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Thread: Need advice! New softener needed. Possible ripoff?

  1. #1

    Default Need advice! New softener needed. Possible ripoff?

    Hello all.

    We have a 5 year Northstar softener that is junk. I have read that northstar is basically rebranded ecowater. Well in the last 2 years we have had it serviced 3 times and it never stays working for more that a few months. So its time for it to go. I have been browsing the forum and trying to read up on softeners. The dealer who was working on the northstar is : http://environmentalprotech.com/treatment.html. He has quoted me 1800 to install the unit on there website which he confirms is a fleck 5600. But he states it is upgraded for better filtration. Seems like a load but what do I know. Am I missing something. Wouldn't I be better getting one online and hiring a plumber? When I asked him this, he was very defensive of his product and said "sure, but who will service it?"

    Water usage is 3 people, house is 5000 sqft with 6 baths. Our master shower has a zillion jets which I frequently go full blast on . Regular head, rain head, 6 body, hand held, steam. City water. Havent test water hardness yet.

    I would appreciate any advice, so thanks in advance.
    Last edited by am350z; 11-04-2012 at 07:20 PM.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    The 5600 would not handle the flow rate you have very well. Besides, the price is a little high. I would go with a Clack WS1 or Fleck 7000. You can buy a softener and have it installed a lot cheaper than the company wants to sell you one for.

  3. #3
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    I agree, the 7000 would be a much better choice, and the size of the unit should be considered as well. A 13" x 54" system would be the smallest I would recommend. The claim of a special filtration media... it is usually more marketing than function. A standard softener would be the best choice. The 5600 is an excellent valve but it is way too small for your application. There are many compnies that sell exceptional equipment at a reasonable price. I would avoid the cheapest companies, they usually offer poor advice, no warehousing, and they tend to be the lowest price by using many lower quality internal components, like resin, screens, etc. An extra hundred dollars for a piece of equipment can be the difference between a system that is trouble free for 10-20 years, or a system that you are looking to replace after only 3 years. You are already familiar with that scenario.

  4. #4

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    Thanks guys. I thought the "improved filtration" sounded fishy. How much maintenance are we talking about on these units? I have read they the flecks are very reliable. I guess I am asking because if I went with the original quote, there is included maintenance. But the added cost would pay for a lot of maintenance and repairs! My shower fully on runs at 12 gpm. So add morning second shower, washer, sprinkler and I am guessing it would easily over do the smaller 5600's like you guys said.

  5. #5
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    If it's installed properly, virtually none other than adding salt
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  6. #6
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by am350z View Post
    Water usage is 3 people, house is 5000 sqft with 6 baths. Our master shower has a zillion jets which I frequently go full blast on . Regular head, rain head, 6 body, hand held, steam. City water. Havent test water hardness yet.

    I would appreciate any advice, so thanks in advance.
    Six body sprays at only 2 gpm (most are 2.5 gpm) is 12 gpm so you need a softener size that gets you much more than 12 gpm constant SFR. It has to cover all water flow used at the same time, not just the shower.

    With city water you need to size the softener based on the highest hardness in the water system during the year. You can find all the info you need, including that hardness, on the water company's web site (annual report) or the annual report they mail you annually.
    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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