Water Softner Discharge

mayflower1032October 17, 2009

In my furnace room where the water sofner would need to be installed has no drains. The gas forced hot air unit uses a condensate pump for its drain...can I drain the water softner into this same condensate pump (which pumps the water across the finished sheetrock ceiling basement into a slop sink about 20 feet away. And I also assume I cannot pump outside due to freezing issues. Do these pump out a lot of water?

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randy427

I seriously doubt that your condensate pump could come anywhere close to handling the flow rate from your water softner. You need a separate 1/2" drain line. It could drain outside as long as it was installed so that the drain line in unheated areas would contain no residual water.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 3:04PM
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justalurker

A water softener can use 50 gallons of water to regenerate.

While you decide where to drain consider that the water will have a significant salt concentration during brining and will kill most vegetation.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 3:35PM
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mayflower1032

Seems my options are limited to none...if the condensate pump cannot handle the volume, and discharging through the block basement wall outside will kill the lawn. And ripping the basement ceiling from one end to the other to get a 1/2" line to the slop sink is not doable. I guess I may need to live with hard water.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 6:13PM
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justalurker

Have you discussed this situation with a licensed plumber?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 1:40AM
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pete_p_ny

Can't you dump it into an area where there is no grass. In my old home, it went into a rock bed landscaped area.

I am sure he is looking for advice to avoid hiring a plumber...ie - do it yourself.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 5:58PM
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justalurker

"I am sure he is looking for advice to avoid hiring a plumber...ie - do it yourself"

Seems like the OP exhausted the simple, easy, and obvious solutions and now may require professional assistance.

There are solutions to this problem that rise above the DIY level.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 6:10PM
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saxmaan1

We will get you solutions on this post, that is what we are here for.

A dry well works. Bury a can with holes in it, fill will rocks, and discharge into it.

You can also bury 10 or 20 feet of preforated pipe in stone and let it drain that way.

The landscaping stone suggestion works too.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 7:16PM
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tom_p_pa

Can't the water freeze in the discharge lines rendering it unworkable?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 6:07PM
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tom_p_pa

Forgot to add...some towns do not allow discharge into the septic fields I believe.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 5:45PM
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pete_p_ny

I think the salt would kill the bacteria required in the septic system so natural decomposition can take place.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 6:52PM
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justalurker

There have been numerous studies done and still there is no definitive answer. Softener discharge (effluent) may harm bacteria in a septic tank and it may not. AFAIK no study has proven that softener discharge into a septic system harms the system in any way.

One negative, for sure, is the volume of water regularly discharged by a softener into a septic system. The less water sent through a septic system the longer the service life of the leach field.

Some local regs prohibit softener discharge into an on-site septic system or a municipal sewer system and require that discharge be directed to a (separate) french drain.

If your softener discharges to open ground and you use NaCl as a regenerant then you'll kill the vegetation.

Regardless, the softener drain line MUST be prevented from freezing shut.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 1:43PM
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mayflower1032

Will the salt content keep it from freezing? When they installed my heating system, they could not discharge it outside because of freezing issues.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 1:46PM
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justalurker

There isn't a high salt content in the softener effluent during the entire regeneration. There's only salt in the effluent during the brining and rinse stages of regeneration. Before and after those stages just plain service water and it will freeze. There can also be some standing water in parts of the softener drain line which can freeze.

I wouldn't take a chance cause if it freezes there will be quite a mess.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 1:59PM
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matt_r

Don't they make a heavy duty condensate pump. Your issue I would think is a common one, no? I would think most of these units are located in a utility room with the heating system and no drains available. My condensate has a clear 3/8" hose on it. Could you have it go to a holding tank first, then to the condensate pump to allow some wiggle room in case the condensate pump cannot keep up.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 3:54PM
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mowers

Mine goes into the sump pump pit....

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 6:22PM
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parkplaza

Would this unit work? Has no discharge

Here is a link that might be useful: Not sure...??

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 10:00PM
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justalurker

"Would this unit work? Has no discharge"

If the OP doesn't want soft water that will do the job nicely.

