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Thread: Water Softener install question

  1. #1

    Default Water Softener install question

    I would like to install a water softener and I would just like some advice. I have never done any plumbing before and I just wanted to make sure what I was thinking was correct. The picture I have attached is a picture of the pipes below my water heater. The left 2 pipes are connected to the hot side (output) of the water heater. I am assuming one pipe for each side of the house. Out of the right 3 pipes the one going up goes to the input of the water heater. I am assuming out of the 3 coming out of the concrete, 1 is the main water line in and the other 2 branch to both sides of the house just like I assume the hot water lines do.

    I would like to take apart the 3 lines on the right, figure out which is the main water, feed it into the water softener and connect the remaining lines to the output of the water softener so that I have hot and cold soft water. Am I right in assuming the main water must be one of the 3 lines coming out of the concrete or am I missing something ?

    Thank you,

    Kyle
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    Last edited by kquinnell; 03-28-2006 at 04:57 PM.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    You should be able to find the inlet without taking them apart.

    1. Turn off all water usage in the house.
    2. Heat the 3 possible inlet lines for about 4 inches next to the concrete with a torch or heat gun, but keep below the boiling point.
    3. While checking the three possible inlet lines with your hand, have someone run some HOT water.
    4. The one that gets cold first where it comes out of the concrete is the supply line.

  3. #3
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    When you find the feed line you don't have to touch the others.

    Cut the cold supply line about 1.5 inches above the concrete and remove a section long enough so you can solder two elbows on the ends where you have removed the section.

    The elbow from the supply pipe goes to the inlet of the softener.

    The other elbow is connected to the outlet of the softener.

    All with valves that can be shut off to isolate the softener.

    Done.

  4. #4

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    Thank you very much for both suggestions.

    Kyle
    Last edited by kquinnell; 03-28-2006 at 07:36 PM.

  5. #5

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    How safe would it be to break away an inch or so of concrete to give myself a little more room ?

    Kyle

  6. #6
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Breaking the concrete should be safe if you avoid hitting the pipe. If you hit the pipe you will probably not puncture it but you will knock it out of round which will make it more difficult to get a fitting on it. So don't point your cold chisel at the pipe because it will certainly slip and hit the pipe.

    If you can get your hands on a hammer drill you can drill some holes in the concrete and split off pieces. It looks like the side of the slab is pretty close to the pipes so you may be able to drill from the side where you have better access.

  7. #7
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    In all newer and most older homes there is a shutoff as soon as the supply line enters the house. If you are on a municipal water supply there is a good chance you will also have a PRV and check valve.

    See if you can find this first. Is there a small tank attatched to the cold line going into your water heater?

  8. #8
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking now--that looks like a fun one....

    this looks really mean to me, and if you have not done anything
    like this before, you might opt for alternatives....

    be careful not to burn you house down too...


    notice the blue palstic that the plumber used to insulate
    the pipes coming up through the concrete.....instead of rubber
    armaflex.....

    I have seen that stuff eat through and wear on
    the pipe in less than 10 years...

    looking at this ---my best bet would be that the main is
    going to be the cold line furthest to the right...


    if its not that one, then its one of the other two...LOL...

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Here is a little secret for you.......I tell this to customers that
    want a water softener but are too cheap to buy from me
    (its good karma to point them in the right direction)


    Just call some water softener men in your area and get prices to
    RENT ONE for 1- 3 months.....

    If you play your cards right, they will do all this plumbing needed to
    get your business for a very very reasonable price, especially if you
    want to rent a unit from them......

    Some places in our town will plumb and install you a rental unit with you only
    having to lease the unit for $18 permonth for only 3 months or less..
    and you can haggle about the price to get this bypass installed....

    you should at least get a main stop put into that mess when you have this done..


    If you dont like the unit in three months,. they take it out but leave you the plumbing bypass and all .........

    which is yours to re-use if you so wish.....

    get the idea???
    Last edited by master plumber mark; 03-29-2006 at 04:26 AM.

  9. #9
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default pipe

    [QUOTE=kquinnell]I would like to install a water softener and I would just like some advice. I have never done any plumbing before and I just wanted to make sure what I was thinking was correct. The picture I have attached is a picture of the pipes below my water heater. The left 2 pipes are connected to the hot side (output) of the water heater. I am assuming one pipe for each side of the house. Out of the right 3 pipes the one going up goes to the input of the water heater. I am assuming out of the 3 coming out of the concrete, 1 is the main water line in and the other 2 branch to both sides of the house just like I assume the hot water lines do.

    I would like to take apart the 3 lines on the right, figure out which is the main water, feed it into the water softener and connect the remaining lines to the output of the water softener so that I have hot and cold soft water. Am I right in assuming the main water must be one of the 3 lines coming out of the concrete or am I missing something ?

    Thank you,

    It is a good assumption, but not necessarily the correct one. In this area, the pipes could go from the main entry point to one of the bathrooms, or other areas before arriving at the water heater. But once they do reach the water heater, the piping would still look just like yours does.

  10. #10

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    Cass, the only shutoff valve I see is the shutoff valve for the cold water entering the water heater at the top of the water heater. There is no tank.

    The house was built in 1986.

    There is a shutoff valve outside the house that is directly between these copper pipes and the main water shutoff at the street. That's why I as hoping one of these pipes is the main.

    Thanks,

    Kyle

  11. #11

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    Another option is to put the water softener on the hot water only. I was trying to avoid that though. Is this too big of a job for an average plumber ? I know I was afraid to do it myself but I thought for somebody that does this everyday it shouldn't be too bad. Am I asking for major problems by messing with these pipes regardless if it's me or somebody who knows what they are doing does it ?

    Thanks,

    Kyle

  12. #12

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    "Mr Rooter" just gave me a price of $257.13 for water heater install and $588.41 for water softener and loop. Looks possibly a bit high on the water heater install but maybe reasonable on the loop and water softener. What do you think ?

    Thanks,

    Kyle

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