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LwnmwnMan2

Water Softener

15 posts in this topic

As related to some of my other posts, the house my wife and I live in is going on 30 years old now.

It's not so much that stuff is breaking down, or doesn't work, as much as technology has changed so much in those 30 years that we just need to update most things.

The next "smaller" project is to update our water softener.

The one that we have right now, eats up about 2 bags of salt / month.

The water that we have isn't too hard.

Anyways, we're looking for something that'll use a little less salt.

Is there anyone here that knows where you can take water to get it tested, so you know what you're dealing with?

Anyone got any tips on what softener / price range I could look at??

Of course there's the big box's softeners, of which we've already glanced at.

Just by glancing at them, we realize there's probably a difference in technology, the biggest is that our softener right now is basically a 55 gallon drum-sized container, where as the newer ones look like they might hold 2 bags of salt at the most.

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I do believe any business that is into water softeners will most likely do a free h20 check for you.

We've been pleased with our Lyndsay EcoWater softener for 14 years, but would also consider Kinetico. They are a little more expensive, but don't require electricity and are pretty much foolproof from what I understand. Again, you pay a little more at first, but it seems like a good initial investment.

Just my 2 pennies worth.

MJ

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If you havent already done it I'd bring in 2 water samples for testing, 1 from the softner and 1 non-softened to see where youre at, so when you make your purchase youre not spending more than you have to. I'd check into the sears models and just get one with most of the features that make sense unless youre a top of the line kinda guy then the Kinetico but youll be cutting into your fishing cash grin.gif oh yea the reason I like sears is if you ever need a part they will still have it . my uncle had a 20year old unit that needed somthing and they had it shocked.gif. we did finally put a new one in because the mineral tank was so full we couldnt lift it.

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First, you can usually call the city/municipal water treatment plant and they can tell you the average hardness of the water. Assuming you are serviced by city water, that is.

Second, the biggest improvement, IMO, is demand-based regeneration. Old units regenerated strictly on a timer schedule that was based on the household size/average assumed water consumption. It regenerated at the set intervals whether or not it was necessary. You may be able to save quite a lot of salt by cutting back on the number of regeneration cycles if there is less water use than you had before. If the kids are no longer at home, you are doing less laundry, taking less showers/baths, etc. the softener does not need to regenerate as frequently.

Most newer softeners can be set to demand-based operation. You program in the grains of water hardness based on the test or municipal info and then the softener literally measures your water use with a flowmeter and keeps track of when to regenerate based on actual water usage, not just a fixed time schedule.

I purchased a Sears/Kenmore softener a few years ago and it has worked flawlessly. The size is deceiving though, lots of bags still fit inside. I'd guess mine probably holds at least 6 to 8 bags of salt.

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Quote:

First, you can usually call the city/municipal water treatment plant and they can tell you the average hardness of the water. Assuming you are serviced by city water, that is.

Second, the biggest improvement, IMO, is demand-based regeneration. Old units regenerated strictly on a timer schedule that was based on the household size/average assumed water consumption. It regenerated at the set intervals whether or not it was necessary. You may be able to save quite a lot of salt by cutting back on the number of regeneration cycles if there is less water use than you had before. If the kids are no longer at home, you are doing less laundry, taking less showers/baths, etc. the softener does not need to regenerate as frequently.

Most newer softeners can be set to demand-based operation. You program in the grains of water hardness based on the test or municipal info and then the softener literally measures your water use with a flowmeter and keeps track of when to regenerate based on actual water usage, not just a fixed time schedule.

I purchased a Sears/Kenmore softener a few years ago and it has worked flawlessly. The size is deceiving though, lots of bags still fit inside. I'd guess mine probably holds at least 6 to 8 bags of salt.


We're on well water, no city water here, at least for another 10 years or so....

You know, I never even thought of Sears. Wife and I are big time Kenmore people, so we'll have to wait until the post-Christmas rush is done and head down there.

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We bought and installed the morton system saver. Goes through about 1 bag or less a month (40lb bags)has a relitively small footprint and recycles on demand instead of a schedule. We looked at Sears and found this unit to be about 200 dollars cheaper then sears and fit into the tiny area we needed it to fit in our utility room. Menards has them and a full blown water test kit goes for about 8 dollars. The morton system comes with two water test kits. One so you can test before and one to test after the softener.

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The amount of salt used is dependent on the need or how often the unit recharges. If you unit is automatic, maybe you need to re-evauate the settings so it truly recycles when it is needed. Have your water tested to find out how hard it is and adjust your softner to that hardness level.

For example, for some automatic units, you enter the hardness level of the incoming water and it calculates how many gallons it can soften per charge and recycles accordingly. If you configure the hardness setting too high, the unit is fooled into believing the water is harder than it really is and it will cycle more often than is truly necessary.

