Which Reverse Osmosis to Buy?


  #1  
Old 09-07-06, 08:20 AM
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Which Reverse Osmosis to Buy?

I'm in the process of getting quotes on a new water system and the prices these companies are asking for their RO's are 3-4 times ($1000- $1200) the price I can buy one at Lowes.

Question: Are they that much better to warrant spending that much more money.
Question: Can someone recommend a reasonably priced RO (200-500).

Thx,
Joe
 
  #2  
Old 09-07-06, 09:02 AM
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Hi Joe,

It would help to compare if you named the brands you are getting quoted and bear in mind that those quotes probably include installation.

IMO the most bang for the buck in RO units are the Watts Premier TFM5SV model sold direct through the web or at Sam's Club. They use industry standard replaceables and provide the same level of filtering as other RO units. Watts has been around for a long time and when you call their 800 number it rings in Arizona and they speak english. If you buy direct from Watts Premier on the net shipping is FREE.

The Watts WP5 RO sold at Costco works the same. It is a streamlined "all-in-one" design BUT uses a non-standard membrane which might be more expensive to replace.

Check them out at (copy & paste in your browser) ...
http://www.wattspremier.com/watts/showprod.cfm?&DID=15&CATID=1&ObjectGroup_ID=2

Another favorite of mine for comparison (and possible purchase) ...
http://www.pwgazette.com/roentry.htm

Really nice and knowledgeable people and they speak english too.

What about the rest of your water treatment system? Had a complete water test? Well water or water system?
 

Last edited by justalurker; 09-07-06 at 11:30 AM.
  #3  
Old 09-07-06, 01:32 PM
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I've gotten two quotes, one from a local company and one from Culligan.
The local company uses a product by Hague and wanted 1095.00 and 25.00 to install.
Culligan wanted 995.00 and 45.00 to install.
These seem rediculous given what I can buy one for.

Your suggestions are music to my ears. I won't buy something that I'm not familiar with without a personal recommenation. The Watts RO's seem to be what I'm looking for.
One question for you. Costco has a Watts Zero Waste version (that I can't even find on Watts website), do you know much about these?

As far as the rest of my system: as I said above, I've had two quotes so far-- the local company suggested a softener, chem feeder, and an RO.
Culligan recommended just a softener to start, and an RO. Culligan thinks that possibly my sulfide smell will go away after chlorinating the lines and getting a softener in here that actually is working properly. If not, he'll add a chem feeder later.
The thing about it is no one else on my street is using a chem feeder, so it makes me wonder if not just getting a properly operating system and cleaning the lines might just work. I like his approach though-- not to sell me something I possible don't need.

Another item I liked about the Culligan product is the softener he recommended. It's their 10" Gold Series which he said would give me around 1800 gallons of softened water in one recharge. If this is true, that would be great given we have a pool.

Now, after reading another one of your posts (under "Choosing a Water Softener"), I see that you seem to think it's wise and less expensive for someone to purchase and install their own softener. You recommended the Fleck 5600SE for $466.00. That's a whole heck of a lot better than the $1800.00 Culligan wants for the Gold Series softener I mentioned above. I'll need to look at that model closer to see the specs on it to see if it fits my needs. Can you recommend something with a high gallonage that would be good for someone with a pool?

That's it for now--

Thanks!
Joe
 
  #4  
Old 09-07-06, 02:22 PM
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OK Joe, here we go ...

Generally, all ion exchange water softeners soften water based on the amount of resin they contain. All softeners with 1 cu ft of resin will soften the same amount of hard water with all other things being equal.

A Fleck based generic softener, a Culligan, A Rayne, an ECO, et all are not more efficent than the other if they all have the same amount of resin.

How you figure what you need is to have your water tested. Then you know what has to be treated to get the quality water you need and want.

Then you take the number of people in the house to calculate the average daily water useage. If you have any water appliances that use an extraordinary amount of water like a jacuzzi tub add that in also.

Then you figure out the SFR (service flow rate) of your plumbing to properly size the softener as far as flow rate.

With that information the correct hardness capacity of the softener you need can be calculated. You'll want the softener to regenerate at least once every 7 or 8 days. Longer than that and there's a chance bacteria can populate in the resin.

