Just a few water softener questions...

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by jkats, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. jkats

    jkats New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    CA
    I'm in the process of buying water softeners for my household as well as a couple of relatives households (you may have seen my other thread regarding one of them). All the googling I've been doing has raised a few general questions in my mind that I hope some of the experts here can help me with:

    1. If I buy a unit with 2.5 cu.ft. of resin and at some point in the future I need a larger system, can I simply add .5 cu.ft. of resin to give me a 3.0 cu.ft. system, or is there more to it than that? Interestingly, one of the sites I'm looking at offers both of these systems - aside from resin volume, they look identical to me - valve, tank size, brine tank. However, the 3.0 system costs $160 more than the 2.5 system. I don't think .5 cu.ft. of resin costs $160, so I must be missing something?

    2. I see the experts recommending Purolite resin a lot. The site I'm thinking of purchasing from includes "NSF Approved High Capacity Cation 8% Crosslink Softening Resin (imported)" by default, but I can upgrade to "Purolite C100E High Capacity Cation 8% Crosslink Softening Resin (USA)" for $92 - is Purolite worth that much more? If so, what advantage does it provide over the generic default resin?

    3. I've seen the experts recommending to newbs like myself to make sure and get things like a gravel bed and a top basket. Are there any other "accessories" that are "must haves"?

    4. I've seen Ohio Pure Water mentioned a lot as a reputable place to purchase from - any other reputable companies I should consider? Additionally, I'd be interested if anyone has any experience with any good companies local to southern California (Ventura) if their prices are close to online prices.

    Thanks!
  2. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    720
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    I've been in the water treatment industry for over 23 years and can't believe some of the size units that are being recommended to residental home. A 2.5 or 3 CF is just over kill unless your hardness is 80 to 100 GPG or you have 10-12 people living in the home. Some say size it based on the flow rate with all the faucets on in the home. Now how many times will you have every single water using devise on at the same time in your lifetime? That means your dish washer, clothes washer, every sink hot and cold, ice maker, every shower hot and cold and all outside hose bibbs on if they pass through the softener. Now I can understand if you have multiple body sprayers or a 5000 SF home needing a bigger than normal softener, but a 2.5 or 3 Cf unit on a 2000 SF home with 20 GPG hardness and 3 people is just plain overkill IMO.
  3. jkats

    jkats New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    CA
    Thanks for the reply, mialynette. I'm basing this on 370gpd usage and 23gpg hardness. This yields:

    370gpd x 23gpg x 7 days = 59,570 grains per week capacity needed.

    A 3.0 cu.ft. system will regen every 7 days at 6lbs/cu.ft. salt dosage. From what I've been learning, this is the optimal salt dosage and optimal regen time. If you consider a 3.0 cu.ft. system to be overkill, what size would you recommend? What salt dosage and regen time do you consider to be optimal?
  4. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    720
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    How many people are in the family? If you are truely removing that many grains per week, I would go with a twin unit instead of a 2.5-3 CF unit.
  5. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    320
    Location:
    California
    370 GPD seems excessive and is skewing your calculations. Are you including irrigation?
  6. jkats

    jkats New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    CA
    4 people in my family - one is disabled and his care does require extra water usage, which is probably why our usage is higher than normal. I actually calculated our usage by our water bill, and I did subtract for irrigation. I was hoping to avoid a twin due to the cost - a 2.0 CF twin is about $300 more than a 2.5 CF single. Aside from 24/7 operation, what advantage would a twin have over a single for my situation?
  7. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    720
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    With a single tank system you have to subtract a days worth of capacity where as with a twin tank system you don't have to account for it. A 1.5 CF twin would work fine. IMO a 2 CF system will work fine. it will regen about every 5 days. I used 4.5 people.
  8. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    320
    Location:
    California
    You would not violate the minimum flow rate with a twin, and would use less salt.
  9. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Lifespeed, are you saying he wouldn't get softened water through a 3 or 4 cuft (65" tall tank) softener when he gets a glass of water or flushes a toilet etc.? The only minimum on a water softener is the water pressure and plumbing ID.

    Mialynette, what does the sq footage of the house have to do with sizing a water softener?

    What K of salt dosage in lbs and then K of capacity would he program your 1.5 cuft each tank twin softener?

    How much more salt would he use with your twin 1.5 cuft tanks when regenerating a tank every 5 days compared the the larger two tank softener? How much salt and K of capacity goes to a twin using softened water to regenerate each tank with? is it close to or more than a day's reserve?
  10. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,789
    Location:
    Ontario California
    I have to totally agree with you on the flow rate. Peak flow rates are posted for softeners for that reason. We all know (well, most do) that a houses water usage is typically very low on the GPM, and exceeding a systems recommended flow on a rare occassion will have little affect on the life of the resin. Consistently exceeding resins design parameters will affect the life, but this typically only pertains to commercial systems that have been undersized. This does not mean we should dramitically undersize systems, it just means that common sense has to come into play as well as our charts, manufacturers specs, etc. If the same were applied to Carbon, the smallest size would be a 4 cu. ft. system (5 GPM per Sq. Ft service flow). Imagine if electrical requirements were held to the same standard as plumbing. Every outlet would require its own 20 amp breaker, just in case you decided to run a 2000 watt hair dryer on every outlet at the same time... completely silly.
  11. jkats

