Questions about my first water softener...

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by Tlhfirelion, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. Tlhfirelion

    Tlhfirelion New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Missouri
    I am planning a water softener this coming fall and it'll be the first one I've used. From what I can gather here fleck and clack are the brands preferred. I do want a metered system to prevent needles regeneration. I don't know if it matters but I have all copper pipes and a Marathon water heater. The water softener will be located right next to the water softener in the basement. The questions I have are the following.

    1) I try and be as water conscious as possible. I have seen that the water softeners on the market today use an awful lot of water when they regenerate. In order to reduce the water used do I oversize my system? I don't mind going larger, I'm a fan of moderate overkill. :) This is the "grains" number correct? The higher the number the "better"?

    2) I saw it once on here but it must be hiding in plain sight. Where is the formula to calculate what sized water heater I should get? (and then I'd oversize it) Family of 4, 3 males one female, 1500 sq ft house, 2 bathrooms, no tubs.

    3) I need to find out the water pressure I have but I'm not sure how to do that. My house and the other 7 on my street are on a private well at the top of the hill. Is there a general rule that a water softener will reduce the water pressure by X%? We currently have adequate pressure.

    4) Are the types of water softeners that have a separate salt tank and resin cylinder better or worse for some reason?

    That's all I can think of for now. Thank you for any assistance you are able to provide.

    Regards.
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,415
    Location:
    IL
    1) See Gary Slusser's http://www.qualitywaterassociates.com/softeners/sizingchart.htm . You should know the grains/gallon too, but look at SFR first.

    Fleck allows phone and internet sales including parts, so that might play a role. If you will always go to your water conditioning specialist or a plumber for work, that will not be a problem.

    2)Water conscious guy might have low-flow showerheads. So 50 gallons could be more than enough. Even 40 with a mixing valve that lets you mix hotter water with cold. Do you or your new neighbors have any sulfur smell in your hot water? That could affect your actions.

    3) Pressure gauge. Easy to find. Expect to spend $10 or $15 for one that goes onto a garden hose thread. You have that on your laundry area, your water heater, and of course your hose spigots. Some have a "lazy hand" or "tattletale" that remembers the peak.

    4) Much better. They are easier to troubleshoot, and much easier to repair.
    Tlhfirelion likes this.
  3. Tlhfirelion

    Tlhfirelion New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Missouri

    1) Great reply Reach, thank you for taking the time to lay that out. I started reading the sizing chart link you sent over and the same thing happened that happened in math class many moons ago......zzzzzzz. lol I'll need to sit down and really study that.

    2) You make a valid point about the ease of obtaining fleck parts and that may have change my mind. I do everything I can do before calling a repairman of any kind so fleck may be my friend there. I wish they had an app for my water softener, I love gadgetry! I do have low flow shower heads on our showers and all our water using appliances are tier 3 energy star. None of the folks on my street have any sulfur smell but we do have a smell of mildew periodically. I thought it was just our washing machine but it was still present when we changed washers. The water itself doesn't smell and tastes like really good well water, just leaves a smell if it sits sometimes. We have our water tested annually for the HOA and it always comes back fine. I did a test strip awhile back and need to locate that so I can relay the hardness number. I'm in the Ozarks and have been told our water here is absurdly hard.

    3) I went up to look at our streets well pump house. The tank showed a pressure of 48 PSI. Next to it was the pump parameters was on at 30 and off at 50. We are slightly downhill from this well house and across the street so I would guess a 15 - 20 foot drop by the time the water enters our basement water heater.

    4) Good to know.

    thank you again!
  4. Tlhfirelion

    Tlhfirelion New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Missouri
    Update. I found the water test strips I saved. I circled the results and it showed the following.

    1) Total Hardness - PPM - The color chart landed between 250 and 425. .

    2) The GPG showed 20

    3) PH - 8.5-9
  5. Tlhfirelion

    Tlhfirelion New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Missouri
    Another question. I had planned to just soften the hot/warm water as it seemed like the simple way to go about it. I was chatting with my wife and she asked if softening the cold water would help with the stains in the toilet. It then dawned on me that we wash most of our clothes in cold water so now, I'd like to soften the whole house. My concern there is the line that goes to the spout outside. I obviously do not want to soften the garden hose water to wash my truck and water the trees. Did this change significantly complicate things? I can sweat pipe, it ain't pretty at all but mine have never leaked...all 4 of them. lol
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,415
    Location:
    IL
    On the math, do the SFR first. That will determine a size probably. What do you get from just that part?

    Figure 17.1 or 17.2 ppm per grain/gal. 14.6 to 24.8 grains. Pretty wide range, with 20 almost right in the middle. You might look into getting a Hach 5-B test kit. Use it for your calculations now, and use it to test your softened water later.

    Do you have much iron in the water? That would be indicated by colors in the toilet tanks.

