Water Softener/Filter System Needed

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dzimm27

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Hi - was hoping to get some advice on picking a water softener/filter. Have been reading lots of posts so think I have a good idea, but would really appreciate some pointers to make sure I am on the right path.

We are trying to address:
-Mineral buildup (white and bluish green) on fixtures and appliances
-Chlorine smell in water (and occasional sulphur/egg smell)

Here is what we have to work with:
-City water and aerobic septic system
-We have a slab foundation with no visible soft water loop. Water main comes in to one side of the garage, water heater is on the other. Not sure if the piping behind the water heater would allow install of a soft water loop. Could put softener equipment near point of entry to slab (in garage, but pipes running out the wall to tie into the main outside) or near hot water heater (ideal, if plumbing behind hot water heater allows us to intersect the main there)
-We are fine softening/filtering water to the whole house including outdoor hose bibbs. We water a garden and flowers, therefore want to use potassium chloride rather than sodium chloride so it is usable in the yard. We fill a pool periodically too. Salt efficiency is very important due to the increased cost of potassium chloride. Water here is cheap, so water efficiency is a lesser (but still good) priority.
-We have a 3 stage under sink filter in place in the kitchen now, plan to use that still going forward and potentially look at an RO filter if needed later (and if we can fit it under the sink)
-2 people in the house. 3 bed, 2.5 bath. Average usage is around 165 gallons per day total (for both of us combined) from past water bills. We’ve ranged from 105 GPD to 219GPD as far as extreme low-high end months in the past 4 years.
-Here is our water report. Spoiler: 7-10 grains hardness, I do not see iron or manganese listed which I see can affect calculations if I have them. Chloramines used by Fort Worth. Maybe there are other important things to test/look for that I need to determine:
http://fortworthtexas.gov/water/pdf/2016WQR-FINAL-English.pdf

Questions:
-Sizing? - presuming calculation for 10 grains hardness, I am coming up with 165gpd x 10 grains hardness=1650 grains to regenerate x ?unknown? number of days between regeneration. Plugging in a 7 day period gives me 11550 grains/cycle (presuming no adjustment needed for iron/manganese/other). I like the idea for efficiency of upsizing for lower salt usage on regenerations, so presumably either 24k or 32k grain system? What size mineral/brine tank?
-Which valves? I want to meter base on usage rather than time and have a display of some sort. 5600SXT and the 5800/5810/5812SXT (or even XR2) models seem to be a good fit. Seems the 5800 series is the new replacement for old models and may be the way to go. For valve size, it may depend on whether I connect to the water main outside or interior plumbing behind the water heater. Unless I am missing something there are not huge price differences and larger units could be sized down with reducers without issue?
-Carbon filter? My water has chloramines, so catalytic carbon? Want to preserve as much water pressure through the whole filter/softener, so I am guessing a backwashing carbon filter tank will be recommended
-Efficiency aids - have been reading lots about 10% crosslink resin, Purolite SST resin, upflow regeneration, Vortech tanks and/or use of a bottom distributor plate vs gravel/basket, dual backwashing steps of the 5800 series valves, twin-tank designs with a shared valve head. Seems some of these are met with more love than others on the forums, but what would be the ideal setup? What is not worth the extra cost? If it makes enough of a difference, lugging less potassium chloride (and keeping that cost down) is worth it to me to pay more upfront or replacing components as needed. Talk me out of this if I am not thinking logically here though of course.
-Water testing - Where should I get this done? I saw there are some test kits I can get from Home Depot and online - are any of these useful/reliable, or is there a good inexpensive mail-off lab that is recommended? I know findings here will affect capacity calculations and filter media.
-Where should I get all this from? I am not ruling out a dealer installing, but my instinct is to order the products recommended to be shipped to me and have my plumber install to make sure I get the best system and result. Have seen several sellers mentioned on here, are there any that seem to be the clear winner as far as having quality equipment/resin/filter media available and also knowledgeable/helpful in troubleshooting?

I really appreciate any advice or input you may have. Thank you!
 

blaze4545

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What is the plumbing after the city water meter? 3/4" or 1"?
You able to check the pH? Blueish Green could also be a low pH.
Potassium Chloride is around four times the price and you will use more salt than with potassium chloride.


-Which valves?
Fleck 5810. Chances are, you will be servicing the softener yourself as a lot of plumbers are under qualified in water treatment and servicemen will probably charge you a lot if they did not install the unit. The valve is a lot easier to work with and getting great feedback on them. the 5812 would be more for higher flow rates, 5000 sq ft houses, 1.25" plumbing etc. A beefed up version of the 5810, but you will more than likely be ok with the 5810.

