Questions re: new water softener; Peerless and Wolverine Co. product info?


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Old 01-15-09, 02:59 PM
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Smile Questions re: new water softener; Peerless and Wolverine Co. product info?

Can anyone provide feedback about the quality of the metered demand water softener units provided by two West Michigan companies: Wolverine and Peerless?

Hi,
I am a new subscriber, but have read many of your posts and they have been very helpful.
Our previous HAGUE WATERMAX water softener recommended by and installed by an independent contractor plumber broke after a prolonged power outage. We are told by two plumbers that it can’t be fixed.
So, pursuant to the advice I’ve read on this site, we’ve had representatives of 4 local companies come out to test our water and provide recommendations. Two plumbers have recommended a 30,000 grain unit with a separate brine tank that would hold 5 bags of salt. One representative - not a plumber but a salesman - recommended the Wolverine 40,000 grain unit with a separate brine tank that would hold 4 bags of salt. Both are demand units.
We are a family of 4 with two teenagers. Our water hardness measures 23-24 grains per gallon and our iron measured 0 today, although the city reports that it adds phosphorus to it because of iron levels ranging from .1 - 2 ppm. The city flushes the pipes biannually, and as needed. We periodically have rust settling at the bottom of our brita water pitcher, and the white plastic is stained orange.
My questions:
1. Can anyone provide feedback about the quality of the metered demand water softener units provided by two West Michigan companies: Wolverine and Peerless?
2. Are the two above described units large enough for our household?
3. One plumber stated that one of the systems “removes” iron from the water and from the brine, so that the brine never becomes saturated with iron. Is that shown to be possible?
4. Is there any annual maintenance that should be done? Both said it wasn’t “necessary,” but I’m wondering if that’s more a sales pitch than a recommended practice.
4. Does salt with rust remover damage any system?
5. Is there any risk to letting a water softener remain unregenerateddd for 3-4 weeks while we’re out of town? - Risk to either water quality or to the softener itself?
6. Are salt pellets or salt crystals recommended?
Thanks so much for your continued help and whatever advice you can provide!!
 
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Old 01-15-09, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by wrilei View Post

My questions:
1. Can anyone provide feedback about the quality of the metered demand water softener units provided by two West Michigan companies: Wolverine and Peerless?
It's too difficult to rate clearly without knowing the actual valves used. Most valves are reasonably good or they would not be using them. Moreover, the service of the companies can be even more important in the long run.

I might go with the company that specializes in water treatment and not as an add on business like most plumbers do.


Originally Posted by wrilei View Post
2. Are the two above described units large enough for our household?
A 40,000 grain unit with regenerate about every 5 -6 days. This will work very well. Your salt efficiency will be set on high due to your special iron situation. Since you are on city water, did anyone there recommend dechlorination? Find out your chlorine count, which can fluctuate, but generally is about 0.5 to 1.5 ppm, typically.


Originally Posted by wrilei View Post
3. One plumber stated that one of the systems “removes” iron from the water and from the brine, so that the brine never becomes saturated with iron. Is that shown to be possible?
Why do you put iron in quotation marks? Neither system will do much for removing the iron, unfortunately. That may be a tough hurdle to jump.

Originally Posted by wrilei View Post
4. Is there any annual maintenance that should be done? Both said it wasn’t “necessary,” but I’m wondering if that’s more a sales pitch than a recommended practice.
If your softener is set up correctly, there should be little or no maintenance. Check the brine drum once in a while to see if bridging or mushing is occuring. Some valves may require more attention than others. There is a non-electric softener that would avoid the problems you had with the Hague.

Originally Posted by wrilei View Post
4. Does salt with rust remover damage any system?
This will not be necessary with your water.

Originally Posted by wrilei View Post
5. Is there any risk to letting a water softener remain unregenerateddd for 3-4 weeks while we’re out of town? - Risk to either water quality or to the softener itself?
I would not worry about that for only a few weeks. Some softeners have a 'calendar overide' that forces it into regen even if you don't use any water. The unit and resins will be OK.

