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Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ???

Posted by workingmomx3 (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 1, 07 at 19:28

Hello all,
I have read through many of the previous responses to questions about water softeners. There is some very knowledgeable people here and I hope they can provide me with some assistance.

After reading this forum, I understand that I've overlooked the first step in my search for a water softener: a water analysis. I'll get one done, if I can convince my husband. Moving on from there, I already have estimates from three companies selling Kinetico, Ecowater and Culligan water softeners. Each local retailer has a long history of service in the area, at least 20+ years. Each of the systems have been installed in various homes in the neighborhood and all the homeowners are pleased with their systems. However, most simply picked a company out of the phone book and went with one. Also, most did not compare systems, or if they did, they simply went with the cheapest. Bottom line, they are all happy with their systems, so they don't worry about them.

What are your thoughts about the following systems (all prices include installation):

Kinetico - $3950 ($2796 w/o R/O unit)
DECHLOR1060 Upflow Dechlorinator, CAH10MB Filter Housing, K2040 Water Softener, KRO+DX Deluxe R/O Drinking Water System w/tank, and 5MS 5 micron sediment filter

Ecowater - $3398 ($2449 w/o R/O unit)
ERR 3500 water refining system, ERO 375 R/O (also quoted the ESD 2500 at $1749, or $700 less than the ERR 3500)

Culligan - $2352 ($2053 w/o R/O unit)
Culligan Gold Series (10"), Good Water Machine

If I were to look at price only, I would go with either the cheaper Ecowater system w/R/O at $2698 or the Culligan system. At almost $4k, the Kinetico system seems greatly over priced. But is it? I don't know if I'm comparing apples vs. oranges. And the vendors don't give you much to go on to compare specs. And then there are the stories that Culligan will more than make up their $$ because they require expensive house calls to change filters (you can't purchase your own and DIY).

Would anyone care to share your thoughts or recommendations?

Some additional background: There are 5 people living here (1 teenager! who showers at least 2x's per day). Our water provider switched to a different well and the hardness has increased to about 18 grains.

I have numerous houseplants which will be a concern if I don't put in the R/O, correct?

I seldom do exterior watering except for occasional deep root watering of a few trees. However, I plan to put some additional beds for privacy at the rear of my lot. There will be large trees/shrubs that will require much watering to be established. None of the vendors mentioned bypassing the exterior hose bibs until I asked. Also, one suggested using potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride to eliminate the need to bypass the exterior hose bibs and for the house plants. Another insisted that potassium choloride would cause a sludge build-up. Who am I to believe?

Thank you in advance for all your help.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

The major difference between all the softeners you list is that the Kinetico is a twin resin tank softener and all the others are single resin tank softeners. Another difference is that the Kinetico requires no electricity and that saves you a little $$$ off your electric bill.

That difference means that the Kinetico will provide soft water 24/7 and regenerate at exactly the instant it is required day or night or in the middle of a shower. It switches service from one resin tank to the other. For that reason the Kinetico is very efficient in it's water and salt use.

Single resin tank designs regenerate using a "mathematical guestimate" with a # of reserve gallons added in and usually at 2AM. Some feel that there's no reason for soft water 24/7 but many say why not?

Considering the size of your family and water use if it were my money I'd go for the Kinetico and then the ECOwater second with the Culligan a distant third.

Seems that all three dealers enjoy good recommendations from your neighbors so that's a toss up.

I've been using KCl (potassium chloride) for 10+ years. It works perfectly, my wife's flowers and plants thrive, my septic tank and leach field are happy, and not a hint of sludge. I believe that Kinetico recommends the use of KCl.

click here for some facts about KCl and plants


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

FWIW,,,I've had two Kinetco's (plus their RO systems) running at two locations for over 15 years totally trouble-free. I just had both refurbished (plus new resin) for a couple hundred each and am going 'round again. If buying today, I'd buy 'em again even at the price. In the beginning, not having to consider electrical connection was a factor in my decision. After my experience, however, I'd buy them regardless. I like trouble-free gizmos that do what they're supposed to. Dealer did everything. I did nothing except write the check. IMHO, household water supply is basic and important. I like it done right so I can depend on it. Kinetico is always on the more-expensive side but they delivered full value for me.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

asolo has made some good points when deciding on a water treatment system. You don't buy one of these to last 4-6-or ten years, you want it to last 20-30 years basically trouble free. And then if you DO need to fix it, it can last another 20 years. That is a consumer who looks at value more than price.