-Carbon filter? My water has chloramines, so catalytic carbon?
Yes a catalytic carbon backwashing filter. To filter chloramines, you need a decent amount of contact time with the carbon. There are chloramine reduction cartridge filters, but they are expensive and will not do as good a job at reducing chloramines.

-Efficiency aids
Definitely go with 10% crosslinked as your water is chlorinated. Heavier chlorine dosage/chloramines is breaking down the weaker 7%/8% crosslinked resin in as little as 2 years. This means best case no pressure because the water softener gets clogged or worst case your pipes get clogged and you are at at the back of your toilet with a vacuum removing plastic beads.

Purolite SST 60
The Good: Installed a couple of commercial softeners with this resin a couple of times and the we were able to achieve a 15% savings of salt compared to the softeners with regular resin.
The Bad: The resin is more expensive and seems to offset the higher cost of the resin for residential applications, efficiency reduced if iron is present. I have only seen and had positive experience with this resin and sodium chloride, not sure if the savings are also there with potassium.

Vortech Tanks
The theory is there, but in reality the benefits appear to be marginal at best. I have never installed any so perhaps others can chime in on their experiences? The consensus seems to be against them.

Upflow Regeneration
Another marginal benefit in my opinion. Not any disadvantages vs downflow that I can think of, but I would not pay an extra $200 for the downflow advantage. The advantages would be felt more on commercial/ municipal applications. You are going to be using potassium chloride so I guess every little bit counts.

-Water testing
The Hach B Hardness tests are recommended a lot on here. It is worth it for you to buy a kit since you will be the one making sure that the softener works.

-Where should I get all this from? I am not ruling out a dealer installing, but my instinct is to order the products recommended to be shipped to me and have my plumber install to make sure I get the best system and result. Have seen several sellers mentioned on here, are there any that seem to be the clear winner as far as having quality equipment/resin/filter media available and also knowledgeable/helpful in troubleshooting?

What about ordering from a dealer and having your plumber install it? I am completely fine with my customers installing the equipment themselves or getting their plumber to do it, you just have to find a like minded dealer. My issue with certain online dealers is their lack of field experience or troubleshooting skills.
 

dzimm27

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What is the plumbing after the city water meter? 3/4" or 1"?
Need to do a bit of digging and check this. Does this make a difference for valve model choice or softener/filter tank size?

You able to check the pH? Blueish Green could also be a low pH.
Sure, I have a pool test kit and can check. Not sure if a single point in time check is fully accurate for a big city water system with multiple sources but can check this. All I can test is right now of course.

Potassium Chloride is around four times the price and you will use more salt than with potassium chloride.
Yeah, about 5 times more from the prices at Home Depot. With a garden and flower beds to water I see no other option and we are okay with the cost so unless I am missing a better option this seems like our best choice.

-Which valves?
Fleck 5810. Chances are, you will be servicing the softener yourself as a lot of plumbers are under qualified in water treatment and servicemen will probably charge you a lot if they did not install the unit. The valve is a lot easier to work with and getting great feedback on them. the 5812 would be more for higher flow rates, 5000 sq ft houses, 1.25" plumbing etc. A beefed up version of the 5810, but you will more than likely be ok with the 5810.
Awesome. I am sold on the 5800 series now. 5810 sounds like a probable winner. We are roughly 50% shy of the 5k sqft houses so I am sure that is overkill for us.

-Carbon filter? My water has chloramines, so catalytic carbon?
Yes a catalytic carbon backwashing filter. To filter chloramines, you need a decent amount of contact time with the carbon. There are chloramine reduction cartridge filters, but they are expensive and will not do as good a job at reducing chloramines.
Good deal. How do I properly size this? Both for size of tank and amount of filter media? Any particular media to look for? Centaur catalytic carbon? Generic? One site mentioned Jacobi coconut carbon as an option for chloramines.

-Efficiency aids,entioned
Definitely go with 10% crosslinked as your water is chlorinated. Heavier chlorine dosage/chloramines is breaking down the weaker 7%/8% crosslinked resin in as little as 2 years. This means best case no pressure because the water softener gets clogged or worst case your pipes get clogged and you are at at the back of your toilet with a vacuum removing plastic beads.
Ok, 10% sounds like a winner. Any premium brands worth getting? For eventual long term breakdown what is the earring indicator? Low pressure? I suppose adding pressure gauges inline after the carbon filter and the softener would be a good diagnostic.

