Water Softener Drain and what the Plumber told me while getting a quote...

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by hobiecatter, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. hobiecatter

    hobiecatter New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    TX
    I am in the process of "interviewing" plumbers to install a softener for me. I've done my research and know what to ask and how I want it done. So this first guy has been a plumber all his life and seemed to be a good creditable plumber which has installed a few softeners in my neighborhood.

    However, there are a couple of things he said that made me turn my cheek and I wish to get your opinion.

    First of all I was adimant about running the drain line up to the attic and over "just a few feet each" to the drain for the Washing Machine. Of course vented correctly and such. My next door neighbor had this done and I have read that this is common practice as long as its not enclosed and "vented" correctly. This guy was like, no way... I would never do that because it is a sanitary drain and I would never tie it over to that drain. He went on to say they always just route it outside into the grass or flower bed. I know better than that and said "no I don't want to do that because I know it is bad for the plants/grass, but he said no actually where the drain comes out is makes the grass real green and there is no problem with it. We are talking about a regular softener that uses the Salt Pellets.

    The other thing was that I was going to get my own softener and have him install it, which he didn't have a problem with, but he kept insisting that the ones from the Big Box stores were just as good, last the same amount of time, and cheaper than the Fleck, Clack, Autotrol, etc. He claims that having a plumber come out and replace the resin ends up costing as much as just buying a new one off the shelf at a Big Box store anyways. And with the hardness of our water EITHER water softener will need replaced after about 5 or 6 years anyway, so it is better to go with the cheaper Big Box softeners.

    From my research, this guy is wrong on both accounts.
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,897
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I run mine to my sump pit that then discharges into a ditch on my property. While it hasn't killed any grass, it has killed quite a few trees. I cannot speak to the quality of box store models but my softener media needed replacing after 10 years and it was far cheaper to re-bed than replace.
  3. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    I wouldn't have that guy touch anything of mine. Running salt water directly on the ground is not good. I have seen in some cases where the grass is very green from the salt discharge, but I have also seen it leave a big patch of dead grass. Running it over head can also be a problem. If the drain line leaks in the attic it will ruin the drywall. If you do run it over head, use pvc. Less likely of leaks. What part of TX? I still know good installers in the Austin area.
  4. hobiecatter

    hobiecatter New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    TX
    I agree, I will not be using this guy. The second guy came out tonight and he seemed to know more. He does the drain overhead in the attic, but he uses PEX. I guess I could ask him to use PVC. I don't want that to leak for sure. Unfortunately, I have to go overhead. There is no other close place to drain to without digging a trench all the way around the house.

    I'm in Fort Worth. Know anyone good up here?
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,897
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I'm guessing attics in Texas get pretty hot and I would not run PVC through a hot attic. PEX will never leak.
  6. hobiecatter

    hobiecatter New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    TX
    Does it ever get hot in the attic? Oh yeah! We just hit the record of 70 days of over 100's for the year! So yeah PEX it is! I have another plumber that is scared of PEX runs because he says they are more prone to leak at the joints. Is he just not updated?

    I have another plumber that is afraid of using PEX in the flower bed because the ants can eat through the plastic. Is that true?

    What part of NW Ontario are you in? I've spent some summers in Sturgeon Falls & Lake Nippising
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  7. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    Funny. That's what they said about poly tubing when it first came out. I would trust pvc more that pex only because pvc has stood the test of time. Maybe in another 10 years I will be convinced about pex.
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,897
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    The only thing I ever used PVC for was electrical conduit and we used to warm it up with a heat gun to mold it into any shape. It would get as soft as a wet noodle and we could bend it like a pretzel. I realize it's not the same PVC used for drains but if you cannot use PVC for a HWT TPR drain because of the heat, would not a Texas attic get nearly as hot?

    I use PEX on my softener and iron filter drains as well as the furnace condensate line. With the exception of the one end, therre is no need for fittings or joints anywhere else. I doubt ants would chew through it.
  9. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    I see what you are saying, but why wouldn't vent pipes have a problem in the attic when they are made of PVC? I have used PVC because a company I worked for in Tx used tubing and after a few years it became brittle and cracked. A lot of law suits followed.
  10. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,897
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    When I had my gas water heater replaced, the guy that was installing the PVC vent told me that it was no ordinary PVC, that it was temperature rated to use for venting. He could have been BS'ing me for all I know.
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,485
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; the guy that was installing the PVC vent told me that it was no ordinary PVC, that it was temperature rated to use for venting. He could have been BS'ing me for all I know.

    See, he even made you more intelligent. NONE of the PVC manufacturers will cerify that their pipes are rated for venting purposes. For my own use, I ALWAYS buy the HD or Sears, (they are the same unit), depending on their current prices. I have never felt any softener was worth the time and money it took to repair or rebuild them. As far as performance, the only differences are in the control mechanism. The water flowing through the mineral is the same in all of them. The only difference between a large softener and a smaller one is how frequently they regenerate based on the amount of water used.
  12. hobiecatter

    hobiecatter New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    TX
    It's so confusing...there are not many on here at all that will recommend a big box store Water Softener over a Clack, Fleck, or Autotrol etc. The price (when looking at them online) is actually cheaper than the big box store water softeners, so why would I get one of those?

    As the matter of fact, looking anywhere on the internet when trying to compare the two, it always says that going with a spearated brine tank unit with a quality valve will usually last you longer than the cabinet models.

    Interesting there are so many different opinions on this forum. But I welcome any and all feedback...
  13. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Big box softeners have a very short warranty and even shorter warranties on such as the electronics. Autotrol, Clack, Fleck, Erie control valves all have full 5 years on everything.

    Big box brands use ABS plastic and white metal for their valves compared to NORYL, a fiber reinforced ANSI grade plastic and steel/SS or brass.

    You do not get anywhere near the quality with big box brands as you do with water treatment industry softeners.

    You can't buy a larger than 1.25 cuft in any big box store brand, so they are rarely if ever found in a business or larger houses. Cabinet models are very difficult to work on.
  14. hobiecatter

    hobiecatter New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    TX
    Yes, thanks for re-assuring me Gary. I've already made up my mind that I'm not going to waste my time and money on the big box brands. Likely a Fleck for me, just trying to decide which one is best for me.
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