Need advice on water softener purchase

qmarkerSeptember 3, 2010

Hello, I have 'finally' managed to sell my house and I will be moving into a brand new condo next week. I have several friends living in the village that I am moving to and they tell me that the city water is very hard and they all have water softeners. Here in my home I've had well water and a full water softener in the basement and loved it.

The condo is built on a slab and the area for the furnace & hot water tank is off the laundry room but is very small. There is a floor drain next to the furnace but there is no utility tub in the laundry area either. It would have to be some sort of a very small softener. I will have a garage that is back to back with the furnace & hot water tank room and perhaps the salt tank could go in the garage? I am seeking advice on what water softener I might shop for that would do a decent job for me. I am in Wisconsin so a garage install is not possible either. I don't know what to look for or research before I shop. After doing a search I though a salt-less would be wonderful but after reading various posts obviously that is not the answer for me.

Thank you for any advice you can offer, Donna

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In terms of footprint, I think you'll find very similar across-the-board.

Notwithstanding the price (high end) I'm a Kinetico fan. 19 years of trouble-free service at two locations with them. They use less salt than anyone so have tiny brine tank. Powered by the water that runs through them so no power connection required. Two-tank on-demand operation so no calculating/guessing about recharge intervals. They do everything. You do nothing but add salt once in a while.

If you do a search using "Kinetico" at this site, you will find several previous posts. About the only complaint you'll encounter is price. However, they do hold up their end of the bargain -- at least they certainly have in my case for almost two decades. If you've got the bucks, I recommend them without hesitation.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 1:36PM
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Water softener 101 ...

Since you're on a water system the water utility can supply you with the specs of the water AS IT LEAVES their facility but that is not necessarily representative of the water conditions at your water meter.

Hit the Yellow Pages and call at least three local water treatment pros. Make sure you call at least one of the big dogs like Kinetico or Culligan for comparison and at least a couple independent pros.

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.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 1:40PM
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I have installed softeners in many condos, mobile homes and in places where very small spaces are all that is available.

Most condos are on city water. That means relatively low hardness and chlorine. kinetico does make some very small and highly efficient models. Some are designed to fit under the kitchen sink, if that gives you a space scale.

These can also be put on shelves above the floor or washer.

The biggest problem with slab foundations is, do all faucets connect AFTER to softner. If not, then they may have to be put outside in warm climates.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 7:28PM
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"Most condos are on city water. That means relatively low hardness and chlorine."

With respect.....City waters are all over the map in both regards depending on where you live. Zero basis for you to impose such an assumption. Analysis of the supplied water specific to the installation site is important.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 8:11PM
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Chlorine and chloramine (and other anti-bacterial compounds) have a limit in potable water set by the EPA, but hardness and other aesthetic problems with water are not. Municipal water can be hard to very hard and beyond.

When treating water problems generalizations should be avoided and knowledgeable professionals don't generalize... that's why there are tests to determine EXACTLY what needs to be treated.

An on-site inspection will allow each vendor to test the water and recommend the hardware they believe will fit the installation and treat the water to the customer's satisfaction.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 8:29PM
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