The Kinetico RO is far and away a superior product with anumber of feature that no other RO, at any price, offers. Its warranty is record breaking and the minimum water quality (TDS) after seven years exceeds other systems brand new.

With the number of persons using water in your house, the total gallons per day will fluxuate and this is the real advantage of a twin tank system...you never miss a regeneration and never waste salt with needless early regenarations as you would with the other units you mentioned.

Andy Christensen, CWS-II


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

"I believe that Kinetico recommends the use of KCl"

Just got back in town and called the Kinetico rep. He told me that he does NOT recommend using KCl because of the problems with crystallization. Also that it requires approximately 20% more product AND it costs 2x's as much. I've only checked out the price at HD, and it's about 1.5x's as much or $4/40lbs more. (BTW...would you use HD's salt?? I can't remember the brand off the top of my head).

He also told me that there is no need to bypass my exterior hose bibs, that sodium won't hurt my plants because it wasn't "salt"???? If I chose to do so, it would cost at least $75-100 in parts and labor to bypass the line right next to the meeter (about 8'). All the other dealers said they wouldn't charge for that (in other words, they would just deduct it from their profit). He fully expected that I would have the R/O system so indoor plants won't be a problem. Then he did mention another valve where I could grab water.

So he left me wondering how much he really knew about sodium and plant uptake...

Then he turned me off by talking about financing, etc. I told every one of the reps this was a cash deal and I don't need their spiel.

My bottom line...I need to check my cost/benefit ratio...we don't plan on being in this house for more than 5-7 years longer. Do I need a Cadillac? Or will something else accomplish the same goals at a lesser cost.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

Both of my installations were at existing homes requiring bypassing exterior hose bibs. To not do that is kind of silly IMHO. $100.00 isn't much of a premium for the work but I can understand your annoyance if the competition absorbs it as part of the deal.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

While I'm not a huge Kinetico fan, I would also wouldn't generally recommend staying away from them. HOWEVER, in this instance, I would avoid your particular Kinetico dealer as he quite simply does not know what he is talking about. He may have a fine product, but he cannot be trusted to set it up correctly or to assist you if you have any problems down the road.

Yes, you absolutely have to bypass the exterior faucets if you use sodium choloride for regeneration and intend to water plants from those faucets. The sodium will kill your plants, both interior and exterior. Even with potassium chloride regeneration, it is recommended that you periodically water with other water, so bypassing exterior
faucets is a good idea regardless. RO water is fine for interior plants - just be sure to fertilize regularly.

If you go with Ecowater, avoid any softener that includes carbon in with the resin. I don't see a 2500 on their website, but do see a 2502 that looks fine. The 3500 appears to have carbon included. There are many reasons why carbon should not be mixed in with softening resin: 1) Carbon depletes faster than resin ages. Good softening resin should last 15 - 20 years. Carbon will not. If you are actually relying on the carbon in the softener to remove chlorine, you will, after 1 - 5 years, have to have the carbon and resin replaced (carbon is cheap, resin is expensive) or install a separate carbon filter. Good $$$ for the vendors, bad for your wallet. 2) GAC (granular activated carbon) is abrasive and will damage your resin, reducing resin life. 3) If the GAC mixes with the resin rather than staying in a layer on top (and it will mix - their specific gravity is pretty close), it is no longer protecting your resin from chlorine attack.

If you decide you don't want the extra expense of an RO, and honestly they are rarely necessary for city water, you could also have a small bypass line installed to an extra faucet for drinking water and plant watering. It depends on what you prefer, taste-wise. Some don't like the taste of hard water/some don't like the tastelessness of RO water.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

Yes, you absolutely have to bypass the exterior faucets if you use sodium choloride for regeneration and intend to water plants from those faucets. The sodium will kill your plants, both interior and exterior. Even with potassium chloride regeneration, it is recommended that you periodically water with other water, so bypassing exterior
faucets is a good idea regardless. RO water is fine for interior plants - just be sure to fertilize regularly.

The scary thing is, NONE of the reps even mentioned bypassing the exterior faucets. I was the one who brought it up. I guess it's generally not done here. Doesn't surprise me...many things just aren't done that way here. Ya gotta love living in a place like this. They are still in the mid-20th century when it comes to anything new or better.

