Help buying a water softener


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Old 11-25-08, 08:21 PM
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Help buying a water softener

Glad I found this site. I just moved into a new home where the city gets well water. The water is about 25gpg, but I will send it out to verify the city's results (for other stuff too). Anyway, since I'm in a new development, we've got all kinds of businesses coming by to sell their products/services. I just met with one of the water softener guys. He is asking $1600 for a Fleck 5600 system 48K, lifetime tank warranty, the rest of the warranties standard. Now here's my dilemma: I can buy the same system from the internet (eg from Ohio, although they only have a 10yr tank warranty) for about $600-$700 shipped. Now at $1600 (he dropped the price $300 for me), that's $900 for him to assemble and install. My new home has a rough-in for the water softener and the field manager says that it should be a fairly easy install. So say it takes 2 hours to install, at $100/hr for a plumber. Now I'm paying $700 extra for local service (which he says, includes if I forget how to program it he'd show up, for him to come check out any problems, etc.) Is this $700 "insurance" worth it? I think I'm handy enough to figure out how to work the system and troubleshoot, so I'm thinking (hoping) I would never need $700 worth of service since this system should be fairly reliable. Am I missing something in my calculations here? Thanks in advance!
 
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Old 11-25-08, 10:08 PM
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The price is high. The install should be around $100.00 to $150.00. The insurance is in the unit. I've been installing them for years and they do last. See if he is willing to go $900.00 installed. If not, buy on line.
 
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Old 11-25-08, 11:47 PM
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Thanks Biermech for the quick reply! $900 installed? That sounds like what I should be paying. Although hearing that price is reasonable, I just may buy it and hire a plumber to install it. I'd hate for the salesman (who's also the plumber, owner, and sole employee) to do a crappy job b/c he was hoping to get $1600 installed for it. I really appreciate your help with this! I hope you can answer a couple of more questions. How do I know whether I need the 1" or 3/4"? I assume a stainless steel bypass valve is needed as well. What the higher quality resin or higher efficiency resins? Are there other parts that I need? Thanks again!
 
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Old 11-26-08, 12:17 AM
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Or go to Sears or Lowes or Home Depot and buy one. They will also install it. Oughta take them about an hour. The traveling salesman sounds like a typical door to door salesman -- they sell at market price plus their bloated commission. Shop elsewhere.
 
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Old 11-26-08, 07:38 AM
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I don't think he will do a crappy job. He has a reputation to maintain. Just tell him all you are willing to spend is $900.00. He either says yes or no. It's worth the shot. He still makes money and you save quite a bit.
What size pipe do you have? Keep everything the same. If you have 1" pipe, get a 1" bypass. 3/4 pipe, 3/4 bypass. I always used standard mesh resin.
And by all means, don't go to Sears, Lowes or Home Depot. They sell that need service more often then a Fleck.
 
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Old 11-26-08, 08:55 AM
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Thanks for your reply dhamblet, but the big box stores' prices are about the same as a proven system like Fleck. It's just a matter of getting a fair value price with install for a Fleck that I'm working on.

Biermech, I should've asked on the previous post, but I assume I'd plumb the whole house for soft water, or just the hot water? I would have to confirm, but for some reason, I thought that that plumber had said he either only plumbs the hot water, or he leaves the kitchen hard. I was thinking about getting an RO system for the kitchen for cooking/drinking since our city's water is just naturally filtered well water w/ chlorine. With the RO system, I'd probably want the kitchen softened right (to prolong the life of the RO membranes?) Thanks! Oh, he sells Hydrotech. I haven't done much research on RO systems yet, but what RO system would be like the Fleck to water softener? And are installs for RO systems about 1-2hrs worth of plumbing as well? Thanks!
 
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Old 11-26-08, 04:43 PM
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Some RO's use filters that you can only buy from the ones who sold it to you. You are stuck with them on getting replacement filters and paying want they want to charge. Get a RO that has standard filters. The filters are cheaper to purchase in the long run. I like the RO's that don't have "special" filters.
You want to whole house on soft water. Years ago plumbers were splitting the kitchen so you could have straight for drinking and not worry about salt intake.
Was the $1600.00 price including the RO? If so, that's not bad. It should take about 1 hour to install.
 
