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  1. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,309
    Location:
    Maine
    We talk about salt efficiency and water efficiency a lot on this forum. Nobody wants to spend more money than they have too, or negatively impact the environment either. In many areas of the country water use and conservation are big issues. Still, hard water is difficult to live with for a variety of reasons so folks install equipment to take care of their problems. There is a science to ion exchange treatment and though I could type half a book here I think that this link is a better place to start http://www.watertreatmentguide.com/achieving_brine_efficiency_in_softening.htm

    After reading through that remember that true efficiency starts with reducing water use. Low flow shower heads. Flow restrictors on faucets and 1.6 lpf toilets all do their part in reducing water consumption. Remember that any softener is sized according to a formula that takes into account the number of users in the home and the average amount of water they use. ( except for easy water and zeta rod which only take into account how much money is in your bank account ) If we can reduce that consumption, we can use smaller equipment, less salt and less water. Habits also need to be changed. 20 minute showers times 3 people in the home can use as much as 300 gallons of water with 5gpm shower heads. Even with 2 gpm heads the use is still 120 gallons. One of the dumbest things the industry has ever pitched is these room sized showers with multiple heads and rain showers with lights and music. It's a shower. Get in and get out. Make sure hose bibs and irrigation equipment are not on the softener either. Americans tend to not like having to make lifestyle changes but the real key to efficiency is always going to be to reduce use as much as possible.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  2. Wally107

    Wally107 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Dutchess County, NY
    Tom - well put.

    This guide is a "must read" for anyone new to the WWS (World of Water Softeners).

    Thanx.
  3. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,053
    Location:
    Omaha, NE

    Tom - Excellent post!

    We seem to think clean water is an inexhaustible resource that we can squander without thinking about it, but it's not. I cringe every time a homeowner posts a question about how to plumb a multi-showerhead setup, usually with a gentle rain head on the ceiling.

    I love it - "It's a shower - get in and get out!"
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,185
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Nice read and thanks for posting it. I am no expert in the field, just a user and I still have questions. Let me preface that my softener has fixed timing via cams and no metering. In my quest to gain efficiency, I regen about half of the capacity. I have a separate birm iron filter.

    It has always puzzled me why the first backwash stage is as long as it is. The article says the first backwash cleans the resin bed but I fail to understand how. I can see where it shakes up the bed, expanding it into the freeboard area for the ion exchange that follows, but how can it clean with plain hard water? IMHO, it mostly squanders unused capacity by freeing sodium to the drain and exchanging it for hardness. It also wastes water.
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,185
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    For some of us, it is. I'm not a civil libertarian but it irks me when uber conservative do-gooders try to tell me how to use the water. None of the water I use goes to waste. Mother nature recycles every drop of it.
  6. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,309
    Location:
    Maine
    Ah.....no, not always. Before mankind started dumping things into the ground and the atmosphere the cycle of water pretty much did what you expect, but now thanks to airborne pollutants and ground pollutants water does not always get perfectly cleaned anymore. There are chemicals that nature can not handle. We are fortunate to live in areas with vast supplies of clean potable water. Maine sits on an aquifer that has been described as the Saudi Arabia of water but there are many other areas in the world that are not so fortunate. In years to come, clean water will become a major commodity world wide.
  7. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,053
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    In my area, we have the Ogallala Aquifer. Due to irrigation, its level has been consistently dropping.

    We are next to the Missouri River, and folks here think there will never be a water shortage due to that.
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    There are a few errors in that article and no mention of larger than a 1.0 cuft softener.

    And remember that it is only dealing with efficiencies but for correct sizing, you must also get into the peak demand gpm of the household and the softener's constant service flow rating (SFR).
  9. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,309
    Location:
    Maine
    Did anybody here expect anything else? LOL
    The article is direct data from Pentair, but what would they know about water treatment LOL
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  10. Wally107

    Wally107 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Dutchess County, NY
    For those of us just getting started, please point them out, so we get the straight skinny.

    And I said "must read"...not 'only' read.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  11. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I think you are confused.The Watertreatment Guide is done by Applied Membranes. You can see that at your link.

    I can't find any mention of Applied Membranes at Pentair's web site so where do you find a link between the two? Applied Membranes is an old RO company. Do you have a link showing they are part of Pentair?

    BTW, Pentair is nothing more than a holding company that over the past 15-20 years has bought many water related companies, and to my knowledge, they do not manufacture anything.
  12. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,309
    Location:
    Maine
    What the hell does it matter? The information there is valid and useful. When you spend your life nit picking what do you end up with other than a basket full of nits?
  13. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    746
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    Thank you Tom. That article was very educational to some of us. The testing to achieve the results had to take hours even though some will say that their are unsubstantiated errors, but not list any. Please share any article that will educate, no matter who wrote it or presented it.
  14. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,309
    Location:
    Maine
    Not only that page but if you start clicking links there is a wealth of REAL and documented information there from RO to UV and most of the new technologies. There is a very good article of Pyrolox also

    I'm here to pass along knowledge and I don't give a damn who's feelings get hurt.
  15. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,185
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Ja, I read it but still don't understand how it works. I have an iron filter with a micronizer, precipitation tank, and from what my water guy tells me, pumicite media. I know it removes lots of iron based on what comes out during the backwash but still get a little iron fouling of my softener resin and iron staining of my white tile grout. Would rebedding with Pyrolox be an option and would I have to change the backwash flow rate?
  16. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,309
    Location:
    Maine
    Pyrolox can only remove 10 mg/l of iron. How much iron are you dealing with?

