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Thread: Water Softener Drain Line

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member bioran's Avatar
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    Default Water Softener Drain Line

    I have a Kenmore 370 Softener with a drain line that runs outside. Every winter I battle it freezing and need to do something this year to fix that. The softener is in the basement. I don't have any drains in the basement and I have a radon system so I don't want to cut into the floor to create one. My laundry is on the first floor, but is higher than the 8' the manual says I can go for the drain line. I was reading some other threads and saw something about increasing the diameter of the drain line to go higher than 8'. Is this true? I would have to go about 14' high in total to drain into the laundry waste pipe. It's also about 25' horizontal run to get from the softener to under the washer.

    I was also thinking about a condensate pump based on other threads but am not exactly sure how they work. Does the softener drain go directly into the pump and then the pump to the laundry drain? Do you put it in a bucket? What would be the best approach?

  2. #2
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    The 8' is typically very conservative. You could do a fairly easy test to determine if the higher drain height is ok. Simply put the system as it currently is into regeneration, time how long it takes to remove the water from the brine tank. Relocate the drain temporaily to the new height and repeat. if it is nearly identical (the time to remove the brine water brom the brine tank) then you should be just fine. The drian height limit is based on the ability of the venturi injection system to overcome the backpressure of the drain. In general, higher incoming water pressure allow for higher drain lines. A larger drain line is unlikely to help, nor will it hurt. Larger drian lines are recommended for longer runs to reduce the frictional pressure issues, and excessive noise due to velocities rather than accomodate for height.

    Condensate pumps are great, but check their capacity. Some will not flow at the rate you may need. Condensate from AC units etc. tends to be very low. Also, when one fails to work, where will the water go?

    Hope this helps.

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    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    If you've got room for another small barrel, run the drain line into the barrel, and put a small pump in it operated by a float switch. Sump pump, bilge pump, pond recirculating pump, lots of them available for under $40. Use a barrel large enough to contain 2 or 3 regenerations' output, and put in an alarm to let you know if the pump hasn't done its job.

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    DIY Junior Member bioran's Avatar
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    I tried option 1 of hooking up to the washer drain and ran 2 regeneration cycles and both times it has left about 9 inches of water in the salt storage tank. Typically there are only 2 or 3 inches left after a regeneration. I'm not sure what that is an indication of, but the water at the tap also seems a little salty. I'm going to run another cycle tonight with the old drain line outside again (temps are above freezing) to confirm the water level after the cycle completes and to check the water for taste.

    I think my next option will be to use Mikey's recommendation to use a barrel for the drain and use another pump with an alarm to move that to the washer drain.

    Thanks for your advice.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Sounds correct. The backpressure from the drain height can affect the venturi injection system. That is why testing above normal heights is recommended. Looks like you are stuck with the transfer pump.

  6. #6
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    You could plumb a standpipe into a sink pump, which would be much more adequate for the volume than any condensate pump.

    http://www.libertypumps.com/Products...?p=19&s=8&c=24

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