Frequently Asked Questions
Q. "There are hundreds of companies selling all kinds of softeners. Why should I buy your softener systems?"
A. We are a large, reputable company that was here yesterday and we will be here tomorrow. We are often copied, but we don't believe that any one can match our quality softener systems at these prices. We sell many 1000's of other quality plumbing products as well, so you can rest assured that we know plumbing products. We are a very stable and reputable company. We love to sell what we believe in, and we definitely believe in the Soft-Economizers.
Q. "During the regeneration process of a water softener is it ok to turn on the faucets, take a shower, etc? Will it mess up the regeneration process?"
A. Running water while the softener is regenerating will not mess up the regeneration process, but any water used during the regeneration cycle will not be softened. If water is used while the water softener regenerates, water that would normally go through the softener now automatically bypasses the softener and runs straight to the fixture being used and to the water heater if any hot water is being used.
Q. "Can these softeners be installed outdoors?"
A. Our softeners should be protected against the weather. The electrical components should be shielded from water, and steps should be taken to protect the tanks and head (which contain liquid) from freezing.
Q. "What is hard water?"
A. Hard water is generally defined as having more than 1 GPG (grains per gallon) of dissolved minerals in it (usually calcium, magnesium carbonate, and/or manganese). There is some argument as to what is an "acceptable" level of hardness. Consider those who do not have enough water. For them just having water is wonderful. For those that have an abundance of water and the income/means to improve their water quality, then it is a relative term as to what constitutes "acceptable" levels of hardness. The judgment ranges from a conservative "Soft water = 0 to 5gpg; Moderately hard water = 5 to 10gpg; Hard = 10 to 20gpg; Very hard = 20+gpg as well as others feel that the following is their standard: Soft Water = 0 to 1.0gpg; Slightly hard = 1.1 to 3.5gpg; Moderately hard = 3.6 to 7.0gpg; Hard water = 7.1 to 10.5gpg; Extremely hard water = 10.6+gpg. Our own opinion is that an unacceptable level of "hard" water is a relative term and that only you can "know" if the level that you have is acceptable to you. When in doubt, we say, don't get a water softener. If you know and feel that your water is "too hard" and you can afford it, then invest in one to improve your life. Don't be "sold" by a pushy/aggressive salesperson that you can't live without a water softener. Most people can. We like to recommend a Water Softener when the hardness is 6 grains per gallon or more. At 6 grains of Hardness or above most people can really experience the benefits of soft water. Some who are accustomed to soft water who move to a new area that has water with a hardness as low as 3 or 4 grains will also want a water softener. Everyone is different. Our founder has an Soft-Economizer softener but says that he could live without a water softener but his wife can't (she loves the feeling of cleaner hair).
Q. "How is hard water measured?"
A. Hard water is usually measured in either "parts per million" (PPM), "milligrams per liter" (Mg/L), or "grains per gallon" (GPG); PPM and Mg/L are actually the same measurement. If you know your PPM or Mg/L of water hardness and need to determine what your GPG amount is, divide your PPM (Mg/L) by 17.1. (One GPG = 17.1 PPM or Mg/L).
Q. "How can I tell how hard my water is?"
A. You can either have it tested locally or you can send it to us by mail or UPS (at least 4oz) and we will test it for free (hardness only). If you are planning to purchase or have already purchased a softener somewhere else it doesn't matter to us, we will still test your water for free. Please include your e-mail address with your water sample so we can notify you of the results. Click here to find out where to send it.
Q. "I've read ads that claim that Magnetic (magic?) softeners would solve my hard water problems. What is your experience?"
A. Magnetic "conditioners" have been around for a long time - they are not new. We ask, if they work so well, why doesn't everyone have one? Our founder, Vic, has done extensive research and has yet to find any scientific (non-biased) proof from a reliable source that proves that magnetic water conditioners are actually effective. Vic does not believe that any brand of magnetic conditioner can remove hardness. If you have verified proof that a magnetic conditioner is effective, please email us with the information. Bottom line, if you're looking for a quality water softener, replacement media, and technical support, then you can enjoy peace of mind by purchasing a Soft-Economizer (likely the very best softener available) from us.
