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

  1. #91
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Click on the link in my signature and do the math to get the K of capacity you need for the number of gallons you need between regenerations based on the number of days between regenerations that you want. Then set the salt dose lbs (minutes of refill) to regenerate that K of capacity based on 3 lbs per gal. of refill water.
    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.

  2. #92
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    I would research your specific boiler to determine the water treatment requirements. I am a licensed Boiler Technician, and many of the boiler manufacturers literature is poorly written. I can only guess someone wrote a manual badly 40 years ago and many boiler companies simply copied the original bad one. Some boiler manuals poorly state that water should be maintained at below 3 grains per gallon, most modern manuals now say 3 ppm. There is also many other considerations. Is your boiler recieiving chemical treatment? Have they done an LSI for your water and pH? Does your boiler manual recommend that you bypass the softener annually for a week to add a thin protective layer of calcium to the tubes? etc... Many boiler technicians read a manual once, and assume it refers to all boilers, most boilers have completely different needs and water requirements. For the most part, we try to maintain below 3 ppm of hardness for most boilers, but... get the manual and start reading, and follow the manufacturers recommendations.

  3. #93
    DIY Member dwassner's Avatar
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    My manual states that the water needs to be "Hardness less than 7 grains." The boiler is a Lochinvar Knight. I have not done an LSI test and I am not sure of the chemical treatment that you are referring to. There is no statement of bypassing the softener ever.

    The tech. that came out said he has seen the biggest issues in the indirect hw tanks, which I have (Lochinvar also). He said that the welds on the stainless heat exchanges are prone to damage from the extremely soft water (because without any hardness in the water the water has to eat at something) and he will get a call from people saying that the hw tank is not working. What happens is the water leaks from the exchange to the drinking water or vise versa. Although he may be incorrect, I would consider him to be one of the more knowledgeable people that I have had to deal with in the home improvement realm.

    Can someone please answer the following, for the sake of my curiosity if nothing else:

    -My manual mentions a "Safety Factor" setting. Is this not the same thing as adding the extra days worth of reserve to the total grains? Is adding a reserve amount into the equation redundant when using the "Safety Factor"?
    -Is my "Unit Capacity" setting supposed to be at 80x1000 since I have an 80,000 grain system, or is this setting referring to something else?
    -What should I set my "feedwater hardness" setting to. I would assume that it should now be set to 33, since this is my compensated gpg hardness?
    -From re-reading the above posts, it appears that I set the desired salt dose by changing the times of the "regeneration cycle step times". If this is the case, what does the "feedwater hardness" setting do?

    thanks for the assistance.
    Last edited by dwassner; 07-26-2013 at 04:32 PM.

  4. #94
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Safety factor is simply removing a % of the total capacity for a reserve. This can be carefully calculated for maximum efficiency and softness etc, but in general, if you exceed 7 days between regenerations, a setting of 10-15 is fine. it really becomes more important for commercial applications where forced regenerations become necessary due to the bad design oand application of single tank systems in high volume applications.

    Your "80,000 grain" system should be set to 50,000 grains and the system should be regenerated with 15 pounds of salt per regeneration. This will give you a far more efficient system than using the 80K settings. inorder to get 80K, you would have to regenerate with 45 pounds of salt per regeneration, this is not a good idea.

    33 grains is your compensated hardness, correct.

    I am off to a meeting, I will add more later.

  5. #95
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    The LSI was invented to determine IF naturally soft water, that's water with a low pH, TDS and hardness content, would dissolve the inside of cement water distribution lines and thereby release asbestos fibers into the water.

    It is a huge mistake to use it to determine if water corrodes metals. There are much better tests to use to determine if a water is corrosive to metals.

    Here is a discussion between engineers debating the mistake in using the LSI to determine if a water will cause corrosion of metals.
    http://corrosion-doctors.org/Cooling...orrosivity.htm

    The reserve capacity of a two tank type softener that does not have a variable reserve type control valve, is one day's K of capacity so that if the meter zeros early in the morning there is sufficient capacity to produce soft water until the next 2:00 AM when a regeneration can be done.
    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.

  6. #96
    DIY Member dwassner's Avatar
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    I can't perceive the tech. making up the fact that he has replaced several indirect hw tanks because of the welds going bad and connecting that to the presence of very soft water. Perhaps it is a false syllogism, but if anything it is advantageous for him to have said nothing. Either way, I still feel stuck concerning what to do here.

    When the unit sees that I enter 33 grains of compensated hardness into the setting, what does it do with this number? It can't use this number to decide the salt dose, since I am setting this through the step times.