Purolite SST 60
The Good: Installed a couple of commercial softeners with this resin a couple of times and the we were able to achieve a 15% savings of salt compared to the softeners with regular resin.
The Bad: The resin is more expensive and seems to offset the higher cost of the resin for residential applications, efficiency reduced if iron is present. I have only seen and had positive experience with this resin and sodium chloride, not sure if the savings are also there with potassium.
Hmmm, suppose I need to confirm the price difference but I presume you are indicating you would take Purolite SST 60 over a 10% crosslink resin? How do you figure the 15% salt savings? I imagine that involves reducing the amount of salt used per regeneration cycle and seeing if it still works well? That is a major question I have.... if I use any of these efficiency boosting solutions, how do you realize them in the valve programming? If there are standard recommended adjustments that is one thing but if not, I would need good readings and tests to adjust appropriately myself... or a pro with the knowledge and desire to try to make the system efficient.

Vortech Tanks
The theory is there, but in reality the benefits appear to be marginal at best. I have never installed any so perhaps others can chime in on their experiences? The consensus seems to be against them.
Yeah these look awesome and seem to be very smart. The double backwash of the 5800 series may serve to mix/reorganize the resin enough to mitigate some need of this. The long term pressure of downflow softening against a plastic distributor no plate is bound to fail more than pressure against gravel. I mean, gravel is rock. Distributor plate is a suspended plastic piece. I get that. While I would be fine with replacing a tank when needed, if the double backwash of the 5800s mitigates this somewhat, I suppose I do not need the headache. I am sure the rest of the forum would agree to steer clear, despite the intrigue of the design. Why doesn’t Vortech pack the bottom of their distributor plate with gravel or a plastic support matrix? Problem solved? Of course they might sell less tanks that way!

Upflow Regeneration
Another marginal benefit in my opinion. Not any disadvantages vs downflow that I can think of, but I would not pay an extra $200 for the downflow advantage. The advantages would be felt more on commercial/ municipal applications. You are going to be using potassium chloride so I guess every little bit counts.
The 5800s support up flow and downflow regeneration so I suppose I could switch back and forth even. Really will key off of everyone’s recommendations here, but seems like it is a big efficiency gain.

-Water testing
The Hach B Hardness tests are recommended a lot on here. It is worth it for you to buy a kit since you will be the one making sure that the softener works.
I am totally for getting a test kit, my concern I guess is whether or not I need a test that will tell me what iron or manganese I have in my water so I can make necessary adjustments to the capacity calculations. I know some places do free tests, I just need to listen to their sales pitch or get signed up for emails. These are options. I am hoping there is a recommendation for a not crazy priced general test kit or testing service. Can you point me to a general tempest kit that hits all the important points?

What about ordering from a dealer and having your plumber install it? I am completely fine with my customers installing the equipment themselves or getting their plumber to do it, you just have to find a like minded dealer. My issue with certain online dealers is their lack of field experience or troubleshooting skills.
Yeah I am all for ordering from a dealer, whether local or online. Of course online out of state would avoid local taxes, but I am after a reliable source rather than bottom dollar price here. Open for suggestions. Other than a (bad) visit from a Culligan rep in have not talked to anyone local yet.
 
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ditttohead

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Pipe size makes a difference. 3/4" 5800, 1" 5810, 1.25" 5812 are the recommendations. Tank size will also play a role in overall system flow rates and pressure drops.

How old is your house? Most modern plumbing codes require that the irrigation and fire suppression bypass the house plumbing. Older houses and some builders are not real consistent on this code. I rarely see new construction (the last 10 years) that does not comply with this requirement.

Chloramine reduction, do not bother with filters. Use a properly sized tank with a backwashing valve. For most residential applications the use of at least 1.5 ft3 is recommended but larger tanks with finer mesh carbon is also an option if you want consistent and considerable reduction.

A good quality 10% resin from a real company is important. Many companies claim 10% but since there is really no way of you knowing what the resin is... you can either trust them, or have them ship the resin unloaded and in the original packaging. I have seen way to many companies sell 10% but use the cheapest junk they could source in order to keep margins... simply put, companies that sell way below a cost that makes sense... you can guess that they are doing. SST... don't bother, I have yet to see the advantage in most applications. Same goes for fine mesh resin.

