Best available cost-no-object residential water softener?

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WA homeowner

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Pasco, WA
howdy Mr. Love,

I've been a lurker on your site for years but now have a question which needs an answer including responses from the commentariat.

I am remodeling a 3/2.5 single family home for a small family of four (two adults, two children) and want to equip it with the best products available. Two of my considerations are water quality and water heating.

Our culinary water supply is considered "soft". Here is the response from the city engineer where I live regarding our water:

“Our finished water, as it enters the distribution system, is generally considered to be "soft". Hardness is one of the lab tests we perform daily. Results average between 60 to 75 mg/L (about 4 grains per gallon), depending on the season. Iron levels are tested less frequently. Our typical results are less than the detectable limit of 0.1 mg/L. These low values are due to our water system being supplied exclusively by surface waters (Columbia River).”

Inasmuch as I intend to replace my tank-type water heater with an electric tankless design, I worry about the need for a water softener to prolong the life of the water heater and improve the water quality inside the house to ‘best available’. I am planning to use a Stiebel Eltron Tempra 24 Plus water heater if a superior product is not available.

Based on this scenario, what is your recommendation for the best available water softener for this project? Cost is not an object.



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Kinetico are probably the most expensive, but I would also not consider them to be the "best". In fact I would not recommend any 2-tank softener, although they may appear to be be the "best".
My Kinetico regenerates about every 4 days and I can tell from the stale taste/odour when the tanks switch.
The Fleck 5800-XTR2 is really cool with the touch-screen, but there's definitely no issue with the SXT... Buy from an authorized dealer.
You're on chlorinated water, so you'll want to use 10% crosslinked resin

I would add a backflushing catalytic carbon filter, who wants chlorine if cost is no option, ew.
Again the 5800-XTR2 is cool.
I'd put the carbon filter downstream of the softener, that way the softener stays sanitary with constant chlorine exposure, even with 10% crosslinknig the resin will slowly degrade, but cost is no issue so who cares, replace the resin when needed.

I don't consider a tankless water heater premium. If it were my money I'd go with a regular tank water heater run at a hot temperature to ensure disinfection. Recirculate the hot water lines with tank temperature water to ensure they're sanitized and mix down to a safe temperature at each fixture. That will actually give you instant water, at a perfectly regulated temperature instantly without any warm-up time or temperature sag as the tank draws down.

When you plumb everything, make sure all lines are upsized one size from the code calculations, regardless of the fitting type, PEX pipe alone has a frictional resistance 1/2 way between copper sizes, so even if you're using the Uponor fittings everything is still undersized if you follow the code. Not sure when the code will be updated, but it should be.

Those are my thoughts.


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I would prefer SXT vs the XTR2 because it is easy to communicate the settings. The XTR2 automates some calculations, but to describe the needed settings is something I would not be able to do.
Hey, wait a minute.

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