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Thread: Water Softener Drain Line

  1. #16
    DIY Junior Member bookemdanno's Avatar
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    You say you are retired, but you promote your website with a picture of two scantily clad women that look like one is spanking the other. Very strange indeed!

  2. #17
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    You sound like a young man that is very impressionable with a weird imagination.
    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.

  3. #18
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bookemdanno View Post
    You say you are retired, but you promote your website with a picture of two scantily clad women that look like one is spanking the other. Very strange indeed!
    LOL, now thats funny.

  4. #19
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    You should be able to recognize it, it's a Fleck picture of bicyclists.
    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.

  5. #20
    DIY Junior Member bioran's Avatar
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    Thought I would follow up on what I did. I ended up using the drain into a barrel approach. The drain is running into the 32 gallon barrel and I have a small submersible sump pump with float running through a pex line up to the laundry drain. As I watched the system go through the discharge cycle a few times with my earlier trials, I (incorrectly) made a guess that it only seemed like about 10 or 15 gallons were used during the recharge. I wanted to let a recharge run into the barrel without the sump to confirm how much water it actually used to see if it was ok if the pump broke. You can probably see where this is going! Well it turns out the system used about 34 gallons. I woke up in the morning to my floor water alarm screaming from the basement. I was relieved to see it was only a couple gallons on the floor (it's unfinished and everything is raised off the floor so it's not that big deal for a couple gallons). Glad it didn't run through 80 gallons like Mikey estimated. I hooked up the pump last night and drained the barrel with no problems.

    I previously setup the outside drain line (1/2" OD, 3/8" ID) so that the highest point was inside the basement and it drained downward toward the outside. I also put a small hole on the top of the line just where it exited the house so no water would stay in the line outside the house. However, the water would still stay in the line just on the other side of the hole where it passes through the house and that's where it would freeze. I considered heating the line but the heaters I saw said not to use on drain lines and I didn't want a fire hazard.

    The only thing I think I'm going to change is to get a bigger barrel that can hold one recharge cycle. From Spring through Fall I will run it outside as I have been.

    Thanks for your help - this is a great site!

  6. #21
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Really appreciate the feedback; now I'm encouraged to measure mine and see how it compares to theory. I still like the idea of heating the drain line somehow (I are an EE, not a plumber), but I'd only be guessing without knowing your exact situation. But while thinking about that, power failure came to mind. So the next question is -- what happens if the power fails while the valve is in the backwash postion? Does the backwash continue until power is restored? I've been assuming all along, for some reason, that you're on municipal water, which, unfortunately, is likely NOT to stop in the event of power failure. HJ's solution, to design the outside drain & vent so it WON'T freeze, avoids this issue, but you could wind up with a skating rink in the yard.

    74 here today...

  7. #22
    DIY Junior Member bioran's Avatar
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    I have well water, so once the power goes out everything is off (well pump, softener, sump pump) and that should not be an issue. I had already tried the design so that the drain wont freeze but the softener seems to hold water in the drain line (like keeping your finger on a straw).

  8. #23
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    That can be cured with a larger-diameter drain line, but how large is large enough is a guess. Maybe a concentric arrangement of drain line, insulation, large outer pipe might work. So many options...

  9. #24
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    It can also be cured with a "vacuum relief valve" installed at the high point before the line leaves the house.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  10. #25
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    The drain line ID is too small.

    It should be 5/8" OD (CTS - copper tubing size PE tubing) and that will be 1/2" ID so it correctly fits the barbed end on the fitting on the control valve. That is unless you have a very old Kenmore etc. softener that used 3/8" ID tubing.

    Cutting the end of the drain line at a 45* angle will allow the line to drain without a hole etc.. Rounding the sharp 90* inside edge of the end of the tubing with a knife will help too.

    Salty water and the majority of pumps don't get along well for very long. And a larger barrel would be a good idea if you continue to use one; which I would not suggest.

    Power goes off and your pressure tank empties and that can be an additional few to maybe 10 gals more water than when the well pump lost power.
    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. #26
    DIY Junior Member bioran's Avatar
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    The barrel solution has been working, but it does seem like an accident waiting to happen if the pump goes so I'm just looking at it as temporary for now.

    Gary, I would like to try the solution you offered above. The barb for the drain is definitely intended for a 3/8" ID - I double checked with the owners manual also. It's a 2008 model that I bought new when I moved into the house. Wouldn't it be possible to use an adapter to go from 3/8" ID to 1/2" ID? I'm also not familiar with the CTS tubing you recommended. Is that sold at Lowes/Home Depot?

  12. #27
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    You should be able to get an adapter from 3/8" ID to 1/2" ID at hardware or big box stores or make your own.

    Water line materials used in residential houses is all CTS. Water line materials used to deliver water to the house (private well or 'city' water) is usually IPS (iron pipe size).

    CTS (copper tubing size) maintains the OD and the ID varies based on wall thickness which varies based on pressure rating. CTS is copper, PEX, the old PB, CPVC and drain line type PE. All of which can use compression type fittings in addition to soldered and barbed.

    IPS maintains the ID and the OD varies, based on the pressure rating. IPS is PE for water lines, CPVC, steel. The PE, PB and PEX plastics use barbed fittings, PVC solvent welded slip or threaded fittings and steel is threaded.

    You can't use heaters on plastic drain lines because if the water drains out, the heat can melt the plastic or start a fire because there would be no water to soak up the heat.
    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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