Water Softener Recommendations

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by timk10, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. timk10

    timk10 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    I am interested in water softeners and was hoping for some impartial input.

    Background: We have gone through 5 coffee pots in the two and a half years we have been in our home. We have not had issues with appliances but that is likely because we upgraded them recently. We do get hard water spots on everything (shower glass, dog's bowl, etc.) We have not had water tested.

    Installation: We plan on using a plumber or approved installer. We don't want to mess with it.

    Price: I am willing to consider a variety of prices but don't want to waste money on bells, whistles that I don't need or brands just because of their name. I am more interested in value and certainly not interested in going into high numbers. Our home is 2,900 sqf with 3.5 bathrooms.

    Longevity: I am thinking we will sell the house between 5-10 years. I would like something that I can either recapture some of the investment or I don't have to worry about while I am in the home.

    Any recommendations?
    Should we have the water tested to see what option works best?
    What should we look for in the water and systems to figure the best option for us?

    Thanks in advance for your help!!!
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
  2. timk10

    timk10 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Thanks for the reply. We are in a small town with city water but it is drawn from a well.
  3. timk10

    timk10 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Thanks we will do that. We don't have any sulphur (rotten egg smell) issues just damaged appliances...

    I am glad you mentioned the pressure issues because we had to have a pressure regulator installed at the curb. Apparently, our city does not install them at the base of the source and developers were not required to include one when they developed the homes. Our pressure was out the roof until it was installed so I will be sure we consider that in things.
  4. timk10

    timk10 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Thanks. I thought I had posted here in the past but when I used the search option I did not find it. Obviously, we did not solve our problem and I am just getting back around to the project...
  5. RPL1

    RPL1 Service Mgr., WTS-III, 15 years exp.

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Kyle, TX

    Wow! I hope you don't talk to your potential customers that way. You can usually tell pretty quickly when water treatment equipment has been installed by a plumber. Mostly because the units are sized incorrectly, and were left at the factory settings. Also, it's usually the cheapest unit they could find at the plumbing supply store or Home Depot. The plumbers in my area are smart enough to know what they don't know. I recommend a good plumber when I need to, and they return the favor when they are called about water treatment. Either way, the customer gets the best value.

    By the way, I really like the new Clack WS1 valve with adjustable cycle times. Sometimes bells and whistles can be kind of nice.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2009
  6. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Messages:
    460
    Location:
    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    Well said. I too refer work back and forth with an "unlimited plumber".
    Gary, my point is that if the equipment is bad (defective head), damaged freight, missing parts, etc, then the customer is going to take the hit and pay the plumber twice if he has to return (why should the plumber take the hit because the customer is trying to save $). So now lets say 9 months down the road there are problems, again the customer is paying for a full service call and labor (parts may be free) but again why should the plumber take the hit in warranteed product that is defective ... he didn't buy it and it's not his fault.
  7. Water_doctor

    Water_doctor In the Trades

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Utah
    Here are just a few more questions that need to be asked

    Hello, sorry that I am just coming into the conversation but I have a couple comments that might be helpful.

    You are in a small town that draws from a well. Being an organized township there are certain treatment requirements that must be done in order to have a public water system. I agree that you need to know exactly what is in your water, but you should be able to go to the town hall and see the water test results that they are required to do at least on a yearly basis (many times quarterly or bi-monthly).

    Is there any orange staining or discoloring in your toilets or sinks? That will let us know if you have high iron concentrations as well.

    Is your house pre-plumbed for a water softener? Is there a "U" in the pipes by your water heater somewhere that looks like it is just a waste of pipe. That is probably the plumbing for the softener. (If that's the case you can save the money and install one yourself. It sounds crazy but you would be surprised how much it is not "rocket science". you can get into that later.)

    As far as going with a name brand vs something you can buy at the local hardware store. I my experience has shown that you get what you pay for to a certain extent.

    My experience is:

    GE/Sears/Kenmore - after 2-5 years you will be replacing your o-rings and seals which if you don't do yourself is going to cost your at least $150. If you can keep it going for about 8 years you will be on borrowed time after that. (Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but we repair those types of softeners all the time and the ones we are repairing were bought about 2-4 years ago, and we are replacing the ones bought 5-8 years ago.)

