water softener advice

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by rockman, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,871
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Very nice installation! The only thing I would have done differently was the plumbing connectors. Fleck makes Sweat connectors to replace the plastic threaded connectors. It will not affect anything, I just prefer to do them that way.

    Just a note, check you air gaps in the floor sink. Confirm your code allows them to be below the level. Most codes require that there is an air gap of twice the diameter of the pipe, but not less than 1". Also, electrical grounding, check that you did not interupt the grounding with the break in the copper plumbing at the softener. A simple jumper can correct that.
  2. rockman

    rockman New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Thanks for the tips. I'll double-check the air gaps and grounding. As for the plumbing connector I used this Fleck 90 degree elbow to give me more flexibility in mounting and get it closer to the wall. http://www.ohiopurewater.com/shop/customer/product.php?productid=22702&cat=462&page=1

    edit to add: K, I see what your saying about the drain. The one for the water softener is on the far right. I could cut off the 90 or perhaps just drill a hole in it. That would prevent siphoning of non-potable water or wastewater back into the softener in the event of system back-up. Also, with regards to grounding all of the copper is in the walls. None of it goes into the slab or to the main. It's all PEX.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  3. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,236
    Location:
    Maine
    Your air gaps are above the drain, they are fine.
  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Really? All end below the rim of the drain including the softener drain line. How is the softener drain line an acceptable air gap?

    Rockman, an air gap is not meant to stop/prevent siphoning, it is meant to stop cross connection, meaning the drain line water is not able to touch or come in contact with non potable water. And IMO, the applies to your black 3/8" line from the salt tank overflow elbow. Normally code calls for twice the ID of the drain line as an air gap above the rim of the sink/drain/stand pipe etc. the drain water goes into. You are using 3/4" so a minimum of a 1.25" air cap.

    You'll have to ask Tom why he thinks you have an OK air gap, he doesn't like me to mention possible reasons why he says dumb stuff.
  5. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,236
    Location:
    Maine
    Ahhhh because he's only required to have an air break, not an air gap. You can find the difference in your code book...Opps you don't have one of them.
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I see ditto must not have that book either but we agree on an air gap and since you don't, why don't you help the OP by telling him why he doesn't need an air gap.
  7. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,236
    Location:
    Maine
    I just did. He needs an air break not an air gap. The plumber that installed the drain knew the code and knew what he was doing too. Imagine that. Lots of folks that aren't plumbers and dont understand the code get confused by the difference.

    AIR BREAK (Drainage System). A piping arrangement in
    which a drain from a fixture, appliance or device discharges indirectly
    into another fixture, receptacle or interceptor at a point
    below the flood level rim.
    +An air break is an indirect drainage method where
    waste discharges to the drainage system through piping
    that terminates below the flood level rim of an approved
    receptor. An air break is commonly used to protect mechanical
    equipment from sewage backup in the event
    that stoppage occurs. It also protects the drainage system
    from adverse pressure conditions caused by
    pumped discharge
    [see Figure 202(4)].

    Softener discharge is considered "pumped discharge"


    AIR GAP (Drainage System). The unobstructed vertical distance
    through the free atmosphere between the outlet of the
    waste pipe and the flood level rim of the receptacle into which
    the waste pipe is discharging.
    +An air gap (drainage system) is a type of indirect waste
    where waste is discharged to the drainage system
    through piping that terminates at a specified distance
    above the flood level rim of an approved receptor.
    An air gap is commonly installed on drain lines serving
    equipment that is used in the preparation, storage
    and service of food, the conveyance of potable water,
    and the sterilization of medical equipment. The air gap
    serves as an impossible barrier for sewage to overcome
    in the event that stoppage occurs in the receptor drain,
    because sewage backup would overflow the receptor
    drain flood level before it came in contact with the drain
    line above [see Figure 202(4)].

    IIRC weren't you the guy that spent three or four pages of a thread railing on about how you don't think that there should be any regulation requiring either an air break or an air gap? LOL

    Hey you....quit reading my posts LOL

    Bazinga!
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013
  8. rockman

    rockman New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Flagstaff, AZ
    OK, good that's settled. No drain issues to deal with. I do have a small leak when doing a backwash. I coated the o-ring with some light Teflon grease on the 90 degree elbow at the valve. That helped but it's still a small dribble which seems to be coming out of the gray clip and not from the top. That, and just a comment on the valve itself. Or, perhaps rather the directions but for someone not that familiar with water softeners (but learning every day!) it wasn't clear how to change the regeneration cycle to fit my house/family needs.

    The default was 4600+ gallons which is of course overly-conservative for a family of 4 with a 100gal/day useage and hardness of 10. I now have it set to do a regeneration every 3360 gal or every 12 days, whichever comes first. But to do that, you have to manipulate the regeneration cycle time steps which isn't really explained. The customer support from Ohiopurewaterco was very helpful. I probably could have figured it out but it would have taken a bit of trial and error.
  9. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,871
    Location:
    Ontario California
    I am not a plumber but I am a certified installer. The way I was taught and my understanding seem to agree with the air gap, not air break code. The code is written in a way that can make it very difficult to interpret but I see a major difference between the gap/break writings. Please understand, and I am not arguing or trying to one-up anyone here unlike the antagonizer on this site, I am simply trying to grow my knowledge and understanding of the legal codes better.

    An air-break references interconnections between two appliances or receptor that falls below the "flood level rim"

    An air gap is a unobstructed vertical distance through the atmosphere of waste discharge from a potable water, food prep, medical... system.

    A water softener falls under the potable water category, and even though the water is pressurized to the drain, the other function of an air break is for the absolute separation of potable / sewer connections in the event of a loss of pressure, or a vacuum on the potable supply system. If a cities power goes down, sewage may not be pumped and sewer backup can occur, City water pressure may also be lost, so a vacuum can easily form in the potable plumbing system. If the softener were in regeneration at that time, the possibility of sewage being siphoned is a definite possibility. A recent lawsuit of over 5 million dollars in orange county is currently being pursued due to this and the result was a child getting Hep C. The softener tested positive for Hep C, and the lack of a proper air-gap is the main part of this case.

    In my opinion, better safe than sorry.

    I don't want to turn this into a who's right / who's wrong topic, I just want to add my thoughts and get some clarification. Also, I would never even consider installing a softener or RO system without a proper air gap. They cost less than $20.

    Lets here more, but without the normal personal attacks by a certain person who just cant help themselves. :)
  10. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,236
    Location:
    Maine
    An air gap is always the preferred and most reliable protection against cross contamination, but for whatever reason the code will allow an air break. In truth though and with the installation here, it wouldn't have been anymore difficult to to pipe it as an air gap. Anyway, what he has there is just fine.
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