Help with buying a water softener

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Escondido, CA
I recently moved to the San Diego area and am trying to find somewhere local I can pick up a good water softener or online (that will ship). My problem is that I want to install it myself and being new to the area I can't find anyone who sells to a home owner without installing it and the online places I am not sure about because I don't know the quality of their resin and equipment - good valves, but not sure about the rest...I want to avoid some unregulated sketchy resin, materials from another country since I am drinking the water.

Any good suggestions on where to look online or in my area?

My neighbors reccomended several top local installers who have great reviews, but when I looked at their install jobs, I noticed things like no air gaps, softening of the irrigation to their lawns, sloppy solder, p-traps installed on drain cleanouts right in front of their cars, gaps in electrical bonding, etc - not sure how some of these companies have 5 stars across the board and do these things....there is always Culligan, etc but not really into the big corporations

Many thanks!


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Ontario, Canada
Online dealers are not recommended as most compete on cost only. To offer a lower cost usually signifies compromise with the quality of the components. Although online dealers include shipping, this cost is an expense for the dealer on a system with little profit margin so they will usually attempt to reduce the shipping expense by not including bedding gravel, claiming it is unnecessary. Without gravel, often the size of the media tank will also be reduced, thereby usually eliminating the possibility of the customer to later add gravel without removing some of the resin.

Proprietary brands such as mentioned generally offer good quality equipment but are not typically recommended on this forum since their closed dealer network will mean no real competition since each dealer will be usually forced to sell each model at the price dictated by the parent company. In addition, replacement parts when eventually required are not usually easily obtained as they will be typically only available from their dealer network, if they are even willing to sell to you as an end user.

Suggest comparing the systems offered by several generic water treatment dealers which offer Fleck and/or Clack based systems. Local generic dealers who install and service the products they sell will be less likely to utilize inferior components since a failure of a cheap component during the warranty period, will usually mean an additional expense to them for a service call and a replacement part that they may not be able to be claim any reimbursement for.

Perhaps a generic professional will be willing to sell a system to you, and if so, compare the cost of purchase only vs an installed system which will include warranty on not only the softener, but also installation, additional parts needed for installation, programming, and any performance issues experienced during the warranty period. When discussing your needs with each, suggest stating your concerns and what your expectations and requirements will be regarding the quality of their work.


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San Diego
I‘m also in San Diego and currently shopping for a softener which I can install myself. I’ve focused on Clack systems. I’ve found 2 places that will sell to diy installlers. Both are in north county. - this is the retail side of of Applied Membranes, a large industrial water treatment supplier. I emailed through the website and quickly got quotes. They were the lower cost of the 2 but not by much. Located in Vista. I will likely order from here. - located in Escondido.
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