Iron Filter quote advice

Donald_SJuly 16, 2013

Hi all,

I've been browsing these forums for some time and the posts have been really helpful understanding softeners and filters.

Short story - like the company so far, softener quote looked good, filter only quote felt high, need advice - see below for specifics.

Long story -

My wife and I have finally had some water solution companies out to give us free quotes, 5 in total, and have decided to go with an iron filter now to keep the laundry/fixtures/dishwasher free of stains and possibly add a softener later (just no money for the whole deal right now).

The company that we liked the most came back with a quote of $2495 installed for a 2 tank Kinetico softener and big blue iron filter. I don't have the specific Kinetico model, but it's one of the Signature series smaller tanks (small house with just the 2 of us). From everything I have read here and elsewhere online, that is a pretty good deal for a Kinetico system plus separate iron filter.

Where I'm a little hung up and seeking advice is on their quote for a filter alone. They quoted $795 installed for a Big Blue iron filter (made by Pentair/Ametek) - it's one of the 2 stage versions that price out around $200-300 retail, plus a 3 ball valve bypass assembly to change the filter without turning off the water. This leaves somewhere in the realm of $400-500 for labor and warranty (they claim an excellent warranty but I don't have the specifics yet).

Assuming the warranty really does turn out to be good, does this seem a reasonable deal to those here more experienced than me?

We've been very happy with their customer service and their salesman was the only one who actually sat down and explained the system instead of testing the water silently and handing us a quote with little explanation. But I was just struck by the cost breakdown on the filter unit so wanted to get some input. I asked for an itemized quote and the office told me (I'm paraphrasing) they only quote as a bundle and that the filter was about 200, leaving 595 for bypass assembly parts, labor and warranty.

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justalurker

Without posting the results of a comprehensive water test and the exact recommendation made by the people quoting you a solution no one can offer substantive advice.

There are REAL Kinetico softeners using the proprietary control valves and there are industry standard softeners sold by Kinetico dealers so what are they quoting you?

Using a passive (non-regenerating) iron filter, if you have the type of iron that this filter will remove, will require a lot more maintenance and very frequent cartridge replacement which can get costly. IMO not a smart choice, but if you do then at least a ball valve before the filter is a smart idea when cartridge replacement is necessary. The real smart installation is a pressure gauge before and after the filter so you can see the pressure drop across the filter and know when to replace the cartridge. As the cartridge plugs, and it will, water pressure to the house will drop.

Have you considered renting from Kinetico to see it what they recommended does what they claim?

This post was edited by justalurker on Tue, Jul 16, 13 at 19:39

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 3:40PM
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shrimperjohn

We have a need for an iron filter and a softener too. I had a Ben Franklin rep come out and he quoted $4700 for a unnamed brand of softener and iron filter. Offered a 5 year warranty.

Today, we have the local Kinetico rep coming out. I will post their recommendation and projected cost when we get their proposal. I too am looking for advice on this purchase (see my separate post).

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 9:37AM
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Donald_S

Hi justalurker - here's answers to the questions now that I have the paperwork, and thanks for the assistance.

"There are REAL Kinetico softeners using the proprietary control valves and there are industry standard softeners sold by Kinetico dealers so what are they quoting you?"

The quote was for a Kinetico Signature Series 735. My figure earlier was incorrect - quote was for $2800, installed including a Big Blue iron filter.

This is what the rep recommended. As I mentioned though, we don't have the money for a full softener right now but want to keep the stains off laundry and fixtures while we save up. They quoted $795 for the Big Blue cartridge filter installed with bypass, which is what I'm hoping to get the feedback on.

"results of a comprehensive water test"

These are the values they came up with. We had 4 or 5 tests done and most were right around these values.

Iron - 0.3 ppm ferric, 0 ferrous
Hardness - 8 gpg (the tests varied here from 4 to 8, 8 is what the company we're currently looking at came up with)
pH - 7.2
Manganese - 0
TDS - 105 ppm
Sulfur - 0

We had arsenic, lead, coliforms tested when we bought the house and all were well below EPA limits.

The iron is borderline what some of the companies recommend treating, but there are clearly stains on the toilets (and presumably laundry once we put a washer in).

"Have you considered renting from Kinetico to see it what they recommended does what they claim?"

We didn't realize and no one that quoted us said that this was an option. Thanks for mentioning that it's done. We will remember that when the budget is looking like we can afford a full softener system.

Please let me know if there's anything I missed, and sorry if I'm a bit green here. We did a lot of reading and the site was quite helpful but there's still a lot I don't know or understand about water.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 1:36PM
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justalurker

Donald,

Money is always a consideration.

It seems you're determined to buy a Big Blue filter to treat your iron so go ahead, but pay attention to what I posted above when it is being installed.

Make sure you're getting the BIG Blue 20" filter and not the little 10" version.

Buy extra cartridges cause you will be changing them.

Install a ball valve before the filter so cartridge replacement is easy. Install a pressure gauge before and after the filter so you can see the pressure drop across the filter and know when to replace the cartridge. As the cartridge plugs, and it will, water pressure to the house will drop.

A 4.5" x 20" Big Blue empty housing runs under $150 and the appropriate iron removal cartridge runs about $99 so that's $250 give or take for what you need and they want $795 installed?

Unless you have a really difficult install $550 for about $75 in parts and less than an hour of a plumber's time (and you're probably not getting a licensed plumber) seems HIGH.

Are they quoting you the 4.5" x 20" or the 2.5" x 20" or the 10" Big Blue?

Let us know how that works out for you.

This post was edited by justalurker on Thu, Jul 18, 13 at 19:34

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 2:32PM
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Donald_S

Thank you justalurker for all the advice.

We definitely aren't determined to get the Big Blue, but so far it's one of only 2 quotes that's been within our range. Is there something else you feel we should look at instead?

(Waiting for an answer back on which specific big blue by the way - the original email I have only mentions that the system comes with two filters, which I assume to mean they're planning to use one of the two housing brackets)

The other quote we had was for a Canature 165 series filter with multi blend media at $1495 installed. This is about at the top end of the price range we can afford, but if it's a better system with less potential problems than the cartridge style filters then certainly we'd want to look at it.

I'll certainly update everyone with how this comes out for us (whichever system we go with) to contribute back.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 3:07PM
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shrimperjohn

Just to follow up, Kinetico did come out, did their own water testing and offered us a Premier Model S250 two tank water softener for $3395 and upped the warranty to 10 years. Now, we are wondering why, with our known iron of almost 2.5mg/L would they NOT recommend an iron filter? They claim their softener will filter the iron without a problem.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 2:17PM
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justalurker

Why your Kinetico dealer would not recommend a separate iron filter? I'd think it's more of a sales tactic than sound water treatment. Perhaps they sense hesitation on your part regarding their $3400 recommendation and are hesitant to introduce an additional expense and lose a sale. Have you asked your Kinetico dealer why they don't recommend a stand alone iron filter?

I'd be getting other quotes from local independent water treatment professionals. Seems there are a few in your area to do some comparative shopping.

You can always rent-to-own the Kinetico solution and make them show you that it will do what they say it will do.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 3:56PM
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