Buy softener and RO?

tam91November 2, 2011

I have approx 10 year old RO and Kinetico water softener. Both are working quite well.

Currently they are rented, and I am not enthused about continuing to pay the rent. I do have the option to purchase the units - I have not yet called for the price, but I do know it will be substantially less than new units.

I guess I am mainly wondering how long these last? Does it make any sense to purchase (greatly discounted) 10 year old units as opposed to buying new ones?

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A quality softener, which a Kinetico is, can last 10, 15, or more years if properly sized and serviced. An RO is the same story.

Since you have hardware in place that is working and you are apparently happy with the dealer see what they offer in terms of price.

See if they'll re-bed the rental softener and put new filters in the RO and offer a warranty if you buy the rental equipment.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 9:47AM
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Thanks. Of course, these ARE 10 years old. Actually, they've never needed service, other than filters being changed.
I know what the prices are for new ones - what percentage of the new price do you think the used ones should be?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 10:17AM
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"Actually, they've never needed service, other than filters being changed"

Now that's a recommendation!

There is no rule of thumb... you have to decide if the discount on the rental equipment offsets the benefits of new equipment. A warranty on the rental equipment if you purchase it is a big inducement.

The new K5 RO has the WOW feature in the storage tank where your old RO does not. WOW uses water pressure, instead of air, to induce RO flow out the faucet with more pressure... a very nice improvement BUT expensive.

Again, since you have hardware in place that is doing its job and you are satisfied with the dealer it's really a matter of how appealing the dealer will make the price and how long a warranty they will offer.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 10:31AM
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For both, I'm assuming you have the means to test inbound/outbound water so you can tell whether or not these units are doing what they're supposed to.

I'm a Kinetico owner of two decades and have a very high opinion of the units. However, I wouldn't buy 10-year used without media change and head inspection/rebuild. Kinetico charges about $250 for this refurbishment and when they're done you essentially have a new unit. If the unit's working fine now, maybe don't do it but certainly factor it into your negotiations because you'll probably be wanting to do it in another few years.

You didn't say brand of RO unit. If Kinetico, be aware they have stopped making filters for some of their older units. Some other manufacturers have also. Regardless of brand, I would be certain that 1) the existing membrane is still doing what it's supposed to....which is 90%+ exclusion and 2) You can obtain replacement membrane and filters.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 10:35AM
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Great info guys, thanks.
The RO is a Water Factory. If I was buying new, they did suggest the K5. I seem to have enough water flow - mine doesn't come out the regular faucet, but out of a special little spout. So I'm sure things could be improved, but I'm not dissatisfied.
They were chatting, I believe talked about if they were going to rebuild and reuse my unit (if I bought a new one) and said it would cost $400. Kinetico does it for $250? Kinetico directly? How would I arrange that?
About a year ago my RO was checked and was working fine. Used, they only want $300 for it. I believe that they are willing to check the units before I purchase them.
Buyout price seems to be around 45% of new. Dunno.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 8:25AM
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Kinetco totally controls their market. For local service price/availability you will need to contact their local people directly. (From what you wrote, it appears your vendor is not Kinetico distributor....?) I had both my units refurbished a few years ago. That is, new media plus head disassembly, cleaning, parts replacement. As I recall, it was about $250.00 each. They did everything. I did nothing.

Google Water Factory and you will find they have many different units. Don't know which you have but appears brand new ones are between 3-400. Which leads me to suspect your man's asking price of "only $300" is high and makes me suspicious of their offer on the softener as well. Their proposed "buyout price seems to be around 45% of new" may or may not be accurate. You appear not to know the new pricing and 10 years is a pretty long already-used service period. From what you've written, I'm not feeling good about this.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 10:22AM
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Since the RO is not a Kinetico $300 for a used one is outrageous. Maybe $75 to $100 but no more. You can have your choice of quality, US made ROs for that price and have change.

Each Kinetico dealer can set their own prices for product, parts, and labor in their market area and those prices seem to vary widely.

Asolo has mentioned prices for service and product a number of times in his posts and I've checked around here and the Kinetico dealer actually chuckled when I asked about rebedding a small twin for $250 let alone a complete refurbishing. Asolo is fortunate to have a Kinetico dealer who makes a living and not a killing.

45% of YOUR dealer's new price for a used softener may not be such a deal. If the dealer will refurbish the unit and give you a substantive warranty then it's worth considering.

If not, then for FAR less than that 45% of a new Kinetico you should be able to get a new industry standard softener and a new RO installed by a local water treatment pro and most likely have money left over and have a warranty. Might be worth investigating.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 10:48AM
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Clarifying.....looking at the was done 4/2007....price for all was $258.52.

