Ecowater ECR-3500 R30 Softener User Experiences


  #1  
Old 08-27-07, 05:54 PM
GT117's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 91
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Talking Ecowater ECR-3500 R30 Softener User Experiences

Group,

I wanted to inquire of those that may own an Ecowater ECR-3500 R30 softener, what the actual end user experience is?

Does this unit live up to it's grains per gallon efficiency claims?

Any problems in removing total disolved solids (TDS) or clearwater iron?

Has it been reliable (any valve issues)?

Thanks!

GT117
 
  #2  
Old 09-11-07, 11:55 AM
GT117's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 91
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Gave it a go

Decided to give the ECR-3500 a go as a replacement to a Kinetico K30. Thus far it is outperforming the K30. Naturally, the ECR-3500-R30 is higher capacity as it contains a larger resin bed than a single active tank on a K30.

ECR-3500 backwashes at about double the GPM rate of the K30. The K30 seemed to be fouling the resin at an input rate of 2.5 ppm clearwater iron and 17 grains hardness on a resin bed less than 12 months old and a number 8 disc. In contrast, the K30 does not backwash / rinse nearly as vigorously as the ECR-3500 does. The discharge tube on the ECR-3500 is nearly double that of the K30. I don't expect to have any problems in that regard.

The ECR-3500 also offers user selectable / addable rinse cycles if necessary, something the K30 can't do. The need for metering disc's like the K30 is elmiminated by virtue of the ECR-3500 valve controller which takes user input hardness and clearwater iron ppm figures (user input on lcd) to self meter the brine dose from an internal memory lookup table. Kind of nice in constrast to making numerous trips to the local Kinetico dealer.

Only problem now is what to do with the K30... I've been tinkering with the idea of transforming it into the worlds largest super-soaker water squirt cannon.
 
  #3  
Old 09-12-07, 01:05 PM
A
Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Northwest Ohio
Posts: 1,479
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
In a response to your first posting, a softener will not 'remove' dissolved solids, it replaces (exchanges) them and actually increases them if the softener is working properly. What was your TDS count at your source water and that with the softened?

A Kinetico K-30 on a disk 8 (its maximum setting) is overworked and not recommended at that setting. The 60 model should have been placed there instead. K softeners should be sized to use between a disk 3 and a disk 6 if possible for efficiency and economy.

The backwash rate is set for 4 gpm and that is sufficient for the model that size...if properly placed. I would doubt the Ecowater backwashes at 8 gpm, but I am not sure if that is true and why it would need such a forceful flow rate if it were. Is your backwash hose actually 3/4". Uh mm that's pretty big. How many gallons does the regeneration cycle consume?

I find if difficult to believe the resin bed was fouled with the iron and hardness that you stated unless some other factors were involved and in only 12 months. Those resin beds should last 20 years without issues. Something else was involved with the resin failure if that's what happened. Something sounds amiss here.

I have never heard of one customer who had to make 'numerous trips' to the Kinetico dealer to replace disks. That is never a maintenance task unless the softener is moved from location to location and water quality changes extremely, say in a RV, or someone is a sunday-plumber and wishes to tinker and then never gets it right in the end.

The Kinetico model is the most user friendly softener out there simply because, besides adding salt, there is nothing to do to it once it is set up...and set up as recommended, which it seems, yours was not.

I am glad you are happy with your cabinet model softener and hope you never have to clean out the brine drum as that would be a near impossible task. But you should get years of good service with it.

Andy Christensen, CWS
 
  #4  
Old 09-12-07, 08:40 PM
G
Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Utah
Posts: 267
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Iron fouling

That sounds like some wild and crazy water...

What did you pay for that Ecowater system ?
 
  #5  
Old 09-13-07, 08:13 AM
GT117's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 91
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Average water

Actually, the water is fairly average, which is why the iron issue was driving me nuts with the model 30.

Hardness 17 gpg
iron 2.1 ppm (color clear)
tds 310 ppm

1 micron prefilter sump never has more than what appears to be a small amount of well casing scale in it after a months service. Probably average 220 gallons / day.

Had the meter head up to the retail Kinetico shop and it all tested good, however they don't do a flow meter test so there's no telling if the the disc or gear head was metering correctly. Oh and by the way, that testing was billable at $100 an hour. 36" tanks were rebed with .5 cube of resin each, maintaining 12" freeboard ( 9 months ago). Just wouldnt handle the above specs for some reason, which according to the Kinetico books are are about in the middle of the capacity of a model 30. Likely some illusive problem with the metering head that I wasn't interested in spending exploratory cash on for the age and size of the unit.

As far as price, it (ECR) was about 50% more than a Fleck 9100 and about 1/2 the price of any new Kinetico consideration.

