Looking for water softener recommendation

DrAwenderDecember 10, 2013

I know there is a plethora of info and this topic has been covered many times.
So I'll make short and sweet:

I will be going with a Fleck unit.
Which one/ size and how should I have it set up including settings.
It will be outside, so I'll get the environmental cover for it.

6.5 GPM
pH 7.6
TDS 590 mg/l
total hardness 400mg/l
iron 480 mg/l
Sodium 95 mg/l
manganese 390mg/l
sulfides 25 mg/l
nitrates Not Detected
bacteria Not Detected
People in home 4
No plan to add people but we do have frequent guest on weekends
4 full bathrooms, 2 half bathrooms
1 Jetted Tub used 3-4 times per year Max
Going to add one Multi head shower (hopefully soon)
No color or smell (although I pulled out an old under sink filter that had a terrible sulfur smell)

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City or well water?

Please double-check iron/manganese analysis. Is it really ppm (mg/L) or is it, perhaps, ppb? If your numbers are correct, you should be seeing some serious iron staining problems throughout your home. The iron would also have to be mostly insoluble, present as particulate in your water. Is this the case?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 3:06PM
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Sorry about that
Well water
Iron is 480 ug/L
manganese 390 ug/l

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 3:21PM
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Still looking for some info

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 11:02PM
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Because you have iron and manganese in your water, you need to do three things:

  1. Regenerate using 9 lb salt per cubic ft of resin

  2. Regenerate more frequently, every 3-4 days

  3. Take extra measure to remove Fe/Mn from your softener resin, such as: Using Fe removal salt, adding Iron Out periodically (the procedure to do this correctly is fairly involved), or use a ResUp feeder/

A 1.5 cu ft softener will work for you. It is a bit oversized for your water conditions, but since you have some high demand fixtures we can't go with a smaller size. Make sure you get:

  • High quality American or German made resin. This will provide a tight size distribution for optimal flow within the resin

  • You have WELL WATER so : 8% crosslinked resin.

  • You have Fe/Mn so fine mesh resin will improve long term performance UNLESS you have a problem with sediment in your well water

  • Top basket. This serves two purposes. It sets up a proper water distribution during normal operation and prevents resin loss during backwash.

  • Gravel underbed. The gravel underbed is there to set up proper flow patterns, improve backwash and prevent channeling. Many softener sales companies like to leave this out or sell softeners with a vortex system instead. Vortex systems weigh less than gravel so they cost less to ship. In addition, they are a more expensive item that adds profit for the softener salesperson, but provides no additional benefit to the homeowner . It simply adds another piece of equipment that can break.

  • Noryl bypass. Most softeners are available with either Noryl or stainless bypass valves. Both are good valves, but the noryl tends to be more reliable when not used for long periods of time.

  • Install the softener with a three-valve bypass. This will make it so much easier if you ever need to remove the softener for repairs or wish to take it with you when you move. Preferably, use full-port, quarter-turn valves.

Once you have your softener ordered I can help with programming and further instructions regarding iron removal. You can read up on the three options I listed.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 7:12AM
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"... adding Iron Out periodically (the procedure to do this correctly is fairly involved)...". This procedure is not at all involved and VERY effective.

For resin cleaning, once a month use 1/4 cup (amount will vary based on resin volume) 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 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.

This post was edited by justalurker on Fri, Dec 20, 13 at 11:57

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 10:08AM
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If you layer in the Iron Out with your salt, you use 1/4 C per 40 lb of salt.

If you are going to use it only periodically (monthly), and don't want to foul your resin from the inside out, the proper procedure is this:

  1. Ensure you have a strong brine in your brine tank - at least 24 hours since the last regen.

  2. Dissolve 1 C Iron Out in cool water and pour it into the brine well inside your brine tank. If you don't have a brine well, for some reason, pour it down the side of the tank rather than through the salt.

  3. Place your softener into manual regen and stay right there.

  4. When backwash is complete, the softener will move to the brine/slow rinse mode. Pay attention to the way it sounds. After 10 minutes or so the sound will change when there is no more brine to draw. At this point, we want the Iron Out to sit in the softener for an hour. To do that, push the button to advance to the next regen step, then the next until your softener is back in service mode. Do this as quickly as you can.

