I need help choosing new water softener

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by stems 2000, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. stems 2000

    stems 2000 New Member

    I need a new water softener. Just wondered if anyone could help me out. I want either Kinetico Mach 2060 seriers or whirlpool (LOWE's) .I wonder if you are better to go cheap or pay ALOT more from start. Are the ones you can get from Lowe's ok?? Or are they not worth buying?? Have you heard anything bad about Kinetico?? Thanks for any help
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    What else do you want to know about Kinetico, other than that they are overpriced and overhyped?
  3. get a FLECK or AUTOTROL

    Kenectico is not junk but their are not many
    that want to wrok on them

    STAY away from LOWES and whatever that they sell....
    the Whirlpools are junk and are basically throw away units
    (after 3-5 years)

    If you want something to last a while
    check out an Autotrol type or a Fleck

  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The Whirlpool, GE, North Star, Morton Salt and Kenmore softeners are basically all the same. They have interchangeable parts except the GE uses a different motor. That's because they are all built by the same company, Ecowater. Ecowater dealers have the same style control valve but better electronics; meaning more features. The big box store brands last 2-6 years in average without needing service and finding someone to work on them is difficult. And their repair parts prices are fairly high.

    Kinetico has some good equipment but it is proprietary, meaning only those dealers can get parts for them. The Kinetico brand is only on their twin tank immediate regenerated models. Some of them are upflow service and require a prefilter because of that and their centuries old water powered control valve and all its teeny tiny gears. That prefilter increases the cost and pressure loss.

    Upflow service means there is no backwash being done during regeneration. Kinetico sells their low salt use but doesn't mention the many more regenerations the smaller tanks require. In many cases more regenerations mean more total water and salt use than regular softeners use.

    Another thing, the smaller models use packed bed tanks and you get water through both tanks until one tank goes into regeneration, which can be very soon after the last regeneration (every 45 minutes) and then, you don't get the same flow rate from the softener because you only get water out of one of the quite small tanks. That causes much higher SFR (service flow rate) gpm through the resin bed than the resin manufacturer suggests. And when tha thappens. it causes the softener to not be able to remove al the hardness in the water. That's called leakage. Plus, you share water use with the tank that is in regeneration which reduces your water pressure and thereby flow to your fixtures. Some of that applies to all twin tnak softeners.

    If you do not have a need for 24/7 softened water, meaning there is no time during the night for a regular softener to regenerate without you using water, then you don't need a twin tank type of softener or their added expense.

    If you need a twin tank model, look at the Fleck 9000, 9100 or TwinFlo 100E models and buy over the internet and save maybe $1000 to $2000. And an additional benefit is that when you need service any local dealer can service them.

    Otherwise, I suggest a correctly sized softener using a Clack WS-1 control valve. They are the easiest to repair and a DIYer's dream because you can totally rebuild it by changing all of its 4 parts in less than 30 minutes. That's the first time and once you've done it, you can do it in half that time. They have variable reserve and soft water brine refill and inexpensive parts while any local or internet dealer selling Fleck or Autotrol can get parts for it.
  5. rdtompki

    rdtompki New Member

    Three years ago I bought a softener, filter and uv sanitizer from Ohio Pure Water Co. via the internet. The entire equipment setup was less than what some salesmen were asking for overhyped water softeners. First rate service, no sales tax, no shipping. Equipment used Fleck valves and has worked flawlessly. Check them out on the web .
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    My wholesaler's counterman's brother's experience with a "salesman" is probably typical. He purchased a water softener, (wholesale cost $450-$600), for $5,500 installed. No separate hard water to the outside faucet, but they did not charge for installation or sales tax. Any reputable plumber would have done the same job for about $1,000. The only difference would be that the customer would not have a "nationally advertised" brand name on the unit.
  7. snickram

