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Thread: New water softener system awaiting installation, few questions.

  1. #61
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Well, he can always use copper clad bell hangers which are a whole lot less expensive than unistrut and require little skill or effort to install. Strapping it directly to concrete is always a bad idea because the lime in the concrete will eat through the copper eventually. Or he could just do the trailer on wheels thing and run garden hose across the ground LOL
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  2. #62
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    Well, he can always use copper clad bell hangers which are a whole lot less expensive than unistrut and require little skill or effort to install. Strapping it directly to concrete is always a bad idea because the lime in the concrete will eat through the copper eventually. Or he could just do the trailer on wheels thing and run garden hose across the ground LOL
    hahahahah

    Also, I have not seen a powder coated vibration dampening unistrut clamp yet. Please show me one, that would be an interesting, and bad design.

    I have seen the green painted (possibly powder coated) unistrut channel, but once you cut it, you should touch up the paint to prevent rust. I just use the stainless 304, it is fairly inexpensive and you never have to worry about customers calling for rust issues in the future.

    Repair work, and simple installs, the 304 stainless is just fine. For major construction jobs, the use of less expensive materials would make sense.

    And how to mount to stucco? Not sure why you couldnt answer that yourself. A simple wall anchor, toggle bolt, find a stud, ... do I need to add how to mount stuff to walls to my training seminars?

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  3. #63
    DIY Junior Member marcelo73's Avatar
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    Hello gentlemen, im back after being in hiding for a few weeks. Well as I had initially thought 5-6 hours labor, lmao yeah right, with my 2 year old trying to help me anytime I went outside to work on this project, a 9month old little girl, some rain and oh ya and ....WORK, has now turned into weeks. These past few days ive dedicated maybe 2 hours total to the project, and the hardware store runs are really beginning to kill all my time, no such thing as a quick hardware run in the big city.

    I've tested my water using the hach 5b kit, its at 15 gpg.

    At any rate I want to thank everyone who has chimed in on this thread.

    Now for the subject at hand, I am a bit confused after talking with a gentlemen at the "hardware" store about my install. He mentioned water heater and that I should've plumbed into the plumbing at this source, this confused the heck out of me as I thought I had it all figured out. I have posted a photo of what im working with and what my plans were.

    Not sure if this would even be an option but in case anyone is wondering my water heater is located directly to the rear of my house, about 40'-50' away from the softener.

    Below is the main i will tapping into for the installation. On lower left is the pipe coming off of the main, then lower right pvc is for sprinkler system.


    This is the photo with my plumbing diagramed, elbows along the vertical main with in/out to softener. The water spout will be replaced down on the horizontal pipe with a t-coupling so it is plumbed before the soft water.



    Excuse my photo shop crooked lines.


    Thanks again to all of you for your help, I hope to wrap this up

  4. #64
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Since the experts are still in bed, I'll offer my educated opinion. The softener needs to be installed at the point where you want soft water to be available, period. In many homes, there's a utility room where the water heater sits, often at the point of entry of the water main, with electricity available, and that's a convenient spot for the softener as well. That's obviously not the case in your situation, so ignore the hardware store guy. It's nice if the softener can be located out of the weather, but not critical. These days, indoors is better to reduce the theft risk, though -- they'll steal anything that's not nailed down. Speaking of nailed down, I wonder if earthquake regulations in CA require strapping down the softener tanks like the water heater?

  5. #65
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    The location of the softener varies regionally. In the Southern California area, outdoor intallations are very common since the risk of freezing is basically non existant. I have been unable to find any exact code wording on the subject, maybe some of the qualified experts can chime in on this idea. Bury the softener. A simple post hole digger, 20 minutes of work, and the softener basically disappears. I know of many dealers that do this to save considerable cost on copper and labor, as well as simplicity. They remove the bottom base from the tank, buy a stainless jacket, insert the jacket into the hole in the ground, slide the system down and voila! Leave the head and a few inches of the tank above the ground of course. The tank jacket allows for easy removal in the future if it is needed. Standard disclaimer, check with your local codes... Many guys even bury the brine tank. Otherwise, the brine tank can easily be located 20-40 feet away without any problem. I would recommend the 7000 since it is actually outdoor rated.

    Note:, I would recommend installing a brass ball valve to the sprinklers so that if the pvc breaks, you dont have to shut down the whole house.

    A fake rock cover is often installed over the head as well to hide the system.
    Last edited by ditttohead; 12-24-2012 at 07:38 AM.

