Hard water - 37 gpg, .088 iron content. What softener will work?

Old 04-23-07, 08:18 AM
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Question Hard water - 37 gpg, .088 iron content. What softener will work?

I recently moved into a new home that uses a community well for it's water source. The water stats are as follows:

37 grains per gallon
.088 iron content

Will a Sears (Kenmore) or Whirlpool softener be strong enough for this extremely hard water? Thanks for any tips.
Old 04-23-07, 08:42 AM
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.088 iron WHAT? Is that PPM?

In order to recommend a softener we need to know all the details about your water, manganese, TDS, is the "community" sanitizing (chlorinating) the water? If not, test for bacteria), the SFR (service flow rate) of your plumbing, how many people in the house (plans on adding people?), any appliances that have real high water use (jaccuzzi or hot tub)?

With that information we can help BUT for now...

With water that hard a box store softener like Sears, GE, Motron, et al you will be regenerating so often your water bill will go through the roof. Pre-built softeners don't do well in really hard water and they don't last as long as an industry standard softener in slightly hard water. They simply are not worth the money.

Ok, water softener 101 ...

First, get a complete water test from an independent lab. This is a MUST DO because without it everything is a guess. A quickie water test from Sears or a water softener company won't be complete. They only test for the "profitable" stuff.

Second, hit the Yellow Pages and call at least three local water treatment pros. Make sure you call at least one of the big dogs like Kinetico or Culligan and at least a couple independent pros. DON'T TELL THEM YOU HAD YOUR WATER TESTED.

Give each an opportunity to offer suggestions and provide you with a quote to meet your water treatment needs. IGNORE ANY THAT DON'T TEST YOUR WATER THEMSELVES as they can't speak intelligently to water treatment without knowing what needs to be treated.

Ask lots of questions. Warranty, parts & labor, how long? Install, permits required, licensed plumber? Routine maintenance and costs? Do they stock parts? Response time for emergency (water leak) calls? If they don't explain things to your satisfaction that is a good indicator of how you'll be treated after the sale.

After they've gone use your water test to compare with their's. Are all your treatment needs being addressed?

Ask your neighbors if they have any water treatment experience. They might tell you who's good or who to avoid.

Come back here and post the specific recommendations and hardware with the costs and we'll give you our opinions.

If you're a DIYer then you have other options ...
You have to "copy & paste" as HTML is turned off on this forums.

But remember, when you do it yourself there's no one else to blame

The negatives regarding the pre-built softeners are ...

Lower quality materials, mostly ABS which ages and becomes brittle. ABS does not do well with really hard water. On 3 gr hardness city water most any softener will give a decent service life BUT harder water than that seperates the pre-built box store softeners from the quality ones.

While all ion exchange water softeners use resin and "tanks" there's a big difference in the resin and resin "tanks". Again, the pre-built softeners do not use the top quality resin from companies like Purolite or Ionac and the materials their resin "tanks" are made of are not the same quality as the Structural brand (10 year warranty) resin tanks the top quality softeners come with.

Most of the parts are proprietary and available from limited sources and they tend to be expensive.

The pre-built softeners are "cabinet" (all-in-one) designs and are much harder to work on. The cabinet design puts the resin tank inside the brine tank. The routine cleaning of the brine tank is more difficult and takes a lot more time than a conventional design softener but the Sears type does take less floor space (the ONLY advantage in it's design).

The greatest falsehhood is that pre-built BOX store softeners are less expensive than the industry standard softeners.

The Sears softeners around 40000 hardness capacity generally run a little under $500. For $466 you can have a Fleck 5600SE electronic on demand metered softener delivered to your home including shipping. You'll need to assemble it (takes less than 30 minutes) and install it. You can have a plumber assemble it and install it (you'd need a plumber to install the Sears softener also or DIY).

You'll get a control valve that has proved it's reliability over 20+ years, is made of state of the art materials (Noryl) which does not turn brittle and is totally inert. You'll get a 5 year warranty on the control valve and ten year warranty on the resin tank. You can buy parts for the Fleck control valve locally or all over the internet. Complete parts and service/repair manuals are available for download and there is always someone everywhere who can service Fleck control valves as they are the long established industry standard AND they are as easy OR easier to program than the pre-built softeners. They tolerate the hardest water with no problem.

Real softeners generally last 20+ years EVEN on ludicrously hard water while the service life on a pre-built softener seems to be under 5 years (if you're lucky) on really hard water and lasting longer than that is a rare exception.

Sears, GE, Waterboss, North Star and the like are the most commonly complained about water softeners on this forum and all over the internet. The Fleck, Autotrol, and Clack water softeners just work and work and work and work and work ...

Why buy a lesser quality water softener for more money?

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