Vortech Distributor

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by zientm, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. zientm

    zientm New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I am in the market for a Neutralizing filter and came across the Watts Vortech distributor (see http://www.watts.com/pro/whatsnew/whatsnew_vortech.asp) It seems like their claim of better backwashing of the media would be the biggest benefit. I was wondering if anyone has used this, any problems, comments, etc.

    TIA
  2. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    I have been to a seminar on them. I like what I saw. I have not yet sold or installed one.
  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The problem with the Vortech is if there is a problem with the distributor tube, you have to replace the whole tank; and they cost more than a regular tank and a gravel underbed.
  4. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

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    Kinda like the Brunner setups years ago in that it had a table at the bottum of the tank and the distributor is of an odd size, their valve is the only one that will work.
    If that distributor breaks or the table breaks out with the whole tank.. and there is no reusing the tank in another job, or changing the distributor size for increasing the flow rate through the tank.
  5. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    In my experience they work very well with heavy media and do reduce backwash flow requirements. Both disadvantages cited above are real--they cost more and if they break it is a single unit and the whole unit must be replaced--there are no separable parts.
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Another problem is you can not get the distributor tube out when replacing the media. That requires emptying the tank by pouring the media out or using a small wet shop vac tube instead of a tool meant to pump the media out with water pressure.

    Bob, how long have you used a Vortech tank and how much water do you think that type tank 'saves' over a gravel under bed?

    Do you sell that type tank or did you buy one as a consumer?
  7. zientm

    zientm New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    So the main cons seem to relate to the fact that it is not removable - a problem if it breaks or you need to change the media. Being new to this I have to ask - how often do either of these happen?
  8. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

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    Location:
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    It is not changing the media, but if the distributor breaks, the bottum table breaks or if there is heavy sand that gets into the system, Iron that builds up.. then there are the challenges that most likely mean the tank will have to be replaced. Now the chances of that happening?
    It may never happen, then again some thing could happen some time with in the next x number of years... it is any one guess as to when.

    Any time that you have man and machine some thing is going to happen.

    Exxon Valdez ran aground in 1989, Tug ran aground on the same point in 2009.... go figure.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  9. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Just about never.
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    With heavy mineral like AN media its more likely to break or be broken when adding or replacing the mineral.

    I wouldn't want to have to remove the mineral without being able to get the distributor tube out so I could use my mineral 'pump' which is the easiest and least messy way to get the mineral out of any tank.

    You must believe the marketing and think you'll save enough water to justify the additional cost to buy one. If I sold the filter with a Vortech tank, I would not risk a dissatisfied customer by reducing the gpm of the backwash and you wouldn't save any water.
  11. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I have searched the web for information about Vortech tanks and for actual experience reports. I have not found reports of failures of Vortech tanks.

    So my opinion at this point, based on the information I can find, is that the concerns about failures are theoretical.
  12. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Well of course it is. I don't know how many times you have replaced mineral or resin but without getting the distributor out of the way it is much more difficult and a DIYer would have a real problem doing it with the Vortech tank.

    I don't know how many split or cracked distributor tubes you've seen either but it happens.

    And you aren't answering my question about how much water you think a Vortech tank will save and if there is no savings why go with a Vortech tank.

    You have two dealers here telling you our opinions based on years of experience and it seems as if you still support the Vortech tank. So what is your experience with any type tank?
  13. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    I'll admit right up front that I have zero experience with them other than a factory demonstration seminar. If the unit performs to it's specifications than It is a viable piece of equipment, just like every other piece of equipment on the market. Would I dump my current line and sell nothing but? No, I would not, but I have no problem adding it to my inventory. I think there is a place on the lot for economy, middle range and high end product.
  14. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    It is nice when we can agree!.

    Watts characterizes the water savings as up to 30%. My experience casts no doubt on that claim.

    In the same installation I have seen a 12" Vortech tank with Filox media that is backwashed at 10 gallon per minute and the media is lifted with the 10 gpm flow. By comparison a 12" tank with traditional distributor, gravel underbed, and Calcite media is backwashed at 13 gpm and the bed is not lifted.
  15. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

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    1,483
    Location:
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    This system might be great for medias that do not have much weight to them and few if any change outs of media, but if one is using media with weight and removing some thing like Iron and changing out often.. I would not trust it.

    If using a 12" or larger tank one should be using a larger end of the distributor, one for more flow rate and not one for a smaller tank.
  16. zientm

    zientm New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I have to consider the total cost that someone will sell the system to me, though. I have looked around the internet for what seemed to be reputable dealers (including checking them out with the Better Business Bureau) and have come up with the following options for a 1.5 cu. ft. neutralizer with automatic back flushing (all prices including shipping and tax, if applicable):

    $535 with Fleck 5600 valve and gravel bed (not quite as confident in this company)
    $620 with Autotrol valve and gravel bed
    $649 with Fleck 2510 or Clack WS1 valve and Vortech distributor
    $670 with Clack WS1 valve and gravel bed
    $1218 with Fleck (non-electronic) valve and gravel bed, includes installation (quoted by local dealer)

    I am leaning towards the Clack valve, and it appears I can get a system with it cheaper if I go with the Vortech system. Of course, there are issues of after-sales support and the like, which are hard to discover before the fact. And maybe I just have not found the company offering the best deal yet...
  17. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,483
    Location:
    Alaska
    And I will not bid on it because you are there and I am in Alaska. While I might have some ideas as to what could be done, I do not know the water there and what works best and what does not really work.

    As for Valve choices,,, 2510 or the Clack as both can be programed for different time frames of the cleaning cycle.
    Autotrol and 5600 can not be.

    With any valve choice I would not have the Vortech Distributor, I just could not trust it yet.
  18. zientm

    zientm New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    The info I have seen for the Clack says that it there are two options for Backwash/Rinse times: 14 and 8 minutes or 16 and 10 minutes. Not a whole lot of flexibility. I have been unable to find info on the Fleck - how adjustable is it?

    And my point on the Vortech is that it appears I would have to pay more to not get it.
  19. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    There are many different versions of the Clack valve electronics and the ability to adjust depends on the version you get.

    I think the minimum adjustment is offered on the TC version of the valve and when used as a backwashing filter there are three options for backwash/rinse:
    6/4, 10/6, and 14/8.

    On the other hand, if you get the EE version of the valve the backwash and rinse can be set within the range of 1-20 minutes for each.
  20. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    You can't go wrong with either the Clack or Fleck heads. Both are very good pieces if equipment indeed. I sell a crap load of Fleck heads but that is more of a price thing than anything else ( lots of cost conscious folks around these parts) But I like the Clack's ease of service and adjustability. As far as the Vorteck, like I said, good idea, it works and I just don't have enough experience with them to quantify it yet.
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