  6. #66
    DIY Junior Member marcelo73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
    Since the experts are still in bed, I'll offer my educated opinion. The softener needs to be installed at the point where you want soft water to be available, period. In many homes, there's a utility room where the water heater sits, often at the point of entry of the water main, with electricity available, and that's a convenient spot for the softener as well. That's obviously not the case in your situation, so ignore the hardware store guy. It's nice if the softener can be located out of the weather, but not critical. These days, indoors is better to reduce the theft risk, though -- they'll steal anything that's not nailed down. Speaking of nailed down, I wonder if earthquake regulations in CA require strapping down the softener tanks like the water heater?
    Yes I was thinking about installing a motion detection theft deterrent , hahahahhahaha. Ya unfortunately I live in an older smaller home without a utility room. As for the strapping down, the tanks and pipes will be attached accordingly using the unistrut and strut clamps DITTOHEAD referred of, these little things work great and are actually inexpensive at mcmaster which is local to me.

  7. #67
    DIY Junior Member marcelo73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    The location of the softener varies regionally. In the Southern California area, outdoor intallations are very common since the risk of freezing is basically non existant. I have been unable to find any exact code wording on the subject, maybe some of the qualified experts can chime in on this idea. Bury the softener. A simple post hole digger, 20 minutes of work, and the softener basically disappears. I know of many dealers that do this to save considerable cost on copper and labor, as well as simplicity. They remove the bottom base from the tank, buy a stainless jacket, insert the jacket into the hole in the ground, slide the system down and voila! Leave the head and a few inches of the tank above the ground of course. The tank jacket allows for easy removal in the future if it is needed. Standard disclaimer, check with your local codes... Many guys even bury the brine tank. Otherwise, the brine tank can easily be located 20-40 feet away without any problem. I would recommend the 7000 since it is actually outdoor rated.

    Note:, I would recommend installing a brass ball valve to the sprinklers so that if the pvc breaks, you dont have to shut down the whole house.

    A fake rock cover is often installed over the head as well to hide the system.

    Are you serious about burying them, hahahahhahahaha.....CALL BEFORE YOU DIG!!! alot of digging for 3 tanks, but yes it would definitely keep copper costs down.

    Thanks for the recommendation on the valve, I will certainly do that, in fact every time I turn that thing off it feels like its about to snap.

    Thanks fellas since there is no objections so far to my schematics I will go ahead and continue as soon as the weather permits here in Los Angeles.

    Merry Christmas to everyone!!

  8. #68
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I wouldn't install it that way. The softener would be before the pressure regulator valve. That is a bad idea.

    And I don't know if it matters but suspect it does, the PRV is installed upside down and I've never seen one installed that way. It allows sediment to have built up in it and that may prevent it from working correctly.
    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.

  9. #69
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    I wouldn't install it that way. The softener would be before the pressure regulator valve. That is a bad idea.

    And I don't know if it matters but suspect it does, the PRV is installed upside down and I've never seen one installed that way. It allows sediment to have built up in it and that may prevent it from working correctly.

    Correct, definetly relocate the pressure regulator before the softener, and after the irrigation. I also just notice that somebody installed the ball valve handle on upside down.

    Sorry for the very crude drawing, but I think this is waht you should do. I would basically completely replimb the section in front of the house as follows. I would also recommend replacing the PRV, or maybe rebuild it. I am not a fan of doing this much work and not doing it all.
    Sorry for the crude drawing, but you get the idea.Name:  basic.jpg
Views: 109
Size:  27.5 KB

  10. #70
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I wouldn't install the softener per your drawing either.

    I'd install the softener on the right side of the plumbing after installing a new PRV valve or taking the present one apart to clean it, and getting it right side up, and then remove the pressure relief valve (PRV) and go on to my softener inlet but....

    I would cut the vertical line above the main shut off valve and the irrigation TEE so as to lower the hose bib/PRV horizontal line about 2" (without interfering with the access to the irrigation line valve handle) so I could unsolder the TEE on the house line now and then install an elbow on the line into the house to connect my outlet line from the softener.

    If I were going to bury anything, I would be very careful digging so I could find any underground lines without damaging them. If the irrigation is off to the right of the pics, the line probably goes along the house wall instead out away from the wall.

    IOWs I would extend the present hose bib/regulator line to the right to the softener, leaving the existing hose bib valve/regular valve and irrigation lines as is. The regulator valve is on a union and the relief valve is threaded. I'd unsolder the TEE going into the house after getting the water out of the line by disconnecting that union.

    I'd cut out about 2" of the vertical line from the main shut off valve and use a repair coupler to put it back together as is but with the regulator right side up and no relief valve (unless it's code) and then I'd put it on a tee and with it directing any water flow out away from the foundation of the house.

    To solder the coupler you must get the water out of the line below it at least an inch but as far as possible is best. And to do that you shove a rag down inside the line using a screw driver etc. and soak the water up into it until the water is down as far as you can get it.