Here's another question....PEX or copper or ? to the exterior bib that is about 75' away. Basement is unfinished right now.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

If you go with Ecowater, avoid any softener that includes carbon in with the resin. I don't see a 2500 on their website, but do see a 2502 that looks fine. The 3500 appears to have carbon included. There are many reasons why carbon should not be mixed in with softening resin: 1) Carbon depletes faster than resin ages. Good softening resin should last 15 - 20 years. Carbon will not. If you are actually relying on the carbon in the softener to remove chlorine, you will, after 1 - 5 years, have to have the carbon and resin replaced (carbon is cheap, resin is expensive) or install a separate carbon filter. Good $$$ for the vendors, bad for your wallet. 2) GAC (granular activated carbon) is abrasive and will damage your resin, reducing resin life. 3) If the GAC mixes with the resin rather than staying in a layer on top (and it will mix - their specific gravity is pretty close), it is no longer protecting your resin from chlorine attack.

Good to know. I was leaning towards the ESD 2502 unit because it doesn't have the charcoal filter. I seldom drink water from my sink. Everything comes from the fridge which has a filter on it, so why do I need it?

Also, will the R/O unit handle the chlorine? Is all this redundant? I'm still debating the need for it.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

An RO unit will have a carbon prefilter as part of the unit, to protect the RO membrane from the chlorine.

GAC is the best way to eliminate chlorine that could damage your softener. You will want to know how much chlorine is in your water to determine if carbon is needed. Generally, the chlorine level will be low enough that a simple, whole-house, cartridge filter will be fine. They are cheap and easy to install, and should be installed upstream of the softener.

PEX or copper, doesn't really matter. PEX will probably be cheaper because it's less labor intensive and copper is expensive right now.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

Ditto about chlorine. Chlorine will bugger the softener's media over time -- how much time depends on concentration. Not an issue in many locations but it may be in yours. You should know chlorine content of your supply.

For most people "drinking water" is simply a matter of taste. Unsafe supplies from municipal sources are rare. At my location, local supply has a slightly alkaline taste that I don't care for which also messes up the taste of coffee, OJ, rice, noodles, pasta or any other consumable its used for. RO system solves the taste problem.

IMHO, water is pretty basic. Get it the way you want it. You'll thank yourself every day.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

Many studies have been conducted concerning soft water and plants.

As with many aspects in water treatment, the degree at which something is done can make a difference.

http://www.wqa.org/sitelogic.cfm?ID=357

The above wqa site gives a brief but clear statement. In general, soft water is not recommended for two reasons,
1. it is wasteful of treated water, and,
2. If hardness levels are high, then sodium levels will also be high.

If your hardness is 12 gpg or lower, there should be no noticable effect on your plants. Beyond that range it can affect your plants incrementally.

The real issue idst so much that it harms plants but that is affects the soil conditions. If iron is a problem (staining sidewalks, etc.) then a sequestering agent can be added to control that.

Nonetheless, I would by pass your softener unless you wanted to do a lot of car washing or other uses where softened water serves a greater advantage.

Chlorine can damage Thin Film Composite type membranes (acetate membranes are good for chlorine applications but have other shorcomings). Any whole house filter used for chlorine removal should consider a couple of factors. Monitoring the water quality for free chlorine, allowing enough flow rate without sacrificing retention time and deciding if carbon block or GAC types best serve your needs.

I, on the other hand, still recommend ROs for city water. City water, at times, can be more fickle than well water. City flushes the lines, lines break, water sources may change, chlorine-shock periods, regardless of their monitoring and regulation certifications. Dissolved solids can be astronomical and I prefer water to be as tasteless, odorless and colorless as possible.

Andy Christensen, CWS-II


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Posted before corrections....

Many studies have been conducted concerning soft water and plants.

As with many aspects in water treatment, the degree at which something is done can make a difference.

http://www.wqa.org/sitelogic.cfm?ID=357

The above wqa site gives a brief but clear statement. In general, soft water is not recommended for two reasons,
1. it is a waste of treated water, and,
2. If hardness levels are high, then sodium levels will also be high.

If your hardness is 12 gpg or lower, there should be no noticable effect on your plants. Beyond that range it can affect your plants incrementally.

The real issue isn't so much that it harms plants but that is affects soil conditions. If iron is a problem (staining sidewalks, etc.) then a sequestering agent can be added to control that.

Nonetheless, I would by pass your softener unless you wanted to do a lot of car washing or other uses where softened water serves a greater advantage.

Chlorine can damage Thin Film Composite type membranes (acetate membranes are good for chlorine applications but have other shorcomings). Any whole house filter used for chlorine removal should consider a couple of factors. Monitoring the water quality for free chlorine, allowing enough flow rate without sacrificing retention time and deciding if carbon block or GAC types best serve your needs.

