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    Water Softening Systems, any good reviews/reports?

    This is off topic but I am trying to find a water softener and would like to get one that is good (of course) but can be attached either via relay or by port to HS so I can monitor and know when it needs servicing.

    Anybody got any opinions on water softeners for the house? I mean the whole house kinds that use salt or potasium.

    SteveP

    #2
    I've been through several, each with diferent types of controls and I like this product the best. It has a digital readout to tell you how many gallons of water are left on the charge. How you would interface that to HS is beyond me. My second home is in a Karst area (limestone overlay) which means I have very hard water. It's been tested several times and each time registers in the range of 55 ppm. Most plumbers think that's off the charts, ant it may be, but the test results are consistent. Most important, the Water Boss seems to handle it. WE don't get much water between cycles, but we don't use much either (Second home with no laundry) I think I paid about $500 for it.

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      #3
      I saw the GE WaterSmart at Home Depot but it didn't impress me very much. Seemed cheap. I found an independent guy but he wants $1500 for the basic model with clock type cycle for regenerating. Seems wasteful as we may not use all the stuff up but it would still regenerate. I was hoping to find one that had decent controls based on demand that could trigger a couple of contacts that would trigger HS events that it needed service.
      I am hopeful that some folks here have been through this process and picked a unit. This is a resourceful group. I'd be surprised if no one has measured their water hardness.

      SteveP

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        #4
        The one we got is the basic type, with a timer, and would love to interface this with HS somehow (even if it is just to monitor it). I am just disappointed with the side effects of the water softener (such as not being able to use it to water the lawn, it leaves residue on everything, don't even try using a gel based soap in your dishwasher, it will ruin your glassware). Good luck finding a good unit. My unit is a "Water Soft", but can't find much about the company itself online, it came with the house when we built it a few months ago.
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          #5
          Are you replacing a water softener or is this a new applicance for your house?

          Also, just an obersvation: Even if you can somehow get the unit to trigger something, I'm not sure you will be able to tell when the unit needs more salt. The process seems to me to be a little non-linear, meaning that sometimes I think I am getting more soft water per bag of salt than at other times. Could be me or could be my unit or more probably, both! Just a thought.

          BTW, how hard is your water?

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            #6
            Your symptoms sound like my house is now without any softening. We just installed a dishwasher and the dishes have a white stuff on them so bad we don't use the dishwasher. It does seem worse with gel washes.
            We are trying to find out more about softeners so I can put one in.
            The guy I called wants $1500 but I find units on the web for around $500-$600. I guess he builds in a lot of profit.

            SteveP

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              #7
              I just talked to my brother-in-law. He paid $3000 for his system! Lots of bells and whistles like carbon filter, etc. He said also that it would probably be hard to trigger something for service. Might give up on that idea and just find the best priced system.

              SteveP

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                #8
                The cost of the Lowe's unit I quoted you did not include the plumber's labor and parts. That was probably another $500 easy. BTW, as a test, try running your dishwasher and adding 1/4 cup of white vinegar during the rince cycle. It will clear up the white stuff wonderfully! The whole subject of wells and water softners is voodoo science to me. I think that old ad about an educated consumer is appropriate here!

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                  #9
                  The parts and labor seem like the light part to me. I am going to run the new 30 feet of pipe to get the water to the softener and 10 feet back to the current lines. The electric is already in place and the softener will be sitting right next to the cleanout for my sewer line. I was going to plumb some extra valves so I could bypass the unit completely. And add an extra line to feed soft water out to the driveway for car washing. I wanted to do this part myself as I just had a plumber put a new shower valve in, replace the tub drain, and install a sewer cleanout and that cost me $670, and that was discounted since the plumbing business owner is a relative! It would have been $900. You can't get that much for quality computer consulting anymore.

                  SteveP

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                    #10
                    We have a Sears water softener and it has been working great. There is an obvious difference to the "softness" of the household water and it obviously is easier on the pipes and fixtures in the house. The thing cost around $400 bucks new. We just moved and needed to have the thing cut into the plumbing loop in the garage. I checked a couple of sources to have it doen since I hadn't soldered copper pipe before. Average quoted price was around $80 bucks plus parts. I decided it was time to learn - cost me about 25 bucks for everything (torch, solder, flux, parts, etc.).

                    There's a slat level monitor on the unit I'd like to monitor via HS - it's rare that I look at the thing and its easy to forget to add salt when needed.

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                      #11
                      I also have a Sears and like it. I priced culligan also. I have not looked into monitoring it.

                      Dave

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                        #12
                        My flatware gets really dull looking and our water dries out your skin like crazy. Also discolors the glass. I was ready to install a water softner but bought a test kit first. Suprise! Water was not hard at all, no mineral issues either. It's just extremely acidic (about 4.5ph). From what I understand water softeners don't fix that.
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                          #13
                          My brother-in-law is on the same supply as I am and had the water tested. Found it to be hardness.

                          I still have some old fish tank test stuff. I know I have a ph tester in there.

                          Thanks for the heads up.

                          SteveP

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                            #14
                            I missed this thread when it was active, but I do have a point to make.

                            If you do purchase a softener, please find one that keeps a wet brine. There are several differing methods used today. One is to fill the brine with water, then extract it, leaving the salt dry. The other method always leaves water in the salt tank, hence there is always brine available.

                            The major problem that oft times occurs with the softeners that fill and remove is that the probability of developing salt bridges is significant. When this occurs, the efficiency of the system diminishes significantly, as the bridge prevents sufficient brining. The remedy is to break apart the salt bridges.

                            With a wet brine tank, this virtually never occurs, and so the maintenance is essentially nill.

                            Unfortunately, most wet brine softeners come as two parts. The softener and the brine tank (where you put the salt) are individual pieces. And again, these are usually not available with digital controls, but it is possible that there are.

                            Having done extensive research on this, I recommend the wet brine softener.

                            regards,

                            GenevaDude

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                              #15
                              I still want to do this but my wife got me on a project to upgrade all the lighting in the kitchen and family room. So, with all that expense and now being the time to work in the attic, I had to put the softener on the backburner. I found recessed lights not to be cheap. I've got 15 of those going in, 2 ceiling fans with lights, and ceiling speakers (which of course I am sneaking in a HS speaker), a couple of 8 button keypadlinks (which I really like), and a roof ventilator fan. All of this will be controlled by HS of course. And, I am adding a floor to the attic for storage. I started the night the war began and will probably be done after the war is over at this rate.

                              So the water softener is a project for a later day. And, since you are writing such a great thermostat plug-in, that TR40 will probably be next.

                              SteveP

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