(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Water Softener and R/O recommendations

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member FLSkater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    3

    Default Water Softener and R/O recommendations

    Hello, thanks for this great forum - I am learning a lot here!

    We are replacing the Culligan Gold series water softener and R/O systems that the sellers so kindly left us. The R/O never seemed to work at all (water tastes horrible, even though it was supposedly serviced right before we closed) and the softener was working initially (I could feel the "softness" in the shower) and now it's not - no more soft "feel" plus water spots everywhere, might be a leak in the salt tank as there is dried up, crusted salt all over the garage floor underneath the salt and resin tanks. Don't feel like dealing with Culligan, plus it was installed in 2005 or 2006, and my husband would rather get something new installed rather than repair our existing ones. Although my neighbors don't seem to have softeners, I have seen what the calcium does to the fixtures, as I have replaced a shower handle here and have seen the white, crusted deposits on the parts.

    After doing a lot of research, and having estimates from different companies, I'm almost ready to make a decision, but thought I'd get some insight here first.

    Our info - just me and husband. 3200 sq ft house with 4 bathrooms (1 has jacuzzi tub), dishwasher, washing machine. Occasional overnight visitors, but I can see maybe just once a year or so where there would be two people showering at the same time.

    I found out that our city water comes from 3 different sources. Hardness is usually 17-18, but if one of the sources is used, it can be a range of 4.9-16. When I had the water tested it came back as 20, but two others tested it inside the house as 17.

    Other stats-
    Iron- none
    Manganese- none
    Chlorine residual -1.7 ppm
    Chloride - main source 85, other sources 90 or 12 ppm
    Sodium - 86 (or 80 or 24)
    pH = 7.9
    TDS = 412

    Diameter of plumbing at softener location - 1"

    At this point I am debating between:

    Fleck 7000 w/1.5cu ft tank, 10% crosslinked resin
    PureGen ProQ r/o with 1 set extra filters
    $1950 includes installation, tax. Also includes extra 5 year warranty on Fleck valve. (I might be able to get the rep to lower the price in lieu of this extended warranty)

    Fleck 5800 w/1.5cu ft tank, 10% crosslinked resin)
    PureGen ProQ r/o with 1 set extra filters
    $1700 includes installation, tax

    Other quotes I received:
    Fleck 7000 w/2.0 cu ft tank, 8% crosslinked resin
    PureT easytwist E3RO550-RETRO r/o
    $1565 includes installation, tax
    (Only in business 7 months & didn't know what warranty was on Fleck valve, plus did not even bother to test the water, so I don't entirely trust his knowledge.)

    Fleck 5800 w/2.0 cu ft vortech tank, "high grade resin"
    Watts W525-PWS r/o
    $1996 includes installation, tax
    (I've learned that vortech tanks are a great moneymaker for these guys, since it costs less to ship without the gravel- so I'm not entirely trusting this guy)

    I guess my biggest questions are,
    is there a huge difference in Fleck valves?
    1.5 or 2.0 cu ft tank?
    Is there a huge difference in water softeners that were recommended? I know we want one that has user-replaceable filters, and these all seem to fit the bill.

    Any advice for us?
    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,707
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    The size of your house (4 bathrooms) would be better served with a 7000, though the 5800 is a very high flow rate valve and it is unlikely you would even notice the difference. Under 2 grand installed for top of the line equipment is a good deal.

    The Vortech tank... I am becoming less of a fan these days as we are starting to see some issues in the field, my opinion, stick with a standard bottom screen with gravel underbed.

    All RO have "user replaceable filters, "

    The guy who didnt test the water, ignore him please.

    Considering the high Chlorine level, the 10% resin is highly recommended, I would install a GAC tank as well to remove the Chlorine. Do you really want to bathe and breathe in that chlorine? That chlorine level is what is usually maintained in swimming pools.

    I sent you a PM

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member FLSkater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Thanks, Dittohead!

    Do you think I would be better off with a 1.5 or 2 cu ft tank?

    I was told that the amount of chlorine was not enough to warrant GAC. The figure I gave you was the "average amount" from the water report. It says "range of detections" is 0.3-2.1 I don't smell it at all - if it is the level that is maintained in swimming pools, shouldn't I be able to smell it?

    The quote for the Fleck 7000 or 5800 with the 1.5 tank had also said that I don't need to spend the extra $$ on the GAC, but if we did, it was an extra $400 for the carbon tank. I think the rep is trying also to get her price down by offering the 5800 instead of the 7000.

    Actually, the guy with the vortech tank didn't come out to test the water, either. The line I got was that "we all have hard water in Orange County (CA), no need to test it!"

    When we lived in FL, I didn't know if we had hard or soft water. But I can tell you that although I did not get that "soft" feeling when showering, we never had issues with spots on shower doors or sinks, and our kitchenaid fridge had a built in filter for the water, and we were happy drinking that. Never thought I'd have to get a water softener and R/O education when we moved to CA!

  4. #4
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,707
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Pool chlorine levels are typically 1-4 ppm, public pools are usually required to be up to double what a residential pool would be. Did you test the water for chlorine. If you are on the outer areas of your distribution system, your chlorine levels may be much lower. Closer to the chlorine systems, you can have up to 4 ppm.

    The 5800 should cost slightly less than the 7000. It is a very high flow rate valve. It is considered a true 1" valve when it comes to flow rate potential. The 7000 is a 1-1/4" valve.

    Orange county ranges from about 3-4 GPG in parts of Long Beach. to over 110 GPG in some of the outlying areas. Most areas in orange county range from 10-30 grains.

    $400 for a carbon tank is going to be either an upflow or downflow without a backwashing head. This is not a good idea. GAC systems should have a backwashing valve. I know many companies sell non backwashing systems, and these units do not work as well. They are simply the cheapest way to do it.

