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Thread: Water Softener Settings & Salt/Brine Grid Question.

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member John5's Avatar
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    Default Water Softener Settings & Salt/Brine Grid Question.

    Hi,

    I got tired of washing dishes by hand or hiding them in the oven so I finally broke down and installed a softener...

    I have "temporary" hard water, total hardness 224mg/l (13.44 grains) iron is negligible (0.039mg/l).

    Using Gary Slusser's Softener Sizing Chart and Cubic Foot and Capacity Calculator and based on a 75 gal/day usage I obtained a suggested softener capacity of 8157.6 grains with .5 cu/ft media and a 10 day regen. I did not consider .5 cu/ft adequate for my SFR or future household needs, I live alone at the present time but to get suitable Service Flow Rate and to allow for another person or family later on I opted for a 1 cu/ft softener. It is my understanding that the minimum practical or recommended salt dosage is 3lbs cu/ft, again playing about with Gary's Cubic Foot and Capacity Calculator I came to the conclusion that 12,800 grains is sort of the minimum practical capacity of 1 cubic foot of media with a 3lbs salt dose.

    My softener is:

    - Fleck 7000 SXT with 1 cu/ft resin
    - .12 gpm (.37lb/min) BLFC

    and my settings are:

    VT: dF2b
    CT: Fd
    C: 13,000
    H: 13 (my hardness is 13.44 should I round up to 14... or is 13 good enough?)
    RS: SF
    SF: 10
    DO: 8
    RT: 3:30

    Cycle times are (minutes):

    B1: 10
    BD: 60
    B2: 0
    RR: 10
    BF: 9

    After a regen the softener indicates that I have 948 gallons available.

    My questions:

    1- Do my above calculations, assumptions and settings look correct? Any comments?

    2- My Fleck manual says that the second backwash (B2) is not normally used and to set it to 0 unless instructed otherwise by a qualified technician. Yet, in some other documentation on the internet it is suggested that a second backwash of 5 minutes or so be set to avoid the risk of resin channelization. Should I set a second backwash? Comments?

    3- I have a salt/brine grid installed. the type with 4 coffee cup sized legs with about 1/4" holes in the bottom of the cups. After the brine draw there is about 2-1/2" of brine remaining in the bottom of the tank, that is at the valve check mark. (The softener empties the tank at about 1/2 to 3/4 ways into the BD cycle and then sucks air for the remainder of the cycle). The 9 minute brine fill adds about 2 inches of water to my 12" x 12" tank for a total of about 4.5" of water after the fill, the grid level is at 5 inches, so, except for the salt in the cups, the salt is above the water. Do those 4 coffee cup legs with the 1/4" holes at the bottom really work and allow for the proper creation of fully saturated brine? Will those 1/4" holes in the bottom of the legs eventually plug up?

    Thanks in advance;

    John
    Last edited by John5; 11-27-2012 at 03:20 PM.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=John5;362626]Hi,

    My questions:

    1- Do my above calculations, assumptions and settings look correct? Any comments?
    Look fine to me


    2- My Fleck manual says that the second backwash (B2) is not normally used and to set it to 0 unless instructed otherwise by a qualified technician. Yet, in some other documentation on the internet it is suggested that a second backwash of 5 minutes or so be set to avoid the risk of resin channelization. Should I set a second backwash? Comments?
    I wouldn't bother with the 2nd backwash. Channeling though not uncommon isn't all that common either.

    3- I have a salt/brine grid installed. the type with 4 coffee cup sized legs with about 1/4" holes in the bottom of the cups. After the brine draw there is about 2-1/2" of brine remaining in the bottom of the tank, that is at the valve check mark. (The softener empties the tank at about 1/2 to 3/4 ways into the BD cycle and then sucks air for the remainder of the cycle). The 9 minute brine fill adds about 2 inches of water to my 12" x 12" tank for a total of about 4.5" of water after the fill, the grid level is at 5 inches, so, except for the salt in the cups, the salt is above the water. Do those 4 coffee cup legs with the 1/4" holes at the bottom really work and allow for the proper creation of fully saturated brine? Will those 1/4" holes in the bottom of the legs eventually plug up?

