3 companies came to do tests, please advise on which softener

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by dwassner, May 25, 2012.

  1. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    Location:
    Ontario California
    You would readjust the grains to match the actual hardness, not the compensated hardness. As an industry, and for the environment, iron over even a grain or two should be eliminated prior to the softener. Water softeners do an excellent job of iron removal, but it is also a very inefficient way of doing it.
  2. dwassner

    dwassner New Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    NEW YORK
    Well I suppose I should look into the birm filters unless there is a better more cost efficient solution. i was going to go with a 2.5 cu ft unit despite what some have told me, just for reassurance since I am confident we will be having more kids, and if anything changes with the well. If I plan on going with an iron remover I will have the extra capacity anyways.

    And just when I thought I was done doing hours of research...
  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I think you mean you are going to do something to be able to find your peak demand flow rate gpm... there is no test you can do that will give you that info; unless with whatever fixtures running at the same time you can collect the water and add up the total gpm, that won't happen. Shower heads flow at 2.5 gpm up to 80 psi, toilets like 1.5, sinks like 2.2, tubs are usually wide open unless there is an anti-scald mixing valve. Washing machines (dish and clothes) 3-4 gpm (yes even a stingy front loader high efficiency washer still fills at that gpm). Count all those that you usually use at the same time and call the total your peak demand gpm.

    And unless you have the ability to break into the line from your well (before the pressure tank; at the well is best by lifting the submersible pump a few feet to get to the top of the drop pipe) and install a valve, pressure gauge and flow gpm meter, do not use someone's idea of how to measure the output of your well pump or use its gpm rating off a pump chart.

    My 20 years of experience with servicing the 5600 and the old brass 2500 or newer plastic 2510 (which I've never had to service), the 2510 should outlast the 5600. And probably the 7000. As we see from time to time in other threads, Dittohead mentions changes being done on the 7000, but not the other two valves. Plus it is serious overkill for your size softener requirement; but it is less money than a 2510, but it's more than a 5600.

    And if you are still thinking of adding a Birm filter later, then you should be buying it now and adding a softener later.
  4. dwassner

    dwassner New Member

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    48
    Location:
    NEW YORK
    how do I size a birm filter? where can I go to understand how they work, how long they last, etc... I didnt find much on this site or when I googled it.
  5. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,792
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Birm filters are typically sized for flow more so than volume. "Volume" is adjusted by the backwash frequency. Since no chemicals, salts, etc, only water is used, the regeneration frequency is not environmentaly as high of a concern as softeners are as the "waste" is only water with precipitated iron.

    As to the comments that I have not said anything about changes to the 5600, and 2510, why? Is it really necessary to continue this? How many times can I say the 5600, 2510, and 7000 are all exceptional valves. The 7000 being the highest flowing, highest backwashing, and it has some other advantages that people who are not OEM's or direct distributors would not understand. The 5600 has been avolving for over 30 years, it has had many changes, all for the good. Little problems that arise, Fleck engineers look at it, and make an improvement to lessen the possibility of it happening in the future. The 2510 has never been changed? Really? I have already posted bulletins regarding the changes. Does it matter? Every Fleck valve is continually being changed, that is why the valves are one of the best in the world. Even the smallest problem (breaking collars 2510, piston seal and spacer tolerance issues, 2510, piston drive motor change from ac to dc drive, 2510, timer drive motor washer change, 2510, slip ring, 2510, etc...). How is changing a valve over the course of a decade, or three indicaitave of a product being bad. I think Ford, Toyota, Chevy, do the same thing with their products. In order to remain the best, continual imporvements are necessary.

    1 more time, the 7000SXT is Flecks premiere, high flow, highly programmable, control valve that has some unique advantages to the other valves. The 2510 was my favorite valve prior to the 7000 and still remains my #2 valve, until I get a year with the 5800 to see how it is going to work out. The 5600 is the old go to valve from Fleck, the original residential plastic valve that all other valves manufacturers are compared too, and the best selling valve ever.