If your softner is not automatic and you need to set it up to cycle every so many days or on certain days of the week, just try reducing the number of cycles. If you don't cycle often enough, you will find that your water will get hard between cycles.

Without getting too technical, a water softner is basically a mineral filter. When it cycles, it uses the salt brine to ionically charges its "filter" so that it attracts the minerals found in the water and collects them. As the minerals are collected the system or filter gets full and so it needs to cycle to empty the filter and recharge again. The harder your water is or the more water you use between cycles, the more often the system needs to be cleaned and recharged.

For example, if you have a lot of sand in your water you probably need a particulate filter in your water line. THe more sand you have and the more water you use, the more often you have to change the filter.

Bob

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I bought a WaterBoss at Fleet Farm several years ago and installed it myself. Fairly easy to installed. Works good, except when it runs out of salt and I put a new bag in the water in my home is brownish colored for a few day's. Anybody know why-should I regenerate it?

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I would regenerate.

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I installed a Water boss about 3 years ago and have been very happy. It replaced an old Culligan model. Salt use has really been decreased and it is a small compact unit. It was recommended by a couple of plumbers and a few folks I work with. Both FF and Menards carries them, I think one of them has a sale right now.

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the water boss is a very well designed unit. however it is not designed for most of minnesotas water. and not at all designed for well water. they will tend to plug up a bit to soon.

lemme explain. most cities have some form of particulate removers running for the city water. ie. clorination, iron removers. and some even will soften to some sort of level (not many do this)

the one thing that wells in rural areas do not do is combat iron and iron componets as well as magenise (sp) hardness (scale) and a few other things. the absense of clorine causes a build up of iron algee, that why the cities clorenate thier water, and iron is one of the things that most stores do not take into account when trying to size you into a new softner. and this is important because, for every ppm of iron you have, adds four grains of hardness points to the sizeing formula.

this is a very important factor when decideing your needs. hard water is anything with hardness readings over 3 grains of hardness. and the average city with out expensive water treatment for hardness control will run from aprox 12-21 grains. and most cities will usually have 1-3 ppm of iron. anything over 3ppm of iron and you will need to consider some form of iron removal. and that can be as simple as a quart of clorine bleach and two five gallon pails of water for monthly maitenence. to somewhat larger volume capacity softeners. and also adding supplement liquid feeders to your brine tanks that will dispense a resup fluid into the brine ready for the next regeneration. and in some cases, even shock treating your well to kill off all the iron algee in the water table and monthly treatments as well.

now demand water softners are definnatly the way to go. IF you can. they are not always advisable for use of wells. again due to non pre treated water. again this is where asking a water professional is a good thing to do. they know you will be calling them, if you do end up buying from them, and expierence any problems with the unit.

i dont mean to boar you in this subject. but i do have lots of expierence on this subject. as it was one of the lines of product our store sold before we closed up the doors. all i can tell you is before you just pop on down to the local box store. do your home work and talk with water professionals.

the line i sold. and will mention only because there have been others mentioned in this very forum. is manufatured in luverne minnesota by the autotrol company and marketed under the magic water label. we sold them for years. but i will add that,the lines mentioned in this forum. are also very good units.

anyone can sell you a softner. but you have to remember that, that purchase is as important as the kitchen frige or the beer cooler. get it wrong and you will be useing more salt than neccessary. or leaving the fixtures with that hard water scale on them. which means more cleaning. and if you are cleaning, you are not fishing. and if momma is cleaning you prolly aint gonna go fishing either. heheheh cause you know what they say. "if momma aint happy. noooooooooobodys happy. hope this helps you out. ... paul

and just as important. make sure to ask what the best kind (not brand) of salt to use in it. and there is a difference.

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Give the folks at Merles water a call. They will run up and test your water at the house for you. They sell Hagues which in my oppinion are one of the best on the market. YOu don't need to over spend on a kinetico. They will sell you what you need and nothing more and service is great! I just bought a house in Wyoming this summer and they installed one for us. YOu want a metered system It will save you a ton of money on salt. I think we have used about 50 lbs since June. The unit is all digital. I think installed it was around 850. You will save this in salt in a hurry thus paying for itself.

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I haven't seen any numbers on your hardness and iron and have no idea what Stacy area water is like.

That said, until you get the figures, don't be scared off on the water boss line or any other softners in the 4-500 range.

Up in this neck of the woods, most of the well water I test is far superior to city water. The norm is around 5 to 10 grains hard and "O" iron.

As some previous posts say, make sure you get a metered softner, I agree.

On the other hand, if your sprinklers are turning your house siding orange, then i'd start worrying smile.gif

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I ended up going with a Kenmore. As previously posted, my wife and I are quite partial to these appliances.

Anyways, our water is about a 16 on the hardness, with 0 iron.

Hopefully I can get it hooked up tomorrow, it'll depend on how much salt I have to spread in the morning, talking about freezing rain and the such....

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That's what I have also.

You are good to go wink.gif

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