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Thread: 750 gallons between regen cycles?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member starwmyers's Avatar
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    Default 750 gallons between regen cycles?

    First post on the forum after lurking for the past few months. Really impressed with the knowledge base around here: I was about to drop some big coin to replace my water softner before finding this forum. After reading through several posts, I decided I may just need to replace the resin. And it worked!... but... (scroll to the bottom for the question without the background information).

    This is a Culligan Medalist series softner: .75 ft^3. It was in the house when I bought it as a repo that sat empty for nearly a year. The softner was on a really nasty well with a lot of sulfer and iron before I got the house. I tied in to city water which has a total hardness of 18 grains (13 grains + the "others") , 200ppm. The softner was not advancing through the regen cycles when I hooked it up. Having the control unit rebuilt took care of that: the guy at Culligan said needing a rebuild would be expected given the well water the house use to be on. I also cleaned the brine tank and cleaned out the resin tank and replaced the original resin with new resin (got the 10% cross-linked).

    There are two adults in the house. We don't use much water: one shower apiece each morning and a couple of bathroom stops. Usually run the dishwasher once a week (sometimes twice); and do 2-4 loads of laundry each weekend. The control unit was set to the following specs by the guy at Culligan:

    18 grains hardness
    10# salt
    10 min backwash time
    regen every 750 gallons

    The water is soft after a regen cycle; but gets notably hard again before the next regen cycle. I set it down to regen at 600 gallons this weekend; but wondered if that kind of thought is the correct answer.


    Given the above specs and info, is it reasonable to expect to go 750 gallons between regen cycles without noticing the water is harder?


    The only thing I can think of that might be muddying the waters a bit is that we do have a whole-house humidifier on the furnace that is fed hot water via a small line like would feed a fridge ice maker. It's on a humidistat; so it's only running when the indoor humidity drops below 35%... but ends up running a good part of the day this time of year. I wondered if the small water line didn't allow enough flow to register on the softner. It's max output is 40 gallon/day; so by the end of the week it could potentially be adding quite a bit of extra water usage if it's not being detected. Thanks in advance for the help!

  2. #2
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Excellent obvservation and one that is often missed. Most softener meters are not highly accurate especially at lower flow rates. This is due to cost and space design considerations. Your city water meter is highly accurate at even the lowest flow since they are charging you for the water. The design of these meters is based on positive displacement (not sure of the technical term but you get the point). Softener meters are typically slip stream or turbine/impeller designs. Low flows do not get registered, but since most softeners have reserves built into them, this is usually not noticed, RO systems, humidifiers, faucet and toilet leaks are usually not registered. If the problem is particularly bad, you can compare the city meter to your softener meter to see the difference. Sounds like you got it perfectly though, you may have to adjust your system to accomodate the missed water.

  3. #3
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Aside from the unmetered flow, you mentioned iron on the old well but made no mention of how much iron is in the city water. Iron fouling can and will diminish the capacity of the resin.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member starwmyers's Avatar
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    I'd have to get back to you on the iron content. All they gave me numbers for were the baseline hardness (13), PPM (200), and adjusted hardness (18)... they didn't break down the individual numbers for each particulates.

    Would it be "wrong" to just manually regen the system every Friday night during the heating months? I should be able to find what gallons setting works best when the heating season ends because the humidifier doesn't run during that time of year. Unfortunately, I don't think I can compare our street meter to the softner meter. You set the softner to regen at a certain number of gallons; but I haven't seen anywhere on the softner or in the user manual I downloaded to display how many gallons have been used.
    Last edited by starwmyers; 01-01-2013 at 03:36 PM.

  5. #5
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    Your city water meter is highly accurate at even the lowest flow since they are charging you for the water.
    Same is true for the new digital electric meters. The old spinning-disc electromechanical meters also missed charging at very low "flow" rates, but the new ones count every electron, I think. The manufacturer of my new meter says in his sales literature that "...the [Brand name] meter captures more energy consumption than was measured in the past by electromechanical meters." I suspect the increment may be too small for the individual homeowner to notice in his monthly bill, but I'm sure it adds up on the utility's balance sheet over time. If I had thought about it when it was changed in 2008 I would have wired in an electromechanical meter in series just to get a comparison.

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