    Culligan/Kinetico/Name Brand - excellent system but when you buy one of these, you are paying for so much more than the system. You are paying advertising, for their call center, sales and corporate bonuses, and commissions. I'm not saying that they are ripping you off because you get a great system in your home and probably will never have to worry about it except for the salt. It just seems like if you can get the same quality for less, why wouldn't you

    What I would suggest is doing your research on the individual parts. Find out what these name brand places put in their systems that makes them so good. And then I am certain that you will be able to find someone that is using the same equipment, just doesn't have the same overhead.

    Ok I am getting kind of long here but what I am saying is you need to educate yourself a little because we all would love for you to buy our product from us and we can all tell you why our machine is the best, but the bottom line is you need to know what is best for you.

    So here are my recommendations of what to search for.
    Fleck 5600 Valve, Clack WS-1, Autotrol. (these are all different valve assemblies)
    look up crosslinking resin.
    And if you have iron and other dissolved solids (get the info from the water test) you need to consider Anion vs Cation softener, as well as filtration.
    Do you want a Reverse Osmosis System to purify your drinking water.
    Go and do a little bit of research and then let's talk again soon. Look on all of our websites as well. I have information about all of my softeners right there and you can see what I build my systems with, just like Gary or Tim or any one of these people that are helping you out. Do some research and you will get what is best for you and the price that is best for you as well.
    For any more questions let us know
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You are not understanding how problems are handled IF there are problems.

    The customer unpacks and inspects everything for completeness of the order and any damage. Then calls me if something is missing or broken, which is very rare.

    Then usually he gets a totally free part at no cost in just a few days and I pay the freight but on damage, my supplier claims against the freight company and doesn't charge me for the part, just the freight.

    If the part is say a whole control valve (but why would you have to replace a whole control valve!), my customer ships the bad one back at his expense after the new one arrives. That shipping by the customer has been required maybe a dozen times in the last 6-7 yrs. Mostly on circuit boards (4-5 that I can recall) or a turbine wheel assembly (4-5 I think).

    I.E. my supplier has actually shipped a complete new 9100 Fleck because we couldn't figure out if it was the SE timer or meter turbine or both. It was the turbine IIRC. Then when the guy, a restaurant owner, got his 9100 fixed, he sent the new one back with the bad parts from the original valve. The valve was like 6 months old.

    The plumber has no responsibility in any of that, and shouldn't even know it happened.

    If he breaks something, which has never happened except a few cross threaded plumbing connector fittings, then he'd pay for that; same for a customer.

    I also sell to plumbers and a handyman (in TX). I've been working with the handyman for like 4+ yrs.. He called me this morning for the programming info on a 2.5 cuft he bought from me in Feb. and that sale fell through and he sold it the other day and was at the customer's house installing it today. I couldn't give him programming until he sold it and knew the customer's water test results and family size.

    If my customer has a problem down the road, he/she calls me and we do our thing in getting the cause identified and a new part on the way if needed. A new part is rarely needed; 22 problems in over 1200+ Clack sales alone in 5.5 yrs.. I also sell Fleck controls on equipment.

    If the plumber or handyman is not my customer, they have nothing in it and don't even know about any problem. My customers fix problems themselves.

    Why would you think the plumber or handyman would be involved in problems with the equipment when they were hired by and paid by my customer to install the thing and there are no water leaks in the plumbing?
  9. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Messages:
    460
    Location:
    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    Gary:
    Here's my point ... there are a lot of opportunities for things not to function properly. It is good to see you have a handle on returns, damaged freight, etc, but by your own admission 2% of your product needs replacement parts. So at least 1 in 50 jobs there is a problem ... perhaps remedied by the customer and perhaps not. If the plumber was the one who provided the equipment, then he would replace the damaged product, do a call back, handle all the paperwork, shipping, etc. The customer is pampered.

    If the product is provided by the customer, the plumber's work is complete whether the system is damaged, has missing parts, etc. It may not even be operable ... too bad.

    I am not trying to be critical of supplying a DIYer except bringing to light the fact that many plumbers or others in the trades shy away from a customer providing product because the customer many times can't seem to grasp the reality of the situation and instead is upset at the installer.
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You say "So at least 1 in 50 jobs there is a problem ... perhaps remedied by the customer and perhaps not.". What, you don't believe me that the problems are fixed?

    Why would you think they weren't fixed or that someone would buy a softener from me someone else online and not fix a problem when they have one? Maybe you need to read my Customer Comments forum and see what actual customers say.

