Trying to correctly size a softener

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by cristib, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. cristib

    cristib New Member

    Brantford, ON
    Hello Everyone,

    I have rummaged over a lot of information over the last week or so trying to understand how water softeners work and how to correctly size one.

    I almost got tricked by the Kinetico sales people with their efficiency claims, but thanks to the wealth of information that Gary posted on his website (Thanks Gary!) I managed to realize what the marketing spin was.

    Now I have used the calculator from Gary's website to size the softener, but I am not 100% sure I understand a couple of aspects and I would appreciate it if somebody could clarify it for me.

    Here are the parameters that I am using:

    Water Hardness: 15 gpg (phoned the City and they said it is average 15, but that it varies between 12 and 21). Kinetico sales person correctly identified measured it at 14 gpg, Culligan sales person said it was 30 gpg :p

    Water usage: There is between 6 and 7 of us in the house, and I averaged our usage based on the water bills over a 1 year period at ~ 500 gallons / day. So the numbers I plugged into the calculator were 7 person @ 70 gal / day usage.

    The results of the calculations:
    Daily Grains of Capacity: 7,350
    Total Grains of Capacity: 58,800
    Minimum cuft size: 3

    Now... If I correctly interpret the numbers in the generated table:
    Scenario A: 8 days between regenerations (recommended?)
    Pounds of salt Per Cubic Foot of Resin: 6
    Salt dose (total lbs): 18
    Salt Dose Capacity: 60,000
    Grains of Capacity PER lb of salt (salt efficiency): 3,333
    Gallons between regenerations: 4,000

    Scenario B: 5 days between regenerations
    Pounds of salt Per Cubic Foot of Resin: 3
    Salt dose (total lbs): 9
    Salt Dose Capacity: 38,400
    Grains of Capacity PER lb of salt (salt efficiency): 4,267
    Gallons between regenerations: 2,560

    1. Do I understand correctly that the preferred / recommended size for my house would be a 60k grains softener with a 3 cuft resin tank (scenario A)?

    2. When I look at Grains of Capacity PER lb of salt (salt efficiency): 4,267 for Scenario B, I see that the salt efficiency for this scenario is better than for scenario A. Would it not make more sense then to go with a 40k grains tank and regenerate every 5 days?

    3. One of the independent contractors I am talking to locally is recommending to me one of the following three options:

    a) 40k Grains 1 cuft resin softener with Fleck 5600 SXT head (cheapest solution) - regenerates every 3.5 days

    b) 40k Grains 1 cuft resin softener with Clack WS-1 head - regenerates every 3.5 days

    c) 50k Grains 1.7 cuft resin softener with Clack WS-1 head - regenerates every 7 days

    Options b) and c) he is offering for the same price

    Is any of these systems suitable for my needs? I am inclined to go with option c). Any advice?

    4. Our City water is pretty heavily chlorinated and I am thinking of adding either a timed (Fleck timer head) 1 cuft Activated Carbon filter or a simple 20" AC cartridge filter before the softener.
    a) How are these filters going to affect my SFR?

    b) Any information on how to correctly size the Carbon filter?

    5. I noticed on Gary's website that are several options when it comes to resins. Is there a significant difference between the different brand / types of resin used?

    What I am trying to do is to minimize the water and salt usage to the best possible level given my parameters.

    I will appreciate any advice / comments you might have.

  2. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    How many bathrooms and bedrooms for the 7 people?

    Part of size if the needed flow rate for the house in question along with the water usage of the people and the comp hardness in the water.
  3. cristib

    cristib New Member

    Brantford, ON
    I have a 2 storey 4 bedrooms house + basement
    currently there are 2 and 1/2 bathrooms and will add one more bathroom in the basement in the near future.
    One bathroom has 1 bathtub + 1 sink, one has bathtub separate shower + 2 sinks, the powder room has only 1 sink, the future bathroom will have bathtub + separate shower + 1 sink
    other than this just the usual: laundry machine + sink, kitchen sink + dishwasher
  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Then you must use 21 gpg or when the city sends harder than 15 gpg you will get hardness through the softener eventually.

    If you have a family of 6 and someone visits from time to time, that person doesn't count as a family memberand is considered a visitor and the softener will regenerate accordingly. So use 6 people * 60 gallons per day.

    That will change when you use the correct hardness and number of people etc..

    You need to go back and read the sizing page text on my site and study it.

    The K of capacity of all softeners (except Kinetico) is easily adjustable; you simply change the number of lbs of salt used per cuft of resin.

    The cuft of resin dictates the size of the media tank and, the cuft of resin dictates/controls the SFR gpm size of the softener.

    The control valve controls when the softener regenerates and you program them for the capacity you use, the salt lbs used per regeneration and is responsible for the volume of water used per regeneration etc..
  5. cristib

    cristib New Member

    Brantford, ON
    Gary thank you for taking the time to reply.

    The new parameters change the calculation a bit. My new numbers are:

    Daily Grains of Capacity: 7,560
    Total Grains of Capacity: 60,480
    Minimum cu ft size: 3.5

    Am I correct in assuming then that the correct softener size for me is going to be 60,000 grains with 3.5 cu ft of resin?

    I am told by my local rep that at 3 cu ft I have a 90,000 grains unit which takes me into the commercial zone, so I am not sure what to do anymore... :(

    I understand the programming part. What I am still unclear on is if the 8 days between regeneration is a must or if I could / should go by the highest Grains of Capacity PER lb of salt (salt efficiency) number?

    What happens if I regenerate more often but with a higher salt efficiency? Do I use less salt and more water? Do I deplete the resin quicker?

    I guess what I don't quite get is why is the 8 days recommended if the salt efficiency number is always higher on the 5 days schedule...

    By the way, would a fine mesh resin be good enough for this softener size?

    One of the local dealers is telling me that above 50k grains I need a turbulator to ensure that the resin is properly washed. Are there any downsides to using a turbulator?
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The size of a softener is the cuft of resin; 3.0, 3.5 cuft etc..

    The K of capacity is adjustable. The more resin the fewer lbs of salt is required to regenerate the softener.

    Commercial is just a larger version of a residential softener and in most cases a different control valve that can service the larger size tanks. I.E. a Fleck 5600 control can service up to and including a 2.0 cuft softener because the largest size tank it can be used on is a 12" x 52" tank and that is what is used for a 2.0 cuft softener. A Clack WS-1 and service up to and including a 21" dia tank, or 7.5 cuft softener. You would think a commercial establishment like a Burger King would have a commercial softener but, they might need a 1.5 cuft, or 2.0' or a 1 cuft., or, a 10 cuft, and then the tank gets bigger and you'd need like a Clack 1.25" or 2" control valve, what ever control that can be used for the size tank. There's nothing commercial about that except the burger place is a commercial business and would pay with a company check from a commercial checking account.

    You change your engine oil every 3000-X000 miles OR every 6 months whichever comes first. You should regenerate softening resin every 7-9 days IF you want the softener to last service free as long as possible, or you can go like 28 days between regenerations, it's your choice but you asked for answers about sizing and for advice I think..

    Yes more regenerations uses more water over time which means your water efficiency is reduced. And I can tell you that water is more expensive than salt, or it will be soon but, more frequent means operating the control valve more and that adds unnecessary wear'n tear IMO.

    If you needed fine mesh or other resin like SST-60 or a Turbulator (they are used with heavy iron) I would have told you that already.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010
  7. cristib

    cristib New Member

    Brantford, ON
    Thanks. I think I got what I need to make a decision now. I might come back for advice on how to program my Clack WS1 once I get it though :D
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