Q. "Why does the water softener have to add salt to the water in order to work?"
A. During the normal "in service" or conditioned water position of the valve, hard water enters the system through an inlet at the top of the resin tank. The resin tank is filled with cation resin beads that have sodium or potassium ions attached to them. As hard water comes in contact with the resin beads, the hardness molecules (magnesium, calcium) attach to and stay on the resin molecules, at the same time releasing the sodium or potassium molecules. If sodium chloride (NaCl) is being used as the regenerate material then sodium is released. If potassium chloride (KCl) is being used, the potassium molecules are released. This is why it is called an ion exchange. The result is the quality and convenience of soft conditioned water. After a period of use, the sodium or potassium ions are depleted until only hard mineral ions are left on the resin beads in the tank and the water can no longer be softened and needs to be regenerated. During the regeneration cycle, the system washes the ion exchange resin with sodium chloride or potassium chloride, whichever is being used, overpowering and forcibly removing the hardness and scale molecules off of the resin beads, replacing them again with the sodium chloride or potassium chloride molecules. Please note that only the sodium or potassium is released into the conditioned soft water. The chloride portion of the molecule stays attached to the resin and any excess is pushed out the drain along with the hardness and scale molecules during the regeneration cycle.
Q. "How long does your softener take to regenerate, and how much water do they use?"
A. Normal regeneration time is 2 hours (for the #88 typically 78 gallons of water & 12 lbs of salt used per regeneration; for #89 typically 94 gallons of water & 18 lbs. of salt used per regeneration). The regeneration cycle is preset for 2am, but you can change it easily.
Q. "You state that your softener regenerates only when necessary (you call it "on demand"). However, you also state that the regeneration time is preset for 2AM, and can be changed easily. I don't understand; how can both be true?"
A. Our Fabulous Soft-Economizer Water Softener is considered "on demand." Every day at 2:00 am., the 460i Control statistically averages the amount of water that has been used in the last 7 days to anticipate the amount of water that will be used the next day. The computer then determines if the water conditioner has enough remaining capacity to supply the next day's needs. If not, the unit will regenerate. If there are changes in the usage pattern, the computer will compensate for the change and regenerate only when needed. The unit is factory preset for 2:00 a.m. To change the time that the unit regenerates, you can set the clock ahead (or behind) the actual correct time, depending on the time you desire the regeneration to occur.
Q. "It looks like your softeners use more salt and water for its regeneration than a softener offered by someone else."
A. Check their other statistics. You'll find that ours does not need to regenerate as frequently. We prefer to sell units that are larger, thereby, in the long run less wear and tear and less salt and water waste.
Q. "What is the difference between a water softener, a water filter, a descaler, and a conditioner?"
A. A water softener is a true water treatment system. The dissolved calcium and magnesium carbonate (which are responsible for the hard water) in the water are replaced with either sodium chloride (salt) or potassium chloride. This is different from a water filter in that filters will generally remove chlorine, pesticides, bacteria (in some cases), and suspended particles (sand, sediment, etc). A filter will not remove dissolved solids (which are responsible for hard water). A descaler does not remove dissolved solids; it attempts to prevent the solids from being deposited inside pipes, on fixtures, etc. The word 'conditioner' is very vague and means very little in our minds. We do not recommend that you purchase any brand of magnetic conditioner or lime fighter.
Q. "Why would I want to soften my water?"
A. It greatly reduces the scaling of pipes, faucets, pots, glasses, tubs, etc. You will use less laundry soap, dish washing soap, hand soap, etc. The water is more pleasant to wash with, less soap scum.
Q. "Ok then, why wouldn't I want to soften my water?"
A. If you're using sodium chloride (salt), then the softener will add a small amount of sodium to the water. For most people this is not a problem. However, if you're on a sodium-restricted diet, we would recommend a separate faucet in the kitchen that dispenses un-softened water for drinking. Some people take a while to get used to the feel of softened water.
Q. "Someone told me that I shouldn't soften the water to my kitchen faucet or ice maker. What faucets should be left untreated by a water softener?"