    jkats New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    CA
    I agree, our typical GPM usage is pretty low - we rarely have two showers going at the same time - so I'm not too concerned with oversizing a unit on that basis. I'm more concerned about undersizing based on salt dosage and regen times. What are the dangers in oversizing a unit? Lifespeed mentioned the issue of "minimum flow rate" (and I recall Dittohead mentioning this in another thread as well). I haven't seen too much discussion on this issue in the forums, but I gather this is the primary danger in oversizing a system? I may be totally off on this, but my understanding of the issue is that a GPM that is too low will result in channeling, allowing hard water to leak through? But if I understand correctly how a softener works, isn't the tank always filled with water? Any water pressure from the inlet at the top should result in evenly distributed pressure across the resin bed - no matter how high or low that pressure is. I guess what it comes down to is, for my scenario, how much of a problem is this, and if it is a big problem, what is the max single tank resin volume I should even consider getting?
  12. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You only get channeling if you go way too far before regenerating the unit. Every 7-10 days is not going to allow channeling in a 65" tall tank. And especially if you have a gravel underbed as MiaLynette says; which I always included except with a Turbulator tube because you can't have gravel with one of them, it blocks them up and they can't work as designed.

    You can check with resin manufacturers to see if they list any minimum flow for their resins, or, read what ditto just said about undersized commercial units and not residential. You could also understand he usually comes up with anything he can to disagree with me.

    Or better yet, ask him to provide (post) the data to prove his claim of a minimum of 4.2 gpm for a 4 cuft softener.
  13. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,789
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Not sure what that was about but... just go the engineering specifications from some of the largest companies in this industry. Nelsen Corp, one of the most respected companies in the industry, Watts Corp, another excellent and one of the most well staffed companies with a team of enigneers and extremely detailed technical specifications both agree that systems have a minimum flow rate. I am not disagreeing with you, just simply offering a different opinion and a concern that is rarely considered or addressed properly. Time between regeneration has little to do with channelling, it has to do with flow rates, both low and high. I train on this issue regularly. Oversizing units is just as bad as undersizing. Not based on regeneration frequency, but on the systems recommended service flows. The low service flow recommendations are not by the resin manufacturers but by the complete system designers. Many people would not notice the problems of slow flow, some do, especially when the systems are excessively oversized. This is one of the reasons why the system 14, and twin alternating designs have become so popular even in very small (residential sized) applications. http://media.wattswater.com/WQCP_ResidentialSofteners.pdf
    Hope this is helpful,


  14. jkats

    jkats New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    CA
    Dittohead, I have no real-world experience with softeners, just "google knowledge" from the past few weeks - I'm still trying to wrap my head around the science behind it all! I'll take your word for it regarding minimum flow rates. It sounds like a twin tank system would be ideal, but they're a bit cost-prohibitive for me. Mialynette has alternatively recommended a 2 CF single tank system, although I'm thinking of upsizing a bit to a 2.5 CF system so I can use a lower salt dosage. Ohio pure water doesn't list any minimum flow rates that I can find, so generally speaking, will a system with 2.5 CF of resin in a 13x54 tank pose any "minimum flow" problem for my scenario (or is there some formula or method that would allow me to determine this on my own)?

    btw, if you have any thoughts regarding the original questions in my initial post I'd be interested to hear them.
  15. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,789
    Location:
    Ontario California
    The minimum recommended flow by most main line manufacturers for a 13" tank is 2.8 GPM. Watts, etc use this as a minimum "recommended" flow rate. Going below this flow rate is typically not a problem as long as it is not the norm. 13" diameter softener tanks are the largest I regualrly recommend for average residential applications.

    Hope this helps.

    PM sent
  16. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I was a dealer for Nelsen for many years and at one time before Watts bought them, for Alamo Water. I can't say I ever saw anything about a minimum gpm size for residential softeners. And for many years I sold many 1.5 - 4 cuft softeners with no customer complaints. That is because they were sized and programmed to regenerate every 8-10 days.

    How about you show us the data instead of just making the claim?

    In another thread about sizing you say there usually is no problem with the larger size and that it is the right size for the peak demand requirement of the house and that if the peak demand is exceeded, the customer gets hard water through the softener. Now here you don't mention that and that makes your advice questionable at best.
  17. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,789
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Sigh, if I must. Here is a page from Watts catalog. I think this states it fairly clearly. Anything else I can help you with?

    watt.jpg
  18. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,789
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Here is another one with the Clack info. Just like intermittent higher flows have little affect on a systems performance in residential applications, intermittent low flows have little affect as well. These numbers should be considered for very large systems. This is one reason why twin alternating systems tend to be preferred over very large tanks in residential applications.
    CL.jpg
  19. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    That info doesn't come from Fleck or Clack, it comes from Watts.

    And I see abbreviations for approximate and recommended but...

    I also know any web site or 'manufacturer' can say anything they want to about their equipment. I know that Nelsen doesn't claim the same as you stated they do and, that most all other softener 'manufacturers' don't either. Plus I sold what you are calling oversized softeners for many years without channeling problems.

    Then after all this you say: "intermittent higher flows have little affect on a systems performance in residential applications, intermittent low flows have little affect as well"....

    Now if you insist on continuing your misinformation line, show us a resin manufacturer that supports your and the Watts recommended low gpm flow claim and include your claim that channeling isn't prevented by the length of time between regenerations.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  20. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,065
    Location:
    Maine
    I believe the confusion with flow rates either low or excessive is in the word intermittent which of course means it don't happen regulary in which case it dont make no difference. Or, you just feel like ball busting
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