The vortech tank is something that I am recommending more frequently as I have not seen any lower plate failures in a couple years now. There have been a few problems in the past with the lower plate failing on larger tanks. Do they save 30% water... maybe, this is nearly impossible to scientficaly qualify since there are far too many factors to equate. Do we adjust the settings when we use a Vortech... no, we leave it up to the customers to make that choice. The Vortech distributes the backwash in a patterned flow unlike a gravel underbedding... this is a very long topic and would get boring real quick, just understand that as of right now, I dont see any negatives other than issues that we as system assembly companies have to deal with. In the past the failed bottom plates was a problem that has since been corrected.

Upflow/downflow... just go with downflow. I can argue for either way but upflow has some minor nagging issues that require considerable expertise to work without any problems, water temperatures, pressures, etc all have to be carefully and accurately considered in order for the very slight potential benefits to occur, it is much simpler to go downflow and make sure the system is sized adequately so regenerations occur every 7 days or more. Most of the benefits can be had through the use of the second backwash if you are trying to go with ultra low salting. Ultra low salting is rarely used for more than a short amount of time, it is simply a math equation. By using 1 more bag of salt per year ($4) you can get rid of the vast majority of problems a softener can have.
 
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blaze4545

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Potassium Chloride:
Only other options I see are to bypass the outdoor hose bibs as to not soften the water or manually bypass your softener when watering the plants. You will have to remember to do this every time AND run the water for a period to make sure there is no softened water.

Catalytic Carbon Sizing:
Agree with Dittohead. As long as you are buying from reputable dealer, seems to be the case of Chevy vs Ford in my opinion. The bulk of our units use Centurion Catalytic Carbon and When people order just the media it is mostly Centaur catalytic. I have heard of Jacobi is used by a couple of our competitors with the sales pitch that it " Comes from Quebec and is Canadian", but I have not had any experience with it.

Resins:
Purolite and Carbochem are popular name brands in the States.

Purolite SST:
The opposite actually, I meant that in residential applications it does not appear to be worth it. Because we were going on the manufacturer's claims, it was more trial and error. We could have involved our chemist for sizing and exact settings, but We were able to get softened water with one unit using 80lbs of salt per regeneration and the Purollite SST 60 softener using around 65lbs. Again, not sure if the gains are greater or lesser with potassium chloride.



Why doesn’t Vortech pack the bottom of their distributor plate with gravel or a plastic support matrix?
The point of that plate is to help the water flow through more evenly than a conventional cone distributor. Putting more media or more material in between the plate would definitely reinforce it, but at the cost of reducing flow and adding more orifices to get clogged with dirt, debris and iron.


Upflow/Downflow:

This is governed by the Piston inside the control valve, not a simple button control. Yes you could switch back and fourth, but it would require opening up the valve and removing the piston.

Test Kits:
You can get an iron test kit as well as they are not too expensive. Most online retailers sell them and it is much better than getting the free tests as you will not be wasting your time or the sales rep time. Dittohead can probably point you in the right direction of where.


I am totally for getting a test kit, my concern I guess is whether or not I need a test that will tell me what iron or manganese I have in my water so I can make necessary adjustments to the capacity calculations. I know some places do free tests, I just need to listen to their sales pitch or get signed up for emails. These are options. I am hoping there is a recommendation for a not crazy priced general test kit or testing service. Can you point me to a general tempest kit that hits all the important points?
 

ditttohead

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Potassium Chloride:
Only other options I see are to bypass the outdoor hose bibs as to not soften the water or manually bypass your softener when watering the plants. You will have to remember to do this every time AND run the water for a period to make sure there is no softened water.

Catalytic Carbon Sizing:
Agree with Dittohead. As long as you are buying from reputable dealer, seems to be the case of Chevy vs Ford in my opinion. The bulk of our units use Centurion Catalytic Carbon and When people order just the media it is mostly Centaur catalytic. I have heard of Jacobi is used by a couple of our competitors with the sales pitch that it " Comes from Quebec and is Canadian", but I have not had any experience with it.

I doubt it is from Quebec nor is it "Canadian". Last I checked the US and Canada are not real big manufacturers of Coconut Shells. :) Most coconut shell carbon comes from overseas, Thailand etc... we have been working with alternate sources for carbon bases. Bituminous coal is an acceptable form but there are some problems with the consistency but this is a small issue that most people would not have to deal with.

Resins:
Purolite and Carbochem are popular name brands in the States.

