DIY question - water softener and sodium filters

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by MegaMe, Feb 27, 2010.

  1. MegaMe

    MegaMe New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    midwest
    I am putting in a water softener myself. I am really looking forward to learning to sweating the copper pipes.

    My questions if anybody could help me understand.

    1.) Confused, yes or no - should I run soften water or unsoften water to the kitchen?

    2.) If I run soften water to the kitchen, do they make an inline filter for removing sodium I could put inline right before my pipes get to the kitchen? Can anybody recommend one?

    3.) If I put a whole house large sediment inline filter before a water softener, do I run the risk of reducing water pressure too much? Can anybody recommend an inline cartridge whole house filter?

    4.) If I do run Pex tubing, I read somewhere about it reducing circumference over long distances (or something like that), is this something to worry about?

    5.) Is there really a difference between water softeners? I am thinking about buy a Norton System Saver. http://www.walmart.com/catalog/allReviews.do?product_id=2216467


    Thank you guys!
  2. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,480
    Location:
    Alaska
    For starters, Norton, GE, Kenmore, Sears, Polar Star are all the same units, but a bit different on the package, but the same valve and controls.
    These units I have found to last for about 3-5 years, some more but are made to be replaced over major replairs.
    Fleck or Clack valve would be a better bet for long life and fewer problems down the road.
    RO or distiller is going to be the only way to pull sodium out of the water, nothing else will work.

    If you are on a well then a sediment filter is a good idea.. if you are going to do one, make it one of the ones called a Big Blue.. while any number of them might be white today, the filter that goes in them is 4X10 or 4X20 much better flow rate and less pressure drop.

    If you can run 1" great, but if running 3/4 then try and use as few elbows as possible, use bend supports when ever possible for turns.

    Some will say that the kitchen cold is to be untreated, others say treat the whole house... it is easier for whole house than taking off for the cold at the kitchen.

    The above are just some of my ideas and thoughts on what you have brought to the forum.
  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I hope it has a Clack WS-1 CS control valve. I send all my customers a Windows media file that runs about 10 minutes and it teaches anyone how to solder but... you don't have to solder to install a softener.

    1. You should run softened water everywhere except outside faucets if you can by pass them. You have to drink way too much water to get any benefit from the hardness minerals in water. The formula for the added sodium in softened water is 7.85 mg/l (roughly a quart) per grain per gallon. And if you come up with your figure and compare it to a slice of white bread, a 12 oz Diet Coke (30 mg), a glass of skim milk etc. etc., you'll usually find it is nowhere near the sodium in beverages or food.

    2. No filter, an RO or distiller only.

    3. Not circumference, the ID is smaller than teh same size copper and CPVC. I suggest Sharkbite fittings and 1" or 3/4" CPVC or 3/4" copper.

    4. I find that many big box store brand softeners start having expensive problems in 2-4 yrs. And usually there is only one place to get parts from for whatever they want to charge you for them. You'll do much better with a corredctly sized softener with a Clack WS-1CS control valve based on your family size and the number of bathrooms and the type of fixtures in them. A Clack WS-1CS is a better choice than the EE version.
  4. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I agree the Sharkbites are pricey but for a DIYer that has to buy a soldering kit for like $50-75, that's equal to more than enough Sharkbites.

    I say unless the water has been visibly dirty due to 'sediment' particles, a prefilter will cause the softener more harm than good because guys do not replace the cartridge when they should based on pressure drop across the filter. That can prevent adequate backwashing of the resin bed and that leads to bad resin and hard water.
  6. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    I agree on the sediment filter. They often cause more issues than they solve.
  7. MegaMe

    MegaMe New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    midwest
    I have two lines I need to rerun because my outside faucets are connected to the main cold line in the house that run to all of the inside faucets.

    So I was thinking Pex for those two line and one of them is quite the distance.

    But for everything else I was thinking copper. My father has all of the tools I would need for sweating.

    My water is nice city water in Omaha, Nebraska, so I guess I really don't need a sediment cartridge filter. I read somewhere they make the water softener last longer and I figured if I am going to do it, might as well do it right.

    I bought a water testing kit at Lowes so I can figure out how hard my water is.

    I guess I will run soften water to the kitchen and then someday add a RO system when I can afford it.
  8. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,053
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    I'm in Omaha as well and have never heard or thought of using a sediment filter.

    I have softened water to my kitchen sink, which is good for washing, and also good for the coffee maker to keep it from getting limed up. Since it was easy to do from the basement, I did run a hard water line to my refrigerator for the ice maker and water dispenser. It's really not a big deal either way.

    One thing that, in my opinion, does help a softener last longer is watching out for thermal expansion. I had that problem for years but didn't know it, and every 2 years or so had to rebuild my water softener control valve. Since I had an expansion tank put in, the softener has worked great without any repairs needed. (There are a lot of posts here on thermal expansion - might want to do a quick search on this to learn more about it.)
  9. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,480
    Location:
    Alaska
    Sediment filters are more for Well water.. and not for city water unless the city has a very old and poor piping system.

    One way around the Thermal expansion is to put a check valve or back flow proventor just after the softener and the heated water from the water heater will not push back through the softener resin.
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