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Water softener input/recommendations #5262720 11/09/19 05:49 PM
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The_Eric Online Content OP
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Hey guys, not long ago we had a new well drilled - the old well had a 3" iron casing that rusted through, allowing sand to enter and wreak havoc on our domestic water. New well is in a different aquifer and has MUCH improved water (old well was very high in iron and manganese, plus very hard), so we don't need the level of softener that we currently have - it is a big Culligan rental. I'd like to buy a smaller unit and get rid of the $60+/mo bill. The well guy tested the water and stated no iron and had 8 grains hardness and said that a softener from Menards would suffice. While I'm inclined to believe him, I'd like to get others' experiences and input, as well as get alternative brands or systems.

We went to Menards and found a few Morton units (considering the M45) and a Water Boss (Pro 180).

The raw water line will have a double spun poly filter to remove any calcium and lime that may be in the water (well guy said it may take some time before it shows up) ahead of the softener.


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Re: Water softener input/recommendations [Re: The_Eric] #5262727 11/09/19 06:14 PM
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CT Rob Offline
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Anything BUT Culligan. I have a Culligan and wish i had done lots more research b4 wasting my money with them.


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Re: Water softener input/recommendations [Re: The_Eric] #5262735 11/09/19 06:21 PM
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$60 a month for a water softener rental? That's felonious. I know there's a hefty markup on dealer installed systems that you purchase. So if you can do the plumbing yourself, any decent name brand should do.


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Re: Water softener input/recommendations [Re: The_Eric] #5262768 11/09/19 06:53 PM
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We have a Kinetico, no electricity required and works flawlessly. But I’m by no means an expert, I’ve only had well water for the last 6 months!


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Re: Water softener input/recommendations [Re: The_Eric] #5262787 11/09/19 07:15 PM
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I would suggest giving a good filtration system a try for a while to see if you even need a water softener. That's what I did, after trashing the softener the previous owner installed. It turned out what the system really needed was just filtration.


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Re: Water softener input/recommendations [Re: The_Eric] #5262832 11/09/19 08:13 PM
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8 grains is not much. I would also try a filter first... get the long blue one from Menards for about $80. Otherwise the Morton softener from there should serve you well. Since one is already there, a plumber should be about two hours to put it in if you can't.

I just put in one two and a half months ago from Discount Water Softeners (.com). It softens well and uses very little salt, but it does not meter water flow correctly so I have had to modify the hardness setting or else I get hard water every 5th or 6th day. At least one other person on the reviews said the same thing. After sale support has been poor from the vendor, once they have your money they don't care about any problems and don't return calls or emails.

Re: Water softener input/recommendations [Re: The_Eric] #5262933 11/09/19 11:31 PM
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The_Eric Online Content OP
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How does a filter help with hard water?


2005 Lincoln Aviator 4.6 DOHC
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2001 Hyundai Elantra 2.0
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Re: Water softener input/recommendations [Re: The_Eric] #5263046 11/10/19 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by The_Eric


The raw water line will have a double spun poly filter to remove any calcium and lime that may be in the water (well guy said it may take some time before it shows up) ahead of the softener.


A water softener uses ion exchange process to pull calcium (hardness)(and generally a modest level of iron) from the water and replace it with sodium ions. Hence the "soft" water. The "size" of the softener is related to how many ions can be exchanged before it needs to be recharged (60,000 grain) . Small tanks vs. large (at a glance) are a pretty good way to know. BUT, unscrupulous companies could use a large tank and only one bag of resin... (I've seen this)

A spun poly filter will help remove particulates above a certain size, not calcium. It's just a filter.

A carbon filter will help remove chlorine, tannin's, and other organics (VOC's) and some metals (lead) that a softener can't remove. If you use one, it must come after the softener.



Of note, some softeners have low flow rates, especially if they are small/cheap units. If you have a large house or higher water flow needs, I suggest a full sized unit with good flow capacity.

My preference is the "old school" softener with a mechanical valve, and a separate salt tank. Very tolerant of lightning strikes/power surges, easier to service and very reliable. The quality of the water is the same, but the price of digital (or flow meter) equipment can be double or triple.

