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Culligan vs. Kinetico


Needhelp49's Avatar
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12-20-09, 12:42 PM   #1 (permalink)  
Culligan vs. Kinetico

I would really appreciate any help with deciding which water softener and filtration systems to get. DIY is not an option for me. I live alone in a newly built townhome with 2.5 baths in a city known for its hard well water. According to the most recent city water report, here are the averages for my water content (ppm unless otherwise indicated):

pH = 7.7
Alkalinity = 209
Hardness = 246
Calcium = 67
Sodium = 32
Temperature = 18
Magnesium = 21
Potassium = 1.2
Arsenic = .23
Barium = .17
Chromium = 1.4
Nitrate = 15.3
Chlorine = .65
TDS = 357
Chloride = 39

I've had Culligan and Kinetico come out to give quotes. Culligan tested my water and reported that I have a hardness level of 24 and a TDS of 340. For a Culligan Medallist metered softener and r/o filtration, total cost is $2850 (1900 for softener and 1150 for filtration plus 200 discount for both systems). A Kinetico 4040s softener and filtration (I think K5, but I need to confirm) is $5400 (3700 for the softener and 1700 for the r/o).

I understand the Kinetico to be the superior system with better warranties (Cadillac vs. Ford) but the cost is so high. I'm not sure that I will stay in this house for more than 5 years and while I know that I can bring the systems with me, who knows if I'll move to an area that will need softening/filtration (the water sources vary wildly around here and there are cities 15 miles away that have fantastic water). Culligan seems to get both good and bad reviews but several of my neighbors have them and like then. I am concerned that the Culligan r/o system does not remove bacteria and removes only 90% of TDS, but I need to confirm that the Kinetico system does any better. Both companies offer only 1-year labor warranties. What do y'all think? Are the Kinetico prices fair (salesman refused to budge), what are the differences in the water quality coming out of the two systems?

 
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Posts: 1,479
OH

12-20-09, 03:52 PM   #2 (permalink)  
I would really appreciate any help with deciding which water softener and filtration systems to get. DIY is not an option for me. I live alone in a newly built townhome with 2.5 baths in a city known for its hard well water.
Does this mean you are getting well water or the city's source water from a well and they are distributing through a municipal system adding chlorine to it?

According to the most recent city water report, here are the averages for my water content (ppm unless otherwise indicated):

pH = 7.7
Alkalinity = 209
Hardness = 246
Calcium = 67
Sodium = 32
Temperature = 18
Magnesium = 21
Potassium = 1.2
Arsenic = .23
Barium = .17
Chromium = 1.4
Nitrate = 15.3
Chlorine = .65
TDS = 357
Chloride = 39

Your hardness is around 14 grains per gallon. (ppm divided by 17.1 = grains per gallon.)

I've had Culligan and Kinetico come out to give quotes. Culligan tested my water and reported that I have a hardness level of 24 and a TDS of 340. For a Culligan Medallist metered softener and r/o filtration, total cost is $2850 (1900 for softener and 1150 for filtration plus 200 discount for both systems).
Which RO did they recommend? The GoodWater Machine or the Aquacleer?

Culligan's medalist is their bottom unit with the Gold and Platinum being higher quality units. In my area, the Culligan guy gives a very brief description of the equipment and often just quotes their cheapest versions.

I imagine the Kinetico guy explained a little more about what he offered.


MEDALIST


GOLD


PLATINUM

LOOK HERE AT THEIR WARRANTY. One year on the entire unit. Ten years on the valve EXCEPT internal parts! Also, good for original owner only.


A Kinetico 4040s softener and filtration (I think K5, but I need to confirm) is $5400 (3700 for the softener and 1700 for the r/o).

Kinetico 4040s OD


K5


I understand the Kinetico to be the superior system with better warranties (Cadillac vs. Ford) but the cost is so high.
I agree the Kinetico is a better unit.

I'm not sure that I will stay in this house for more than 5 years and while I know that I can bring the systems with me, who knows if I'll move to an area that will need softening/filtration (the water sources vary wildly around here and there are cities 15 miles away that have fantastic water).
Check to make sure you can move the Culligan and still have warranty. Kinetico's not only follows you (if wate conditions permit) but can be trasnfered to the new owner, as well. It is a full ten-year warranty on ALL parts including resin.


Culligan seems to get both good and bad reviews but several of my neighbors have them and like then.
There is good and bad in all products.

I am concerned that the Culligan r/o system does not remove bacteria and removes only 90% of TDS, but I need to confirm that the Kinetico system does any better.
Is there a call for bacterial removal? Are tests positive? Kinetico has a certified bacterial and virus filter rated for 2000 gallons.


Both companies offer only 1-year labor warranties.
That's true. some dealers can have extended warranties but you would have to ask.


What do y'all think? Are the Kinetico prices fair (salesman refused to budge), what are the differences in the water quality coming out of the two systems?
Let me know about the chlorine levels in your water. I may suggest an alternative for you.


Andy Christensen, CWS-II

 
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12-20-09, 06:39 PM   #3 (permalink)  
Thanks for the info and pictures Andy. To answer your question, the city sources water from local wells and then adds chlorine. According to the city report, the chlorine level ranges from 0-2.3 ppm, with an average of 0.65. Bacteria does not seem to be a problem, but I'm wary of a system that does not screen it out.

My Kinetico salesman told me that the 4040s was the only model that he recommends. I pressed him to name other models that will take care of my needs and is more cost-effective, and he said that the 4040s was it. Do you think that the prices he quoted (which includes tax and install) are fair? I would love it if you could point me to other models to ask him about.

Culligan's warranties are owner-specific and nontransferable, which I agree is a drawback. Their membrane warranty is way inferior to Kinetico (1 yr vs. 10 yr) but I figured that the $2600 price difference will cover a lot of replacement membranes. The weird thing is that Culligan's warranty on the R/O, which is a Good Water, is lifetime while the Kinetico r/o warranty is only 10 years. The salesman did explain that the Medallist is their economy model but that it will give me the same softened water as the Gold series.

I know that I may pay more in the long run with the Culligan system (higher replacement rate for membrane, higher chance of repairs, higher electricity bill) but are the advantages of the Kinetico system really worth the huge price tag? Are there any other big benefits of the Kinetico system that I'm missing? (I'm aware of the benefits of continuous supply of softened water due to the 2-tank system, but I don't think it's a big deal if I get hard water every once in a while.)

 
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12-20-09, 07:15 PM   #4 (permalink)  
Other K-units you could use would be the 2025, 2040, Q237. These would need a dechlorinating carbon prefilter to remove the chlorine. Chlorine will damage the resins in time and that is why he emphasized that one. Kinetico also make the 4060 with carbon but the price would nor be any less that the 4040. Did Culligan offer any dechlorination with their system?

The Kinetico will provide much high salt efficiency and continuous service, of course.

The K5 has many features that adds to the value. The high pressure tank is designed to shoot water out faster than any other RO, which is essential for new fridges.

It also has the volume nearly three times more than typical tanks like Culligan's. It is customizable with additional filters including the virus/bacteria filter and a mineral cartridge that introduces minerals back into the water.

It produces nearly two gallons per hour as opposed to around 1/2 gallon an hour, and the tank remains full all the time or is filling up. Bladder style tanks don't start to refill until they are nearly empty.

Anyway, both systems will improve your water. I prefer the Kinetico but good service is important too.

Hope I helped a little. Good luck.
Andy Christensen, CWS-II

 
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