cartridge filters before softener

zhangkan15April 2, 2013

I am thinking of putting cartridge filters before the softener. One for sediment, one for carbon. My in line is 3/4". So I put the regular 20" housings in my shopping list. The vendor suggests the big blue for some reason. The only benefit I can think of is changing he filters less often. Do I gain anything else, eg flow rate or pressure?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you want to have everything work correctly, never pick a solution without a handle on the problem and the conditions.

1. What is the typical and the max flow you expect to be using? If you don't know, we can estimate based on the number of bathrooms in your home, number of people, and whether or not you have any high-flow fixtures, such as a jetted tub or multi-head shower.

2. What are you trying to remove from your water with the filters?

3. Do you have visible sediment? If so, what size? Is it granular like sand or does it look more like silt?

4. Why install a carbon filter? Is there something specific you want it to remove?

5. What temperature is your untreated water?

6. What is your water pressure min/max?

7. Private well or city water?

8. Is the softener already in place or will it be new as well?

Look at the specifications for the filter housings and cartridges you have chosen and compare them to the big blue - that is the only way to know which, if either, will work in your situation.

At a minimum, you ought to install the filters with a bypass in case they ever need to be removed entirely or replaced. The bypass will allow you to work on the filters without disrupting water flow to your home.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 7:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

1. What is the typical and the max flow you expect to be using? If you don't know, we can estimate based on the number of bathrooms in your home, number of people, and whether or not you have any high-flow fixtures, such as a jetted tub or multi-head shower.

Right now, no high-flow stuff you mentioned. I did a rough flow test with a 3 gallon bucket. It's about 10-12g/m. Neither of the filters have 10-12g/m flow rate. But that will only cause a few psi drop, right?

2. What are you trying to remove from your water with the filters?

Sediment filter for sediments. Carbon for chlorine, 2ppm. Maybe correct some odor.

3. Do you have visible sediment? If so, what size? Is it granular like sand or does it look more like silt?

Not visible by naked eye. But I do the the sediment filter gets brown after like 6 months or so on my RO.

4. Why install a carbon filter? Is there something specific you want it to remove? Chlorineï¼ which is the thing hurts skin and hair most, right?

5. What temperature is your untreated water?
I am in socal. So 40-70F range? I am not sure. But definitely no freezing time.

6. What is your water pressure min/max?
No pressure meter handy.

7. Private well or city water?
City water.

8. Is the softener already in place or will it be new as well?
I bought from Aquasana a month ago. Disappointed. Decided to go with salt-based solution.

Yes. Bypass is a must in my list.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

1. Failure to install a filter with the correct flow/pressure specs will result in one or more of the following: low flow to your home, low pressure to your home, damaged filters, damage to your softener. This is why responsible manufactures provide the specs for you. With carbon filters, flow and pressure reduction is not the only problem if your filter is undersized. Pressure bumps and high flow rate can cause the filter to release materials previously adsorbed back into your water.

5. I'm not concerned about freezing, but pressure/flow. Colder water = more press drop across a filter. 30 degrees is a large temperature range, but since it appears to be just a guess, not very useful.

8. As with filters, softeners should be sized appropriately for your water analysis and usage.

Guessing is never a good way to determine what to install. Particularly when you will be installing filters in series, installing filters that will not allow the correct flow is just asking for trouble.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 9:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

1. Got the point
5. So people would really measure the water temp over a year to collect the data? It's not provided by the water company. It's the cold water line from the street. I assume it would be just close to room temp. 100F in extreme summer would give warmer water than 35F in winter, right? But how much? I don't know.
8. Yes. They first recommend 48000 grain, based on the hardness, iron, No. of bathroom and people I gave them. Since I use only 100-120gal/day. I recalculated with the sales guy and downsize to 32000gain with 9-10 days regen period.

Anyway, I guess I need to look for other vendors. Anyone you would recommend?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 2:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I received the following email to which I am unable to reply via email. I'll post the email here now and my reply in a different post when I have a bit more time. Hi Alice,

Thank you for much for your reply on my posts. May I ask for your help on the selection of my water system? Here are some of the details I gathered.

Water pressure: 50psi
Water PH: 8.0-8.2
Calcium: 51ppm Magnesium: 20ppm
Hardness:11 (last two years reports show 16)
Iron: None
Chlorine: 2.2ppm
TDS:450-500 (based on my own measurement)
Color: Odor: 0.8 (MCL is 3)

In line is 1'. However, I narrowed down to 3/4' for installing aquasana system and return back to 1' to the house.

The house has 3 bathroom. 2 adults, 2 small kids. Water usage: 100-150gal/day (I use 200 for calculation).

