Re: New Softener Installed!!!!!

CigarLoverOctober 9, 2012

Hello all,

Well we did the install of the new softener on Sunday. It went extremely well & I credit Alice for the complete success on the project! We changed out some of the old copper & sweat-in some nice new high-quality 3/4" ball valves for the softener by-pass. We then hooked up the new softener. After filling the resin tank 90% full of water then, using Alices start-up guide we had clear/clean water out of the backwash line in 3-5 minutes. Next the brine tank started "Drawing down" immediately in the BD cycle. Once we started checking hardness at the kitchen sink fixture we had soft water in 5 minutes (only 25-40 gallons of water used from start to finish). Wow!!! Alices start-up guide saves soo much time fusing with stuff & bleeding air out of the plumbing its fantastic, not to mention her Fleck valve programming expertise..

Alices Softener start-up guide:

Once everything is put together and WITHOUT salt in the brine tank yet but WITH water in the brine tank, about 5 gallons, 2" Above the brine tank grid. (I choose the square brine tank) (Manual, pages 4-5)

1. Softener in bypass

2. Slowly open bypass to fill the tank with water

3. Open a tap that is higher than the top of the tank to bleed air.

4. Plug it in.

5. Press and hold the extra cycle button for five second - this will force an immediate regen cycle

6. Wait for the entire backwash cycle to finish. Watch the drain - make sure you have steady flow and the water is clear. If the water is not clear, push the extra cycle button to move quickly through the other regen steps and repeat the backwash step until the water is clear.

7. After a clear backwash, proceed to brine/slow rinse. Watch the water level in the brine tank to ensure it is drawing down. Once you are assured water is being drawn, press extra cycle to move to rapid rinse.

8. Watch the drain line until water runs clear, then press extra cycle to move to service flow.

9. Now add a couple of bags of salt to the brine tank.

If you haven't already programmed you valve, do so now.

As I typed this out & cut & pasted Alices start-up guide, I thought it would be beneficial to all the folks out there on this forum that are looking to do a new softener system. I made a little list of some of the tricks that I learned from Alice & things that will make it much easier for someone to duplicate & have a really nice new softener install.

1. Be patient, listen to what she tells you & give her very accurate information regarding your water conditions. Remember, she does this for free out of the goodness of her heart to help folks on this forum be patient & you will have success with your new softener system. She really knows her stuff on water softening science!

2. Once you have the correct sizing & configuration for your new softener, Call the folks at OPWC to place your order. Ask for Jean, she is a total sweetheart & knows her business. They are a pleasure to do business with. Dont worry about their location they shipped the new softener system to me 2,000 miles away (I am in California) & it was delivered by UPS in perfect condition in 4-5 days(Free Shipping). Their prices are competitive with anyone out there that I seen & better in most cases.


3. If you live an area where you have power outages/brown-outs or need to back-up your softener for insurance of soft water buy & install a UPS system. Lurker made this recommendation & it works great. Here is the one I purchased thats good quality & reasonably priced:

APC Brand BK500BLK 500 VA 300 Watts 6 Outlets UPS - $125.00

4. If you are planning on hooking-up your new softener with flex hoses buy Falcon Stainless hoses. They are very high quality hoses & work extremely well for a water softener install especially if you go with the Noryl By-pass that Alice recommends. They are worth the cost for sure ($15-20 per hose). They come in 3/4" or 1" sizes & various lengths. They will sell direct to you & ship them to your door.


5. Get the Noryl By-pass for your new valve, it works/hooks-up really nicely & no leaks.

6. Once you have received your new softener system, get with Alice for your specific programming needs. Spend some time with the Fleck valve on your work-bench or table setting it up, learning the functions & getting familiar with the valve. It really helps when you install the system & know how it functions & how to make programming changes. I did this & it worked Great for the Fleck 5600SXT!

7. Confirm with Alice that you need Gravel for the resin tank for your application? If so, once you have the new system & are ready to load the gravel & resin into the tank wash the gravel really well first. I used a new plastic bucket & some bleach to kill any bacteria on the gravel then rinsed it very well & let it air dry. Pay attention to how dirty the water gets the first time you wash the gravel. Wow!!!

8. When you start to load your USA Brand quality resin into your resin tank have another set of hands to help you (It would be tough doing it solo & trying to hold the riser tube in place). Place a sheet of new construction plastic down under the tank. It makes it really easy to gather up the resin that you spill because you will spill some when loading it into the tank.

9. Buy quality salt pellets, if you have a Lowes in your area they sell a brand called Diamond Crystal Salt Pellets that are 99.8% pure salt, $4.99 for 40Lb. bag. Also, Alice taught me to only add 1-2 bags of salt to the brine tank ever. This gives you a really good brine solution. No reason to fill up the brine tank (I used to fill it to the top on the old system).

10. Buy some quality Test strips to check for Hardness once your new system is up & working. These strips take all the guesswork out of trying to figure out if your valve is programmed correctly for your water conditions/needs. They tell you in 15 seconds if your water is softened. Here are the ones that I purchased:


11. Alice I do not have the words to express to you my gratitude for all your help on the project. It has really been fun & a great learning experience. I wish that I could do something for you for all your help. Thank you so much, I wish you well & good karma in your life. Take care...

Best Regards,


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Thank you Ryan and Alice for this information. Just today I've been contemplating a Fleck or Autotrol water softening system, so bookmarked!

Glad to hear your pleased with your new Fleck system!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 9:11PM
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Hey Sparkling,
Thank you for your kind words. Yes I really like the new Fleck 5600SXT control valve. I can not speak for the Autotrol valve, they probably work fine. The Fleck is just really user friendly & easy to make programming changes/adjustments. The user interface is well done. Here's a cool youtube video on the Fleck programming set-ups that I found right before we installed the new Softener.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 3:40AM
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