The attraction of the ECR-3500 for me was the exchange rate specification and demand moderated scheduled regeneration.

The discharge tube is 3/8" ID. The valve definitely moves a lot more water on rinse than a K30, you can hear it. Rinse cycles run about 9 minutes at default setting. user can add rinse cycles if necessary.

Anyway, my two cents. With any softner, a tank is a tank, and resin is resin; what makes the difference is the valve and control design.
 
  #6  
Old 09-14-07, 09:44 AM
G
Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Utah
Posts: 267
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
A tank is a tank .....

2ppm of clearwater iron is not "average" at all, and will have a deliterious effect on that ecowater system also. Are you using/planning on using a resin cleaner ?

Why the 1 micron prefilter ? - That will create massive pressure drop, especially at higher flows.

A clarification on your closing comment. The brine tank shell and mineral tank are usually the only "generic" components that don't vary significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer as long as they are NSF compliant.

Resins can vary across a broad spectrum of criteria though:-

quality - color throw, whole bead count, sphericity etc...
crosslinkage 6 - 27% and anything in between
size - standard mesh, fine mesh, UPS
structure - macroporous, gel, structured matrix
environmental compliance - solvent or non-solvent

When designing a system, the engineer will hopefully consider those criteria in creating a system that is the best match of affordability, longevity and performance for the customer's application. One size does not fit all.

You're right on about valves and control electronics as they do make a significant difference in how a system will perform.

At the end of the day, the chain is only as strong as the weakest link. If one component is substandard or inappropriate for the application, it will affect the entire system's ability to perform.
 
  #7  
Old 09-14-07, 10:38 AM
A
Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Northwest Ohio
Posts: 1,479
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Greg,

You must work with some very friendly waters. Where I worked in Ohio the levels of iron were starting around 2.0ppm and reached 12ppm and hardness went from a very "good" 22gpg to a tough 130gpg.

In Maryland I had iron once at 35ppm but averaged around 4ppm. Hardness there was between 1 and 6 gpg but pH was a nightmare getting down to 4.0pH.

Here in Indiana that hardness goes from 17gpg to 28gpg and the iron highest so far for me is 4.5ppm but averages around 1.5ppm.

No matter, the problems described earlier puzzled me on why his twin tank could not handle it unless something set off-kilter.

I agree, a one-micron filler can clog easiely in many, but not all, well water situations. 20-micron is used in most applications except for Class A UV systems.

Andy Christensen, CWS
 
  #8  
Old 09-14-07, 04:42 PM
G
Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Utah
Posts: 267
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Iron

"Average water" is water that fits within the EPA MCL or MCLG on both primary and secondary contaminants.

2ppm of iron doesn't meet those criteria

I don't like running iron levels greater than 1ppm through softeners. I'd rather prefilter to allow the ix system to do its job properly and minimize the resin attrition.

My concern on the 1 micron filter is more about flow throughput pressure drop (deltaP) than actual clogging.
The pore size is just so tiny that you're starting with a major handicap that is needless. I don't see the need to prefilter anything smaller than 30micron going into a softener.
 
  #9  
Old 09-15-07, 09:21 AM
A
Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Northwest Ohio
Posts: 1,479
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Sorry, I read "average" as looking at the local scale from greatest to least and finding an average, or mean level. EPC MCL for iron is actually 0.3ppm as after this point iron stains and other problems may be evident. I was considering maximum contamination levels (MCL).

I have treated water with iron levels very high and as long as the salt dosage and regeneration cycles are properly set along with appropriate resin cleaners, I have seen very few problems. 3ppm is water tests here is common and is easily managed.

I also agree to prefiltration regardless of iron levels as a 'cheap' insurance to protect the mechanics as well as the 'chemistry' of the softener.

Pressure loss during water usage through any filter is pronounced and the smaller the micro rating (and total filter surface area-depth filter verses pleated filter, for example) the greater the loss of pressure, which is especially important during backwashing stages or multiple water use. A one-micron rated element will accelerate this pressure loss due to clogging.

Naturally, all water treatment applications are on a case-by-case basis and are unique. Each case may work according to any number of circumstances or not for the same reasons.

Andy Christensen, CWS
 
  #10  
Old 09-15-07, 03:57 PM
G
Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Utah
Posts: 267
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
No problem, I agree with what you say, I just like to let softeners soften and have other equipment act on other contaminants :-)
 
  #11  
Old 10-01-07, 08:44 PM
GT117's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 91
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Smile

Thanks for the dialog folks. Learning much here.

I actually upgraded to a deep sump filter housing and doubled the 1 micron elements. Aforementioned comments regarding pressure drop, duely noted. I used to run 20 micron filters, but opted down to take any solids burden off the softner.