I, on the other hand, still recommend ROs for city water. City water, at times, can be more fickle than well water. City flushes the lines, lines break, water sources may change, chlorine-shock periods, regardless of their monitoring and regulation certifications. Dissolved solids can be astronomical and I prefer water to be as tasteless, odorless and colorless as possible.

Andy Christensen, CWS-II


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

Thanks for all the info from everyone here. I greatly appreciate it.

I'm shying away from the Kinetico system for 2 reasons: first off the rep had no idea what he was talking about regarding sodium and soil (and I really didn't want to go back and dredge up info on Sodium Absorption Ratio's - ancient history from grad school) and the fact that we don't need a cadillac for 5-7 years more in this house.

I'm leaning towards the lower end Ecowater w/o the stratified bed (no carbon) and electronic monitoring. The savings will allow me to add the R/O system so I don't have to worry about the inside plants. They will only charge me for materials for the other outside faucet (about 70'). I do need to see what the use for a carbon pre-filter to protect the resin bed.

Culligan is out of the running completely. While the one neighbor likes it, I've read too many negatives.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

It's good you are making a decision on numerous facts that you have sought.

From what you stated the Kinetico, although a little pricer, is still, IMO is a great deal. That 10x60 carbon up-flow filter that has a cubic foot and a half of carbon is a valuable addition to your system. That's a lot of carbon and should last a very long time. Ask what then priuce of the price of the system would be without that and then compare with the other quotes.

The price also includes a prefilter, a twin tank softener, and an RO. Check warranties on the ROs and the softeners.

Yes, a bad impression from the sales rep kills more deals than just about anything. He was right when he said it wasn't salt as salt is sodium chloride. The softener can add small amounts of sodium to the water. At your recommended piece of equipment, your sodium level should be small and would cause no great ill effects on your plants. I use soft water outside all the time and my hardness is greater than yours.

Whatever you choose, make sure you have all your ducks in order.

Andy Christensen, CWS-II


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

"He was right when he said it wasn't salt as salt is sodium chloride. The softener can add small amounts of sodium to the water."

point of clarification...I specifically asked about sodium, not salt (NaCl). He replied that sodium would not be an issue for exterior watering in any case. I specifically mentioned plans for additional landscaping requiring deep root watering and he stated that sodium would not be a problem.

I ran my concerns by several local landscapers/horticulturists in our area and the ALL said to bypass and that it should be SOP.

"From what you stated the Kinetico, although a little pricer, is still, IMO is a great deal. That 10x60 carbon up-flow filter that has a cubic foot and a half of carbon is a valuable addition to your system. That's a lot of carbon and should last a very long time. Ask what then priuce of the price of the system would be without that and then compare with the other quotes."

It's rather interesting that just last night my neighbors had the other Kinetico rep at their house. He was supposed to come to my house, but his partner was closer and took the call. He spec'd out their system w/ & w/o the carbon filter and he said it would be about $300. My rep led me to believe it was a necessity. Their rep led them to believe that the R/O was a necessity. I guess different things are important to different people.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

$3900 installed for 2030 Softener, RO system, dechlorinater. $2500 for softener only. Good or bad?


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

Hi, just a homeowner here w/nothing to sell; just a suggestion you might consider.

I am installing a new water system in my "new" (renovated) house (moving in in May, hopefully!) and here is what we are doing.

We have well-water for our outdoor faucets so not an issue, but I certainly would have bypassed them if it was via our town water.

For our potable water (town source) we are installing a major Aquasana whole house filter first off the main. Why? B/C I am what my DH calls a "water snob" and only drink bottled water or extremely well-filtered tap water. Our town water is supposedly perfectly fine to drink, so our filter is probably overkill, but I feel better doing it anyway. From the water filter, we are having two branches.

One will go to the softener, which will then feed conditioned water to the majority of the plumbing in the house. Sending filtered, chlorine-free water through the softener is better for the softener resins (extends their life) and is more healthful for your family since chlorine is harsh on skin and hair, and when airfied in water mist, is not healthy for you to breath!

The other (non-softened water) will supply filtered water to the following devices in my kitchen;
* a water chiller and
* an instant hot (both of these will go to a small dual temp faucet at my kitchen sink for drinking and cooking water)
* my fridge ice-maker
* my Miele Excela DW, which will soften the water only to the degree it determines is needed (approx 5 grains of hardness is best for use w/dw detergetns). (I have had major etching on my glassware in my current home due to very hot water and long cycles in zero-hardness water. Lots of threads about this issue in the Appliances section if you are interested.)

