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Thread: Planning / Installing new softener, couple of quick questions

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Glowrdr's Avatar
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    Default Planning / Installing new softener, couple of quick questions

    I've been looking into getting a water softener for quite some time now, and have a couple of questions for you pro's out there. After my own research, I decided to take this task on myself rather than paying someone else to do it for twice the cost.

    This will be going in my laundry room, and due to the current configuration - I'm very hard pressed for "usable" space. I'm currently looking at either getting a cabinet style, or getting the standard brine/mineral tank style.

    1) Is there much of a difference between cabinet / non-cabinet styles? Or is it just a space saving feature?
    2) If I do go with a standard setup, can I install the mineral tank BEHIND the brine tank? I don't know how often I really need to get to the mineral tank / timer - but I don't have the space to put them side by side. (this would actually be going between my wash tub and the wall, so I've only got about 16-18" to play with for width). Otherwise I'm looking at having a remote brine tank - probably 8-10 feet across the room. Not sure if that's an issue or not.

    The systems I am currently on the fence about are both Fleck 5600SXT. One is a 32k cabinet, the other is a 48k setup with seperate tanks. I haven't had a full "lab" report done on my water, but it is 26 grains hard, no iron or anything like that. Just really hard city water (not well). 2 adults in the house, 1 bath in use (have another 3/4 that's purely for looks at this point). I'd consider us a low usage household, but I want to get something efficiant.

    I guess 2 other things that pop into my head that maybe you could asnwer as well. Is there such a thing as "too big" of a water softener? I don't think I'm hitting that territory, just checking. Also - the laundry room is right off the garage. I suppose I could run the water line through the wall, into the garage > water softener > back into the house. Problem being, I live in MN and it's not a heated garage. It is a tuck under, and does stay warm-ish, but I'm not sure this is a safe option. If you think it's something that needs to be done - I could always built an insulated "wall" around the softener and the residual heat from the wall would probably keep it from freezing since it would not be exposed to the garage. Sounds like a lot of work though for a problem that may not exist in the first place.


    Sorry for the long post - just trying to throw all my eggs in one basket and get it done (rather than posting 20 different posts over the course of a week). Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Glowrdr;352422]I've been looking into getting a water softener for quite some time now, and have a couple of questions for you pro's out there. After my own research, I decided to take this task on myself rather than paying someone else to do it for twice the cost.

    This will be going in my laundry room, and due to the current configuration - I'm very hard pressed for "usable" space. I'm currently looking at either getting a cabinet style, or getting the standard brine/mineral tank style.

    1) Is there much of a difference between cabinet / non-cabinet styles? Or is it just a space saving feature?
    2) If I do go with a standard setup, can I install the mineral tank BEHIND the brine tank? I don't know how often I really need to get to the mineral tank / timer - but I don't have the space to put them side by side. (this would actually be going between my wash tub and the wall, so I've only got about 16-18" to play with for width). Otherwise I'm looking at having a remote brine tank - probably 8-10 feet across the room. Not sure if that's an issue or not.
    I hate cabinet units and I suspect you will get the same sentiment from the rest of here on that. You can put the resin tank behind the brine tank but, if you have to service the valve you will have to reach across or over or maybe even slide the brine tank out to get at it. Not ideal but workable.

    The systems I am currently on the fence about are both Fleck 5600SXT. One is a 32k cabinet, the other is a 48k setup with seperate tanks. I haven't had a full "lab" report done on my water, but it is 26 grains hard, no iron or anything like that. Just really hard city water (not well). 2 adults in the house, 1 bath in use (have another 3/4 that's purely for looks at this point). I'd consider us a low usage household, but I want to get something efficiant.
    So why would you choose between a 32K and a 48K A complete water test would be a good idea before you make a decision but if all you are dealing with is hardness than go with the 48K The 5600SXT is a good choice

    I guess 2 other things that pop into my head that maybe you could asnwer as well. Is there such a thing as "too big" of a water softener? I don't think I'm hitting that territory, just checking. Also - the laundry room is right off the garage. I suppose I could run the water line through the wall, into the garage > water softener > back into the house. Problem being, I live in MN and it's not a heated garage. It is a tuck under, and does stay warm-ish, but I'm not sure this is a safe option. If you think it's something that needs to be done - I could always built an insulated "wall" around the softener and the residual heat from the wall would probably keep it from freezing since it would not be exposed to the garage. Sounds like a lot of work though for a problem that may not exist in the first place.
    There is an ongoing "discussion" here on the pro's and con's of oversizing with no unanamous consensus having been achieved however, slighty big is better than slightly small so always "round up" As for freeze problems, you are the only one that can answer that question.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Glowrdr's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. The cabinet style never really was in the running, but I thought I'd throw the idea out there and see. If you guys said "no difference at all" then it may have been an obvious choice for me. As for the 32/48k choices, it was due to cabinet models being smaller capacity. If I go seperates, then I would get a larger unit for the efficiancy.

    I'm thinking that keeping things inside the house is going to be my best option. I'd rather not deal with the constant worry about if my softener is going to freeze when it hits -20 outside (plus, I could only really protect the tanks themselves, I doubt I could do much to prevent the valves from freezing)

    Looking like I'll be getting the SXT for a third of the cost of an Ecowater system I almost pulled the trigger on (until I started checking and realized it's nothing but 2 pipes and a bypass to install)

  4. #4
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Ecowater LOL
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  5. #5
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    A 1.5' (48K) is a 10" x 54" tank and if you order an 11" x 11" salt tank and all fits in your space with the resin tank a 1/2" off the wall in back of the salt tank. You can turn the resin tank 90* to the left to conserve space and still get at the brine and drain lines etc.. I've done it many times.

    I wouldn't put anything in the garage, including the drain line.
    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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