Water Test and Softener Selection

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by jimt2007, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. jimt2007

    jimt2007 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Port Townsend, WA
    Ok…here is what I have…..Community well I have a grain hardness of 21 …<1 of iron…no manganese.
    Chlorine…can’t get a reading…used a hot tub test kit..showed none, but you can smell it sometimes…Ph is …7.6-7.7 SFR I came up with a value of 8 …based on the total wsfu of 10 using the UPC plumbing code…The number 8 represents all fixtures I may/would use at once...my gallons per minute is based on a timed test in the tub…both hot/cold running at the same time I had 3.5gpm…that gives you some idea of the water pressure in that community well system...I also came up with 130 gallons of water/day based on 2 people…65 gallons for each person
    According to Gary Slusser’s site, I need a a 1.5 cu ct unit that which water hardness calculates @ 3250 Daily grains capacity with 26000 total capacity…salt dosage total pounds is 8 salt dose capacity is 27300 salt efficiency is 3413…days between regen is 8. I have read a lot on Gary’s site and gained a lot of information…he speaks of a “calendar override” is that a manual regen based on date??
    I was thinking about getting a 10 x 54 resin tank 32,000 grain peak capacity 1.5 cuft …if that is in fact what I need…what about a gravel underbed??? 18 x 33 brine tank w/ float/salt grid…Fleck 5600 1 inch timered valve w/bypass…Installing softener inside home next to water heater area and putting brine tank outside (to save room in laundry area) …(brine tank would be about 10 feet away from softener) then running drain line from brine tank to downspout outlet nearby. What about the distributor tube… what dia should I get?? The plumbing inside this manufactured home is a rigid type similar to pvc and is an off white/yellow color…Skyline brand manufactured in 1999….does anyone see any problems with that install? What about putting softener/brine tank in the garage which is about 10-12 ft. from water meter??
    I had a local water treatment company sales person come out and sampled the water and try to sell me a softener that combines both carbon and resin… .75 cf resin/.75 carbon and would only guarantee the carbon in the tank for 2 yrs…then $400.00 after 2 years to replace media and carbon and tank…from what I’ve read…not a good design and charcoal will mix with resin beads and shorten life of them…he also said that it was a 28,000 grain capacity softener flow rate of 8, pipe size 1 inch, aprox salt usage 40 lbs/month and would regen every 4 days …seems a little light for my application….I was trying to get rid of the little bit of chlorine taste as I know the chlorine shortens life of resin but not a big deal if I don’t. The .75 cf of resin seems undersized for my application. Even though I did the calculations, I feel I am still missing something given my stats. FYI the guy wanted $1995.00 plus tax for softener system and to install…I see a lot of profit there. The install seems straightforward. What about the 3.5 gpm rate… is it too low and cause channeling in the resin if I went to the 1.5 cuft??
    As with all of you I am sure you are with me when I say… I only want to do this once and get it right the first time…based on Gary’s site and my understanding of his info as well as other info on the net any other help, thoughts, recommendations, salt usage, regen. times, equipment etc. would be greatly appreciated in helping me pick the “right the first time set up.”…thanks for you time…Jim
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  2. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The constant SFR has to be higher than the peak demand flow rate of multiple fixtures you may have running at the same time, not just one tub but, with 8 gpm there, you add anything else that may be used when the tub is filling. A 1.5 cuft softener has 12 gpm.

    A 1.5 cuft uses a 10" x 54" tank. A 32K is a 1 cuft and they use a 9" x 48 tank.
  3. jimt2007

    jimt2007 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Port Townsend, WA
    Hi Gary...Thanks for replying...I understand what you have said here. You mentioned that a 1.5 cuft softener has 12 gpm...so would a 1.0 cuft softener have 9 gpm?? Perhaps I did not expalin it correctly. The number 8 does represent multiple fixtures. It is not based on a gpm of 3.5. from the tub. The 3.5 represents an idea of water pressure on that community well system...I don't know what the actual water pressure is. The SFR I came up with (a value of 8) was based on the total wsfu of 10 using the UPC plumbing code...based on the number of fixtures I would be using at one time. My concern is getting a 1.5cuft softener and not having enough pressure to run it without possible channeling of the resin, or it being inefficient (too big/wasteful). Did I miss something??
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You can't come up with gpm by guessing the pressure. BTW, 3.5 gpm from a tub is very low. You can buy a faucet tip pressure gauge at most hardware stores to find out exactly what pressure you have.