A. Normally your outside faucets (hose bibbs) should not be softened. Our founder does not use soft water for his drinking water filter or his ice maker filter. He does use softened water at his kitchen sink. It really depends on your existing water quality.
Q. "Someone told me that softened water feels 'slimy'. Is that really how softened water feels?"
A. When you wash your skin with hard water, there is a layer of soap and minerals that is left on your skin. This is what causes the supposed 'squeaky-clean' feeling. With soft water, the soap is completely rinsed away leaving just the natural oils your skin produces..
Q. "I've heard that a water softener adds sodium to my water supply. Is this true?"
A. Yes. A household water softener removes the hardness minerals - calcium and magnesium - from water and replaces them with sodium or potassium (if you use potassium chloride).
Q. "How much sodium is added to the water by the softener?"
A. That depends on the hardness of the original water. This table below shows the additional amount of sodium consumed by drinking one quart of softened water.
Grains Per Gallon
As a comparison, one slice of white bread has about 160 milligrams of sodium; 3/4 cup of canned baked beans = 1130 milligrams; 1 tablespoon of catsup = 204 milligrams; 1 medium frankfurter = 610 milligrams; and 1 cup of whole milk = 127 milligrams. Even a common Alka Seltzer tablet contains 532 milligrams of sodium.
However, if you suffer from hypertension or are on a sodium-restricted diet, you should consult your doctor about the proper water for drinking.
Q. "Should I worry about corrosion from the salt in the water?"
A. No. Over a long period of time it may have some effect on exposed steel surfaces. Most of the metal in a home that comes in contact with softened water is either coated, painted, or stainless steel. All which would be unaffected.
Q. "I read somewhere that drinking soft water might be related to heart attacks. Is this true?"
A. There is currently a medical controversy over what effect, if any, drinking hard or soft water may have on heart disease. In some areas with naturally soft water, residents seem to suffer more from heart disease. In other areas, there appears to be no difference between drinking hard or soft water. A number of researchers feel that some other constituent of water - not hardness or softness - may be responsible for the variations in heart disease figures in different areas of the country.
Q. "What's the difference between naturally soft water and the water from a water softener"
A. There's a great deal of difference! Naturally soft water is generally acidic and contains very few dissolved minerals. This tends to make the water quite corrosive to pipes and plumbing. The water from a water softener is more like the raw water from which it is made. It is usually alkaline rather than acidic, and contains moderate amounts of dissolved minerals. Thus softening hard water in the home should not significantly affect corrosion.
Q. "What model is the Autotrol control head"
A. #460i-268 - Autotrol manufactures many models. We believe this is one of the finest and most reliable heads they make.
Q. "What type of salt should be used with your softeners?"
A. We recommend using coarse salt, which most grocery stores carry in bulk. Block salt should not be used.
Q. "Do I have to use salt?"
A. Most stores that sell softener salt will also sell a salt substitute (potassium chloride). This is just as effective as the regular salt, but adds potassium instead of sodium. The downside is that potassium chloride costs between 3 and 4 times more than the regular softener salt.
Q. "Does a water softener have to be specifically manufactured to accept potassium?"
A. No. Generally, water softeners can use either. With potassium chloride, you will use more than with salt.
Q. "Is it true that salt kills bacteria? I do not want the level of "good" bacteria in my septic system to be affected."
A. VERY high concentrations of salt can kill some bacteria; however, the concentration of salt that is used in a softener is NEVER high enough to kill bacteria in septic systems. There is also some evidence, which indicates that low salt levels can improve bacterial action in a septic system.
Q. "Will a Reverse Osmosis system remove the salt from the softened water?"
A. Most brands will remove 95%+ of the salt from the water.
Q. "What should I look for in a water softener?"
A. One of the main features you should look for are capacity (measured in grains) and how it determines when to regenerate. Ours have a 40,000 and 68,000-grain capacity and they meter how much water has been used to determine when it should regenerate. Some units regenerate after a fixed period of time regardless of how much water you've actually used.
Q. "What difference does size make?"
A. The size of the softener (rated in grains) in combination with knowing your hardness level will tell you how often it will regenerate, and consequently how often you will have to add salt. Our #88 unit is normally set at 24,000 grains (it has a maximum capacity of 40,000 grains).
