Completely new to water softeners, help!

Ed_LanceAugust 28, 2011

We just had a well drilled and are about to go water softener system hunting. We are still waiting for the water analysis results, but are trying to get a ballpark idea of what we might be looking at price-wise.

I've done some reading and looking and so far Kinetico seems like a very good system. I started looking at Pelican, but if I understand correctly, this isn't a softener, but a conditioner (doesn't use salt or potassium chloride).

One thing I'm really worried about is iron. When the drillers first hit the water and we got the well finished the water flowed very clear, but after putting a sample in the microwave, it turns quite red, so there's iron. In fact, after a day or so of sitting and I turn on the water from the well (it's not plumbed into main yet, I have just the 1 inch line with a valve sitting outside) it runs really, really red, opaque looks like brick colored paint!

I'm guessing an iron filter is going to be necessary.

Any idea what a Kinetico system with an iron filter will cost...ballpark?

We have a 4 member family. The well driller says with the pump he installed we are flowing 15 gallons per minute, although they measured the well when it was drilled at 30 gallons per minute. It's 92 feet deep with a 1/2 HP pump. It's cased all the way down instead of a liner.

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In order to speak intelligently about sizing a water softener we need the results of a comprehensive water test... especially with the information you have offered.

Get a water test from an independent lab. An independent lab has no agenda and won't be trying to sell you water treatment equipment. This is a MUST DO because without it everything is a guess. A quickie water test from Sears or a water softener company won't be as accurate (and possibly not as competent) as from a certified independent lab.

Hit the Yellow Pages and call at least three local water treatment pros. Call Kinetico and at least a couple independent water treatment pros. You'll learn that there are alternatives to Kinetico that work as well and for as long at a much lower cost.

DON'T TELL THEM YOU HAD YOUR WATER TESTED. Give each an opportunity to offer suggestions and provide you with a quote to meet your water treatment needs. IGNORE ANY THAT DON'T TEST YOUR WATER THEMSELVES as they can't speak intelligently to water treatment without knowing what needs to be treated.

Ask lots of questions. Softening the entire house or just the water heater (IMO a bad idea)? Warranty, parts & labor or just parts, how long and on exactly what? Install, permits required, licensed plumber? Routine maintenance and costs? Do they stock parts? Response time for emergency (water leak) calls? If they don't explain things to your satisfaction that is a good indicator of how you'll be treated after the sale.

After they've gone use your water test to compare with theirs. Are all your treatment needs being addressed?

Ask your neighbors if they have any water treatment experience. They might tell you who's good or who to avoid.

Come back here and post the specific recommendations and hardware components with the costs and we'll give you our opinions.

If you're a DIYer then you have other options but remember, when you do it yourself there's no one else to blame.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 10:19AM
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Couple of things without knowing anything more.....

1) Kinetico makes good products but are perpetually at the high-end price-wise. They're very good and they hold up their end of the bargain (I've had two of them for almost twenty years, now) but they're an "our way or the highway" kind of company. They won't be interested in DIY installations.

2) Neither Kinetco's softeners nor any of their competition in the softener marketplace will be able to deal with the iron problem you described. For that you'll need another system upstream of the softener -- probably a very good one that will likely require regular maintenance.

Completely agree with justalurker's advice about independent water test. Clear to me you have a situation that will require careful consideration in order to provide the final result you want.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 2:16PM
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