    What is your pipe size?

    1.5 or 2 cu. ft. Considering 4 bathrooms, a 2 cu. ft. would be the smallest I would recommend.

    That being said, I have been to mini mansions with 8 bathrooms that companies have installed the old low flow 5600 valves with 3/4 cu. ft. of resin, and rarely does anybody complain. Technically, the larger system is the right way to go.


    LOL, no need to test it! Wow, this salesman is amazing, I bet he can set a system accurately by the way the water feels! hehehe, some people have made that genius claim, it truly shows ignorance.

  5. #5
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    2,686

    Default

    Does Orange County allow softeners and backwashed carbon filters?

  6. #6
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,707
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Residential is unrestricted. Some areas of orange county are commercially restricted, primarily the cities that have to resuse the waste water and added salts and TDS make this more difficult and expensive. Irvine, and several south orange county areas have commercial brine discharge restrictions.

    I am not aware of any municipality caring about carbon filters. Most municipalities have trouble with the quality of the waste water rather than the quantity. In the Inland Empire, cooling toweres are run as low as 1-2 cycles, wasting massive amounts of water, but the water quality of the waste meets the needs of the waste treatment plants. I recently worked on a cooling tower that if set to a standard 6+ cycle design, it would have saved nearly a million gallons per week. The municipality turned us down, preferring lots of higher quality waste waste water rather than have to deal with small amounts of highly concentrated waste.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member FLSkater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    3

    Default

    I actually talked to the manager at the Trabuco Canyon water district about some of the figures (and why it showed 3 different sources on our water quality report). He had said they do not recommend salt-based systems because of the waste water issues, and would prefer we use potassium. But he did say he won't be coming out to check if we were "compliant" so it was entirely our choice. It looks like potassium is 5x the cost of salt, so as much as I like to be "green," I am going the way of salt. I do know that Irvine has restrictions on the softeners, but I don't know how/if they check it.

  8. #8
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    2,686

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FLSkater View Post
    I do know that Irvine has restrictions on the softeners, but I don't know how/if they check it.
    Particularly with "smart" meters, it wouldn't be too tough to look for usage patterns showing high flows at, say, 2AM, or any other pattern thought to indicate use of a softener or backwashed filter. Whether that would be enough evidence to obtain a search warrant to physically inspect for same, or if they care enough to do so, depends on how serious a problem the local authorities think it is.

  9. #9
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,707
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Salt vs potassium. I have worked with many municipalities, most dont care which is used, some it is important for them to maintain certain limits. Sodium loading of the water can cause issues for reuse, especially on some plants. Large golf course are not really happy with high sodium levels. Chlorinde, present in both potassium or standard salt is problematic for many municipalities that feed crops, especially avacado and some citrus crops. Some plants cant take high levels of chloride.

    Municipalities want to regulate residential water treatment use, but few are willing to invest the time, the legal costs, etc to enact an enforcable ban on softeners. Besides, commercial softener use is much easier and much larger than the residential market.


    Commercially, they check by simply dropping off a sample system that takes samples of the waste water exiting a commercial facility. It looks like a yellow R2D2. One of the facilities I worked, we had 8 buildings, and we would see these every few weeks dropped off by our local wastewater treatment company. Our only sompliance issue was sulfates, part of our oxygen scanvenging treatments. We were able to reduse it fairly easily to get back into compliance.

    Irvine does check for commercial softeners. You may notice new car washes go up with a softener, but a month later, they are removed. Same goes for restaurants, they have salt regenerating softeners for a while, they are eventually replaced with exchange tanks. We got a variance for a dual 15 Cu. Ft. softener at a country club 15 years ago, and less than a month later, the city purchased the softener and had us remove it. They changed their mind, but at least they paid for it.

    All this being said, it is important to continue to pursue cost effective ways to minimize the salt usage by tradtitional water softeners. Using a softener for iron removal is massively inefficient and will continue the trend of municipalities banning softeners. Modern, properly sized softenrs can be a benfit to our society when they are used properly. You may notice the guys on this site who have licenses, training, and who are actively involved in this industry always recommend larger or more efficient systems, alternative iron and manganese removal methods, and in general, promote highly efficient systems whenever possible. The water you flush down the toilet in Trabuco Canyon (one of the most beautiful cities in the world!) is probably re-used later, instead of it simply being ocean discharged. Water quality for the next user depends on the source. The idea of toilet to tap makes many people nervous, but it is already common practice, mostpeople just dont know it.

    When you see water flowing down the Santa Ana River, where do you think that water is coming from? All the waste treatment plants in the inland empire. The water is treated, diluted with water to bring it to drinking water specs, then sent down the river to be reused. Check out the satellite imagery, start at Van Buren and the santa Ana River, you will see a huge waste treatment facility, then start going inland, you will see many waste water treatment plants. The water alomst never makes it to the ocean, it is all reused. It is used to replenish the underground aquifers that other municipalities use for their water.
    Last edited by ditttohead; 10-25-2013 at 10:55 AM.

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member fishfinder333's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    orange county
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Skater sent you a PM. thanks

Similar Threads

  1. Looking for recommendations for water softener companies
    By Mexicanbaseball7 in forum Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and reviews
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 04-18-2013, 10:22 AM
  2. Water Softener & Options Recommendations
    By Courtney in forum Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and reviews
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-27-2012, 11:42 AM
  3. Low-end water softener recommendations?
    By stitch in forum Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and reviews
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-15-2011, 10:19 AM
  4. Water Softener Recommendations
    By timk10 in forum Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and reviews
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 06-24-2009, 01:07 PM
  5. Hard AZ Water & Softener Recommendations ?
    By Gateway in forum Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Tricks
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-06-2008, 03:46 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •