Seeking Recommendation for a softener

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by jerome7, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. jerome7

    jerome7 New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    95020
    Hello everyone,

    I've been researching in the past 2 weeks about ion-exchange water softener hoping to buy one in the next few days so it arrives for me to work on installing during Thankgivings week end. Unfortunately, most retailers provide little information to differentiate the various models. I would appreciate if the community here could give recommendation on the model and a reputable place to buy the unit.

    My newborn has very dry skins thus I desperately need this unit in a hurry. I live in a large home (+4000sft) w/ my wife and 3 kids. My uncle likes to live w/ us couple month per year to escape winter in Canada. The house has 1" pipe. The water hardness is around 15 grains. Of course efficient units are preferred if additional cost is reasonable. As far as being a handyman, i am average and would like to find something easy to operate and low maintenance. My budget is up to $1000.

    I have seen online a lot of Fleck models but cant differentiate them much except for tank size. I think it would help to know things such as the internal valve size, time to regenerate, number of gallon of water going down the drain, etc. Please share if you have this info.

    I also dont have full understanding of how water softeners work. For example, does the internal valve size matter if the tank isn't big enough for it? Please bear with me on these basic questions.

    If you are seller and have a unit matching my needs, please dont hesitate to contact me with details and a quote.

    Thank you in advance
    Jerome

    I am
  2. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Find another thread here with Gary Slussers name and click on his link. It does a pretty good job of explaining how to size your unit. Unfortunately you probably can't get a Clack WS1 online anymore but if you can, you should. Whatever you do though look into a demand metered valve.
  3. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,480
    Location:
    Alaska
    Are you on city water in Calif?
    That might limit what you can use.

    1" pipe is good, as the flow rate for 1" is up to 60gpm, now getting there with good pressure is another item, your flow rate is most likely in the 15gpm range for the size of house and number of bathrooms.
    Different tanks hold different amounts of the media or resin for this leason.
    There are units with turbolators and units with the standard distributor, for most units today that tube is 1".
    Then there are the different valves that are on the market, they range from 15gpm flow rates up to 35gpm flow rates.

    From what I have seen on the net most list the units in capacity, where the resin with the max salt setting per cubic foot is used.
    Some will say that a unit is 48K or 48,000 grains, that is with 18lbs and most likely 1.5 cubic foot.

    There will be some depate on the capacity of the resin with the different salt lbs per cubic foot.. some use a higher number some use a lower number..
    If you are likely to be in the 10-15gpm range for the house I would be using between 1.5 and 2 cubic foot. Some times bigger is not better.

    A metered unit would be better in that it will regen or clean after x number of gallons and not x days.

    Now that I have made a few waves... what is clear and what is not clear?
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,892
    Location:
    New England
    Three big things about sizing: max demand (if the softener isn't capable of providing your maximum flow, you'll get bleed through (unsoftened or not fully softened water)) you want to provide, how hard your water is, and if there are any other things you have that you want to remove (such as iron, sulphur, etc.). Once you know those values, then you can begin to figure out a properly sized unit.
  5. jerome7

    jerome7 New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    95020
    Thanks Peter. I am definitely going for a on-demand system. The cost is not that much more than a time-based model. In terms of sizing, from the various online calculators, it seems I could use a 48,000 grains and regenerate every 8 days. I don't mind getting the 64,000 models to leave some room for growth and regenerate less often to save on water. I am more concerned about my lack of understand in term of the valve size and make sure I won't lose much of water pressure. Also several models have similar specs and I can't the key difference (e.g. 2150SXT vs 7000SXT).

    Best
  6. jerome7

    jerome7 New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    95020
    Yes I am on city water and I was not aware of any restriction. I will call the utility company and check.

    I couldn't follow your calculation but was wondering if a small 3/4" internal valve would be adequate?
  7. jerome7

    jerome7 New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    95020
    Unfortunately I do not the level of iron and other minerals. I have no idea if I want to remove those or not and just know i need to get calcium and magnesium out. But I am willing to go one size bigger to sandbag a bit. The water pressure is a concern due to the size of the house and the 4 bathrooms.

    Thanks
  8. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Be careful of oversizing, overly long peroids between regenerations are not particularly good for the resin and can lead to channeling of the bed. If you size out at 48 then go with 48. Most residential equipment will have a 1" valve head on it which should be fine.
  9. jerome7

    jerome7 New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    95020
    Really? That's good to know. I see many water companies offering tank exchange programs that would leave the mineral tank w/ the customer for a period up to 28 days. Would those have the described problem w/ their resin?