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Old 11-26-08, 05:23 PM
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Thanks Biermech,

No unfortunately the $1600 was not with the RO. The RO was an additional $600 installed, which is steep too b/c the system is about $300 to purchase on my own. Thanks again!
 
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Old 11-28-08, 12:41 PM
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Hi Biermech,

I called another water softening company to get a quote from them. They seemed a little more informative (ie They sell the Fleck 5600, but suggested the Clack b/c I needed either a 1" or 1 1/4" and was a two story home; although sizewise, I haven't gotten a chance to measure the pipe diameter yet, and not sure if a two story home makes a difference in valves if the diameter is the same). Anyway, they actually charged more: >$2000 for a Clack 48K grain system installed, and didn't budge on the price. When asked why I couldn't just buy the same system online and have them assemble and install, they said that they would probably install, but not assemble b/c they didn't trust the parts since they didn't sell it. And that if they install, they will not back their install since it was not their parts (which i find hard to swallow b/c I would think I could determine what failed, the install or the parts). So again, I'm paying for "service." Granted, having the first 5 years of service included is nice, but my thing is if these systems are so reliable and such quality (which I've read that they are), then shouldn't I not need to worry about unlimited service?

You don't happen to have any colleagues out here in northern california do you biermech? Or you don't happen to be moving out here anytime soon? Well, off to call another dealer, only to be disappointed by their cost to serve...
 
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Old 11-28-08, 12:48 PM
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Interesting, I couldn't edit my previous post to include this. One issue she said that people may have is filling the tank with resin (since when purchasing online, assembly is still required). She spoke about an incident where someone bought the parts online and had a plumber install. The resin tank wasn't assembled properly and resin backwashed into the house's water system. I know this is a possibility, but isn't there a way to prevent this during assembly/install?
 
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Old 11-28-08, 02:20 PM
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The assemble required is, putting underbedding in, then the resin. Screw on the valve and you are ready for the install. It's not rocket science. You have to tape off the distributor tube to prevent resin from getting inside the tube. This may have been the case with resin in the lines, or it was installed backwards. A 5600 will have enough flow rate to take care of a 2 story home. You can only flow the amount of water that will pass through the resin tank. Increasing the pipe size will not neccessary increase the flow rate. Going from a 9" tank (32K) to a 10" (48k) will increase the flow. But then again, if your pipe size does not change, then the flow rate can not change. And I'm sure the pipe size of your home is the right size for a 2 story home. If you want to install it your self, I'll be glad to help. But I'm not expected in Cal anytime soon. LOL
I sent you a private message.
 
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Old 01-21-09, 11:13 AM
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Well to give you an idea of what we are paying.

We got a fleck 7000SE with 48000 grain water softener, reverse osmosis system + installation (house is not pre plumbed) and extra filters and salt for a total of $1500 (their normal price is $1795). The softener has a chrome jacket and it will be installed in the garage. And since the economy is down, they will come and install it the same day. They said it should take about 3-4 hours for everything including digging out the path for all the pipes and the drain line.

I think the installer will make some money on this deal and it is still cheaper then the rip off guys from depure that came when we bought the house trying to make $4000 for last years model. Prices on the internet are cheaper for the fleck, about $625 for the softener and $175 for the reverse osmosis system. But there is no way I am going outside to dig out the path for the lines and connect it and such. I'm pretty handy, but to have it done right by a pro is well worth the cost to me.

The kinetico guys came and gave us an estimate of $5190 to install a Kinetico 2040 and a reverse osmosis system.

Hope that helps.
 
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Old 01-29-09, 11:45 AM
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I'm in a similar dilemma! And boy, I'm glad I found this site too.

I recently built a house and did not go with a water softner system offered by the builder. The builder use DuPure as their water softner vendor and they wanted way too much ($4k+)! I am thinking about installing a Fleck 7000 64,000 grain water softner system in my house after I've moved in. It's roughly $700+ online with some of the options I wanted. The house has the Zurn PEX manifold block type plumbing system but I'm not sure if it was pre-plumbed for the water softner. The vendor from the profit center (home design center) is going to come out and give me another pitch after I've moved in.

