Yet Another Water Softener Thread
I hesitate to start another thread on this, but I have a few questions that I haven't found answers for. First, a little background.
Our house is on city water, and has had unsoftened water since it was built 6 years ago. The dishawasher has recently started leaving significant spots (rather, *deposits*) on our dishes, which I've attributed to 6 years of heating this unsoftened water. Combine this with lots of scale around the shower and sink fixtures and the wife has "said" it's time to get a softener (and then a new dishwasher...).
I purchased a test strip at Home Depot and it measured roughly 10-14 gpg (converted from ppm, interpolated from two very similar color choices on the test kit). Yes, I realize these test kits don't give very precise results, but I wanted a quick check to see if we were within the range the city reports, which is 5-20 gpg, with an average of 16.5 gpg.
I've done a lot of research online and still have a few questions:
1) in these forums, posters are often asked to provide levels of manganese from their test results, yet none of the other online sizing calculators I found account for this. How would this parameter factor into the sizing of a softener?
2) regarding the city's reported range of hardness: The water source for my house probably changes seasonally as they pull water from different wells as both supply & demand change. Should I calculate my needs based on the 20gpg reading then, since it's possible that I could see that level in the summer as oppose to the 14gpg I'm measuring in February?
3) service flow rate is often measured by timing how long it takes to fill a gallon container then dividing the capacity by the time and converting to gallons/minute. In our house all showers are mixer valves so it's hard to open both hot & cold fully. I measured one sink, which worked out to 3.0 gpm, and one tub (no mixer), which dumps out a whopping 11.6 gpm. Quite a range there, and this variable seems to play a big factor in how large a resin we go with. Since this tub with the high flow is rarely used, am I correct in assuming we can size for a lower SFR?
4) probably related to the previous question: can someone explain what "channeling" is?
5) not saying I'm going to go this route, but big-box softeners are generally recommended against here. I've read that having water with iron can bring these to an early death, but what are the disadvantages of these products if the iron is negligible?
I've made this post long enough so I'll stop here for now. I look forward to getting your responses!