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Old 06-24-2007, 11:04 AM
45 posts, read 306,991 times
Reputation: 41


Good morning. We are moving to SA this summer (281 and Sonterra) into a new house and have to do the typical new house stuff. I would appreciate any recommendations from the experts on these boards:

1) I am looking to buy/install a water softener for a house with 3 people. Can anyone recommend a brand and installer? I was given a quote for $1450-1900 depending on "medium" or "large" salt free softener purchased and installed. I don't need anything fancy. The house is already plumbed for the water softener. If I buy one from HD or Lowe's, how tough is it to install?

Thanks for the tips.
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Old 06-24-2007, 11:29 AM
2,184 posts, read 6,526,743 times
Reputation: 1451
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Old 06-24-2007, 11:57 AM
Location: Charleston, SC
314 posts, read 2,397,058 times
Reputation: 202
We got a large one from Sears that was on clearance, it is the salt type, but they installed it for us, and I think it cost us somewhere around $750. We have had it for over a year now and we are very happy with it.
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Old 06-24-2007, 02:26 PM
Location: Helotes. TX
54 posts, read 233,176 times
Reputation: 24
If it's a new house and they say 'pre-plumbed for water softener' they mean there's a u-shaped loop of copper pipe coming out of the wall in the garage. You must turn off the water to the house, cut the pipe, weld the new line into and out of the water softener and connect it up. If you haven't any plumbing experience it's going to take you a few hours and practice your welding a bit before you actually go to it. This is the water line to your whole house so if you jack it up you have to turn off the water to the house and get a plumber to come fix it. I purchased a softener from Quality Water Associates dot come and had a local plumber install it. The system was sized for a 3 person house hold with 2 1/2 baths and a whirlpool tub (that makes a difference). The softener cost $800 delivered and the plumber was $200. If you want the number for the plumber pm me. I've had 2 others on this board use Quality Water Associates and my plumber and they're just as happy as I am with the system.
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Old 06-24-2007, 02:28 PM
Location: Helotes, TX
469 posts, read 2,184,747 times
Reputation: 115
Dangit my dh had signed in to my computer. If you want the info pm me, the dh has no idea how a water softener works or what the plumber's name and number are.
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Old 06-24-2007, 03:11 PM
Location: Las Vegas, NV
52 posts, read 317,403 times
Reputation: 37
I second the idea of buying a softener and having a plumber install it. Unless you have experience soldering copper pipe, I would advise not trying to learn on your main line for the house. I would guess your main is 1" or larger, and although how its soldered is basically the same as 1/2", doing it is a little more difficult for someone with little or no experience. Also, unless you are on a tight budget i would stay away from Sears or home depot for the softener. They will do the job, but they will not last as long as a softener with a fleck or Clack valve. Plus Fleck and Clack valves can be rebuilt fairly easily and will more than likely last a homeowner decades.

I worked at a 2400 room strip mega-resort for 10 years as an operating engineer. Part of my responsibility was central plant operations. We had a plant with 4 800 horsepower boilers plus heat exchangers. Hot water loops for kitchens, water for rooms, and heating for the casino and convention space. We had 10 or 11 huge softeners. I can't remember the grains of hardness they would handle, but it was alot. They had Fleck valves on them and I can only remember them having to be rebuilt twice in 10 years. That may sound like alot, but they regenerated way more than your home would. Pluse 8 of them were in a very harsh environment with no a/c, chemical fumes, beat up by construction workers going through the plant with material, and a host of other things. Yes a softener system with a Fleck or Clack is a little pricier but it will last you forever, and if you do start to have problems it can be fixed. Most Sears and home improvement store softeners are almost throw away. After a few years the cost of repair on those is almost the same as the cost of replacement. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 06-24-2007, 05:26 PM
45 posts, read 306,991 times
Reputation: 41

I pm'd you to request the information in your post. Thanks for the help.
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Old 06-24-2007, 06:25 PM
Location: Helotes, TX
469 posts, read 2,184,747 times
Reputation: 115
JZ31171 BrennanKG won't have a clue as to what you're asking, my husband is not into the inner working of the house, I'll pm you the info. Quality Water Associates only sell Fleck or Clack valves with their systems (with a lean towards the Clack) and I'll second all that lvknight just said.
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Old 06-25-2007, 03:50 PM
Location: Westcreek
1 posts, read 46,820 times
Reputation: 12
I've been following this thread with great interest as I spent the last two weeks entertaining 5 different water softener companies and listening to their pitches.

My home is on the far west side, was built in '87, not pre-plumbed, and is connected to SAWS.

My low quote was $2,100 and the highwas $3,500.

To re-cap some high points:

Company # 1 was a local reputable plumber and sold EPRO-Flow systems.

Culligan was priciest and I was very wary of the sales rep.

Home Depot was pricey and the contract sales rep seemed very unsure about specifics. Additionally, Home Depot (GE), Lowes (Whirlpool), and Sears (Kenmore) are much complained about in repair forums as throw-away units. (Including this thread)

ECOWater was pricey. The sales rep was extremely knowledgeable. But I read somewhere that ECOWater is the basis for the big box store units.

Before reading this thread, I'd narrowed it down to two choices in this order:

1. Kinetico 2030s
The Kinetico is pricey, but has a good rep and the softened water is always available due to twin tanks.

2. ValuMax with a GE LOGIX 255
The GE part made me wary, but apparently, these systems have a flapper valve instead of a pressure disc. (which was the Big Box store complaints)

Now that I've read this thread, I'm also considering buying my unit wholesale and having the plumbing work done separately, but I'm a babe in the woods on this subject.

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Old 06-25-2007, 11:28 PM
45 posts, read 306,991 times
Reputation: 41
I am officially now more confused than before. Lots of good feedback, but I didn't realize how much went into water softeners and the decision.

I don't want to spend a ton but obviously want a reliable product that does the job without getting ripped off.

Decisions, decisions.
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