As an example with the #88: If you have a family of four and your hardness level is 10. Divide the 24,000 by your hardness (10), giving you 2,400 gallons of treated water. The average person uses about 50 gallons per day so divide the 2,400 by 200 (50 gallons x 4 people). This gives you 12 days between regeneration's. Our softener uses about 8 lbs. of salt per regeneration, so if you start out with a full brine tank (400 lbs) it should last you well over a year before you have to add salt again! How's that for low maintenance?
Q. "How much water does it take to dissolve 12 pounds of salt?"
A. One gallon of water will dissolve 3 pounds of salt. So for 12 pounds of salt, at least 4 gallons of water should be in the brine tank.
Q. "Do I have to have an exact amount of salt in the brine tank for the softener to regenerate properly?"
A. The amount of salt placed into the brine storage tank has nothing to do with the amount of salt used during the regeneration cycle. Water will dissolve and absorb salt only until it becomes saturated. A given amount of brine (salt saturated water) contains a specific amount of salt. Just make sure that there is at least enough salt for a regeneration cycle (12 lbs. in the case of our unit).
Q. "With a flow rate of 18gpm normally, just how much water is that really? How much water do most fixtures use?"
A. A toilet will normally use about 2-3gpm, a shower 1 1/2-3gpm, a bathroom or kitchen faucet 2-3gpm, a dishwasher 2-4gpm, a washing machine 3-5gpm. When you start running more than one fixture (sink/dishwasher/toilet/etc) at a time, the gallons per minute add up quickly and those extra gallons from 1" waterways can make quite a difference.
Customer satisfaction is our number one priority. We simply prefer not to sell low gallonage systems and our customers have written to thank us over and over.
Q. "Why would I spend extra for '1" waterways' when I only have a 3/4" main?"
A. Even if you have a 3/4" main line, having true 1" waterways will significantly reduce the friction loss that any softener produces. Yes, this might be "overkill" for some, but if gallons per minute are important to you, then it would definitely be worth the extra money.
Q. "What makes your softeners better than others that charge as much as two to four times the price?"
A. All softeners, regardless of price, should soften your water (i.e. reduce the hardness to 0 grains). The question is how long will the unit last? How often does it regenerate? How large is the grain capacity? What is the warranty? How long has the company been in business? Does the softener regenerate based on time rather than how much water has been used? How easy is it to change the settings and service the unit? How quickly can you get your questions answered and your problems solved?
Q. "What's the difference between demand (like you offer) versus solid state timers?"
A. The difference is that a demand softener only regenerates when you use enough water to cause it to regenerate. The "solid state" (sounds good but....) time clock unit will regenerate at a specific time even though you have not used water or used very little. The savings are in salt and water. There is a BIG difference!
Q. "Why do you recommend a two tank system over a one-tank system?"
A. Salt water is corrosive. If you live by a beach and have a car, you see the results all the time. On a one-tank system the controls are very close to the salts. We believe that it's far superior to keep the electronics away from the corrosive effects of the salt.
Q. "What is the valve assembly made of?"
A. The valve is made of Noryl® plastic.
Q. "How easy is it to install your softeners?"
A. If you've done even a little plumbing, we think you'll probably be able to install our softener. Take a look at the basic installation instructions and decide for yourself. With proper fittings a plumber should be able to complete installation in 1-6 hours in most cases.
Q. "Does the resin tank have to be right next to the brine tank?"
A. No, they can be up to 15' apart.
Q. "Can the brine tank be installed above the resin tank?"
A. Autotrol, the maker of our softener head, does not recommend for the brine tank to be elevated above the resin tank. During the brine and slow rinse cycles, the brine may be used too quickly because the elevation could cause less restriction on the injector, thus allowing all of the brine to be used too soon.
Q. "Will a softener remove iron/red stains?"
A. If the iron is in its soluble form (known as ferrous iron or Fe++) then in many cases it will. To remove ferric iron (Fe+++), you must use an iron filter. We do not offer an iron removal filter.We do NOT recommend any brand of water softener if you have high iron in your water. Iron removal is a science and is very complicated. Because of so many variables in water quality they don't always do a thorough job (sometimes nothing works perfectly for high iron). We believe that it is best to have a local professional deal with that.
