Newbie looking for advice & info

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  #1  
Old 04-16-09, 10:47 AM
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Newbie looking for advice & info

I'm currently looking to have a system instaleld at the house and have been researching my options. I have a friend who sells water systems as a 2nd job, and he came to the house to discuss my options; just not sure if he knows as much as I'd like him to before following his advice.

He did perform some type of water test with vials and droppers and shakers, etc .... but the only real thing I got out of all that is my water has 15 grains of hardness.

He is recommending an Avian System II, but I'm not sure this system has a high enough quality and reputation for me to be comfortable installing. Their big selling point on this system is the reverse flow bining and also the 4 layers of filtration (carbon cap, resin, KDF and Garnet). This sounds all fine and dandy, but I can't finad any details on the build quality of the system (valve type, etc ...)

He says he can have this system installed in my house for $3k, including installation and a lifetime warranty. I know this is high, which is why I'm seeking advice.

I just got off the phone with a local Kinetico dealer and am setting up an appt for them to come provide an estimate.

One other question I have is installation location. I'd like to have the unit installed in my attic due to future plans to convert my garage into a game room. The attic is extrememly large, so space is not a concern; but supply lines, drain lines, and potential leaks are! Is an atic installation common? Can I just run the supply lines up the wall, use a septic vent pipe as a drain, and use a hotwater type secondary drain setup in case of leaks?

Thanks for any advice you can offer,
Thomas.
 
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  #2  
Old 04-16-09, 02:14 PM
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Sounds Great! But first, let's take a look at what is involved here.

He wasn't able to provide you with salt efficiency, QWA or NSF certifications, or, it seems an explanation of the different media contained in the tank and what they do.

Countercurrent regeneration has its advantages and that can be considered a good point. It uses a Clack valve, which is also a good valve.

Garnet is a very heavy Ďrockí that is used as under bedding to give up flowing water better distribution. This is a standard media in many softeners. It is durable and a good choice. Many also use gravel but might not be a good idea because of the KDF.

KDF is a redox media made of granulated copper and zinc. These dissimilar metals create a bacterialstatic state which inhibits microorganisms from forming colonies. It is also very heavy and that is why garnet is used below it.

In fact it is so heavy that it wonít backwash (lift) in that tank with the limited amount of backwash flow rate. If adequate force was provided to lift the bed, the resins and carbon above it would just piston to the top of the tank and hat is not recommended.

KDF is a wonderful media but must be used in limited ways with appropriate equipment. I have visted the plant in Michigan and their staff were very helpful on experimental equipment applications.

It can remove iron and sulfur to a small degree. There are two eventual problems: 1. the KDF will tend to solidify causing water to channel through it, thus defeating its advantageous qualities, and 2. It will need to be replaced long before the resins are exhausted. By then, the media will become rocklike and the tank canít be emptied even with a long metal pole jarring it loose.

As for the resins, OK that will provide softened, iron free water depending on types and quantities. You didnít mention if you were on city or well water.

The carbon in the tank is chiefly for clarity, taste and odor. It can help remove organics as well. But here is the problem. Carbon fines and resin beads carry nearly the same specific gravity. When the system is build, the carbon is placed last so that it sits on top of the resins. Sales staff indicate this is the best place for it. It will remove chlorine on city water before it reaches the resins as chlorine will damage resins.

But whenever it backwashes, the carbon fines and resin beads will more and more blend into each other defeating the purpose of chlorine remove to protect resins. Furthermore, resins which are round and fairly hard will chew up the carbon fines, which are jagged and multifaceted and rather brittle. These fines become even finer and are washed out during backwash.

Also, carbon, too. wonít last as long as resin. Whatever is left will need to be replaced. But how do you separate the resins from the carbon? Well, you donít and the service call winds replacing both, at your cost.

The biggest thing that kills me is, gulp, the Lifetime Warranty. That always sends up red flags as the definition is as vague as it can be. Of course it is limited as all warranties are. But it is used more as a marketing and sales technique to get you to feel comfortable that your costs will e little or nothing FOREVER. Good luck on that...

You can get a Kinetico for less money and far superior quality. Tell us what model was suggested, and ask a lot of questions to the dealer.

Andy Christensen, CWS-II
 
  #3  
Old 04-16-09, 02:51 PM
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Thanks Andy. You're right, he did not provide me with salt efficiency, QWA or NSF details, but he did explain the different media funcations to the best of his ability; although he did not explain potential issues which could develop due to them. Thanks for that.

I am on a city coop water supply, not a well. The water leaves white residue on everything it touches, which is the reason we would like a system.

