Return to the Plumbing Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Water Softener - which one?

Posted by midorix (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 10, 12 at 22:18

I need your help as I got wide range of recommendations from "professionals". Here's my info:

3,400 square feet home with 4.5 baths
4 family members
Water Hardness at 21gpg, no iron or any other issues
Currently have Culligan Hi Flo PV-45B which is 45,000 grains with 1.5" water line.

The Culligan has not been reliable to the point that I've decided to not to spend any more money on it after 8 years. I'm not sure if 45,000 grains is the right size since it hasn't really worked well for past 2 years.

Here's my dilemma where I researched all over the place.
If I go strictly by water hardness and # of people, the right size would proably 48,000 grain or possibly 64,000 grain. The problem with this is that the water line size of which the largest I found was 1.25" (Fleck 7000sxt) when my house has a main line of 1.5" (and I don't want to go Culligan again).

If I look for 1.5" line water softener (typically light commercial version), then the smallest grain capacity I found was 90,000 grain (Fleck 2850sxt).It also comes with 24" wide brine tank which takes up more of my garage space than I would like (vs current 18" brine tank).

I'm tempted to go towards Fleck 7000sxt just purely based on cost and size but I'm really concerned losing water pressure.

Fleck 2850sxt solves the water line size issue but 90,000 grain may be too much (=inefficient water and salt usage) and takes up too much floor space.

So which is better?
Or is there a 3rd option (other than Culligan) that I should consider?
Would I lose significant water pressure if go with 1.25" line for such large home?

Thanks in advance for your help.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

Are you on a well or water system?

Based on the info you provided (and you didn't give SFR) so this is not entirely accurate...

48k is WAY too small and 64k isn't right either. Those will be regenerating too often and waste lot of salt and water plus SFR is kinda low.

You should be looking at a 2.5 cu ft softener for salt and water efficiency and which will give you 18gpm SFR.

Fleck 7000SXT 1.25" is a slight compromise, but it is cost effective and readily available. Any competent plumber can do the math to show you the loss dropping from 1.5" to 1.25" for that short a distance. Maybe lazypup will pick up on this thread and comment.

You might look into a softener with a Clack WS 1.5 but you have to go to a brick and mortar dealer for Clack as they are no longer sold on the net and the 1.5 is not a common residential product.

Kinetico is an option. They are reliable and have a great warranty IF your local dealer is good because you'll be married to them and at their mercy. They are very pricey


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

Thanks for quick reply justalurker. As you say, I've got recommendation from 48K grain all the way up to 120K grain, hence this posting. Go figure. The water is coming from water system (San Diego County). I haven't measured the SFR but based on our current Culligan system (1.5" pipe, Peak 35gpm/pressure drop 25psi, Continuous 26gpm/pressure drop 15psi), we don't have any water pressure issue.

Based on your recommendation, you're suggesting 7000SXT with 80,000 grain.

I'm still leaning toward to online purchase as I know a very reputable plumber that can hook it up.

Kinetico, I heard good things but the pricing is bit expensive.

One other thing I'm leaning toward to Fleck is that if anything goes wrong, I can do most of the repair on my own by finding replacement parts online ( I just don't feel comfortable sweating a 1.5" main copper pipe but I'll have the valve setup with NPT connection so that if I need to replace it, I can without a plumber or $125 service call just to inspect it by a proprietary dealer).


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

Your Culligan control valve may flow 26gpm but there's no way 1.5 cu ft of resin will according to the resin manufacturers so you've been undersized since the Culligan was installed. Ever checked your water hardness mid way between regenerations or just before a regeneration to see if the water was holding 0 hardness? For sure hardness was leaking through at peak flow.

Softeners are called by the resin volume NOT the hardness removal capacity. The K can be adjusted based on the salt dose so calling a softener 80k might get you the wrong one delivered. Doing it your way a 2.5 cu ft softener could be called from 32k to 75k

You need a 2.5 cu ft softener. If you program it for efficiency (which no online dealer seems to do) you'll regenerate about every 8 days.

If you decide on the 7000SXT make sure your seller uses the BIGGER diameter distributor tube and not the 1.05" one.

Good idea is to buy 4 or 6 extra clips for the bypass cause people seem to break them and you won't find them at the Home Depot.

