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Thread: Softener install questions

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member fantomas's Avatar
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    Default Softener install questions

    Measured the water hardness with a Hach 5B kit I received last week. Came in at 14 the first test, and 12-13 for subsequent tests. My wife also complains (which is nothing new really) about calcium build up in our sinks and that her shampoo lathers nicely everywhere she showers except for our house. Tomorrow I will be replacing an indirect water heater that sprung a tiny mystery leak, I'm assuming relating to the hard water.

    There are no floor drains, the lowest waste drain is where the washer hooks up, and the top of the pipe is 44" off the ground (pic #3 below). The actual top of the pipe from where the washer discharges is about 55". Where the water comes in to the house (pic 1), it is an 18' run to that drain, and where I can actually place the softener is another 8' or so from that. So a few of my questions for now are:

    1. I was looking at this Fleck meter system. Reading the install instructions regarding the drain line connection to the drain, it says "... and ideally be below the top of the head of your softener." I was also looking at this GE unit, and it says not to install the drain higher than 8' above the floor. Would I be able use the GE but not the Fleck? Or do the push out the same pressure? Does raising the drain line in elevation cause substantial premature wear?
    2. What is the difference between the single tank and the double tank designs? I forgot what brand I was looking at and they were touting their single tank design as more efficient.
    3. Would it be a bad idea to run 3/4" copper to the left side of the oil tank (pic 2) to get it closer to the drain? I would have to run it back, as the water heater is about 7' to the right of the vertical copper pipe where the main water supply is.


    Or am I completely over thinking this and can run solid PVC under the electrical panel and behind the boiler all the way around? (Although I'm not sure how I would go about supporting the PVC.. Pics below (they always help) so hopefully it makes a little bit of sense with what I'm talking about.

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  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    You can run the drain on both systems up and then over. There is however a limit to the rise. I have always know do not run a drain line up more than 8' above the valve. If you have a long run, make the run in a bigger tube or pipe. The connection on a Fleck 5600 is 1/2", so if the run is long, convert to 3/4". PVC will work fine for this. Does the area you plan to install in freeze? If so, you need to prevent the media tank and drain line from freezing. I would stay away from the GE unit.

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    DIY Senior Member Reach4's Avatar
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    Have you read discussions the advantage of going up to a larger amount of resin, and not using as much salt in the regenerations? It makes for useful reading.

    Dual tank is usually used to describe having a separate brine tank. That is preferable.

    The 5600SXT manual includes this:
    All plumbing should be done in accordance with local plumbing codes. The pipe size for residential drain line should be a minimum of 1/2” (13 mm). Backwash flow rates in excess of 7 gpm (26.5 Lpm) or length in excess of 20’
    (6 m) require 3/4” (19 mm) drain line.
    Copper is more expensive and more work than PVC pipe or flex tubing.
    Last edited by Reach4; 11-23-2013 at 01:25 PM.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member fantomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mialynette2003 View Post
    You can run the drain on both systems up and then over. There is however a limit to the rise. I have always know do not run a drain line up more than 8' above the valve. If you have a long run, make the run in a bigger tube or pipe. The connection on a Fleck 5600 is 1/2", so if the run is long, convert to 3/4". PVC will work fine for this. Does the area you plan to install in freeze? If so, you need to prevent the media tank and drain line from freezing. I would stay away from the GE unit.
    The height I could run the PVC at around the perimeter is about 6'6" above the floor, which would only be ~3-4' (I'm guessing) above the valve on the unit. I just wanted to verify that the discharge pump or propeller or whatever it uses can handle that height, and won't die a premature death. Regarding the "connection" at the main stack, does the air gap belong above the p-trap? Can I rig it so the washer and softener share a P trap? (I'm sure I'll have tons more questions regarding this aspect of it.) No chance of it freezing. Basement stays nice and cool in the summer and comfortably warm in the winter

    Quote Originally Posted by Reach4 View Post
    Have you read discussions the advantage of going up to a larger amount of resin, and not using as much salt in the regenerations? It makes for useful reading.

    Dual tank is usually used to describe having a separate brine tank. That is preferable.

    The 5600SXT manual includes this:

    Copper is more expensive and more work than PVC pipe or flex tubing.
    I have not considered going up in size, but will keep that in mind and look into it. It's just me, my wife, and an 18 month old in a 1200 sqft house.

