Correct sizing of Fleck water softener

lifechildAugust 22, 2013

Hi, thanks in advance for any help or guidance you can provide.

I would like to purchase a water softener for our home. Some information about our family's water usage and water quality.

In a peak month our water usage is 13 Ccfs and a low month it's 7 with an average monthly usage of 9.5. 324 (high), 175 (low) and 237 (average) gallons used per month. We have 4 people (two teens), 2 full baths, washing machine, dishwasher, kitchen sink and two outside hose bibs that are used. Water service to home is 1" pipe.

I would estimate peak flow of 15.7 gpm when using dishwasher (2 gpm), washing machine (4 gpm), two showers (2.5 gpm each,) one faucet (2.5 gpm) and one toilet (2.2 gpm) at one time.

Water quality (as provided in city water bill):
Sodium 58 mg/L
Mineral Content 446 mg/L
Hardness 211 mg/L
pH level 7.8 S.U.
summer temperature 86 degrees (Tucson, AZ) winter is around 60 degrees.
Chlorine level ranges between .8 and 1.2 mg/L

Having done some basic research I think I should be in the neighborhood of a Fleck 7000 sxt with 40,000 grains so I can regenerate every 7 days or so. I would also like to balance salt and water usage so I might be totally wrong...

Any guidance or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The accepted water use per person per day is 60 so for four people 240 gpd and that number has proved to be reliable over a long period.

Estimating SFR by adding the # of fixtures does not tell us what we need to know for sizing a softener.

Using the bathtub as the measuring point, open BOTH the hot and cold water faucets completely open. Place a 1 gallon container under the faucet and measure the amount of time it takes to fill the container in seconds.

Water reports from the municipal authority are not representative of the water conditions at your meter and that is the water which we want to treat not the water at the treatment plant miles and miles away. A water test from a certified independent lab is preferred.

Need to know hardness, TDS, pH, copper, arsenic, sodium, iron (ferric and ferrous), and manganese.

If you don't want to size your softener the correct way, but rather based on your estimate and a general water report then a Fleck 7000SXT 1.5 cu ft softener using 10% brand name cross-link resin with a gravel underbed is in the ballpark. That softener will provide 12gpm SFR before hardness leaks through.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 5:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for your help with this.

A 5 gallon bucket fills in 60 seconds in the bathtub.

"The accepted water use per person per day is 60 so for four people 240 gpd and that number has proved to be reliable over a long period." comes very close to our average of 237. Didn't know if I should size it higher for the months with higher usage or just let the softener regenerate more often.

On a related note, would a twin system provide more economy and are they as reliable (more parts to fail...)?

Can you recommend a test kit or lab or alternate way to find the quantities of hardness, TDS, pH, copper, arsenic, sodium, iron (ferric and ferrous), and manganese at our house?

Thank you again for taking the time to help us out!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 10:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If a 5 gallon bucket fills up in 60 seconds with BOTH hot and cold faucets wide open then you have 5gpm SFR. There is one caveat... is your tub valve a single handle balancing type or a simple two handle type?

You might want to do the same test at an outdoor hose bib just for comparison

You use 60gpd per person to size the softener. We size for the average and let the softener control valve do it's job. These electronic control valves are pretty smart.

Whether a twin resin tank softener would be indicated would be determined by the water conditions and water use, but I suspect that a single resin tank softener will do nicely.

Check with your environmental health department. They should be able to point you to a certified lab and there is always the Yellow Pages..

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 10:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Single handle on the tub. Outside faucet is 5 gallons in 32 seconds.

Thanks again for the pointers. What would be a fair price to expect for the water test?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 11:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hose bib 10 gpm... that's what I thought and is about what I expected.

Don't keep up with lab prices and they vary area to area. Let your fingers do the walking.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 1:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ordered a test and should have the results next week. Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just got the kit today and sent it back so maybe next week for the results. Thanks for waiting.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 8:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi all -

Got the results back from the lab.

