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I'm currently in the market for a water softener and r.o. system for my house. My water has 18 grains of hardness and the chlorine is at 0.8 ppg. Public swimming pools must stay within 0.6 and 1.6, so I'm drinking pool water.... Basically, it's undrinkable and unusable for most applications. I have talked to three of the major unit suppliers and have learned quite a bit about them. One thing I have found above all other things is that the salesmen don't have a good idea of what their competitors' units will do or how they work. Pretty sad, really.

But I was wondering who has a softener, how you like it, it's good qualities and it's bad qualities, conveniences, filter lifespan, etc. Anybody have any problems with them? I know the units come with limited lifetime warranties, but anybody had any performance issues that were not warranted?

By the way, the three units I'm considering are Culligan, Ecowater, and Kinetico.

I have an idea which one I want to go with, but am looking for some input from people who have experiences with these units.

Thanks for any input! :thumbsup:
 

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hey, right now i work for a company that is making an alternative to a salt based water softener. here is their website

www.sterlingwatersystems.com

just check it out and call for any questions
we also sell RO systems
 

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Blackbeauty said:
... the three units I'm considering are Culligan, Ecowater, and Kinetico ...
I also looked at those three and bought the Ecowater for $800 installed. No complaints. I have owned two Ecowaters now. You definitely want a 'demand' controller. I thought the Culligan was clunky, with a mechanical gear timer, and plus it was more expensive. The Kinetico was fine, but ridiculously overpriced, around two grand if I remember. The ion exchange technology is the same for all three. So what you are paying for is the controller.

If you are looking for chlorine removal, the water softener won't touch chlorine, only positive ions (metals, calcium, etc.). A mechanical "filter" won't remove chlorine either. When I say filter here, I mean paper or plastic. You have to use carbon to absorb it. Now you are normally talking a smaller capacity system or one that is more expensive and requires more maintenance (replacing the carbon canister).

If it's chlorine you want to go after, you might consider one of those RO units on your drinking water, like under the kitchen sink. One that comes with a carbon filter, or has a filter package with a carbon component.

Or just drink the pool water.

The water softener should work great on the hardness though.

I have some voo doo magnets that were in my house when I moved in, if you want them.
 

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Nuke said:
I also looked at those three and bought the Ecowater for $800 installed. No complaints. I have owned two Ecowaters now. You definitely want a 'demand' controller. I thought the Culligan was clunky, with a mechanical gear timer, and plus it was more expensive. The Kinetico was fine, but ridiculously overpriced, around two grand if I remember. The ion exchange technology is the same for all three. So what you are paying for is the controller.

If you are looking for chlorine removal, the water softener won't touch chlorine, only positive ions (metals, calcium, etc.). A mechanical "filter" won't remove chlorine either. When I say filter here, I mean paper or plastic. You have to use carbon to absorb it. Now you are normally talking a smaller capacity system or one that is more expensive and requires more maintenance (replacing the carbon canister).

If it's chlorine you want to go after, you might consider one of those RO units on your drinking water, like under the kitchen sink. One that comes with a carbon filter, or has a filter package with a carbon component.

Or just drink the pool water.

The water softener should work great on the hardness though.

I have some voo doo magnets that were in my house when I moved in, if you want them.
I'll take the magnets. Save some $$$$$. :lol:

Your ecowater system, is that the small unit, just softener, no chlorine (carbon) filter, etc.? Is your system a self contained unit all in one cabinet? The one I've seen has the resin chamber in the same cabinet as the brine (salt) tank. When condensation occurs for various reasons and at certain times of the season, the salt can get moist, clump and bridge rendering the cleaning cycle useless unless you monitor the salt and break out the bridging. Any issues with this?
 

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Blackbeauty said:
I'll take the magnets. Save some $$$$$. :lol:

Your ecowater system, is that the small unit, just softener, no chlorine (carbon) filter, etc.? Is your system a self contained unit all in one cabinet? The one I've seen has the resin chamber in the same cabinet as the brine (salt) tank. When condensation occurs for various reasons and at certain times of the season, the salt can get moist, clump and bridge rendering the cleaning cycle useless unless you monitor the salt and break out the bridging. Any issues with this?
Mine is the smallest unit, just softener, self-contained all in one cabinet. I have not had any issues with the bridging you describe. But I live in a desert, so the condensation just isn't happening.

I was thinking of putting the magnets on my fuel line. Should be good for 20-30 horsepower.
 

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Nuke said:
Mine is the smallest unit, just softener, self-contained all in one cabinet. I have not had any issues with the bridging you describe. But I live in a desert, so the condensation just isn't happening.

I was thinking of putting the magnets on my fuel line. Should be good for 20-30 horsepower.
Only if you add the NISMO sticker, too! :lol:
 

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i have a whirlpool. paid about 500 bucks at lowes. its just the softener but its great. you can use 2 different kinds of salt and it has a light inside for checking salt level. it also has a bunch of other features that i havent had the time to mess w/.
 

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I am a patent attorney with a Ph.D. in chemistry and do a lot of work in the water treatment area.

First, a staged system is probably what you want with various stages to remove various species. I would first use a carbon filter to remove the chlorine. Downstream from the carbon filter, a water softener should do the trick if your water does not have high levels of iron, manganese, and sulfur dioxide. If your water does have high levels of iron, maganese and sulfur dioxide, you probably want either a greensand filter before the softener and after the carbon filter or some type of aeration system (ozone, etc.) to precipitate out the iron and manganese. These species can really muck up your softener and aren't really treated that well with a traditional softener anyway.

As far as an RO system, keep in mind most RO systems waste a lot of water (home RO systems are maybe 65-70% efficient absent some recycling stages). So that means 30-35% of your water goes down the drain. If some salesman is claiming 95% efficiency with a home based RO system, you better cross them off your list because they are just wrong. The RO membranes can also be expensive and not last very long if the influent is really bad.

I am waiting for a home EDI unit. Those will really purify your water with minimal cost and minimal energy use. They will be pretty pricey though.

As far as cost for a carbon filter-water softener system, expect to pay about $400-500 for the carbon filter and around $650-800 for a 60k grain softener. I would buy the components and have a plumber come and do the final hookup. It will be much cheaper that way.
 

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Actually the pricing isn't outrageous. Culligan is around $1800. Ecowater is around $2300 and Kinetico is around $3200.

I understand the compartmentalized processing. I would be looking at the carbon filter for the chlorine prior to the softener as chlorine kills the resin that does the softening. Kinetico uses no electricity, uses only soft water to run it's moving components and has a dual system that backflushes one chamber with softened water while the other is available to make water. No down time.

The RO systems are 1:1 wasted water to useable water for Kinetico and Culligan. Ecowater is 4:1. The RO pricing is $800, $300, $1500 for Eco, Cull, Kinet. May not be an option I need as the carbon-filtered and softened water will also remove enough chlorine that the water will be very palatable.

Still mulling over the options and benefits/detriments of the systems. Some of the options mentioned on here are interesting too. Just like to do my homework before laying it down.

Thanks all for the responses. Keep 'em coming!
 

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Here is what I would do, and I did it.

Call Culligan and arrange for a monthly changeout of a cylinder thats big enough for your water hardness. They come by and change it out for you. $30/ mo. Nothing to buy, but you do have to cut into the house water cleverly so you do not sprinkle the lawn with soft water. Use compression "T"s so no soldering, hose barbs and NSF rated hose to make the job easy. Put in a by-pass at the service.

Also get an AquaPure carbon inline filter to get the chlorine out. This will also eliminate the "motel bathroom smell" from your shower and hand bowl. The soft water will make sink and shower cleaning almost a thing of the past.
 
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