Purpose of the water system:
1. Remove sediment, chlorine
2. soften to eliminate water spots.

For 1, dual big blue 20' cartridge filters/dual 20'x2.5' filters
For 2, Fleck 5600sxt with 1cuft resin (32000grain)

My questions:
a.For 1, Is the flow rate the factor that would make the choice of BB with 1' or the slimmer housing with 3/4', and also the filters?
b.For 2, is the sizing right?
c.For the main connection, can I leave it as 3/4', which will save me quite some time for the plumbing job?
d. Would you recommend any vendor to buy all these? Ohiopure failed as you saw in my post.

Thank you very much for reading my long message. You help will be greatly appreciated.



    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 6:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As I recall it is a violation of the plumbing code to reduce the diameter of the water service line. The diameter of the service line is specified for the # and type of fixtures and appliances and SFR of those in the home. Anything you install at the water service entrance supplies the whole house and the service line is sized to do that job.

Best to return the service line to 1" and purchase your water treatment hardware to match that.

That would preclude any 5600 and need a 7000 control valve

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 6:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

a) Flow rate and pressure drop are both important when choosing the correct filter. While the housings themselves do not cause much pressure drop, you also have to take the cartridges into account. The slim-line housings you are looking at, along with their cartridges, will cause enough pressure drop to cause you problems. Since you don't have visible particulate, I would suggest you install one 4-1/2" x 20" housing and use NCP series Non-Cellulose Carbon-Impregnated Pleated Cartridges to take remove chlorine and incidental sendiment.

b) A 1 cubic ft softener will regen every 5 - 6 days. A 1.25 cubic ft softener would be a bit more water efficient and regen every 7 days. The slightly larger softener will probably be more appropriate as your kids get older and use a lot more water.

c) I'm not a plumber and don't know if the size reduction is code or not - you will have to check on that. Regardless, I would go back up to 1" if it were my home.

d) I won't recommend a vendor - I am not tied to any particular vendor and intend to keep it that way. I recommend contacting several. The best vendor for you is the one that will provide what you want, answer your questions and make you comfortable giving them your money. If you would like assistance evaluating quotes once you have them, I am happy to do that.

For any vendor you contact, you want to specify:

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

  • If you intend to removed the chlorine from your water (as you stated): 8% crosslinked resin.

  • If you decide to leave your water chlorinated: 10% crosslinked resin. The oxidizers that city water treatment plants use, such as chlorine or chloramine, are harmful to softener resins. Higher crosslinking will resist chemical attack longer.

  • 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...

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 8:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks again justalurker and alice for the advice.

1. Regarding the size, I plan to put it back to 1" as well. Shall I really rule out 5600 and go 7000? Besides the port size, any other difference. The vendor does offer me a 1" bypass to fit 5600.

2. Regarding the prefilter, NCP seems a good 2-in-1 choice. The vendor recommend adding KDF55 mediaguard into the softener for $120 to remove chlorine. They quote a 10 year period for replacing the mediaguard.
Does this mediaguard tend to work well?

3. How shall I calculate the resin tank size? By using the grain numbers, I see I am only slightly above 24000. I thought 32000 grain model will be more than enough. Please note I am not questioning your answer, but I want to get educated and know the right way to estimate.

4. I talked to qualitywatertreatment for close to an hour. They ask for extra to add the gravel ($24) and top basket ($12). But at least they still stand behind their product. Not like ohiopurewater threatening me of no warranty if I add gravel to the tank. The odd is, both of these two places offer the same resin tank (9x48 for 1cuft resin).

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
  1. I generally like to keep port size the same as line size. In your case, with the smallish softener you will be installing, you could go either way. The 7000 is a more robust valve and will result in less pressure drop. It also takes up more space. Price difference is generally small.

  2. DO NOT place KDF in the softener. It is rarely a good idea to mix two types of media that are so different. The KDF will damage the softener resin over time. Additionally, the KDF requires entirely different backwash characteristics (30 gpm/sqft) and a minimum 10" bed depth - you don' t have the room in your tank or the backwash flow available.

  3. You're missing a key piece of sizing information. When a vendor sells you a softener, they will often refer to it by capacity. This number refers to maximum theoretical capacity. In order to maintain a softener at its maximum capacity, it would have to be regenerated with over 24 lb salt per cubic ft of resin. This would be extremely inefficient.

    There is a sweet spot between salt and water efficiency that happens when we regen once weekly with 6 lb salt per cubic ft of resin. However, reducing salt dosage also reduces the capacity of the resin. At a 6 lb/cuft salt dose, 1 cuft of resin has a capacity of 21,000 grains. From that, we take off an additional 15% reserve, leaving you with 17,850 grain. The reason for the reserve is this: When your softener reaches its capacity, we want to wait until a time when you are unlikely to be using water for it to regenerate. If it reached capacity in the morning and regenerated that night, you would go all day with hard water.