    snickram New Member

    Overpriced, possibly?? Overhyped, not at all.. A new Kinetico softener mach 2060 is priced around $2500 to $3000 bucks.. With softeners you tend to get what you pay for.. Get a cheapo from Lowes and it might perform well, but most likely it will crap out after a few years..
    I've installed thousands of softeners and specialized in Kinetico.. I've removed older K-60's that were 15 to 30 years old.. Purchase a new Kinetico and you'll get a ten year warranty and the best system on the planet. The softener company I worked for sold Kinetico and the competitors electrics and believe me there is a difference. I love LOVE working on Kinetico's because they are easy. And if Kinetico's are overhyped then why are these used units still selling for so much? Please let me know where I can get a K-60 or older kinetico unit because I'd gladly rebuild it..
  8. We recently replaced an old water softener with a $2,200 WaterCare Elan-T water softener and conditioner system that features a charcoal odor-and-taste pre-filter, metered regeneration, etc. that uses "half the water and half the salt".
    It has improved our water (crystal clear with no odor or aftertaste) and ice so much that we have stopped buying bottled water for the first time in more than 30 years. I don't know anything about the various system choices, but we're very happy with this one. I'm sure that there are better systems out there for more money, but this one seems to be doing extremely well and worth the price difference over the big box stuff. (We bought it through an area WaterCare dealer that we've dealt with for more than 30 years.)
  9. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Yes way overpriced for what they are. They use the same tanks and resins all of us do. I know very well what I pay for the equipment I sell and the only difference in price is for the control valve and the labor and plant costs to build it. And there is no valve that makes up a $2000 to $2500 difference in the retail price of the softener. Now true I sell online, so some of the difference would be used up by overhead for a local dealer comparison but still, Kinetico is higher priced than most independent and franchised dealers like Culligan, Water-Right, Water Care, General Ionics etc. etc.. It's always HYPE that sells the higher priced whatever..

    Overhyped... absolutely. Otherwise they couldn't be sold. All the control valve is plastic and water powered with the associated cost of the many small and close tolerance gears to get it to work, it is much less expensive than a other valves with motors and circuit boards yet they cost the consumer much less.

    I've sold, installed and serviced many thousands too and I've seen many softeners and filters using Autotrol and Fleck control valves last 15-25 years. Culligan too and most people don't know it but all Culligan valves for their first 45-50 years in business were made by Fleck. But listening to the Kietico company line type salesmen or dealers, you'd think only KINETICO lasts that long. Fact is there are thousands more of the rest than there is of Kinetico valves.

    More HYPE!!! and anyone paying that much for a softener SHOULD have a longer warranty (Autotrol, Clack and Fleck is 5 years) BUT, if Kinetico is so good and last so long, why not a LONGER warranty?

    Easy maybe to replace a pawl or two but... for the owner NOT! You can't change hardness etc. settings without tearing the valve apart and changing discs etc.!

    Because people are misinformed by Kinetico sales HYPE and untrue claims about and comparisons to other equipment. An example is Andy Christensen's claims and comparisons.
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    That's like saying a Ford pickup is more efficient than a Chevy pickup!

    That is a flatly untrue claim with no definition of the type of efficiency but... the usual Kinetico claim is more efficient salt and water use but.... IF both softeners are using the same size tank and the same volume of the same type resin, they will have the same theoretical efficiencies; it does not matter what control valve is used.

    Andy and other Kinetico sales people say something like their softener will use like 1.8 lbs and 35 gallons of water to regenerate and that a regeneration can be done every 45 minutes. That is all true. And that is where they stop.

    Yet any thinking kinda person should think if not ask... then how often will one regenerate in MY home? AND! how much salt and water will be used over a week?

    Andy, instead of making another unsubstantiated claim, identify them so we can discuss them?

    Water power, centuries old technology, in the age of electronics; especially computer technology.

    There you go again with another unsubstantiated claim! BTW, how do your Kinetico customers measure a half grain per gallon of hardness!!

    Also, I size all my softeners for 0 gpg leakage and have been doing so for years. I send a test kit with each one and I don't hear of the softeners failing to do that, and as you know they are two tank type softeners; what you call "single tank" softeners. BTW, why do you do that, because you don't know what the industry calls them or is it just to be different? Or is it a Kinetico thing? It's like you calling a salt or brine tank a "salt drum".
  11. Kinectico is expensive and overhyped ....

    I agree with Gary on this....

    Kinectico is too hard to fool with and actually falls
    into the same category as Cullligan.....

    you simply cannot get culligan parts around here
    the only ones tha t will work on culligan in this area is
    culligan.... the culligan man has you at his mercy

    I personally have at the very least 50 customers that wont let the Culligan Man back in their home...
    they screw you when you buy the unit then they gouge you any time it needs service...

    .presently it costs about 117 to get the Culligan man to walk in your door then about another 69 bucks
    to actually touch your two year old cullligan unit.

    Basically Kinnectico has you at their mercy too

    every week you can find about a half a dozen adds in the
    local papers for people wanting someone to just take their culligan water softener off their hands for free and Kinnectico units too ....

    just make the rest of the payments on the damn thing.....

    I dont like a product that is overpriced and you have limited options for people willing to service the unit....down the road..