Q. "Will a softener remove tannin?"
A. Most people don't have this concern, as in most situations tannins are not a problem. Most brands of softeners could remove tannins but not with CATIONS in the softener (which is what we offer). By replacing the typical quality CATION media in the softener tank, with ANION resin, then the softener might be able to remove tannins. The Soft-Economizer softener contains (comes with) quality CATION resins which are specifically designed to remove hardness and will not remove tannins. We do not wish to offer the Soft-Economizers with ANION resins.
Q. "How can I tell if I currently have anion or cation resin in my water softener that I bought elsewhere?"
A. Place the resin in a beaker of brine (NaCl) and then give that solution a good swirl. If the resin floats it is probably anion resin and if it sinks it is probably cation resin.
Q. "I've read that the softener capacity should be large enough so that it should not regenerate more than every two days. Is there an ideal period between regenerations? Do long periods between regenerations (say a month) have any negative effects on the softener?"
A. A water softener should be regenerated when the softener has reached its capacity and is unable to keep exchanging the hard ions for the soft ions. How often a water softener regenerates is dependent on how many grains per gallon of hardness are present in your water and the capacity of your water softener. If the capacity of the water softener is 40,000 grain, and you have 10 grains per gallon of hardness, then your softener would regenerate after 4,000 gallons of water had passed through it. How quickly you would use 4,000 gallons of water would really depend on your water usage. Long periods between regenerations would not have any effect on the softener if water is being used and traveling through the softener. If you are on vacation and water is not being used, sitting in the softener, then the water in the softener could be bacteriologically fouled. Fouling would depend greatly on the condition of your well water or water source. The softener that we sell can be set up (by the customer) for a calendar override. A calendar override would cause the unit to regenerate after a predetermined period of time. It can be set for between 0 and 15 days. Another way would be; whenever you get back from a long vacation, put a little chlorine (1 oz maximum), mixed with a gallon of water into the brine well of the brine tank and push the manual backwash.
Q. "Why do you only offer two models?"
A. Most softener suppliers offer many models, and we could too. But we do not wish to sell a lower quality or less reliable softener - we want to sell products we believe in and that provide value to our customers. Consider that the size of our #88 Fabulous Soft-Economizer is too small for only about 2-5% of potential customers. Generally the #88 can easily handle a family of 6-8 in most cases. It might be oversized for some, but we believe that this is a good thing. If a softener is oversized then it will regenerate less frequently and will suffer less wear and tear and consequently will last even longer than normal. Also, because we don't have a lot of models, you know that parts are available down the road. Because this one model is so reliable, we don't have a need to constantly be shuffling models around. This softener is an excellent unit and that's that. It is reliable and it does the job very efficiently at a low price for a top-notch metered system. We feel that this is what our customers ultimately want and that is what we sell.
Q. "How do I utilize your 'free technical support'?"
A. Once you have purchased a softener from us, we will give you our technical support phone number. We do not furnish our technical support phone number ahead of time because too many people in the past called simply to get free advice on their old softeners, some of which were not purchased from us.
Q. "How does the warranty work on the softener?"
A.We have selected the components in our softener from quality manufacturers. Autotrol (the manufacturer of the head) is sold nationwide. Most Culligan® dealers stock parts for them. Contact the individual manufacturers to handle any warranty claims. Within the warranty period, defective products should be returned to the manufacturer for repair or replacement. Our tech support is ready to help you with any problems that you may encounter. Note: the warranty does not cover labor or freight charges.
