Water Softener drain to outside

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by Edward1, Aug 2, 2017.

  1. Edward1

    Edward1 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Location:
    MD
    Hello,

    I am installing a 32,000 capacity water softener with a Fleck 5600sxt head on my well system in the basement. I will be draining it to the outside of my house to keep it out of my septic. The drain pipe will be run up about 4' and 20' across to the outside. Do I need to have a backflow preventer or something to keep bugs or other things that could possibly get drawn back into my water supply and contaminate it?
     
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Semi-Retired
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Your failed to mention where you are WRT possible freezing. The drain pipe should have a P-trap to act as an airlock and if there is slope in the pipe, you could use an outside vent to break the siphon. The drain line from the softener should have an air gap between it and the drain pipe. If doing this in a place where freezing is a possible issue, there should be an overflow contingency for possible blockage. Also if freezing is possible, then use a very rigid pipe that is well pitched to drain with no sags to hold water.

    Do keep in mind that the chloride from the regen is a pollutant and may be illegal in some jurisdictions. It may also kill trees along its natural drainage path.
     
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  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I would think that your "air gap" could be at the output of the pipe above the ground. That would let you run 1/2 or 3/4 inch pipe rather than a bigger pipe. Plus, it would not have to be sloping downhill, although the pipe should not retain water where freezing is anticipated. In other words, if the pipe discharges 1 or more inches above the ground, that would be an acceptable air gap. If you have an air gap before that, you will need a bigger pipe and downward slope, except for a possible trap, after the the air gap.

    If you don't have your air gap until the end of the pipe and if the total drop is only maybe 5 ft, I don't think you need a vent or vacuum breaker. If the drop is more, you should have a vent or vacuum breaker to prevent a vacuum from collapsing the tank under some unusual circumstance. The vent or vacuum breaker could let the pipe clear and not have the freezing problem. Just make sure the part that subject to freezing is all sloped down and does not contain a trap.

    I am not a pro. I think there is more than one correct way. Discussion of alternatives seems good, especially where they point out a flaw in what I would consider.

    Killing plants is a concern. Few plants are very salt tolerant.
     
  5. Edward1

    Edward1 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Location:
    MD
    Thanks for the advice. I live in Maryland, we do have cold winters. I was planning on just running a direct drain line from the softener to the outside where it will have an air gap at the side of the house outside before it drains into a 1.5" pvc pipe that goes underground to a dry well. The drain line from the softener will run up the wall 4' and across the ceiling 20' sloping down towards the outside to help with clearing the water out of the line.
     
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Occupation:
    Semi-Retired
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    You would need a large enough line for air to bubble up past the water for it to drain or an anti-siphon valve a the highest point close to the softener.
     
  7. Edward1

    Edward1 New Member

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    Feb 24, 2014
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  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    The altitude of the output of the controller minus the output of the pipe. A negative number would be a drop, and a positive number would not be a drop.

    Your softener, with the 9" x 48" tank, will only be backwashing at 2 GPM. So 1/2 inch would very probably be fine. However the 5600sxt service manual says this:
    The pipe size for residential drain line
    should be a minimum of 1/2 inch (13 mm). Backwash
    flow rates in excess of 7 gpm (26.5 Lpm) or length in
    excess of 20 feet (6 m) require 3/4 inch (19 mm) drain line.​
    So to follow those words literally, you would use 3/4 inch I think.

    After you hit an air gap, you will need to increase the pipe size.
     
  9. Edward1

    Edward1 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Location:
    MD
    Not sure what total drop means. Is that the length of pipe or drop from the pipes highest point? I was planning on using 1/2" pipe. Sorry about double post still learning how it works.

    Thanks
     
  10. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    While you cannot delete a double post, you can Edit to change a post.
     
  11. Edward1

    Edward1 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Location:
    MD
    Looks like I need a 3/4" pipe. The only reason I was going with 1/2" is I have very limited space. If I use the 3/4" do you think I will still need a anti-siphon valve?
     
  12. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    If the total drop from the softener to the air gap is over 4 ft, yes.
    If if the air gap is outdoors, yes (to let the water drain out reliably so that it does not sit long enough to freeze).
    Otherwise, no.

    If I was not clear, I would feel free go with 1/2 PVC or vinyl if space was tight, even tho the service manual says what it says, for 2 GPM. The service manual description is set to be simple to understand, so it avoids getting into tradeoffs of flow rate and distance.
     
  13. Edward1

    Edward1 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Location:
    MD
    I agree with you about the manual not getting into tradeoffs. I think I will give the 1/2" pipe a try with a anti-siphon valve and see what happens.

    Thank you for your help!
     
  14. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Occupation:
    Water systems designer, R&D, Technical Director
    Location:
    Ontario California
    1/2" PVC will be fine for that application but... be sure you do not drop the pipe to far below the softener without a vacuum break of some type.
    oops.jpg
     
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