    The CLACK has them all beat.
  12. chel_in_IL

    chel_in_IL New Member

    Northern IL (bbrrrr!!!)
    I have a used Culligan unit in my house - somehow I jammed a gear which broke the little motor that drives the gears when I tried to manually regenerate the system. I called the local Culligan dealer, and they charged me about $70 for the service call and a new motor. I thought it was pretty reasonable, but YMMV with whatever service company you call for whatever brand water softener you own. (In contrast, my fiance' paid around $250 for another water softener company to repair his softener, and it still didn't work right after that. He ended up repairing it himself after having this company out three times.)

    I owned a Kinetico in my last home, which I sold with the house when I moved. Was it worth th $2500? Looking back, it was overpriced even tho it worked fine for the 5 years I was there. I wouldn't purchase another one, just because of the cost, but I'd buy a used one at a good price. ;)

    Here's a place that both my brother and a friend have purchased water softeners from, and have had very good luck with them. It's more than just a "name" on a softener, it's the sum of the parts that make it a good system.

  13. Zozzie

    Zozzie New Member

  14. Johnvickib

    Johnvickib New Member

    West Texas
    I am planning on getting a water softener soon. I live in West Texas (Midland) and the water is terrible, the city of Midland said you can set your water softener for 25 gpg but their water report says it gets between 35-40 gpg on occasion. I am going to make sure I get an good unit with a Fleck valve but can anyone tell me the improvements that I will notice when the change is made from hard water to soft. I know the lines will have to purge for a while but I never hear about the things people notice for the first couple of months, (spots gone or reduced, bath tub ring gone or reduced, softer skin, etc). I would like to surprise my wife and kids and just see what they say when they notice the difference but I would like to hear what others have niticed too. I guess our water is more on the extreme as far as hard water goes.
  15. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Flatly not true, and here is why.

    All cycle positions of a regeneration are adjustable on both the 9000 and 9100 in either the mechanical or SE (electronic) versions.

    The length of time of each cycle position (backwash, brine draw, brine refill, rapid rinse and final rinse) is set based on the volume and type of resin being used and the volume of resin dictates the size of the tank used. The DLFC (drain line flow control sized by its gpm) size is dictated by the volume of resin. So it is not the valve that uses water Andy, it is the entire softener.

    If I put two softeners using the Clack WS-1 together with the alternating motor control, I can go co or counter current regenerated with soft water refill and regeneration on an immediate or delayed basis getting water through both at the same time.

    I can use that setup on tanks from 6" x 18" up to 21" diameter. If I want to I can used packed bed resin beds and set the salt dose in tenths of a lb.. Meaning... that with the same type of resin I can get exactly the same salt efficiency and possibly better water use efficiency than your Kinetico AND cut the cost in half or more plus... the whole softener is DIYer friendly. Your Kinetico is very DIYer UNfriendly, the owner can't change any setting including their hardness without buying and changing parts from only the local dealer but...

    Andy, why is a couple lbs of salt more or less per week so important to you?

    Also, tell us specifically how the Kinetico works differently than the 9000 or 9100, or 2 Clacks as a twin tank softener.
  16. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Riverview, Fl.
    I'll side with Gary, HJ, and Master Plumber Mark. Over hyped and over priced.

    One thing I will say for Kinetico is that their sales staff is the best around. They can sell these things to little old ladies for 4 times what they are worth. Now that's service.

  17. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Andy, it appears you didn't quote properly....where did you get this from:
    ****** Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Being adjustable doesn't mean they are are adjusted correctly. You can't change the kinetics of what makes a softener work in the way it is designed to work best.****** Andy, I did not say that, you are saying that now.

    Andy, as you should know, kinetics don't have anything to do with the control valve, the brand of softener or the resin used in it, kinetics are only a function of the type of resin being used.

    What are you calling semantics? Or don't you know how to program a control valve other than Kinetico!

    That's because you know so little about anything other than Kinetico.... BTW, I don't do it, Clack does it for their 1", 1.25, 2.0" and 2.5" control valves. And if I mistakenly thought that everyone should have a twin tank type softener as you do, I'd sell more of them than you do. I'm quoting one now for two 1.25" valves on 2.5 cuft tanks for a 10,000 sqft lodge in Alaska with 10 campground sites, 9 bathrooms, 2 kitchens, 2 laundry areas used by 40 people 24/7 in the May to Sept. season. I may use the twin for carbon filters after chlorination too.

    You only get 2k/lb salt efficiency when the salt dose is set at the maximum of 15 lbs/cuft of resin in the tank.

    The salt dose is adjustable and that adjusts the capacity of the softener. You really should know this stuff Andy, being WQA Certified! but it's obvious that you don't!

    You simply and mistakenly think I'm wrong, yet every resin manufacturer will tell you I'm right on.

