Water Softener sizing help please?

supturb89July 21, 2012


I am planning on a DIY water softener installation and would like some recommendations on what size I need. Planning on a Fleck system from one of the places that is mentioned on here often. Here is my situation:

City water

2200 sq ft home

4 br

2.5 bath

Family of 3 with another on the way

1 in mainline

Hardness 9.8 gpg

pH 7.6

iron manganese 0.006

TDS 704

SFR 11.1 (bucket test)

Hopefully I have provided the information you need. Thanks


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Hi Aaron,

Your numbers look easily manageable but the 11 gpm SFR (bucket test) throws in a a curve ball.

Based on the info you posted a 1 cu ft softener using either a Fleck 5600SXT or Fleck 7000SXT would do nicely.
Programmed for efficiency you'd be regenerating every 7 or 8 days and using only 6 lbs of salt each regeneration, but a 1 cu ft softener has an SFR of 9 gpm... less than your bucket test of 11 gpm.

With your low iron and manganese you should be doing a monthly regimen with Iron Out or a similar product. I'll give you instructions as we get farther down the line.

Can you redo the bucket test. Do it at a tub with both faucets.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 12:30PM
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Thanks justalurker for the quick reply. The bucket test was performed on my jacuzzi tub with both faucets open. This tub puts out considerably more gpm than any other faucet in my home. I believe this is because it has 3/4 in line ran to it where everything else seems to branch off the mainline into 1/2in. I redid the test and it filled a 5 gallon bucket in 27 seconds, same as the first time. My other tub has a mix valve on it. I do have a hose bib off the mainline right where it enters through the basement that I could try. Thanks again.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 1:04PM
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OK, that explains it. You didn't list a Jacuzzi tub.

If it were me I'd go with the 1 cu ft softener and remember that when you fill the Jacuzzi don't open the faucets full bore and don't use any other water at that time. The worst that could happen is that a little hardness might leak through when filling the Jacuzzi,

With 704 TDS and 10 gpg hardness you might also consider an under sink RO in the kitchen for drinking, cooking, and making ice cubes.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 1:12PM
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OK, the jacuzzi tub is probably only used 4 or 5 times a year. Will educate the household on not opening the faucets full bore when filling it. I will also look for a good RO under sink filter. Any reason to go with the 7000 over the 5600? Anything else I need to tell the distributor I want?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 2:21PM
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The 5600SXT is a tried and proven design with decades of reliable field service. It is a 3/4" valve and while you have 1" service plumbing any flow or pressure loss will be negligible.

The 7000SXT is a newer design that had some teething problems years ago but has proven to be a reliable valve that sells well. It is a 1.25" valve and so will match up to your plumbing.

Either valve is a good choice. If you choose the 5600SXT demand the Noryl bypass be included (not the stainless steel bypass). Regardless of your valve choice you want a top basket for the control valve, a gravel under bed, 10% cross-link resin,and a Fleck 2310 safety float in the brine tank with a salt grid in there also. None of this should cost extra.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 2:39PM
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May you help me select a water softener system? do I need a reverse osmosis and whole house filtration systems based on these values below? Thank you in advance.

3 full baths, 2 half baths, airjet tub. 2 occupants initially potential for 4 total. Water tested by the DEQ:
Private well water, almost finished with construction, plumbing fixtures not in the home yet. Water obtained from outside tap.


Total Coliform and E.Coli: absent
Nitrite+nitrate: 1.14 mg/L
Lead total: Arsenic total: Chromium total: Specific Conductance: 1020 uMHO/CM
pH, liquid: 6.68 STD unit
Alkalinity, Total: 427 MG/L
Solids, Total Dissolved: 565 MG/L
Hardness, Total: 552 MG/L
Chloride: 67.2 MG/L
Sulfate: 40.4 MG/L

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 5:07PM
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I was able to place the order today for the 5600SXT 1 cu ft softener. The lady I spoke with stated that the gravel under bed was not necessary with their 8% cross link resin. Should I demand to have the under bed and 10% cross link resin? What are the benefits to this setup vs the 8% resin? Thanks.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 6:35PM
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The Fleck 7000SXT is a 1.25" valve that matches up better with your 1" plumbing than the 3/4" 5600SXT.

