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Thread: Choosing Water Softener

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member ejsimcox's Avatar
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    Default Choosing Water Softener

    Details:

    1959 house. 2 1/2 bath. City water. 1 1/2" main. Awaiting my Hach kit to test water, but I do know it's high-grain hardness. Deposits on all aerators and appliances, and in copper pipes I have been in. Sprinkler head outside clogged with calcium carbonate after about 5 hours of use. Need to clean master bath shower head about every three months with vinegar or CLR. No iron staining to speak of, but have not tested.

    Three daughters and my wife live with me. Lots of long showers. We have a dishwasher with a 145 minute cycle. High-efficiency side-load clothes washer. House is tri-level, and softener will be on the lower level. Softener waste line will flow into sump pit and be carried by 4,000 GPH sump pump.

    I plan on remodeling and adding another 1 1/2 baths in 5 years. Will be in the house at least 10-15 years.

    My water consumption is 6 CCF when not watering the lawn. All low-flow aerators, showerheads, etc.

    I am a DIY guy and can do the hookups and be code compliant. I am very familiar with H2O params like pH, phosphate, nitrate, nitrite, magnesium, KH, etc. I test these params regularly as part of my aquarium hobby, and I know how they interrelate. I also understand RO/DI pretty well, including resins, membranes, flow rate, and rejection. So I figure it won't be too hard for me to make the leap to understanding softener technology.

    I am interested in whole-house softening. I know with some things, over-engineering is fine. With others, it's a no-no (like HVAC).

    I am in Indianapolis on city water and our aquifer is predominately limestone and dolomite-base bedrock with high carbonate.
    Questions:

    1) Is there any reason I should not oversize in anticipation of more water use? What are the downsides to over sizing?

    2) What size softener do you recommend (assuming my hardness is on the high side - yet to be measured).

    3) Is variable regeneration or not regenerating during low-use periods a gimmick? If not, what brands are good at this?

    4) What brand do you recommend. The kicker is that I want to install, calibrate, and maintain the system myself, and want the service manual for the unit.

    5) Does the resin in the system matter? Krystal Pure has a 20 year resin replacement warranty. Is that industry-standard?

    6) Does the waste from a softener damage sump pumps? Can I run the waste line up about 8 feet to avoid the sump or is it gravity-feed only?


    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by ejsimcox; 06-14-2013 at 01:01 PM.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Get the water tested and we can close in on a recommendation but a few question can be answered.

    Be careful of grossly over sizing the system, it can lead to problems

    I like the Fleck 7000 SXT and if your use is what you claim you will want a valve capable of high flow rates

    Standard mesh resin works just fine 99% of the time but let's see your test results

    Variable brining sounds good on paper but again, most times is not necessary.

    Salty discharge water will destroy your sump pump in short order
    Last edited by Tom Sawyer; 06-14-2013 at 01:20 PM.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  3. #3
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    There is no way to say what size we would recommend without knowing the hardness for sure.

    Most resin replacements are never warranted, the warranties usually do not cover chlorine damage or fouling, what else causes resin to fail?

    For your house, the 7000 would probably meet your needs. It is technically a 1-1/4" system and you are supposed to have a 1-1/2" system. The 7000 is available with 1-1/2" connectors.

    Variable brining etc... all are good for systems that are sized improperly. Lets wait til you get your hardness then set you up with the right size unit.

    Hope this helps

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejsimcox View Post
    1) Is there any reason I should not oversize in anticipation of more water use? What are the downsides to over sizing?.
    Over sizing can lead to channeling which is not good and will cause hard water issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by ejsimcox View Post
    2) What size softener do you recommend (assuming my hardness is on the high side - yet to be measured).
    Can not answer until test results are posted.

    Quote Originally Posted by ejsimcox View Post
    3) Is variable regeneration or not regenerating during low-use periods a gimmick? If not, what brands are good at this?.
    Variable is very good at saving salt and water. Clack makes a very good unit which has variable brining. Fleck also makes unit with this feature.

    Quote Originally Posted by ejsimcox View Post
    4) What brand do you recommend. The kicker is that I want to install, calibrate, and maintain the system myself, and want the service manual for the unit.
    Clack or Fleck or very good valves.

    Quote Originally Posted by ejsimcox View Post
    5) Does the resin in the system matter? Krystal Pure has a 20 year resin replacement warranty. Is that industry-standard?.
    I do not know if any resin maker that offers a 20 year warranty. Most likely it comes from the company selling the unit.

    Quote Originally Posted by ejsimcox View Post
    6) Does the waste from a softener damage sump pumps? Can I run the waste line up about 8 feet to avoid the sump or is it gravity-feed only?.
    Yes the sodium chloride may damage the sump pump and is recommened finding another source for the drain water.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member ejsimcox's Avatar
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    Thanks for the quick responses! Hach titration kit on order. Will test ASAP and report back.

  6. #6
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejsimcox View Post
    Thanks for the quick responses! Hach titration kit on order. Will test ASAP and report back.
    If I'm correct, I think you meant variable reserve and not variable brining, right?

    The only Clack valve that I know of that has variable brining is the Upflow version. IIRC, the same for Fleck.

    ********* Correction: I have looked it up and as far as I can find, there is no Clack valve that has variable BRINING. Some versions of the WS-1 have variable RESERVE. I suspect I was wrong about Fleck valves having variable BRINING also.
    Last edited by Gary Slusser; 06-20-2013 at 04:07 PM. Reason: ******Correction
    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.

  7. #7
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Variable brining is a great idea and on paper it can increase a systems efficieincy primarily if the system is undersized. We have experimented with variable brining in applications where a twin alternating would normally be used. The results have been successful for the most part. I beleive Watts has the best solution. Variable brining, downflow, with intermittent full regenerations. I dont remember the exact programming but they use a 7000 variant and had the programming customized. The system will adjust the salt level to the proper amount based on actual resin capacity, but occassionaly the system will regenerate with a full salt load to get rid of some of the problems we have experienced in our field testing. On paper, upflow variable is the porper way, but the problems with upflow regeneration often outweigh the slight advantages in water quality.

    For the most part, residential systems sized to regenerate every 5-30 days do not benefit from variable brining.



    Variable reserve... long topic and each company has their own way of doing it. My preferred methos is how the new Fleck 5800LXT does it. A simple 7 day x 4 week memory. If the systems sees consistently higher usage on day 6 and 7 (Saturday and Sunday), the valves uses a 4 week average of that day to determine if the system will need to regenerate, or if it can wait anothe day.



    Hope this helps!

  8. #8
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    For DIYers, I have looked it up and as far as I can find, there is no stock Clack valve that has variable BRINING. Some versions of the WS-1 have variable RESERVE. I suspect I was wrong about stock Fleck valves having variable BRINING also.
    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.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member ejsimcox's Avatar
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    Ok, Hach test indicated 22 GPG. My neighbor got a reading recently of 27.

    And correction: water main is 1 1/4".

    Please let me know your suggestions.

  10. #10
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    I would recommend a 2.5 Cu. Ft. 7000SXT system.

    Looks like you average 150 GPD, and wih the 1-1/4" pipe, the 7000 can be ordered with the correct plumbing adapters to match your plumbing.

    Just estimating, but if you programmed your unit to 20,000 Grains per Cu. ft. , the system would regenerate every 10-13 days, and this would allow for more people and more water usage. It will also keep your system in a common size range. The next size up unit is considerably larger even though it is only 1/2 cu. ft. more.

    Hope this helps!

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member ejsimcox's Avatar
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    Thanks dittohead. (Great rebuild video, by the way).

    Are there any Fleck dealers with inventory in or near Indianapolis?

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