The particulate trapped in my case is generally fine well casing scale, etc... and not much of it over the course of a month. I've seen a lot worse.

I'm sure there was some sort of problem with the K30 meter head, or possibly the unit was borderline sized for my water consumption, or both. For my compensated hardness, the K30 would be switching tanks every 230 gallons or so, which is not much.

The ECR-3500 R30 is providing about 850 gallons between regenerations for my comp hardness according to the status display.

The new unit is working great thus far. Have better water now than ever. Hopefully it will continue on that way. The timed / metered regeneration is pretty smart about calculating water usage and appropriately scheduling / delaying regeneration to "as needed". I run a second backwash and rapid rinse just as added measure to purge the precipitated iron. I continue to use a red-out salt product.

I made some obvious generalizations in earlier threads regarding tanks and resin. The point I was trying to empasize was the uniqueness of the ECR-3500 valve and it's advantages of flexible user programability. If the valve, riser tubes, and cycle control can allow standard resins to perform better, it seems reasonably cost effective to do with one piece of equipement than two or more.

The 2am recharge is a bit nicer than the "whenever" metered recharge of the old twin tank K30. With the new configuration, we don't experience those mid day pressure drops caused by tank switching and pursuant recharge cycling.

I think one lesson learned is that the soruce water should be tested a couple times a year to insure that the brine dosage is on track which would preclude resin fouling. Something I intend to do more often.
 
  #12  
Old 10-24-07, 04:20 PM
GT117's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 91
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
With the good comes the bad

The first six weeks in service, unit operated fine. First malfunction happened during this am's brining cycle when the salt tank filled half way with water and failed to draw out.

Can hear some brine being drawn up at the venturi housing.

Came home this afternoon to find a half salt tank of water.

Sure didn't expect to run into these issues this soon.

 
  #13  
Old 10-24-07, 09:21 PM
G
Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Utah
Posts: 267
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Check your venturi

Check your venturi for obstructions, it's the most likely problem.
 
  #14  
Old 10-25-07, 05:43 AM
GT117's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 91
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
removed the cap and screen.. All looked good.

The unit does have memory in the event of power interruption, but I'm curious how it responds to a power outage or glitch when in the middle of a regen cycle.

Had a few short power outages the night it was recharging. I'll have to replicate the event manually and see what happens. Subsequent recharges seem to be ok. The flooded salt tank issue has not persisted (one time event).

Nice thing about the venturi is that it's really accessable and cleanable without any trouble.

Maybe a small UPS is in order on this AC circuit to protect from short AC outages.
 
  #15  
Old 10-25-07, 12:39 PM
G
Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Utah
Posts: 267
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Good logic

That's good troubleshooting logic.

A UPS is a great idea. 200VA will be plenty.
 
  #16  
Old 04-04-08, 05:21 PM
GT117's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 91
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Smile Operational Update

Still running well since Sept 07 install. No further hiccups since that last power outage.

According to flowmeter, has processed 43,200 gallons since install. Averaging about 250 gallons / day.

Runs pretty lean on salt. Consumes ~ 50lbs or less of standard dura-cube / month @ setting for 2.5ppm iron and 26grains hardness.
 
  #17  
Old 11-19-09, 04:55 PM
GT117's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 91
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Operational Update 11/2009

173,286 Gallons processed to date.

Have been brining for;

2.0 ppm Iron
18 gpg hardness

Have just started having issues; possible fouling (hydrogen sulfide smell) cold water output after softner, much stronger than source (pressure tank) side.

Have also noted 5u prefilters discoloring black (no sediment in filter housing aside from a few flakes of well casing rust).

filters return to white in the presence of light / sunlight.

Bacterial iron?

Last shocked the well (annual) in July 09.

Added APC UPS650 (used/refurbed) to ECR supply. No further power or brine cycling issues since earlier post.
 
  #18  
Old 10-24-11, 07:10 PM
GT117's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 91
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Operational Update 10-24-2011

Unit is still in operation as of last post, with same configuration, and input water conditions.

Unit has metered 317,444 gallons to date.
Calcuated minerals removed; 1,043 lbs. to date.

No extraordinary service required to date.
 
  #19  
Old 11-08-12, 04:41 PM
GT117's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 91
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Operational Update 11/8/12

Unit is still in operation as of last post, with same configuration, and input water conditions.

Unit has metered 396,796 gallons to date.
Calculated minerals removed; 1,530 lbs to date.

No extraordinary service required to date.

Unit is still AC protected with the APC UPS650 UPS.
 
  #20  
Old 12-06-12, 07:09 AM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 18,159
Received 69 Votes on 61 Posts
GT117 I am going to close this thread. Your unit has been running 5 years no issues. If you feel the need to open this back up we can.

Any issues start a new thread and link back to here is you need to.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: