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Thread: what size water softener should I get (twin,single, etc...) ?

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    DIY Junior Member sss's Avatar
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    Default what size water softener should I get (twin,single, etc...) ?

    I have 7 people and 4 bathrooms with 3 high flow shower heads. What size water softener should I get? should I get a twin or a single?

    I have city water so iron is not a problem and I have the following:

    10gpg Hardness
    PH: 7
    chlorine: 0.4-0.6

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    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Find any recent post by Gary Slusser; his signature has a link to a softener sizing calculation document. It's pretty general, figuring 60gpd/person for the average home. Check your water bill to find out what your real usage is and use that value for starters in the formulas provided. There have been several discussions of single vs double tank systems which would be worth exploring; my impression is: if you've got the money and space, double doesn't hurt. In my case, it hurts...

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sss View Post
    I have 7 people and 4 bathrooms with 3 high flow shower heads. What size water softener should I get? should I get a twin or a single?

    I have city water so iron is not a problem and I have the following:

    10gpg Hardness
    PH: 7
    chlorine: 0.4-0.6
    Any large jetted or non jetted tubs?

    What is the gpm rating of the shower heads?

    Your softener has to have a constant service flow rate (SFR) higher than your peak demand gpm. That is based on the cuft of resin and then using a control valve that can service the size tank that volume of resin requires. That is going to size your softener.

    IMO your peak demand is the total gpm of how you use water in the house (what fixtures re used at the same time) rather than a total of all fixtures in the house. That is explained at the link in my signature but you have to come up with the actual gpm.

    Twin tank type softeners sound great if you don't learn their disadvantages. It is a rare twin tank that allows water flow through both resin tanks at the same time. That means you get water through only one tank and.... since a twin regenerates as you are using water, your flow rate is decreased by the gpm rating of the DLFC (drain line flow control). It also means much more expense to buy the correct size twin tank type softener.

    Most folks selling twin tanks always go on about a regular softener wasting salt because of having to have a reserve capacity that is rarely used but the salt dose having to be set to regenerate that resin as if the capacity has been used between each regeneration.

    What they don't tell you is that since the twin tanks use soft water to regenerate with that that requires salt use to regenerate the capacity needed to do that. And then they claim the twin uses less salt but..

    If a regular softener and the tanks of the twin are the same size so both softeners have the same constant SFR, and both softeners are using the same type of resin, it will take the exact same volume of salt to regenerate the same K of capacity in the two types of softeners. Meaning both softeners will use the same volume of salt and thereby have the same salt efficiency.

    That also means that the twin tank has to have the same size tanks as the regular softener has unless the twin allows water through both tanks at the same time. And IF that is the type of twin you get, you lose some of the flow from one tank while it is used to regenerate the other tank and you normally are using water during a regeneration of any type twin tank. That's because you have to be using water to trigger a twin to regenerate. That will reduce its constant SFR gpm until the regeneration is done.

    The best twin type softener is two regular type correctly sized softeners (each large enough to provide the needed constant SFR gpm) ganged together with one providing the house soft water while the other independently regenerates. They are not very common and are quite expensive and really....

    Unless your house is constantly using water 24 hrs a day, you don't need a twin tank type water 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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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Your issue is less about capacity than flow rate. What pipe size do you have?

    With just the preliminary information you have given us, I am leaning toward a 2.5 cu. ft. 7000SXT set to a very low salt setting. Probably in the 4 lb per cu. ft. range. This will put you at about every 1 to 2 weeks between regenerations while still allowing you a considerably high peak flow rate. Peak flow rates should not be used to size a system, but in your case, the flow rate of 4 bathrooms, showers etc might require a very large system which tends to get less efficient if it gets to big, especially under lower flow rate conditions. You have to balance out the pros and cons of the system design for your application.

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    DIY Junior Member sss's Avatar
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    I am looking at the fleck 5600stx because I have heard that it is more reliable then the 7000stx, but I am not sure of what size to get and gary I do not know the flow rate of my shower heads, but could you just recommend a the size for me based on the information I provided above. I looked at your signature for the sizing and it is confusing for me.

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    I will say that if YOU are going to be working on the unit in the future then go with the 5600 over the 7000. From a repair side the 5600 is easier to work on and change out parts with out the headaches of the 7000.
    In my view the 7000 is a nightmare to work on if the main piston or brine piston need work or replacement.
    The 7000 also has a main piston that is less forgiven than the other Flecks on the market.
    And now Fleck has the 5800? it is nothing more than a 5000 or ProFlo jacked up on something... or maybe a marriage between fleck and clack valves..

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    The 5600 is a good choice but... Fleck says it is not to be used on a larger than 12" dia tank and that is a 2.0 cuft softener. So no 5600 on larger than a 2.0' softener.

    You probably need at least a 2.5 cuft for your 4 bathroom peak demand with 7 people in the house. A 2.5 cuft gets you a 15 gpm constant SFR. That's unless you have a large tub that would flow all or most of that 15 gpm.

    Once you know the physical (cuft) size, then use my sizing info page to program the K of capacity and the salt dose that requires for your volume of regular mesh resin.

    I agree that the 5600 is much easier to work on than the 7000 and the 5600 or 5800 are smaller and take up much less space out from the wall than a 7000. The 5800 can not be bought online, or isn't supposed to be sold online, and it is nothing more than a make over of the 5000/Proflo which has never been a popular valve since its inception like 15 yrs ago. And if I'm right, most of the make over is in the timer electronics to better compete with the Clack WS-1.

    I'd suggest the Fleck 2510.
    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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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    I am not sure why the 7000 would be a difficult valve to work on. I do training seminars all over the world and the 7000 repair training is a regular seminar I put on. It takes less than 5 minutes to tear down and rebuild. Their is one item that needs to be addressed on the 7000 that if someone is not aware of it, then the valve will seem difficult. Once this issue is understood, the 7000 is actually one of the easiest valves to rebuild. That being said, the Fleck and Clack valves typically only need to be rebuilt every 10+ years.

    The 5600SXT actually has a higher service rate than the 7000SXT, but this is also a non issue, since the occurences of repairs on the 5600SXT are almost non-existent as well.

    The 5800SXT is somewhat a modified Pro-Flo (5000) with a new powerhead, and many other internal improvements. The real advantage of the 5800SXT is the Bi-directional DC drive, and its ability to home instantly. I can see what the future holds for this design. I would assume in 5 years we will see a whole new generation of valves with some impressive abilities coming because of this design.

    AKPSDVAN, send me a PM if you want, I can email you a 1 minute tear down video of the 7000, it shows how to get around the "difficulty" of removing the powerhead. There are 2 ways of doing it, the way we train makes the rebuild take about a minute less than manual shows.

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    I am not sure why the 7000 would be a difficult valve to work on. I do training seminars all over the world and the 7000 repair training is a regular seminar I put on. It takes less than 5 minutes to tear down and rebuild. Their is one item that needs to be addressed on the 7000 that if someone is not aware of it, then the valve will seem difficult. Once this issue is understood, the 7000 is actually one of the easiest valves to rebuild. That being said, the Fleck and Clack valves typically only need to be rebuilt every 10+ years.
    You aren't "training" DIYers and your advice is to DIYers here, not distributors or their dealers, plumbers, drillers etc..

    Yes one problem is the piston has to be indexed just right or you can't get the 7000 apart or back together without causing problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    The 5600SXT actually has a higher service rate than the 7000SXT, but this is also a non issue, since the occurences of repairs on the 5600SXT are almost non-existent as well.
    I was talking about the constant SFR of the whole SOFTENER, not just the control valve but... What "service rate" are you seeing that has the 5600 rated higher than a 7000?
    Last edited by Terry; 10-24-2012 at 11:11 AM.
    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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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Service rate, as in repair rates. We have less than 1% of problems with the 7000, the 5600SXT has an almost identical "problem rate", but is statistically higher in our books. Regardless, both have a near zero rate. Both have had their problems in the past, as have the Clack, Autotrol, and every other manufacturer. Overall, the 7000SXT has been one of our favorites since it has such a low call back rate.

    Removing the powerhead is easily done without reindexing, go work in the field for a few years then report back.

    I can post a link to a video on how to remove the gear assembly and rebuilding the valve. it is one of the easiets valves to rebuild and can be done by any DIY if they have a basic knowledge of basic tools.
    Last edited by ditttohead; 10-24-2012 at 01:57 PM.

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Yep, once you understand how and do it once, removing the power head is a piece of cake. There are some variables left here to address with flow rates but.......the 7000SXT covers a whole lot of ground and would be a fantastic choice of valve for this installation. Got to get out there more. Can't spend your life day dreaming.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dittthoead View Post
    Service rate, as in repair rates. We have less than 1% of problems with the 7000, the 5600SXT has an almost identical "problem rate", but is statistically higher in our books.
    I suggest that's due to many more 5600s being sold than the 7000. IMO the 7000 is misapplied in many houses

    Quote Originally Posted by dittthoead View Post
    I can post a link to a video on how to remove the gear assembly and rebuilding the valve. it is one of the easiets valves to rebuild and can be done by any DIY if they have a basic knowledge of basic tools.

    Removing the powerhead is easily done without reindexing, go work in the field for a few years then report back.
    I have serviced the 7000.

    How about you post the video instead of talking about it and we'll see if you don't have to index the piston to get to the piston and seals/spacers and then to put things back together.

    There is no control valve as easy to repair.or program as the Clack.
    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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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    I agree. There is no doubt that servicing a Clack valve is simple and fast but the 7000 ain't all that difficult either
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  14. #14
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    You and your good buddy Ditto need to get out more often and talk to DIYers.

    The 7000 is overkill for 99% of the on average 2.5 bathroom houses it is being proposed in.
    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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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Time permitting, I will post a video on my Youtube channel of how to rebuild the 7000SXT. I have 3 daughters, private schooling, dance classes, hockey training (my 7 year old is on the travel team, 12 hours of practice and games a week), my hockey teams, my travels, and taking care of an attractive wife takes a lot of time. Once you see the "trick", the 7000 becomes one of the easier valves to rebuild. I will try to do the video showing the field technicians and OEM assemblers way, and the manufacturers recommended way. Both are easy, the way we train saves about 1 minute of time. As an OEM assembler, we do a lot of system conversion, so we tear down the valves on a regular basis. That 1 minute of time savings adds up quick when you do hundreds a year.

    And... what is the disadvantage of the 7000? I have already shown you it is comparable to the 5600SXT with the paddle meter in size, it has a simple and more solid powerhead, lower priced high wear components, higher flow rates, NEMA 4 rated, etc... If the 7000 is overkill, then so is the Clack WS1, so you are saying that valve is bad for 99% of residential applications?
    Last edited by ditttohead; 10-25-2012 at 09:52 AM.

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