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Good Water Softeners?
Old 11-16-2009, 12:08 PM   #1
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Good Water Softeners?

Mine seems to be dying. Can you get a cheap one without spending an arm and a leg?
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Old 11-16-2009, 12:16 PM   #2
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I'ld buy the same one then do the INSTALL myself (since pipes will line up). If I recall mine was ~$500 and the install was ~$300 (back when copper was an arm and a leg).
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Old 11-16-2009, 03:41 PM   #3
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Any brands that anyone would recommend....Culligan? Kinetico?
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Old 11-16-2009, 03:49 PM   #4
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FD, we have super hard water and I've had good luck over the years using Sears brand softeners. I replaced our last one after ~8 years of heavy use and decided to go with a GE I found at Sams at a good price. It is now going on 4 years and seems to be working fine.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:35 PM   #5
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I've got a Water Boss that has worked flawlessly for 15+ years. This means that if you buy one it will die immediately and you'll hate me.

Seriously, though, I'd Google what ever model you are thinking of buying along with the word "trouble" or "repair" and see what shows up. After my Kenmore washing machine started giving me trouble, I Googled it and found many, many people with the same problem.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:40 PM   #6
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And you might be able to fix it yourself. Although these things are sold under various brand names, it seems that they are generally just a few modular components mated together - a generic pressure tank that holds the generic resin, a timer/valve assembly that are made by a few companies, and the generic brine tank. Misc hoses and pieces to hook it all together.

Mine is sold under the Aqua-Soft brand, and it comes with an Autotrol valve/timer, and they left me a manual that seems pretty complete with troubleshooting guide, parts list and 'schematic' that shows the flows and valve settings for each of the cycles.

Itw as installed 16 years ago, and other than performing a clean out for iron/rust build up less often than I should (recc annually), I had one valve fail to close all the way in year 11 (I'm looking at my manual/notes now). With the aid of the troubleshooting guide it was easy to figure which valve was the problem. I took it apart, expecting to find a bit of sand or something keeping it from closing all the way, but it turned out the rubber seat of the valve had worn or compressed. I noticed it was symmetrical, so I reversed it and that put the 'fresh' side against the valve seat. I buttoned it up, it was good as new!

If that wasn't already more than you want to know, invest some time here:

Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and reviews - Terry Love's Plumbing & Remodel DIY forum

As others said - putting one in with the same pipe spacing, or some flex hose should be pretty easy. But the old tanks with resin are heavy.

-ERD50
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:32 PM   #7
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Have you tried cleaning it?

Water Softener Cleaning | eHow.com
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:22 PM   #8
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When I was working, we had a Culligan unit for the lab building, and it worked flawlessly for about 20 years. (We have very hard water in our town.) We only needed it worked on once in all those years....that was after the building took a direct hit by a lightning strike, and fried ALL of the electronics therein. The service tech put in a new head on it (the old one was all manual including the timer, and the new one was all digital...woohoo!), and we were back up to speed again. So if I were to get one for home, it would be a Culligan.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:50 PM   #9
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Great.... my wife just told me today that the water feels 'funny'... that I should check out the water softener...

Now I read there is more than just that dang salt in the big bin...


OK... someone who KNOWS something... is there a site that tells what to do I am going to look at the links provided already, so maybe it is there...


How often do you need to 'fill' the dang thing with... whatever
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Old 11-17-2009, 06:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
Great.... my wife just told me today that the water feels 'funny'... that I should check out the water softener...

Now I read there is more than just that dang salt in the big bin...


OK... someone who KNOWS something... is there a site that tells what to do I am going to look at the links provided already, so maybe it is there...


How often do you need to 'fill' the dang thing with... whatever
Sometimes the resin beads need to be cleaned. This is one product that will do it.

Super Iron Out®

Quote:
WATER SOFTENER
FIRST APPLICATION 1 cup (250 mL)
REGULAR USE 1/4 cup (62 mL)

All softeners on iron bearing water require Super Iron Out as preventative maintenance and to eliminate iron buildup. FIRST APPLICATION 1. Dissolve 1 cup in 1/2 gal. cold water. 2. Pour directly into brine well (for softeners with no brine well, pour directly into salt tank when salt level is low). 3. Manually regenerate softener. Repeat for heavily fouled unit. REGULAR USE Add 1/4 cup per 40 lbs. of salt. 2. Layer for continuous treatment. CABINET MODELS USE FOR PERIODIC CLEANING ONLY. Follow FIRST APPLICATION instructions above. Repeat regularly.
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Old 11-23-2009, 10:57 PM   #11
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We just put in our water softener--a Sears upper mid-range. Did a bunch of web reviews of softener alternatives and Sears seems to get consistent scores above average to Excellent.
Watch for their appliance specials and get 20% off their standard list. We got a unit one level from top and paid well below $500 with discount. You can get by less but loose some flexiblity on scheduling recharge cycles and monitoring readouts.
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Old 11-24-2009, 11:11 AM   #12
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I have a Sears as well. It must be close to 10 years old. I was recently wondering about the lifespan of the resin tank. Do those things wear out?
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Old 11-24-2009, 01:17 PM   #13
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Saw Sears ad last night--they have 20% off on all their appliances as part of their TGiving sales. We got the 350 which is on sale for 100 off for $529 based on the web listing. There are a couple of doodads on the next model up for 629 that did not do anything for us. Reviews were a bit better for the 350. Guess it is similar to washing machines--how many settings are you really going to use??
Bimmerbill, resin tanks do eventually fail--usually cracking. If it is not leaking you are probably good. Kinda like hot water tanks in that they are fine until they are not
;-)
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Old 11-24-2009, 01:49 PM   #14
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Thanks, keep meaning to research if the resin wears out, but always forget. Saw your posting and though I'd ask ;-)

Mine is demand based, which is pretty cool. I just clean the venturis once a year and it seems to be doing a fine job.
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Old 11-24-2009, 02:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerbill View Post
Thanks, keep meaning to research if the resin wears out, but always forget. Saw your posting and though I'd ask ;-)

Mine is demand based, which is pretty cool. I just clean the venturis once a year and it seems to be doing a fine job.
pretty good article here on resin fouling:

Water Technology Online :: Brought to you by Grand View Media
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Old 12-04-2009, 11:43 AM   #16
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Update:

Sears had a weekend sale after Thanksgiving (thanks nwsteve). I got the Model 370. The model 350 would have worked, but the 370 has a noticeably larger resin tank, an inside light for the salt area, a lighted display for the control module, and a couple other doodas, for only $100 more. I paid $599, and got a $10 gift card toward my next Sears purchase, so $589 in theory.

Thanks to all the input on here. It is working well and MOST IMPORTANTLY, DW is happy..........
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