As far as that Culligan at 1800 gallons per regeneration, unless you're using 257 gallons of water per day ( and that is a LOT of water) that softener is FAR TOO BIG for your needs. This can all be calcualted if you supply your water test results, # of people in the house, and SFR of your plumbing.

If you have a sulfur smell in the water that needs to be treated. It won't go away by itself. There's no magic to water treatment, it's chemistry and physics. Very little "wait and see" if it goes away is needed.

If you're going to compare softeners then compare apples to apples. A $500 Fleck based softener from Ohiopurewaterco on the web is not installed. It's not even assembled. It is DIY 101. If that appeals to you then look into it. The Culligan or Kinetico or what ever you are being quoted is assembled, installed, parts & labor warranty, and from a dealer who (I suspect) stocks replacement parts and will provide service after the sale. That is a BIG VALUE ADD and justifies the higher price to many, but not all.

Again, are you on a water system or a well because it makes a BIG difference.

The Watts Zero waste RO is a nifty idea and I know a couple people who have them and love them. You'll need electricity under the sink to install. The concern some have is that the effluent (waste) water being fed into the hot water line under the sink introduces higher TDS water at your kitchen faucet cold water line. I use my RO water for cooking and drinking and making ice cubes so the higher TDS water would only effect washing my dishes so I wouldn't care.

The WQA certifies the Watts Premier Zero Waste RO and I suspect if they were "evil" lawyers everywhere would be lining up in court to sue. If the Zero Waste was available when I bought my RO I think I'd have bought one.

The Zero Waste RO is not on their web site but they list a Zero waste retrofit kit for ROs you already have. Maybe they gave Costco an exclusive on the Zero Waste RO. Costco is a big dog with lots of leverage so it wouldn't surprise me.

The Watts Premier ROs are quality mass produced units from a reputable company and you won't go wrong with them.

I favor the ROs from http://www.pwgazette.com/roentry.htm because they specialize in RO units. I've spoken to them a few times and they REALLY know ROs and they are really nice people.
 

Last edited by justalurker; 09-19-06 at 06:49 PM.
  #5  
Old 09-07-06, 02:48 PM
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I'll get back to you on everything else, but in the meantime, how do I calculate SFR. I'll then post the necessary numbers.

Thx,
Joe
 
  #6  
Old 09-07-06, 03:07 PM
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Ballpark SFR can be calculated by running a high volume faucet or fixture into a bucket for say 10 seconds. Then measure the amount of water and multiply by 6 (10 seconds x 6 = water flow in a minute). Measure the water into gallons and that is GPM.

Usually an outside hose bib is high volume but I like the bath tub. I put a bucket under the tub faucet and turn hot and cold on for 15 seconds. Measure the water in the bucket and multiply by 4. That's the water flow for a minute. How many gallons have you got? That is ballpark GPM SFR.

If you don't consider SFR when calculating softener size then the softener can restrict the water volume and flow in your plumbing system. Since the ideal installation of a softener is at the water service entry of the house it can restrict water flow to the entire house if not sized correctly. A too small sized softener can also fail to soften the water at higher flow rates than the softener can handle so hard water can "leak through".

The plumbing code requirements for sizing a water softener can be found here ...
http://toolbase.org/PDF/DesignGuides/plumbingcode.pdf

For the THIRD TIME ... well or water system????
 
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Old 09-07-06, 03:21 PM
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Forgot to ask ...

Joe,

I forgot to ask ... since you have a pool, I understand that soft water is not desirable in a pool. Maybe a mix of hard and soft or all hard water is preferred.

I recommend you speak to your pool people for their input BEFORE you decide on a softener.
 
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Old 09-07-06, 08:54 PM
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I'll try to answer your last three posts in this post:
First, here's the test results:

pH: 7.16
Iron: 3.00 ppm
Hardness: 16.1 gr/gal
Chloride: 10.0 ppm
Sodium: 92.7 ppm
Nitrates: <0.50 mg/L
Total Dissolved Solids: 407 ppm
Hydrogen Sulfide: 0.362 mg/L
Temperature: 15.3oc
Conductivity: 612 umhos/cm

Number of people: 4 (mom, dad, 2 kids) (lots of visitors though)
Water using appliances: pool
SFR: Bath- 5.5 gpm Outside faucet- 7.0 gpm

We are on a well.

