1-1/4" PEX, is a DIY install possible?

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by hoffmand, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    "What ever"?

    IMO you're right. And that one way is the right way.

    How many people have you sold softeners to that have had pressure or flow losses? IMO with you using smaller diameter but taller tanks as you say you use with Turbulator distributor tubes, you should, IMO. Also, I've been on the internet posting like this since Jan 1997 (13 yrs) and I don't hear people with softeners talking about a loss of pressure due to the size of their softeners. Do you?
  2. hoffmand

    hoffmand New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I mentioned 10gpg not being very hard because I see people with well water posting 20-30+ gpg.

    I'll give you a call to go over the specifics, but we don't have any crazy showers, just regular single-head, flow restricted showers. We do use the bathtubs for the kids so the most water we'd ever use at once would be two tubs filling and maybe the dishwasher and front-loader washing machine.

    One last part of my learning curve is whether softeners are either 100% softening to 0gpg, or off. Is there any middle ground to help us (my wife) transition from always having hard water to what she calls "slimy" soft water? Ideally I'd leave a tiny bit of hardness in the water for a month or two until she was used to it and then run it properly.

    Thanks for the help everyone...
  3. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    You won't get zero hardness from a typical residential softener installation--at least not at typical flow rates. Don't be mislead by postings that talk about "0 grains per gallon" from a residential softener. A typical residential softener will have hardness leakage of several parts per million and each part per million is equal to approximately .05 grains per gallon.

    However, even with several parts per million residual hardness it is very likely that your wife will perceive the water as "slimy" and the Water Quality Association says that water of less than 1 grain per gallon is "soft".
  4. hoffmand

    hoffmand New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Thanks. Can you "trick" the softener into not softening down to 1gpg at first?
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Yes water hardness varies widely from one well to another. My record hardness is 136 gpg.

    Bath tubs usually have the highest flow rate of any fixture in a house. And all other water being used at the time a tub is beiing filled is added to that flow and the softener has to treat all of it. Front loading washing machines are connected to the same hoses and plumbing in the wall that other washing machines that use more water are connected to. So it's the same gpm flow rate, regardless of the number of gallons used. Front loaders use the same gpm but for a shorter length of time.

    "Soft" water in relation to residential softeners is stated in gpg (grains per gallons) and the WQA (Water Quality Association) says a softener is working as long as there is no more than 1 gpg of hardness in the softened water. I say it should be 0 gpg and I size for that.

    The slippery feeling is easy to get used to when you realize your skin and clothes and appliances and fixtures are benefiting greatly from softened water. So is your water heater and shower heads and valves etc. but, if you want to, Clack plumbing connectors allow an easy simple way to add some hard water back into the softened water if you want to do that. Although I don't suggest it. She will be cutting way back on detergents, soap and shampoo and conditioners and her skin will be very soft, smooth and moisturized without those products. Her hair be silky soft'n shinny and the clothes will be soft and much cleaner and brighter too without adding laundry softeners or softener dryer sheets. And everything she cleans with the soft water will clean up easier and faster and stay clean longer. And once she gets used to it (about 3 weeks), she will really hate going somewhere and having to use hard water. And she will be your official soft water tester, if the softener starts allowing hard water through it, she WILL be telling you all but immediately.
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You are playing with words Bob and you know it. When some one says the water from a residential softener is "soft", you know they mean 0 GPG because they use a test kit that shows the test result in GPG.

    A gpg is made up of 17.1 ppm or mg/l. And people rarely if ever can 'feel' less than 1-2 gpg of hardness.

    The WQA says that in relation to a softener's operation as in it doing what it is expected or supposed to do consistently; that is to produce water of no more than 1 GPG of hardness.
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    No trick or tricks, if you want water harder than say 0 or 1 GPG, you must add some hard water back into the softened water.
  8. hoffmand

    hoffmand New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Even if we never add some hard water back in, it will make her less resistant to know it can be adjusted back a little. Do i need to plan for that during my plumbing work, or is that handled with the bypass valve?
  9. Skip Wolverton

    Skip Wolverton In the Trades

    Messages:
    167
    Location:
    Ocala, Fl
    I spent 13 yrs in Austin working in the water treatment industry. I have had several people tell me they don not want the "slimy" feeling. I would install a cross over pipe with a ball valve in it and open it slightly and bleed about 1 grain of hardness. You get the bennies of soft water but the feel of hard. I still know several people in the Austin area that sell and service water treatment for you need someone local.
  10. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,480
    Location:
    Alaska
    Oh my,,,,

    Here we go again........
  11. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    No plumbing as you might think, the Clack plumbing connectors allow you to mix some hard water back in. You do that after installing the unit. It will take 10-15 minutes max.
  12. hoffmand

    hoffmand New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Thanks for the help everyone. Turns out that tools for 1-1/4 PEX are not something the smaller plumbers in my area typically have. They all recommended going back to the company that plumbed our house when it was built last year since they obviously have the tools.