Agreed but even thee companies use the same sources for manufacturing that most other companies use. There are not that many resin manufacturers and the majority are overseas in China or India due to environmental regulations that make the manufacturing very expensive here in the US or Canada. If you have tried to purchase the dark resins in the past year you may have noticed a considerable price increase or a severe shortage, China is finally enforcing some regulations on the resin manufacturers.

Purolite SST:
The opposite actually, I meant that in residential applications it does not appear to be worth it. Because we were going on the manufacturer's claims, it was more trial and error. We could have involved our chemist for sizing and exact settings, but We were able to get softened water with one unit using 80lbs of salt per regeneration and the Purollite SST 60 softener using around 65lbs. Again, not sure if the gains are greater or lesser with potassium chloride.

In our testing the Potassium Chloride results were the same at standard resin, but in all honesty we did not waste a lot of time on the testing once the basic testing was completed we moved on to more pressing projects. Here is a simple article on Potassium Chloride I wrote a while back that helps explain it in a simple manner. https://view.publitas.com/impact-water-products/2018-catalog-final/page/52-53




Why doesn’t Vortech pack the bottom of their distributor plate with gravel or a plastic support matrix?
The point of that plate is to help the water flow through more evenly than a conventional cone distributor. Putting more media or more material in between the plate would definitely reinforce it, but at the cost of reducing flow and adding more orifices to get clogged with dirt, debris and iron.


Upflow/Downflow:

This is governed by the Piston inside the control valve, not a simple button control. Yes you could switch back and fourth, but it would require opening up the valve and removing the piston.

Test Kits:
You can get an iron test kit as well as they are not too expensive. Most online retailers sell them and it is much better than getting the free tests as you will not be wasting your time or the sales rep time. Dittohead can probably point you in the right direction of where.

Send me a PM, I will get you hooked up with a company that sells a simple and effective test kit for iron.


I am totally for getting a test kit, my concern I guess is whether or not I need a test that will tell me what iron or manganese I have in my water so I can make necessary adjustments to the capacity calculations. I know some places do free tests, I just need to listen to their sales pitch or get signed up for emails. These are options. I am hoping there is a recommendation for a not crazy priced general test kit or testing service. Can you point me to a general tempest kit that hits all the important points?
 

blaze4545

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To be fair Dittohead, This was also the same competitor that says they use acid washed carbon which makes their carbon last 20 times longer than mine. And all you chumps are using expensive KDF-55!
 

ditttohead

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LOL, no surprises. Carbon tends to raise the pH of the treated water considerably during the initial start up period. I have charts that show the amount of water it takes and how long the pH increase will last... Acid washing the carbon tends to reduce this problem significantly. I do not claim to be an expert in carbon... there are enough people who already know way more than I could but I have never heard how acid washing will make carbon last 20X longer... :)
 

dzimm27

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Pipe size makes a difference. 3/4" 5800, 1" 5810, 1.25" 5812 are the recommendations. Tank size will also play a role in overall system flow rates and pressure drops.
Well, rainy day today so not a good one to go digging up the flower bed. Will get back to this one.

How old is your house? Most modern plumbing codes require that the irrigation and fire suppression bypass the house plumbing. Older houses and some builders are not real consistent on this code. I rarely see new construction (the last 10 years) that does not comply with this requirement.
Home was built in 2004. We do not have an irrigation (sprinkler) system, just outside hose bibbs. If they are plumbed separately it is all in the walls as I have no evidence of this. Plus, honestly the soft pool fill water (we have high calcium hardness levels) would be nice and the idea of washing cars with soft water and being able to let them air dry without spots is intriguing.

Chloramine reduction, do not bother with filters. Use a properly sized tank with a backwashing valve. For most residential applications the use of at least 1.5 ft3 is recommended but larger tanks with finer mesh carbon is also an option if you want consistent and considerable reduction.
How would I determine the proper tank size and if 1.5 cu ft is right? Not sure finer mesh is required, but then again I am not sure how I would know. Is there a standard tank dimension for a set filter media amount? Or is that variable too?

