WaterSoftening company vs local plumber?

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Bannerman

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Not familiar with the two Clack models mentioned. If that dealer does not offer Clack, how are they quoting on a system equipped with a Clack valve?

Clack vs Fleck similar to Ford vs GM.

Both brands are top quality, but forum member and equipment distributor Ditttohead has recommended currently not considering the Fleck 5810 as there have been some issues that Fleck is currently working to correct.

As I understand, there are no issues with Fleck 5800 or 5812 valves.

The Fleck 5600 series is reliable and high quality, but is a design that is several decades old. They are best suited for applications equipped with a 3/4" main supply, requiring a 2 ft3 (64,000 grains total capacity) (12" diameter tank) or smaller softener. For filter applications, the maximum recommended tank diameter is 10" (1.5 ft3) due to 7 GPM maximum supported drain flow rate.

While a plumber will likely connect any unit you obtain, most plumbers do not specialize in water treatment so don't expect the unit to be programmed appropriately or efficiently for your application. While many of us can assist you with programming, we are most familiar with Fleck and Clack.
 

Jeff H Young

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I've not really worked on softeners . installed them but not done much with setting them up , which admittedly has value to it. As an owner Id want to get familiar and learn my system so I can provide own service .
as far as connecting to the drainage system and having a cross connection between DWV system and your water guidelines need followed an air gap of sorts is important there should be no direct connection.
 

brecchi

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Not familiar with the two Clack models mentioned. If that dealer does not offer Clack, how are they quoting on a system equipped with a Clack valve?

Sorry, this was confusing - a typo, I meant to say Fleck. Its been corrected.

Clack vs Fleck similar to Ford vs GM.

Both brands are top quality, but forum member and equipment distributor Ditttohead has recommended currently not considering the Fleck 5810 as there have been some issues that Fleck is currently working to correct.

As I understand, there are no issues with Fleck 5800 or 5812 valves.

The Fleck 5600 series is reliable and high quality, but is a design that is several decades old. They are best suited for applications equipped with a 3/4" main supply, requiring a 2 ft3 (64,000 grains total capacity) (12" diameter tank) or smaller softener. For filter applications, the maximum recommended tank diameter is 10" (1.5 ft3) due to 7 GPM maximum supported drain flow rate.

I do know I have 1" connectors, but the 5600 does seem to get recommended a lot for my setup, according to the companies I have reached out to as well as elsewhere on this forum. According to everyone on this forum and in person, I need a 48,000 grain system so I think I meet that requirement.

I was advised against the 5800 series as I was told the flow rate is much higher than I need by Aqua Science, the company with a brck and mortar showroom that I visited.
I'd be happy to go with a 58xx if I end up getting a Flack, but I seem to keep getting steered away from this model.

I've decided not to go with the big blue filter, as there is no evidence of sediment.


While a plumber will likely connect any unit you obtain, most plumbers do not specialize in water treatment so don't expect the unit to be programmed appropriately or efficiently for your application. While many of us can assist you with programming, we are most familiar with Fleck and Clack.

Both plumbing companies that I contacted (both the one who did the in-person estimate and will install my own unit for $550, and the all-inclusive Clack installers for $2300-$2700) do specialize in well pumps and water treatment systems. The Clack installers will program and spend as much time as needed to dial everything in, and they do include a 2 week post checkup and yearly visit to make sure things are running right. Both companies have great reviews.

I think I would be good with either, I am just having a hard time deciding on whether to spend around double of what I had initially planned. I really would prefer to buy my own system and save the $, but I am not sure if I'd be cutting some serious corners.

Curious to know which way you all might lean if you were in my position.

Also - here is a link to the Clack EVS and ER softeners in question:

https://www.evolveseries.com/products/water-softeners.html
 
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brecchi

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Ive not really worked on softeners . installed them but not done much with setting them up , which admittedly has value to it. As an owner Id want to get familiar and learn my system so I can provide own service .
as far as connecting to the drainage system and having a croos conection between DWV system and your water guidlines need followed an air gap of sorts is important there should be no direct connection.

I inquired as to my worries about contaminated water to the plumber who came over for an estimate (will install my own system for $550) and he mentioned a ball/check valve, but nothing about an air gap. Can you explain the mechanics of an air gap and what it does? Should I assume that any plumber installing a water softener will comply with this? Of course, I will ask ahead of time.

Should I decide to go with having a plumber install my own Fleck, are there any questions I should pose ahead of time? I have only thought to ask if he will program and explain maintenance, as well as the air gap mentioned.
 

Reach4

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I inquired as to my worries about contaminated water to the plumber who came over for an estimate (will install my own system for $550) and he mentioned a ball/check valve, but nothing about an air gap. Can you explain the mechanics of an air gap and what it does?
It could be tying the output of the drain line atop a brick and let the water drop into a floor drain. It could be to use a commercial air gap and share the washing machine standpipe.