This way, we minimize the amount of extra sodium we consume while still enjoying the wonderful benefits of softened water for our hair, skin and plumbing fixtures.

Hard water is water that is full of minerals that are GOOD for you and drinking distilled water (reverse osmosis) denies your body of a major source of minerals your body needs. It is better for you to drink hard water than RO water.

Just something else for you to consider as you contemplate your investment in optimal water for your family!

Best wishes!

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to Aquasana WH filter if you are interested


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

smarge,

Have you checked the SFR of your plumbing and fixtures?

The filter you linked to has a flow rate of only 7gpm.

Di you know the SFR of the softener you are installing?

Just a thought.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

We are looking at purchasing a whole house water filtation system and i have been researching and the more I read the more confused I seem to get. I know that i don't want a R/O system but am confused by a backwashed vs a downflow vs upflow system. Also does a person need a softner with a filtration system? I'm looking at ecosmarte or a pelican system. I was hoping that someone might have some good information that may help me. Thank you for your help!!
We are a 4 bdrm/2bathroom on city water
Thanks
Polar1212


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

I don't understand why all of these systems that are being discussed here are so expensive. When I moved into my new home 3 years ago, I found a reputable vendor at the local home and garden expo who installed a 40k grain softener w/ carbon bed and 7-stage R/O system for around $1,500.

I keep it fed with KCL and have had no issues whatsoever.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

My husband let our kinetico run out of salt, and since then it does not appear to be working. I have been reading some of your questions and responses. We pulled out the salt out of the tank and regenerated it twice, once for each tank, 3 hours apart. It still is not working. Today we pulled the salt out again after regenerating it the first time, the little bit of water in the bottom was very dirty. I went to move that hose that runs into the tank to see if I could empty out the tank, and in moving the hose, it started to put water into the salt holding tank. What now?? I don't have instructions for this unit, I bought it used about 2 years ago, and had Kinetico install it for me.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

kathyross,

Always best to start a new thread with your question. Hanging a new question on to a years old thread complicates searches.

It would help a lot if you mentioned what model Kinetico you have, your water conditions, and the # of people in the house.

When there's no salt in the brine tank the water in there can't dissolve the salt to make brine. No brine = no soft water. you can regenerate 100 times but with no brine you'll keep getting hard water.

Kinetico softeners use the "setting" of the float assembly in the brine tank to determine the amount of water in there and that volume of water determines the salt dose for regeneration. Each gallon of water dissolves 3 lbs of salt.

When you were fiddling around in the brine tank it's possible that you disturbed the "setting" of the float.

Try this, there should be enough salt in the brine tank to cover the water at the bottom. Add a couple gallons of water to the brine tank and wait a couple hours.

After a couple hours, do a manual regeneration. After the regeneration is done add a couple gallons of water to the brine tank and wait a couple hours. If possible, don't use and water in the house during that two hour wait.

Check that the salt is covering the water at the bottom.

After waiting two hours, with as little or no water use, do another manual regeneration.

Check that the salt is covering the water at the bottom and check once a week to keep the salt covering the water.

You should have soft water now but remember, the water heater is filled with hard water and it will take time to use that up.

If you still have a problem call the Kinetico dealer that did your install and tell them what you did... they'll charge you for a service call but consider it tuition.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

"Hard water is water that is full of minerals that are GOOD for you and drinking distilled water (reverse osmosis) denies your body of a major source of minerals your body needs. It is better for you to drink hard water than RO water."

Actually, hard water contains inorganic minerals which are not absorbed by the body and can cause gall stones and other health problems. The body can only absorb organic minerals, such as those in plants.

Read this article: http://www.suite101.com/content/minerals-in-drinking-water-a30423

Here is a link that might be useful: Organic Vs. Inorganic Minerals in Drinking Water


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want to buy softner/RO system

Hi, for years we had a Kinetico and loved it. But, pricy. Echowater dealer offered softner/R/o combination for $2200. Does anyone have feedback on this?


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

Cheap is CHEAP. Why would you switch to an inferior product when the Kinetico served you so well for so many years. You could even buy a Fleck 9100 twin tank and RO for about $2400 installed.
RJ


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

Joanne,

"... for years we had a Kinetico and loved it"

There is no better feedback than that.

An ECOwater softener won't do a better job. It is a single resin tank softener and does not provide soft water 24/7 as the Kinetico does and you will be tied to the ECOwater dealer for parts and service as you are tied to the Kinetico dealer now but you have experience with the Kinetico dealer and the ECOwater dealer is an unknown commodity.