    BTW, when I sold Fleck all but exclusively for 18 yrs, I had many more valves that needed repair, and some right out of a new case of valves. Especially the 5600 but...

    It seems to me that your point is that people ought to buy softeners from plumbers.

    I wish you a lot of luck in getting people to buy softeners from plumbers but why a plumber instead of a water treatment dealer, maybe like yourself? Aren't you much more into finding and fixing the cause of a problem with a control valve or softener than most plumbers? Or haven't you been in the business long enough to have any experience with that yet?
  11. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Messages:
    460
    Location:
    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    Gary:
    You've missed the whole point. Problems can and will happen and of course they get resolved ... eventually. I don't doubt what you're saying.
    You seem to be very defensive of my comments that some plumbers and others in the trades do not want to install equipment provided to them by the seller. Period. That is the point. Why buy from a plumber instead of a dealer ... who knows because the dealer is probably going to be more knowledgable. Why in the world are you questioning my experience? I'm not questioning yours. Sorry for threatening your DIY anyone can do it, never a problem, everything is perfect business model.
    K
  12. upper

    upper DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    154
    Location:
    Fresno, CA
    Boy I get water when the guy before me did not,and the guy before him too.I'll say it first,your getting a little out there 22k a month aint that big.Neither is your rig...I like red though Upper
  13. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,586
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    If you get a free pump with every warranty pump, you are still out the 400 bucks it cost you to warranty the labor. I find that a lot of people get free pumps this way, which tells me how many warranties they really have. I still don’t understand the 1 ½" pipe, friction loss, torque problems??

    There ain’t no free lunch! I have been a distributor as well as a driller and installer. If you buy 100 pumps and only pay for 80, then they are charging 20% to much for the pumps to start with. If you get five free pumps with a load of casing, the price of those pumps was already added in. The distributors get quantity breaks the same way, and pass some of them down.
  14. upper

    upper DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    154
    Location:
    Fresno, CA
    Boy Sheza drilling and sex are not alike........Upper
  15. upper

    upper DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    154
    Location:
    Fresno, CA
    Now Sheza,would I be getting the best ,.or the most.And what if I don't get there till winter? Upper
  16. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I spent the day selling softeners, 3 of them, and sending tracking and instructions and catching up on emails. Those softeners will be installed by my customers.

    I also got a call from a customer in San Antonio. His softener will be there Wednesday. He wanted to know if I knew any plumbers there because he had a plumber tell him $3,000 to install it. He had been looking at Ecowater and they offered to do it for $1300. I don't know any plumbers there so he's looking for another plumber.

    I see there's a number of people here down on DIYers. That explains a lot of the bickering.

    I'm all for DIYers and helping them. I've been one since 1961 and only recently have I paid someone to do something I could do myself or that I could learn to do. There are many guys that are the same way.
  17. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Messages:
    460
    Location:
    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    This just supports what I stated earlier that you may have trouble finding a plumber to install the equipment. The next challenge will be having someone servicing it. Did you disclose this issue ... I suspect not. Are you truly "helping" this customer or helping yourself. It is one thing to sell to a DIYer who is mechanically inclined and has experience sweating tubing and general plumbing skills ...but I cannot agree with selling the equipment to someone who knows they are over their head from day one and must now find an installer.
  18. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Having trouble finding a plumber is a rare problem, and you have no experience as how infrequently that it is a problem, so you assume it is a problem because you'd like it to be a problem.

    Obviously you have no experience in selling to DIYers or you wouldn't ask if I disclose servicing. The people that buy online service their own softeners. Accept it because that is what they do because they WANT TO. A lot of your softener customers will want to do the same when their softener doesn't work right. I get more calls from local dealers' customers than any other group. You can see them posting all over the internet too.

    You do realize that anyone that knows how to solder etc. has at some point in the past had to learn how to solder right? They weren't born with the ability to solder. Many people want to learn and do, I help them learn how.

    Yes I help my customer and earn a living at it too. You too earn a living selling things right? I doubt you help your customer learn how to do anything though because you're short sighted and probably selfish wanting every penny you can get from your customer. That's not me.

    LOL you think someone that can't install the softener themselves is over their head... Really! LOL

    If you don't like DIYers and them buying online, why are you in a DIYer forum?
  19. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Messages:
    460
    Location:
    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    Blah ... Blah... Blah
  20. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    I like that, blah blah blah, can i use that sometime? LOL. :D
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