General Chemistry
Sodium - 53.14 mg/L
Potassium - 1.92 mg/L
Copper - 0.01 mg/L
Iron - 0.42 mg/L
Manganese - not detected
Magnesium - 6.98 mg/L
Calcium - 57.12 mg/L
Arsenic - not detected
Lead - not detected
Zinc. - 0.01 mg/L
pH - 7.83 SU
Turbidity - 0.15 N.T.U.
Color - not detected
Odor - not detected
Conductivity - 731.0 umhos
T.D.S. - 438.6 mg/L
Sediment - absent
Alkalinity - 120.0 mg/L
Chlorine - 0.48 mg/L
Chloride - 72.07 mg/L
Hardness - 171.4 mg/L
Nitrate as Nitrogen - 0.75 mg/L
Nitrite as Nitrogen - not detected
Ammonia as Nitrogen - not detected
Sulfate - 168.25 mg/L

General Bacteria
Total Coliform and Fecal/E. Coli were both absent.

Just put a new Rennai tankless water heater capable of 9.8 gallons per minute on the house last week so I would like the softener to protect the humans and the appliances. Thinking about a Fleck. Any recommendations?

Does the sodium content seem high and should I look at potassium or will it not make a difference on either health or cost? We do use a reverse osmosis in the house for most drinking and some cooking. For outside water we will use the one hose bib before the softener for watering trees and one after the softener for the water the dogs have outside.

Thanks in advance for any pointers provided.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 9:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looks like a 1.5 cube softener will do nicely and provide 12gpm SFR. We'll short salt it and program for efficiency. I'll tell you what settings to use. You'll use a little Iron Out or Super Iron out once a month so buy some and I'll tell you how to use it.

Quality NaCl will work fine and your RO will be a lot happier with soft (zero hardness) water than the hard water it's had to digest. In fact it might be a good time to replace the pre, post, and final filters and the membrane cause hardness really shortens membrane life. When you replace the membrane remember that it's a good idea to replace the flow restrictor also.

If the water service pipe diameter at the softener location is 1" then you want...

Fleck 7000SXT (will include Noryl bypass) and you choose the most convenient plumbing connectors.

1.5 cubes of brand name (Dow, Puorolite, Sybron) hi-capacity (not fine mesh) made in USA 10% cross-link resin and gravel under bed. Don't let them talk you out of the gravel and you should get it for FREE. Don't let them supply anonymous pacific rim resin or that el cheapo Nelsen stuff.

No turbulator and no Vortech resin tanks.

Whichever brine tank shape and size is convenient with Fleck 2310 safety float. you won't be filling the brine tank all the way up with salt so you gain nothing by buying a really big tank. Better to just check salt level once a week and keep it above the water level.

Should cost under $600 online delivered, but more locally.

How much did the lab tests cost?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 11:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lab test was mail order and was $160 with Angie's list special.

Plumbing is 3/4 from the city and to the house. Would that still be the 7000SXT? Don't need absolute lowest price as much as the best match to our circumstances and best quality. When we settle on what is needed I'll call around to see who can do it.

Last week plumber put in new copper external piping when we installed external thankless water heater. Asked him to leave a new main shutoff ball valve then hose bib then bypass with three 1/4 turn ball valves for softener then T connection to house and Rinnai. Left me two stainless steel flex connections to screw on to softener.

All I've seen locally is Morton salt but if there is a better quality in another brand in the southwest or online I can look for it.

I will change the filters on the RO soon after the softener install. Will there be a time period that the pipes will flush themselves out?

Thanks for the advice. Feel much better doing this right the first time. Will get the iron out and follow the programming instructions.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 9:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

$160 for the lab work is reasonable. Did you notice that the lab results and water report didn't agree on some things?

With 3/4" at the softener you could use a Fleck 5600SXT but the 7000SXT is newer technology and includes the Noryl bypass for about the same price.

Having your plumber install a 3 ball valve bypass for the softener was a good idea. That way if the Fleck bypass ever needs repair you can still have water to he house while the repair is made.

If the stainless flex connectors are made by Falcon Stainless then they are top quality and highly recommended. I've seen problems with the copycat pacific rim connectors. Check out for more info.

