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Old July 18th, 2008, 11:08 AM   #1
matnic
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Default advise please from plumbers/water softener owners

We need to get a water softener for our house. House is 2 1/2 person, about 2100 sq ft, 2 full bath, gas hot water, dish washer, washer and dryer, 2 outside water spiggits. DEQ results don't say its "really hard", but it is up there (I think like 173 ml/L (or like 10gpg).

Anyone ever heard of this?
http://www.easywater.com/

benefits I see are: no salt to add, no drain to add, no need to re-plumb the 2 outside faucets since there is no salt to kill the lawn, easy install that I could do, price is comparable (maybe cheaper since no plumbing being done).

Anyone know of this process, or have any other educated recommendations?

thanks
Mat
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Old July 18th, 2008, 11:39 AM   #2
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Salt isn't used to soften the water, it's used to 'reset' the resin in the softener so to speak. if your softened water is killing the lawn, it's probably NOT due to salt concentrations, unless you have REALLY hard water, and/or a cheap softener.

A properly functioning water softener will not significantly impact the amount of sodium in your diet (how many people these days really drink tap water anyway).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_softening

The wiki citation would tend to disagree with the reference point of significance of sodium intake, but again, they base it on 2L of tap water consumption/intake.

As for your link, no I've never heard of it. The larger issue with the hard water we had, was a stubborn refusal of soap to lather, and buildup in the plumbing.

We have a fairly expensive kinetico system on top of the city's water treatment efforts.

If the majority of your issues is related to taste of the water, I'd probably go for a small reverse osmosis system under the sink, or an add-on for the fridge.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 01:20 PM   #3
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We have filtered drinking water in the fridge, and the taste isn't the issue with the hard water. Its hard to keep the showers clean for long, the shower head starts spraying funky after a few days, the shower, toilets, and inside the washer get a yellowish-orange staining after a few days thats hard to come clean, etc...all the simptoms of hard water. I can probably live with the occasional odd smell (private well at 467 feet, btw).

I was told that a standard water softener will kill the grass, but will leave the car spot-free after a wash! I could go down and bypass the softener every time I need to water the lawn, but I don't want the hassle.

Anyone have a softener that they are happy with? Any other comments/opinions?
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Old July 18th, 2008, 01:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matnic View Post

Anyone have a softener that they are happy with? Any other comments/opinions?
interesting re: the killing the lawn. For practical purposes, I usually see it bypassed as you're still funneling the water through the softener's resin, which then will need to be backflushed/reset with the salt more frequently.

I'm quite happy with the Kinetico softener from every perspective aside from price. (I think it was $1,800 installed back in 2001, but included a 10 year top/bottom warranty, so I justified it by prorating the cost in my head at $180/year)

It has no electronics, running completely off of water pressure, is small, and reportedly only uses 9 gallons of water per backflush, fairly decent on the salt as well, but I still buy it in 80lb bags of duracube from Douglas.

Most of my neighbors used to go the Sears/Kenmore route, or whatever $4-500 one they can find, and replace them every 5-8 years. Now that the City has a multi-million dollar water treatment plant, offering up mostly softened water I could probably remove the kinetico - but it's sunk costs at this point, and not worth a lot resale.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 01:48 PM   #5
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As for softeners save the cash and go with sears. Much like many other things the softeners work the same way and odds are you wouldn't have to replace it more than a couple times in the life of the house.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 02:04 PM   #6
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Here's my experiences (I'm sure everyone was on the edge fo their seats waiting...)

We've been on wells as long as I've owned my house, and more or less all my life with my parents we were on wells with lots of rust in the water.

My advice is buy a good one.

Last house came with a kenmore, which was a clone of the ~$500 GE models. It lasted 3 years before the head started wearing inside and no longer functioning right. Clogged up a lot with rust as well, so needed maintenence often.

replaced it with a GE from home depot. Lasted 3 years and did the same thing. Replaced that with yet another GE and sold the house.

The heavy rust would build up inside and not be able to be effectively cleaned. There's valves in there that slide, and the rust eventually eats up the surfaces so they don't seal well and get less and less effective. Since a softener relies on tiny orrifices to create suction to draw brine from the tank, even small wear or clogging becomes an issue.

My research online found evreyone unhappy with that style softener head used by most of the $500 big-box store models.

My new house has a much much more expensive system but we have personal expereince with them lasting for a long time. Worth it not having the headache. I like this style, which has a seperate brine tank/salt resevoir beacuse it holds a LOT more salt. So I can load it with ~400lbs at once and forget about it. We also have a whole-house carbon filter, which helps. Not the little ones, this is 6ft tall and has a valve head like a water softener.