    Thanks in advance;
    Everything in the brine tank is as it should be and you should be fine although it's not a bad idea to clean your brine tank once a year. Best of luck with your new system. You will be more than happy with the Fleck7000
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  3. #3
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    The brine grid does not hinder the brine solution nor does it help. Water will disolve salt and max out at approximately 3 pounds of salt per gallon, this varies slightly depending on water temperature, but it is not critical to adjust for this unless you are planning on using potassium chloride.

    The brine draw cycle should not "suck air", if it does, you have a bad aircheck. Probably just a misunderstanding, but in the bottom of the brine tank is a floating aircheck, when the water runs low, the air check will seat causing the system to suck nothing for the remiander of the BD cycle. It will simply "slow rinse".

    As to the second backwash, if you are using the 3 pounds per cu. ft. brining, I would recommend the second backwash. Salt settings above 6 pounds, it is not needed. The second backwash is not used to prevent channelling, the first backwash does that. It is used to mix the highly regenerated top portion of the resin with the less regenerated bottom portion of the resin. This is an old trick used for ultra low salting systems to give higher quality soft water. It is only 10 gallons, I would recommend it. If you dont, the system will still work very well. The difference is typically less than a few ppm difference. If you want to save water, then split the backwashes, 5 minute first backwash, 5 minute second backwash.

    Always round up the hardness, and it is normal to add a couple of grains for a buffer, to accomoadate for regular variations in the water supply.

    Sounds like you got yourself a great setup, congrats and enjoy!

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member John5's Avatar
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    Thank you, Dittohead. I will bump up the hardness settings and set a second 5 minute backwash. The 7000SXT valve is noisy, I'm not sure if it is actually sucking air but I'll double check to make sure that it isn't.

    John

    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    The brine grid does not hinder the brine solution nor does it help. Water will disolve salt and max out at approximately 3 pounds of salt per gallon, this varies slightly depending on water temperature, but it is not critical to adjust for this unless you are planning on using potassium chloride.

    The brine draw cycle should not "suck air", if it does, you have a bad aircheck. Probably just a misunderstanding, but in the bottom of the brine tank is a floating aircheck, when the water runs low, the air check will seat causing the system to suck nothing for the remiander of the BD cycle. It will simply "slow rinse".

    As to the second backwash, if you are using the 3 pounds per cu. ft. brining, I would recommend the second backwash. Salt settings above 6 pounds, it is not needed. The second backwash is not used to prevent channelling, the first backwash does that. It is used to mix the highly regenerated top portion of the resin with the less regenerated bottom portion of the resin. This is an old trick used for ultra low salting systems to give higher quality soft water. It is only 10 gallons, I would recommend it. If you dont, the system will still work very well. The difference is typically less than a few ppm difference. If you want to save water, then split the backwashes, 5 minute first backwash, 5 minute second backwash.

    Always round up the hardness, and it is normal to add a couple of grains for a buffer, to accomoadate for regular variations in the water supply.

    Sounds like you got yourself a great setup, congrats and enjoy!

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    I would change DO to 21 days at least. An 8 day override will have you regenerating with capacity still left.

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    No more than the reserve if he has it programmed correctly.

    And he needs a reserve as all regular softeners do, or, if a twin tank, an amount of capacity to be able to use softened water to regenerate the other tank with.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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    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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    DIY Junior Member John5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lifespeed View Post
    I would change DO to 21 days at least. An 8 day override will have you regenerating with capacity still left.
    That is contrary to what is being said almost everywhere on the internet and in almost all softener documentation, most say to not allow more than 10 to 14 days between regens for better resin life and performance.