    By using a 7000 valve, you will rarely need to worry about the possibility of having a flow limiting issue caused by the control valve should a large house use every faucet, toilet, shower etc, once a year at Christmas time when the house has 10 guests in it. It is also priced comparably to the other valves. Its only real disadvantage is that it is larger. The bypass is a full port 1-1/4", so the appearance is huge, but the odd claims of it being a foot or more longer off the back are based in fantasy land. Please see the picture below, it is a simple comparison of a 5600 and a 7000 with meters, and bypass, and plumbing connectors attached. The actual depth off the back is within an inch, the 7000 does protrude off the front more, but so what, that does not affect how close it can be installed to a wall. You can remove a few inches off of the 5600 and the 2510 by going to the electronic turbine meter, and approximately 1 more inch by using the S.S. meter. I am still trying to figure out the 12-14 inches. 5600 and 7000 size.jpg

    Hope this information is helpful, even though it has nothing to do with the original post.
  6. dwassner

    dwassner New Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    NEW YORK
    I like the photo, thanks. After doing some searching on brim filters I have a few questions:
    -I am seeing some units with very low gpm flow rates, like 5 gpm, is this for real? It seems pretty low.
    -how often does the brim need to be changed? regenerated/backwasher/ etc...?
    -my well is 308 ft, I read that deeper wells will not have enough dissolved oxygen, can I have a water test done to determine this?

    Considering now a brim and possibly an air injector, I would almost rather just stick with the softener doing the removal. Besides efficiency loss and having to use Iron Out, is there any reason to spend the extra money on the equipment?
  7. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Ontario California
    Birm has a recommended flow rate. The company that is the primary distributor is the most conservative company when it comes to media flow ratings. We use their data to make our system designs and specification sheets, but... most people greatly exceed the manufacturers numbers. I am showing that a 2 cubic foot birm system will remove iron at a flow rate up to 3.9 GPM. As you can see, this is a little tough to design equipment around, so regionally, people use their own numbers to determine the flow rate based on many factors. Mostly through experimentation and trial and error or pilot testing.
    Here is link to Birm, it has a good amount of information and you can see how we determine our flow parameters.
    http://www.clackcorp.com/downloads/ion_exchange_resin_and_filter_media/birm_2350.pdf

    You can use a softener to remove iron, anything above 2 PPM is rarely recommended, and it is a highly inefficient, but fairly inexpensive way of removing iron. I know many companies do it and sell on it, in order to reduce the up front costs. This is short sited, and is not good for our industry which has been under attack for 30+ years because we have been promoting inefficient ways of treating water.
  8. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    Location:
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    I never recommend removing iron with a softener to my customers because I wind up having to service them when they forget to maintain them and that inevitably ends up in an argument as to who is to blame yadda yadda yadda with me of course always giving in and eating the service call. Still, if you are willing to do the regular maintenance (iron out in the brine tank) it will remove iron although you don't get something for nothing. If I were an internet dealer however I'm sure I would happily sell all the equipment that I could
  9. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,792
    Location:
    Ontario California
    It is easy to blame someone else, or try to ditch it off on another company when you dont have a warehouse, license, insurance, or employees. When you are the company doing the work, driving to the house or business, etc... you have a different perspective. Not only that, but it is also a question of doing it right and offering the proper equipment. If iron can be removed easily, efficiently, and inexpensively, and it is better for our industry and the environment, why wouldnt it at least be offered and explained properly. The ultimate decision is up to the home owner, but without the choice...
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    As to you not saying anything about the changes ... Why? Nobody but you knows why, but my comment is a true statement.

    I don't know that either and I think only you know. BTW, I do recall you repeatedly saying the 7000 is the best of those three. Later you mention this is like Ford, Chevy and Toyota, but you didn't say which was best like you do with those three valves.

    And as you know that only has to do with the size of the softener it is being used on. You talk here as if it is important and a benefit to someone with a 1.5' or say up to a 3 cuft softener.

    My guess is that includes the OP, Dwassner. So again, I odn't know why it is being mentioned.

