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Thread: Where to drain water softener

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member suburbsdiyguy's Avatar
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    Default Where to drain water softener

    Hi,

    I am installing a water softener in the basement of my home which was built in 2011. There is not any apparent drain location, and the sump pump is across a finished part of the basement so very difficult to access (and I don't really want to ruin the sump pump with salty water anyway). So, I appreciate guidance on the following options.

    1 - The softener manual says the discharge line can run up to 8' above the unit. This would allow me to try to run the line through an existing punch-out in the floor above the softener and to a laundry room, in to a utility tub. I'm just not comfortable that running the discharge upward won't reduce the life of the softener.

    2 - There is an end-of-line 3" sewer cleanout sticking up out of the slab in the basement near where I want to put the softener. I could add a tee to this, preserving the function of the cleanout, but also adding a standpipe connected to a p-trap. The issue here would be venting.

    3 - There is a powder room in the basement, which has a sink that ties into the sewer line and is vented up through the roof. Tying in to this seems to be the most proper connection, but I'm unsure if I should tie-in above or below the sink drain. This is also the most complicated install in my opinion. Attached is a picture of the set-up.

    Name:  Powder Room Set-up.jpg
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    Thanks!
    Last edited by suburbsdiyguy; 02-09-2014 at 07:28 AM.

  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Chances are that the lavatory is providing the vent for all of the fixtures in the bath group, so unless you can prove otherwise the connection should not be made there.

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    DIY Senior Member Reach4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by suburbsdiyguy View Post
    1 - The softener manual says the discharge line can run up to 8' above the unit. This would allow me to try to run the line through an existing punch-out in the floor above the softener and to a laundry room, in to a utility tub. I'm just not comfortable that running the discharge upward won't reduce the life of the softener.
    It is the water pressure that is moving that discharge-- not a pump inside the softener. If the maker says you can have 8 feet of elevation, I think you should feel safe with that. Use 1/2 inch or bigger tubing or pipe.

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    DIY Junior Member suburbsdiyguy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice so far. I read-up and found that the discharge line can only go 8' above the floor, so routing a line to the utility tub on the floor above is no longer an option.

    It sounds like the trend is toward using the clean-out. I did determine that the clean-out is not "end-of-line", but rather in-line between the basement powder room and the city sewer outlet. So, I'm thinking of the same standpipe set-up mentioned above, but with a studor vent after the trap. Below is a sketch:

    Name:  Standpipe set-up sketch 2.jpg
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    Additional advice is appreciated!

  5. #5
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Where I live you can just run in onto the ground.

    We avoid running it into a septic tank.

    New regulations make it harder, now a days.


    My guess is that running it into a city sewer will be banned soon.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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  6. #6
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    You can try that. I would put the studor on the top of a section of pipe so that it is higher than the inlet of the standpipe. If the drainage backs up or splashes, you don't want to contaminate the vent valve.

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    DIY Junior Member suburbsdiyguy's Avatar
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    Great point. I would not have thought of that. Thank you!

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    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    I think there's a difference between a T and a "sanitary T" and you should use the latter, but I'm no expert.

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    The "floor" is not correct, it is 8' up from the drain line connection on the control valve. The "floor" is illogical, water pressure moves the water flow from where it exits the softener/filter. It, the same water pressure, also provides water flow at all the fixtures above the softener's level in the building.
    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.

  10. #10
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    So where does the Overflow for the salt tank go ?
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    What type of softener? Can you post a picture. The drain height is a guideline. I have easily drained softeners in excess of 20' up. The problem is the injector, you need to make sure you have adequate brine draw due to the back pressure on the venturi injection system. Municipal supplies at 80 PSI can easily push through the back pressure, a well set at 30-50 would have problems.

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    DIY Junior Member suburbsdiyguy's Avatar
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    Thanks. It's a kenmore ultra high efficiency. I have well water and the pressure is adequate at each faucet but not strong by any means.

  13. #13
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    I have never tried to run one of those softeners outside of their book specs so i wont comment on the drain height. The Fleck, Clack, and Autortrol can all be easily "tweaked" for excessive drain heights, lengths, etc. The Kenmore... I would stick to their specs.

  14. #14
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    A well pump run at 30/50 psi with the correct captive air pressure in the pressure tank (29 psi air pressure for 30/50 psi with no water in the tank) gets an average of 40 psi water pressure, it will certainly feed fixtures at 20'.

    If you are concerned about that, raise the air pressure to 39 psi and set the pressure switch to 40/60 psi. And use at least 5/8" OD polyethylene tubing as the drain line. Or use schedule 40 3/4" PVC but, this mention of 20' is totally distracting and does not apply to you.

    Also, you said; 1 - The softener manual says the discharge line can run up to 8' above the unit. This would allow me to try to run the line through an existing punch-out in the floor above the softener and to a laundry room, in to a utility tub. I'm just not comfortable that running the discharge upward won't reduce the life of the softener.

    What makes you incorrectly assume that that would reduce the life of the softener? Millions of softeners' drain line goes up 8' from the drain line fitting without problems because your manual says from the top of the softener.

    It would take a long time for a sump pump to be ruined with the drain water because the softener rinses for a number of minutes at its highest flow rate gpm of the drain water flow, so the sump pit won't have much salt water in it because the pump will deliver it to where the discharge goes outside, and kill all vegetation it gets in touch with. Including trees. Although it will take months to years. Also, many sump pumps are made of plastic today.
    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.

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