You are correct on soft water and pools, especially since ours is a liner. Too much soft water can damage the liner. I have to figure out a proper mix. The problem I have is my water is so full of iron that if I fill the pool with a reasonable amount of bypassed water, say 2-3 inches (in a 15x30 pool) it drastically affects the clarity making it downright pond looking.

Ok, I hope I've answered your questions.

Thanks for all your help, there's a ton I need to learn,
Joe
 
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Old 09-07-06, 09:26 PM
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OK, now I have a better idea of what you have and what you need.

Treating well water is more complicated and more costly than treating water from a municipal system. With a well you bear the responsibility of making the water nice and safe.

With your hardness and iron and sodium content a softener may not do the job. You may need additional treatment equipment esoecially with the H2S to treat.

How much water does your pool require on a regular basis? does softened water damage the pool liner because of the sodium (from the NaCl) in the softened water or is there something else about soft water that's bad for the liner?
 
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Old 09-07-06, 10:01 PM
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As far as water requirements for the pool, that, of course, depends on the time of year. In the dog days of summer it needs topping off nearly everyday (1/2 to 1"). Cooler days as in Spring and Fall the numbers fall quite a bit- say 1/2" to 1" every 3rd to 5th day. Pool is 15' x 32'.

In regards to softened water and pools:
Quoted from Leslie Pool Supply website--
"Lowering the Calcium Hardness is a much more difficult task. Running the water through a water softener is not advisable because the softener exchanges calcium for sodium. The sodium will make the water taste salty, the dissolved solids will increase, and the water will foam. If the water is then too soft, it will become aggressive and start to destroy equipment and the surface of the pool."
 
  #11  
Old 09-07-06, 10:13 PM
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OK, contact Leslie Pool Supply and ask them if soft water would be OK if it were softened with potassium chloride (KCl). Then you be exchanging calcium ions for potassium ions instead of sodium ions.

Maybe, if no sodium then no problem.
 
  #12  
Old 09-07-06, 10:23 PM
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I'll have to get back to you on that. But, for the moment, let's leave the pool out of the equation. What's your take on what is needed to properly filter this water. I do plan to use an RO in the kitchen and icemaker.

Thx,
Joe
 
  #13  
Old 09-07-06, 11:27 PM
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Your water treatment needs are more complicated than just a softener will handle.

Based on your info you need a softener in the 60k hardness capacity range. That's due to the iron, hardness, and # of people. Could be a single resin tank softener or you should consider a twin resin tank model (32k hardness capaity in each tank for total of 64k) for 24/7 soft water

That does not address your sodium and H2S problems and your PH is a touch high.

This is my best advice ...you've already had a local pro and Culligan come out. The Culligan guy doesn't seem to be sure how to completely treat your water and neither addressed the high sodium content.

I'd get at least three other pros to come out. Tell them you're on a well before they get there. Don't tell them you had the water tested. If any of them don't test the water then blow them off.

Kinetico dealers are pretty thorough and their hardware is very reliable but it's not cheap. In the long run it's worth the money. Service life usually runs 15-20 years and then you just rebuild. Kineticos have built up a large and loyal following and their service network is second to none.

See what they recommend and bring that info back to the forum.

Ask your neighbors what they do for water treatment. They may steer you in the right direction or tell you who to avoid.

To get quality water you are going to have to learn the maintainence and you'll need good support from your dealer. You'll be better off buying locally. You will want a dealer who stands behind the hardware with a competent install, a parts and labor, and service after the sale in a timely manner.

If you take your time and do your homework you will do this once and be done with it. If you cut corners or don't thoroughly think this out and go with a good dealer it can be a real frustrating experience.
 
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Old 09-08-06, 06:12 AM
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I'm still scratching my head as to why you continue to mention the sodium-- an RO (in the kitchen) will remove this and this is the only location that water will be ingested.

