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Old 03-08-2013, 10:14 AM
Location: Arizona
460 posts, read 1,056,317 times
Reputation: 621


I would like to purchase a water softener. House was pre-plumbed for one. Can anyone recommend a brand or decent company? Some tell me to stay away from Culligan. Some say avoid big box stores. There is a Whirlpool brand softener online (big box store) that has received good reviews. Would that be a mistake? Any advice is greatly appreciated as I can't find a website with a comprehensive list of good advice or reviews. Thanks!
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:43 AM
2 posts, read 2,125 times
Reputation: 20
The kinds of water softeners out there are way to many to count or to research through. Any softener will do the job just fine but it is how much water and salt it wastes in the process that should concern you. Look for the following features to determine the best kind.

The most important is a metered softener. It counts the number of gallons you use instead of setting a time during the week to regenerate. That way when you use less water the softener knows it and doesn't regenerate until it is exhausted.

The bigger the tank with the softening resin (beads) will determine the frequency of regenerations. Recommend going a cube and a half for most homes.

Keep the brine tank and softening tank separate. If you end up with a salt cake at the bottom of a cabinent softener you get rid of it easily and sometimes you just have to toss the whole out. At least if you have the same problem with a separate brine tank you can just replace that instead of the whole thing.

There are a couple of other cool extras people get sold on, like a low salt alarm or water usage history, but they are just extras they don't effect the process any. I hope this helps and have a great day!

Frieso Pouwer CWS-VI, WT-1, Journeyman Plumber/Gasfitter
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:12 AM
Location: Arizona
460 posts, read 1,056,317 times
Reputation: 621
This was very helpful advice. I have yet to find a website that provided this info. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer. Greatly appreciated!!
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:14 AM
Location: Tucson
205 posts, read 616,030 times
Reputation: 376
I just replaced the seven year old GE in our house with the Whirpool from Lowes (identical BTW to the GE, they are made by the same company). Works perfectly, expect it will last seven years or longer and makes a huge difference in the cleaning power of soap. We still don't drink the tap water but everything gets much cleaner now and you can actually raise a lather when showering. Plus, Lowes has the cheapest extended warranties in the business - $66 for the three year extension on the softener.

Culligan and the other so called water specialist way overcharge for basically the same end result and then they hit you up for monthly maintenance, salt delivery, etc. There is no reason you can't spend $400, install it yourself (pretty easy) and save thousands over what they want. Stay away from anyone trying to hawk a "salt free" system or at least go read the legitimate reports online about how they don't work.

While a separate salt tank is nice for the reasons stated above, I didn't have room. The secret is to not buy too much capacity in the softener. You actually want it to recharge about once a week so that the salt doesn't bridge on you. Larger capacity units used in a small family may not recharge often enough. Never fill more than 1/3 of the way (yes, you'll need to refill more often but it's good exercise). If you're going to be away for a month or longer, scoop out as much of the salt as you can and put the unit in bypass mode. Final tip, make sure the plumbing is set up in such a way that it's not softening the water to the outside spigots - it's a waste of salt but also not particularly good for your plant life if you water them.
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:02 PM
Location: Arizona
460 posts, read 1,056,317 times
Reputation: 621
Thanks for your response, tom4416! I think I will stay away from Culligan. Several people have told they overcharge. Still haven't decided on one yet, but with the good advice you guys have offered I'm sure I will find something. Perhaps I will just go with Lowes. Their warranties are pretty good!
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