06:24AM | 04/23/07
Member Since: 04/22/07
4 lifetime posts
I recently moved into a new home that uses a community well for it's water source. The water stats are as follows:

37 grains per gallon

.088 iron content

Will a Sears (Kenmore) or Whirlpool softener be strong enough for this extremely hard water? Thanks for any tips.


12:00PM | 04/23/07
Member Since: 04/01/05
32 lifetime posts
Although you iron is not considered a problem, your hardness is extremely hard. There are any number of ways to take care of this with a softener.

Not all softeners are alike so please take care when considering one. Cheap ones are just

Consider a quality unit if you are going to be there for more than ten years.

Bob Vila has a link concerning water treatment. Read it through and get back with any further questions


12:50PM | 04/23/07
Member Since: 04/22/07
4 lifetime posts
Thanks for the reply, but the article doesn't have any recommendations on which softener to purchase. I understand how the capacity works (30000 grain vs 40000 grain), but how do I know which ones are stronger or weaker?


01:23PM | 04/23/07
Member Since: 04/01/05
32 lifetime posts
The article explained three types of softeners

1. single tank timer

2. single tank demand

3. twin tank demand

Let's just scratch the timer model as those are very inefficient and arer best used in rather unusual situations.

The single tank timer system requires you to determine how hard the water is along with how many gallons you use each day. Of course that is difficult to predict but there are some good valves out there.

A reserve capacity needs to be set according to the number of people normally geared for 75 gallons per person per day. There is a likelihood that the regeneration will occur too early or two late. These will regenerate at 2am normally.

When these systems clean themselves they use hard, untreated water during regeneration.

With twin tanks you don't need to factor in how many people are using water as it regenerates when it needs to with treated water.

There a couple of companies that produce twin tanks namely Fleck (electric) and Kinetico (non-electric).

Twin tanks will be more expensive at first but can save you money in the long run and will provide consistent treated water production.

Gary Slusser

08:20AM | 04/26/07
Member Since: 02/17/04
112 lifetime posts
Big box store brand softeners are lower quality mass marketed types that usually don't last more than a few years.

Andy/qwert999 is a Kinetico salesman.

To learn how to do all those things he says is difficult with a regular softener etc., do a google etc. search for "softener sizing chart" and find one that mentions the SFR of softeners. You'll learn exactly what you need to know to correctly size a softener.

Also, twin tank type softeners are not more efficient than a regular softener using the same size resin tank and volume of the same type of resin; which is the norm.

Twin tank type softeners use capacity/salt to regenerate the other tank, and there is little to no benefit in a residential softener regenerating with softened water. While they are regenerating the pother tank, you normally share your water use with the softener's drain line flow rate. You only get water through one of the two/twin resin tanks and share water use with the softener during regeneration....

There are control valves, like the Clack WS-1, that has variable reserve and soft water brine refill. So getting hard water before a regeneration can occur is a thing of the distant past but still a favorite 'complaint' of twin tank softener salesmen.

Fleck has a number of control valves with variable reserve.


Quality Water Associates


02:20PM | 04/26/07
Member Since: 04/25/07
25 lifetime posts
First, get a complete water test from an independent lab. This is a MUST DO because without it everything is a guess. A quickie water test from Sears or a water softener company won't be complete. They only test for the "profitable" stuff.

Second, hit the Yellow Pages and call at least three local water treatment pros. Make sure you call at least one of the big dogs like Kinetico or Culligan and at least a couple independent pros. DON'T TELL THEM YOU HAD YOUR WATER TESTED.

Give each an opportunity to offer suggestions and provide you with a quote to meet your water treatment needs. IGNORE ANY THAT DON'T TEST YOUR WATER THEMSELVES as they can't speak intelligently to water treatment without knowing what needs to be treated.

Ask lots of questions. Softeneing the entire house or just the water heater (bad idea)? Warranty, parts & labor or just parts, how long and on exactly what? Install, permits required, licensed plumber? Routine maintenance and costs? Do they stock parts? Response time for emergency (water leak) calls? If they don't explain things to your satisfaction that is a good indicator of how you'll be treated after the sale.

After they've gone use your water test to compare with their's. Are all your treatment needs being addressed?

Ask your neighbors if they have any water treatment experience. They might tell you who's good or who to avoid.

Come back here and post the specific recommendations and hardware with the costs and we'll give you our opinions.

If you're a DIYer then you have other options and here's a good place to start ...

But remember, when you do it yourself there's no one else to blame

The negatives regarding the pre-built softeners are ...

Lower quality materials, mostly ABS which ages and becomes brittle. ABS does not do well with really hard water. On 3 gr hardness city water most any softener will give a decent service life BUT harder water than that seperates the pre-built box store softeners from the quality ones.

While all ion exchange water softeners use resin and "tanks" there's a big difference in the resin and resin "tanks". Again, the pre-built softeners do not use the top quality resin from companies like Purolite or Ionac and the materials their resin "tanks" are made of are not the same quality as the Structural brand (10 year warranty) resin tanks the top quality softeners come with.

Most of the parts are proprietary and only available from limited sources and they tend to be expensive.

