck 5600 valve for $1198 + filter and salt. I called later for a price on a Fleck 9000; $1930. They said they could get a 9100 in but didn't have any in stock. After much research I would like to go with a twin tank system. They told me I will get hard water past the valve on the 9000 series; the Kinetico is better and will not do this. Also I will get more life or less parts replacement on the Kinetico due to the previous sentence, and the Kineticos are easier to service. I have read that the electricity that the Kinetico saves is equal to unplugging a digital alarm clock. They were pushing the Kinetico but I need to see a cost justification to go that more expensive direction. Not that i doubt there is one I would just like to see it.
    Don't get me wrong because Kinetico stuff is very high quality and performs very well also, but as you see, it's is close to twice as expensive as many other brands. The savings in electricity is really not an issue. Unless you have some underlying reason for going with a twin tank set up though I find that for 99% of residential applications it is overkill and an unnecessary expense when any standard single tank set up will do what you need it to do. Recommendations from me would be Fleck, either the 5600 or my choice the 7000SXT followed very closely by a Clack WS1. Any of those three will more than satisfy your needs.

    My questions are:

    Is this true what they said about the Kinetico vs the fleck valves?
    Yes, for the most part.

    If I order online is there anywhere I should avoid? I can google Fleck 9100sxt and under "shopping" there are a few places they are available and at less than I was quoted.
    We try to stay away from specific company recommendations though if you read through old threads here you will find folks that were either pleased or pissed off at certain companies.


    How much electricity does the Kinetico save?
    Not enough to make much of a difference LOL

    Thanks in advance

    ..............................
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    DIY Member dwassner's Avatar
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    thanks for the response, I didn't see the 7000sxt; I will go with that over the 5600 if I go that route. The reason I like the twin tank besides the efficiency is knowing that I will never use hard water when the single tank is regenerating; I can't guarantee that the shower will not be used at 2am or any time for that matter, due to medical reasons i would rather not go into detail about. I will look into old threads for distributors.

    So do you agree that the fleck valves will let hard water through and shorter lifespan?

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    If you must have 24 hour soft water, the Fleck 9100 and Kinetico will both provide that. Electrical consumption of the 9100SXT in less than a $10 a year. The 9100 and 9000 do not allow hard water to go through during regeneration, or during cycling. The very old 9000 valves did have a very slight bleed issue, but that was corrected 22 years ago. http://www.pentairwatertreatment.com...ges%209000.pdf I would highly recommend the 9100SXT over the 9000. the 9000 uses a brass body, the 9100 uses a plastic body. the plastic valve bodies are virtually indestructable. The powerhead, internals, are the same. This is an old valve that has been very well updated over the years and still remains a huge seller for light commercial and industrial applications.

    Considering your water, a 1.5 cu. ft. 9100SXT would be perfect, and I would recommend a cheap backwashing birm filter ahead of it. The birm will remove the majority of your iron, and it will save an estimated 300# of salt going into the environment annually.

    Valve longevity, if you have no chlorine, both systems will last at least 10 years without any problems. The 9100 and kinetico are both fairly easy to service, but the Fleck parts are more readily available if you want to repair it yourself in the future. Either of these systems will be a great choice.
    Last edited by ditttohead; 05-25-2012 at 10:49 AM.

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    DIY Member dwassner's Avatar
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    thanks for the info. Is the birm filter something I can add after I install the softener, and the water has been tested to see performance? Just doing a quick search they are the better part of a grand. Would you consider them necessary? Would I want to run the 10" pre filter before the pressure tank or after?

    Also just curious as to how you got a 1.5 cu ft size from what I stated the water at. When a dual tank system states that it is 1 cu ft per tank is the system a 2.0 cu ft system or 1.0?
    Last edited by dwassner; 05-25-2012 at 03:56 PM.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwassner View Post
    I have had 3 local companies come out to test the water. All came up with very similar results. I am in Upstate NY, the well is 308 ft drilled in December. Hardness is 28 grains, 2.0 Iron (they stated it was ferrous) no nitrates/chlorine/sulfur, TDS of 460, pH of 7.1, tested neg for chloroform and e. coli. It is my wife and I plus our toddler and new born. We plan on having more children. House is 2 bathroom.
    Although your water does have problems is not considered 'trouble' water and it very manageable.