If you buy online you'll have to assemble the softener. If you use your plumber to install all he can do wrong is hook it up backwards and don't let the plumber program the valve.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

You're wealth of knowledge. You can tell I'm still learning the terminologies and the key features that I need to consider to purchase.

You may be right about Culligan capacity as I don't remember water being soft all the time (I thought it was due to the issues experienced over the years).

Still debating on the 7000sxt or 2850sxt since now what I'm shopping for is 2.5cu ft of which 2850sxt's 3 cu ft rating is not that far off. But the price of 2850sxt is 2.5times of 7000sxt and not sure if that's worth price just to get 1.5" pipe or to avoid some of the mix feedback on 7000sxt reliability.

I hope others have more input so that I can decide soon.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

When you get up to 3 cu ft with your water conditions and water use channeling might be a problem. Physical size is a consideration and commercial Fleck parts aren't as common as the residential valve parts.

Considering that a large percentage of softeners sold are way undersized and an even larger percentage are not set up correctly I think you'll never see a difference between 1.25 and 1.5.

Just ask a plumber the difference in flow and pressure between 1.25" and 1.5" for that short a distance and make up your mind based on FACT.

The Fleck 7000 problems have been corrected and you'll have no worries there. If you're really paranoid buy a spare 7000SXT and you'll still spend WAY less than the 2850.

The mixed feedback on the 7000 is partly based on dealers that just don't like electronics or they learned on a 5600 and that's as far as they care to go.

I can tell you this... a 2.5 cu ft Fleck 7000SXT based softener that is correctly set up for efficiency will give you 0 hardness water all the time except when it's regenerating and will FAR outperform the Culligan you are replacing... even on 1.5" plumbing.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

Holy smoke! Justalurker, thanks so much going out of your way to get me the answer (way beyond what I expected. You may need ot change your name "imnotjustalurker") LazyPup......if you're reading.......you're awesome.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

Here's another follow up and to also show how amateur I am. The 21gpg hardness data I noted above is not the the true "hardness" but it's a TDS figure. The hardness for our city water is at 15gpg. Based on this, will the recommendation still be at 2.5 cu. ft?

Also as a second part of the question, do I need a gravel in the resin tank for the recommmended size?


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

Dropping to 15 gpg will make a huge difference in softener size and introduces some complications regarding SFR.

Let's do this the right way and keep you from making a mistake. I need numbers for hardness, iron, manganese, PH, TDS, sodium, chlorine.

You also need to test your SFR...
Using the bathtub as the measuring point, open BOTH the hot and cold water faucets completely open.

Place either a 1 or 5 gallon container under the faucet and measure the amount of time it takes to fill the container in seconds.

Post the complete water conditions and # of seconds and size of container I'll do the math.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

OK. Thanks again for your help. Here's the data:

hardness 15gpg
iron none
manganese none
PH 7
TDS 350ppm
sodium 101ppm
chlorine 0.5ppm
SFR 12gpm (7 gallon container took 35 seconds to fill)


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

That's what I thought... the smart choice would be a 1.5 cu ft softener with 12 gpm SFR set up @ 6 lbs of salt per cu ct of resin regenerating every 7 days or so.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

Thanks. So this one?


Fleck 7000SXT Electronic 1-1/4 Inch Meter On Demand Control Valve Water Softener 48000 Grain Capacity

7000 bypass valve
10x54 resin tank
1.5 cubic feet of resin
12 gpm service flow rate
2.5 gpm backwash flow rate
Floor Space Required is 26x21x64
Shipping Weight is 130 lbs


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

Yup, that's the one. Make sure you choose the best connection type for the bypass to the plumbing cause there are numerous options.

When you order get 4 extra H clips for the bypass. They're cheap and if you break one you can't get them at the HD or Lowes. http://www.ohiopurewater.com/shop/customer/product.php?productid=21425&cat=708&page=1

Tell your seller you want a gravel under bed, a top basket for the 7000, and a salt grid and Fleck 2310 safety float for the brine tank.

You want standard hi-capacity 10% cross-link resin from a name brand manufacturer like Purolite or Sybron Ionac not Nelsen if possible.

Don't let them charge you extra or talk you out of any of those things.