    To get 4500 grains/lb, you set the salt dose at roughly 2.0 lbs/cuft of regular mesh resin and the usable capacity will be roughly 10k. The volume of resin will be less if you use fine mesh or SST-60 resins; the capacity will be the same roughly 10k/cuft of resin.

    No, your argument is always about Kinetico being more salt efficient and I'm asking why a couple lbs of salt per week is so important to you Andy. My take on it is that it's part of your and other Kinetico salesmens' sales hype to be able to sell such overpriced softeners like this one sold in North Las Vegas NV for $2250 in late 2005 IIRC; I can look that up if needed. I wonder what they go for today in all but 2008?

    It has 6" x 18" tanks filled with less than one half cuft total of fine mesh resin between both tanks, no gravel underbed, IIRC it is upflow service and it's downflow (co current) regenerated with a Kinetico Quad drive control meaning it allows water through both tanks at the same time as long as neither tank is in regeneration. It was installed by the local Kinetico dealer.... I would not have installed it that way!

    Attached Files:

  18. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Riverview, Fl.
    Thank you for the kind words Andy.

    I suppose you use those BIG words to fleece money from those little old ladies while your impressing them with your Salesmans Test Kit and your great knowledge of Kinetico Water Softeners.

    Keep up the good work.

  19. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Omaha, NE
    Anyone else happen to notice that this is a rescusitated thread from March 2006?
  20. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    OK (more dancing on your part here) Andy... but what do you mean by "valve performance, along with other aspects affect efficiency"?

    Get specific. Kinetics are a function of the resin and salt dose in lbs. The softener could be a manual regenerated with manual stop valves in the water and drain lines and no control valve; we still have kinetics. Kinetics actually get into SFR of the volume of resin Andy. Maybe you aren't thinking of the SFR of a softener.

    I have no idea what you mean by "along with other aspects, so are you thinking that counter current brining has something to with the kinetics of resin or specifically what do you mean?

    Andy, you didn't say what type of resin....

    Anyway, I can get the salt efficiency down to whatever figure you want it to be. And I have three choices of resins; regular mesh, fine mesh and SST-60. In this (competitive) example, I could use SST-60 against your fine mesh but... SST-60's increased cost, or fine mesh for that matter, isn't going to be recovered by salt savings for many many years, so I would not suggest this to a prospective customer although I go over it with them so they understand the subject and their choices.

    The water used per regeneration is dictated as to how I program the control valve for each of its cycle positions. That depends on how frequently I want to regenerate the resin. More frequent regenerations causes more friction wear on the resin beads and attrition, over once every 7-9 days harms resin too so...

    How about I go for every 300 gallons like Kinetico does in many of their softeners? I'll get like 4500 grains/lb and use about 35 gallons of water.

    OR... I can go like 900 gals between regenerations and 100 gallons of water and 8.5 lbs of salt with regular mesh (inexpensive) resin; that's 3411 grains/lb.

    OR.... at the maximum salt dose of 15lbs/cuft; 22.5 lbs, I get 41500 usable grains (not counting the 3500 grains used for a regeneration), that's 1185 gallons between regenerations and still only use 100 gallons (*35 gpg=3500 grains) of water per regeneration. That's at the 2000 grain/lb efficiency setting.

    BTW, that's using the 35 gpg hardness and if it changes, my customer just redoes the math and sets the gallons on the meter accordingly. It takes about 2 minutes. Also, the electric use for the 9x00 1.5 cuft (10" x 54" tanks) softener will be less than $3 per year.

    The Kinetico customer can't do that flexibility thingy of changing how long between regenerations OR how many gallons it uses OR to change the CH if the iron or hardness or number in the family changes, unless they go to the local Kinetico dealer and get a new disc or two or get into teh salt tank to change the height of the float, right?

    So now a few questions for you... how many times will the Kinetico softener I pictured above have to regenerate for a family of 4 with two teenagers? Or how many gallons between regenerations? How many lbs of salt per regeneration? What is the maximum salt dose in lbs per tank? What is the maximum grains of capacity per tank at the maximum salt dose per tank PER regeneration? What resin is being used? What is the volume of resin in each tank.

    BTW, I have that 9x00 softener on my web site for a delivered price anywhere in the lower 48 of less than $1000 AND, it has a constant SFR (service flow rating) per tank of 12 gpm (only one tank allows water through it at a time).

    As long as the household's peak demand does not go over 12 gpm, I expect 0 gpg soft water (I do it everyday Andy).

    What is the constant SFR gpm of the Kinetico softener pictured above? And that should be with both the regular valve (one tank in service at a time like the 9x00) and the Quad valve with both tanks in service until one regenerates.

    Well yes I made a mistake in the "(co current)" part but the upflow service and downflow brined parts are correct. Right?
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