I just got off the phone with Kinetico, and they will be here in about 30 mins to test the water and recommend a system. I'll post the recommendation and test results after I have them.

Any suggestions for good questions to ask the dealer?

Thanks again,
Thomas.
 
  #4  
Old 04-16-09, 04:49 PM
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Well, good luck. He/she may recommend a 4040, 2030, or a 2040.
 
  #5  
Old 04-16-09, 10:51 PM
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His water testing resulted in 18 grains of hardness, TDS: 460 and Chlorine of 3.0. Based on this, he recommends a separate carbon tank coupled with either a Powerline for $1795, an Elan (watercare?) for $2195, or a 2030 for $3195. He said the Powerline and the 2030 are Kinetico systems and the Elan is not.

He gave me the option of 2 carbon tanks. One he called Alamo Big Blue ($275) and the other is a Kinetico unit ($600). I asked why the price difference and he said because the Kinetico unit has a 10 yr warranty vs a 1yr on the Alamo unit. This doesn't make sense to me, as I could purchase 2 Alamo units and still not be at $600. This makes me think there is something else differentiating them.

As for the softener system, I know the 2030 is a non-electric unit while the other 2 are electric units. Can anyone explain the pros/cons of electric vs. non electric? Is the non electric more efficient and will it require resin replacement more often than the electric? There's quite a price difference going with the non electric, so I assume there is some benefit to using it.

He also showed me a Watts unit, which is a very similar design to the Evian unit (stacked medias in one cylinder), but recommends one of the other 3 instead.

Bottom line is, we want to get rid of the white residue build up we are seeing, and would like something which requires the least amount of maintenance and cost of ownership. Paying a higher premium up front is not a problem for me as long as the maintenance cost remains low.

He also mentioned a non salt unit he will be offering soon, but didn't give me a price on it. From what I understood, this type of unit's resin crystallizes the hard particles and prevents them from building up, and doesn't require a brine to flush the resin. He said the drawback is the resin requires replacement more often (every 3-5 years), but the resin cost is cheaper than 3-5 years of salt or potassium.

Thomas.
 
  #6  
Old 04-17-09, 07:50 AM
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I think he biggest differnece between the BigBlue filter and the Kinetico is shear volume and basic design. The BB filter is a replaceable cartridge that needs to be changed every so many gallon per cuft of carbon. The smaller the volume the shorter the life AND the faster water travels through it lessening the effect.

The Kinetico unit, I suppose is a large tank with granulated activated carbon and will last much longer (due to the volume of carbon) and you'll get better flow rate. The warranty is on the tank and equipment, not the media (or cartridges).

The 'Powerline' is actually a Fleck valve.

With non-electric units there will never be repair or replacement issues with electrical components, switches, metering devices, etc. The warranty on Kinetico units are ten years including the resins--provided chlorine is removed ahead of the resins,

Twin designs lend to long resin life. They clean themselves with treated water and all the essential moving parts come into contact with treated water, so they last a long time also. Your system will last, with proper set up and maintenance, around 30 years.

Twin tanks always regenerate just when it needs to and avoids wasting salt or water by regenerating too early or late. Any pressure loss is unnoticed.

I would avoid the 'no-salt softeners'. I believe you will be disappointed with the results.

I'm sure you could have negotiate on all those units somewhat.

Did they mention salt efficiency at all or did you ask?

Andy
 
  #7  
Old 04-17-09, 08:10 AM
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I spent 13 years in the Austin area in the water treatment business so I know the type of water you have. It does not matter how much money you spend, the quaility of your water will be the same. Why spend big bucks to get the same water? For around $1000.00 you can have the same quaility of water as the Kinetico and Avian offer.
 
  #8  
Old 04-17-09, 08:43 AM
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Thanks Andy. Sounds like the non-electric setup is more my style, with less maintenance and longer lasting. He didn't mention salt efficiency, and I didn't ask about it. He did ask me how many people are in the house, and I told him I'd rather spec the unit for the size of the house (4br / 2.5 baths) rather than for me, my wife, my 2yr old and my 3mo old. Not sure if this was the line of questioning to get to salt efficiency or not though. Is salt effieiency the amount of time which goes by before I need to add salt?

I'm sure you are right in stating negotiation is always possible. The $3195 number + carbon tank was his first offer for the 2030, and by the time he left, we were sitting at $2895 + carbon tank. Is there a reliable wesite to purchase these types of units without the typical dealer markup? Maybe I can just purchase the softner system for the $2895 and get a carbon tank on my own. Then have the installers tie it in when they are here?