Q. "Will the Soft-Economizer softeners that you offer, pass my local new construction inspection?"
A. Since we ship throughout the entire U.S., and every state and local agency has their own guidelines (some have a local "agenda"), we can not possibly guarantee that your local agency will pass any of our quality water softeners. We suggest that if passing their "inspection" is a concern, that you print out the products page in question and take it to them. Simply show them the page and ask if they could possibly have a "problem" with that product before placing your order. If that agency has a special need or concern, then just contact us telling us what that concern is. Possibly we might be able to provide information for them, which might then alleviate their concerns. We only offer top quality plumbing products that are acceptable in most areas but that is not to say that we can guarantee that your local governmental body will "pass" any of our quality products
Q. "Is it ok for the water softener drain hose to drain into my septic system?"
A. Generally, most people drain their discharge into their standard drain, which would go into the public drain system or their septic tank. We recommend that you use an air gap when discharging into a clothes washer standpipe. According to the Water Quality Association Technical Papers concerning septic tanks, etc: "... Concerns about salt and soil absorption rates were also dispelled. The increased sodium content in the tank's discharge was shown to have no detrimental effect on the soil's ability to absorb water in normal drainage field. Interestingly, certain soil conditions benefited from it. Additionally, when the softener's calcium-rich regeneration backwash emptied into the septic system, the discharge could actually improve the soil's percolation... the conclusion drawn from these tests is that softened water is NOT harmful to a normally operating septic system or drainage field...." To quote Gary Schreiber of The Purolite Company: "Everything has documentation both ways.... What is the actual experience in the field with water softeners and septic systems? In 29 years in the water softening business I have never seen a septic system that has failed because of water softener influent. In the industry, I have asked this question many times. I have never had an answer from anyone of the hundreds [that I've asked] that indicated septic system failure due to water softener influent."
Q. "I don't have a large drain line. What rate of pressure/flow does the discharge have during recycling/recharging?"
A. The maximum drainage pressure will be the same pressure as your normal house pressure. The gallons per minute (at 45psi) during the fastest regeneration cycle (which is the backwash cycle) is less than 3 gallons per minute.
Q. "Does the drain-line used by the brine overflow need to be below its starting point at the brine tank?"
A. Yes. The brine tank overflow drain is a gravity flow drain. Therefore, it must drain at an elevation lower than the brine drain outlet.
Q. "You recommend outdoor water faucets to be supplied by unsoftened water?"
A. Over time, softened water could be harmful to your plants and other vegetation, especially if you are using sodium chloride to regenerate your resin.
Q. "Do your softeners have a 'grains per gallon' limit?"
A. Our softeners will handle from 1 to 99 grains per gallon. The more grains per gallon, the sooner our units will regenerate.
Q. "What kind of resin does your softeners include?"
A. Our softener comes with CATION resin (#C100E) made by Purolite or equivalent.
Q. "How long will a water softener last and how long will the resins last?"
A. Of course the quality of the resins and the water softener can make a big difference. The average life of a water softener varies by the make and is roughly from 3 years to 25 plus years. The water softeners we offer will usually last from 9 to 15 years. Resin life depends a lot on the quality of resin, number of regenerations used per year, and the amount of chlorine in the water. As long as strong oxidizers (such as high ppm chlorine) do not come into contact with the resin that we offer, the resin will last (under normal "average" operating conditions) for approximately 10 years and possibly longer. For instance, high iron contact with the resin will cause the resin to 'foul' sooner. There are resin cleaners available for that purpose; however, we do not offer them, as they are a hazardous shipping material. When your resins finally wear out we do offer new top quality replacement cation resins - just click here.
Q. "Is the metering device on your softener before or after the softening tank?"
A. The metering device on the softener that we sell is after (on the outflow) of the softening tank. We believe that is far superior to any other system.
Q. "If I have a small amount of iron in my system, will that damage the metering system?"
A. A small amount of iron will not damage the metering system of the softener that we sell.
Q. "Will installing a softener reduce my water pressure?"
A. All brands of softeners do have a pressure drop. Think of the concept of all of the water ways (mostly caused by the resistance along the walls of pipes and fittings and changes of directions) that the water must travel through as well as the bed of resin, etc. in a softener. Water pressure is lost going through ALL plumbing fixtures, from faucets to meters to pipes to water heaters and so on. The Soft-Economizer's normal service flow is 13 gpm (that's more gallons of water that most homes ever use all at the same time) and at that gallonage you "should" experience a 10psi pressure loss; at 10 gpm a 5psi pressure loss and at 8gpm (that would be a typical shower plus kitchen faucet plus a toilet being flushed all at the same time) you should have less than a 4 psi pressure drop. At 5 gpm there should be less than a 2 psi pressure drop. When shopping for a water softener this pressure drop is something to compare. The less pressure drop the better and that is why we are telling you to look for those statistics. The Soft-Economizer's pressure drops are very little compared to many other brands of water softeners.