    As long as you have 20 psi or more, there's no problem.

    The guys that go on about channeling are repeating gossip IMO. I have sold softeners based on my sizing and salt dose/K of capacity for many years. And I included a water test kit with each softener and told the customer to expect 0 gpg soft water at all times and if they find more than 0 gpg, there was something wrong with the softener and to let me know. I've never had a customer with channeling and that is with up to 4 cuft softeners in 2 person households with a peak demand from a large jetted tub or body spray shower requiring the SFR of that size softener. You set it up to regenerate every 7-8 days (with a gal setting including a 24 hr reserve) and you won't have a channeling problem.

    21 + (4* 1 ppm iron) = 25 compensated hardness * 130 gals/day = 3250 * 8 = 26000 (26K) / 25 = 1040 gals - (7 * 130) = 910 = the gals setting and 910 / 130 says it will regenerate on average every 7 days and you have 130 gals in reserve. That reserve is due to the control valve probably not having variable reserve; otherwise you'd set 1040 gals and not calculate a 24 hr reserve.

    The 26,000 / 3333 grs/gal efficiency = a salt dose in lbs of 7.8 lbs rounded to 8 lbs/regeneration. Unless the control valve has variable brining, then it will adjust the 8 lbs as needed (only downward), and variable brining controls usually have variable reserve.
  5. jimt2007

    jimt2007 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Port Townsend, WA
    As far as pressure goes...I figured I needed a pressure gauge to determine the water pressure there...on my list of to do's soon...hoping I have at least 20 psi. You mention a variable brine control...in going with the Fleck brand....seems the 7000 has that feature...but may not work on this set up. Currently ( 1 person) my Dad lives there and based again on the calculators on your web page, a 1 cuft tank unit (9 x 48) would work just fine for now.....when he moves on, then its just me and my wife there, then I would just need to upgrade/switch to the 1.5 cuft tank...and re-program the timer as you suggested above....is my thinking correct?? Would the Fleck 5600 timered 1 " valve work on either tank size and it is just a matter of programming??
    Thanks again for your time Gary.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The K of capacity is adjustable on all softeners by adjusting the salt dose up or down, although not all company manuals tell you how to do that or how to get into the programming to do it.

    I don't like variable brining because you'll usually use more water than a softener without the feature because there will be more regenerations.

    A 2510 or 5600 SXT are the best choices. And yes, you simply change the programming for more or fewer people; not the size of the tanks and volume of resin.
  7. jimt2007

    jimt2007 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Port Townsend, WA
    Ok Gary...Thanks...but to be clear given this new senario of 1 person instead of 2...I can have a 1.5 cuft tank and using the above formula...
    21 + (4* 1 ppm iron) = 25 compensated hardness * 65 gals/day = 1625 * 8 = 13000 (13K) / 25 = 520 gals - (8 * 65) = 520 = the gals setting and 520 / 8 says it will regenerate on average every 8 days and you have 65 gals in reserve.
    The 13,000 / 3333 grs/gal efficiency = a salt dose in lbs of 3.9 lbs/regeneration or round up to 4 lbs.
    According to your chart, I would have to set it up so the salt dose capacity would be 20000...salt effiency @ 3333...gives 800 gals and 12 days between generations to reach a 6 lb setting. I don't know the internal workings of these valves, set up etc. but from what I understand, I have only seen on the net...the lowest setting only going down to a 6 lb salt dose...is that true... is that all the farther they go???
    The 6lb seems a little high for the 1 person application...but like I said I don't know how the valves are adjusted. It also looks from your chart I can set it up closer... salt dose @ 4 lbs... salt dose capacity 15200... salt effiency @ 3800 ...days between generation...9... gals between generations 608. Can you set the 2510 to a lower than 6 lb setting??? Also in leaving the beads sitting there for 12 days...don't I risk the chance of the beads compacting???...would a turbulator be in order???
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The salt dose dictates the K of capacity. The volume of resin in cuft dictates the max K of capacity at the max of 15 lbs of salt per cuft of resin.

