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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2006-11-28          137390


I think our old softener is about history, I've followed the manual doing cleaning cycles, etc. but it don't help much anymore. I've always kinda gone the el cheapo route (Sears, this is probably about our fourth or fifth one. Just wondering what other folks do, buy the high dollar Kinetico, rent from Culligan, or go the Sears route again? Do the rental companys furnish the salt or do you maintain it yourself, that is kind of an issue with us because neither I or the Mrs. can lug bags of salt to the basement anymore so we wait for one of the kids to show up for salt duty. Thanks. Frank.

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2006-11-28          137391


We had an expensive Kinetico installed about 7 years ago now. The water here is hard with a small amount of rust. It has been a trooper, we've never done anything to it other than add rust-saver salt. No electronics to go bad either and it's twin-tank design gives continuous soft water during regeneration. I'd buy again even though it was expensive. We had a Sears on city water where the electronics died right after the warranty went out. They wanted nearly as much for a new circuit board as an entire unit would have cost. I ended up fixing the board myself. A resistor on the board fried. It was a 1/4 watt and should have been 1/2 watt or more. Planned obsolesence? ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2006-11-28          137393


KW; Failure soon after the warranty expires has kind of been my experience with Sears too. I've always been kind of a hard sell on extended warrantys, but maybe a softener should be an exception. I saw an article in the paper once about Sears income sources. First was credit card intrest, second was extended warrrantys, and third was retail sales. I just talked to a brother inlaw who too has had a Kinnetico for 10 yrs. without a hitch. I am going to check with Culligan, if they deliver and put the salt in the unit, that may be the way for us, I'm sure that five years down the road we won't be any more able to lug salt bags than we are today. Anybody use Culligan, roughly what do they charge? Thanks. Frank. ....

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Blueman
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 243 Washington, PA
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2006-11-28          137394


Hardwood,
AC5ZO gave me some excellent advice in the past on water softening. Per his advice, I installed my own GE high efficiency water softener, and the last time I checked my hardness, I believe it was about "19" (not sure what the scale means). I add a couple hundred pounds of salt maybe every 6 months or so, and I have 4 children...so you can imagine how much water we go through. I've been very happy with this softener so far. I'm not sure how much water it uses for regeneration, and with the well problems I've had lately, I guess I need to look into this as well. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2006-11-28          137396


Frank, I too took Mikes advice back then and got rid of my failing antique in favour of a better model.

The old "you get what you pay" adage is correct.

As for the salt, I have the same problem, but it is because of a bad back. The solution wasn't too difficult. I built a hopper next to the softener, and made up a couple of lengths of 4" plastic drain pipe that when snapped together (and held in place by a short screw in the top of each joint) reach from the nearest basement window to a flange in the side the hopper. I just slide the bags of salt off the truck and into the FEL, then drive to the basement window. A metal HVAC duct reducer on top of an elbow forms a funnel into which I pour the salt using a hand grain scoop. The salt runs down the drain pipe and into the hopper next to the softener.

I takes me about a 1/2 hour to load a few months worth of salt into the basement. This certainly beats two days with a sore back!!

Best of luck. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2006-11-28          137403


That Murf, the smartest guy I know. Well not counting Art, Oneance, SG, Hardwood, KW, Michiganfun, but I am just saying. :)
....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2006-11-28          137405


Kenneth, there's a world of difference between smart and lazy.

I fall somewhere about the middle I think. ;) ....

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
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2006-11-28          137426


I go the Sears route and replace them when they die. They have had reasonable longevity and the last one I bought uses very little salt. I think I am on my 3rd in about 20 years. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2006-11-28          137427


ncrunch, do you have well water? ....

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
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2006-11-29          137435


Yes, I have always had well water which was pretty hard. I might have had 4 of these units - can't remember exactly. But I don't have to replace them that often or right after warranty. I have been satisfied that the total price to me is less than I would pay if I went with a high quality brand. ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2006-11-29          137439


I'm not biting Kenny ;).

Anywho, where do you fall on Murf's scale? ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2006-11-29          137442


I hate to break the news here..... but if you buy a new softener and it uses less salt than the old one, one of the was set up WRONG.

The salt usage is predicated on the amount of hardness present in the water. If you go too long between regeneration cycles you are running hard water past the resin bed toward the end of the cycle.

To do it right you MUST know the hardness value of the water and follow the manufacturers directions for the time between recharge cycles.

