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Thread: What softener do you recommend?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Michael Loveday's Avatar
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    Default What softener do you recommend?

    Hello Everyone,

    I am new here and had a question I was hoping I could have answered. I have been living with hard water and have recently had it tested the results of the tests were provided by a local water treatment company.

    The water tested for 26.0gpg of hardness, 4.0ppm of iron, 7.0pH, very low level of tannin, and no H2S. I have a 3bed/2bath house with 1650sq ft. and 3 people living there.

    The company has recommended a softener called the ECR3500 and are saying it will cost me $3200

    I was reading online about softeners and was considering the Fleck 5600sxt 48k softener. Would this be good enough or would it be better to have a separate iron filter.

    Another question is why is the local company wanting to charge me so much for a softener alone?

    I sincerely appreciate any help.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    I would recommend an iron filter prior to a softener. A softener will remove the iron, but will work harder to do so and not last as long.A BIRM filter will work very well for the iron. You should be able to get both units for about half the price you were quoted. As far as the price the other company charges, I think it's a high price myself.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Michael Loveday's Avatar
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    I keep hearing great things about sst-60 resins, would it be better to go with that or a Birm filter. Also what size valve head would you recommend on the birm and/or softener (I have a 3/4" pipe feeding my whole house)?

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    SST resin is said to be better at removing iron than standard resin. I have never used SST resin so I can not give first hand knowledge of the preformance. I have sold a softener on 4 part of iron with great success even though I recommended an iron filter first. Care must be taken to keep iron from building up in the valve and on the resin. A Fleck or Clack valve will work fine. Make sure it has a 1.05 distributor tube.

  5. #5
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    The Fleck 5600 would be a very good choice and I agree with Mailynette that you should put a BIRM filter in front of it. SST resin is very good stuff, expensive and in most cases not necessary. I am never a fan of using a softener to remove iron. If you filter iron separately your softener will last a whole lot longer and require a lot less maintenance
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member Michael Loveday's Avatar
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    So, then my question is should i go with birm over greensand? I had a greensand filter in the past and it worked wonders on the nightmare well I had back then. The major concern I have with birm is I dont know if I have enough D.O. in the water to accommodate it and although the water people said the H2S was very low or non detectable I still worry about it with fouling the birm media. All the suggestions so far have helped me a great deal.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  7. #7
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Michael, a "48K" may not be large enough, you need to learn more about correctly sizing a softener. You can do that by clicking on the link in my signature.

    According to Fleck, a 5600 should not be used on tanks larger than 12" dia which makes a 2.0 cuft softener, or a 10" tank for a filter.

    SST-60 resin has a much different bead structure than regular and fine mesh resins so it is not prone to iron fouling as they are and, it doesn't reduce water pressure as fine mesh does.

    Most iron filters will have to have maintenance like mineral replacement done and sooner than a softener's resin. And that will need to be done more frequently if you don't have the water flow required to successfully backwash some of the minerals used. Birm is lighter mineral but requires a minimum of dissolved oxygen in the water or it doesn't work very well of long. In many cases resin is less expensive than iron filter minerals.

    My guess is that the $3200+ is from an Ecowater dealer. They and Kinetico are usually the highest priced equipment you can buy and IMO not worth the premium price. Both are proprietary equipment meaning you can't get parts or service from any other dealer than the one and only one local to you, and that isn't a good deal IMO.
    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.

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    The D.O. in the water helps to presipitate the iron so the BIRM media can filter it out. BIRM system are now sold with an air induction on them. It uses a colum of air to oxidize the iron. During the cleaning cycle, the unit draws air which is trapped in the tank. As water enters the tank, it passes through the colum air then through the media. The next best thing is chlorine injection followed by carbon. It is more expensive but works great.

  9. #9
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    I have been having good results with this product for Iron and HS2 removal

    http://www.lancasterpump.com/documen...torAquaNue.pdf
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  10. #10
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    A birm filter with an AIO style valve usually works very well. A softener should not be used in this application for iron removal. You will likely double your salt usage and regual chemical cleaning of the resin would be highly recommended.

    A 5600SXT would be good for the softener, it is difficult to get the 5600 series to work well for proer backwashing of heavier medias. I prefer to have the systems match so the 2510SXT valve would be a great choice.

  11. #11
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Ah what the hell, just go with the 7000SXT and be done with it
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    True, but the 7000 does not make a good candidate for Air injection. External air injectors are needed if the 7000 is used. The 5800 has been testing well with Air injection so far.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member Michael Loveday's Avatar
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    So according to the sizing info I gathered I would need a 64k softener if i wanted to have it regenerate every 7 days with 1 day for regen I could get a 80k and I would have longer between regens. Should I get the 5600 or 7000 and would a 1.5 ft3 iron filter be ok? I keep leaning towards the greensand over the birm bc although the water company says there is no h2s I believe there is... To be honest when I asked about h2s there was a long pause causing me to believe they didn't test for it. I have always noticed the smell of rotten eggs in my well.

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    If you do have h2s, do not go with the BIRM. If you do go with the greensand, get the greensand plus. You can use chlorine pucks to regen the greensand plus but not regular. It will be cheaper then the KMN04.

  15. #15
    DIY Junior Member Michael Loveday's Avatar
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    So whether I go with the greensand or the plus what volume of media do you recommend. There are so few sizing charts on these vs softeners I was thinking 1.5ft3 but wasnt sure.
    Last edited by Michael Loveday; 02-06-2013 at 07:54 PM.

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