As for installation, I'm being told it's not a good idea to dump the regen water into my septic tank as it will kill the bacteria which breaks down the solids. Is this true? If so, I suppose I'll need a french drain/dry well setup to dump the brine in to. The installer told me they'll do whatever I want, but other sources (friends/family) are telling me not to use the septic.

Biermech,

What do you mean by:
Originally Posted by biermech
For around $1000.00 you can have the same quaility of water as the Kinetico and Avian offer.
Thanks guys,
Thomas.
 
  #9  
Old 04-17-09, 02:30 PM
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Wow, if this is the same Avian company my friend is selling for, I'm definitely not interested!

Water Purifier Marketers Accused of Using Deceptive Sales Tactics
 
  #10  
Old 04-18-09, 04:24 AM
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What I'm saying is that all you are doing is buying a name. Yes the Kinetico has a higher efficiency, but saving a bag or 2 a year is not worth the extra cost. The water quaility from a Fleck will be the same as from a Kinetico. With well water you should expect 20+ year from a Fleck. If city water, simply use carbon to remove the chlorine and get 20+ years. The savings your have with a Fleck out weights the efficiency of a Kinetico.
 
  #11  
Old 04-18-09, 05:57 AM
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Salt efficiency is rated by number of grains per pound of salt used. Kineticos are very high salt efficient.

Yes, you can get or build a generic carbon tank, even from used parts. That would save you some on the outset. This would be an UP-flow model without a backwashing valve. I would still put a pre-filter (20-micron) before the system. Many times the city flushes lines and send gobs of junk through them.

If you decide to go Kinetico, you will like the results very much. These are great machines. You can't buy them online.

Have you considered a drinking water system?

Well, I hope you make a good decision and let me know if I can help in any way.

Andy Christensen, CWS-II
 
  #12  
Old 04-18-09, 08:17 AM
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Ok, let's make sure I got this right:

Water hardness of 18gpg on city water with 4 adults in the house. I found a formula online which says to take the number of people in the house (4) multiply by 75 (average gallons used per day per person) multiply by hardness (18) and then by 3 (number of days you should be able to go before regen). This gives me (4*75*18*3) 16,200 grains needing to be removed over a 3 day period. If this is a correct line of thinking, a 36,000 or even a 24,000 Grains system should be fine, right? Or am I off in this calculation?

Where can I purchase a reasonable carbon filter online, and how can I determine which size I need? I'm looking here, but don't know which size I need. The site has a "Help me choose a size" link, but only deals with a well, not city water. Would the Chlorine test results (3.0) be used to determine this?

Where can I get a 20 micron pre filter? Will it need changing on a regular basis, or do you just wait until pressure starts to drop then change it?

No, I haven't considered a drinking system. I'm not overly concerned with the added sodium bicarbonate in the water; is there another reason to have a RO system after installing a softener?

Considering your advice Biermech, I'm looking at the Fleck 9000 system as well. Thoughts on this vs. the 2030? The cost difference is huge, which makes me apprehensive on buying the fleck; or am I not looking at the right Fleck system to be compared to the Kinetico 2030 system?

If the Fleck 9000 is comparable, $799 + install cost sure is a lot better than $2895 installed!

BTW: I spoke to my buddy about the Avian system, and he said the resin has a 15yr warranty, and the housing is lifetime. I asked him if the resin would be covered if I setup a maintenance call in 5 years to replace the carbon and the tech finds carbon intermixed with the resin, and of course he doesn't know. He's going to have thier senior guy/owner call me to answer the difficult/technical questions I have.

Thanks for all your help guys, I really appreciate it! I feel like I'm getting more knowledgable as I go along and almost ready to make a decision.

Thomas.
 
  #13  
Old 04-19-09, 05:50 AM
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Yes, your calculations are correct. The Fleck 9000 is a very good valve. I just don't feel residential homes need soft water 24/7. But that is my personal belief. If you need an installer, I can have someone contact you and give you a bid.
 
  #14  
Old 04-19-09, 07:02 PM
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I'd love to talk to a local installer for a bid. I PMed you my phone #, so feel free to have a local guy call me.

Thanks,
Thomas.
 
  #15  
Old 04-06-10, 08:46 AM
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Hey guys, it's been about a year since I started this thread, and have decided to go ahead and get the system installed in the next couple of weeks.

We've set a budget limit of $3k, and I think the Fleck 9000 + carbon tank + micro filter + install (a good 100ft from the house) will be close to this.

Now looking for a good local installer, any recommendations? I'm not opposed to purchasing the equipment and having it shipped to the house to be installed, also not opposed to using a local dealer/installer to buy it from; Looking for options here.

Thanks,
Thomas
 
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