Which water softener should I buy...getting desperate!

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by Debthegardner, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. Debthegardner

    Debthegardner New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I'm Back!

    After having 5 guys over and getting bids from $1200 all the way up to $7000 for a water softener system, not counting a new R/O unit, I am completely flabbergasted and just want to know your learned opinions on which softener (brand) I should buy. Here is some data: 625 dissolved solids in laundry sink, 72 solids at R/O, which now has a ruined bladder, and about 90 degrees of hardness. Three bathrooms, 2 people at present. We are on city water, no wells, so chlorine may be an issue. Have spoken to Pentair, EcoWater, Logics Autotrol, and a few other people whose products I can't recall. Since we bypassed an old, dying Kenmore 6 weeks ago, I have noticed buildup of scale on the shower floor. Any specific brand names and models would be greatly appreciated!:confused:

    Thanks guys!
  2. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    738
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    Stay away from any company where you have to buy the repair parts from them. Kinetico, Culligan and EcoWater are a few. Look for a Clack, Fleck or Autotrol valve. If the $1200 system you where quoted has one of those valve, consider buying that one. You will get great use out of it.
  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Independent dealers usually do not sell brand name softeners, ROs, filters, they sell softeners using brand name component parts like Autotrol, Clack or Fleck control valves and Structural media tanks etc.. Pentair is a holding company that owns many component parts manufacturers; they don't make anything. The independent dealers' equipment can be repaired by anyone that wants to while national brand control valves are normally proprietary in some way and only that brand name dealer can get parts for them and usually, there is only one of those dealers in your area to choose from. Meaning they can charge whatever they want for parts and service because there is no competition to hold prices down.
  4. Debthegardner

    Debthegardner New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Thanks for the advice! One other question...is a one-tank system better or is two-tank set-up better? Lots of these bids were for two-tank systems.

    Deb
  5. Debthegardner

    Debthegardner New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Orange County, CA


    Thanks Gary, and one last question. Two of my quotes were from Pentair dealers. Since they don't make anything, would that be a plus or a minus to go with them, in your opinion? Both of these Pentair dealers quoted with Fleck 7000 or Autotrol Logic valves, and I think both were two-tank systems. Does it matter whether one or two-tanks systems?

    Deb
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Then the Pentair guys are independent dealers and selling nonproprietary valves.

    2 tank versions are the industry standard and much easier to work on and there is no size limit (no larger than 1.25 cuft) as there is in the (1 tank) cabinet models.
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,234
    Location:
    IL
    From what I read, the 2 tanks alternate. One can rejuvenate based totally on usage without regard for time of day. So it does not have to regen early so as to meet the schedule. The other tank handles the load, so the system is never in bypass if things are working.
  8. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    California
    Post your daily water usage (or number of bathrooms, family members), main water line size, any high-flow fixtures (spa tub filler), and water hardness. These parameters determine the valve and cubic feet of resin that are ideal for your situation.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  9. Debthegardner

    Debthegardner New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Parameters

    We have three bathrooms, 2 family members (sometimes 3) water main is 1" (although I had been told it was 1 1/4" by a plumber several months ago). :( We do have a water feature in the backyard which runs for several hours per day, but since this is outdoors, probably does not matter. The water hardness is about 80-90. Hope this helps. Also the pressure into the house was about 65.

    Thanks you for any advice you can give me.

    Deb
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    TWIN TANK softeners alternate (they have two resin tanks), a 2 tank softener has 1 resin tank and a salt tank. A "1 tank" softener is a cabinet model with its 1 resin tank in the salt tank (cabinet).

    Most residences do not require a twin tank softener.

    The control valve has little to do with anthing other than which one can be used based on teh cuft volume of resin to be regenerated.

    The cuft volume of resin dictates what size tank that has to be used.

    The size of the tank dictates what control valve has to be/can be used.

    I.E. a 5600 can be used on up to a 12" diameter resin tank, that is a 2.0 cuft softener. A larger tank (13" dia up) requires a different valve, such as the 2510 which can be used up to a IIRC a 16" dia tank, and IIRC that is a 4 cuft softener. Larger than that you'd go to say a 7000 for up to like a 27" dia tank. Over that you need a different valve.

    All those valves do the same thing the same way, they just have a different SFR (service flow rate) which is so they can correctly backwash the volume of resin in whatever size tank is required for normally a 50% freeboard (1/2 the resin bed depth). Freeboard is the empty space above the resin where the resin expands into during backwash for 'cleaning' the resin of sediment.

    Deb, is the 80-90 in mg/l or gpg (grains per gallon)? Softeners use gpg. You convert mg/l (or ppm, same measurement) by dividing them by 17.1. IOWs 17.1 mg/l or ppm) is 1 gpg.