Morton is OK but I like the Diamond Crystal stuff in the yellow bag @ Home Depot.

On the RO you want you change the filters and the membrane and the flow restrictor so everything starts out right again.

As time goes by the soft water will remove harness deposits from your plumbing.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 10:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lab was ENVIRONMENTAL TESTING & RESEARCH LABORATORIES INC for others that might stumble across this thread in need of a test. but shop around and purchase direct ($158) when you want it.

Yes, I am glad I did the water test!

Looked at the flex connectors and they are Ferguson's house brand "proflo". Not sure where they get it from... May look into Falcon ones so I don't worry about a flooded back yard someday...

Still thinking of going with the 7000SXT. Looks like I will have to contact the sellers as the online options don't match your specs. As I understand it I will be asking for a quote on:

Fleck 7000SXT 48,000 system with a Noryl bypass, gravel under bed, 1.5 cubes of brand name (Dow, Puorolite, Sybron) hi-capacity (not fine mesh) made in USA 10% cross-link resin, no turbulator and no Vortech resin tanks, and a brine tank with Fleck 2310 safety float.

From a couple of other threads on this forum I collected a few more options and would like to know which ones to request.
Should I get/request:
extra H clips
a top basket
salt grid
soft water brine refill option

With the answers to these questions I hope to collect bids and make a purchase. Thanks again for all your help. Looking forward to your recommendations on settings!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 4:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Make the sellers sell you what you specify not what they have the best profit on especially since they will not be doing any real work and offer no real service after the sale. Actually all they do is email a regional drop shipper. They are there for your convenience not the other way a round.

The correct way to refer to softener size is by cubic feet of resin volume. Referring to softener size by K (hardness removal capacity) is a sales tactic as any softener has infinitely variable hardness removal capacity based on the salt dose used. A 1.5 cube softener is only a 48000 softener when the resin is brand new. After it is exposed to hardness even the max salt dose of 15 lbs/cu ft (22.5 lbs for 1.5 cu ft) will only yield 45000 hardness removal capacity in the field. You refer to car engines by cubic inches not horsepower... right?

Yea, I forgot a couple extra H clips just in case and they're cheap.

Fleck brand top and bottom baskets. No cheap knock-offs.

Salt grid usually is included with brine tank.

Soft water brine fill is a function of the 7000SXT but not the 5600SXT.

Fleck 7000SXT comes with it's own Noryl bypass. A bypass is an option on the 5600 and not included.

Falcon Stainless are worth hunting down... they are that good. If the flexes the plumber left are 3/4" FIP then you can get two of the Fleck 42414-01 Connector Assembly, 3/4" NPT w/O-ring to hook up the flexes to the bypass quick and easy.

When everything arrives triple check to make sure you got the right stuff and that it is all there. When you're ready to assemble, post and I'll reply with the programming info and how to use Iron Out.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 5:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just looked up your Ferguson's house brand "proflo" flex and they are junk. Worse than junk. They are essentially a smaller diameter plastic tube surrounded by a metal braid. No more reliable than a plastic or rubber hose and they restrict flow dramatically. Even free they are not worth using... maybe on a toilet but I wouldn't.

You can order direct from Falcon Stainless and they have a toll free phone number 800-814-8444

You want 3/4" FIP to 3/4" FIP and whatever length you determine.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 9:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I almost missed this... since your softener is going outside you want to get the environmental cover Fleck makes to protect the control valve.

I don't know what they cost but I'd make sure I got one.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 11:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just got the system tonight. Haven't gone through the boxes yet but I ordered everything we talked about above. If I don't have time tomorrow then I will install this weekend. Any setup tips, programing or other instructions would be appreciated. Thanks for sticking with me on this!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 10:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Did you get the environmental cover?

On the 7000 there will be a sticker near where the brine line connects to it. I need to know the value of BLFC or it will say lbs of salt per minute.

Then I can give you the programming.

