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Thread: what size softener do i need?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member tomcat21's Avatar
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    Default what size softener do i need?

    Here are some specs and information.

    7 people in the house. 2 adults, 4 girls ages 6-12, 1 boy age 14.

    Actual water usage from city water bill (avg. for past year)= 46 gal/per person per day. high month avg was 61 gal. per day. low month avg. 37 gal. per person per day. I would say the norm would be around 50.

    3/4 inch plumbing. Water pressure to house is approx. 60 psi

    city water

    city water specs:
    hardness 25-27
    ph: 7.2-7.8
    iron .08
    manganese .03
    alkalinity- filtered 294mg/l
    TDS-456-470 mg/l ( I think he also divided these 2 figures by 17.2 and got 27 and 26.5 respectively)

    http://www.windom-mn.com/wp-content/...ity-report.pdf (this is a link to my city water report. It will list some things I have not already listed.)

    I have a flow rat of around 6gpm at tub and downstairs faucet where softener will be located. Kitchen sink and other faucets are much lower than these 2.
    Last edited by tomcat21; 02-22-2013 at 09:05 AM.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    Use the high usage to figure the softener size. 61*7= 427 gallons used per day. 427*32.4 (compensated hardness)=13834.8 grains removed per day * 7 days= 968443.6. You should get a 3 CF softener.

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    DIY Junior Member tomcat21's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply. I am confused on what type of resin to get. I have heard of 8% or 10 % cross link. I know the city does use chlorine to treat water. Also is it true that setting the salt dosage for a higher amt will clean the resin bed better? Not even sure what this means. I have heard of setting at 6 lbs per cubic ft and also setting the softener to like 10lbs/cu ft. What is channeling and would I run into that problem if I got a 3 cu ft softener and water usage drops way down like say in 7 years when kids are graduating?
    Last edited by tomcat21; 02-22-2013 at 10:52 AM.

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    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    1 CF will yeild 30,000 of hardness removal (some say 32K) but you must use 15 lbs of salt. If you use 6 lbs you get 20,000. So you get better salt efficiency by using lower amounts not cleaner resin with higher amounts. 10%crosslink resin will stand up longer to chlorinated water than 8% but, over time, they both will need to be replaced. Channeling is when the water follows a channel through the resin instead of passing through all the resin. Channeling allows hard water in the home. You may never have a channeling problem. Using an under bedding in the system will help prevent channeling. Once the kids leave, you will have longer runs between regens but not channeling problems. You city water will have enough flow rate to properly regen a 3 CF unit.

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    DIY Junior Member tomcat21's Avatar
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    Thank you ! I am going to purchase one within a few days. Any good recommendations? I am not going to Home Depot or any big box store. I also don't think I really need to pay $3,000 for one either.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat21 View Post
    Thank you ! I am going to purchase one within a few days. Any good recommendations? I am not going to Home Depot or any big box store. I also don't think I really need to pay $3,000 for one either.
    PM sent.

    A 2.5 Cu. Ft. system may be a little undersized from a technical standpoint, but the physical size of the system will probably a lot nicer. The 3 Cu. Ft. system uses a 14x65 tank, the 2.5 is a common 13x54 tank. That extra 10 inches of height is considerable.

    The 2.5 will be slightly less efficient, but the difference may only be a bag of salt per year.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; The 2.5 will be slightly less efficient, but the difference may only be a bag of salt per year.

    It will probably be JUST as efficient, just need regeneration more often because of the smaller capacity between regens, the TOTAL salt per year should be the same.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    quote; The 2.5 will be slightly less efficient, but the difference may only be a bag of salt per year.

    It will probably be JUST as efficient, just need regeneration more often because of the smaller capacity between regens, the TOTAL salt per year should be the same.
    Dont mean to disagree, but a larger system will typically use less salt.


    The efficiency of a single tank softener is based on the amount of the reserve that is or is not consumed prior to a regeneration. By extending the days between regeneration with a larger tank, the systems efficiency becomes better. The difference between a 2.5 CF and a 3 CF should be minimal.

    14000 grains per day / 72000 = 5 days between regenerations, so a potential loss of a days worth of capacity = 14,000 grains of potential inefficiency per regeneration cycle.

    14000 grains per day / 60000= 4 days, so a potential loss of 14000 grains per regeneration


    A little long on the math, but if we average the loss at 50% of a days capacity, the 7000 grains, times 91 regenerations, vs, 73 regenrations is a difference of 126,000 grains annually, or approximately 42 pounds more salt per year. These are obviously only estimates, but they are fairly accurate. So like I said, about 1 extra bag of salt per year.

  9. #9
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    tomcat21... you won't have iron in your chlorinated city water and you don't add anything because of the TDS. Use 27 gpg and 60 gals/person/day and I'd go with the 3.0 cuft but not the K of capacity or gallons for 7 days between regenerations because your salt efficiency would be terrible (2000+/- grains/per lb). Max K of a 3.0 cuft is usually figured at 90K and to get that you need 15 lbs/cuft of resin. So the 3.0 cuft would be too small for any better salt efficiency without using a lot more city water for more frequent regenerations.

    And you don't want to size or program so that the K of capacity constantly gets you into into the reserve capacity before every regeneration.