    I'd like to think that after 30 years they'd get it right but... the 7000 is only 10 yrs old now. So I guess you are saying there is another 20 yrs of tweaking needed to get it to where the 5600 is.

    I don't think I said never changed but please, direct me to one of those posts because I don't recall seeing any but, in regards to the OPs' questions, what good does that do them?

    You haven't seen me say it was bad, who said fixing problem parts was bad?

    I hope it's the last time. Come on Alan, you know it and I know it, the 7000 was a spur of the moment design meant to compete with the Clack WS line of valves and made in 1.25 porting to out do the 1" Clack, but not the 1.25" Clack. AND NOW.. the 5800 is coming, to compete with the Clack WS line of valves. LOL Maybe this time huh.

    "a flow limiting issue caused by 10 guests...." what are you talking about? there are still the same number of fixtures in the house and with 10 people I suspect there is a line but , they can;t use anymore water than the softener should have been sized to treat; regardless of what control valve is on it. Ya know, 2-3 showers running and the half bath toilet being flushed and the washing machine going into fill or rinse. So just what is it that would cause your flow limiting issue because of the number of guests?

    I did, and the camera wasn't lined up very well and of course you used the mechanical meter on the 5600. How about with the 7000 elbows you suggest and the turbine meter on the 5600 but...

    you keep saying the one disadvantage to the 7000 is it is huge, and people can use the vertical elbows to reduce the overhang and now you don't show any overhang.... Which is it?
  11. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Many Years ago I got sucked into the sales pitch from the supply house guy regarding the ability of their softener to remove quantities of iron and being in an area where EVERYBODY has an iron issue I eagerly began selling and installing and pushing equipment to it's limit thinking I was doing the customer a big favor and truthfully, most were never a problem (Fleck heads) but every once in awhile a customer would either neglect the maintenance or lie about the maintenance and try to blame equipment malfunction or failure on us. When you are a local company, in a town where everybody knows you, it's real, real bad business to argue with customers so......we ate the service and sometimes even the equipment so....... I learned my lesson. Even iron down around 1 to 2 ppm will eventually cause problems if not regularly removed from the bed and a lot of customers, even well meaning ones either forget about or neglect the service for so long that eventually something fails and we get called. So now, older and wiser (rather than older and stubborn) we don't treat iron with a softener. Now, anyone reading here that wants to save a few bucks and is fastidious about keeping up with their equipment is more than welcome to buy it from someone else, install it themselves and remove iron and hardness to their hearts content.
  12. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Pushing a softener to its limits on water with iron in it was your mistake. You should have eaten the service and taken them back because of that mistake but, that isn't the lesson you say you learned.,

    You say the lesson was to not use a softener to remove iron.

    When I received a call that there was a problem, which was very rare (I must have had better customers than a plumber), I would not take responsibility for not maintaining the softener as I had told them to and was in the instructions they received from me in email.

    The same when I got a call from a local customer where I had installed the softener. But then I wasn't pushing the softeners to the limit as you've said you did. And you didn't do any troubleshooting over the phone before going out to the customer as I did. I started not going out without troubleshooting first after abut my first year as a dealer.

    I did it to save expenses and a lot of drive time and because no local dealers or plumbers, drillers etc. did it. People loved it, and still do; no service call charge, no service call to interrupt their day and they found out what was causing their problem, even if it was their fault, and they learned how to prevent it happening again but more importantly, how to service their own softener!! And they really loved that. And then word of mouth got me a very good reputation which reduced my expenses even more but, the biggest benefit was that the people that called me wanted to talk to me about a problem or to buy new equipment from me. And that is the biggest benefit.
  13. dwassner

    dwassner New Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    NEW YORK
    How often does the iron out have to be added? I am very confident that I can stay on top of the schedule for it. My concern is also adding the air injector. I really really don't want to purchase the wrong set up, and I want to do this right. But, If it is within financial reason to add a separate iron filtration unit to the system I will. After reading the link above there is a good list of requirements. Can the pH levels in the well change? Or presence or sulfur? The Birm looks like a really great route to go if the conditions are right.

