Water Softener Size

DavidIowaMarch 19, 2012

Hello, I bought a 64,000 grain 2.0CF resin water softener (Fleck 5600 STX). However, my water only tests at 8 hardness so when I set up the softener per the recommended settings if give me +5600 gallons of water. The setup instructions says to regenerate at least every 14 days. Based on 3 people in my house I don't think I will ever use that much water in a 14 day period.

Is it safe to lower my regenetation period past 14 days or is there a way to effectively reduce the amount of salt used by lowering the settings? (backwash = 10, brine draw = 60, rapid rinse = 10, brine fill = 16).

Just thinking that while my resin still needs to be cleaned, can I reduce the setting considering it shouldn't be that filled with "hardness"?

If someone can help me decide to extend the regen past 14 days or provide me a way to make this oversized softener best fit my needs without wasting salt and water I would be appreciative.



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Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but...

Based on that info a 2 cu ft softener is grossly oversize. Optimum regeneration frequency with no iron in the water is 6 to 8 days max for longest resin life and efficient and trouble free softener operation.

You most probably will have channeling problems. A 5600 valve on a 2 cu ft softener is at it's max tank limit and not the wisest choice.

If you bought the softener new you should have been advised against that large a softener by the seller and you should return it for a refund.

You want a correctly sized softener for your water conditions and water usage for the most efficient, cost effective, and trouble free operation.

Wish you had posted here before buying a softener.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 1:50AM
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First, where the brine line attaches to the valve - there should be a sticker on the nut. What color is the sticker? This will tell us the flow rate into your brine tank.

There is a reason you don't want to go beyond 8 days on regeneration. When the softener is in service, water flows from the top to the bottom. Over time, the water flow will compact the resin bed in the softener, compressing the resin beads. The backwash lifts the resin beads, "fluffs" them, and removes debris. Wait too long between backwashes and the beads may be damaged or it will become so compacted that backwash is ineffective.

If you are stuck with this softener, we can help you make the best of a bad situation, but lurker is correct that your softener is oversized. You won't ever be very salt efficient. Basically, your softener needs to be set up to use a minimum of salt during each regeneration and the regen over-ride needs to be set for 8 days.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 10:31AM
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"... we can help you make the best of a bad situation...". IMO there is no making the best of a wrong situation.

If you're stuck with this softener the best way WE can help you is to recommend you buy a 9x48 resin tank, distributor tube with bottom basket change the flow controls in the 5600, and use half the resin in your 2 cu ft softener.to make the 1 cu ft softener you need.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 11:39AM
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Thanks and I was fearing that it was too big. My old house had a high hardness and I just assumed to go larger than smaller. I'll look into the price of a new tank to see if that's worth it or else I'll just set the override at 8 days and run with the inefficiency. If the latter, any suggestions to make the bad situation any better by shortening the regen times?

I normally buy/do things on my own gut without calling in the experts and it bit me this time. I bought over the Internet so stuck with my purchase. Live and learn.

The valve is 0.5.

Wow... Very greatful of the feedback. I wasn't expecting to see any messages to be frank... Thanks and look forward to be an active member going forward.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 8:02PM
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I just checked and the tank and riser tube is $152, so that's not too bad. However given my low hardness maybe I should replace with a simple unit like the ones they have at menards for like $300. The reason I selected the fleck is I read it will last forever!... Better parts and is more efficient.

Also noted was a change in the flow control. What parts would I need to change there? I plan to call the place I bought tomorrow to see if they can tell me everything I would need to buy to properly change to the smaller size. That price will probably tell me which direction I should go... Change or Replace.

Having your advice will help tell me if there recommendation is correct.

Thanks again guys for your help.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 8:29PM
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Your problem will not be operating inefficiently as much as the channeling problem which will manifest itself as the hard water NOT being softened. You paid for soft water and you should get it despite your mistake.

A 9x48 tank should run about $125 delivered to your door.

You can cut down the riser (distributor) tube you have and reuse that and half the resin you already have to make the 1 cu ft softener you should have bought.

Water treatment is arithmetic, chemistry, physics, and mechanics... you should have used your head instead of your gut.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 8:34PM
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STAY AWAY FROM BOX STORE SOFTENERS.... a bigger mistake than you've already made.

You have most of what you need to do this right. $125 more and some labor will correct your mistake.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 8:37PM
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Justlurker, Do I need to change something in the flow control? Or is the tank sufficient? Thanks, David

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 9:08PM
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Ask your internet seller. They should know what they sold you and should be able to tell you what to change and supply the part(s).

Curious, did you just tell then what size softener you wanted and they obliged or did they ask you questions and make a size recommendation?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 9:39PM
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I ordered via the internet, no interaction with a person. Mistake number 1, as I am now learning the hard way.

I appreciate your help. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 9:44PM
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Call the seller on the phone. Tell them what you ordered was wrong. Tell them what you should have ordered. Ask them what they can do to help you get what you need. They might surprise you.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 10:44PM
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For right now:

Decrease your brine fill time to 4 minutes. This will reduce your pounds of salt/regeneration to 6 lb, or 3 lb per cubic ft of resin, providing you with maximum salt efficiency for the size of your softener. Normally, this would reduce your softener's water efficiency. However, since your softener is so oversized anyway it won't make a difference. You still need to set the maximum days between regenerations to 8.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 10:00AM
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Aliceinwonderland.... thanks, I will change that and I'll check into getting a smaller tank with the company I bought it from. Dave

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 11:05PM
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