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Thread: A few questions about a new water softener system.

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Lindy's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
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    Default A few questions about a new water softener system.

    I am looking to put a water softener system in our house. We are a 4 person household and we're not really that efficient on water use. The wife and I like long showers and the kids get baths every night. The Culligan man tested our water today and got:

    8 grains of hardness
    TDS 202
    chlorine < .5 ppm
    pH 7.8
    alkalinity 120
    iron - not detectable
    nitrates - not detectable

    Our water is municipal water.

    I'd like to get a good water softener and also a whole house chlorine removal filter. I'm not opposed to buying a bit bigger of a system for having room to grow. I got quotes from a few different systems installers. The Culligan man was offering a single tank softener and small cartridge based chlorine filter for $2000. I wasn't that impressed with the chlorine filter and it takes a $90 filter every year. The Kinetico guy wanted $3600 for a 2 tank softener/filter combo. A local guy offered a Fleck system for around $2500. After getting these quotes, I wanted to try sizing up a system myself. I would just hire a plumber to install it for me. Our basement is unfinished, so it should be fairly easy to do.

    Is there a big advantage to a 2 tank system? The Culligan man said no, the Kinetico guy said yes. The talk on the forum here is that the Fleck 7000 SXT is a good system. That's only a one tank and I could order one online for under $500. The 2 tank 9100 SXT is around $800. I don't mind spending the extra $300 if that money is well spent.

    What about the type of meter? What are people's opinions on mechanical meters vs electronic ones? One thing that the Kinetico guy was telling me was that his whole system ran on softened water. He said that other units ran hard water through their meters and hardness scale would build up and eventually foul them. Any truth to this? He also said that his system uses softened water for regeneration and that makes the system more efficient. Any truth to this either?

    As far as the carbon filter goes, it looks like Fleck makes several activated carbon filters that I could buy for about $450 - $550 range. The Culligan man wanted $2000 for his GAC system. His had a fancy regulator unit on it that once a week or so stirred the carbon to "prevent channeling." He said that the carbon would last 5-10 years based on usage and cost about $400 to replace.

    One website had a calculator that said that based on my usage, a 24000 grain system would be right for me. Any harm in getting a 32000 or 40000? What about for the carbon filter? How do I go about sizing that and do I need a backwashing valve on it?

    Thanks in advance for reading all this!

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Water filtration systems are like computer printers....they discount the machine to get your ink business! That is where the moneys. Same for filter cartridges!

    In my PERSONAL opinion, I don't like whole house chlorine filters. You can get growth going on inside the pipes and valves.

    A shower-mounted chlorine filter is a good unit. MOST people are fine without it , but some folks are sensitive to the chlorine so go for it. In terms of drinking water, a simple taste-and-odor unit at the kitchen sink will take care of that.

  3. #3
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Fleck 7000sxt, Clack WS1, Either will serve you well. You say you are big water users so going with a 30k unit makes sense also. Chlorine removal, I like back washed GAC, a little more money but you make that back in not having to buy filter cartridges. I have not had bacterial or any "growth" issues with back washed GAC
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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