    I didn't check your math above but you should and see if 520 doesn't have to be reduced by 65 for a 24 hr reserve (7 days not 8).

    Otherwise ya got it by doing the math by hand so don't get into using a chart at 20K when you only need 13K unless you are going to reduce the numbers to fit your need of 13K and 4 lbs of salt.

    The seller of the mechanical type control valves orders the valve set up however he wants it, like 6 lbs of salt minimum. But, electronic don't have the problem IIRC, so go electronic, and before you buy, make sure you can get down to the salt dose lbs/minutes needed for 4 lbs.

    The resin bed has to be compacted and is by the final rinse.

    No to the Turbulator, you don't have enough iron to justify one, and with one, you can't use a gravel underbed and that is more important than what a Turbulator does for you.
  9. jimt2007

    jimt2007 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Port Townsend, WA
    Hello Gary, you are right the 520 gals DOES have to be reduced (520-65=455) for a 24 hour reserve and IS 7 days, not 8...thanks for pointing that out. In contacting other internet companies...I understand why I don't need a turbulator for my situation, but those internet companies I have contacted say no to a gravel bed as well...not needed for this size. What is the advantage and why is it important?? I also went to the Pentairaqua.com web page to read up on the Fleck 5600 SXT and the 2510 you suggested I use...not sure if these valves are timer based or metered based, but I did send them an e-mail asking if they could be set for the 13k and 4 lbs of salt. I have been told the meter based ones plug up (why??) and don't give accurate readings...they seem more efficient, but not sure...any thoughts on that I would appreciate. Thanks again for your time.
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    A gravel underbed disperses water flow into the bottom of the tank so it naturally flows up through all the resin during the backwash position of a regeneration much better than if the teeny tiny beads of resin are up against the measured in thousands of an inch slits in the bottom basket of the distributor tube. Better flow during backwash provides maximum cleaning of the resin bed, which means the softener operates better and longer than not.

    In the Service position, without a gravel underbed, those beads are being pushed up against the slits by whatever water pressure you have every time you use water, which tends to block water flow through the softener and that greatly increases the pressure loss/across in the softener. And possibly causes channeling but that's only an educated guess on my part.

    There is no disadvantage to a gravel under bed except the few dollars cost and if you needed a Turbulator.

    You can get the 5600 and 2510 in mechanical metered, electronic metered (SXT) or non metered day timer.

    Pentair doesn't sell to end users, they sell to their distributors that then sell to their dealers that then sell to the end user/customer (you). Again, the distributor is who the dealer orders from and the dealer specks the control valve she/he wants to sell and then sells it to you. Like IIRC the minimum salt lbs of 3, 6 or 18 lbs/regeneration on the mechanical metered versions.

    It's like ordering a car/truck/SUV with features/equipment that the dealers don't normally stock; or think will sell without them having to spend more time and effort to sell. Like a manual tranny or different rear end ratios; heavy duty clutch, re-enforced frame and heavier shocks and springs, a different than the standard roof rack, or colors... etc. etc..
  11. JKERN

    JKERN New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    Artesia NM
    You may also want to look at a Vortech tank which does the same as a gravel bed without having the added cost of gravel whenever you need to rebed the mineral tank. Also I have read these forums for some time and just joined you should watch out for internet dealers and people that havent owned or worked in the feild most do not have real world working experience with the equipment they sell. If you go to Pentair aqua you should find a "find a dealer button" on their page and beable to get in touch with a Pentair Platinum Dealer who can hook you up with a suitable FLECK valve.
  12. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The Vortech tank has a serious disadvantage over a regular tank and a gravel underbed. If something goes wrong with the distributor system in the Vortech tank, you must replace the whole tank for multiple hundreds of dollars while having to dump the contents; as opposed to replacing a distributor tube and bottom basket in a regular type tank for like <$20 and not having to dump the contents of the tank.