In my research, I found that the DuPure system (DuPure Refinex Elite HF 60,000 gains) resembles very much like the Fleck 7000 system that I'm eyeing. Can anyone look at the pics in the links and say that they're the same? Thanks.


Fleck 7000 Water Softener - 64,000 Grain
Fleck 7000 electronic (metered/on-demand) 64,000 grain water conditioner system

:: | DuPure International | ::
DuPure Refinex Elite HF 60,000 gains
 
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Old 01-29-09, 01:51 PM
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A lot of companies buy softeners and sell them as their own. Both valves are they same (Fleck 7000). Fleck does not make a water softener. They merely make a control valve used in the water treatment industry. A company will buy the valves, tanks and media, put them together, and call it what name they want. The price difference is in the service and warranties. Some people will pay the cost for this. Are you basing the size of the unit from what you were quoted? A 64k unit is for very high hardness or high usage. You may not need a unit that big
 
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Old 01-30-09, 07:39 AM
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I have to still figure out the proper sizing, but the links I posted was based on the brochure given to me earlier. I'm still awaiting the city to give me a report of their water. Do you see any issues with installing a water softner on a Zurn PEX system? Thanks.

To the OP, I didn't mean to jack your thread with my questions, but I've decided to go with a system that uses a Fleck type control. Sounds like they're more reliable. Beer 4U2
 
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Old 01-30-09, 08:56 AM
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I know what Pex is, but have never used it. I do know of others who have used it and believe it will work fine. The hardness and water usage will determine the size of the unit.
 
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Old 01-30-09, 10:26 AM
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Are the City's results good enough or do I need to do my own testing? Guess that would depend on what the City tests for right? Thanks.
 
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Old 01-30-09, 11:27 AM
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Yes, the city tests should show hardness. Sometimes you can call them to find out that info
 
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Old 02-05-09, 06:22 AM
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My water has Hardness = 7, Chlorine = 1.3, pH = 7.3, & TDS = 330. I have a 4 person family with 3.5 baths. What size water softener would be appropriate for me?

Also, my incoming water line is not in the garage as one would have thought. Itís actually on the opposite side of the house next to the water sprinkler backflow valve. This probably means I would have to put the water softener system outside behind my fence due to HOA regulations. I live in a suburb outside of Houston. It doesnít get very cold here said for a few days out of the year, but the summers have brutal heat and humidity. I do have power near this area, but was more worried about the longevity of the system if placed outside. Thoughts? Thanks.


Funk74, where & who quoted you such a reasonable price for your system?
 
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Old 02-05-09, 07:52 AM
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A 30, 000 grain system will be fine. You can buy a 30K Fleck 5600 metered unit for around $650.00 and pay around $200.00 to install it. There may be a way to put the unit in the garage. If the garage is on the right side of the house and the water line on the left, just run the line across the yard, under the side walk, and into the garage. That is as long as the side walk is not attached to the garage.
 
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Old 02-05-09, 11:12 AM
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If youíre standing in front of my house then the garage is on the left side of the house and the water line is on the right side of the house. Iím screwed now because the sidewalk to the front door and driveway to the garage (also in front) would prevent me from tunneling under. The water manifold/block is in the wall in the center of the garage. Iím guessing the softener has to be installed outside next to the main water line now. They would have to dig a line for the drain as well. I shouldíve asked to have the house pre-plumbed for a softener. Any tips to find a good plumber that would install a softener in SW Houston?
 
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Old 02-05-09, 12:33 PM
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I have worked in your area (Beaumont). If you can, use a dry well for your drain. Dig a hole 4x4x4 and fill with gravel and cover with soil. Softener can drain into it without hurting plants and damaging the environment. Check with local codes.

Softeners can be partially buried or housed in a small leanto-type structure. Mkae sure you have one that is not harmed by ambient conditions.

Andy Christensen, CWS-II
 
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Old 02-05-09, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Pucas View Post
The water manifold/block is in the wall in the center of the garage.