If the Kinetico has done it's job reliably and now needs service or a repair or rebuild amortize that cost over the next so many years of reliable service and enjoy your soft water. You've already bought into a high quality product so sit back and enjoy the benefits of your original investment.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

If you're saying you HAVE Kinetico and are considering replacing it, I'd advise rebuild plus resin replacement instead of making a switch. It will cost 1/10 of what you're considering spending on an inferior unit and it will make it just like new again. They will do everything. You won't have to do anything. I did this a few years ago with a couple of 16-year-old Kinetico units I own which is why I don't hesitate to recommend the service.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

In terms of full disclosure let me start off by saying that I work at a Culligan dealership.

While reading through these posts I noticed several things that should be addressed. The first being a statement made by the original poster. I'm not sure which Culligan dealership you were working with but you are able to purchase your RO filters and replace them yourself. Our servicemen are happy to instruct customers on how to do so.

Many of the previous posts all mention how great their Kinetico unit is. We have SEVERAL customers that have a Kinetico unit and have us conduct the service and maintence on those units. They also have had the same technology for over 30 years. Culligan continues to evolve and now offers the most efficient unit on the market today.

Previous posts also discuss price for a new unie, while Culligan can be a little more expensive, you are paying for quality. We have many customers that have had their units for over 20 years and are making their fist service call. We also offer many discounts if you purchase a total system (softener, RO and filter) or trade in your old unit. There are also several rental options available.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

"Previous posts also discuss price for a new unie, while Culligan can be a little more expensive, you are paying for quality. We have many customers that have had their units for over 20 years and are making their fist service call. We also offer many discounts if you purchase a total system (softener, RO and filter) or trade in your old unit. There are also several rental options available"

With respect CulliganGirl, that statement can be true of any proprietary softener manufacturer whether Culligan or Kinetico or Hague or ECOwater or... and it is rarely a little more expensive than an industry standard softener. It is usually two to three times the price or higher and sometimes for pretty much the same hardware.

Satisfaction with any purchase, not just water treatment, is based on the performance of the product and the dealer-manufacturer.

The fact that customers are captives of the local dealer is only a problem when a product needs repair and the dealer's service in unsatisfactory or less than professional or the customer want parts and tech info to do it themselves and the dealer refuses to supply them or charges exorbitant prices.

In those instances there is little to no help at the corporate level for the customer as the manufacturer hides behind the each dealer is privately owned and we can't intercede in that dealer's sales area. They can run their business however they see fit... regardless of how poorly it reflects on the product and the manufacturer. And what they don't tell the customer... as long as their sales numbers meet our goals and their market share meets or exceeds our expectations.

This is not unique to water treatment... my local John Deere dealer is every bit the price gouging jerk that the local Culligan and Kinetico dealers are and all three provide poor service and charge through the nose for it while refusing to sell just the parts or technical information with the exception of the John Deere dealer who will sell you a service manual on CD for just under $100 and all the parts you want at suggested retail PLUS and adds shipping charges for items he should have in stock in the first place.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

We have had our Kinetico system for two years now. I DO NOT recommend this company for anyone especially if you have a well . It was not installed correctly, we have had to add numerous items at great cost to make it perform correctly. The exterior pipes were not bypassed so any exterior watering necessary has the treated salts going back into the ground. It is a constant maintenance at great cost.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

D Conner,

Just to keep things accurate... "... the treated salts going back into the ground"

There are NO treated salts in soft water. There is no salt added to water in the ion exchange softening process. There is no more salt in softened water than there was before the water was softened.

Sodium or potassium ions are exchanged into the water to remove hardness during the ion exchange (softening) process but that is not salt.

Not bypassing the exterior plumbing when installing a softener is common when retro fitting a softener in an existing home and there is nothing wrong about that. Most softener installations in existing homes are that way. If you wanted to bypass the outside plumbing then you should have brought that to the attention of the softener company right from the beginning of your communication with them and certainly BEFORE you agreed to the purchase.

Living on a well is much different from living on a municipal water system and often requires complicated and expensive water treatment hardware along with routine maintenance by the homeowner or the dealer and that is just reality. If that was not explained to you before you signed on the dotted line then the dealer was remiss in their sales presentation.

That does not mean that you are not justly dissatisfied with the water treatment hardware, installation, or service you have received from that dealer and you should pursue that with that dealer to resolve the problems you believe you have. If the dealer doesn't give you satisfaction then contact the manufacturer and ultimately you may have to take the dealer to small claims court.