    You loose between 10 and 15% of the media a year so how long since the unit has been serviced?

    Pyrolox needs to be backwashed daily or eveningly

    Chlorination helps the efficiency of Pyrolox so you might want to consider chlorine injection

    Having water test results would help. Both before and after filtration
  17. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,185
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    12 year old iron filter rebedded two years ago. New pump this year to improve pressure/GPM/aeration/backwash. Don't recall the numbers from the water tests but lots of iron. A pail of unfiltered water left overnight looks like I mopped up a slaughterhouse. Water let to sit after filtration stays clear yet get iron stains on the grout. RO pre-filters discolour. Using RO water in my coffeemaker, there is a stained high water mark. My water guy says it can only do so much.
  18. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,309
    Location:
    Maine
    Your water guy is probably right. We have bad iron here as well and sometimes it's just so bad that the cost of treatment is beyond the ability to pay for and maintain it.
  19. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Yes it's a good article and proves what I've been saying for years while many have disagreed with me anywhere I've gotten into salt efficiency.

    The article says: "When all available exchange sites are converted from sodium to hardness, the softener is exhausted and needs to be regenerated.". In the context of salt efficiency you never allow all the resin to be exhausted, nor do you ever allow all of the K of capacity you programed the softener for to be totally exhausted, nor any softener to get to total bed exhaustion.

    The article says: "Regeneration is achieved by exposing the ion exchange resin to a brine solution. Sodium chloride is typically used, although potassium chloride may also be used. (We will focus on sodium chloride solutions although the same process takes place when a potassium chloride brine solution is used.)". Without mentioning that usually the use of potassium chloride, and especially when using high salt efficiency settings, you must use more potassium, up to 30% more at times because potassium is not as efficient as sodium chloride because all (residential) softening resin is made in the sodium form, there are no potassium form resins.

    The article says: "The hardness ions removed from the resin, along with some excess sodium and chloride ions, are sent to the drain.". Making it look as if some of the chloride ions are not sent to drain. All chloride ions are sent to drain because none are used to remove hardness etc., only some of the sodium or potassium ions are used to removed hardness, iron, manganese etc. from the resin.

    The article says: "There are many ways to optimize the brine and water efficiency of a softener system through system design and operation. Factors affecting brine efficiency include salt dose, brine flow rate, brine flow direction, reserve setting, and others as discussed in this paper.". Actually for salt efficiency, there is only one way, that is to calculate only the K of capacity needed between regenerations and then use the amount of salt required to regenerate that K of capacity using a salt efficiency setting to do it. That does not require changes to the injector etc. because they are dictated by the volume and type of resin being used and the type of regeneration; upflow (counter current) or the normal softener configuration, down flow (co-current) regeneration. IMO attempting to achieve water efficiency by micro managing with injectors etc. is above most if not all dealers' abilities and certainly their customers' ability. I achieved water efficiency by not using factory default timed settings for the various cycle positions of a regeneration. I shortened them.That was based on the size of the softener and especially the raw water quality.

    The article uses a 1.0 cuft softener as an example and does not get into using a larger softener and a high salt efficiency setting.

    The article says: "Variable reserve..... This system increases and decreases the reserve capacity as required, helping to avoid both wasting salt and running out of soft water by optimizing reserve capacity.". I disagree with the "wasting salt" part due to having a 24 hr reserve capacity. That's like saying the gas left in the tank when you refuel is wasted. Variable reserve prevents running out of soft water before a regeneration and IMO has nothing to do with saving salt unless it is the salt used to regenerate resin fully after exhausting the bed, which is 2 manual regenerations at the maximum salt dose of 15lbs/cuft of resin. That is truly wasted salt becasue the softener was not sized correctly or programmed correctly.

    The article says: "The optimal solution is a twin tank system which provides continuous soft water yet only regenerates when the softener capacity is fully used. In a twin tank system, one tank is online and producing soft water while the other one is regenerated and then waits offline, fully regenerated. When online tank capacity is reached, the offline tank is brought online and the depleted tank is taken offline and regenerated. Because regeneration can occur as soon as the capacity of the system is met, no reserve is required.". They do not mention that twins are set up for the same salt efficiency as the same size two tank softener and... to regenerate one tank of a twin tank type softener, they use capacity to do that and that requires salt use and... you lose SFR when a tank is regenerated while you are using water or use water during its regeneration. Also, they make it sound as if you have 30K/cuft of resin and you don't because that is the poorest salt efficiency. So the programmed capacity is used based on a number of gallons used but, a regeneration of one tank uses capacity which uses salt as a regular softener uses salt to create a reserve.

    I haven't listed all the things I see as needed to be said or clarified to improve the accuracy of the article. One is upflow counter current brining and their statements. IMO upflow should only be used in commercial/industrial applications where less than 1 gpg of hardness breakthrough (leakage) is required. Any regular industry standard down flow co-current regenerated softener can keep hardness leakage to under 1 gpg if it is sized correctly for the peak demand of the household and salt efficiency.
  20. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    It matters when you say it was from Pentair that has Fleck, that makes softener control valves, and it wasn't from Pentair.
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