You'll program the control valve for 30k capacity, 15 gpg hardness and 6 lbs salt / cu ft (9 lbs total for 1.5 cu ft), 20% reserve, and 8 day calendar override.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

Based on your suggesting jla, here's what I'm about to purchase. I've read that best connection to the water is brass sweat for copper lines so that's what I'm planning to do (vs NPT). I'll also order some H Clips to addition to what's listed below (which I confirmed it comes with the top basket although it's not listed). As you say, I want to make sure I order the the exactly the right one. Also, is the resin brand being quoted just as good as the Purolite/Sybron?

Fleck 7000SXT Electronic 1-1/4 Inch Meter On Demand Control Valve Water Softener 48000 Grain Capacity
7000 bypass valve

10x54 resin tank
32MM Distributor Tube
1.5 cubic feet of resin
12 gpm service flow rate
2.5 gpm backwash flow rate
Selected options:
Fleck Valve Connection: 1-1/4 Inch Brass Sweat
Bypass Valve: Bypass Included
Tank Color Option: Blue
Brine Tank Size: 18x33 Round Brine Tank w/Salt grid & 2310 Safety Float Assembly
Softening Resin (1.5 cuft): High Capacity 10% Crosslink Carbochem Brand Resin
Gravel Support Media


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

I just realized they listed 1-1/4 inch brass sweat vs 1-1/2". I'll have to follow up on that one.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

Carbochem doesn't seem to be forthcoming about WHERE their resin is made.

Look on page 26 of the Fleck 7000SXT service manual for all the connector options and the part numbers. Nothing wrong with NPT connections.

Would be nice if you could get your 7000SXT with the soft water brine refill option... ask seller about it.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

It appears Carbochem import their resin from China:

Carbochem Inc.
Buyer � United States Contact InformationAddress 326 West Lancaster Av Ardmore Pa 19003 United States 6459200 6455501

Subscribe to get contact information Shipment Information28 shipments from July 2007 to July 2012
Sample shipment to Carbochem Inc.
Supplier Pure Resin Co., Ltd. �
Commodity Ion Exchange Resins
Date July 17, 2008
Weight 19,725 kg
From Port Ningpo, China
To Port Port of Long Beach, Long Beach, California


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

For my softener I'd want Purolite or Sybron-Ionacs which may be harder to find as the el cheapo sellers only want to supply the cheapest components they can get.

The softener you're looking to buy is a common commodity on the net... shop around.

I'd pay extra to get better resin... but that's me.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

Checked with this particular seller and he only has Carbochem and 1-1/4" connection (although I guess the plumber can reduce the main line easily). Asked him about the soft water brine refill option and he lead me to the 7000sxt manual (which just showed how brine refill work).....which means he's not aware of such option that I see on the 7000sxt spec sheet. I guess I'll be shopping around more.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

Yup, another online softener huckster who doesn't know much about what he sells.

Funny thing is if the seller calls his drop-shipping distributor they'll have that option and he doesn't even know it.

Shop till you get what you want and need.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

Thanks. I'm shooting several e-mails with the quote. Once I find a reputable seller that sells what I'm looking for, I'll pull the trigger (since the pricing seems to be very similar).

I'm not sure about the softwater brine refill (I understand the concept) but I don't see that option being marketed anywhere(nor what's invovled) other than on Fleck's Service Manual. I didn't request this option when asking for the quote.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

Hi justalurker. I've got another feedback as follows. What do you think (this particular seller seems very reputable based on feedback and BBB)?

1. 10% crosslink resin. We do not sell this type of resin since it serves zero benefit on municipal or private well water applications. Resin with a crosslink of 10 is designed for waters used in chemical process or manufacturing where extremely harsh chemicals are used. Our standard Aldex 700 or upgraded Aldex 800 resin is all that is needed for residential applications.
2. Gravel underbedding. With the Fleck 7000 larger porting, the gravel underbedding serves no real purpose for flow unless on very large systems such as a 96,000 grain system or more. We do not add it. You get more resin without it.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

I've already told you about 9 posts UP...

"Tell your seller you want a gravel under bed, a top basket for the 7000, and a salt grid and Fleck 2310 safety float for the brine tank.

You want standard hi-capacity 10% cross-link resin from a name brand manufacturer like Purolite or Sybron Ionac not Nelsen if possible.