A good quality 10% resin from a real company is important. Many companies claim 10% but since there is really no way of you knowing what the resin is... you can either trust them, or have them ship the resin unloaded and in the original packaging. I have seen way to many companies sell 10% but use the cheapest junk they could source in order to keep margins... simply put, companies that sell way below a cost that makes sense... you can guess that they are doing. SST... don't bother, I have yet to see the advantage in most applications. Same goes for fine mesh resin.
Alright, so both of you agree no SST. 10% sounds good, and I plan to find someone reputable to order from and get the resin unloaded (recall reading that shipping in the tank can damage the resin? Presumably from all the jostling around)

The vortech tank is something that I am recommending more frequently as I have not seen any lower plate failures in a couple years now. There have been a few problems in the past with the lower plate failing on larger tanks. Do they save 30% water... maybe, this is nearly impossible to scientficaly qualify since there are far too many factors to equate. Do we adjust the settings when we use a Vortech... no, we leave it up to the customers to make that choice. The Vortech distributes the backwash in a patterned flow unlike a gravel underbedding... this is a very long topic and would get boring real quick, just understand that as of right now, I dont see any negatives other than issues that we as system assembly companies have to deal with. In the past the failed bottom plates was a problem that has since been corrected.
So, yeah I love the idea of the Vortech tank and especially since you say they have proven to be reliable. What is dawning on me though is these efficiency gains are largely in the theoretical if the valve programming does not take them into account during setup or if the user goes off the beaten path and customizes the programming to try to save some water (and then has to monitor to see if things still work well). While this is all very fascinating, I want a rock solid appliance I can fix if it breaks, not something I need/have to tinker with all the time. The further from the beaten path, the more tinkering required. With no programming customizations, is there still a functional benefit.

Upflow/downflow... just go with downflow. I can argue for either way but upflow has some minor nagging issues that require considerable expertise to work without any problems, water temperatures, pressures, etc all have to be carefully and accurately considered in order for the very slight potential benefits to occur, it is much simpler to go downflow and make sure the system is sized adequately so regenerations occur every 7 days or more. Most of the benefits can be had through the use of the second backwash if you are trying to go with ultra low salting. Ultra low salting is rarely used for more than a short amount of time, it is simply a math equation. By using 1 more bag of salt per year ($4) you can get rid of the vast majority of problems a softener can have.
I admit that upflow regeneration was one of the most promising things I had read about. I am not looking for problems though and although the 5800 series seems to support it as a programming option, I guess it is not ready for prime time. I am planning on using potassium chloride so a bit more expensive, but an extra bag a year is still not a concern. I just want to keep ongoing costs as low as I can and avoid having to lug salt every week. At 30/bag efficiency will matter over time.

I saw another post you had regarding potassium chloride and temperature. This will be in my garage and gets quite hot in the summer. You mentioned that “brine fill first” alleviates most issues. Had looked up the 5800 series manual and I seem to remember the only option that’s looked like that mentioned upflow as well. Will that be an issue for me and that valve?

Thanks again for all the help.
 

dzimm27

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Potassium Chloride:
Only other options I see are to bypass the outdoor hose bibs as to not soften the water or manually bypass your softener when watering the plants. You will have to remember to do this every time AND run the water for a period to make sure there is no softened water.
Would be difficult to bypass all the hose bibbs, would have to run new lines down the surface of the exterior walls and it would look bad. The idea of manually bypassing and running the water is a decent option but no telling we will remember to do that. Had concidered running a hard water line through a trench to the garden area, but there are 3 more spots that would need the same. I think we will just have to deal with it.

Purolite SST:
The opposite actually, I meant that in residential applications it does not appear to be worth it. Because we were going on the manufacturer's claims, it was more trial and error. We could have involved our chemist for sizing and exact settings, but We were able to get softened water with one unit using 80lbs of salt per regeneration and the Purollite SST 60 softener using around 65lbs. Again, not sure if the gains are greater or lesser with potassium chloride.
Nice. I think regular 10% is fine then

Upflow/Downflow:

This is governed by the Piston inside the control valve, not a simple button control. Yes you could switch back and fourth, but it would require opening up the valve and removing the piston.
Ah, the programming showed it as an option and since it can backwash I figured it had all the right parts to switch back and forth. Interesting, but don’t think I will ever futz with this after it is in place, whether upflow or downflow


Test Kits:
You can get an iron test kit as well as they are not too expensive. Most online retailers sell them and it is much better than getting the free tests as you will not be wasting your time or the sales rep time. Dittohead can probably point you in the right direction of where.
Will check with him. Or maybe he can just reply here. I figure there is going to be a good general test that hits iron, manganese and anything else important that is not on my city water report. On my other machine I have a few dealers up that offer free mail in tests so could try those too. Did not get to review those today. I just want to know if there are any items that throw my sizing estimates off.
 

dzimm27

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Oh, and now appears a reverse osmosis filter is definitely in the initial plans. It dawned on me that one of our pets is on a potassium supplement for health issues and we were advised not to let the other pets eat it. Introducing it through the water for all sounds like a bad plan then. We have limited under sink space, but I am sure I can make something work. Is there a brand everyone favors, or are they all pretty similar if you get them from a good dealer? From what I have seen a ton of them look identical with a different name sticker on the front. I think Apec was the brand I saw a lot of reviews for.
 