    Copper is certainly more expensive/work than PVC. I'm guessing right angles on the PVC discharge line should be avoided?

    Another question: I see the Fleck system comes with a bypass valve. Is it overkill to also make one out of copper?

    EDIT: Just watched a series of videos on how softeners work https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVISxY15XVs
    Is the pressure coming through the discharge pipe just from the water pressure itself? PLEASE excuse my absolute ignorance on this topic.

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    Yes, the discharge is just from the water pressure. As far as an air gap, it is a physical separation of the drain and sewage. A devise is made to allow an air gap and the drain line for the washer to be placed in the same pipe. http://www.freshwatersystems.com/p-1...e-fitting.aspx

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    DIY Junior Member fantomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mialynette2003 View Post
    Yes, the discharge is just from the water pressure. As far as an air gap, it is a physical separation of the drain and sewage. A devise is made to allow an air gap and the drain line for the washer to be placed in the same pipe. http://www.freshwatersystems.com/p-1...e-fitting.aspx
    Thanks, that is exactly what I would be looking for.

    Regarding going to a larger size, what do people normally recommend for a family of 2 adults and currently an 18 month old with a possibility of another one within the year? At first I was considering the 32,000 grain, but after a quick read I was considering the 40k or even 48k. Also, which valve? 5000,5600,7000 or something else? Plumbing is 3/4".

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    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    With a 48K unit, you would better efficiency. I like Fleck & Clack valves.

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    DIY Junior Member fantomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mialynette2003 View Post
    With a 48K unit, you would better efficiency. I like Fleck & Clack valves.
    I was looking around for the Clack, and apparently I can't actually buy one online without hiring a company to do the plumbing that I'm perfectly capable of doing myself. So it looks like I'll go with a Fleck. Any major difference between the Fleck models?

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    The Fleck 5600 is the only valve that you mention that I have had a lot of dealings with. I sent you a PM.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    All of the Fleck valves have their unique designs, in general I recommend the 2510SXT, 7000SXT, or the 5600SXT. The 2510SXT is a much older commercial design, very heavy duty, good flow rate, and basically bulletproof. The 5600SXT is based on the old 5600, a decent design with good reliability, and acceptable flow rates for most small to regular size houses. The 7000SXT is the highes flow rate valve, very modern design with a simplified drive train making it very reliable. It is commonly used on houses with more than 3 bathrooms. It is also one of the more common valves used in light commercial applications due to its extremely high flow rate and its NEMA 4 rating. Any of these three valves will serve you well for many years. You really cant go wrong with any of these.

  11. #11
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Can my 12-yearold 2510/3200 be converted to a 2510SXT? Is it worth it?

  12. #12
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Easily done but not worth it. You can order just the 2510 SXT timer assembly, but you would also have to convert the meter from electromechanical to electronic.

    If it is 12 years old, you may consider simply replacing it with a new 2510SXT valve, it would cost about the same as upgrading.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member fantomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    All of the Fleck valves have their unique designs, in general I recommend the 2510SXT, 7000SXT, or the 5600SXT. The 2510SXT is a much older commercial design, very heavy duty, good flow rate, and basically bulletproof. The 5600SXT is based on the old 5600, a decent design with good reliability, and acceptable flow rates for most small to regular size houses. The 7000SXT is the highes flow rate valve, very modern design with a simplified drive train making it very reliable. It is commonly used on houses with more than 3 bathrooms. It is also one of the more common valves used in light commercial applications due to its extremely high flow rate and its NEMA 4 rating. Any of these three valves will serve you well for many years. You really cant go wrong with any of these.
    Thanks. I'll probably go with the 7000SXT with 1" bypass connection. This isn't our forever home (as far as we're planning at the moment), so it will allow us to take it to our next house which I assume will be a little larger and be able to keep up. As far as the drain height is concerned, I should be completely fine plumbing 27' worth of 3/4" PVC 6'6" off the ground to the drain which is about 4'7" off the ground, right?
    Last edited by fantomas; 11-26-2013 at 07:26 PM. Reason: accidental double quote?

  14. #14
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Drain height is no problem as described. If you are going to replace the valve, be sure to order it with the 1.05" manifold adapter if you are just going to replace the valve, otherwise, order a new 32MM manifold to match the high flow rate of this valve.

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