As far as the hydrogen sulfide, actually we all know how to tackle this-- with a chem feeder or carbon filtration (I prefer the chem feeder). The Culligan guy was just trying to save me money and wanted to get the new softener in place and chlorinate the lines to see if the smell could be squelched with just these steps. We're prepared to install a chem feeder if we find the smell is still there.

Thx,
Joe
 
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Old 09-08-06, 07:51 AM
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Jack Sparrow: "I'm still scratching my head as to why you continue to mention the sodium-- an RO (in the kitchen) will remove this and this is the only location that water will be ingested."

I guess it's because in my mind sodium=salt and salt=corrosion. Could just be deep memories from my childhood watching roadsalt rust heavy steel fenders off Buick Roadmasters and destroy the roadways. That's one of the reason's I investigated potassium chloride (KCl) when I bought my first water softener. Just didn't like the idea of salt.

Sounds like you have it all figured out and only need to make it happen.
 
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Old 09-08-06, 08:11 AM
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Oh, I don't know if I'll ever have it all figured out! But, at least I have a place to start. I will say I'm skeptical of purchasing the equipment as I'm concerned of making the wrong decision.
Your point on sodium/salt is a valid point. I'll give it consideration when deciding on salt.

One thing I noticed on Ohio's website is that when I went through the water softeners I noticed they offer "CanPro" MediaGuard" KDF85 Cartridge system to reduce hydrogen sulfide smell. Have you worked with this cartridge system?

Thanks again for your help,
Joe
 
  #17  
Old 09-08-06, 08:42 AM
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I haven't worked with that system but if you have question give them a call and speak to Mr. Moore. Really nice guy and he knows his stuff.

I'd go with an RO from the PWGazette people at ...
http://www.pwgazette.com/roentry.htm

A high quality unit with great support. They really know ROs and they stock ALL parts and ship quickly.

The Watts Premier ROs are less money and still a quality unit.

As far as the equipment, you know more than the average homeowner. Just treat this purchase like any other high dollar buy. If you're going to buy locally put all your concerns down in writing and have the dealer put in writing EXACTLY what they will do and how much it will cost with what resulting improvement in your water AND what they will do if there needs to be a change (like a solution feeder). Have then specify the warranty in detail and your maintainence costs.

If it doesn't go as expected ... there's always The People's Court.

As far as a softener, as long as you go with an industry standard softener you can get parts and service if the dealer fails you.
 
  #18  
Old 09-08-06, 08:51 AM
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One other question-- in the end, no matter what equipment needs to be installed to properly filter my water, am I safe to safe that a softener will always be on my list of needs. If so, I'll go ahead and buy a softener through Ohio.

As well, I'll take a look at the RO's you recommend.

Thx,
Joe
 
  #19  
Old 09-08-06, 09:18 AM
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Whatever else you do you will need a water softener.

Check you PM
 
  #20  
Old 09-11-06, 07:22 PM
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Well, I ordered the softener. I got the Fleck 9600SE Twin Tank model 64K (32K each tank) with Stainless bypass, Fine Mesh Resin, and the CanPro MediaGuard KDF85 (for hydrogen Sulfide reduction). Charlie Moore, at Ohio, was incredibly helpful in getting me set up.

As well, I ended up with the Zero Waste RO by Watts (sold at Costco). I really like the idea of no wasted water.

I'll let you know how it's doing after install.

Thx,
Joe
 
  #21  
Old 09-11-06, 08:01 PM
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Hi Joe,

"9600SE"??? Is that 9000SE or a 9100SE or a new model?

Please post your impressions of the Watts Zero Waste RO.

did you ask the pool people about KCl softened water?

Let us know how it goes.
 
  #22  
Old 09-11-06, 09:18 PM
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Whoops-- typo-- I ordered the 9000SE.

-----------------------------------------------------
Yes I did get an answer on the KCI. Here was the post:

Question:
Would soft water be OK if it were softened with potassium chloride (KCl). Then you would be exchanging calcium ions for potassium ions instead of sodium ions.

Answer:
The water will still become aggressive towards the equipment and surface of your pool since the ions (regardless of what kind they are) still will try to form other chemical bonds.
 