    0.43 PSI per foot of drop, so maybe adding 7 PSI or so.

    Do they do any chlorinating or other disinfection at the well house? Is the mildew smell... on hot, cold water, or both? Or is it just in the vicinity of the washing machine? If you have a basement, maybe your dehumidifier is not doing the job. Try measuring its output to see if it has degraded. It happens.
  7. Tlhfirelion

    Tlhfirelion New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Missouri

    Ok, I'm not wrapping my head around the SFR math here but I gave it a shot. I followed the instructions for collecting water from an outside spout and got 6.5 gpm. I used the math from the link you sent here;

    "The SFR in gpm is: 1.0 cuft = 9, 1.25 = 10, 1.5' = 12, 2.0' = 13, 2.5' = 18, 3.0' = 20, 3.5' = 22 gpm, 4.0 = 25. FYI, the flow rate from a 100' of 3/4" pipe at 50 psi is 17.5 gpm, for 1", it is 37 gpm."

    and I came up with 43 sfr.

    I will look at the Hach test kit.

    There is no treatment of our water,It's outta the ground into large holding tanks in the pump house, and then into our house. We do not have a dehumidifier in our house, don't really need it. We have no basement water issues or mold or anything. Our crawl space is bone dry year round.

    I spoke with my wife about the mildew smell and she said it is on both hot and water and it's not the washing machine that smells, mostly just the towels. We must be filthy people. lol I did notice that the washing machine hookups are galvanized pipe while everything else in the house is copper, does that even matter? The house is 25 years old.

    I have no idea if we have high iron in our water or not.
  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,415
    Location:
    IL
    You want to compute the probable maximum that you will want to put through the softener at a given time. That would include the washing machine, dish washer, maybe kitchen sink... two showers or two bathroom sinks but probably not shower ,a sink, and toilet would happen all at once in the same bathroom.

    The hose bibs, fire hose, and sprinkler system would not run through the softener. Now go back and come up with a number from 9 to 13 GPM. ;-)
  9. Tlhfirelion

    Tlhfirelion New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Missouri

    OK, life got hectic but I'm back. Question. On the CABO chart for the WS sizing, what does the "multiple bath" category include? Is that the shower, sink, and toilet? I came up with 12.8 on that code chart but I was thrown by that. I went ahead and figured up using the UPC chart (which seemed simpler) and arrived at 18.

    I know you can do this in your sleep so I'll apologize if I'm being a dunce here. On the CABO chart I ignored the multiple bath category and used the following to calculate;

    I have 2 showers, 2 bathroom sinks, 2 toilets, 1 dishwasher, 1 kitchen sink, 1 HE washing machine and 1 outdoor water faucet (which I didn't include).

    I really appreciate your help!
  10. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,860
    Location:
    Ontario California
    SFR calculations are critical in some applications, not yours. You do not have anything out of the ordinary. As to water and salt efficiency, yes, bigger is better to a point. As long as you get beyond 6 days between regenerations, you will maintain high efficiency. If we do a quick estimate for your system capacity, here is what I come up with.

    4 people x 65 gallons per person x 20 grains hardness (any iron or manganese?) x 7 days = 36,400 grain system minimum, assuming 20,000 grains per CF at high salt efficiency settings, I would lean toward a 2.0 - 2.5 CF softener. If you have staining in the toilets, this could indicate iron or manganese. It could also simply be partly caused by the high scaling potential of the water due to the elevated pH levels. Hard to say without a full water test. If you are on a shared well, the test should be readily available to you.
  11. Tlhfirelion

    Tlhfirelion New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Missouri

    Thank you for the reply. I will contact the HOA secretary and obtain a copy. May take a few days but I'll post back when I have that info.

    Thank you!
  12. Tlhfirelion

    Tlhfirelion New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Missouri
    So I spoke with our Home owners association secretary and the water test we get thru the state only states weather the water is safe to drink. It tests for bacteria, lead and one other item, but does not test hardness or high iron content, etc. I hit a dead end there with regards to the water softener but at least our water is lead free! lol

    I had a question about over-sizing. You said above that "bigger is better to a point". If I went with a 64,000 grain metered fleck water softener with the separate cylinder and brine tank, is that much higher grain present any problems? If I could go even higher (is 72,000 even an option?) I may consider it so I'm only dealing with regeneration every 2-3 weeks that would be great.

    Also, how strong are the regeneration pumps? I would need to run the drain hose up about 8-9' to drain into the washing machine drain in the laundry room directly above the water softener.

    Thank you for the feedback.
  13. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,415
    Location:
    IL
    There is no regeneration pump or any other powered pump in the controller. The controller valves the incoming water pressure through the bed and routes the water out of the drain during regeneration. With a normal softener, that 9 ft rise should not present a problem. I you could call the venturi that sucks the brine into the resin tank in a pump, but it has no motor.

    The bigger your system, the higher the backflow rate needs to be. I have been told that if there is any iron in the water, it is best not to stretch your regeneration times too long. What is there to deal with? Are you concerned that you might flush a toilet at 3 AM on regeneration night? No big deal.
  14. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Other than the constant SFR, you size for good salt efficiency (6 lbs / ft or better) for the K of capacity you need for a regeneration about every 8 days; with 24 hrs of reserve (unless you have variable reserve).
  15. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,860
    Location:
    Ontario California
    8-9' high for the drain should not be a problem assuming you have pressure in excess of 40 PSI.

    Regenerating every 2-3 weeks is fine assuming you don't have iron or manganese.
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