Setting up a Fleck 5600 Econominder, 1.25 cubic ft

medscriptJuly 15, 2014


I recently purchased a year old Fleck 5600 Econominder system off of a friend as they have moved into another house which already had one installed. From the paperwork, it looks like it has a 1.25 cubic ft resin tank with 10% crosslink. He did say it had a top basket but no gravel bed. The brine tank is 14x35 inches and has no grid.

Information about my current set up:

I have a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house that includes a garden tub for 2 adults, 1 child & one dog that gets biweekly baths. We also have 1-4 adults stay with us from 3 to 7 days each month, 6 months out of the year. Our hose bibs, fridge water line and cold water outlet for the kitchen sink are separate from the rest of the house so they will remain softened. We consume on average 50 GPD per person. This number is probably less since it includes all the water from the sprinklers as well but this would not go through the softener.

The house is new and has 3/4 inch pex piping with rough-in already completed for a softener in the garage. I have already ordered 3/4 x 3/4 PTC Falcon lines for the connection between the softener and the house. I still need to put in a p-trap though which I will probably do this weekend. Fortunately, I don't have to worry about a bypass as one was already installed by the builders.

City Water

Hardness 21 gpg
Sodium 50.9 ppm
Sulfate 78.1 ppm
Chlorine 0.5 ppm
Iron n/a
Manganese n/a
TDS 540ppm
pH 7.7

The water coming from the outside bib fills a 2.5 gal bucket in 27 seconds (so 5.5 GPM?).

Any help with verifying if this would work for me would be great as well as how to adjust the valve for our needs.

This post was edited by Medscript on Tue, Jul 15, 14 at 16:02

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This post was edited by justalurker on Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 22:58

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:47PM
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I've spent the last few days reading the manual and i still don't understand really how to calculate what the setting should be. I can setup enterprise servers and create new network configurations without so much as a thought but this is beyond me even though I have spent a lot of time reading. I believe part of it is due to a lot of misinformation.

The 5600 I was provided was the meter version of the econominder. I was told it was a very dependable model. The normal occupancy is 2 adults and 1 child. I provided the other numbers because I was not sure if I would have to adjust my softener when I had visitors over for 3+ days. This could create an increase of 7560 grains of hardness with just 2 additional adults in 3 days so I was concerned.

I was curious as to why regen every 6 days? Is this the most efficient way to regenerate? Everything I have read from you before seems to try to regenerate every 7 days with 6 lbs of salt? Is the softener too small for this or did I read wrong from previous posts?

Thank you again for your help.

On another note, I went to Lowes to get a p-trap and spent a good 15 minutes wasting my time because the plumbing manager said I was wasting money on a p-trap because it was in the garage and the smell would not be an issue. I didn't appreciate his misinformation especially as the trap would be right next to the door leading into the house. Only thing I think I need that is left is the air gap which I suppose I can fashion one but I like a finished look.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 9:50PM
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Also, I know mine did not come with gravel or a salt grid but should I still get them? I've heard of people putting in gravel after the fact and it just works its way down. If so, how many pounds should I use? I thought I saw a chart somewhere that showed 16 pounds. Would aquarium gravel work? I have quite a few pounds left over from a previous project that is clean.

Thank you.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 10:02PM
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This post was edited by justalurker on Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 22:59

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 10:11PM
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Thank you. Next time I see a good deal on a mineral tank I will see about upgrading for efficiency sake. I actually got the fleck by pass as well so that is great. I think all I need now is the air gap, the line for the over flow, and one for the valve.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 10:29PM
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This post was edited by justalurker on Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 23:01

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 10:49PM
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So a couple of things came up when I went pick up the softener. It has never been installed so the resin was still in a bag. This opens up the option for adding gravel. Also, I tried to find PE tubing but no one had it in a 1/2" ID but everyone has PV tubing. Is there a safety reason for not using PV tubing? I've called around to 8 stores and no luck on PE tubing yet.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 10:34PM
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This post was edited by justalurker on Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 23:02

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 11:14PM
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I had considered selling it as well but I am limited by funds currently as we are a single-income family. I supposed we could wait but I am not sure when we would be able to upgrade at that point. For $100 I believe it was as best of a choice as could have been made at the time. Maybe I am wrong.

The resin comes in two bags with no name on it outside of 10% crosslink and made in China. I've been to all the local stores but no one has 1/2" ID PE tubing so I started calling around. I did find a local plumbing supplier in another town but they sell it by the 100' roll. Anyone want to buy 85 Ft of 1/2" PE tubing after I am done?

I am going to give culligan a call and see if they have gravel to sell. I doubt it but might as well try.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:28AM
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This post was edited by justalurker on Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 23:03

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 1:35PM
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PE tube is plentiful but not in the 1/2" ID I was looking for. I did find some but like I said it is $20 for 100 ft which I am not complaining about since others were charging double. Culligan said they can help out with the gravel since they buy in bulk. He suggested 10 lbs for my tank. I have to call back tomorrow for a price since they don't typically sell just the gravel.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 2:50PM
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So I got everything setup as far as the softener, I just need to finish up some pex work. Thank you again for your help.

My only other question is concerning the correct salt setting. I know you said 10 lbs but I was curious as to how the calculations were made. Does resin have a default amount of salt that is needed to clean it per cubic foot? This is just for my own curiosity.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 8:52AM
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I'll answer, since lurker deleted his posts.

Choosing the amount of salt to use to regenerate resin is dependent upon several factors, including:

  • resin quality

  • water quality

  • presence of iron and/or manganese

  • desired softness

  • water efficiency

  • salt efficiency

Resin may be regenerated anywhere between 2 lb salt/cuft of resin up to 30 lb salt/cuft of resin. If you graph water and salt efficiency, the point where they cross is at 6 lb salt/cuft of resin, so that is generally a good starting point. If the resin is of poor quality, we go for a bit higher salt dosage. If water TDS is high or there is iron/manganese present, salt dosage must be 8 lb/cu ft of resin at a minimum. Higher salt dosage generally allows longer time between regens and improves water efficiency. Lower salt dosage means shorter regen times but improved salt efficiency. At any salt dosage, a softener will bleed a minimal amount of hardness. The higher the dose, the lower the bleed. Typically this hardness bleed will be up a few ppm and will test as 0 grains per gallon. However, some people will feel the difference between water produced by a softener regenerated at 8 lb salt/cuft vs 6, so that can be a factor as well. Additionally, in the presence of chlorine, resin will break down faster, so we shoot for a bit higher salt dosage and longer regen times to minimize damage to the resin. Every case is different.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 11:03AM
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Thank you for answering my question. I have read some white papers on salt efficiency and I did notice graphs showing how there was a curve for salt efficiency that was not proportional to the amount of salt that was used. I think that is part of my misunderstanding of how to calculate salt usage because it is not linear.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 12:16PM
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