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member John5's Avatar
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    Thank-you, Tom.
    Last edited by John5; 11-28-2012 at 08:39 AM. Reason: not properly posetd

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    DIY Member ByteMe's Avatar
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    OK folks. When I get him I have some manufacturer documentation that I believe says maximum of a 14 day regen. Very valid question, even ohiopurewater recommends 14 days.

    Will post when I get back home.

  10. #10
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    I am looking for documentation from the resin manufacturers. Purolite, Sybron, etc, Ohio Pure Water is a great group, but it is also nothing more than an internet company that has other companies drop ship product for them.

    If the documentation exists, great, but regardless, GE, Culligan, Rayne, Puronics, Seimens, and virtually all other companies that do portable exchange, which is nothing more than regenerating the resin off site, all try to run 30 day routes. That being said, there are also many protocols for regeneration plants, including water reuse, brine reclamation, etc, so it is not a true apple to apples comparison.

    My real question is, assuming a decent iron free water supply, what is going to happen if the resin does not regenerate every 14 days or more? And using my earlier example, what is the proper way around the massive salt waste that would occur if you forced a system to regenerate every 14 days if it only needs to regenerate every 30?

    With over 25 years of commercial, industrial, and residential experience, dealing with water and systems from all over the world, I will give you the simple answer. Nothing. It is fine to regenerate less frequently than every 14 days. The original 14 day idea is an old idea, written many years ago that has been cut and pasted for decades into companies literature. I have some great old literature that goes over the proper method of installing a softener, basically mandating that toilets must be bypassed. That old idea was finally abandoned a little over 20 years ago, although it still pops up from time to time. Most internet websites simply copy other websites literature, change a few words and voila, they are a "knowledgable" water treatment company. Sort of the same way some people try to take credit for the sodium in water to white bread analogy, or a can of baked beans. I heard those my first day of training, and to this day, people use those examples like it were their own.

    I have searched for a long tim e for the resin manufacturers to make any recommendations on regeneration frequency. It does exist on certain other medias, KDF, Pyrolox, Filox, Birm, etc, but resin, and most other medias do not. They have pages of information on regeneration capacities, flow rates, pressure curves, temperature ratings, pH ranges, freeboards, expansion rates, regenerant capacities based on regenerant, etc.

    All that being said, I think what is missing in this conversation is some guidelines. If you have water with turbidity issues, regenration frequency will be more important. Iron in the water... salt quantity and regeneration frequency are important, no water flow at all, (vacation home), regenerations should be done to prevent the stagnent water issues. For my vacation home, I have it set to regenerate every 14 days, but I change the salt setting to almost nothing unless it is occupied. A good clean water supply, why would frequent regeneration be necessary? What would happen if you went past 14 days?

    This idea is similar to the flow controls on RO debate. The old idea of a 4 or 5 to 1 ratio is still practiced, even though membranes now cost 1/5 of what they used too. Is the extra water waste worth trying to eek out another 6 months from a membrane? Your membrane will last 4 years instead of 4-1/2. If you have a softener, is it really necessary to have that bad of a ratio. Sorry, going off into a different area but I think the ideas from this industry that are still hanging in there from 25 years ago need to be addressed.

    25 years ago, meters were a "neat but expensive" item, and were rarely used, and the salt settings were 10-15 pounds per cu. ft. Now we are pushing 3-8 pounds of salt per cu. ft., and very few companies would even consider not using a meter, and in many states, it is not even legal to install a residential timeclock softener. Reputable distributors wont even sell single tank large commercial systems if they know that is improperly designed and highly wasteful in order to save a few dollars up front.

    The most recent article from Purolite written over a decade ago I have read that discussed resin regeneration frequency went both ways on the idea. Frequent regeneration leads to shorter resin life due to osmotic shock, lowering salt amounts and not allowing the resin to become completely depleted could protect the resin from the damaging affects of this problem, later in the same article it recommends increasing the regeneration frequency if fouling is a problem, iron, sediment etc.
    The article never did set what the frequency should be.