    Quote Originally Posted by dwassner View Post
    I was quoted without install for a Kinetico K2060 + 10" filter and 6 salt bags at $2300, or a Powerline single tank no install with Fleck 5600 valve for $1198 + filter and salt. I called later for a price on a Fleck 9000; $1930. They said they could get a 9100 in but didn't have any in stock. After much research I would like to go with a twin tank system. They told me I will get hard water past the valve on the 9000 series; the Kinetico is better and will not do this. Also I will get more life or less parts replacement on the Kinetico due to the previous sentence, and the Kineticos are easier to service. I have read that the electricity that the Kinetico saves is equal to unplugging a digital alarm clock. They were pushing the Kinetico but I need to see a cost justification to go that more expensive direction. Not that i doubt there is one I would just like to see it.
    Prices quoted for the 2060 is what some dealers charge for reconditioned units!! Most dealers charge well over $3000.00 for that unit. The Fleck 9000 price is in line of hat others charge installed. I, too, would prefer the 9100sxt. I have seen the 2060 on much harder water with similar iron last for decades with no problems to speak of. A bigger 2100 would work as well. I would ask for the pleated, washable prefilter element since they are including.

    Quote Originally Posted by dwassner View Post
    My questions are:

    Is this true what they said about the Kinetico vs the fleck valves?

    If I order online is there anywhere I should avoid? I can google Fleck 9100sxt and under "shopping" there are a few places they are available and at less than I was quoted.

    How much electricity does the Kinetico save?

    Thanks in advance
    Of course shopping on line will bring costs down and for obvious reasons. You don't have the backup service, installation and professionals to handle problems, supplies, etc. The savings on electricity is too marginal to really use it as a big advantage. The 9000/9100 only use electricity during its regeneration stages with motors driving pistons and other parts. Electrical parts failure is a more common problem but not overwhelming. I have seen Fleck twins in the field l ast a long time as well. Kinetico is reliable, efficient, quiet and can be completely rebuilt around 2035AD with new resin and you will have a like-new product. If those are the prices asked, then that would make it even more attractive.

    Your title mentions THREE companies.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwassner View Post
    thanks for the info. Is the birm filter something I can add after I install the softener, and the water has been tested to see performance? Just doing a quick search they are the better part of a grand. Would you consider them necessary? Would I want to run the 10" pre filter before the pressure tank or after?

    Also just curious as to how you got a 1.5 cu ft size from what I stated the water at. When a dual tank system states that it is 1 cu ft per tank is the system a 2.0 cu ft system or 1.0?
    Never place a filter cartridge BEFORE the pressure tank; always after. Yes, the BIRM can be added later. A twin tank quoted will be able to handle those water conditions with your water demands. A twin regenerates with softened, iron-free water.

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    DIY Member dwassner's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply. I had Culligan out, and two local businesses, one is Anderson the other is Martin. I am not sure how well they are known outside of this area. Martin is the Fleck/Kinetico distributor. I believe I will go with the 9100SXT, but would really like to see the math as to how many cubic feet of resin I will need. After much research I am still not set as to how to match this with the right salt dose to get the most efficient salt use. It seems that using the salt dose to achieve the max capacity stated is wasteful? 15 lbs/cu ft? So going with a larger cubic feet of resin and using a smaller salt dose will be more efficient for salt use? I think it is 6 lbs/cu ft? The relationship appears exponential. Please let me know if this is correct.

    As far as the online ordering, a fleck is a fleck no matter where I get it right? If I am doing this myself with the oversight of a plumber, why not get it from wherever.com and save $500? I don't ask this with sarcasm or anything btw.

    Is a 1 cu ft per tank twin tank system a 1 cu ft system or a 2 cu ft system?

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    DIY Senior Member F6Hawk's Avatar
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    If my understanding is korekt, a twin 1 Cu ft system is still 1 cu ft, just one tank at a time. But you will never had hard water if you use your water during the regen cycle (though that would only happen if you were to draw water after 2 a.m. on regen day, pretty rare I'd say).

    Yes, you can get more gallons softened using less salt with a larger resin bed. On the advice of everyone here, I went with a 1.5 cu ft (48K) instead of a 1 cu ft (32K). But those K numbers are misleading, since a 48K will actually only obtain about 45K after the first cycle, and the 32K only about 30K. So here are some sample numbers for you...