The pre-built softeners are "cabinet" (all-in-one) designs and are much harder to work on. The cabinet design puts the resin tank inside the brine tank. The routine cleaning of the brine tank is more difficult and takes a lot more time than a conventional design softener but the Sears type does take less floor space (the ONLY advantage in it's design).

A great falsehhood is that pre-built BOX store softeners are less expensive than the industry standard softeners.

The Sears softeners around 40000 hardness capacity generally run a little under $500. For $466 you can have a Fleck 5600SE electronic on demand metered softener delivered to your home including shipping. You'll need to assemble it (takes less than 30 minutes) and install it. You can have a plumber assemble it and install it (you'd need a plumber to install the Sears softener also or DIY).

You'll get a control valve that has proved it's reliability over 20+ years, is made of state of the art materials (Noryl) which does not turn brittle and is totally inert. You'll get a 5 year warranty on the control valve and ten year warranty on the resin tank. You can buy parts for the Fleck control valve locally or all over the internet. Complete parts and service/repair manuals are available for download and there is always someone everywhere who can service Fleck control valves as they are the long established industry standard AND they are as easy OR easier to program than the pre-built softeners. They tolerate the hardest water with no problem.

Real softeners generally last 20+ years EVEN on ludicrously hard water while the service life on a pre-built softener seems to be under 5 years (if you're lucky) on really hard water and lasting longer than that is a rare exception.

Sears, GE, Waterboss, North Star and the like are the most commonly complained about water softeners on this forum and all over the internet. Fleck based water softeners just work and work and work and work and work ...

Why buy a lesser quality water softener for more money?


05:52PM | 04/26/07
Member Since: 04/01/05
32 lifetime posts
Andy/qwert999 is a Kinetico salesman.

>>Thank you Gary. I never present myself in my line of work but you manage to do that for me. On the other hand, you often shine your own apple and elicit business from forums (most of which is a real no-no). I am not motivated to seek customers as you are and find no advantage in attacking others. Sorry you feel compelled to behave in such a way.

To learn how to do all those things he says is difficult with a regular softener etc.,

>>…difficult to do with a regular softener!? Who knows what that means? What is it he believes I am telling others that is difficult. And if it is not understood, why has no one asked me to explain myself? Sounds very strange.

…do a google etc. search for "softener sizing chart" and find one that mentions the SFR of softeners. You'll learn exactly what you need to know to correctly size a softener.

>>Gary’s web site uses these specific words, phrase and acronyms numerous times so when he asks you to search for them on…Boom, you go right to his site. Very subtle and also one of the reasons (others were abuse of forum members) he has been banned from other web forums, including, and Fortunately, Bob Vila is very relaxed and he finds it profitable that at least one forum doesn’t slap his wrist.

Whenever he is banned from a forum, he loses a customer base and then wants to nlame others for his troubles. below is an example of how patient a forum can be.

Also, twin tank type softeners are not more efficient than a regular softener using the same size resin tank and volume of the same type of resin; which is the norm.

>>There he goes again…regular softener? Well, this not true because there are so many softeners that are no longer available in California simply because they are so inefficient. Nearly all softeners have different efficiency ratings. Kind of a reckless statement from someone calling himself a professional.

Sending you to his web site and proclaiming a specific product is simply using this forum as a soapbox to slam competition in one breath and promote personal business interest in another.

Yes, the Clack valve is a fine product and I have never put it down. We sell them, but not like he does. But we also install them, repair them, replace them, and provide other related personal services to our customers in their homes including salt deliveries, water analyses, emergency calls and filter changes.

Please Gary, just try to help people who have questions here and stop wasting your, and everyone's, time with demeaning statements, falsehoods and provocative statements.

It doesn't put you n a good light and causes others to respond in kind.


06:05PM | 04/26/07
Member Since: 04/22/07
4 lifetime posts
I placed a call and have someone from a water company bringing a portable lab with them to test my water and give me an evaluation. I will post my reply with results when complete.


08:07AM | 04/27/07
Member Since: 04/01/05
32 lifetime posts
Please let us know. Some of us we try to help you.

Gary Slusser

07:42AM | 04/29/07
Member Since: 02/17/04
112 lifetime posts
That's real nasty even for an anonymous Kinetico salesman defending his marketing actions by getting nasty.

Prior to this, you have never publicly mentioned selling anything but non-electric (water powered) Kinetico twin tank type softeners saying they are the greatest and everyone should buy one while running down all (electric using regular/normal) other types; including any using the Clack WS-1.

Just like all self serving 'how much money can I get out of this guy/family' salespeople, you are still being dishonest as your lying ChrisJ posts on my forum and other DIY forums show and here's why.

Now you say "We sell them ... but we also install them, repair them, replace them, and provide other related personal services to our customers in their homes including salt deliveries, water analyses, emergency calls and filter changes.".

That may be true and IF it is, then you are here and on many other DIY forums promoting your employer's north west OH Kinetico sales and service while you say you don't sell over the internet BUT.. you also don't tell anyone who you are or where you are located... That shows many people reading this that you have some other agenda, care to share it with them?


Quality Water Associates
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