    The ironic part about this over-sized supply line is that my family is apparently quite frugal with our water use. I checked our usage with the water company and we have only been averaging 4,000 gal/month (33 gals/person/day not counting the baby). Our other two kids each take a both or shower every day so I expect only a slight increase as the baby gets older. We had guests twice in the last few months and our highest usage was 6,000 gallons when we had 3 extra adults and one kid staying here for almost two weeks. We go much higher in the summer (16,000 gallons!) but that's all from irrigation and won't affect a softener.

    I also checked our tubs for max flow rate and the only one that's not anti-scald is putting out about 5-7 gal/min when we draw a bath. It could go higher but then it is coming out ridiculously fast and we'd never use it like that.

    Dave
  13. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,480
    Location:
    Alaska
    Your family might use little water , but the next family could use water 5 times what you are doing...

    But yes having the company that did the plumbing at the start come back and do a bypass set up with 1" males or females would be the way to go.. in a way they should have done that at the start if treatment is normal in that area..
  14. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Most softeners either come with a bypass or one is available as an option. You indicated you presently have a loop so one option would be to have the plumbing company cut the loop open and install female brass adapters on each leg of the loop and then connect the loop together if you don't' have the softener there to connect to when they cut the loop. That would avoid installing a bypass that creates dead ends and resulting stagnate water once the softener is installed.
  15. hoffmand

    hoffmand New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I will have the softener there before I have a plumber come out. It won't cost much more to have him plumb the softener vs just crimping on the female adapters.

    If I'm going to use PVC for the pipes connecting the softener, I would want PVC adapters hooked on to the PEX rather than brass, right? My plan was to install a 1" ball valve before and after the softener's bypass valve. Then I'll try Gary's idea of using the Clack bypass to bleed in some hard water for a little while if the wife wants it.
  16. Skip Wolverton

    Skip Wolverton In the Trades

    Messages:
    167
    Location:
    Ocala, Fl
    What I told my customers is to try the soft water first and after about 2 weeks you don't like it then bleed some hard water into the soft. In 13 yrs I only had 1 that called me back after 2 weeks to bleed hard water into the soft.
  17. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Check you local codes--PVC is probably not approved. If you want to use plastic you will probably need to use CPVC. If you use plastic the female adapters have a tendency to crack unless you can find the special metal banded female adapters so it would be preferable to use brass female fittings for the crimped fittings and then a male plastic into the brass.
  18. hoffmand

    hoffmand New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    You're right, brass is probably the way to go. My new plan was to use 1" brass ball valves and 1" Falcon stainless lines, but according to their site those falcon lines are $35/ea. Wow.
  19. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,480
    Location:
    Alaska
    They are a bit spendy.. but there is a trade.. if unit that you get needs to be moved left or right a little in a few years the Falcon lines will let you do that.. if it is copper then where the unit is is where is stays..
  20. hoffmand

    hoffmand New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Turns out the manager of the company that plumbed my house is a good friend of my neighbor and they also carry softeners. I asked him to crimp on some fittings to my PEX and this is what I ended up with:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It's a 3cuft unit with an Autotrol 268/760 and 1-1/4" bypass valve. Our loop had the inlet/outlet opposite from the bypass so we had to add 2 extra elbows. If we could have moved the resin tank forward another 3-4" i could have just run the pipes in an "X", but we just didn't have room.

    The Autotrol is limited to 3 salt settings so at the lowest of 3.3lbs/cuft I get 44k of capacity from a "90k" softener. That would cover around 3 weeks of usage so I set the calendar regen to 14days if we don't hit the 3,600 gallons first. We have 0 iron on city water so i hope that's not too long between regens.

    As the existing hard water in the heater and plumbing gets flushed out I'll see how my wife adjusts to soft water.

    Thanks again for the help.

    and before anyone asks, the second power cord is for the Watts recirc pump i put on my hot water heater. I'll put its own outlet in the closet eventually.
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