  5. Switch your valves so your softener is bypassed and wait one hour minimum.

  6. Place your valves back in service mode and manually start a softener regen.

  7. Once the regen is complete you're good to go for another month.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 11:34AM
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Your PROPER procedure overlooks those softeners that PRE-FILL the brine tank rather than post fill.

The procure I posted works well in the field.

Once again we disagree so... "You Go Your Way And I'll Go Mine" (Bob Dylan)

This post was edited by justalurker on Fri, Dec 20, 13 at 12:12

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 11:54AM
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A pre-fill softener with iron-laden waters will have even more iron fouling problems due to weak brine, making it even more important to either soak the resin in the Iron Out solution or layer it in the salt.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 12:20PM
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You've brought up the weak brine comment before. More and more softeners are using pre-fill with treated water and there has yet to be the tidal wave of consumer complaints regarding hardness leak through and resin failure that you portend (providing the softeners are correctly sized and properly set up). What pre-fill has brought seems to be a dramatic reduction in salt bridging and mushing complaints and if the consumer is using KCl a dramatic drop in problems with recrystallization.

I can't speak to how your softener is operating or set up, but the pre-fill softeners I see that are treating iron and hardness are doing just fine using the resin cleaning procedure I posted and getting respectable resin service life.. and so are the post fill softeners.

I respect the theory and chemistry but favor the real world results I see.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 1:38PM
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There are those with a scientific background who say that 2 hours is not enough time to achieve maximum saturation of the brine solution at room temperature.

I spoke to a chemist at North American Salt and he agreed, also noting that he has seen more clumping and bridging problems when repeatedly wetting and allowing the salt to dry out as "pre-fill" (before) does.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 2:57PM
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Rather than FRAME me out of context how about dating that post or linking to it?

As more data comes in positions change. Some are mired in the past like those water treatment experts who will still only use timer based control valves and never learn. Over time observing real world results and with subsequent discussions with those who are partly responsible for inclusion of pre-fill in newer control valve designs I have learned and changed my position on the subject.

I've used the procedure I posted. It is simple, easy, and cost effective. I have advised the procedure to many and have yet to see it work providing the softeners are correctly sized and properly set up. Try the procedure I posted and prove it doesn't work.

You can have the last word Alice...

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 3:35PM
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DrA - You emailed me to let me know that your softener had arrived, but I can't reply to the email for some reason.

I need a couple of pieces of information:

Did you end up with a 1.5 cuft softener? If not, what size did you purchase?

What specific resin do you have?

What is the BLFC (brine line flow control) size? This information will be on a small sticker (~3/4"x1") on your valve - most likely blue in color, but could be white, black or red. I need to know the information on that sticker.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 2:03PM
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48K grain
Fine Mesh Resin (Aldex C800F) 1.5 Cu. ft

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 12:20PM
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Enter Master Programming Mode

  1. DF=Gal

  2. VT = St2b

  3. CT=Fd

  4. NT=1

  5. C=38

  6. H=30

  7. RS=SF

  8. SF=15

  9. RC=0 (You are using a % reserve rather than a fixed reserve)

  10. CR=0 (DonâÂÂt use variable reserve with iron in your water)

  11. DO=4

  12. RT=2:00 (or another convenient time when you wonâÂÂt be using water for a couple of hours)

  13. Regeneration cycle step times

  14. Ensure all days are set to ON, unless you have a specific day of the week when you do not want the softener to regen.

  15. CD doesnâÂÂt matter unless you set a day to OFF in step 14.

  16. FM You shouldnâÂÂt have to change this

  17. doesnâÂÂt matter

Exit Master Programming Mode.

Pour 5 gallons of water into the brine tank. Add salt.

Reset your clock to actual time.

At this point itâÂÂs a good idea to force the softener to step through the regen steps. No need to allow each step to complete. Just leave it in each step long enough to verify that the valve has changed position then move on to the next until you are back in service mode.

Don't forget about periodic iron treatments (or just use iron-removal salt).

Enjoy your soft water.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 2:23PM
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Thank you all for the help. Its up and running. Now I can replace all the appliances.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 12:17AM
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