Don't let them charge you extra or talk you out of any of those things".

If you don't want to hunt for soft water brine refill or 10% cross-linked resin then don't. The benefits are longer resin service life.

Let us know how it works out.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

"Gravel underbedding. With the Fleck 7000 larger porting, the gravel underbedding serves no real purpose for flow unless on very large systems such as a 96,000 grain system or more. We do not add it. You get more resin without it"

What bull$hit... You buy a 1.5 cu ft softener and you get 1.5 cu ft of resin in a 10x54 tank. There's more than plenty of room to add a gravel underbed and not have it effect anything. There is more than ample freeboard above the resin.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

thanks for the quick reply.....just as I expected. This has been a fun process.....


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

OK..I'm officially frustrated and I now see why some choose to go through the local company to get water softener, even if the price is not as attractive.

I was about to make a purchase Fleck 7000sxt with 32mm distribution tube, at 1.5cu ft (48K grain)size and I received a feedback that according to guys at Fleck, this combination is not a good idea as the water won't soften fast enough based on the water flow.

Is there any truth to this statement?


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

To make it work, the source is recommending to go to 2.0 cu ft (64K grain). It will sacrifice some salt/water usage efficiency but should be able to better keep up with the water flow.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

I thought I was done here but one last time...

You said your SFR was 12gpm. A 1.5 cu ft softener has an SFR of 12gpm based on the resin volume and tank size. The 7000SXT will flow much higher rate but the SFR of a softener is limited by the resin volume and tank size.

So... exactly what question and what numbers did you present to whomever is telling you a 1.5 cu ft softener won't do the job?

And... are the guys @ Fleck actually at Fleck (Pentair) or are they sellers?

A 2 cu ft softener will waste a lot of water and a lot of salt.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

I thought you were done too. I provided the exact information including the SFR of 12gpm that is posted here.

The comment was made by the seller referencing their Fleck contact (so not sure how accurate it is but this particular seller has very good rating with BBB and they are willing sell the 1.5 or 2.0 so I don't see any reason for them to "twist" their recommendation).

They were mentioning that if the 7000sxt with 1.05 distribution pipe, 1.5 cu ft would work good but they can't recommend 1.5 cu ft with 32mm distribution pipe since the water will flow too fast through the resin media.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

And I didn't pose any question. I was just trying to place an order with 1-1/4" x 1-1/2" brass sweat connector with 32mm distribution pipe, 1.5cu ft 48K resin media and the conversation took this route.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

I think I see the confusion now...

Your seller is correct in trying to talk you out of the 32mm distributor tube because it is the wrong tube.

Why do you think you need a 32mm distributor tube with a 1.5 cube softener? The 32mm tube is your idea. I never said to use the 32mm tube with 1.5 cubes of resin.

When you corrected your hardness numbers down from 21gpg to 15gpg the calculations changed dramatically.

A Fleck 7000SXT assembled for 1.5 cubes should have the smaller distributor tube kit and would flow 12gpg through the resin. The BLFC and DLFC in the 7000SXT for 1.5 cubes would also be different from what would be required for the FAR LARGER softener you thought you needed based on the wrong hardness number in your original post.

I'm not a teacher. I do HOW questions not WHY questions. You give me accurate numbers for the water conditions and supply the circumstances regarding water use and I run the numbers and recommend the correct softener size and efficiency set up. It is simple arithmetic... nothing more. As long as you supply accurate numbers the softener sizing is correct.

I have no dog in this fight and nothing to gain other than to try to help you get exactly what you need and not what you think you need or what someone wants to sell you.

Now you've used up your allotment of free advice from me and as always, free advice is worth what you paid for it.

Let us know what you decide and how it works so we can all learn from your experience.


 o
RE: Water Softener - which one?

Thanks. So as a conclusion, based on the correct figures, the right product is 7000sxt with 1-1/4"x 1-1/2" brass connector, 1.5 cube softener with 1.05" distribution tube which is connected to the 1.5" copper main line?

Only reason for 32mm distribution tube was to keep the size closer to my 1.5" copper main line as possible to minimize water pressure loss.

I know I used up your "free advice credit" but I'm hoping you can provide the final clarity.

Again, I really appreciate you taking the time to help and I understand I didn't help since I started with the bad information.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Plumbing Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here