Water Softener Help

Locog8rJuly 9, 2014

Good morning,

I'm moving into a new home in Texas (Houston) and am unfamiliar with water softeners and was hoping for clarification. I've had the water tested by two independent companies and found roughly 8-9 gpg of calcium and levels > 2 for chlorine. I also pulled the local municipal utility district's water report for 2012 and can provide that if needed for the forum. Ultimately I found that chloramine levels are also quite. I'm convinced I need both a water softener and filtering system but am now more confused by the 5 companies I've asked for estimates from.

These are the products they're offering in order of price (low to high):

Company #1: Smart Choice Gen II City ($2130 includes install)
Company #2: Watts 2 tank system w/Fleck valve ($2995 for carbon filter and install, also throwing in RO system which I don't think I need)
Company #3: Hydrospring proprietary 2 tank system ($3435 includes install)
Company #4: Puronics Terminator ($3795 plus additional $ for install)
Company #5: Plumber's Choice 2 tank system w/catalytic carbon ($4022 includes install)

Any ideas? Help would be greatly appreciated.

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What's wrong with the water you already have?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 10:37PM
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You'll want to treat the water that is at your meter today rather than 2012. Water authority reports are usually a couple years behind and taken at the treatment facility not at the end of the system pipes and vales at your house.

Water tests from companies that are trying to sell you water treatment equipment can be dubious to say the least.

In order to discuss water treatment intelligently we need the results of tests from a certified independent lab. You want to test for...

hardness, iron (ferrous and ferric), manganese, pH, TDS, chlorine, sodium, and arsenic at minimum. If on a private well you'd add tests for nitrates and bacteria.

With that data and water use info (# of people, # of bathrooms, diameter of plumbing at softener, and SFR of the plumbing) we can recommend correctly sized and configured equipment .

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 11:36AM
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Thanks to both of you for responding to my post.

One of the companies that tested my water was a plumbing company that also installs water softeners although they're not wedded to any product line, etc. Are independent labs easily found? Do you recommend any one in particular? What's usual turn around time for lab testing?

As for the house, there's going to be 2 adults and 2 children (with frequent guests-grandparents), 3 bathrooms, 5/8" at main water meter.

As for "what's wrong" with the water, I'm scared about the chloramine/chlorine levels.

Thanks again

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 11:53AM
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Your local environmental heath department can steer you to certified labs and so can the Yellow Pages.

Not interested in the 5/8" at the meter. What is the plumbing at the softener install location in the house... 3/4" or 1" or 1.25" ?

There is great debate regarding anti bacterials in the water but the reality is that chlorine and chloramines are in the water for a reason. I don't favor filtering them out at the POE. If they really bother you in the shower you can look into pou (point of use) filters.

You might consider an under sink RO in the kitchen for drinking and cooking water and the icemaker in the fridge. That will remove your chlorine.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 2:38PM
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The chloramine/chlorine levels are perfectly safe in tap water. You have nothing to worry about there.

The consumer confidence report is the water quality results of over 100 possible contaminants found in public drinking water. It will also tell you the hardness, pH, tds, etc.

This is a composite sample from multiple times and locations in the water system, not just at the treatment plant or well head.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 4:34PM
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"This is a composite sample from multiple times and locations in the water system, not just at the treatment plant or well head" from 2 years ago and not after the water travels how many miles through how many year old pipes and valves and arrives at your water meter.

Water treatment is chemistry, physics, and mechanics. Disciplines that don't embrace dated or generalized or averaged data to arrive at an exact result.

If one wants to treat the water in their home today they have the water at their home tested today... but that's just me. The fact that consumer confidence reports often list ranges of results indicates that those reports are meant for a different purpose (which is to satisfy the EPA requirements) other than the treatment of the water at any specific location in the system. No control valve I've ever seen accept ranges of values for settings, but rather a specific value. If you're interested in correctly sizing a softener and setting it up for the most efficient operation then have your water tested.

This post was edited by justalurker on Fri, Jul 11, 14 at 9:31

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 5:35PM
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