    In order to regen every 7 days, you need 1.25 cubic ft of resin - vendors may refer to this as a 40,000 grain softener (10x44 tank size).

  1. Sound like OPW doesn't want to ship the heavy gravel - their loss.
    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 10:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

All 5600 control valves are 3/4" internally. Putting a 1" bypass on it doesn't change that just like putting bigger tires on your car won't make it faster. The correct valve for a 1" service is a Fleck 7000SXT or a Clack WS1. Personally, I'd look locally for a dealer that can sell you a softener with the Clack valve

The fact that your online seller has told you to do that confirms that he/she knows nothing about the correct installation of what they sell. They are only interested in the sale so you can take anything he/she has told you with a bag of salt.

Mixed media beds is a bad idea.

You should get the gravel and top basket at no charge and you want the REAL Fleck top basket not the Chinese piece of crap.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 10:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"You should get the gravel and top basket at no charge . . ."

Of course you can make anything part of price negotiation, but as a general rule you will pay for these items one way or the other - either built in to the price of the softener or as a separate line item. Gravel adds 20 lbs to the shipping weight. I see no reason to demand something free of charge.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 2:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We bang heads again Alice...

Pretty much EVERY online seller has been supplying top baskets for no additional charge for at least the last three years if you asked for it.

And even OPWC has been including gravel at no charge when requested for at least the last two years.

I have seen invoices with my own eyes and have been told by people who have placed orders that both the previous statements are true.

That OPWC wants to charge for it now is their marketing choice but threatening customers that if they order gravel they will have no warranty puts OPWC into a vendor to be avoided category. I won't recommend them.

20 lb additional shipping cost for online sellers is negligible. If they do any volume at all they get the rate that the drop-shipping warehouse gets and that rate is as far out to the right of the sheet as you can get. The last time I saw a corporate UPS rate sheet an additional 20 lbs @ "end" column might be $.50 or maybe $1 now.

Buying softeners online is really a matter of how much less you'll accept for your money.

This post was edited by justalurker on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 21:54

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 8:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As to OPW, I completely agree with you that it is unconscionable to void a warranty if a customer orders gravel. But then, I've never been impressed with them.

If a retailer always supplies something "free" with a sale, the cost of that "free" item is factored into the price of the item you are paying for. If they then start charging for those "free" items, there is a reason. It could be to increase profit, or that the cost of those items increased, shipping increased, rent went up, etc. It really doesn't matter why. The fact that those items showed up as $0.00 on an invoice doesn't mean you didn't pay for them. To quote someone who posts here often: "The best deal around is a dollar's worth for a dollar."

This post was edited by aliceinwonderland_id on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 21:27

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 9:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


When a softener is listed on a web site for $1 and gravel is requested and included at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE then one is getting "a dollar's worth for a dollar" (just as you quoted me) and gravel for FREE. That's right... FREE.

There is a difference between you thinking it's not FREE because it's listed at $0.00 on the invoice and the reality of gravel at no additional charge if requested and seeing no increase from the base price as has been the policy of every online seller I've contacted directly for many years. No one here thinks they're smarter than you are and almost everyone, everywhere, knows that everyone always pays somewhere, somehow for everything so don't think we're all stupid.

When you use a quote trying to be cute it'd nice if the quote fits the purpose.

The question arises... was there sufficient profit for online sellers to include gravel at no additional charge and then the profit structure changed so at least OPWC doesn't want to absorb the gravel cost anymore or more likely, C.K. Moore doesn't like gravel and is willing to lose sales by threatening customers that they can have gravel if they pay but no warranty?

Having dealt with C.K. Moore I'm pretty sure he couldn't care less whether we recommend OPWC or not. Up until now OPWC had less wrong with it then most other online sellers but unfortunately for online buyers that is no longer true. In reality almost all online softener hucksters are selling out of the Nelsen Corp. regional warehouses who love using cheap Chinese junk hardware and Chinese resin so what's the difference?

This post was edited by justalurker on Sun, Apr 7, 13 at 1:34

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 9:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Great thanks to both of you, justalurker and alice. I have learnt so much reading your posts. I think now, I would just go with 7000sxt with 1.25cuft resin. I am going to add the top basket and gravel, Noryl bypass, upgrade resin to purolite 8%. Before the softener, I would put a BB NCP.

I would like to compare the cost for a fleck to a clack. However I cannot find any clack dealer in SoCal. Besides, I would like to save the $$ for a plumber and install the system by myself. So fleck system would probably be more cost effective to me, even if it's not the best quality one.