    So to confirm, when I calculate the total grains needed to be removed, I should add an additional days worth, AND tell the unit to remove a given % of total capacity? Is the percentage I add the percentage I should enter into the unit?

    thanks guys
    Last edited by dwassner; 07-30-2013 at 06:41 AM.

  7. #97
    DIY Senior Member amateurplumber1's Avatar
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    Isn't it only naturally soft water that is corrosive? I'm pretty sure this doesnt apply to softened water. I'd honestly just leave it as is.

  8. #98
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    "Naturally" soft water vs softened water, what is the difference? Naturally soft water can have low calcium/magnesium and some sodium in it, This is not different than "softened" water. Softened indicates the water has had hardness ions removed through some process. Even that is poorly stated but you get the point.

    All this being said, a local guy who works on this specific unit in your specific region will likely have much more insight than we will have. While we may disagree with his opinion, he is probably basing his recommendation on his knowledge of the exact application, something none of us can do.

    So... not sure what to tell you other than there are some other ways. Maybe something as simple as turing off the softener intermittently to allow a very thin layer of calcium/magnesium to build up on the tubes as a protective layer. This will have almost no affect on the efficiency, and is a common practice on many boilers.

    Let us know how it works out for you,

    As to the hardness setting, this will affect your systems gallon capacity. Try it a few times. Set the hardness to 50 and see how many gallons the system is good for. Then set it to 5 grains, and see what happens. Then set it correctly. You will understand how it calculates after you see this example.

  9. #99
    DIY Member dwassner's Avatar
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    I will mess with the settings. After asking him if I should be worried because I have run the system with this water for 1 year he responded that it was no issue, but it may be in 10 years. This is significant as the stated life expectancy of the hw tank is 30 years, and realistically should be forever, since it is nothing more than an insulated stainless tank with two stainless heat exchanges in it. My point is that I don't think I will be able to let you know how it works out. If I use my father's pool testing kit to analyze the pH, will this tell me the acidity of the water?

  10. #100
    DIY Member dwassner's Avatar
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    Dittohead, when you said above that my system should regen with 15 lbs of salt, how did you arrive at this number?

    If in the future I find that I use more water from a growing family, my total grains required would increase. Would I then increase my fill time to correspond to the new requirements? And after changing this setting would I then change 50,000 grains setting in the unit to the new grain requirement?

    Why should I not be setting my systems total grain setting to 55,000, since this is closer to what I am aiming for, minus the reserve?

    I am sorry I am having a hard time seeing how the settings in the unit correspond to the numbers calculated...but I think I am slowly getting it.
    Last edited by dwassner; 07-30-2013 at 11:36 AM.

  11. #101
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    A cu. ft. of water softener resin has a theoretical capacity of 32,000 grains if it regenerated with 16-18 pounds of salt. You can regenerate the same cu. ft. of resin with 6 pounds and get 20,000 grains or 8 pounds and get 24,000 grains removal. These lowere salt setting are obviously far more efficient. The lower salt settings can allow some hardness leakage, but in residential systems, this is rarely noticed.

    See the chart below for the manufacturers chart on capacity vs leakage at different salt amounts.

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  12. #102
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Road salt corrodes SS. I've known that for over 40 years. In a search for "stainless steel" + salt corrosion I found it is the chlorides part of sodium chloride (salt) that causes the problem. Link below.

    Most raw waters will have some chloride in them. Also some sodium. Softeners do not use the chloride part of softener salt (or potassium chloride salt substitute), only some of the sodium part is used and added to the softened water @ 7.85 mg/l (liter is roughly a quart) per grain per gallon of compensated hardness being removed.

    If you want to compare that to food/beverages, read some labels for sodium, you will probably be shocked at how much sodium is in our food and beverages.

    The chloride part of the softener salt is flushed out to drain during a regeneration. But the raw water chloride is still in the water. The EPA says the suggested max allowed should be 250 ppm or mg/l (same measure).

    Read all but in d. water heaters are mentioned specifically.
    http://www.bssa.org.uk/faq.php?id=9
    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. #103
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    I'm gonna throw my 2 cents in here. Not because of the numbers or advice already given but based on what we have been running into in the field when it comes to warranty issues. For the past 10 years or so, most boiler manufacturers have actually started investigating heat exchanger failures. They used to just swap out the exchanger and be done with it but now they are taking water samples and doing forensic evaluation of the units coming back. Most of them have very specific water conditions that they want you to adhere too and non compliance means a void warranty. So you are correct in being concerned with our water quality. The lochnivar is very sensitive to hardness and ph.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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