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not a good one to go digging up the flower bed.
Why would the flower bed need to be disturbed? The pipe size should be easily verified at the rear of the softener.

washing cars with soft water and being able to let them air dry without spots is intriguing
As a softener does not remove TDS, spotting will likely continue to occur, although spots should be easier to remove than prior to using softened water.
Perhaps it is workable to run an additional water line for unsoftened water from within the house interior, to beside each existing exterior hose bibb location. Those of us in cold climates usually assume everyone has a basement with access for running new pipes and wires. Maybe not. Since the existing bibbs would deliver softened water, each new second bibb would then be for unsoftened water. Maybe hard water is not actually needed at all existing locations.

Alternately, it maybe feasible to shallow bury a length of Poly Pipe around the perimeter of the house foundation, to deliver unsoftened water to wherever you wish to locate a riser and hose bibb.

I am planning on using potassium chloride so a bit more expensive, but an extra
bag a year is still not a concern.
If you are planning to irrigate using softened water, and if you irrigate on a fairly regular basis, I expect you will be using substantially more than 1 bag/yr. You could end up using more soft water for irrigation than your family will use for bathing, laundry etc.
 

Reach4

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Ah, the programming showed it as an option and since it can backwash I figured it had all the right parts to switch back and forth. Interesting, but don’t think I will ever futz with this after it is in place, whether upflow or downflow
I was looking at that. For the 5810, they show
61960-01 ............Kit, Piston, Seal, and Spacer, 5812, Downflow
61960-02 ............Kit, Piston, Seal, and Spacer, 5812, Upflow​
So it looks like changing would take a different piston, seal, and spacer kit, or at least some subset of that kit.
 
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ditttohead

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The seal/spacer kit is the same, the piston is different but.. it is sold as a rebuild kit only which includes the seal/spacer/piston assembly. In the past oo many people have tried rebuilding old systems and replaced on the seals even when the piston was all scratched up... this also greatly reduces the inventory requirements on all parties. The seal/spacer/piston kits are very reasonably priced so not a big deal. '

If you are on municipal water then an extensive test is not necessary.

Installing the system and using potassium chloride for now and dealing with bypassing the irrigation later is an option,

As to the RO, unfortunately most RO's are built based on price, not quality or longevity. When I was with a different company I used to source garbage RO's from overseas that cost $55 complete and they were basically guaranteed to fail within a year, housings cracked, funny tasting water, lead, etc were all common issues. These were usually shipped to third world countries but I know of several companies in the US that bought them and sell them online still.

Stick with a higher end USA made RO that uses mostly USA made components. Avoid the "Made in USA" claims of the online companies... the vast majority of these are only final packaged in the USA, very deceptive.
 

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What is the plumbing after the city water meter? 3/4" or 1"?
You able to check the pH? Blueish Green could also be a low pH.

Checked outside in the ground today. Pipe diameter looks to be about 1 1/16"-1 1/8" diameter when eyeballing it with a tape measure from the top, but frankly was hard to get a good eyeball on because of the perspective. That didn't line up with a standard pipe sizing chart so went out and took several other measurements, wrapping a tape measure around it, nylon string and marking it, then remembered I had some calipers. Used those. Consensus is that the diameter is between 1.107" and 1.125", with the chance of some error due to string stretching, my ability to read the calipers, or corrosion/dirt on the underside of the pipe I could not see. I was sure I was measuring something wrong because nothing fit in with a chart I was looking at. Finally, I think I figured out that copper pipe is sized differently (which makes sense). It looked like copper and I just went outside to make a little scratch to be sure - definitely is. So - per wikipedia it looks like I have a 1" pipe because the outside diameter is definitely larger than 7/8"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper_tubing#United_States Sound right?