Let's put it this way, you can purchase a good flowing, full size, ultra reliable mechanical timer, 64,000 grain system (large enough for a modest family) with mechanical valve, for $650.

https://www.discountwatersofteners.com/water-softeners/fleck-5600-timered-water-softener/

https://www.discountwatersofteners.com/fleck-5600-sxt-on-demand-water-softener/#compare


[Linked Image from cdn11.bigcommerce.com]

Last edited by Cujet; 11/10/19 06:56 AM.

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Re: Water softener input/recommendations [Re: Cujet] #5263176 11/10/19 09:27 AM
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The_Eric Online Content OP
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Originally Posted by Cujet
Originally Posted by The_Eric


The raw water line will have a double spun poly filter to remove any calcium and lime that may be in the water (well guy said it may take some time before it shows up) ahead of the softener.


A water softener uses ion exchange process to pull calcium (hardness)(and generally a modest level of iron) from the water and replace it with sodium ions. Hence the "soft" water. The "size" of the softener is related to how many ions can be exchanged before it needs to be recharged (60,000 grain) . Small tanks vs. large (at a glance) are a pretty good way to know. BUT, unscrupulous companies could use a large tank and only one bag of resin... (I've seen this)

A spun poly filter will help remove particulates above a certain size, not calcium. It's just a filter.

A carbon filter will help remove chlorine, tannin's, and other organics (VOC's) and some metals (lead) that a softener can't remove. If you use one, it must come after the softener.



Of note, some softeners have low flow rates, especially if they are small/cheap units. If you have a large house or higher water flow needs, I suggest a full sized unit with good flow capacity.

My preference is the "old school" softener with a mechanical valve, and a separate salt tank. Very tolerant of lightning strikes/power surges, easier to service and very reliable. The quality of the water is the same, but the price of digital (or flow meter) equipment can be double or triple.

Let's put it this way, you can purchase a good flowing, full size, ultra reliable mechanical timer, 64,000 grain system (large enough for a modest family) with mechanical valve, for $650.

https://www.discountwatersofteners.com/water-softeners/fleck-5600-timered-water-softener/

https://www.discountwatersofteners.com/fleck-5600-sxt-on-demand-water-softener/#compare


[Linked Image from cdn11.bigcommerce.com]


I was just parroting what my well guy said when I asked about calcium/lime - I'm relatively sure he stated that the filter he sold me would remove them, but I very easily could be mistaken.

I hear you on the flow ratings - I'm almost always suspicious of claims made in consumer grade equipment and this is no different. The Morton units were claiming 15-20 gpm, but that's at 30psi, our set up is 50.

You stated the filter must come after the softener - why is that? To ensure sufficient water flow for regeneration cycles? On that note, the filter is a 20", 5 micron blown microfiber spun polypropylene unit. (p/n 14-GSP2-05)


That Fleck 5600 Timer set up you linked looks good, but I couldn't find how it regens. Does the timer just count down X amount of days, then run at the time you set it to?


2005 Lincoln Aviator 4.6 DOHC
2000 Honda Accord 2.3
2001 Hyundai Elantra 2.0
1979 Ford F-150 351M
Re: Water softener input/recommendations [Re: Skippy722] #5263184 11/10/19 09:35 AM
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Pelican Offline
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Originally Posted by Skippy722
We have a Kinetico, no electricity required and works flawlessly. But I’m by no means an expert, I’ve only had well water for the last 6 months!

I too have a Kinetico and very happy, have had for over 15 yrs without any problems and extremely low on salt consumption .
I had a Culligan rental before, nothing but problems and when I complained Culligan told me that they never rent the latest technology only past tech & refurbished.
What a great company!

Re: Water softener input/recommendations [Re: Pelican] #5263208 11/10/19 09:57 AM
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The_Eric Online Content OP
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Originally Posted by CT Rob
Anything BUT Culligan. I have a Culligan and wish i had done lots more research b4 wasting my money with them.