Don't waste your time watering your lawn with softened water. Only plumb 1 spigot for wating the car. Otherwise you will be running through your charge every night and using slat like mad.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 03:17 PM   #7
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find me a ge or kenmore that has 15 years of dependable service. you probably won't. they use a shitty valve design that wears out. I rebuilt one twice in 3 years, only to have the electronics take a shit right after that. they are garbage, and sears-depot-whoever makes tons of coin off of them. My first house had a fleck style softenener that was 20 years old-no problems.

so, find a softener with a fleck valve. Don't buy from your local place, they mark them up insanely. figure you need a 42k to 49k grain unit. you can find these all over online for $500 to $700, even on ebay. That's the same price you'll drop an a big-box throwaway, and you'll get at least 20 years out of it.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 03:26 PM   #8
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http://www.rosedaleh2o.com/

parent company:
www.rosedaleproducts.com

i filter my ENTIRE house with it. sweated right in after the supply from the floor.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 03:58 PM   #9
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here you go. fleck control valve, large capacity, and it won't be running every night, saving you big money on salt. Plus, it's half of what any local place would charge you. IF it ever breaks, which is unlikely, parts are standard, cheap and easy to get.

http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-Fleck-5600SE...QQcmdZViewItem
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Old July 18th, 2008, 04:24 PM   #10
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I have a peerless water softener. I believe it's 12 years old ans still works very very well. I bought it with my house and my water is very very hard (rusty). After 12 years I had to replace the timer unit. Thats it. I think it cost me $110.00 for the timer. It's been at least a year since that point and it's still working great. I think you can buy a whole new system for around $700-$800. Maybe a little more depending on size of the system. If you can get 10 years plus out of a system I would say your doing well. I would highly recommend the peerless over other systems. Just my $.02
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Old July 18th, 2008, 04:40 PM   #11
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We've been in our house 4 1/2 years with no softener. Sure, my whites need to be brightened every now and then, but, my mom has to do the same with her Culligan system that she leases. I just buy the rust/mineral remover for a few $ every so often and run the whites through. I don't own many white clothing items anyway since I just don't stay clean and everything gets dirty. I'm just not careful.

My fiberglas shower gets a mineral buildup but I just spray it daily with the cleaner that I buy from Home Depot by the gallon. Works well and also is an anti-bacterial at the same time.

One more note:
For those who think bleach is the way to whiten and brighten - it's not really. If you don't do a follow-up rinse with vinegar the chlorine just keeps eating away at the fibers, especially cotton. Bleach totally dissolves wool.
I learned something in those textile lab classes.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 07:44 PM   #12
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1. Those clamp on the pipe "softeners" are bogus ... Google them.
2. Go to abundantflowwater.com This guy helped me design a system for my house

I am not affiliated with him, but can recommend him highly. I found a DIY forum and a guy there who wished to remain anonymous because he worked for a large softener company. He said the only important things on a softener are the flow valve and the resin. The valve should be a Fleck that is rebuildable. Also a metered head saves water and salt vs. a timed head because it recharges only when needed not just because it is the 3rd day. As for resin, there is jobber media and good media. The jobber is good for about 18 months to 2 years and the good stuff 5 years. So, I went online and found the website above. The guy was VERY helpful! He sent me a free water test and helped my size the system and make a custom resin stack that solved other problems as well as the hardness. I also had sulfur dioxide that requires chlorination and thus a carbon filter. So, inline chlorination dosing pump, carbon backflush filter and 64K grain softener ran me about $3k. The local Ecowatersystems guy wanted that for a 50k grain softener which he said was sufficient. Later I read that a softener should regenerate once a week. Any more it is undersized and wasting water and salt. Any less and the media loses it's ionic charge and doesn't work.

All in all, the system is trouble free and averages 1 bag of salt and 3 gallons of Clorox per month. Water tastes and smells great! We use less soap, a shower feels MUCH cleaner!
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Old July 18th, 2008, 08:44 PM   #13
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I have a Brasswell Genis twin. been using thier stuff for the past 20 years or so. works great and real reliable. I have a charcoal prefilter before the softener and in most counties you have to have one sink without sofe water by law. secondly all the out side faucets are non softened. its a waste to do so. if by chance you have really bad water or just tons of black junk form in the filter its mangenese in most cases. it makes the water filter plug solid in some cases. I had a 3 micron filter and it was "To tight" it would plug solid.
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Old July 21st, 2008, 01:15 PM   #14
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What kills the lawn is having the rinse water from the recharge go out on the lawn, not the softened water. Our drain for the rinse goes into the house sump and out the normal outlet and that takes out the grass until it starts really growing in the summer (there's also more rain to dilute the sump water then too).

I had them plumb in two valves so I can run soft water to all of our outdoor spigots by flipping the valves for washing the Jeeps, filling a baby pool, etc. Just have to remember to go down and flip them when done. I didn't want to have soft water outdoors 95% of the time.
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Old July 21st, 2008, 04:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigwalton View Post
What kills the lawn is having the rinse water from the recharge go out on the lawn, not the softened water.
x2.

In most setups, there is a discharge pipe sticking out of the house that discharges the rinse water.
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