How to plumb into existing water line for softner?


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Old 01-03-18, 07:11 PM
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How to plumb into existing water line for softner?

Hello all, newbie first post. I have little experience with plumbing water lines but understand the fundamentals.





I'm in the beginning phase of installing a whole-home water softener. The home it's going in is on a well with a pressure tank, and I understand I want to install the softener after the pressure tank. There is a 1" line from well to pressure tank, and 3/4" after the pressure tank. The problem I'm running into is that after the pressure tank, the line runs immediately into the wall. I'm wondering how I can plumb into this line to feed into the softener. The pressure tank is mounted in a corner, with washer/dryer stack next to it, and hot water heater on the other side of the washer/dryer. The softener will be next to the hot water heater, in a space that a deep freezer currently occupies.





Will I need to tear into the wall? What kind of new piping mess will I need to run in order to tie into the softener which will be situated next to the hot water heater? See photos, hope this makes sense...
 
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Old 01-04-18, 01:13 AM
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The output of the softner will connect to the line going to the house (on the right) but the inlet to the softner can feed from the 1" line (on the right) from the well if that makes the plumbing simpler.

The softner does not have to be downstream of the tank, the tank just needs to be connected to the feed line.
 
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Old 01-04-18, 06:00 AM
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Really? Everything I've read has said that the softener needs to be downstream of the pressure tank; otherwise it could damage the submersible. My question is how to tap into the 3/4" line downstream of the tank since it runs almost immediately into the wall. Should I just tear into the wall and run some pex around the room to connect the softener where I need it?
 
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Old 01-04-18, 09:12 AM
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The pressure tank just needs to be in-line for it to fill with water, doesn't matter if it's upstream/downstream to the water softner. In fact it could be at the very end of the line, it's all filled with water.

You could just remove and plug the pipe from the tank on the right side, Tee into the line on the left to go to the water softner then plumb the outlet of the softner to the pipe going into the wall and avoid tearing up the wall!

Actually that is how my current system is set up!
 
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Old 01-04-18, 10:48 AM
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I think I have to disagree with Marq1. I believe the pressure switch has to be located with the pressure tank (or at least within max 6 feet max from the tank) for the system to operate properly, and nothing which can cause a pressure drop/blockage should be between the pump and the pressure switch. Hence, nothing should be between the pump and the pressure tank (however straight pipe and elbows etc. will have some pressure drop, but very little).

If there is any kind of blockage between the pump and the pressure switch the pump may be pumping away but the pressure switch may not see the shut off pressure and so will not shut off the pump and you can burn out the pump. So any kind of filter/softener between the pump and the pressure switch is considered improper.

At least thatís my understanding. Maybe the pros will jump in.

I had a case something like yours where I wanted to put an Acid Neutralizer tank after my pressure tank. You can put the softener where you want, then run pipe from the output of your pressure tank to the softener, and then run pipe from the softener back towards the pressure tank and into the wall connection that you have now. You donít have to open the wall.

You wind up with some extra pipe that is used for the diversion to the softener and back, and also a couple of 90 elbows (or maybe 45 and 90 elbows), but that is a tiny extra pressure drop for that stuff that you wouldnít even notice in the house. You could even run piping on the back wall to the softener and then back from the softener on the back wall back towards the connection you have now into the wall for the house.

In other words, that amount of extra piping and elbows wonít even be noticed as an additional pressure drop in the house. Thatís my understanding and I added about 20 feet of pipe and several 90 elbows and never noticed any pressure drop at all. (But you can find out the pressure drop per foot of pipe and per fitting etc. online).

But letís see what some of the more knowledgeable guys say here.


 
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Old 01-04-18, 01:08 PM
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Thanks zoesdad, that's my understanding as well: nothing in between pump and pressure tank. Since there are only a few inches of exposed pipe coming out of the tank downstream of the valve, I went ahead and cut into the wall to have access to more pipe. Wondering if I should run copper or pex to/from the softener?
 
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Old 01-04-18, 02:15 PM
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H -

Thatís a good question. PEX tubing is cheaper than copper but you need special expensive tools to install the PEX connections. But I think you may be able to rent those tools. I personally would use copper for 15-20 feet (or something like that) but in the installation I did in my house, although my house is copper, I was forced to use plastic because my well water is very acidic. So the piping up to the neutralizer tank (which corrects the acidic water) has to be plastic Ė not copper. Copper would have been corroded by the water. But I really wanted to use copper (boo hoo, oh well Ė lol)

So I chose CPVC so as not to get involved with the special tools for PEX. But others may say go with PEX Ė but copper is tried and true and if you know how to solder you are guaranteed to have a long lasting quality setup. (There are 80 year old copper installations out there.)

Maybe some of the pros here will disagree.
 
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Old 01-04-18, 03:48 PM
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The pressure tank, switch and gauge remain connected, the line is terminated prior to the valve, that is where the inlet from the water softner picks up, you do not need to open the wall!
 
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Old 01-04-18, 05:01 PM
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Marq1,
The problem I run into with your suggestion is that from the outlet of the pressure tank to the yellow handled valve, seen in the photo, is that there is only an inch or two of pipe between them; nowhere for me to plumb into. The 1" pipe from the well ties into the pressure tank just behind that meter that's visible. I want the softener downstream of the pressure tank and that valve. After cutting into the wall a little I was able to expose much more pipe from which I can branch off of for the softener.

RE: pex vs copper, couldn't I just use sharkbite fittings off the 3/4" copper line, run pex to the softener, and pex and another sharkbite back into the copper to feed the house with soft water? Wouldn't that eliminate the need for any special pex tools?
 
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Old 01-05-18, 06:21 AM
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Marq may have more experience with Sharkbites or know more about them than I do, but as far as I know Copper to PEX with Sharkbites would certainly work. You can get all kinds of Sharkbite fittings (couplings, 90ís, etc.).

I have one now that connects my tank tee to the tank. Been on there for years with no problems. I couldnít get the tank to stop dripping from the outlet (long story) so I could not solder. But the Sharkbite has worked well.

It does not seem like you hear any stories of people having problems with the Sharkbites.

Just noticed that it looks like you house is grounded through the copper pipes. i'm no electrical guy but i think that's what that clamp on the pipe is in the picture. I think you would have to make sure you jumper over the plastic
if you break the copper run. Not 100% positive but something you might check.
 
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Old 01-05-18, 09:50 AM
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I don't see any need to open the wall, but if you already did, it just provides a little more wiggle room.

I'd cut off the valve as close as possible and temporarily remove the grounding/bonding wire. Remove that whole valve assembly all the way back to the pressure gauge and discard.

Come out of the pressure tank with a male threaded adapter for an inch or so and turn upwards. Go up a foot or two and add a valve. Keep going up to the ceiling (or lower if possible) and over to the softener. Come out of the softener, back across the ceiling and down the wall to a 3/4" elbow into the wall. Reconnect the bonding wire.

Can be done with either copper or PEX, crimped or shark-bite. Whatever is easiest/cleanest/cheapest for you. If you plan on doing more plumbing around the house though, I'd invest $80-100 on a PEX crimper and enjoy faster plumbing forever.
 
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Old 01-05-18, 05:28 PM
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That's an excellent idea Zorfdt; I think that will be my plan of attack.
 
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Old 01-05-18, 05:42 PM
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Could I just cut the pipe as marked in the photo, and attach the valve there? For some reason I've been hesitant to cut upstream of the valve; probably my lack of plumbing experience.
 
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