    I noticed most units sell w/ a bypass and we can choose the size of it to match our pipe's size. But I felt I would lose water flow if the bypass is 1" and the interval valve is 3/4"? It would be no different to get a 3/4" bypass, it's just the flow reduction happening at a different stage. Am I correct?

    Many thanks
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    They regenerate the exchange tank resin at max salt dose of 15 lbs/cuft. Your softener should be sized and then programmed to get you the K of capacity your family size, hardness and the number and type of fixtures you have and use; like body sprays and large tubs.

    Then you program a salt dose that provides that capacity for a 7-9 day regeneration schedule based on gallons used and then calendar override for that number of days. That gets you good salt and water efficiencies and the softener will be capable of treating your peak demand flow rate gpm.

    I'm glad to see that you aren't getting involved with twin tank type softeners.
  11. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    I think tank exchange is a huge rip off, especially if you have any mechanical skills at all. Might be ok for a little old lady in a wheelchair or someone with more money than common sense though.
  12. jerome7

    jerome7 New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    95020
    Fully agree. It's rather expensive and I estimated it would take only 10-12 months to break even if I were to buy a good softener.
  13. jerome7

    jerome7 New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    95020
    The dual tank is adding more cost and I understood the single takes only few hours to regenerate. I am fine if the regeneration happens at night. That saves me couple hundreds $ and space.
  14. jerome7

    jerome7 New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    95020
    5600sxt

    Some websites told me the Fleck 5600SXT has an 3/4" internal valve. I told them I have 1" pipe but they said I won't see any significant water flow difference and only the size of the resin tank matters. Is that accurate?

    Reading Gary's forum, it seems Fleck 7000 is to avoid. Is the 2510 a 1" valve and reliable?
  15. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Yes the 2510 is a good valve, and the size of the tank is dictated by the cuft volume of resin in it and that is critical for the SFR gpm of the softener. If you're wondering, I don't sell anything anymore.
  16. jerome7

    jerome7 New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    95020
    Thanks for the advice Gary. I saw that you are now happily retired. I was using your calculator and I find it doesnt match w/ the kind of units I saw online. For example when the calculator came up at 35K total grain capacity for 1 week, it says I need a 2 cubic feet size unit. Typically I see a 64K for a 2 cubic feet size. Could you please clarify?

    The table at the bottom is seems very useful as I haven't seen it elsewhere. But not sure how to read it though :(
  17. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    A 2.0 cuft is called a 64K.

    The 64K is inaccurate because you can only regenerate 2.0 cuft to a max of 60K and to do that you need to set the salt dose at 15lbs/cuft, or 30 lbs/regeneration.

    To figure salt efficiency you divide the K of capacity by the lbs of salt so 60K/30 lbs gets you 2000 grains/lb (very poor) efficiency. If the calculator says you need 35K for a regen every 8 days then you would need 10.5 lbs of salt/regeneration and that is a 3333 grains/lb efficiency.
  18. jerome7

    jerome7 New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    95020
    I guess I am unclear about what the "total grain capacity" is. I thought that we use this number to pick the size of the resin tank.

    Whether 2cuft is 64K or 60K, why your calculator suggests 2cuft for 35K of total grain capacity? Are you implying it's more efficient to use a 64K unit to generate 35K TGC instead of using a smaller unit?

    Thanks for the help, it seems it's more complicated to calculate than I initially thought which is just let it regenerate to the max capacity of the unit and just go thru it in N days. That is what the metered on-demand units are designed for correct?
  19. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,892
    Location:
    New England
    You need the total size of the softener to avoid bleed through, even if you don't need to use it all up in between regenerations. So, your peak flow dicates how much surface area is required to soften it in that one pass. Too small, you get bleed through. It's a function of how fast it can treat the needed water. A 64k resin tank can soften about twice as much water /second as the 32K tank. So, you need to size it for both maximum draw to avoid hard water bleed-through, and one big enough to minimize the regens required. You don't want regenerations too long, or you can have problems, too.
  20. jerome7

    jerome7 New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    95020
    The tank size is the part I understand better. How about the internal valve size? Going from a 1" to 3/4" would definitely cause loss in water flow, but some folks told me that w/ a 64K (or less) tank, the 3/4" is not causing any impact. I guess it means the tank size is the limiting factor at this level and the valve size only matter if we have much bigger tank. Is that true?
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