Originally Posted by NormanBuntz
$60 a month for a water softener rental? That's felonious. I know there's a hefty markup on dealer installed systems that you purchase. So if you can do the plumbing yourself, any decent name brand should do.

Originally Posted by Pelican
Originally Posted by Skippy722
We have a Kinetico, no electricity required and works flawlessly. But I’m by no means an expert, I’ve only had well water for the last 6 months!

I too have a Kinetico and very happy, have had for over 15 yrs without any problems and extremely low on salt consumption .
I had a Culligan rental before, nothing but problems and when I complained Culligan told me that they never rent the latest technology only past tech & refurbished.
What a great company!



I'm not going to hate on our Culligan dealer here - they've been pretty good to us and our old well WAS a terrible source of water. It was relatively shallow with water starting at ~40' with the pump set at ~70'. This after we replaced the old school leather cup and rod set up - not sure the depth it was drawing water from. The water coming out of there was VERY high in manganese, iron and I think, calcium. Also had a sulfur smell at times too. We used to have a product that they called a Col(d?)-Sorb that was installed before a smaller softener unit ( less rent) that they changed out every month but it was disco'ed so we had to upgrade unit capacity. To give you an idea, if the softener messed up and we had to bypass it (or we ran outdoor water), it would often come out with a light orange tint. It was like that since my wiff and her (ex) husband bought the place in '91. She had said that for the first few months or year, they didn't have white clothing, it was orange. And man, when piping was disturbed for changes or upgrades... Whew! Nastiness!

At any rate, now that we have (IMO) really good water, we don't need all that capacity/capability and I really don't want that monthly bill. I feel that buying a much less capable unit is the answer and it will only take a year or so before it's paid for itself.


2005 Lincoln Aviator 4.6 DOHC
2000 Honda Accord 2.3
2001 Hyundai Elantra 2.0
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Re: Water softener input/recommendations [Re: The_Eric] #5263250 11/10/19 10:39 AM
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Hello The_Eric,

I installed a new water softener about 2 years ago. I spent about a month getting up to speed about the diy process. The Terry Love plumbing forum is a good place to start.

- It's best to start out with a complete water test, not just a hardness test from a sales person. This will confirm if there are other challenges beyond the hardness minerals. A media filter will not remove hardness ions.
- It's my opinion that the better units have separate brine and softener tanks vs. the cabinet models. Who wants the valve and controls sitting in the salt fumes.
- The better units use one of three valve options: Fleck, Clack, or Autotrol. These are the standard of the industry and U.S. made with parts/service available. Culligan, Kinetico, and others have proprietary systems and you are at the mercy of those companies for repairs. A good softener doesn't necessarily have a recognizable brand name. It is a unit made up of one of the mentioned valves, a good tank/components, and good resin (the simple parts of any softener).
- It is very important to evaluate your home and water use needs to select the most efficient softener size. It's similar to the importance of sizing your furnace and air conditioning.

IF your water contains zero iron and is only 8 grains hardness, you "should" be able to regenerate with only 6 lbs. salt per cu. ft. and maybe up to a month or so between regenerations. The newest softeners have computer controls. You program it to your water quality and amount used. It monitors amount of water used and regenerates based on your programming, not on calendar days. Extremely efficient, both salt and water usage.

Here's a just a few links to get you started, IF you are interested in a quality installation (high quality components properly sized):
https://www.aquatell.ca/pages/learn
https://www.aquatell.ca/pages/ultimate-water-softener-guide
https://blog.uswatersystems.com/2013/11/which-water-softener-is-the-best-clack-autotrol-or-fleck/ This site is hawking their Chinese made valve.
https://www.apswater.com/Water_Soft...nshard=30&iron=1.56&perperson=65
https://www.apswater.com/softener-info.asp?widthin=10&heightin=42&hard=30

FYI the Do It Myself named member at Terry Love is not me.

Re: Water softener input/recommendations [Re: The_Eric] #5265469 11/12/19 07:51 PM
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Thanks guys! I'll do some reading ...


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