Alice, with the 1.25cuft tank, if I use only 100gal/day now, shall I reduce the amount of salt for each regen or increase the number of days between each regen?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 11:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Since you have no iron, and will be using a quality resin, just regen with 6 lb salt per cubic ft of resin and allow the softener to regen when it needs to. Set your day override to 14. That way, as your children grow and use more water, you won't have to make any programming changes.

Fleck system quality is very high. Clack is also. Since Clack made the decision to no longer allow online sales, they've been a little more difficult to find. If you don't have a dealer within a reasonable distance, you are, unfortunately, out of luck trying to purchase a Clack softener.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 11:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Posted by zhangkan15 (My Page) on Mon, Apr 22, 13 at 1:20
Finally, I got my 7000 system installed. Learned a lot as a newbie doing the plumbing. Now I came up with the questions of programming.

I calculated the BF time to be around 13-14 mins. How should I set the BD time? I remember seeing someone saying the BD time should be set longer than BF time and let the air checker to stop drawing water from brine tank.

What's the guideline to set the BD time?.

Posted by zhangkan15 (My Page) on Mon, Apr 22, 13 at 2:12
Since I am currently having low usage of water, I started with 4lb of salt/cuft. With 1.25 cuft resin, 0.125gpm bflc.
My setting is:
C: 18000
H: 11
SF:10 %
RR: 10
BF: 13

Besides the question on BD. I am wondering if B1,B2 and RR are set right?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 6:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Because of your TDS, I would not recommend using only 4 lb salt/cubic ft. You will have more hardness leakage and may find that your water doesn't feel soft. It would be better to set it for 6 # salt. If you want to stick with 4 anyway.

  1. B1: 10

  2. BD: 60 (this is not only brine draw - it is slow rinse time as well)

  3. B2: 0 (you have no iron in your water so no need for a second backwash)

  4. RR: 10

  5. BF: 14

If you choose to go with 6 lb salt/cubic ft, you will get lower hardness leakage and you won't have to change the softener settings as your kids grow and use more water.

  1. C: 26.2

  2. B1: 10

  3. BD: 60

  4. B2: 0

  5. RR: 10

  6. BF: 20

Now, Day Override. I didn't address this above because this one comes with a caveat. If you installed the sediment filter you discussed above, you may set DO at 14. If you did not install the cartridge filter, set DO at 7.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 7:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you Alice for the advise.

I have it running now, so that I could have a better idea of how much water I really use everyday. Then I would be able to tune it programming better.

One guy told me that I should not use chlorine removal at POE, but POU. The reason he gave me was the chlorine can disinfect all the pipes to prevent any bacteria issue. Does it make sense?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 1:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There is some merit to doing it either way. Removing the chlorine POE protects your softener resin so it will last longer. Provided you are not somehow inoculating your water system with bacteria, you should be fine without the residual chlorine. There is still a large portion of the population with wells, living just fine without residual chlorine in their water. However, if you have issues with your home's plumbing or it just make you feel safer, you may want to leave the chlorine until POU. It's up to you.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 3:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

With two guests visiting these days, I found the water usage is about 220gal/day. So I changed the programing to 6lb/cuft as Alice suggested. I don't know if there is a better way of resetting the programming. I did a soft reset by holding the extra cycle and down buttons for 25s. Before reset, the remaining capacity shows 1200gal, after reset, it show around 2100gal. I didn't do a manual regen after soft reset. I thought I can wait until it shows below 1000gal. Then last night, which is 2-3 days after the reset, I heard the softener was regenerating. Anyone knows why it would start the regen cycle?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 5:00PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Marble shower panels valve replacement :( !!!
We have a couple of bathrooms with a single handle...
Vamsi Kodavanty
Quality of what general contactor is providing
I don't feel qualified to inspect my new home currently...
Larry Lotter
what brand water softener
have 2400 sq ft rancher on town water. do not have...
Details of a new residential water service
I'm in the planning stages of replacement for my 55...
Kitchen sink faucet lost its water pressure
I did some preventative maintenance this evening by...
Sponsored Products
Arlee Home Fashions Susannah Woven Damask Grommet Panel Pair - 29-41472MOC
$74.99 | Hayneedle
Foscarini | Tropico Ellipse Suspension Lamp
Natural Burlap Accent Lamp Shade
Cost Plus World Market
Signature Off White Velvet Blackout Curtain Panel
Agave Parabolic Pendant by Luceplan
$731.22 | Lumens
Contemporary Square Shower Faucet with Hand Shower
Cedar Front Sheer 84-inch Curtain Panel
ProAire Ductless Type-B Recirculating Kit for Island Range Hoods
Signature Hardware
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™