    JKern, this is a DIYer forum.

    That means you help people do what they want to do themselves without having to call someone in to do it for them at usually a high cost to them. And you support online purchases because they cost the OP much less than a local dealer will charge them for the same industry standard thing.

    It also means that you don't protect local dealers by attacking online dealers unless you specifically have an experience that is appropriate to the OP's (original poster) questions or problems. And if you are lumping me into your comment about internet dealers (which you must be since I am the only one that posts here), I have 25 years of field experience that I'll put up against anyone local or online.

    BTW, as a local dealer for some 18+ years, a 100 lb bag of 1/4" x 1/8" gravel cost me $10-$15 delivered by my supplier's truck. I built all my equipment myself by buying components in bulk. So 15-25 lbs of gravel as an underbed in regular sized softeners hardly raises the price of the softener compared to the cost of a Vortech tank. Actually it was less than my increased wholesale cost for a Vortech tank compared to the price of a same size regular tank and distributor tube.
  13. JKERN

    JKERN New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    Artesia NM
    Well I surely did not mean to lump you in with internet dealers Gary I was actually referring to the predatory types that are out there on the internet. I appologize if you took that the wrong way. I do understand your point on the cost of the Vortech Tank but after 16 years of using gravel beds in my company we switched to the Votech tank setup and after several hundred installations only 1 tank has ever had an issue and it was due to improper shipping not to tank failure. Most people in the industry "and im not saying you" that make claims about failure of the tanks had learned about Enpress having issues making the lower distributor plate into 14" and up tanks where the mineral outweighed the maximum holding capacity of the plate. And as for cost at this point in the economy I'm sure that if one wanted a Vortech tank you could pick one up as cheap as i can get them for around 100 to 130 dollars from an iinternet sales site. Not to mention at this point most dealers are selling valves to diyers as cheap as the internet people if they themselves don't have to instal the unit.
  14. jimt2007

    jimt2007 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Port Townsend, WA
    Thanks JKERN for the info...I will check it out.
  15. jimt2007

    jimt2007 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Port Townsend, WA
    Hi Gary,
    I did get an e-mail today from Pentair Water and the guy in technical sales said "the SXT is programmable any way you want." I will call him tomorrow for further clarification. What you said about ordering the controls i.e. like ordering a car...I didn't know...makes sense though. Now I just need to test the water pressure ...hope it is 20 psi or above and then move forward.

    Could you please give me some recommendations/things to look for as to finding a reputable web site to order from?? (man, I wish you were still in business but glad you are retired) Of the 7 requests I have sent out...only 3 came back and 2 of those just gave links! I don't get it.
    What type of water test kit should I look for?? I remember you mentioning in a previous post you sent out water test kits with every order...great idea!
    Gary, Thanks so much for all your help and expertise. You are a cornucopia of information and I value the time you have spent with me..... this has been a great opportunity to get some awesome information!!...you have taught me a lot...thanks again...Jim
  16. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Thanks for the kind words Jim, and you're welcome.

    Reputable internet dealers.... I've spoken with many local and internet dealers and only a very few operated as I did. Most didn't want to be bothered with educating a prospective customer. They'd rather bitch and complain about everything and each other. Many internet dealers want the person to buy off their web site without having to answer questions etc. for days as some people want to do. That gets old very quick. My guess is that some, maybe the majority, have never installed a softener or serviced one in a customer's location, or if they did they couldn't make it as a local dealer. IMO they are in 'it' for the money and couldn't care less about customers unless they don't have enough of them. But, I'm cynical after all these years on the internet (started my 14th yr this month) and taking many arrows from many local dealers and a few internet dealers. So all I can say is to use your gut instincts as to who you think you can trust, pay the money and adapt to what comes. You usually can't go very wrong with just a softener purchase as long as you buy a good control valve and the correct size softener for your peak demand and volume of water used per day.

    Any home water test will have a hardness test in it and if you think the softener isn't giving you soft water, test to see if you're right. Many internet sites sell test kits, as do hardware stores etc..

