Help! Water Softener Sizing and Advice

RemostramJanuary 15, 2014


I would very much appreciate advice on sizing, selection and any advice offered on a new water softener.

Background: Wife and I live in 3 bedroom home on a well, 1 bathroom, 2 powder rooms, dishwasher, laundry room Current softener is 21k grain Fleck 5600 Econominder and is a least 15 years old that we know of but suspect it is likely over 20 years old.

Have long suspected the system is undersized/inefficient and perhaps not correctly setup but have lived with it, spotty dishes and all.

Current system is set at 30 grains, 2 people with 11lb salt charge but after some observation it's actually using much less than 11lbs per regen and has been leaking lately
during regen, so time for a new one.

Water flow tested at laundry tub is 7.5 gpm. I,m thinking Fleck 7000SXT-minimum 2 cu-ft but as a replacement but would like to go larger if feasible.

Two adults in home now but occasionally might have 4 or 5 for a few days at a time. Nothing planned but house could support 4 people so would like to size for 4 if feasible without compromise.

Well water is crystal clear, no smells or bad taste. Hardness is 33 I believe, here is a recent lab report:

Date Collected: 04-Jan-14
Parameter Units Value

Hardness (as CaCO3) mg/L 565
Alkalinity(CaCO3) to pH4.5 mg/L 301
Conductivity @25deg.C umho/cm 1660
pH @25deg.C pH Units 7.94
Fluoride mg/L 0.2
Chloride mg/L 318
Nitrite (N) mg/L Nitrate (N) mg/L 2.8
Sulphate mg/L 64
Calcium mg/L 161
Magnesium mg/L 39.5
Sodium mg/L 155
Potassium mg/L 3.3
Copper mg/L 0.005
Iron mg/L 0.058
Manganese mg/L 0.009
Silica mg/L 11.2
Zinc mg/L 0.020
Anion Sum meq/L 16.5
Cation Sum meq/L 18.1
% Difference % 4.57
Ion Ratio AS/CS 0.913
Sodium Adsorption Ratio - 2.84
TDS(ion sum calc.) mg/L 934
Conductivity (calc.) umho/cm 1680
TDS(calc.)/EC(actual) - 0.565
EC(calc.)/EC(actual) - 1.02
Langelier Index(25deg.C) S.I. 1.12


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Since you typically only have 2 people, I would not go any larger than a 2 cuft softener as you would run the risk of channeling.

At the TDS of your water, you will want to regen with 8 lb salt per cuft of resin to keep hardness bleed to a minimum. That will place you at 10 days between regens with 2 people and 4-5 days with 4-5 people.

  • High quality American or German made resin. This will provide a tight size distribution for optimal flow within the resin

  • Since you have WELL WATER: 8% crosslinked resin.

  • Top basket. This serves two purposes. It sets up a proper water distribution during normal operation and prevents resin loss during backwash.

  • Gravel underbed. The gravel underbed is there to set up proper flow patterns, improve backwash and prevent channeling. Many softener sales companies like to leave this out or sell softeners with a vortex system instead. Vortex systems weigh less than gravel so they cost less to ship. In addition, they are a more expensive item that adds profit for the softener salesperson, but provides no additional benefit to the homeowner . It simply adds another piece of equipment that can break.

  • Fleck or Clack valves. These set the industry standard. Be aware that you will not be able to purchase Clack valves online. This is not a problem if you purchase locally.

  • Noryl bypass. Most softeners are available with either Noryl or stainless bypass valves. Both are good valves, but the noryl tends to be more reliable when not used for long periods of time.

  • Install the softener with a three-valve bypass. This will make it so much easier if you ever need to remove the softener for repairs or wish to take it with you when you move. Use full-port, quarter-turn valves.

This post was edited by aliceinwonderland_id on Tue, Jan 21, 14 at 11:33

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 11:30AM
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That much chloride in well water is unusual. Who ran the test and where were the samples taken from?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 9:56PM
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The test was performed by Caduceon Environmental Laboratories The samples were untreated well water which I took myself from the high pressure side of the indoor pump.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 2:25AM
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A good filtration system will take of that. Just make sure to take it into consideration when you choose your system.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 1:13PM
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The only practical method for a homeowner to reduce chlorides is reverse osmosis. While yours are high, chlorides are everywhere and our bodies tolerate and need fairly high amounts. Unless there us a specific health concern I wouldn't worry about it.

It is also possible that chlorides were reported in ppb rather than ppm and not copied correctly - easy to do when typing a bunch of analysis.

This post was edited by aliceinwonderland_id on Fri, Jan 24, 14 at 16:56

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 4:53PM
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