Water Softeners For CH Control

Arizonarob

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Mar 25, 2018
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Chandler Arizona
I had both the kitchen and laundry set up for both gas and electric. It’s a lot cheaper to plan ahead when building as opposed to adding things later. I even had electrical outlets put in closets for charging things and WiFi routers.
I know that’s what kills me Chief. They built my home with gas everything, including a gas fireplace, but for another 1k they could have a gas stove. But noooooo, too much. :roll:
I hate electric stoves!! Grrrr
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
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May 23, 2015
14,885
Tucson, AZ
Yeah, and if your home comes with gas heat and hot water, it’s another 1k to plumb for a gas stove. And yet people don’t do it. That’s what chaps by butt about my house!! :rant:
My brother just refreshed all his kitchen appliances, he ditched his electric range and went with a gas oven/range top. His gas company sent out a licensed plumber to do the work BUT they live in St Louis and have a basement. So running a new gas line branch to the kitchen is easy.

Agree with all - plan ahead, even if you don’t use it. Makes the home more sellable in my opinion.
 

cfherrman

TFP Guide
May 10, 2017
2,124
Hays, Kansas
Funny I was looking at all these extra costs you guys are commenting on with shock, it cost me maybe $50 or less to move my water heater, washer and dryer, and plumb in a softener, then I realized the key word, basement, not everyone has one.

(And I got 3 high quality 1" valves for nearly free)
 

chiefwej

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Jun 12, 2011
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Tucson
In Kansas it’s a place to hide from the tornado, if you don’t have a separate storm cellar.
 

JoyfulNoise

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May 23, 2015
14,885
Tucson, AZ
Yeah, it’s weird here in southern AZ...very different building styles. I’d much rather have a basement here where it’s dry and no chance of the water table rising up than back in NY where I grew up and you had to worry about your basement flooding every year or two....
 
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mknauss

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May 3, 2014
13,910
Laughlin, NV
Only issue with a basement in the western US (intermountain area especially) is radon. We had a basement in our homes in Wyoming and Colorado. Once the radon issue started to be examined both had to have 'mitigation' systems installed for us to sell them. $$$$.
 
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chiefwej

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Jun 12, 2011
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Tucson
I do miss having a basement. My current house “officially” has more square feet than my previous one. But then, that one had both a full basement, and a walk up attic that doesn’t count as “living space” on listings. Basements and attics not only give you tons of extra storage space, but great access for remodeling projects.
 
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Arizonarob

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Mar 25, 2018
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I hear ya Chief. Back east I had a raised ranch that had a split downstairs. Half was the family room, and the other half was the laundry room and 2nd bathroom. When I gutted my kitchen it was over the back half (laundry room) and it was so nice popping tiles (drop ceiling) to run electrical lines and change plumbing configurations.
I actually looked at a couple of houses when I moved to AZ that had basements, 20 degrees cooler down there then the main floor. Both needed to much updating for me to make them right.
 

cfherrman

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May 10, 2017
2,124
Hays, Kansas
When I redid the furnace last year I just put the filter on top of the furnace (furnace upstairs, downflow), cut a large hole in the floor where the water heater used to be and installed a open vent in the wall next to the filter. This is the only winter we have not had dry noses and sire throats due to dry air, used to get to 20% humidity inside , I think due to the furnace sucking in more humid air from the basement. I will eventually duct a return through the hole.

I also used concrete sealer on the inside of 2/3rd of our basement on the walls and floor and even though it's still just concrete walls and floor it doesn't smell like a basement, pretty impressed with the sealer. 1700 sq ft basement
 

cfherrman

TFP Guide
May 10, 2017
2,124
Hays, Kansas
Open this year a few weeks ago, I don't cover my pool due to massive Kansas winds and that might change for next year as I'm sick of this dirt in the pool.

Over 3 weekends I filled 5000 gallons into the pool from the water softener. Before the softner I started with 275 ch and got it to 250 last year. I tested when the pool got filled full and circulated a few days.

175 ch

Still the best thing I have ever done to the house, and rather easy to manage the pool with the meter on the softener.

Matt you need to start using your water softener
 

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setsailsoon

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TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
973
Stuart/FL
My Clack valve operates on a demand initiated regeneration, which is just a fancy way of saying that it measures flow rate and volume through the softener and then regenerates when you’ve reached the set point volume (max capacity - reserve capacity). I have a button I can push on my Clack valve that tells me the number of gallons left before regeneration starts. I noticed it ran yesterday when I went out in the morning so mine does not wait until the off hours (2am) to regen. I think that’s an option one can set but it’s buried in a service menu that the end-customer isn’t given access to (although I was told I could have access to the valve configuration menu if I asked. They just don’t want customers messing up the valve settings). So it looks like I’m getting about 6 days between regen cycles which is about what I expected given the large family I have. I can also manually regen the unit if I want to.

My unit uses 25 gallons of water per regen cycle so even if it did 8 regens per month, that still would be just 200 gallons of water per month extra which is nothing compared to my other uses. My salt tank holds 200lbs of salt which should last several months based on regen capacity. I get 50 lbs bags delivered from the softener company at $7.50/bag. Lowes/HD/Ace are all $7.50 for a 40lbs bag.

