Water Softener Choice

SavingmoneyApril 9, 2013

We need a water softener for our house and we have about 4-5 people. We do not have any high use water items, other than a washer and dishwasher.
We have iron at 1.8-2ppm and iron bacteria.
Calcium is at 3.7 gpg.
Our options are Culligan, Kinetico, or Aqua Systems.
Kinetico is too high for us, and their cheaper options seem to be very basic (in other words I could purchase a similar product from an online retailer and save half).
With Culligan we would be able to try it out for about 3 months, but they are higher than Aqua Systems.
Aqua Systems is cheaper, plus we would get a RO.
The Aqua Systems product I am considering is the SmartChoice Gen II, with a Clack head and the PureChoice RO. Also, which is better Fleck or Clack? What I was wondering is does anyone have any experience with Aqua Systems products especially the SmartChoice Gen II?
Thanks for your help.

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You asked the same thing two weeks ago: Hello, we have hard water with 1.8 ppm iron and 3.7 gpg solids.
The pH is 7.
I am looking at a Culligan high efficiency softener, which is about $2,000. Previously, I was looking at purchasing a softener with a Fleck control from a online store for about $750. Now, I was wondering, is Culligan worth the $1,250 extra. If I did go with Culligan, I would get a 99 days tryout, free installation, and a longer warranty. The Fleck control softener would be cheaper, with a shorter warranty and I would have to pay $250 to $350 for a plumber to install.
I was wondering if anyone had any advice?
Thanks for your help.

My response this time is much the same as it was then. I have a few questions before I can make any type of recommendation:

  1. Well or city water?

  2. Was the water tested by a certified lab, by water treatment folks, or do you have a city water report?

  3. When you say calcium or solids are 3.7 gpg, are you referring to total hardness, or do you mean just the calcium? What we need to know is total hardness.

  4. Water pH, TDS?
    Does your water have any odor or color?

Personally, I am not a fan of Culligan. I find them to be overpriced and their techs to be under-educated in water treatment. Your local Culligan folks may be great - it's hit or miss.

Clack vs. Fleck: You can't go wrong either way. They are both well-built, reliable valves.

This post was edited by aliceinwonderland_id on Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 23:39

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 11:24PM
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Hello, as I am new to this forum, I missed your reply (sorry about that and thanks for your help). We have well water and it was tested by three water softener companies and a swimming pool store. The calcium is 3.7 gpg. The pH varies between 7.0-7.2.
I am unsure how to find the total dissolved hardness.
There is a orange color after the water sits for some time and there is an odor once in while. The hot water has an odor more often, but I think that will be fixed with at least a change of the anode rod and perhaps a chlorine shock to the interior pipes. Again thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 2:34PM
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Also, the Aqua Systems representative mentioned that their products are easy to replace i.e. if the control valve breaks I can replace it, not the unit.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 3:56PM
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If the water develops color after sitting, that indicates the presence of iron and/or manganese. If these are present in small enough amounts, they may be removed with a softener. However, they make a HUGE difference in the size softener necessary. Here's why.

1 gpg (grain per gallon) = 17.1 ppm
1 ppm iron must be treated as if it were 5 gpg hardness
1 ppm manganese must be treated as if it were 10 gpg hardness.

In your case just 2 ppm of iron would double the size of the softener required.

The folks that came out to give you a softener quote should have done iron/manganese testing. Those numbers are absolutely necessary to get you a softener that works properly. If those numbers are too high, a softener won't even work to treat your water and you will have to use an iron treatment system instead.

So, the next thing that needs to happen is water analysis. As the owner of a well, this is just good practice anyway. To find a lab, you can look on your state's web site for certified water labs. A local water treatment plant from a nearby town could also point you in the right direction - they may even be able to do the testing for you. You want the following analysis: pH, TDS, total hardness, iron, manganese, nitrates, sulfide, bacteria +any other local concerns (a local water lab will know what those may be).

Once you get analysis back and we know exactly what we are dealing with, we can specify the most effective treatment. Without the analysis, we would just be guessing.

This post was edited by aliceinwonderland_id on Thu, Apr 11, 13 at 19:04

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 5:43PM
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Hello, the information I received from the swimming pool test states that the TDS is 800 ppm, Calcium 340 ppm, and the total alkalinity is 270 ppm.
Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 6:46PM
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Were these for the water entering the pool or water that has been in the pool, or were you just using a test designed for pools?

I'm not trying to be difficult - I'm trying to help. In order to do so, I need to know iron, manganese and total hardness (not just calcium). Because your water shows signs of iron contamination, I cannot help without the specified analysis. No one can, unless they wish to guess what you need. I won't guess.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 7:20PM
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The water came from our well and the swimming pool store offered free testing. They tested for different items, including chlorine (which was zero, no surprise there). As for manganese, which was not tested for at the swimming pool place, I will have to find out and post the information later. Again, thank you for your help.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 11:19AM
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Hello, I got back from talking to one of the people we had out and they said from their testing there was 1.8 ppm iron and 510 ppm TDS (wondering what made the results differ 290 ppm between the pool and water softener company test?). About the manganese, the water softener person said they did not see any signs of manganese (they did not test for it). They did check the toilet tank for signs of which there were none. Also, we have not seen any signs of manganese, such as a black sludge in coffee or tea, and blackish brown stains.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 1:19PM
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Hello guys, I'm new to this forum. I need a helpful advice. I have a well and it provides me water. water softener systems reviews But it is a hard water. I have heard about many water softeners in the market, but I don't know exactly which one to choose. Please help!!

This post was edited by vickee_1437 on Thu, Apr 18, 13 at 7:11

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 6:44AM
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Savingmoney - What is your total hardness?

vickee_1437 - Starting a new thread is the only way your question gets the attention it needs without getting confused with another question.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 8:37AM
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I apologize for the delay. How do I find out the total hardness? Is it something I need to have tested for?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 5:25PM
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Hi.. I was able to find the TDS. It is 800 ppm.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 1:52PM
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