For using Iron out... once a month use 1/4 cup of Iron Out, Super Iron Out, Rust Pro etc. dissolved into a gallon or two of warm water and pour it into the 4" round tube (brine well) in the brine tank where the float is and then flush that with a quart of clear water. Wait two hours and then do a manual regeneration.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 1:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

BLFC = 0.125

Going to build a shed around it to protect it.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 11:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You need to get into the master programming of the 7000. When you get in there don't change any values EXCEPT what I tell you to. Write down what the values are set at BEFORE you change them.

If you don't know how to get into the master programming here's the manual... click here

C = 27 x1000
H = 13
SF = 20
DO = 8
BF = 23

You might want to consider getting a small computer UPS (uninterruptable power supply) like a 500va or so to provide power to the 7000 in case of an outage. The 7000 will remember it's settings but a power outage in the middle of a regen will stop the 7000 from advancing through the stages and water will continue to run to drain. It's cheap insurance and protects the 7000 from power spikes, surges, and brown outs.

Advice to assemble...

If the top basket is not installed on the 7000 click it in now. Make sure it fits the dist tube. There are different diameter tubes.

Tape or plug the top of the distributor tube so no resin gets inside.
When you start putting stuff in the resin tank it will get heavy so place it where you want it FIRST.

Add a few gallons of water to the resin tank. Put the dist tube in and place the nose of the bottom basket in the dimple in the tank bottom. Center the dist tube. Carefully pour the gravel in slowly so you don't damage the basket. Gravel should cover the basket and dist tube should be centered. Add resin to tank careful not to move or pull dist tube.

Use food grade plumber's silicone grease (do not use a petroleum product) on the 7000 big o-ring and on the smaller o-ring in the bottom that slides over the dist tube. Once you have set the 7000 on the dist tube do not attempt to pull up or remove the 7000 or the dist tube will lift and you get to start all over.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 11:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How much salt should I put in the brine tank?
Once I program in the numbers do I start a manual regeneration or will it do it all by itself?
Should I use the iron out on the first generation?
Is there anything else I'm forgetting?


    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 12:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Put 3 gallons of water in the brine tank and add salt to cover the water then enjoy the soft water. The resin is ready to go and a preliminary regen is not necessary.The softener will regenerate when required and leave the correct volume of water in the brine tank. Check the brine tank weekly and add salt to cover the water.

There's no reason to use the Iron Out to clean brand new resin. Let the resin see some iron and then do it. With your low iron you can probably get by using iron out every two months. Watch your toilet bowl and tank for any indications of staining.

Did you get detailed assembly and start up instructions from your softener seller? I'd like to see them or tell me who the seller is and I'll find them.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 12:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had my water tested recently and have almost the same specification/requirementt as you do. I am also leaning towards the Fleck 7000 SXT unit. Its great that you guys have already come up with correct specifications. It would be great if you could let me know what exact specification you finally placed.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 4:12AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Fleck 9100 SXT Programming/Settings
I am finally installing my new Fleck 9100 SXT!!! Thanks...
Fleck 5600 Econominder - Salty Tasting Water
I just installed a new 1.5 cu ft water softener with...
Central Valley Water Filtration Suggestions
We are stationed in Lemoore, CA 45 minutes south of...
Fleck Drain Question
I am fixing to install a Fleck 9100. I can run a drain...
Help with smelly well water
Just a little background. We bought a house 3 years...
Sponsored Products
Marseille Antique Bronze Twenty-Four Light 38-Inch Chandelier with Royal Cut Cle
Muse White Four-Light Chandelier with White Royal Cut Crystals
$540.00 | Bellacor
Mini Round Chrome Two-Light Bath Fixture with Royal Cut Golden Teak Smoky Crysta
$300.00 | Bellacor
Barefoot Sunglass Readers
$199.00 | FRONTGATE
Sea Gull Lighting 18W Br40 2700K LED Light Bulb - 97421S
$88.00 | Hayneedle
Eastwood Single Arm Sofa - Key Largo Grass Green
Joybird Furniture
Get Up and Glow Atomic Alarm Clock by Seiko - QHR015SLH
$48.99 | Hayneedle
La Crosse Technology Atomic Outdoor 18 in. Wall Clock - WT-3181PL
$51.50 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™