    Using the following amounts of salt given the two diff size tanks, you can soften X amount of grains below:

    lbs/salt 1 cu ft 1.5 cu ft
    4 16000 24000

    6 20000 30000

    8 24000 36000

    10 27000 40500

    15 30000 45000


    Bear in mind you need to account for one days' worth of softening in case you get to your intended amount during the day; that way, you have a buffer to get you to 0200 the next morning. Using 6 lbs of salt, a 1 cu ft will get rid of 20K grains of hardness before a regen; 1.5 will rid you of 30,000 grains, but will use 1.5 times the amount of salt. So what you gain there is (days/gallons/grains) between regens.

    GPG X #PPL X GPPPD = grains to be removed per day. Assuming 36 gpg of hardness, 4 people in the house, and 60 gallons per person per day (GPPPD):

    Using 28 gpg of hardness, and 2 ppm X 4 = 8 gpg of iron, you need to account for 36 gpg if you wish to remove the iron with your softener (which some will say is ok, others say it is not advisable). 36gpg X 4 ppl X 60 GPPPD = 8,640 grains per day. If using 6 lbs of salt, a 1 cu ft will go about 1 day before a regen is necessary, but that will work the heck out of your valve. With a 1.5 cu ft, you will only get 2 days, but again, work the heck out of your valve. 7-8 days is about the minimum I have seen recommended between regens. In your case, you'd need a 2 cu ft system using 10 lbs of salt (X 2 = 20 lbs) per regen just to achieve 5 days between regens. 365 / 5 = 73 regens per year, at 20 lbs per, or 1,460 lbs of salt. That's 37 bags per year at $4 +, or about $150 per year.
    Last edited by F6Hawk; 05-27-2012 at 01:54 AM.

  10. #10
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    My comments are in red.

    Quote Originally Posted by F6Hawk View Post
    Using the following amounts of salt given the two diff size tanks, you can soften X amount of grains below: (actually it isn't the tank size, it is the cuft of whatever type of resin is being used)

    lbs/salt 1 cu ft 1.5 cu ft (that should be per cuft of regular mesh resin; fine mesh and SST are different and I'm not sure of these figures)

    4 16000 24000

    6 20000 30000

    8 24000 36000

    10 27000 40500

    15 30000 45000


    Bear in mind you need to account for one days' worth of softening reserve capacity in case you get to your intended amount (gallons remaining =< zero) during the day; that way, you have a buffer to get you to 0200 the next morning.

    Using 6 lbs of salt, a 1 cu ft will get rid of 20K grains of hardness before a regen; 1.5 will rid you of 30,000 grains, but will use 1.5 times the amount of salt (that would be 9 lbs for the same 30K of a 1.0 cuft and that 30K would require 15lbs in a 1.0 cuft, which means a salt savings of 6lbs per regeneration for the same K of capacity). So what you gain there is (days/gallons/grains) between regens (which = salt and water savings).

    GPG X #PPL X GPPPD = grains to be removed per day. Assuming 36 gpg of hardness, 4 people in the house, and 60 gallons per person per day (GPPPD):

    Using 28 gpg of hardness, and 2 ppm X 4 = 8 gpg of iron, you need to account for 36 gpg if you wish to remove the iron with your softener (which some will say is ok, others say it is not advisable). 36gpg X 4 ppl X 60 GPPPD = 8,640 grains per day. If using 6 lbs of salt, a 1 cu ft will go about 1 day before a regen is necessary, but that will work the heck out of your valve (valves are rated for daily operation). With a 1.5 cu ft, you will only get 2 days, but again, work the heck out of your valve (see above BUT, you can use other salt dose settings). 7-8 days is about the minimum I have seen recommended between regens. In your case, you'd need a 2 cu ft system using 10 lbs of salt (X 2 = 20 lbs) per regen just to achieve 5 days between regens (I didn't check the math on this but something doesn't feel right). 365 / 5 = 73 regens per year, at 20 lbs per, or 1,460 lbs of salt. That's 37 bags per year at $4 +, or about $150 per year.
    Micro managing like that will tend to decrease the satisfaction you get out of life... You can go a larger say 2.5 cuft