    Sounds reasonable to me

  11. #11
    DIY Member ByteMe's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like I read that same document.

    The concerns I remember seeing where one of two main themes; bacterial growth (I read somewhere that softeners outside where more prone to this) and resin fouling (mostly iron). I don't know the truth of either of these.


    *edit* I think the 5600SXT defaulted to a 14 day DO.
    Last edited by ByteMe; 11-28-2012 at 11:22 PM.

  12. #12
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Both have validity and both are easily remedied. It has become much more common in the past 10 years to regularly sanitize resin with a small amount of bleach in the brine tank annually. Chlorine damage is cumulative, annual sanitizing has very little affect on resin, considering the 40,000 - 100,000 gallons of water the average softener sees in a year. A well system that is not chlorinated should definetly be sanitized annually, or softeners on chlorinated supplies that are pre-treated with GAC to remove the chlorine.

    Iron... this always starts some weird debate on this site, and it gets tiring going through the same old and tired arguments. Several on this site agree that softeners can treat iron, but with the modern medias available, and simplified equipment, and the innefficiencies of using the softener as an iron filter, alternative treatment methods of removing iron should be considered. A softener that is used for iron removal has to use a compensated hardness, basically an 85:1 ratio, this is not efficient, but it definetly works. Manganese has a 425:1 efficiency ratio when done on a ppm basis. Both of these common water problems are easily treated with some additional costs up front, and some additional equipment. Water softeners that are used for iron removal should be regenerated often, and with higher salt doses as you read in the article. Other methods include chemical drip systems (acidifying the brine solution with phosphoric acid), and regular chemical cleaning of the resin with acids.


    It looks like you understand the common sense part of it. Now to throw another idea your way. Channelling is not an issue in most properly designed resin based systems for a simple reason, the media is round. Irregular medias like GAC, filox, filter-ag, calcite, mag-ox etc should be backwashed more regularly due to the shape of the media. That is why many resin based systems that are single use do not have a backwash valve and they are downflow. Irregular shaped medias tend to be upflow if they are not going to have a valve due to media compaction, and the potential for channelling. Consider the rack of balls at wal-mart, once they settle, they can settle no more, and the can never block water flow. Unless the balls pop (the crosslink structure of the resin fails and the medias fracture) The main requirement for this design is that sedimnet be removed prior to the resin. DI tanks, Arsenic removal resin, post RO polishing softener tanks, etc all designed for single use, and are designed to last for several years do not require backwashing.

    Great questions!

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member John5's Avatar
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    I was also not 100% sure or confident about the low 3lb cu/ft salt dose, the old ways says 6lb minimum, some of the newer information says 4 or 3 lbs minimum. I'm worried that this low 3# dosage for 13K might cause media depletion and I also set the 8 day override with this media depletion concern in the back of my mind. I figured the meter at 13K would be maximum before a regen and that with my use that at 8 days the media would regenerate at about 8K use, before depletion could become a concern. Am I just fussing and worrying for no good reason? Or is a 3# dose good enough for my usage? Sometimes I'm just too fussy and I end up spending too much time on minutia...


    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    Both have validity and both are easily remedied. It has become much more common in the past 10 years to regularly sanitize resin with a small amount of bleach in the brine tank annually. Chlorine damage is cumulative, annual sanitizing has very little affect on resin, considering the 40,000 - 100,000 gallons of water the average softener sees in a year. A well system that is not chlorinated should definetly be sanitized annually, or softeners on chlorinated supplies that are pre-treated with GAC to remove the chlorine.

