Need Help Installing Water Softener Drain

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Rsaybe

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My water softener has two drains. One of the drains is the main backwash regeneration drain line. The main regeneration drain line can be elevated into the washer drain outlet. No trouble there.

The second drain line coming from the water softener is a gravity drain line which is only an overflow line to drain away excess water should the tank fill with too much water or the appliance malfunctions.

This gravity drain line outlet coming from the rear of the water softener is 24" from the floor. The overflow drain line is suppose to end at a drain that is at least 3 inches lower that the bottom of the overflow fitting.

And my washer machine box will be sitting at 36" from the floor so I can't use this for the gravity drain line.

And I don't have a floor drain to direct the gravity drain to. This is all being setup in my garage. I'm not able to raise the water softner as I'm already working with limited space

Any thoughts or ideas to make this work?
 

Reach4

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The drain in the brine tank (where you put the salt) is not so important. For water to come out of there, you need two failures. You could disconnect the hose, or even plug that. I have no hose on mine.

But how about this: let that drain into a bucket etc. In the bucket put the sensor for a water alarm, such as the Basement Watchdog BSD-HWA.

Replace the 9-volt battery when needed -- annually?
 

Rsaybe

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OK, so not very common for both failures to occur at the same time but it must be possible or they would not have provided an overflow drain?

The bucket suggestion is an interesting idea. One I had not considered. Just seemed like it would have been best to have that line draining into an appropriate drain if this was to ever occur.

I own a few of the moen smart water detectors. I can surely use one of them for this setup perhaps into a one gallon bucket.

How much water would spill out if there was an overflow? Is it endless? Or would it be as much as would have been required for a regeneration?


Here's another thought. Would it work if I placed that overflow drain line into my condensate pump? If any water was to ever flow into the pump the unit would kick on and push the water up to my drain.
 

BIGBREW

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Just use a 5 gallon bucket. The only time I had any water come out of my gravity line is when I put too many bags of salt in my brine tank and it only overflowed about half a gallon. I usually pour a couple bags at a time in now and have no issues.
 

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How much water would spill out if there was an overflow? Is it endless? Or would it be as much as would have been required for a regeneration?


Here's another thought. Would it work if I placed that overflow drain line into my condensate pump? If any water was to ever flow into the pump the unit would kick on and push the water up to my drain.
Could be endless.

Flow could be light, such as with a slightly leaky brine valve, or it could exceed what a typical what a condensate pump could do.

All such failures presume the safety float valve fails. That's its job-- cut off the brine fill if the float gets elevated.

Typical failure causing the brine to go up over time is failure to draw out the old brine for each regen. If you have that failure, expect maybe 5 to 8 gallons of water, give or take, each regen, to be added. If that is the case, it would take a few regens to overflow. The water would turn hard, so that may alert you.

Not all brine tanks have an overflow drain line.
 

Rsaybe

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Would be nice if my tank didn't have an overflow drain so I wouldn't have to worry about this part.

The water softener that I own is a WaterBoss 36400 grain water softener (model 900). I went with this brand due to it's small foot print due to our limited space. This machine is only about 30" tall by 14.5" wide. Very small. :)


Somebody I spoke with pointed out that by having the gravity overflow line tied into the sewer, I would never be made aware or alerted shall anything fail.

Made so much sense. Sounds like the bucket with the smart water alarm sensor would be the best alternative. Do you think a 2 gallon bucket would be enough for the overflow drain?


I also just had another idea as a second safety measure. With my smart moen leak detectors, I also have a 6-foot leak sensing cable that connects to the leak detectors.

Moen Flo Smart Detector 6-Foot Leak Sensing Cable

Couldn't I dangle this cord into the top of the brine cabinet to a fixed height inside the unit and have this alert me if the water level reaches too high?

The leak sensing cable will send me an alert if any part of it gets wet.
 

Reach4

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Couldn't I dangle this cord into the top of the brine cabinet to a fixed height inside the unit and have this alert me if the water level reaches too high?

The leak sensing cable will send me an alert if any part of it gets wet.
Maybe. It is fairly humid (about 76% RH) in the air at the top of a brine tank with stable temperatures. With falling temperatures, it could go higher. I don't know if your sensor is OK in humid air.