    So don't leave us hanging here, what do you propose if not using the softener to remove his iron and hardness?
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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    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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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Well I agree on the micro-managing thing. You can get way too carried away messing around with stuff all for the sake of a dollar or two. I find that most folks really don't want to spend a lot of time fiddling around with things. Dumping a couple bags of salt in the tank is the extent of their interest. As you all know I have a company policy of not removing iron using a softener, now I'm not going to get carried away and recommend expensive filtration if they only have a couple ppm of iron but anything much past 3ppm and I start looking for a better solution.
    [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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    (that would be 9 lbs for the same 30K of a 1.0 cuft and that 30K would require 15lbs in a 1.0 cuft, which means a salt savings of 6lbs per regeneration for the same K of capacity). So what you gain there is (days/gallons/grains) between regens (which = salt and water savings).
    Correct, and thanks for pointing out something that may not be obvious... dwassner, though I thought it would be clear from reading down my basic chart above, you could achieve the same 30K of softening by using the 1 cu ft and 15 lbs of salt. But my example shows you how much salt is saved (15 lbs on a 1 cu ft minus 9 lbs on a 1.5 cu ft to achieve 30K, or a savings of 6 lbs per regen).

    but that will work the heck out of your valve (valves are rated for daily operation).
    But I am fairly certain all here, especially you, have recommended regen cycles of at least 5-7 days on average. And even if the valve IS rated for daily regenerations, simple math says that if it regens every 10 days vs. every day, the internal wear parts will last 10 times longer; if a particular valve has a MTBF of (hypothetically, since no one knows for each valve) 1 year, that means the valve above will need parts in one or two years instead of 10-20 years. Common sense dictates one would not install either system above, I was simply giving him numbers based on his questions.

    No, I would not recommend that sort of micromanagement. A larger resin bed (not tank size, as Gary pointed out, though it is generally understood that one would not buy a 2.0 cu ft tank and only use 1 or 1.5 cu ft worth of resin; but I guess that is possible, so thanks for clarifying resin amount vs. tank size, Gary) would be in order. I was simply giving him examples based on the sizes he asked about.

    (I didn't check the math on this but something doesn't feel right).
    I'm pretty sure the math is korek... 5 days X 8640 grains per day = 43,200, plus a reserve of 8640 brings us up to 51,840, safely within the limit of 54,000 for 10 lbs.

    So don't leave us hanging here, what do you propose if not using the softener to remove his iron and hardness?
    I don't propose anything, iron removal is a discussion for you and the other pros to engage in, I just sit back and enjoy the reading.

    But if you're asking what EYE would do... I would spend the extra $311 for a 3 cu ft, set it up for 8 lbs every 7 days, and be done with it. Then I would sleep well at night, knowing I will save about $22 per year in salt over the 2 cu ft system (which will take me only 14.1 years to make up the price difference in salt), but I will also save money on parts since I am only regenerating every 7 days instead of every day or two. That's how I'd handle it as a DIYer.

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by F6Hawk View Post
    But I am fairly certain all here, especially you, have recommended regen cycles of at least 5-7 days on average. And even if the valve IS rated for daily regenerations, simple math says that if it regens every 10 days vs. every day, the internal wear parts will last 10 times longer; if a particular valve has a MTBF of (hypothetically, since no one knows for each valve) 1 year, that means the valve above will need parts in one or two years instead of 10-20 years. Common sense dictates one would not install either system above, I was simply giving him numbers based on his questions.
    What you aren't aware of or thinking about, is that more rust (ferric iron) builds up on those wearable parts the longer you go between regenerations. The more the build up, the faster those parts wear.

    BTW, on average those parts last 10-15 years.
    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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    DIY Member dwassner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by F6Hawk View Post
    If my understanding is korekt, a twin 1 Cu ft system is still 1 cu ft, just one tank at a time. But you will never had hard water if you use your water during the regen cycle (though that would only happen if you were to draw water after 2 a.m. on regen day, pretty rare I'd say).
    just throwing it out as a question: If I have a specific amount of hardness I need removed, and salt dose x gives me the most efficient use of salt to get the job done, wouldn't that be directly relating to a total resin bed size? i would get twice as many regenerations with a twin tank, but each resin bed itself wouldn't know the difference. Please correct me if i am seeing this wrong. It seems to me like if a 1.5 cu ft single tank is appropriately sized, then going with a 1 cu ft/tank twin tank then becomes "too big"?