Depends on the plumber. Tell the plumber that the input is on the right as you face the display, and the softened water comes out on the left. Ask about the air gap, but you would be better to decide where the where 2.4 gpm (with a 10 inch tank) or up to 5 gpm with a really big home unit, will go.

If you don't want to do your own programming or other stuff, that will limit who can do the work and will probably cost more money. Some sellers sell the resin tanks already preloaded, and others don't. So if you want the contractor to do it all, go with the clack, and pay the extra. You can also get people to fill your brine tank with salt periodically.
 
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Jeff H Young

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Brecchi, Reach 4 pretty much answered you the way I would, only reason I brought it up is something I read from you about a ball valve and a ball valve in itself wouldn't be protection and a check valve wouldn't be right either. But this is work that a qualified plumber knows , and an un qualified might not. Don't mean to be overly alarming.
I'm kind of repeating myself, I don't know how busy or interested in maintaining the system you are I'd want to maintain it and if I didn't have my experience soldering , fitting up pipe and general plumbing , I'd hire a general plumber. Not always easy to tell who is just smooth talking and who knows what they're doing then you got prices all over the place to contend with. If not interested in doing any of the maintenance I'd hire the specialty company.
 

brecchi

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Thanks Reach4 and Jeff. Apologies for the late reply, I just saw this.

Had a follow up conversation with Plumbing Company #1 with the plumber himself who came out to do the estimate (installing my own Fleck.) Just to be clear, they do seem to specialize in well and water softening treatment systems and have been super friendly and willing to answer any questions. They have their own system from Water Rite with a Clack head that they will install for $2700, much like Plumbing Company #2.

$550 includes a full install of everything including fittings, etc, unless they need to let a carbon based resin soak for 24 hours (?) which would add a bit more to the price as it would require 2 visits. I don't think this applies to me. The Fleck unit would ship empty, and they would add the resin and do basic setup and programming. I once again mentioned an air gap and was told that the check valve system they use instead is better in their opinion. I'm concerned about this, but again, I'm a newbie and I am just trying to learn from both plumbers and folks here on the forum.

Hate to say I am still on the fence, but it is a lot of initial $ to save going with the Fleck. This could just end up being much more simple than I'm imagining things to be as far as having the Fleck set up. I keep thinking of potential problems but perhaps I am overthinking things.

I am also still seriously considering the full $2700 service Clack system from Plumbing Company #2, which again includes several visits, follow ups, etc. These guys seem very interested in developing an ongoing relationship with their clients, making sure that I understand how to familiarize and maintain the Clack going forward.

As far as my own involvement, I would be very into maintaining the system myself, but I have no idea about the learning curve once its installed. I don't have experience soldering, pipe fitting, etc. so either way, there will be a plumber involved to an extent.
 

Reach4

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These guys seem very interested in developing an ongoing relationship with their clients, making sure that I understand how to familiarize and maintain the Clack going forward.
Are they going to show you how to change all of the settings by getting into Clack installer settings and get you a link to a service manual? Just curious. We could help you with that (but not as complete as for setting up Fleck), but I was curious what your dealer's view on that was.
 

brecchi

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Are they going to show you how to change all of the settings by getting into Clack installer settings and get you a link to a service manual? Just curious. We could help you with that (but not as complete as for setting up Fleck), but I was curious what your dealer's view on that was.

I believe so. I do know they include a pre-install check, a full service install and a 2 week post check-up. Then a yearly visit where I believe you just pay for salt or any consumables that might be needed. Their philosophy seems to be a close working relationship with their customers. Although I'm just assuming, I am sure that they would do an install tutorial considering all the attention to detail. I'll be sure to ask about this and a link to a service manual (I'm assuming one can be found online without too much trouble, if thats an issue.)

I have seen a Fleck tutorial online, but its nice to know that folks on here would be able to help with that as well. If I was just convinced enough of a decent install, air gap, etc. (and product), I'd likely go for the Fleck instead of paying double for the Clack service.
 

Reach4

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The Fleck SXT units are easy to post settings for. I have not seen anybody do that for Clack..
 

brecchi

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I typically would recommend the local dealer and I'm sure he is a nice guy and everything however I would NEVER recommend Hague equipment. Depending on the model Hague is the same equipment you get at the big box store under the "waterboss" and "ao smith" brands. Hague is low quality equipment with huge markups.

He was talking about black water getting in the drinking water. This was kind of scare tactic. Yes it is possible but you would need to have like 3 simultaneous failures for that to even happen. It easily prevented by a simple air gap on the softener drain line. Depending on where the softener will drain you would just need an air gap fitting on the end of the drain line. It is also a code requirement to have an air gap on the softener drain. If whoever does the work pulls a permit and has the install inspected the air gap drain will be part of that inspection.

Is a check valve an acceptable substitute for a drain valve? This is what the initial installer keeps mentioning.
 