These problems can not be blamed on Kinetico. You have found a dealer who should have done a better job before the sale in explaining what you needed, how it would be installed, and what the maintenance requirements would be, and you should have done some (more) homework before shopping for water treatment. You are in a large boat with a lot of company... ;-)


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

These prices are quite impressive. My water district supplies water tested at 7 gpg. There are two adults in my house with normal water usage rates.

I bought a $400 WHES304 Whirlpool water softener from Lowe's for $400 and had my plumber install it. He bypassed all the outside hose bibs except for one near the driveway as I wanted soft water for washing my car.

It works great. I guess I could replace my water softener 4 or 5 times and still pay less than the systems quoted here. Sure, the twin tank system is better on paper but a 2 AM regen is perfectly fine with me if I can save over $1000.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

I've done a lot of research in finding the right system and company to install a softener in my home. You would not believe how much Culligan, Water Depot, Ecowater and all other big name companies mark up their prices on their water softeners. Not to mention their warranties are very limited and usually in the 1 to 5 year range.

I found a company here in Ontario that has really good prices on water softerners with really good warranties. Their Chlor-a-soft unit softens water AND removes chlorine from your city water. Their prices are very good and their warranties are amazing. For the chlor-a-soft it's a 20 year warranty on all parts (not just the tank or head valve unit). Excalubur Water Systems manufactures them and have been in business for almost 15 years.

The company I got my softener and RO from is Waterwork Company. URL is posted below (http://www.waterworkcompany.com). They have a promotion right now for a Chlor-A-Soft 32k grain water softener and 5-stage Reverse Osmosis for $1250 plus tax. And this includes installation, 20-year warranty and free service in Ontario.

If you live outside of their installation area they can sell and ship you the unit for a discount, but you will either have to install it yourself or arrange for a local plumber to install it for you. If you have the unit shipped to you, they include a self-installation kit with manual. The installation kit comes with all the pex fittings and parts to easily do the installation yourself without the need to do any soldering with copper, or crimping with pex.

Hope this helps some people save money and buy a quality unit that is actually better built and more efficient than the big companies that sell their units at ridiculous prices.

Here is a link that might be useful: WaterWork Company


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

Greetings! I am a new member and this is my first posting.

I was quoted $4295 for the ERR3500R20 installed via Costco membership that includes a $500 Costco gift card. I live in Orange County, California and I am wondering if I am being overcharged for the unit. Previous postings show the unit priced at $2449 installed.

Thank you in advance for your response.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

Hi James,

Welcome to the forum.

Your question will get the attention it deserves when you >b>start a new thread rather than resurrect a 5 year old thread.

In short, the first question is whether that softener is adequate to treat your water. Without knowing your water conditions and water usage there is no correct answer let alone is that softener priced right?


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

I wanted to post a new thread, but for some reason the gardenweb wouldn't let me.

We moved into a house in '05 that had a Culligan softener from previous owner.

We've ALWAYS had trouble with iron and sulfur odor, and have had Culligan do about 4 service calls since we've been here. Last year, we were told that the bladder of our water tank had burst, so we replaced it. This did NOT stop the iron/sulfur probs. Now the Culligan guy says we should get a Culligan WaterRight system for $2500. We've also researched a LindySpringSystem for about the same. My question is, these both seem to be pricey, and the last recomendation didn't pan out (much to our dismay and pained pocketbooks). What is the general advise for this?

Is there any info on removing iron and/or sulfur?


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

There are numerous threads - do a search on the bottom of the plumbing page for iron and you will find them. Once you've read a bit, come back and ask specific questions.

Complete water analysis is critical before making a decision about iron/sulfur removal from water. A certified lab can do the analysis. You need to know: pH, TDS, hardness, ferric iron, ferrous iron, manganese, sulfates, H2S, nitrates.

Here are some options in a nutshell:

1) Softener: A softener with specialty resin is capable of removing dissolved iron, up to 7 ppm (mg/L) but asking a softener to remove iron at those upper limits is really pushing it so I would not recommend this method. In addition, a softener would become plugged if you have particulate iron. Additionally, a softener will only work if you first remove the sulfur, so is not a good option as a stand-alone treatment.

2) Oxidation/Filtration: An oxidizer such as ozone, air, or chlorine may be used to react with the iron and force it to become particulate iron that can then be removed via filtration. A typical setup would involve the oxidizing unit, a holding tank, then a media filter. This type of system is not something your typical homeowner will be able to maintain themselves - you would want a water treatment pro that you trust.