    Fleck has the inlet come in on the right side as you face the valve. I would install a shut off valve in the inlet line. Outlet is on the left side as you face the valve. New inlet line comes in under the outlet and up into the inlet, outlet goes over the inlet line onto the line into the house.

    People don't steal PVC, so instead of using copper, I would use 3/4" PVC pipe from the threaded end where the relief valve is now and to the copper going into the house. And I'd add a #4 bare copper ground wire from the copper coming up out of the ground to the copper going into the house. You could take that down into the dirt and along the house up to the copper below the main shut of valve so very little is visible... That is to maintain any main house electric panel ground using the present copper water line.

    If you want a soft water hose bib, add it on a TEE in the softener's outlet 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.

  11. #71
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    The drawing is meant as a guildeline only, and it is not to scale. Considering you are in LA, you should also install a pressure gauge after the regulator. Much of the greater Los Angeles area suffers from high pressure issues. Upwards of 250-300 PSI is not unusual in the middle of the night. A pressure bauge can be installed for less than $15 and it will allow you to monitor your water pressure. Here is an older article about the water main breaks caused by age, and mainly excessive pressure. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...2598.htmlstory

  12. #72
    DIY Junior Member marcelo73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    I wouldn't install it that way. The softener would be before the pressure regulator valve. That is a bad idea.

    And I don't know if it matters but suspect it does, the PRV is installed upside down and I've never seen one installed that way. It allows sediment to have built up in it and that may prevent it from working correctly.
    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    Correct, definetly relocate the pressure regulator before the softener, and after the irrigation. I also just notice that somebody installed the ball valve handle on upside down.

    Sorry for the very crude drawing, but I think this is waht you should do. I would basically completely replimb the section in front of the house as follows. I would also recommend replacing the PRV, or maybe rebuild it. I am not a fan of doing this much work and not doing it all.
    Sorry for the crude drawing, but you get the idea.Name:  basic.jpg
Views: 109
Size:  27.5 KB
    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    I wouldn't install the softener per your drawing either.

    I'd install the softener on the right side of the plumbing after installing a new PRV valve or taking the present one apart to clean it, and getting it right side up, and then remove the pressure relief valve (PRV) and go on to my softener inlet but....

    I would cut the vertical line above the main shut off valve and the irrigation TEE so as to lower the hose bib/PRV horizontal line about 2" (without interfering with the access to the irrigation line valve handle) so I could unsolder the TEE on the house line now and then install an elbow on the line into the house to connect my outlet line from the softener.

    If I were going to bury anything, I would be very careful digging so I could find any underground lines without damaging them. If the irrigation is off to the right of the pics, the line probably goes along the house wall instead out away from the wall.

    IOWs I would extend the present hose bib/regulator line to the right to the softener, leaving the existing hose bib valve/regular valve and irrigation lines as is. The regulator valve is on a union and the relief valve is threaded. I'd unsolder the TEE going into the house after getting the water out of the line by disconnecting that union.

    I'd cut out about 2" of the vertical line from the main shut off valve and use a repair coupler to put it back together as is but with the regulator right side up and no relief valve (unless it's code) and then I'd put it on a tee and with it directing any water flow out away from the foundation of the house.

    To solder the coupler you must get the water out of the line below it at least an inch but as far as possible is best. And to do that you shove a rag down inside the line using a screw driver etc. and soak the water up into it until the water is down as far as you can get it.

    Fleck has the inlet come in on the right side as you face the valve. I would install a shut off valve in the inlet line. Outlet is on the left side as you face the valve. New inlet line comes in under the outlet and up into the inlet, outlet goes over the inlet line onto the line into the house.

    People don't steal PVC, so instead of using copper, I would use 3/4" PVC pipe from the threaded end where the relief valve is now and to the copper going into the house. And I'd add a #4 bare copper ground wire from the copper coming up out of the ground to the copper going into the house. You could take that down into the dirt and along the house up to the copper below the main shut of valve so very little is visible... That is to maintain any main house electric panel ground using the present copper water line.

    If you want a soft water hose bib, add it on a TEE in the softener's outlet line.
    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    The drawing is meant as a guildeline only, and it is not to scale. Considering you are in LA, you should also install a pressure gauge after the regulator. Much of the greater Los Angeles area suffers from high pressure issues. Upwards of 250-300 PSI is not unusual in the middle of the night. A pressure bauge can be installed for less than $15 and it will allow you to monitor your water pressure. Here is an older article about the water main breaks caused by age, and mainly excessive pressure. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...2598.htmlstory

    All duly noted, I wanted to avoid so much plumbing, but ive already spent all this dough thus far I don't want to mickey mouse anything. Thank you Mr Dittohead and Mr Slusser, suggestions much appreciated.

