Hello Everyone,

I have been reading many of the threads on this and other forums, trying to educate myself as much as possible. I have zero experience with this technology, and I wanted to ask the experts for advice as I am looking at purchasing a water softening system for our home:

Here are the particulars profile:

location is Southern California
(6) people in the home
(4) full baths - + laundry room and a dishwasher
City Water (no well)
Hardness level of 25 gpg
No iron issues / no pH issues (based on what I am told and the "tests" performed)
based on the formula to size a softener the numbers work out to be: 6ppl X 70gal = 420 gallons/day X 25 hardness = 10,500 grains X an average of 7 day regen = 73,500 GPG
I have spoken to the following major companies for water softeners - Culligun, Rayne, & EcoWater.
To purchase they are all in the ball park of around 3K (give or take) - which I feel is just way too high (and I believe I want to purchase vs. rent/lease)
I have a 1.25 inch water main coming into the home.

Questions:
1. Is the 80K grain unit correct? is this too large?
2. Will I lose water pressure? (big concern of mine)
3. Are these Fleck units easy to program and maintain?
4. I am thinking I need the Fleck 7000 SXT Valve because of the 1.25 water pipe size correct? (again water pressure loss is one of my biggest fears)
5. How much should it cost for a plummer to install this? (is $400 reasonable? - my house is not pre plumed for a water softener)
6. Are the tanks that these on-line places provided as good as the Culliguns, Rayne's etc.? (will they last I suppose is my real question)
7. Where is the best place to purchase - Affordablewater.com, OhioPureWaterco.com, discountwatersofteners.com - does anyone have a suggestion or experience with these or other sites you can recommend?

Are there other things I am not thinking about that I should be thinking about? Any advice you can provide me is really appreciated - Thank you in advance!