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Thread: First time water softener buyer looking for advice!

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member jkats's Avatar
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    Default First time water softener buyer looking for advice!

    Hi all,

    I'm looking to get a water softener for a relative and I'd greatly appreciate some advice. I've been doing a lot of research, so I think I have a pretty good idea of what I need, but I'd really appreciate advice from the experts. Here's their details:

    - 2 bathroom house
    - no jacuzzi or anything like that, only a dishwasher and a washing machine
    - max flow rate ~12gpm
    - 1" plumbing
    - according to their water bill, water usage ranged from 11k to 19k gallons per month - average is about 16k. They don't do any outdoor watering, car washing, etc., so this is all internal home use. Don't know if this matters, but thought I should mention it. Their household is actually only 3 adults. However, their daughter's family (2 adults, 2 kids) spends the weekends there - which I suppose is why their usage is so high.

    Now for their water data. This data comes from a Quality Report done by the city. There are 6 water sources that combine, and the data is provided as ranges, so I took the weighted averages of all the sources.

    - hardness: 14.6-28.8 gpg (avg 22.7 gpg)
    - iron: 0
    - manganese: .0045 ppm

    According to my calculations, they need to remove between 60k and 100k grains per week - average is about 84k. I think this would indicate that they need either 3.5 or 4 cu.ft. of resin. However, I've talked to 3 local companies and everyone has said that's way to big for residential. They say those sizes are primarily for commercial, and they all have recommended either 2.0 or 2.5 max, so now I'm kinda second-guessing myself and wondering if I'm missing something. On the other hand, there's a considerable jump in price between 2.5 and 3.5, so if 2.5 will suffice I would go with that. Would there be any downside to 2.5, aside from it regenerating more often?

    I'd really appreciate any advice on this.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    What did you use for average daily water use?
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    DIY Junior Member jkats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    What did you use for average daily water use?
    Using monthly data from their water bills, daily usage ranged from 350 gallons per day to 640 gallons - average is 521 gallons per day, which is what I used in my calculations.

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    I come up with 96,000 grain but damn your water use is really high.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    DIY Junior Member jkats's Avatar
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    I was using 7 days in my calculations - forgot to add a day for reserves. Yeah - I was surprised at their usage too (this is my relatives household, not mine), but that's what their water bill says. it actually lists usage in "hundred cubic ft" units, and states that 1 unit equals 748.05 gallons, so I calculated their usage in gallons by multiplying the two.

    My household usage isn't as high as theirs, but is quite a bit higher than normal (I live 2 blocks from my relative). Is it possible our utility bills are't accurate? should I trust the utility bill, or use the "accepted" average of 75 gallons/person?

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Twin tank 9100SXT would be my recommendation, probably a 1.5 cu. ft. per tank. Plenty of flow, no reserve calculations needed, and it only uses 2.4 GPM during backwash, so the flow loss to the house would not be noticed when the system regenerates.

    They need to do a water usage study to determine if something else is going on there. Slab leak, toilets, etc.

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    DIY Junior Member jkats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    Twin tank 9100SXT would be my recommendation, probably a 1.5 cu. ft. per tank. Plenty of flow, no reserve calculations needed, and it only uses 2.4 GPM during backwash, so the flow loss to the house would not be noticed when the system regenerates.

    They need to do a water usage study to determine if something else is going on there. Slab leak, toilets, etc.
    Dittohead - is there a reason you would recommend twin tanks over a single 3.0 cu.ft. unit? From a price perspective, twin tanks seem to bump the price up by several hundred dollars.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    It is based on salt and water efficiency. Your application is unusual in that it has some considerable variances in water usage that may cause a system to need to regenerate with a lot of the reserve capacity unused (wasted). We try to design single tank residential systems with 6 days or more between regenerations. This minimizes the lost capacity. A twin alternating system does not have a reserve since it regenerates any time of the day. The 9100SXT is an exceptional valve that will last for many years with minimal service.

    Just a quick calculation, not highly accurate but the general idea is there.

    600 GPD x 25 grains hardness x 365 days = approximately 5,500,000 grains annually. Estimating a 20% loss due to unused reserve = approximately 1,000,000 grains innefficiency. 1,000,000 / 24,000 = 42 cu. ft. of resin not used, regenerated w/ 8# per cu. ft. = approximately 350# additional salt usage per year. This may not justify the additional cost of a twin tank system, but it is the right way to do it. Assuming your numbers are correct, I have run these numbers very conservatively. The savings will probably be much higher.

    Hope this helps.

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Jkats, on the other hand he is not telling you that a twin tank softener uses capacity/salt/water to regenerate because they all use softened water for each regeneration of each tank forever.

    And I've been in and around this business since 1987 and ditto is the only person I've ever heard make the claim he is making about not using the reserve of a two tank type softener. Even Kinetico salesmen don't go on like that but...

    He is suggesting a twin with 1.5 cuft tanks. The highest hardness is 28 gpg not the 25 he used. And he used 600 gals per day. So have him tell you how many times a day a 1.5 cuft tank will be regenerated. How many lbs of salt will be used. And make him tell you how many lbs are used just to regenerate each tank with softened water. Then compare that to his supposed annual reserve not used salt use of 350 lbs.

    IOWs you want to know the total salt used for both type softeners and you might as well ask how many additional gallons of water the twin tank will use over the larger two tank type.

    Your relatives may have a toilet tank flapper valve leak or a fill valve allowing overflow of the stand pipe 24/7. There usually is a water height line on the stand pipe about an inch below the top meaning the water should be about an inch below the top of the tube.
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    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
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