water softener question

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by eisenhund, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. eisenhund

    eisenhund Logistics Manager

    Jan 23, 2006
    Logistics Manager
    MN southeast of TC
    Need to put in a water softener - any idea on what to get and/or what size? We just bought our new (to us) home and first time we had hard water. Our home used to have one, so all the plumbing is good to go - I just need to install a new one. We live in a single family house, two bath, with 4 of us - (if all this information matters in the size). I looked at Home Depot and they have three sizes? Nobody there seemed sure of what to get. Any help would be great!!
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    First thing is probably to get the water tested so you know how much it has to be conditioned. Then, give some thoughts on how much water you will use and the frequency of use. For example, 5 showers a day and maybe a big whirlpool tub might suggest a different solution than a single person, a few loads of wash a week, etc.
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  4. Leemonster

    Leemonster New Member

    Feb 27, 2005
    I've been researching this for some time now. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, visit this site for more information. http://www.ohiopurewaterco.com. You definitely need a water test first. Based on the results of thetest and your water usage, they will recommend a system. You can save a lot of money this way.

    Also, thanks to help I've received on terrylove.com, my plumbing and DWV are all ready for my new softener.
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    As others have said, you need a water analysis before you buy anything. If you are on city water, you need to know the hardness. Your water company or their web site can tell you what the hardness is. If you have your own well, you need hardness, iron, pH, and if possible, the TDS (total dissolved solids), manganese, sulfates and chlorides at least. You can buy a limited type test kit at hardware stores, take a water sample to Sears, a lab or water treatment dealer or call one or more out to the house for a free no obligation test and demo of their softeners.

    Big box store softeners are not the same quality as national brands or the softener sold by independent dealers. About 100% of the store and national brands are proprietary, meaning you have to buy parts and service from them. Independent dealers sell non-proprietary equipment and you can buy parts or service from many local or internet dealers.

    Anyone with the desire to can install their own softener. It takes about 2.5 hours and is simple plumbing. Or they can hire a plumber to do it.

    There are two parts to correctly sizing a softener, one is critical, the SFR (service flow rate - gpm). If the SFR is not equal to or higher than your peak demand water use (gpm), the softener will not be able to remove all the hardness, iron etc.. The other part is capacity which is adjustable by adjusting the salt dose, which determines the salt efficiency.

    As to what softener.... I suggest any correctly sized softener using the Clack WS-1 control valve. It has variable reserve and soft water brine refill while it is the easiest of all control valves to repair; a DIYer's dream. There are only three wearable parts and it can be totally rebuilt in about 20 minutes by anyone, even those that have never done anything like that before. It does not require any control valve specific special tools as most Fleck controls do, like the 5600 and 2510. And its fewer parts cost less.
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