    How would I even go about getting a clack ws-1? Seems like it is worth looking into
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  14. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    3,078
    Location:
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    You can get salt with iron-out already in it which is a little more expensive but you don't have to think about maintenance or you can add some every couple months. Birm is probably your best option and yes, ph levels can change, sulfer maybe but not common. You can only get Clack products from Clack dealers and not online anymore.
  15. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,792
    Location:
    Ontario California
    WS1 is a dealer item only, contractually it must be installed by the company that sells it and it is not supposed to be sold or priced online. Great valve, but the Fleck line is basically as good. Birm has a bad rap, but this is usually due to imporper application. The media is fairly inexpensive to replace, works most of the time, and loves air injection for the oxidation assistance.

    You can add Birm later before the softener if that is what your budget requires, you can also add air injection later if it is necessary to get full iron removal from the water through birm. I have a test method to determine the feasibility of manganese dioxide based medias somewhre in my computer, if I can find it before the weekend I will post it. It is a simple test to deteminr if oxidizing agents are needed prior to these iron removal medias.

    Over 10 years ago I installed a birm system on a well in Alaska with 28 ppm of iron with an air injector, it is still working great. This is not recommended, but it shows that the medias ratings are almost always highly conservative to allow for unknown variances in water conditions that could affect the performance of the medias.

    Iron out. Tom said it perfectly. If a softener is going to be used for iron removal, the salt with iron out in it is a great product.
  16. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    How often to mix up a 1/4 cup to a 1/2 cup of Iron Out in 2 gallons of water and pour it down into the water in the salt tank varies based on the amount of water used between regenerations and the amount of iron in the water but... Usually that length of time is once every 4-6 weeks. And when you do that, you schedule/do a manual regeneration for later that night. That is all but guaranteed to work every time.

    Using the salt with IO capsules in it is not a good way to do it, nor is pouring some IO in with the salt. Plus it is more expensive than buying a 5 lb container of it. IO in the salt or poured into the salt as you add it, weakens while sitting in the tank while it waits to be used.

    Air injection usually causes problems like blocking the plumbing form the point just past the injector to the usually required retention tank so the air/oxygen has time to oxidize the iron etc. in the water. And if you are going to use air injection, you don't have to use Birm. Filter ag mineral or some other dirt collecting mineral can be used but, if you aren't too sure the air will oxidize all the iron etc., then use Birm but, you can't have any H2S gas (sulfur) in the water.

    Birm doesn't always work well, neither does air injection.

    I've treat a lot of well water and pH rarely changes in well water and if you are going to have H2S, it is there when the well is drilled but in some cases it may show up as a well ages but that is rare. IRB can show up when the well is drilled or later and usually depends on how much iron is in the water and if it does the iron content can vary from one test to another.

    As others have said, you can not get a Clack control valve over the internet but, the Clack is a much better valve than any Fleck. That may change with the introduction of the Fleck 5800 but, it too will not be sold over the internet. SO yer as they say, screwed.

    And all you DIYers wanting a Clack WS-1 or Fleck 5800, y'all should call, email and fax those companies repeatedly, for the next few years, and tell them you disagree with their decision.
  17. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    Which will make no difference whatsoever
  18. dwassner

    dwassner New Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    NEW YORK
    I just ordered a 7000SXT with a 2.5 cu ft resin bed. This was getting stressful, and I want to get this done sooner than later. Hopefully my last question for a while: I ordered the connection as a 1" Noryl. The selection was 3/4", 1", 1.25", and 1.5". I can change this before it is processed and shipped. Any reason to go with a different size?

    Thanks again all for the crash course. Please stay tuned for future questions...
  19. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    order the size that matches your plumbing.
  20. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk New Member

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    Location:
    Alaska
    Agreed... if your house plumbing is 3/4", order 3/4". When I ordered mine, they were out of 3/4" fittings, so I went with 1" and just bought some PVC fittings and adapted it down. Not as neat, but it works just fine.
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