  13. #73
    DIY Junior Member marcelo73's Avatar
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    Im sorry Mr Slusser I got lost here.....Are these valves in place in case the softener every needs to be repaired or just stops working???

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Fleck has the inlet come in on the right side as you face the valve. I would install a shut off valve in the inlet line. Outlet is on the left side as you face the valve. New inlet line comes in under the outlet and up into the inlet, outlet goes over the inlet line onto the line into the house.

    Below i've sketched a rough draft of the new plumbing as suggested. Any new ideas or suggestions? The wife will take the kids for the day to allow me a day to get this done the right way, or at least try to.




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  14. #74
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Marcello, you drew what I described, the only (hand operated shut off ) valve I mentioned is on the outlet of the softener, dittohead had added like a dozen valves here'n there. I see no reason for more than my one on the outlet and even then, it isn't needed, just nice to have IF your by pass valve can't shut off water to the house while you troubleshoot a problem with the softener. And that's only needed IF the people inside the house can't follow directions to NOT USE WATER until they are told it's OK.... Fleck by pass valves don't do that as far as I know.

    The only thing with your drawing is, I suggested installing the softener to the right of the existing plumbing and you drew it to the left and down while out from the wall. That's not a problem though, you can run the plumbing anywhere you need it to go. If you don't bury the softener, your inlet will go over to the left or right and then UP a couple feet, and then the outlet down and over to the left or right to the house copper.

    if you've already bought the copper, then use it but any extra valves should be able to be returned with a receipt for a refund or store credit. Thinking about it, copper tubing and all fittings should be returnable as long as you didn't cut the tubing yet. PVC is much easier to work with and much less expensive. Plus it has a larger ID than the same size copper. And you could lightly sand it and paint it whatever color ya wanted to.

    BTW, since dittohead's "professionals" here haven't asked yet, where are you planning to run the drain line? And what type material are you going to use?

    I suggest a foot or two of 5/8" OD, 1/2" ID opaque PE tubing from the control valve to 3/4" PVC if you're going underground. It's nice to be able to see water flow or air bubbles in the drain line IF you have a problem with the softener.

    I see you don't take the copper ground wire to the copper below the copper main line above or below the main brass shut off ball valve. That is where it has to/absolutely must go, not to a ground pin.
    Last edited by Gary Slusser; 12-26-2012 at 06:56 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.

  15. #75
    DIY Junior Member marcelo73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Marcello, you drew what I described, the only (hand operated shut off ) valve I mentioned is on the outlet of the softener, dittohead had added like a dozen valves here'n there. I see no reason for more than my one on the outlet and even then, it isn't needed, just nice to have IF your by pass valve can't shut off water to the house while you troubleshoot a problem with the softener. And that's only needed IF the people inside the house can't follow directions to NOT USE WATER until they are told it's OK.... Fleck by pass valves don't do that as far as I know.

    Ok I see now I understand, I will certainly consider this.

    The only thing with your drawing is, I suggested installing the softener to the right of the existing plumbing and you drew it to the left and down while out from the wall. That's not a problem though, you can run the plumbing anywhere you need it to go. If you don't bury the softener, your inlet will go over to the left or right and then UP a couple feet, and then the outlet down and over to the left or right to the house copper.

    Mr Slusser unfortunately I can only come in off the left side where they are going to be stored and secured above ground safely there and there in/out lines soldered and ready to go.

    if you've already bought the copper, then use it but any extra valves should be able to be returned with a receipt for a refund or store credit. Thinking about it, copper tubing and all fittings should be returnable as long as you didn't cut the tubing yet. PVC is much easier to work with and much less expensive. Plus it has a larger ID than the same size copper. And you could lightly sand it and paint it whatever color ya wanted to.

    Yes, the copper fittings are nickels and dimes, alot of them and at 1'' for most they are adding up, and receipts are kept in safe place just in case.


    BTW, since dittohead's "professionals" here haven't asked yet, where are you planning to run the drain line? And what type material are you going to use?

    I suggest a foot or two of 5/8" OD, 1/2" ID opaque PE tubing from the control valve to 3/4" PVC if you're going underground. It's nice to be able to see water flow or air bubbles in the drain line IF you have a problem with the softener.

    I have a drain wash out that is out of that picture frame but has very easy access to tap in with a vent, I was planning on using all pvc but the idea of viewing bubbles would be great, WAIT, just so I know, hahahahah, bubbles mean problems? I guess ill deal with that when and if I get there.

    I see you don't take the copper ground wire to the copper below the copper main line above or below the main brass shut off ball valve. That is where it has to/absolutely must go, not to a ground pin.
    Understood I will run and attach to main vertical copper pipe.

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