You also want a top basket for which ever valve you choose.

If you choose the 5600SXT then you want the Noryl bypass valve, not the SS bypass valve.

Gravel under bed mitigates pressure loss through the resin which is a good thing. There is no downside to having the gravel

10% cross linked resin will last longer on city water that has chlorine in it to kill bacteria than 8% resin will.

They say you don't need either because both cost them a little money.

Tell them you want what you want and don't let them charge you extra.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 7:07PM
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I ended up with the 5600 SXT with the 8% crosslink resin and no gravel under bed. So much for taking your advice. Anyway, I installed the unit and was wondering what settings you would recommend for this setup? Using the provided instructions the unit is set as follows:

safety factor: 20 percent
regenerate: 10 days
backwash: 10 minutes
brine draw: 60 minutes
rapid rinse: 10 minutes
brine fill: 10 minutes

The drain flow on the valve is marked 2.0. Thanks.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 8:23PM
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One thing should be changed and two MUST be changed.

Should change:
Safety factor - 15% is all that is necessary, in my opinion. 20% is not a problem, however.

MUST change:

REGENERATE - I prefer 7 days, justalurker prefers 8. This is about resin life. As the softener is in service, the resin becomes compacted. The longer it goes between regens, the more compacted, the more damage that occurs. This number should not, in general, determine when your softener regenerates. The volume of water you use should do that - this number is a safety factor. In any case, 10 days is too long.

BRINE FILL: This determines how much salt you use to regenerate your softener. One gallon of water will dissolve three pounds of salt. You want to regenerate with six pounds of salt, which means two gallons of water. Brine fill time controls, along with the BLFC (brine line flow control), determine how much water is placed in your brine tank and, therefore, how much salt you will use to regenerate your softener. There should be a sticker on the brine line at the softener valve. Generally, blue sticker is 0.25, black is 0.5, red is 1. If it is 0.5 gpm, set brine fill at 4 minutes. If 0.25, set at 8 minutes. It it is 1, set at 2 minutes.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 10:21AM
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Alice and I are in agreement at 7 days when there's no iron. I do the math so 7 days is usually right on the nose and set the calendar override at 8 days so it doesn't go any longer.

Brine fill = salt dose and depends on the settings in the control valve for capacity and hardness and the size of the BLFC.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 10:49AM
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Thank you for the reply. There is a sticker below the brine line input on the valve that says Injector 1 and drain flow 2.0. Is the injector number the BLFC?


I have the capacity set at 32k and the hardness at 10.

Thanks again guys and gals.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 2:49PM
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There ought to be a small sticker approx 1/2" x 1/2" that specifies gpm. Sometimes, there will be a larger sticker on the control unit, on the underside where it is difficult to see. If you look at the URL I'm attaching, you can see a blue sticker on the right. That is where you're should be as well.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 3:41PM
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Ok...found it...glad it wasn't a snake! It's black and says 0.50 gpm. So based on my capacity setting, my hardness and this value I should set my BF at 4? Thanks again Alice.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 3:49PM
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Yes, brine fill should be 4. Enjoy the soft water!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 4:26PM
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Been very happy with the performance of my softener so far. Given as how it seems to be very efficient I'm considering switching to KCl from NaCl. What is the process to make this switch? Thanks.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 5:32PM
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KCL is about 8.5% less water soluble than NaCL. In addition, at 50 degrees F, it has about 13% lower driving force to strip hardness from the resin. Because of this, you will need to increase the time on the brine fill to compensate.

1 - Wait until the amount of NaCl in your brine tank is low.
2 - Change your brine fill to 5 minutes
3 - Add KCl to the tank


    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 12:36PM
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