    You say like 6 gpm for your flow rate... that would not pass code so how did you get the 6 gpm? Your tub may have a mixing/tempering valve on it that reduces the flow. To figure peak demand flow rate you add up all gpm from all the fixtures in use at the same time. That tub and sink = 12 gpm. And codes require using the max gpm from all fixtures as if they are all using water at the same time... The constant SFR gpm of the cuft volume of resin in the softener has to be higher than that gpm or it can't remove all the hardness.

    You don't mention how many bathrooms and if any multiple shower heads or jetted tubs etc.. A 3.0 cuft would give you 18 gpm constant service flow rate(SFR). And with 60 psi city pressure (and above), with 3/4" line you can exceed that if the fixtures demand it. Then you would need larger than a 3.0 cuft.
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  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Unless i am reading your math wrong, 14k grains over 5 days is 70k grains which is 2k grains per regeneration, and 14k grains over 4 days is 56k grain which is 4k per regeneration. It appears that both of these calculations ignore a "demand" meter to give maximum usage between regens. Over a 20 day period the larger one will regen 4 times and the smaller one 5 times, which means that, using your latency figures, they would "waste" 12k capacity every 20 days, which seems to be a lot less than your calculations.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member tomcat21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    tomcat21... you won't have iron in your chlorinated city water and you don't add anything because of the TDS. Use 27 gpg and 60 gals/person/day and I'd go with the 3.0 cuft but not the K of capacity or gallons for 7 days between regenerations because your salt efficiency would be terrible (2000+/- grains/per lb). Max K of a 3.0 cuft is usually figured at 90K and to get that you need 15 lbs/cuft of resin. So the 3.0 cuft would be too small for any better salt efficiency without using a lot more city water for more frequent regenerations.

    And you don't want to size or program so that the K of capacity constantly gets you into into the reserve capacity before every regeneration.

    You say like 6 gpm for your flow rate... that would not pass code so how did you get the 6 gpm? Your tub may have a mixing/tempering valve on it that reduces the flow. To figure peak demand flow rate you add up all gpm from all the fixtures in use at the same time. That tub and sink = 12 gpm. And codes require using the max gpm from all fixtures as if they are all using water at the same time... The constant SFR gpm of the cuft volume of resin in the softener has to be higher than that gpm or it can't remove all the hardness.

    You don't mention how many bathrooms and if any multiple shower heads or jetted tubs etc.. A 3.0 cuft would give you 18 gpm constant service flow rate(SFR). And with 60 psi city pressure (and above), with 3/4" line you can exceed that if the fixtures demand it. Then you would need larger than a 3.0 cuft.
    I timed how long it took to fill a 5 gallon bucket and divided by 300 or whatever the formula called for (cant remember the exact number) I also used a one gallon pail for kitchen sink faucet and stopped filling after 10 seconds.(Used a different equation to figure gpm on this one.)

    What is code? Is my gpm too high or too low?

    kitchen faucet=2gpm
    main bathroom: faucet=1.2gpm
    main bathroom:shower=1.6gpm
    main bathroom: tub=4gpm
    small bathroom: sink faucet=2.7
    downstairs shower: 1.7gpm
    downstairs sink: 4gpm (this sink is rarely used. only for cleaning paint brushes and rollers mainly)

    I must figured the 6 gpm wrong the first time I tested. The numbers above should be close.

    I have a main bathroom upstairs with a tub,shower,toilet and sink.
    smaller bathroom upstairs with sink and toilet.
    downstairs has a shower, toilet and sink.

    When I tested, I just had each individual fixture on. I did not have them all on at the same time. Also using the upstairs tub/shower, you would only be using one or the other.
    Last edited by tomcat21; 02-25-2013 at 07:06 AM.

  12. #12
    DIY Junior Member tomcat21's Avatar
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    Anyone there? I think I have given all the information that I know of to make a decision on a softener. Can someone tell me what I should purchase and why would the size you recommend be the best choice/most efficient. Thanks to all of you for your help

  13. #13
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    Get a 3 CF Clack softener. For 10 years I would not sell a Clack system because I wanted to see if it would last the test of time and it has. Clack has a varity of adjustments to fit any house hold.

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    DIY Junior Member tomcat21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mialynette2003 View Post
    Get a 3 CF Clack softener. For 10 years I would not sell a Clack system because I wanted to see if it would last the test of time and it has. Clack has a varity of adjustments to fit any house hold.
    would that work with 3/4 plumbing?

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Clack valves are very good and the WS1, 7000, etc. will all work with 3/4" plumbing. UPC only states that you can not reduce pipe size for a softener, you are allowed to put in a larger system. Clack, Fleck, and Autotrol will all work with 3/4" plumbing and all are excellent valves. If you stick with any of these systems, you will do just fine. All of the systems have their quirks and problems. The only valve that appears to have taken care of all the complaints I have with all of the manufacturers designs is a valve that wont be released until late this year, or early next assuming everything goes correctly. It will be a USA made valve that is fully programmable, has 1-1/4" flows, DC drive, single piston design w/ standby, staging, series, alternating capabilities without any external devices. (MAV, Aquamatics, solenoids, NHWBP, etc.) Full color large touchscreen, and much more. Anyone coming to the WQA show in Indianapolis?

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