    Iron... this always starts some weird debate on this site, and it gets tiring going through the same old and tired arguments. Several on this site agree that softeners can treat iron, but with the modern medias available, and simplified equipment, and the innefficiencies of using the softener as an iron filter, alternative treatment methods of removing iron should be considered. A softener that is used for iron removal has to use a compensated hardness, basically an 85:1 ratio, this is not efficient, but it definetly works. Manganese has a 425:1 efficiency ratio when done on a ppm basis. Both of these common water problems are easily treated with some additional costs up front, and some additional equipment. Water softeners that are used for iron removal should be regenerated often, and with higher salt doses as you read in the article. Other methods include chemical drip systems (acidifying the brine solution with phosphoric acid), and regular chemical cleaning of the resin with acids.


    It looks like you understand the common sense part of it. Now to throw another idea your way. Channelling is not an issue in most properly designed resin based systems for a simple reason, the media is round. Irregular medias like GAC, filox, filter-ag, calcite, mag-ox etc should be backwashed more regularly due to the shape of the media. That is why many resin based systems that are single use do not have a backwash valve and they are downflow. Irregular shaped medias tend to be upflow if they are not going to have a valve due to media compaction, and the potential for channelling. Consider the rack of balls at wal-mart, once they settle, they can settle no more, and the can never block water flow. Unless the balls pop (the crosslink structure of the resin fails and the medias fracture) The main requirement for this design is that sedimnet be removed prior to the resin. DI tanks, Arsenic removal resin, post RO polishing softener tanks, etc all designed for single use, and are designed to last for several years do not require backwashing.

    Great questions!

  14. #14
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ByteMe View Post
    OK, I'll ask. Why does Clack need to be pissed off? And why would posting about efficiency do this?

    ByteMe
    I don't know that they "need" to be pissed off but I know that my site being up after June 15, 2010 did because they told me about it in an email.

    That's the day they stopped their distributors from shipping any equipment using their valves to internet dealers' customers. Supposedly they amended their distributors' contract to say that anyone selling the Clack valves had to visit the prospective customer's location in person to gather presale and post sale info and then to deliver the unit and install it in person (on site) and to service it in person through the 5 yr valve warranty period and after the warranty period.

    The original contract with their distributors did not disallow internet sales and actually said (I have a copy) that it was up to the distributor to decide if the internet dealer was 'competent' enough to be allowed to do internet sales. And if the distributor failed to do that then Clack would decide and if they said no then the distributor was to not sell to that dealer for internet sales.

    That contract started in 2000 and in July 2005 after getting many complaints from internet dealers' customers for various reasons, Clack decided to stop the complaints to them by preventing internet sales. I and I suppose other internet dealers, and my primary supplier, one of their largest distributors I found out later, 'fought' that idea and things continued as usual into the spring of 2010 when they decided again to stop internet sales regardless of who didn't like it. And they threatened their distributors with voiding their control valve contracts if they didn't stop internet sales (by preventing drop shipments).

    I was one of, if not the first, internet dealers to sell their valves online and I was the only dealer all over the internet telling everyone how great their valves were. And they said they were not getting complaints from my customers but from some of their distributors that were told there were not supposed to be any internet sales... those complaints were back in 2005. But many dealers, sales people and companies with somewhat proprietary versions of the Clack valves, among others and especially WQA members, had complained about me for all the years I had been on the internet (since Jan 2, 1997) before and after I started selling their valves on Jan 2, 2004.

    I sold and installed their valves as a local dealer until the end of 2004 when I closed my local sales and spent all my time with the internet sales and well pump work. Then I closed my well pump work in the spring of 2005 because I was so busy on the internet. That lasted until June 15, 2010 when all Clack distributors stopped internet sales and I've been out of business since.

    And there are those that still would like to see me off the internet. It is claimed that I take money right out of their wallets and food off their table etc. etc. because I tell people how to repair their equipment instead of falling victim to shyster dealers and sales people while making dealers, drillers and plumbers selling water treatment equipment look bad etc.. Now Dittohead is here joining a few others that claim I don't know what I'm doing and that I make the 'industry' look bad.

    But then you might see the number of new softener owners here that have questions about their new softeners and I didn't sell them the softener.