Also I checked the pH at the kitchen sink (not filtered water) after letting it run cold for a while. Looked to be between 7.8 and 8.0 on my pool tester, perhaps even a bit more than 8.0, hard to tell as the scale stops at 8.0. Probably not the best test kit for this in a home and I did it at night (but checked under various light bulb color types). The water report shows slightly above 8, so I would guess that my test confirmed that, or roughly in that ballpark. From my reading the pH would need to below 7 to be an issue. We do have some blue/green coloring in the deposits on our water fixtures though.
 

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Why would the flower bed need to be disturbed? The pipe size should be easily verified at the rear of the softener.
No softener installed yet, and no soft water loop. That is what I am trying to achieve, but not there yet!

As a softener does not remove TDS, spotting will likely continue to occur, although spots should be easier to remove than prior to using softened water.
Perhaps it is workable to run an additional water line for unsoftened water from within the house interior, to beside each existing exterior hose bibb location. Those of us in cold climates usually assume everyone has a basement with access for running new pipes and wires. Maybe not. Since the existing bibbs would deliver softened water, each new second bibb would then be for unsoftened water. Maybe hard water is not actually needed at all existing locations.

Alternately, it maybe feasible to shallow bury a length of Poly Pipe around the perimeter of the house foundation, to deliver unsoftened water to wherever you wish to locate a riser and hose bibb.
[/QUOTE]
Good point on the car washing. I had briefly read something about it being great for washing cars. My bad for repeating it without verifying. That is fine though as any benefits there are entirely fringe and not involved in the drive to put this in. I am in a warm climate and have a slab foundation (no basement). So all plumbing is done inside or underneath the foundation and you can't get to it without major effort/expense. The hose bibbs pop up out of the foundation around the edges in the exterior walls. I could with some major effort go up in to the soffits around the house and cut holes to push Pex down the interior insulated walls (bunching insulation possibly) and then cut out a section of interior wall to mount the elbow to a block of wood, drill through the brick to mount another bibb - and just have the pex lines run through the attic. Probably OK as I don't know if it is a freeze problem. Unfortunately, 2 of the affected rooms have already been remodeled and in addition to all the work I am not looking forward to trying to texture match a big drywall section. You are right though, this is an option. The other alternative I had thought of was digging a trench and running exterior lines (like your other idea) out to near the garden or flower beds and putting in a yard hydrant (one of those that pops up straight out of the ground with the big handle on it). Both are things to consider vs the cost of potassium chloride, but I suppose I can make that decision further down the road, knowing I have options.
 

ditttohead

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Is your irrigation all controlled by a single electronic timer? if so I have designed some unique bypass... let me know what you have.,
 

dzimm27

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Is your irrigation all controlled by a single electronic timer? if so I have designed some unique bypass... let me know what you have.,
We have no irrigation. Just exterior hose bibbs that we occasionally use. When we decide to water things, we haul the hose out, and that's only for the garden or some flower beds. We go for low water requiring plants as much as possible and we don't even water the grass :). Highly doubt we will ever put in sprinklers. If we to do so, it would be a large enough job that adding in a bypass off the main would be NO issue and we would already have exposed piping near the forthcoming softener/filter.
 

ditttohead

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If you only have outside hose bibs and you are watering potted plants, try sodium chloride (ie: regular salt). The sodium levels will typically be fine especially with your low hardness. It actually comes down to SAR calculations but with your water I would not be concerned unless you are water sodium intolerant plants.

FYI, I am cheap when it comes to salt, spending a few dollars more is fine, but 5X as much... not worth it to me in most applications.
 

dzimm27

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If you only have outside hose bibs and you are watering potted plants, try sodium chloride (ie: regular salt). The sodium levels will typically be fine especially with your low hardness. It actually comes down to SAR calculations but with your water I would not be concerned unless you are water sodium intolerant plants.

FYI, I am cheap when it comes to salt, spending a few dollars more is fine, but 5X as much... not worth it to me in most applications.

Not just (or any, really) potted plants, if that makes a difference. We've got a food garden bed, a bed of all irises, and the back yard and front beds are a mix of low water need plants and tropicals including some palm trees. Back yard is gradually going tropical. Wife has really gotten into taking care of them all and do not want our water system to ruin all of that. That said, running separate hose bibbs through some external line is a future option as mentioned earlier if we decide to go switch back to sodium chloride at some point. Might be the logical option if the long term cost of potassium chloride will pay for the plumber to do it 10x over (and over, and over). Will talk to him about what options he can give me that would also be clean looking.

For our discussions here though, potassium chloride vs sodium chloride only affects salt efficiency minorly (which is likely not enough to suggest different sized equipment) and my pocketbook, correct?
 
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