Q. "My drain line will be located above the softener. Will your softener be able to drain sufficiently?"
A. As long as the water pressure at the softener is no less than 40 PSI and the run of your softener drain line does not exceed 15 feet, your discharge line may be elevated up to 6 feet above the unit. If your drain line will be elevated more than 6 feet above the unit then an alternative way of pumping the discharge will need to be used. If the softener drain line is installed above 6 feet then too much back pressure will be created for the valve to backwash properly and the backwash discharge could be forced back into the mineral/brine tank.
Q. "Does hard water (with lots of calcium) shorten the life of our septic system?"
A. We have not heard of hard water shortening the life of a septic system. That is not to say that it might not. You may want to check with a local company that deals with septic systems.
Q. "I live in California and have been told by some friends that in our city we aren't allowed to install a water softener. Do you know if that is true?"
A. In some cities of California (all/any brands) of water softeners are forbidden. We do not know if they are in your town and we recommend that you call your local code authorities. We would like to mention that because we always stay on the side of caution, we will not offer (ship) our Fabulous Soft-Economizer Water Softener to anywhere in the state of California. We do wish to caution those that plan on installing a water softener in California that Assembly Bill 334 could affect restrictions on residential water softening and has been the subject of much controversy in California. It is our understanding that it authorizes local California agencies to regulate the use and availability of self-regenerative water softening appliances that discharge to the community sewer system, effective January 1, 2004. It is up to those who buy and install a water softener to check with your local authorities to see if they are legal in your area.
Q. "Must I get a permit to install this Soft-Economizer water softener?"
A. It depends on your local plumbing codes and rules. Since we ship to so many different areas we simply can not "keep up" with the latest (seems like) ever changing local and state laws. We always recommend that you follow all laws and so, we recommend that you contact your local code enforcement governmental bodies to be sure of the laws concerning water softeners in your area before purchasing any brand of water softener.
Q. "My pH is 3.0, my hardness is 43 grains, etc ... Can you tell me what I need?"
A. We sell top quality products for many water needs. However, due to liability reasons, we will not recommend which system you need. Please note that the systems that we sell are very good at solving specific water problems. We can't say if it will solve your problem. If you know what you need; we can sell it to you at a great price. Possibly a softener might not even be a good idea for your particular water problem. The myriad possibilities in water source and qualities, as well as personal preferences (and pocket books) as to what constitutes 'good' water, makes choosing a softener a very personal choice. Choosing the right softener begins with understanding which contaminants need to be removed from the water. Each present somewhat different challenges. Due to not knowing your local water conditions, as well as potential liabilities we do not (and can not) recommend any water product or give water advice. We can tell you, that if you are going to buy a water softener; ours is one of the finest made. Note that the U.S. Geological Survey states that over 90% of homes in the U.S. have water hardness at below 15 grains. Therefor we conclude that in some cases people are purchasing water softeners that really don't "need" them. Water softeners are nice but are not really necessary in our opinion in probably 80% of homes.
Q. "Is it okay to clean my softener's brine tank with bleach?"
A. If bleach is used to clean the brine tank, the brine tank must be empty. Leave the bleach in the tank for a couple of hours and then rinse it out. Do NOT rinse the bleach through the softener itself; the life of the softener's resin will be shortened if it comes in contact with bleach. Also, please make sure to use only very diluted bleach; 0.8 fluid ounces per every cubic foot is recommended.
Q. "What is the 18 x 5 brine grid, and what do other softeners usually have?"
A. The brine grid keeps the salt 5" from the bottom of the brine tank so that water will mix more effectively with salt. It prevents the salt from bridging and caking to the bottom of the tank. Your brine is being sucked from the bottom of the tank. Other softeners usually do not have one.