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  1. #1
    Expert flightsimmer's Avatar

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    Hey guys, help me with water softners.

    I have just installed a new water heater and I'm considering a water softner.
    I have looked at the top 10? Including Culligan to get an idea of what I need. I'm on Indpls, city water line and I believe that all I need is a softner to take out mineral deposits like those that clogged my old water heater.

    Can anyone tell me from experience the best route to go? P.S. I have a somewhat limited space to work with.
    If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. (Rom12:18)

  2. #2
    Expert EvilElmo's Avatar

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    I'm by no means an expert but I'll pass on the advice given to me by the guy who installed mine - pay attention to the fittings. Brass to brass is fine, nylon to nylon is fine, but brass to nylon it just going to cause you problems in the long run.

  3. #3
    Grandmaster Tactically Fat's Avatar

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    I can't help you with much on the "what to buy" route... But take a sample of your water with you to some place and have it tested for hardness.

    Indy water will probably be rather hard out of the tap. I know my Greenwood water is like 20-22 GPG / hardness. GPG = Grains Per Gallon.

    I haven't had my softened water tested, but I'm sure it's probably still somewhat hard.

    As far as devices: Get an on-demand softener. No reason to get one that recharges every day. Get one that'll only recharge when it needs it.
    Amazing Grace, how sweet was her sound.

  4. #4
    Grandmaster WebSnyper's Avatar

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    Take some water and have it tested at Aqua Systems and then talk to them about the results. Do not tell them if you have a softener or not and whose it is before getting it tested. (I recently did this and I have an Aqua Systems softener --- mine is about 12 going on 13 years old and I just wanted to see if it was still performing. My water was still soft and all was good.) I also had an Aqua Systems softener in my previous house and have had good experience with them.
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  5. #5

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    I personally don't care for Culligan as I think it over softens the water and makes it taste funny. I can tell in the first sip that someone has a Culligan system.
    A decade ago, shortly after moving into my house, I installed an inexpensive Morton branded softener. It still works fine, but I've started noticing that the hardness is creeping up. Likely the resin is getting clogged and I'll have to replace it. In the previous house, I had a water boss softener, again with no problems.

    There are softeners for every budget, some more hi-tech than others, but they all function in basically the same way in that the incoming water is pushed through a bed of resin coated plastic beads that absorb the calcium through an ion exchange, hence they add sodium to the water. (You can avoid the sodium by using potassium chloride instead of standard salt.) During the regeneration cycle, the beads are flushed with a concentrated brine solution, which strips the calcium off the resin and puts the sodium back. The calcium is then flushed down the drain.

    Softeners are sized in total grains of hardness to remove. You can calculate how many gallons of water the softener will treat by dividing the total grains by the incomming hardness (Google says Indy water is 12-20 grains, so a 30000 grain softener would treat 1500 gallons). It will then regenerate, consuming a fixed amount of salt.

    You don't necessarily want to go crazy and purchase the largest unit possible as the softeners do need to regenerate on a regular basis (i.e. <10 days). If you purchase a large softener for a small household, it will regen every 10 days, using the same salt amount, and therefore cause you to use more salt than if you had a smaller softener. Conversely, if you install a small softener, but use lots of water, it may need to regen every day.

    Softeners do have different salt efficiencies. I go through about 400 lbs of salt/year. I've got friends w/ apparently inefficient softeners, and they seem to use almost 2000 lb/year. The difference in salt cost can pay the difference in upgrading to a more efficient system.

    In my opinion, you will get a more cost effective system by purchasing a quality softener yourself and hiring an independent plumber to install it, instead of going to a dealer of a specific brand.


  6. #6
    Sharpshooter Scuba591's Avatar

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    I've been happy with WaterBoss. Compact design with great customer service. I agree, as has been said, get your water tested and do the calculations for hardness removed with each unit you are considering.

  7. #7
    Grandmaster Rookie's Avatar

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    I rent one from Culligan. Years ago, I bought one from Culligan, and one week after the warranty was up, it took a ****. Now, I'm one my third rental unit (in seven years), and I don't have to worry about warranties. My situation is a little different since I have huge amounts of iron in my water, but I'll never buy another even if I was on city water.

  8. #8
    Expert jkaetz's Avatar

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    I have used a couple inexpensive whirlpool ones from the local home improvement stores. When the current one dies I will be replacing it with a Kinetico system. The inexpensive ones seem to do the job but the water hardness level seems to fluctuate as it goes from regeneration to regeneration. The Kenetico system my Dad has is always ready to go (no downtime for regeneration) and seems more consistent in its softening ability.

  9. #9

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    Also consider a pre-filter in front of the softener. I'm on a well, with a lot of iron, so a little different than you, but it can't hurt.


  10. #10
    Grandmaster femurphy77's Avatar

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    I've had two Aqua system units and two Morton's in different houses, never had a lick of trouble with any of them. We're currently on a Morton and it makes a yuge difference, YUGE!
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