    I never planned on retiring, so as yet I'm not sure I like it much. I don't like the loss of the income but I am very glad to not be spending my days on the phone answering questions as I did for all those years. Actually I burned myself out and took a few months off when Clack dumped us and finally decided to quit.

    Come spring we are going fishing, and we are getting ready for the coming economic/financial catastrophe/depression while hoping we are wrong. It's giving me something to do and to think about other than someone's water problems. I've designed and I'm building a dual axis solar panel tracker for my motor home. I have one about 60% assembled and it's looking good. I have most of the parts for two and have 6 panels on the roof but only need 2 on a tracker. After that I'm going into fresnel lenses and potable water production with solar power and a solar powered portable dehydrator, smoker and oven. At least that's the plan for now. I've been totally off grid for 2+ yrs except for gasoline and propane. I haven't owed anyone anything since about 1992 and I pay cash or don't buy it. We still need to wean ourselves off the debit cards though and get cash in hand. Recently I've been telling myself what Ben Franklin said... if you fail to plan you've planned to fail. Along with my old Boy Scout motto; Be Prepared.
  17. jimt2007

    jimt2007 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Port Townsend, WA
    Gary, another question and is key to me is MAINTAINANCE OF THESE WATER SOFTENER SYSTEMS!! What things should I look for/test/clean/etc. basically what to do to keep it at peak effiency?? Obviously testing the water for hardness and checking the brine tank...but what else?? I have heard systems "plug up" How do they and why do they?
    Seems like many in society take to the "NEW" scout motto..."on my honor to do my best...to help myself and cheat the rest" ):
    Having been retired since Feb 2008...31 years teaching wood shop to Middle School and driver ed to HS...I wasn't ready to retire either...really enjoyed what I did...kids were awesome and appreciative! Many teachers bitch because of the pay etc. but they knew that going into the job...I always found extra work...had a handyman business on top of teaching... but like you say, you get burned out and have to step away...I envy your ability to travel and your new venture of the solar dehydrator/smoker/oven ...sounds like lots of fun...would like to know more about that. The loss of income is an adjustment...planning ahead is indeed a life skill ...that many have forgotten or don't seem to have...like I told my shop kids..."plan it out, do it right or do it again"
  18. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Basically all that is needed is to keep the salt in the brine tank about half full and the time of day set correctly on the control valve. If the water gets bad, troubleshoot the problem and correct it. Don't let it run low or out of salt. You can pour half a 50 lb bag in and make a black marker line on the inside wall facing you and then add the rest of the salt that you want to and weekly look for the line and add salt when you see the line.

    I like a salt grid to keep the salt up out of the water as much as possible which helps to prevent salt bridges. They are like $5 wholesale. I also suggest solar crystal salt and not pellets because it is less expensive and totally dissolves without any residual mush in the bottom of the salt tank.

    My homemade dehydrator and smoker will have to be able to be taken apart for transport due to our limited space in the motor home and 4 dr Jeep. That makes the deign somewhat challenging and I may not be able to do that with the limited tools I have. So... we may tear out an unused couch/pull out double bed we don't use and make room there. Then we buy those things instead of making them. We'll probably do that since SHE is OK with it, and we need space to store the bulk beans, flour, sugar, rice, potatoes, meat grinder, pressure and slow cookers, bread machine etc., and to lay the guns and trolling motor down. lol
  19. jimt2007

    jimt2007 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Port Townsend, WA
    Gary,
    What about assembly of the control valve to the tank/loading the gravel/media recommendations?? ...any expert thoughts on how to get it tight w/o leaks?? ...and I am running the brine waste line to a downspout (4'corregated black pipe) any info on distances to run that line/hook up/etc.??..... would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for all the advice...love your storage senario...LOL indeed
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2011
  20. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I don't think you'll need any practice so I suggest loading the gravel and resin before putting the control on the tank....

    You simply pour the gravel and resin in through a funnel that most internet dealers supply with the unit. Of course you block the top of the distributor tube so nothing can get in it. And remove the plug or tape before screwing the control valve into the neck of the tank. Lefty loosey, righty tighty until it's tight but since it seals with an o-ring, tight is enough.

    The drain line can go any distance you want since it is going downhill from the control valve.
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