Water Softener and Iron filter selection
Hi all, I've been lurking on this site for several weeks now and hopefully have enough information for a new softener. Just bought my first house last month and came into it knowing there was a problem with the softener, what I didn't know is how complicated all this is. The current softener we have is an old Culligan (I was told over 30 years old from the Culligan man.) There happens to be an iron problem here and with the state of the rest of the house I'm sure the prior owners didn't maintain the softener. Culligan guy tried to sell me on a $4500 all-in-one system and actually refused to give me the price of the 2 stage system since I mentioned the pressure problem, which I had figured to be due to the fouled resin. I ran Super Iron Out through the softener 2 days in a row and the pressure definitely increased but it's still poor.
Basic info - private well, 1500sqft home with 1 bath, 2 people living here but plans for kids in ~5 years, and normally have 1 or 2 guests on weekends. Washer & Dishwasher, would like to get an RO system for the sink & fridge as well. Just tested the flow rate and came up with 3.3 GPM (with softener bypassed), though it was from a tub faucet with only one handle between hot and cold. I couldn't remember if this was alright or not, if not I can retest in the kitchen or an outside faucet.
Test results - no nitrates or bacteria, pH = 7.8 "standard units," Hardness = 273 mg/L (PPM), Iron Total (he couldn't tell me if it was ferric or ferrous) 0.76 mg/L (PPM), Magnesium 15.9 mg/L (PPM), Manganese Haven't met many of the neighbors yet, though I've seen Culligan and Kinetico trucks at several. Plumber friend of the family recommended a Kenmore softener and a whole house filter (one of the big blue ones?), and another plumber (recommended by the lab) recommended a Waterboss and the same whole house filter. So, after reading about the two softeners and their reputation, I've come to you all for help. I know my iron is over the "limit," but is it bad enough to require an expensive filtration system or can I get by with one of those big blue filters? I'm also replacing the water heater as well, family plumber recommended a Rheem which seems to be a much better recommendation than the one for a softener.
Any other info I may have missed let me know, we're going on a month with piss poor water so I'm eager to take care of it all. Any help would be much appreciated!!