    Your water feature should use hard water.
  11. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    California
    Given the size of your water line it would be ideal to use a valve with larger internal ports. Fleck 7000SXT is readily available to homeowners, Clack WS1 is available through dealers. Both are supposed to be good, I use Fleck 7000 because it is inexpensively available online and performs well. Fleck 5600 has 3/4" internal ports, so is smaller than your water line and will restrict flow somewhat with your larger water line.

    Assuming your hardness is 90 PPM (5 GPG) and 3 family members at 70 gal per day that is 1050 grains per day. You need to confirm your hardness is actually in units of PPM and you don't have 90 GPG!

    This is a small amount of hardness, so you you need to think about maximum flow rate (tub filler) and size accordingly. I don't like to go much less than a service flow rate of 9 GPM so you can run the tub and shower at the same time. Some houses with exceptional tubs and fixtures need even more than this, just speaking of your average home here. This would be a 1.5 cu ft system, so you would easily go 3 - 4 weeks between regeneration. A smaller system would regenerate more often, but would have hardness breakthrough under high flow conditions. If you are on clean municipal water the long regen intervals are fine.

    You want the single softener tank with a separate salt tank configuration, not two softener tanks plus salt tank.
  12. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Deb, you'll never notice any difference in water flow between a 5600 or 7000 valve. Truth be known, they may both have the same size distributor tube. And the softener will be exactly the same otherwise; same size tank and volume of resin. When water goes through a 'restriction' like a smaller ID pipe/control valve/distributor tube, the velocity of the water increases and the teeny tiny loss (1-3 psi) of pressure is not noticeable.

    Also, regardless of what control valve, you always have to pay attention to your maximum flow rate and most tubs flow at over 9 gpm by themselves. Showers are usually 2.5 gpm.

    To go 3-4 weeks between regenerations with a 1.5 cuft, you have to use a very poor salt efficiency setting.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  13. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    California
    Specify the 32 mm distributor tube when you order the 7000. Unnecessary pressure drop is to be avoided, even if it is a few psi. Why take the hit when there is no reason to?
  14. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    California
    I've got a 1/2" tub fill valve fed from 3/4" pipe at 70 psi. It flows 6-7 GPM, and actually fills the tub pretty quick. Subjectively, it looks like a lot of water!

    Unless you have a 3/4" valve and spout I doubt you'll get more than 7 GPM at the tub.
  15. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    There's something wrong if a tub with a 1/2" valve or 1/2" plumbing if it can't flow at more than 7 gpm. Outside faucets on 1/2" with a 1/2" valve flow much more than 7 gpm.
  16. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    California
    Would that be a thermostatic or pressure-balanced outside faucet?
  17. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I don't see anythng about either of them in what you said. Here is what I replied to; "I've got a 1/2" tub fill valve fed from 3/4" pipe at 70 psi. It flows 6-7 GPM, and actually fills the tub pretty quick. Subjectively, it looks like a lot of water!

    Unless you have a 3/4" valve and spout I doubt you'll get more than 7 GPM at the tub."

    So are you now saying your tub has one of them and assuming Deb has one too?
  18. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,173
    Location:
    Maine
    Wow, a whole lot of replies and none of them addresses your question. 1st off you need an accurate water test done so the unit can be properly sized. 2nd, I think we are talking about softeners or at least that's what the salesmen are trying to sell you. Lets start there. If you are somewhat handy you could buy the equipment online and install it yourself at a substantial savings. If not, you are probably stuck with what you can find locally but, look for valves from Clack, fleck and autotrol and stay away for proprietary stuff like Kinetico and cullingan. I doubt you need a high flow valve and the fleck 7000 sext does qualify as a high flow valve. That said, the 7000 is a very versatile valve and you can't go wrong with one. It is the only valve I currently stock because of its versatility. That said though a fleck 5600 or the Clack ws will do you just fine also. Get an accurate water tat done though or these guys will continue to chew this thread up until one of them either says uncle or fades away LOL
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  19. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    All valves are versatile and for residential applications the other valves you mentioned are a bit more versatile than the 7000. They have the option for upflow counter current regeneration and can be used on smaller tanks than the 7000 can be. Plus the others are all physically smaller and they take up less space than a softener with a 7000.
  20. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,173
    Location:
    Maine
    Dont hardly ever do no upflow for residential treatment and yep, the valve is a bit larger but we have basements up here and its pretty rare that space is a problem. If you are stocking valves it just makes sense to stock the 7000SXT. A single valve will take care of 99% of all residential and a bunch of commercial applications as well.
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