Could get the same effect just wrapping crisp new twenties around the pipes though.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 10:35PM
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andy_c

There is a reason why some on-line dealers are successful: when thre product doesn't work, they don't have to be accommodating in satisfying the customer. There is no office that you can go into and demand service. There is an easy way to push off complaints and ignore dissatisfied customers.
http://www.my3cents.com/showReview.cgi?id=15902
http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/vitasalus-c241840.html
http://www.bbb.org/eastern-michigan/business-reviews/water-filtration-and-purification-equipment/vitasalus-inc-in-troy-mi-36019847/

Try to get a return on your products' guarantee. Try to get a refund. Try to get personal service. Most consumers are told they need a bigger unit and actually fall for it and spend more money after bad.

These companies depend on attrition to wear you down until you give up.

This is not to say that there are internet companies that DO do good work and honor their ads' promises. Buyer be aware.

Andy Christensen

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 8:11AM
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mayflower1032

That system looks like a sham.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 8:18PM
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saxmaan1

Look for a high quality pump to replace the run of the mill condensate pump.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 9:37PM
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fall

I think you are out of luck. You need to discharge somewhere. You need to tear down your sheetrock and put a drain in.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 3:27PM
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fix_it

What about opening a small hole on each side of the basement and pushing pex across the ceiling? Or even 12" to 16" lengths of PVC coupled together as they are put into the hole? The hole size would be minimal and could easily be repaired. Now if you have to go through the joists, I'd say your out of luck.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 10:16AM
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mayflower1032

I would need to go through joists. I guess I am out of luck then. Everyone at work says theirs just dumps on the lawn. But I do not really want to experiment with that in case it does not work, I just wasted money.

A local plumber said I could pump into a large drum, then the condensate pump can have the time to pump it down. But I am starting to not like that idea being the line is only 3/8" and I can envision that getting scaled up from the salt, then my air conditioner and furnace will not have a condensate discharge.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 8:08PM
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matt_r

That sounds like it may not pass code. Where would you put a drum of water? The condensate pump would burn up overworking.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 3:59PM
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tom_p_pa

A drum? Please elaborate. I am thinking an open metal drum?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 9:34PM
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grassman_2006

Just dump it outside. That is the only choice you have...or just do not have one. Just angle the pipe outside the wall so you do not have freestanding water in the pipe that will freeze.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 7:18PM
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mayflower1032

The drum he referred to was a plastic storage tank to allow the softner to discharge to allowing the condensate pump to pump it out. It was not necessarily an open metal drum.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 9:32AM
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mrsr

Mine dumps outside. My grass is fine. I think a drum of water would be OK. I asked some people at work and they said that would not be a code violation.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 7:21PM
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mrsr

There are systems that have no discharge, not sure how they work though.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 9:10PM
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fall

Why would a storage tank be a code violation?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 8:19PM
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steph1

I had Sears come to our house a year ago for a softner system estimate. Have a similar issue. I belive they were going to run a pipe to our driveway and have it run into the grass. What is this drum system all about? Who makes it?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 9:49PM
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aliceinwonderland_id

Perhaps I'm stating the obvious here (and I haven't read through all of the previous responses), but why don't you just plumb your softener discharge over to the slop sink? This would be easy and would not overtax your condensate pump.The line could be run along or through the wall. Alternately, a plumber could install a drain for you. Which way do the joists run in your ceiling? Possibly only a couple of relatively small holes would be necessary to run pex through the ceiling. This is just not a huge issue.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2009 at 10:13AM
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mayflower1032

Walls and ceiling are sheetrocked and joists run the wrong way, which is why the existing condensate discussion started. Slop sink and drains are on the opposite side of the room.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 1:47PM
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pete_p_ny

I believe they have other systems that do not discharge. There are other posts called, no salt softners.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 1:35PM
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mayflower1032

From what I have read, those systems have not been proven.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 2:22PM
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saxmaan1

They have coils that wrap around the pipe. Check your code.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 6:04PM
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steph1

Anyone have any info on the drum system?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 5:58PM
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