 

Rsaybe

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I had not thought about the humidity. Although this cable will only send an alert if it gets wet or when in contact with water. Not sure if that humidity will cause the cable to become wet enough to trigger the alert.

Sounds like a good question for Moen. I think I'll send them a message and see if we can find out.


About the bucket, do you think a 2 gallon bucket would be enough for the gravity overflow drain or would this likely fill up too soon from an overflow?
 

Reach4

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About the bucket, do you think a 2 gallon bucket would be enough for the gravity overflow drain or would this likely fill up too soon from an overflow?
Depends on how pessimistic you are. For some imaginable failures, there would be no stop.

If we assume that the problem only prevents brine being drawn, then we might decide to allow for one fill cycle to be held. If we assume 10 lbs of salt used for each regen, the softener will inject 3.3 gallons of water. That could expand as it mixes with salt, so a 4 gallon bucket would have some reserve.

I have made numeric assumptions. But the short answer is that 2 gallons might be enough, 4 gallons is more likely enough. But we could imagine a case where 15 gallons is not enough. But if you want to have a number, 4 gallons is that number.

Maybe take your chances with 1 gallon, and presume the alarm will let you know to go turn off the water. Maybe turn off the water to the whole house when you leave the house if you are really a worrier.
 

Rsaybe

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True, one never knows. I always felt it's better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

My spacing is so restrictive, even placing a 2 gallon bucket will be in the way. :\



Here's another thought in addition to all this, how about if I used the 2 gallon bucket along with the smart water sensor. And then placed some sort of a pump into the bucket?

The pump can carry the water up to my washer drain which is only about 4 feet away and stands at about 36" off the floor.


Don't they make some small or medium size pumps that I could use inside the bucket to pump out any of water shall an overflow ever occur? Perhaps a submersion pump?

It may never happen, but if it did, I would have that covered.

I'm assuming the gravity overflow drain line is not discharging water at a high powered rate (unlike the main regen drain line). I'm guessing this would be a rather slow rate as it's just a gravity overflow. Surely there could be a pump that would be capable of dealing with any spill over into the 2 gallon bucket?
 

Treeman

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Find a "small utility sump pump" that will fit into your bucket and use a float switch shown below (same as Watchdog) to turn it on.


This utility pump (on left) has a built in on/off switch,much higher output, 6 inch diameter footprint:


Any chance you can run the brine tank overflow tube through a wall to drain outdoors?
 
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Rsaybe

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Running this gravity overflow hose outdoors doesn't feel like the best option given my layout.

Our family room sits directly behind the wall were the softener is. I suppose I could run a hose under the house through the crawl space but the run would be well over 20 ft and would likely also require a pump to help push out the water at this distance.

That Basement Watchdog looks like the way to go. Seems much easier and I would use the drain outlet which is just a few feet away.


Very nice unit you linked for the Basement Watchdog. Seems like a similar concept as with the condensate pump. Precisely what I was thinking for something like this.

About that automatic basement watchdog utility pump, are these types of units ready to go? No additional floats necessary?

Just place into my 2 gallon bucket and go?

Set it and forget it type of setup? :)
 

Treeman

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I don't have experience with these particular pumps. The Basement Watchdog model is just one example of an "Automatic Utility Pump" (Google them). The Wayne EEAUP250 is another example. Their manuals state they are not designed to be a permanent sump pump. Be careful - some brands have an automatic timer that turns them on every 3 minutes......if water is undetected, they turn off, and cycle over and over.

The Watchdog and Wayne models have an internal sensor and should be ready to go according to their literature. Because the off sensor is at 1/8 to 1/4 inch, it should sit on a very flat, level bucket bottom.
 

Reach4

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Very nice unit you linked for the Basement Watchdog. Seems like a similar concept as with the condensate pump. Precisely what I was thinking for something like this.
Just place into my 2 gallon bucket and go?
For the alarm unit, I would separate the bottom plate with the sense electrodes, and have the electrodes in the bottom of the bucket. The rest would be somehow held above the rim of the bucket so the electronics would not get wet if the water rose.
 