This is vitally important if you are also feeding an under-sink RO system. Any exposure to hard water will scale the membrane and render it useless in short order.

Below is a link to the type of kit I use. They also have test strips, but I have no experience with those. ....


Link:   

Click Here


 
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kdsrgone
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 30 south central PA
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2006-11-29          137456


DR,

Somewhat true but also somewhat not. Many softener controls were simple timers where they started a regeneration every "x" number of days, whether the unit needed it or not. The newer electronic controls measure the amount of water passing through and base regeneration on that (along with the hardness, amount of salt, etc programmed in). In our case we noticed a significant drop in salt usage with the new unit with electronic controls. Both the old and new units were set with the same hardness level, but most times our new unit will go 6 or 7 days without regeneration, yet when we have a house full of guests for a weekend it may regen in 3 days. Our old unit was set to 4 days, and most of those types of controls only allow a max of 5 days between cycling. ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2006-11-30          137464


Well, there you have it! I have never used a cheap softener, so apparently there is a gap in my experience. Setting the re-gen cycle on a simple timer like that is, to my mind, wasteful and grossly inefficient.

You wouldn't have to buy too many wasted bags of salt at $4-$8 a bag before you could have bought a "smarter" system.

I have a two tank, high-capacity system. My water runs 38 grains hard and that means that each tank can only soften about 600 gallons of water. With a 4 person household and an RO system, we regenerate every day or two.

I probably use 300+ pounds of salt a month. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2006-11-30          137465


DR; Wow, that seems like a lot of salt, but then I don't really understand the hardness scale at 38 either, so maybe your water is super hard. I don't want to appear too dumb but what is an RO system? Frank. ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4284 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2006-11-30          137467


RO = Reverse Osmosis. RO pretty much takes everything out of the water and some say the good taste as well. I never cared for water softeners because the water makes you feel like you can't get the soap or shampoo rinsed off your skin. We just run our drinking water through a 1 micron water filter. On occasion after very heavy rain, the well water gets cloudy. I run the water slowly on the outside hydrant for a few days and it clears right up. Helps to keep my pond water level up as well. ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2006-11-30          137469


Yup... 38 grains per gallon is considered very hard. I live in a highly mineralized zone...... just over the hill from the famous Comstock Lode in Virginia City. Hence our ground water has a very high mineral content.

Reverse Osmosis removes up to 99 percent of the minerals and toxins from the water. We have significant amounts of arsenic and mercury in the soil and in the river water down in the valley. The RO filters all that stuff out.

The down side is it takes quite a bit of water to do that. I probably get 1 gallon of pure drinking/cooking water for every 5 gallons that goes through the machine.

My soft water runs about 1200 parts per million of dissolved solids. That 1200 PPM is composed of sodium chloride from the softener plus all the non-calcium/magnesium minerals and toxins in the well water.

After the RO process the product water runs about 10 PPM so in my case it is removing 99.99 percent of the dissolved minerals and such. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2006-11-30          137483


Doesn't RO water leach the minerals from your body? ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
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2006-11-30          137488


So sez the rumor.

When I was doing Dialysis tech work in SoCal the water there was about the same general quality as my present well water.

With the RO technology 30 years ago I was able to produce water for the dialysis machines that was about 130 PPM of dissolved solids, and I thought I was doing well.

Then I moved to Anchorage and was amazed to find the deep wells that supplied the city back then produced water even cleaner than the the RO product in California. As I recall the tap water was 90 PPM or less.

All that to say this: In the grand scheme the difference in purity between 10 PPM and 90 PPM is insignificant. Yet no one living in Anchorage at that time or in the previous 60 years, had suffered any ill effects from drinking such pure water.

Your blood serum and interstitial body fluids have about the same salinity as sea water. Any level of fresh water introduced into the system would be considered to be a diluting factor by comparison.

The kidneys sense the required levels of minerals needed in the body and conserve vital elements when they run low, and they remove excesses when there is an overload.







....

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brokenarrow
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1288 Wisconsin
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2006-12-03          137540


I have had a Mermaid (now bought out by culligan) water softner. Have had it for 10 years now and its still going strong. Also have had my R/O water system (drinking) for the same time. I have rplacd the filters only 3 times and the water is like night and day. Drink it with out the r/o and you get a bad swampy after taste. Drink it after the R/O and you can't taste a damm thing?
My well water does not smell or anything just tastes bad. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2006-12-03          137542


Broken; Do you rent your unit or did you buy it? ....