Dirk, you definitely want to get an idea of your unit’s capacity. The pool can use quite a bit of water during high evaporation periods and you want to make sure it doesn’t run your softener out before a regen cycle. There’s no damage that will occur to the softener if it gets exhausted; all that happens is your water hardness goes up.

As for why softeners aren’t more prevalent - probably a lot of reasons. I have a neighbor who’s a southwest desert native and he thinks it’s “stupid” to waste money and water softening it. To him, it’s a solution to a non-problem. Part of that argument is right - there is no health benefit to softened water. So if all you have to do is keep fixtures clean or deal with calcium scale, meh!, not really a problem. Others believe that softeners use/waste a lot of water and make your water bills go higher. Old softeners with timer based valves certainly use more water than demand-initiated regen but that’s fixed by replacing old softeners. Also, there is added expense - regen water and salt. Maybe it’s not huge for some people but others might consider it an expense not worth paying for.

Talking with the plumber, he mentioned that building a house and adding the softener loop to the plumbing layout typically raises the plumbing costs by about a $1k. So he was a little surprised that someone paid to have the house built with a softener loop but never used it.

I would definitely say that if you are building a pool in Tucson and your house doesn’t have a softener, then it’s worth adding to the build. Calcium is just one of those insidious pool problems that builds up slowly over time. Adding even a $1000 softener is nothing compared to a pool build price tag of $50k or more and it saves the pool owner a lot of headaches.
Matt,

I agree completely and my experience with the softener has been superb. I installed a system very soon after moving in here in Stuart Fl. Initially the supply was very hard around 10 gr/gal. Shortly after the water district installed new softening process that got us down to about 4 gr/gal. Still pretty hard. I used a Fleck valve and have adjusted to regen with 10% spare capacity. I use the Hach 145300 total hardness test to monitor performance about quarterly. Always tests at less than 1 gr/gal and been in service since 2015. We have absolutely no build up of scum on shower doors and such.

My well water is used for irrigation only and it has about 20 gr/gal. I'm now noticing plugging and build up on irrigation fittings and over-spray so I think I'll do another system for it. I use about 20,000 gal per month on that well (1/2 ac lot).

Chris
 

setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
973
Stuart/FL
My last softener would reduce the CH from 250 to 220, my dishes were not clean, dishwasher was getting broke, my faucets were plugging up, shower heads getting ruined, cat bowls would need to be tossed out, and my daughters eczema was getting worse. This is the best purchase I have made in my life.
Something's wrong with the softener that it only got that small reduction. Properly sized the softener should be able to get down to less than 1 gr/gal. Could have been it wasn't regenerating right, resin was spent, or resin was fractured due to high chlorine and you had channeling. I'd suggest no matter what softener you have test quarterly with the Hach Total Hardness test (145300 model 5-b). It costs about $20 online and has more reagent than you can ever use.

Chris
 

cfherrman

TFP Guide
May 10, 2017
2,124
Hays, Kansas
The old softener, was old, and I believe the control went on it as well. I use my ch test to figure hardness and just round up and have extra reserve capacity.

Your not supposed to use softeners for irrigation all though I do and my salt level after the softner is only 200 ppm which irc the softener is adding 130 ppm salt

I'll add that the only problems I've had with a oversized softener is it has bridged twice

I might go with potassium salt to reduce sodium in the water for the plants
 
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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,885
Tucson, AZ
The softener should not be affecting the salinity of the water. The only time “salt” is exposed to the resin is during the regeneration cycle. After regeneration, the only exchange should be sodium for calcium.

My water softener goes through a very thorough backflush, rinse and regeneration procedure. If I remember correctly, the unit backflushes the resin prior to regeneration (this helps avoid channeling and removes any settled solids, and then rinses the resin both before and after regeneration. This ensures all of the brine water is removed before the system is taken out of bypass.

You’d have to check the particulars of your unit but, if a backflush or rinse cycle is present, you may need to lengthen their run times to ensure sufficient brine removal.

Either way, softened water adds sodium to irrigated land and that increases the sodicity of the soil. Highly sodic soils make it harder for the roots to uptake nutrients. The sodicity of the soil is based on a formula that incorporates the concentrations of sodium, calcium and magnesium. One can also do an electrical conductivity measurement of the soil and there are tables that relate EC to sodicity.

Be careful with potassium. It requires more potassium than sodium by weight to run a softener and you may need to adjust the regeneration time to maintain good softening. Water with high potassium levels can also stress out plants too. Even though potassium is one of that major macronutrients for plant fertilizer (N-P-K), too much K can lead to plant damage. Soils are rarely ever potassium deficient so adding more potassium to soils doesn’t usually help out plants.
 
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cfherrman

TFP Guide
May 10, 2017
2,124
Hays, Kansas
Read Matt's post above, the softened water adds sodium (I keep saying salt he corrects me every time) and can over time make the soil toxic
 

JoyfulNoise

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May 23, 2015
14,885
Tucson, AZ
Read Matt's post above, the softened water adds sodium (I keep saying salt he corrects me every time) and can over time make the soil toxic
Ah, now I understand the comment. I only bring up the “sodium not salt” thing because that is the biggest misconception about them and it is often exploited by certain water conditioning companies that want to sell people very expensive fixed exchange filtration systems (“no salt” softeners). They often use the scare tactic that you’re putting salt in your water and it’s going to wreck your health if you do, etc, etc. So I’m sensitive to the “salt” comments.
 

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