Originally Posted by wrilei View Post
6. Are salt pellets or salt crystals recommended?
Thanks so much for your continued help and whatever advice you can provide!!
I recommend pellets over solar salt. Either way, get the highest quality salt especailly if your brine solution is treated water rather than raw hard water.

Some of the problems or dilemmas that you described can be avoided with a twin tank softner. They are more expensive but are worth it.

Andy Christensen, CWS-II
 
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Old 01-15-09, 06:52 PM
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It looks to me that both Peerless and Wolverine sell Fleck equipment. I've used Fleck for over 18 years and they make a great valve. For your home the cost range would be $600.00 to $1000.00 depending where you buy it.
 
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Old 01-15-09, 07:27 PM
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Questions

Thanks for responding so promptly. We can't stand this hard water, so we are trying to make a decision quickly. Several follow-up questions:
1. I'm not quite sure why Andy says we would need to use salt with a rust remover when we sometimes have rust that settles at the bottom of our water pitcher and the pitcher has become stained orange over time (though the toilets aren't stained).
2. We had someone come out tonight that works for a water treatment company selling a kinetico. In your guys' opinions, given all your experience, is it worth paying about $1,000 more for a kinetico in our situation? (The power outage we had this summer was the first we've had in the 15 years we've lived in this area.) I love the idea that it doesn't require electricity and that it seems that it would be very efficient, but I'm not sure that justifies so much money.
 
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Old 01-16-09, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by wrilei View Post
1. I'm not quite sure why Andy says we would need to use salt with a rust remover when we sometimes have rust that settles at the bottom of our water pitcher and the pitcher has become stained orange over time (though the toilets aren't stained).
I think you meant to say 'NOT need to use...., right? With you particular water conditions, the iron will go right through the softener, so a special iron-out salt will not be needed.

You said that water was treated with phosphorous. More accurately, it is probably poly- (or by-) phosphates. These additives to municipal water supplies are due to the lack of using other methods to reduce iron.

These phosphates sequester ('encapsulate") iron molecules preventing them from being oxidized and converting to ferric iron (Fe+++) which causes stains.

However, hot water tends to release (separate) this iron causing some staining. That is why toilets keep clean but showers, washers and dishwashers get stains.

Also, time can cause the iron to reveal itself and that is why water in pitchers can collect insoluable iron particles.

The phosphates coat the iron so well that they pass right through the softener. This process causes mixed results as you have seen.

Originally Posted by wrilei View Post
2. We had someone come out tonight that works for a water treatment company selling a kinetico. In your guys' opinions, given all your experience, is it worth paying about $1,000 more for a kinetico in our situation? (The power outage we had this summer was the first we've had in the 15 years we've lived in this area.) I love the idea that it doesn't require electricity and that it seems that it would be very efficient, but I'm not sure that justifies so much money.
I have worked with Kinetico products for about six years. Yes, they are expensive but, yes, they are high quality and very efficient. The non-electric part can serve many advantages and prevent the problems you had. Kinetico invented the twin tank design and that provides seamless water treatment. YOu would happy with the results in softening your water.

Andy
 
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Old 01-19-09, 04:46 PM
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I would like feedback on a softener we're considering

Hi,
Thanks, Andy for your helpful description of how the phosphate treated iron passes through a softener.
We can't afford the kinetico -- the dealer in our area gave us a quote of about $3,600, and that's just too much. So, we're considering a 30,000 grain automatic demand water softener with a fleck control valve and Sybron high capacity softening resin -- this is a softener put together by a local family-owned company (in existence for 75 years) and installed by a plumber we've used several times. It has a 1 1/2 year labor and parts warranty on the entire unit and a lifetime warranty on the salt and brine tanks. The company's owner has been very accessible and willing to answer my questions. He says the brine usually lasts on average 15-20 years in our area -- Western Michigan. The total cost installed, with installation of metal drainage piping and a power cleaning of our water heater, is $1,550.
What do you experts think given the conditions described in my messages below?
Thanks in advance for whatever feedback/advice you can provide.
 
 

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