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brokenarrow
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1288 Wisconsin
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2006-12-04          137577


Hardwood
When I built my house in 97 I bought it. They came and installed it (since it was new construction and I bought both systems at once they gave me a good price) I paid roughly 475 for the reverse osmosis and around 425 for the water softener installed. (those prices it may be backwards,cant remember but it was a total of $925 for both including tax).
I love the R/O system, it makes around 6 gallons a day and for the most part it takes care of all our drinking water and cooking water with seldom to never running out. Sometimes when I am cooking mashed taters AND boiling Brats plus filling the dogs water a few times we may run slow for a bit LOL.
Sorry; To answer your question --- I own it. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2006-12-05          137585


Broken: Thanks for the response. Since I first posted I managed to nurse the old Sears back to life again, but this is probably it's death rally. When she does bite the big one, I think I'll go with a rental Culligan so the "Culligan Man", or lady, which ever can carry the salt to the basement. Thanks to all who educated me on the R/O system, that sounds like something I'll look into when the time comes for a new softener. Thanks again. Frank. ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2006-12-05          137600


One more note on water treatment systems: they generally don't tell you when they start pooping out.

The only way to know that the ion exchange on the softener is working properly over time is to test the water with a kit like the one I linked to earlier.

I would only spend the money if the ground water was real hard or if using an RO for drinking water.

But with the RO..... I think you have to test it. It will give no indication that the is a tear in the membrane or that is is worn out and just passing the water through.

I have a link below to a simple and effective tester. You just stick it in a glass of feed water and then stick it in a glass of treated water and read the difference. ....


Link:   

Click Here


 
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brokenarrow
Join Date: Jan 2004
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2006-12-05          137640


The R/O drinking water system will let me know when the filters need replacing. It has a tester in line BUT the real test is the taste and smell. As soon as you notice a difference, it is time to change filters. I beleive I only changed my filters twice in 9 years (maybe once, but I think twice). The system tells you every year or MORE if nesessary depending on your well waters quality. Me thinks they want filters sold (they are spendy) Taste is by far the best tester IMO. Thats the reason we normally get it in the first place (aside from saftey) ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
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2006-12-05          137644


Just to be clear: the RO is a membrane, not a filter, but it has pre-filters to remove chlorine(which is harmful to the membrane)and sediments.

It might have a post, or finishing filter also.... usually it is carbon based too.

When I talk of testing, I am referring to testing the salt rejecting quality of the RO membrane, not the pre or post filters.

....

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Blueman
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 243 Washington, PA
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2007-06-18          143007


Any ideas out there why I am experiencing a significant drop in water pressure coming out of my GE water softener? ....

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
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2007-06-18          143008


Blueman

I don't have a softener, just an acid neutralizer, on mine there is backflushing routine that runs 3 times a week. I assume it does it so the calcite does not get all clogged up.

Does your system have the same backflush cycle and is the timer executing the cycle as scheduled?

Just a thought. ....

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Blueman
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2007-06-18          143009


Dennis,
Yes, it has an auto regeneration cycle, normally at 2AM. I called GE, and they said the "outlet" in the resin tank may have become clogged, but they had not suggestion how to service it other than to have a GE serviceman out...fairly costly where I live.

Oh, and still not getting email notification of replies??

Sean ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2007-06-18          143017


Blueman, this is a topic were being VERY specific helps with the diagnosis.

You said "pressure drop", but I suspect you meant to say "drop in flow rates" and not pressure.

If it is indeed a drop in flow, and GE has a suggestion as specific as the tank outlet, then you can pretty much guess thats a known problem.

If you can fiddle around with the connections a bit you might want to try applying some 'input' water pressure to the 'outlet' side of the tank and see if you can flush the blockage free.

Sometimes you can take the fitting off right at the tank and if so, possibly see, and even get a pair of needle nose pliers on the blockage.

You might also want to see if you can find some sort of solvent product that is safe to use in potable water systems to disolve the blockage.

Best of luck. ....

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bloggins
Join Date: Apr 2006
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2007-06-24          143153


I have a softner and something was impeding the flow so much I couldn't take a shower, so I opened the softner by-pass valve and I got full pressure (indicating the softner was at fault). Closed the valve and ran two manual back-to-back regeneration cycles and suddenly I got full pressure back. I don't know what caused it but its running fine now. ....

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