If this is the first manifold (main line from meter), you could install the unit in the garage. Get with the builder and find out who did the plumbing. They may be able to tell you if the main line is at that manifold.
 
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Old 02-05-09, 01:16 PM
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The main water line comes in on the left side of the house, goes up the wall, crosses the attic, and then down into the manifold. The sewer line is on the left side of the house. If this can be installed in the garage, where would one plumb the drain line? My laundry room is right behind the garage, can I snake a drain line up through the attic and down the wall into the washing machine drain? If code allows, the 4x4x4 hole in the ground sounds like a good idea. Itís a good thing I took some pictures and videos of the plumbing before the insulation & sheet rock went in.
 
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Old 02-05-09, 04:47 PM
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You can run the drain line up the wall and tie into a vent stack or drill through the garage wall and go into a 4x4x4 pit. Are you going to install or hire it out?
 
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Old 02-06-09, 07:00 AM
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I want to do the install myself, but I'm a bit time deprived at the moment. I'll pay for a quality, code compliant installation, but I don't want to over pay, know what I mean? I'm handy enough to do troubleshooting and maintenance myself and won't require frequent dealer visits.

So far I got quotes of around $4k for both Dupure & Hague (Water Softener + RO + Installation). My guess is that the next guy (Rainsoft) will be around this price too.

Are there really any differences between these systems aside for the electronics used? The Hague system does have a few other built-in filtration stuff, but is it a jack of all trades and a master of none?
 
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Old 02-06-09, 07:57 AM
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4k is just too much for a softener and ro. Call around. I know houston has a bunch of different dealers or buy on line and find an installer.
 
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Old 02-06-09, 10:22 AM
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I called a plumber today and he said that he can install a system for me but it may cost between $500 -$1000 depending on how extensive the plumbing work will be required. He also said that he has his own equipment that he sellsÖ.North Star brand. I looked them up and their units look like big box store brands comprising of a single unit. He said that the Fleck 7000 SE is antiquated and I may have difficulty finding parts for. Should I run from this installer?
 
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Old 02-06-09, 06:57 PM
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You must run very very fast. Install should be $200.00-$300.00. A plumber will always be higher than a softener company. The North Star is a big box style with a different design. That's not true of the 7000. Fleck has been making valve over 50 years. The parts will be available.
 
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Old 02-10-09, 12:22 PM
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Pucas,
Did you ever find someone to install your system? I'm in Houston as well and have been doing research, shopping around. Found a few places to install a Fleck 7000 or Clack WS-1 with RO for $1500-1700 installed.

My water main is also on the opposite side of the garage and I would prefer to have the softener in the garage, but I know people who have them installed outside as well.
 
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Old 02-11-09, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by drew2020 View Post
Pucas,
Did you ever find someone to install your system? I'm in Houston as well and have been doing research, shopping around. Found a few places to install a Fleck 7000 or Clack WS-1 with RO for $1500-1700 installed.

My water main is also on the opposite side of the garage and I would prefer to have the softener in the garage, but I know people who have them installed outside as well.
Not yet, I'm still looking. Most of the plumbers I've contacted seem to be pushing their own wares too. I'm trying to reach the plumbing contractor the builder used to see what they can do.

Who have you found thus far that will install a quality system for that price? Please share. Thanks.
 
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Old 02-11-09, 02:27 PM
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I've been able to locate an old colleage in the water softener business. He is in Austin but willing to travel to Houston. He will give you a very good price. Let me know if you want his niumber.
 
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Old 02-11-09, 02:32 PM
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Pucas, sent you a PM.

Biermech, does he have a website? Otherwise, I would like his number.

Thanks.
 
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Old 02-11-09, 04:45 PM
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Drew,

I sent you a pm. I know is pricing will be good.
 
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Old 02-12-09, 11:53 AM
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I have decided to go with a Fleck 7000 control valve in my system, but I've read that there are two variants of this model, a SE and a SXT version. What's the difference between the two?

Also, there is an option to add a Mediaguard KDF Filter inside the tank. Is this worth it and how often should it be changed? Thanks.
 
 

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