3) Oxidizing filtration media: This type of treatment consists of a sealed tank filled with one of several media. Water passes through and is oxidized and filtered by the media. These are relatively easy to operate and what I would recommend for the average homeowner. There are basically three different media that can be used:

a) manganese greensand: water runs through for treatment. The media must be regenerated with potassium permanganate (care must be taken with dealing with potassium permanganate as it readily dies organic material, such as your skin, a purple-brown color)

b) birm: This media acts as a catalyst to force oxidation of iron. While it does not need to be regenerated, it does need fairly high dissolved oxygen in the water. If you water does not have adequate dissolved oxygen (and it probably doesn't since it is well water), air injection would be necessary.

c) pyrolox: an ore that oxidized then filters the iron out. It does not need regeneration, but needs to be backwashed (to rinse out the iron) at a high rate, 25 - 30 gallons per square foot. This is my personal preferrence, but understand that the backwash rate is critical.

d) terminox; very similar to pyrolox, but uses a much more reasonable amount of water for backwash.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

I'm really surprised at the (high) cost of the Kinetico/Ecowater/Culligan water softeners.

Our household is at a crossroads now as our 26+ year old water softener has a stuck brine valve, and I've called the local water softener dealer who is also a Kinetico dealer.
This water softener was purchased as a former rental unit so I don't know how old it actually is but it has served our family well.
Given the very high price of these units, I'm thinking it might be more cost effective to purchase and install a Myers Water Ace which can be had for around $750. I doubt we would save anything with a Kinetico over its lifespan.
For the record, we are on city water and our hardness is 6 GPG.
If we were on well water, I think the Kinetico would be more suitable.
Does anyone have any experience with the Myers Water Ace water softeners?


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

If you are going to DIY install anyway, look around on the internet. You can get a MUCH better softener for the same price as the dreadful box store variety. If you would like assistance with sizing and programming, you will need to provide some information:

1. Water analysis. Since you are on city water, you can get their quarterly reports. They won't be exactly what you have at your house, but are a good start. Water can pick up a few things along the way to your home, particularly iron (which makes a big difference in softener sizing)

2. How many people in your home? Do have frequent over-night guests, or expect the population of your home to increase or decrease in the next few years?

3. If your city provides you with a bill that includes the amount of water you use each month, what is the average usage?

4. Any fixtures that use a large amount of water, such as a jetted tub or multi-head shower?


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

Joe,

Kinetico, Culligan, and the other national brand softeners are priced high... no doubt about it. You'll also be marrying the local dealer for parts and service cause there are no third party alternatives and they will charge you for the privilege of owning their hardware. Good product but not necessarily better than industry standard hardware except in some unique circumstances.

IIRC the Meyer's softeners are industry standard softeners not the typical box store disposable softeners. I recall they are sold through some Lowes in some marketing areas. I think they use Fleck or Clack control valves which are first rate. I'd investigate them before crossing them off your list.

You might want to hit the Yellow Pages under "water treatment" and look for local companies that don't purvey a BRAND NAME. They are independent water treatment companies and will be selling industry standard softeners and should be reasonable in price and offer service and a warranty that's worth something.

If I could buy an industry standard softener at a comparable price to the net locally from someone I can look in the eye who will stand behind what they sell I wouldn't be in a big hurry to order one online with no service to speak of.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

Hello,

It is good to hear about these prices on water softenersin this discussion. I have been curious about the prices on these ones:

http://www.searchwaterfilters.com/water-softener.php
http://www.searchwaterfilters.com/culligan/water-softener.php

Here is a link that might be useful: water softener


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

Wow, goodgarden. That site you linked is just dreadful. It is full of incorrect information, written by folks that have little understanding of water treatment.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

I have just been quoted $3650 for a kinetico with r/o system. I will make sure to leave my outside hoses unsoftened per previous posts suggest. My water quality analysis deems I need to soften the water. I am definitely capable of DIY but don't know where to get a quality product in my region near Erie pa. Anyone have suggestions on a product to soften my water at a much lower upfront and long term cost? The culligan and ecowater are also unavailable as DIY set ups.


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RE: Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ?

Hello,

I am looking for a new water softener and before I purchase one I would like to learn, educate myself on those devices.
The more I read about water softeners the more I am confused.

Here are voice for Kinetic, because for some it works and voices against it, because it seems like another marriage to get into. Two marriages at the same time don't work.

Noticed one thing. Nobody mentions water softeners from Sears, as an example.
Don't they do the job which they supposed to do?


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