  #23  
Old 09-12-06, 12:27 PM
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Jack Sparrow: "The water will still become aggressive towards the equipment and surface of your pool since the ions (regardless of what kind they are) still will try to form other chemical bonds."

I'm no chemist but it seems to me that the calcium ions in hard water would be just as inclined to "form other chemical bonds". The white crud on faucets from hard water is the calcium bonding to the metal of the faucet.

I'd get another opinon from someone in the pool business.
 
  #24  
Old 09-12-06, 02:40 PM
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Well, as you said, I certainly am no chemist either, so I took what he said as the gospel truth. I'll check around and see if there is anyone else that I can get an opinion from.

Thanks,
Joe

Just an FYI- the Watts Zero Waste RO that I'm getting from Costco is only sold on their website, they don't sell it in the stores (at least according to the person I spoke with).
 
  #25  
Old 09-12-06, 03:01 PM
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Here's something to think about when it comes to your pool.....if I have to maintain a 6 to 7 grain hardness level in my pool, yet I top off my pool with 15 grain water........wouldn't topping off with zero grain water keep my pool water consistant?
 
  #26  
Old 09-12-06, 03:23 PM
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Jack Sparrow" Well, as you said, I certainly am no chemist either, so I took what he said as the gospel truth. I'll check around and see if there is anyone else that I can get an opinion from."

Hell, I get second and third opinions when my doctor says something ... I'd have no reservation triple checking on a pool supply salesman

"Just an FYI- the Watts Zero Waste RO that I'm getting from Costco is only sold on their website, they don't sell it in the stores (at least according to the person I spoke with)."

Yup, I knew that. Only on the web. Maybe that's one of the terms for the Costco "exclusive" on the Watts Zero Waste RO.
 

Last edited by justalurker; 09-12-06 at 06:41 PM.
  #27  
Old 09-12-06, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by jdp38
Here's something to think about when it comes to your pool.....if I have to maintain a 6 to 7 grain hardness level in my pool, yet I top off my pool with 15 grain water........wouldn't topping off with zero grain water keep my pool water consistant?
Good question--
According to the "one" pool guy I spoke with-- not a good idea as the makeup of the water will destroy pool hardware. I'm sure people everywhere probably do it, but if you want to go by the book, you need to lower the hardness in a pool using chemicals. I am going to get other opinions on this subject though.
 
  #28  
Old 09-13-06, 04:15 AM
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The main reason you do not use softened water in a *plaster* pool is that any deficiency in calcium in the water with be compensated by eating the plaster off the surface of the pool.

In a pool with a plastic liner it is minimally affected. My question is, why can you not simply by-pass your softener if you are going to add any substantial amount of water to your pool?

Get a good test kit that includes tests for alkalinity and hardness and check them once a month. It's not that critical.
 
  #29  
Old 09-13-06, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by mdtaylor
My question is, why can you not simply by-pass your softener if you are going to add any substantial amount of water to your pool?
In a perfect world I could do that, but... I'm right at 3.00 ppm in Iron. You fill that pool up with a substantial amount of water and it'll look like a pond-- trust me-- I did it already! It hits the air, oxydizes, and bam-- ugly.

Then I have to spend the next week coagulating the metals, vacuuming, refilling (adding more iron), coagulating the metals, vacuuming, refilling....... you see the dilemma here. Pools with wells are a constant pain. I will say I have learned some tricks and have gotten the whole situation under control and now have a pristine clear pool but... the money and time I'm spending in chemicals to control this could take my wife and I out to dinner and a movie every month!

I have a vinyl liner and will continue to research "Justalurker's" suggestion of using potassium chloride (KCl).

Thx,
Joe
 
  #30  
Old 09-13-06, 07:36 AM
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Very well.. remember, there is easy ways to add hardness and calcium to water, and not so easy ways to remove harness.
 
  #31  
Old 01-07-07, 10:55 AM
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Water softened with KCL

Hi Guys:

I am a chemist and while I actually wrote my Ph.D. on developing new resins to remove nitrates from municipal drinking water, I still don't have tons of confidence on all the water chemistry out there. Any way, here is my input on the issues of corrosion and softening with KCl instead of NaCl.