That was a while ago. Doubtless it would be more now.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 11:12AM
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Asolo, I don't doubt your prices in the least... I'm saying that I've checked in my region (4 Kinetico dealers) and not one has come close and all are over twice the price your dealer charged you.

Did you miss this in my post... "Asolo is fortunate to have a Kinetico dealer who makes a living and not a killing"? Others are not so fortunate.

No need to be defensive when we accept what you say.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 11:33AM
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No defensiveness here. Didn't miss anything in your post. Not doubting you. I am aware different dealers charge different prices. Just couldn't remember my actual amount or how long ago and thought might be useful. : )

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 12:03PM
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I do know the new prices. That's why I said that the used price was 45% of new. That is from this dealer. It is a Kinetico dealer. I suppose I could check with some other Kinetico dealers for pricing.
They say that the Water Factory unit I have is priced only slightly less than the K5 new. True or not, I dunno, but that's the price from them.
The Kinetico - I am very happy with it. It's not electric, and with the twin tanks - I really want to stay with this type of unit, either used or new.
Buyout price isn't sounding that great I guess. I'll check prices on Kinetico, and also RO units if I can find some other local dealers. At the least, perhaps it would give me some bargaining room.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 2:07PM
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Buyout price on your rental softener is OK if they refurb and warranty it for a reasonable time.

You'll find that Kinetico dealers have protected areas and one dealer can't sell into another dealer's territory. If you go Kinetico you are married to that dealer... for better or for worse for price and service.

The most expensive RO the Water Factory offers isn't even a down payment on a Kinetico K5 RO.

click here for Water Factory web page

The K5 with the WOW feature is ultra expensive and the Water Factory has nothing to offer in the same class.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 2:32PM
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That's the water factory page? I get some superstore page. But yep, the prices are less there. Can't see what shipping would be however.

Not sure what the install would take though, if I were to just purchase an RO myself - as the water lines are already there, is this something I could just connect myself? I'm a bit handy, but not remotely a plumber. (I've done a dishwasher, but that's about the top of my ability). From the RO, the lines go upstairs to the sink, and to the fridge.

The Kinetico - there are no other dealers around. At all. So they certainly have the market covered there.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 3:25PM
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Says FREE SHIPPING on the Water Factory web site.

ROs are an EZ install especially if there already was one.

You might check at Sam's Club and Costco. They both sell Watts Premier ROs under $200

AGAIN, if you are happy with the Kinetico softener and the service from the dealer your choice is whether to buy new or buy the rental you already have.

My opinion is that @ 45% cost of new buying your rental only makes sense IF the dealer refurbishes and warranties it. Ask the dealer how much they would charge you to re-bed and refurbish the softener. Then you'll know how much of a risk you'd be taking at 45% of the new cost. A new softener should have a 10 year warranty and a service call on your USED softener could start @ $200 just to get them to show up.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 3:44PM
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Thanks, I'll check into that. I did make unhappy noises at the owner re. the cost of the RO, and he said he'll check into it.
Sounds like completely refurbishing the softener, from them anyway, is pretty expensive. I'll ask him re. a warranty - he's supposed to get back to me, so we'll see what works out.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 4:10PM
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Just wondering... how much have you been paying for how long to rent the softener? To rent the RO?

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 4:18PM
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What I would like to know is what is your source water condition? City, well, high iron, hardness, TDS? What actual unit models are you using? What does your rental contract say about a buy-out option? What is your monthly rental fee? Does your softener have a pre-filter?

There are many factors to consider when switching from being a renter to an owner.

To get a hint on the condition of the valve, separate it from the incoming lines and inspect the in-out ports. One should show signs of hard water or iron deposits, the other should be clear. If that is so, then the valve is in excellent condition, which probably means the resins are fine as well.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 7:20AM
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OK, I talked to the owner. They are going to inspect the RO, and are going to inspect and service the softener. Not re-bed it, but re-do the heads (?). Sorry, not a softener expert on the parts and pieces. If it needed re-bedding (he says that is unlikely) then we'll have to start over talking. He also came down a lot on the price - just a little over $100 for the RO. So if they all check out, I'll go ahead and buy these units - it's worth a bit to me to not have to install an RO myself right now, etc.
This company has been around a long time, I do think they are reputable as near as I can tell. I'm in the Chicago area, not the cheapest part of the country also.
Thank you everyone for the help, I really appreciate it.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 11:59AM
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