    BTW, I don't see any of my customers complaining about me or the equipment I sold them and since 99% of them bought from me due to my presence in many forums and especially this one, you'd think if there were unhappy customers of mine they would show up here.

    In the original Clack contract they had the power to force their distributors to prevent their internet dealers from doing things wrong and prevent their customers complaining to Clack but they didn't do that at any time over the first 10 years that their valves had been made/sold, and including over 7+ years of being sold on the internet. Or, they could have started an end user/consumer Customer Service department.

    But, in their distributor contract they also called for all their distributors to make up their own name for the valves and not to use the Clack name etc.. And the distributors' dealers were to use that distributor's name and not mention Clack or their model numbers. The first I heard of that was in July 2005. The distributor was to disallow/prevent their dealers to have pricing on their web site too; or not sell to them. Clack and their distributors I bought from all knew what and how well I was doing on the internet.

    The problem with all that is that distributors selling to independent dealers have no contract with the dealer.

    When Clack contacted me in July 2005, they kept referring to "the contract" and I kept saying what contract, I have no contract with any of three of your distributors that I order from.

    I mentioned that I paid in full for all the equipment I ordered, including the shipping to me or my internet customer, before the equipment left the distributors' docks and somehow dumb me, I thought I could do anything I wanted to do with the equipment, including smashing it with a sledge hammer if I chose to but I was not under their or any other contract.

    That seemed to go over their head and any talk about the internet did too. They kept saying they thought the internet was a great educational tool but shouldn't be used for sales... It was also admitted that they knew very little about the internet in both 2005 and 2010. I mentioned there were billions of dollars of sales being done every year and it would just get bigger because of the convenience to consumers if nothing else. But research showed that most people used the internet to compare products and hear what owners had to say about them before they bought most things costing over a $100 or so but especially big ticket items.

    They kept saying internet dealers were causing a lot of complaints to them and I told them I knew of a number of 'bad' dealers because I too had been contacted by many of their customers. I asked why they didn't talk to their distributors and somehow solve the problem or shut them off. That was before I was told about "the contract" which later I got a copy of.

    So Clack has not improved the industry or the quality of dealers and now Fleck is following their lead in stopping internet sales of certain of the their valves. Instead they have protected local dealers from some internet sales and driven up the cost to consumers while the economy is getting worse by the day and it is going to get much worse very soon.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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    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. #15
    DIY Member ByteMe's Avatar
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    Ok, it seems to be as I expected. I have run into this exact issue with another large (Billion) dollar manufacturer.

    The manufacturer tries to fix the problem of complaints from end users by stopping a segment of the sales and also complaints from other sales/service companies. This segment being internet sales. From what I have seen there could be a very good court case if any of the internet sales people cared to pursue it.

    These "other" sales and service companies are only doing what human nature makes them do. All of us work to protect ourselves. It is human nature to try to eliminate competition and hence protect ourselves and family.

    These companies that follow this protectionist policy easily justify it by thinking they are helping many of their "old" distributors and not getting a bad reputation from the normally much cheaper and less service oriented internet sites (in general).

    I believe this way of thinking is very short sighted and just plain lazy. My argument can be mostly simplified down do the question, how do you make money by limiting your sales? A number of companies have tried this and failed (as in went bankrupt). From what I have seen this is a good sign of a company heading backwards. Of course a few seem to have succeeded.

    The issue and arguement about avoiding the bad reputation is better eliminated by WORK. Use the service and training department to aggressively pursuse and train the internet sales companies and when that fails, train the end user.

    Would you rather have a bad reputation and make some money or an excellent reputation with selling nothing?

    One of the good things about this free market is that us end users and massively influence this. If you disagree with a companies policy, don't buy from them. A letter telling them so can also help. I guess I won't buy a Clack and should send a letter to Fleck. Yea I know, a fart in the wind.


    *edit* I type like crap.
    Last edited by ByteMe; 12-03-2012 at 10:42 AM.

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