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Still another water softener help request

Posted by tanuki1 (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 29, 12 at 17:21

We have decided to install a water softener. I found this forum and really appreciate the amount of information and expertise available here. I have been reading many of the older posts to gather as much information as I can. I am hoping the experts on this forum can help with some of the questions that I still have.(or may not have thought of)
We live in a desert area in southern California. We are on city water. The local water district water quality dept tells me that 20 wells supply our city's water. The wells are periodically turned on and off, so the parameters change fairly often. These are the ranges given specifically for our neighborhood. The number in () is the average. All quantities are in mg/l

maganese-not detected
iron-not detected
Copper-.02(nd)
Ph-7.3-8.0(7.8)
hardness-81-170
Nitrates-nd-40(7.0)
TDS-160-290
Sodium 17-86(28)

There are 2 people in the house full time. But we often have 2-3 guests who stay for about a week.(Including teenage grandaughters who use lots of water)

There are 3 full bathrooms. A powder room with sink only and 1 jetted tub. Besides the kitchen sink there is a bar sink(rarely used). I don't know if it makes a difference, but we have 2 tankless water heater heaters rather than a standard water heater. I have checked our SFR at the hose bib that is on the 1.25" pipe just before it enters the home. It took 3.8 seconds to fill to 1 gallon. Our usage, based on our bill, is about 7-8.5 CCF per month. It goes up to 13 CCF when we have guests. This is includes misters that come on 10min /day, and the pool fill. All will be going through the softener.
I should mention that this system will be outside. And while it will get some shade, it will be exposed to the hot desert sun a good part of the day.
We will not be installing this ourselves. We have been unable to find a local company that supplies Fleck water softeners. Only Culligan and Kinetico are in the area. Most other companies that would install a Fleck system are 60-80 miles away.
We followed the advice on this forum and got an estimate from a one of the "big boys". Kinetico was the company we called. We are a little concerned because, even though we requested a water test, all he checked for was hardness. He did not check the SFR, did not ask what was in the house regarding plumbing. He did ask about number of people and useage. He recommended their 2040s system for $2895, including installation. He said that the metered on demand system was the best system to use here as automatic timed control valves in an exterior application do not hold up in the desert. He claims to have replaced many systems which failed with the on demand system.
So, my questions are-
-is it true that the timed, automatic control valves will not hold up in exterior sunny, hot conditions?
-is the Kinetico system sized correctly?
-does Fleck also makes an on demand valve? How well does it work and would you recommend it? If we go with Fleck, what size system will we need?
-during a power outage, would we have water on the electric controlled valve? Or is that what the bypass would be for?
Sorry for the long post. I tried to answer most of the questions that have been asked of others requesting help.
Any and all help is greatly appreciated!!
Thanks very much in advance


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Still another water softener help request

-is it true that the timed, automatic control valves will not hold up in exterior sunny, hot conditions?

NO. There are environmental (outdoor) covers available for Fleck and other industry standard control valves. You'd be served to provide some protection from the elements regardless of the brand of softener you choose. Some type of small shed or enclosure built against an exterior house wall would be fine.

-is the Kinetico system sized correctly?

Maybe. It is not uncommon for softener sellers to be oblivious to SFR requirements.

-does Fleck also makes an on demand valve? How well does it work and would you recommend it?

Yes they do. Timer based valves are very old technology and markedly less efficient than contemporary demand initiated designs. Pretty much EVERY control valve manufacturer makes and recommends a demand initiated control valve now days.

-during a power outage, would we have water on the electric controlled valve? Or is that what the bypass would be for?

Yes you would have soft water during a power outrage. The only advantage to the Kinetico design control valve is that it does not require electricity to regenerate. Contemporary control valves that require AC power only use AC power during regeneration at only a certain intervals during regeneration. An adequately sized uniterruptable power supply (UPS) used for computers work nicely on softeners to ride out intermittent power interruptions as long as the power isn't out all day.

-If we go with Fleck, what size system will we need?

Always size a softener for the maximum hardness the water system will have. I'd prefer to have test results from your location rather than the water authority. Their test point is miles of pipe away from your home. PH is a touch high.

Need a better test for SFR... with your results it's 15gpm.
Use a tub and open both hot and cold.

In your circumstances you are kind of a captive audience and it sounds like the Kinetico dealer is your only option if you aren't willing or able to do some work. If the Kinetico dealer has a good reputation around your area they may be your best (only?) choice, but bear in mind that if they have a bad rep for service after the sale then you may be buying a $3000 door stop.


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