Rsaybe

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For the alarm unit, I would separate the bottom plate with the sense electrodes, and have the electrodes in the bottom of the bucket. The rest would be somehow held above the rim of the bucket so the electronics would not get wet if the water rose.

Separating the electrode sensor from the bottom of the moen smart water detector?

If this is what your saying, this is not a simple option as the sensors are soldered onto the pcb board. And the pcb board appears to be solidly glued into plastic enclosure. Trying to pry up the pcb board may break it as it looks fragile.

Although I do understand what your saying in the event overflow water was to fill up the bucket. The nice thing about these moen leak detectors is that they also come with a remote sensing disc that is fully submersible. It plugs into the leak detector with a 4 foot cable. The sensing disc is round and flat and about the size of a quarter.

This is the product I have.

Moen Flo Smart Water Leak Detector

I would just drop the sensing disc into the bucket with the pump. :)


Just trying to figure out which pump I should get..
 

Rsaybe

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Their manuals state they are not designed to be a permanent sump pump.

I did see where the manual mentions the Basement Watchdog Automatic Utility Pump should not be "installed as a permanent fixture or sump pump".

However, when checking over the manual for the Wayne EEAUP250, there is no mention about not using this unit as a permanent fixture.

Amazon also carries this unit;

Wayne EEAUP250 Automatic ON/OFF Electric Water Removal Pump

Looks like there are a good number of users that are also using this for a window well, amongst other uses. Looks like their using this as a permanent fixture.

With my situation, hopefully this pump may never need to turn on although it will be plugged in 24/7.

Is it safe to presume that the Wayne pump mention above should be able to handle being plugged in 24/7 even if it never runs?
 

Treeman

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I can only guess why they do not recommend these for permanent sump pump or "permanent" installation. Maybe just semantics or a "cover your arse" liability statement? It would be a good question to ask the manufacturer (I just emailed Watchdog). I'm probably thinking that it has to do duty cycles and intended use/protection level. Dedicated sump pumps are probably engineered better to work in untended situations. "Utility" pumps are probably intended for occasional use where the person is monitoring it more? I don't know. These utility pumps seem to be the same as swimming pool cover pumps. They seem suitable for your use.

WatchDog manual: "DO NOT use utility pumps as a replacement for a sump pump or in a permanent installation
such as fountains, waterfalls or ponds. Utility pumps must be monitored when in use."


EDIT: Watchdog replied and basically said they are not built for everyday use. Fine for emergency/occasional use.
 
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Reach4

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Separating the electrode sensor from the bottom of the moen smart water detector?
Note what I quoted in #14 is what I was talking about. I said nothing about Moen.
 

Rsaybe

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For the alarm unit

My apologies, I must have misunderstood what your trying to say. When you mentioned "alarm unit" the only thing that came to mind was the smart water leak detectors which are made by Moen.

What were you referring to when you mentioned "alarm unit"?

The pump which I plan to place inside the 2 gallon bucket?
 
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Rsaybe

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(I just emailed Watchdog).

That's awesome of you to have emailed the manufacturer. I suppose their response was to be expected since they also mention that on their product brochure online.

Interestingly the Wayne EEAUP250 1/4 HP Submersible Utility Pump doesn't mention this as being a temporary solution type of device.
Their website actually boasts their automatic on and off feature they call "iSwitch".

"iSwitch®: WAYNE Pumps patented state-of-the-art technology. This switch automatically senses the presences of water and turns on/off when necessary. This prolongs the life of the pool cover pump and ensures your investment stays protected! Set it, and forget it!"

Although that excerpt mentions cover pump, they have the Wayne EEAUP250 classified as a Multi-Use Pump which uses this same iSwitch technology.


Here's the link to their product page.

Wayne EEAUP250 1/4 HP Submersible Utility Pump

The very bottom reads this;

"Can be left unattended to remove water from flooded basements, window wells, boats, stock tanks, flat roofs, low spots in driveways"

Unattended sound like the key word and necessary feature we would need in a pump for my given situation. Like Wayne said, "Set it, and forget it!" :)
 
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