Reach4

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Is a check valve an acceptable substitute for a drain valve? This is what the initial installer keeps mentioning.
This is bothering you, and the fact that more than one failure would be needed to suck water into your softener drain valve does not do it for you. You want it fully right per literal codes.

So let's think about what would make it right so that everybody would like it. What is the proposed deficient method of getting rid of the drainage? Consider a sketch or photo.
 
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Jeff H Young

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good day brechi! As for your question with the check valve , I suppose as a owner you should just be concerned that necessary permits are pulled and your work is inspected , or that your "installer" knows codes your requirement could vary don't know what governs it. I'm very partial to air gap . but a check valve might or might not be sufficient in your locale.
 

Bannerman

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A softener is a device to condition potable water.

Although it maybe unlikely for all conditions to occur at the same time for contaminated water to backup into the softener through the softener's drain line, an air gap provides a physical separation to eliminate potential for cross contamination through the drain line from the home's drain line. A check-valve will not provide a physical separation so cross contamination remains a possibility.

Even if an air gap is not required by local code, ensuring one is utilized will provide an additional safeguard for your family.
 
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brecchi

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This is bothering you, and the fact that more than one failure would be needed to suck water into your softener drain valve does not do it for you. You want it fully right per literal codes.

So let's think about what would make it right so that everybody would like it. What is the proposed deficient method of getting rid of the drainage? Consider a sketch or photo.

I am a bit fixated on this point. From what I am reading, it seems that a cross contamination is unlikely. But I guess its the one thing that would be really bad in all of this. I could deal with a part failure or shoddy workmanship but its a bit scary to think that we could be ingesting black water and maybe not even know it. I am sure I sound paranoid, but its all from a new guy perspective and I have no personal frame of reference.

Jeff Young and Bannerman, you guys are further convincing me that there should just plain be an air gap. It seems like a very simple and inexpensive thing to have done, so I'll be inquiring to Plumbing Company #2 (Full Clack install for $2700) and ask about their policy on this. Although I have liked my dealings so far with Plumbing Company #1, he stated that the check valve is what they use and didn't really go into it any further other than to say its actually better for some reason than an air gap.

Now that I know what to ask, I'll question #2 on this, as well as local codes, etc.
 

Reach4

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What is your motivation?

And where is the drainage going?
 

brecchi

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What is your motivation?

And where is the drainage going?

I'm not sure what you mean by my motivation, can you be a bit more specific please?

The drainage as far as I can see is a PVC pipe running along the base of the wall and out through the side towards the next room, which is a bathroom. It disappears behind the wall in the bathroom and isn't visible.
 

Reach4

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I'm not sure what you mean by my motivation, can you be a bit more specific please?
  1. want to drain that is both compatible with codes and safe from an unlikely backup event contaminating potable water
  2. want to potentially prove one of the suppliers wrong as a test.

The drainage as far as I can see is a PVC pipe running along the base of the wall and out through the side towards the next room, which is a bathroom. It disappears behind the wall in the bathroom and isn't visible.
  1. you have a drain pipe that is carrying drainage from an unknown source to an unknown destination, and you want to add the softener drainage to that flow
  2. there is an existing softener drain that runs from the softener to this pvc pipe, but you are not sure that is done properly. You looked under the lavatory and don't see a branch connection on the tailpiece before the trap.
If #1 to both, inserting a standpipe, trap, and AAV would likely be good. Add a commercial or homemade air gap atop the input to the standpipe, and everybody likes it.

Is there a washing machine standpipe or laundry sink in the area, even on a different floor?
 
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brecchi

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  1. want to drain that is both compatible with codes and safe from an unlikely backup event contaminating potable water
  2. want to potentially prove one of the suppliers wrong as a test.

  1. you have a drain pipe that is carrying drainage from an unknown source to an unknown destination, and you want to add the softener drainage to that flow
  2. there is an existing softener drain that runs from the softener to this pvc pipe, but you are not sure that is done properly. You looked under the lavatory and don't see a branch connection on the tailpiece before the trap.
If #1 to both, inserting a standpipe, trap, and AAV would likely be good. Add a commercial or homemade air gap atop the input to the standpipe, and everybody likes it.

Is there a washing machine standpipe or laundry sink in the area, even on a different floor?

Thanks for the clarity Reach4.

#1 for both.

PVC drainpipe disappears into the side wall, and is behind the drywall in the adjacent bathroom.

I'd like to have a pro install a standpipe, trap and AAV. I am a bit hesitant to come off as a newbie, who at the same time is a know-it-all, demanding things be done in a certain way. However, I can get over that and I plan to simply ask if Plumbing Company #1 would charge more to do so, or if PC #2 would include this as well.
 

Reach4

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I'd like to have a pro install a standpipe, trap and AAV. I am a bit hesitant to come off as a newbie, who at the same time is a know-it-all, demanding things be done in a certain way.
Something like this.
index.php
 
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