It's not the cation (K, Na, Ca, Mg) that causes rusting/oxidation of equipment and pipes. It's the chloride ion that acts as a catalyst...actually, chloride acts as a chemical bridge between oxygen in the air and whatever metal is getting oxidized. When you soften water, you're only exchanging the cations...sodium for calcium and magnesium. If your water originally has lots of chloride then it will be untouched, and as far as I know, Calcium chloride is just as corrosive as sodium chloride which will be just as corrosive as potassium chloride. I suppose that if your softener is not completely flushed of the brine at the end of a recharge cycle then you could be dumping tons more chloride into your water. I don't know exactly what is the timing etc of a softener.

Getting crud on the inside of pipes does have lots to do with the cation. Sodium salts are always more soluble than calcium salts. In fact that's why you get all that grime in a shower with hard water. The calcium exchanges with soap (usually sodium salts of long chain fatty acids) and the calcium-long chain acid falls out of solution.
 
  #32  
Old 01-07-07, 12:06 PM
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Cool, a chemist... ok here's a question.

As I understand "hard water" the calcium content is usually in the form of CaCO3 not Calcium chloride.

So, if you're on municipal water, which is usually chlorinated to some degree, and your softener is operating properly (completely rinsing after the brining stage) you wouldn't be increasing the rusting/oxidation possibilities. Of course adding more chlorine to the water, by intent or unknowingly, the aggessiveness of the water is increased but that is usally indicative of malfunctioning (or poorly designed) equipment or incorrect setup and operation of the equipment.

Exchanging ions of Na or KCl for Ca (from CaCO3) should not increase the Cl level in the water IF everything is operating and setup porperly as the CL from the NaCl or KCl is being rinsed out of the resin, YES?

I guess it's always more accurate to include the disclaimer "the assumption is that the water treatment equipment is functioning properly" in all posts but it hurts too much to type it every time.

Seems to me that the intent of anyone who spends their money for water treatment equipment or service is looking to improve the quality of their water and not decrease it. Unfortunately, that's where a little knowledge can be real counterproductive.

Many post asking for help and don't accurately describe the symptoms, the hardware, or even the water conditions in detail. They overlook the important and the obvious because they lack the specific knowledge to recognize either or both.

All in all, some things seem to remain constant... you usually do get what you pay for, there is usually no free lunch, a truly wise (wo)man knows what they know and knows what they don't know, and the most true of all... free advice is worth exactly what you paid fot it
 

Last edited by justalurker; 01-07-07 at 12:55 PM.
  #33  
Old 03-21-08, 11:54 PM
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Jack,

How's that CanPro MediaGuard working out? Does that small amount of KDF85 filter media remove enough iron and hydrogen sulfide to be noticeable?

Does it last through a full regen cycle of the system, or does it poop out before the resin?

Looks perfect for my needs if it works.

Thanks,
Paul

Originally Posted by Jack Sparrow View Post
Well, I ordered the softener. I got the Fleck 9600SE Twin Tank model 64K (32K each tank) with Stainless bypass, Fine Mesh Resin, and the CanPro MediaGuard KDF85 (for hydrogen Sulfide reduction). Charlie Moore, at Ohio, was incredibly helpful in getting me set up.

As well, I ended up with the Zero Waste RO by Watts (sold at Costco). I really like the idea of no wasted water.

I'll let you know how it's doing after install.

Thx,
Joe
 
  #34  
Old 03-22-08, 08:16 AM
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The Can-Pro is a pretty good little filter if you have a small odor problem in the water. Alot of iron or odor will be too much for the Can-Pro. I have had great success using backwashing KDF filters for iron and odor removal.
 
  #35  
Old 03-22-08, 12:59 PM
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The Can-Pro 4 needs four-five gallons per minute backwash and the 6 needs 6-7. Estimate one gallon per minute per pound.

Less then that and it will begin to solidify and channelling will begin. Much more, and it will piston to the the top and not backwash properly.

If your back wash is only 3 gpm, then reduce each canister by 25% or leave one empty.

I wouldn't recommend it for iron removal as the softener should be able to handle that. It will work for a while with trace amounts of sulfur.

Replacing the media is difficult but not impossible.

Andy Christensen, CWS-II
 
 

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