    My math:
    (28 gpg hardness) + (4 x 2.0ppm iron) = 36 gpg
    36 gpg x 4people x 60 gallons perday x 8 days = 69,120
    x 4 days = 34,560

    rounding this up I would need 70k of capacity or 35k per tank since each tank does half the work, or 35k total capacity or 17.5k per tank.

    It seems to be that I would be best with 1.5 cu ft resin bed per tank at the minimum or even a 2.0 cu ft per tank to have room as new family members arrive to be sized right.
    I have to be honest I was never given a manganese number from any of the three testers. Only one said that it was "clear water iron" the others never mentioned a type.
    PLEASE CORRECT THIS MATH IF IT IS WRONG!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    What you aren't aware of or thinking about, is that more rust (ferric iron) builds up on those wearable parts the longer you go between regenerations. The more the build up, the faster those parts wear.
    BTW, on average those parts last 10-15 years.
    Gary, is this something I can monitor? Could I inspect the wear of the parts over say 6 month intervals and increase my regeneration frequency as necessary?
    Thans all

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwassner View Post
    just throwing it out as a question: If I have a specific amount of hardness I need removed, and salt dose x gives me the most efficient use of salt to get the job done, wouldn't that be directly relating to a total resin bed size? i would get twice as many regenerations with a twin tank, but each resin bed itself wouldn't know the difference. Please correct me if i am seeing this wrong. It seems to me like if a 1.5 cu ft single tank is appropriately sized, then going with a 1 cu ft/tank twin tank then becomes "too big"?
    You don't add the two tanks' capacity of a twin tank type softener together, although there are a web site or two that do that silliness. So each tank is used separately with the regeneration water being softened by the other tank. Which reduces the SFR gpm you normally get during a regeneration. The reduction is the number of gpm going out the drain line; the larger the cuft of resin in the tank, the higher the reduction and reduced water flow to your fixtures. And remember that you have to be using water to start a regeneration, so this reduction in flow continues until you stop using water. Does that sound like something you think you may enjoy? I should mention that the constant SFR has to be met with either tank and during a regeneration. Twin tank softener sales folks seem to always fail to mention those things.

    I don't think you need a twin tank but if you insist, you need each tank large enough for your peak demand flow rate plus the loss during regeneration. Capacity wise each will be the same size a normal softener unless you want to regenerate more frequently, and then your water use increases substantially. I fit were me, I'd go the normal softener based on the SFR needed to cover your peak demand flow rate and not use water for showers, baths, laundry, etc. the night of the regeneration, Regeneration would be on average once a week and you can see what night it will be by looking at the gallons remaining on the display.

    Quote Originally Posted by dwassner View Post
    My math:
    (28 gpg hardness) + (4 x 2.0ppm iron) = 36 gpg
    36 gpg x 4people x 60 gallons perday x 8 days = 69,120
    x 4 days = 34,560

    rounding this up I would need 70k of capacity or 35k per tank since each tank does half the work, or 35k total capacity or 17.5k per tank.

    It seems to be that I would be best with 1.5 cu ft resin bed per tank at the minimum or even a 2.0 cu ft per tank to have room as new family members arrive to be sized right.
    I have to be honest I was never given a manganese number from any of the three testers. Only one said that it was "clear water iron" the others never mentioned a type.
    PLEASE CORRECT THIS MATH IF IT IS WRONG!
    I didn't check the math but you can, and the 2.0' each tank sounds right to me as long as you don't run more than 13 gpm through the 2.0' of resin.


    Quote Originally Posted by dwassner View Post
    Gary, is this something I can monitor? Could I inspect the wear of the parts over say 6 month intervals and increase my regeneration frequency as necessary?
    No to the wear, the wear is microscopic unless a seal is torn and you wouldn't see a problem before it tore. The wear issue is an unfounded fear of f6hawk's (a first time softener owner), otherwise he'd be starting his vehicles much less often, or using washing machines, computers, ovens, the cook stove, toaster, water heater, his furnace, thermostats, TVs, etc. etc much less often.

    Yes to changing the data to use to add another person, or your mother in law and her new stud. Or Dad and his new girlfriend... But if you don't change the settings, the unit will simply regenerate sooner/more often. And that's why visitors are not counted, they leave and things go back to normal scheduled regenerations based on gallons used. That applies to a normal or twin tank type 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.

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