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How do I select a water softener?

 
 
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 08:06 pm
i've got a 30 year old Rainsoft unit that requires service annually. I want a new unit, but the local dealers all want between $2500-3000. Are there any good generic brands? It seems most water softeners use Fleck or Clack valves.

George
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 13,893 • Replies: 15

 
hobbs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 11:26 pm
Welcome to my world! Wink
Have spent the last (2) months doing research to replace a (7) year old Kenmore unit. My .02 is if you feel comfortable doing your own R&R of the old unit with the new, and do it yourself repairs down the line, get a unit with a Fleck 5600SE or Clack WS1 valve from one of the many internet sellers. IMO the difference between the two is negligible. I suggest you put hip boots on as things sometimes become heated when discussing valves. Sort of like "how many angels fit on the head of a pin"? 1cf units can be had for between $460.00 & $650.00. Ask LOTS of questions, one seller said leave it as set from the factory. That worked out to 15lb of salt every regeneration in a 1cf unit. Not the most efficient use of salt for a (2) person household with (1) bathroom and 15 grains of hardness. Remember, Caveat emptor!
0 Replies
 
H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Oct, 2007 07:12 am
Re: How do I select a water softener?
dazednconfused wrote:
i've got a 30 year old Rainsoft unit that requires service annually. I want a new unit, but the local dealers all want between $2500-3000.
Are there any good generic brands? It seems most water softeners use Fleck or Clack valves.

George


George, see if you can find a local H2O specialist that offers softeners with a metered Fleck or other valve.
A local independent dealer can install and service the system for you.

HTH ~
0 Replies
 
Gary Slusser
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 3 Nov, 2007 06:54 am
Hobbs bought a no brand name softener from me with a Clack WS-1 control valve.

There are many differences between the 5600 and Clack WS-1 controls.

The 5600 can not be used on larger than 2.0 cuft softeners and 1.0 cuft filters. The Clack WS-1 can be used on up to 6.5-7.0 cuft filters and softeners.

The 5600 is a 3/4" valve, the Clack WS-1 is 1".

The 5600 does not have variable reserve, the Clack WS-1 does.

The 5600 does not allow Pre brine Refill. The Clack WS-1 does.

The 5600 is harder to repair with much more expensive parts. And there are special tools for the 5600 seals and spacer replacement and none are required for the Clack WS-1; both have the same number of seals and spacers, 5-6 seals and 4-5 spacers, they come out of the 5600 (actually ALL Fleck valves) individually while they come out of the Clack WS-1 as one part called the stack.

The Clack WS-1 can be totally rebuilt with all its 5 parts replaced (motor, circuit board, meter turbine, stack and piston) by the any owner in less than 30 minutes. That's including the time spent reading the directions and looking at pictures in the manual while doing it.
Gary Slusser
 
  -2  
Reply Sat 3 Nov, 2007 06:56 am
Re: How do I select a water softener?
dazednconfused wrote:
i've got a 30 year old Rainsoft unit that requires service annually. I want a new unit, but the local dealers all want between $2500-3000. Are there any good generic brands? It seems most water softeners use Fleck or Clack valves.

George

George, didn't you buy a softener with a Clack control valve from me too?
0 Replies
 
AquamanNH
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Dec, 2008 02:36 pm
Dazed, Gary Slusser's points on the Clack WS-1 are technically correct. It is a more versatile control valve. Two points: the versatility is not a significant advantage to most homeowners who only want a reliable, family-sized unit, and don't need 5-7 cubic foot capacity (commercial size). The second point is that while Fleck and Clack both make very reliable, field-tested valves, the Fleck will be much quieter in its operation. Clack uses a camshaft and spring-loaded gates that open and close under pressure to direct its water flow, and they tend to slam shut with a resounding, pipe rattling thump as the valve progresses through its stations. The Fleck uses a piston that moves vertically between stations, closing off flow gradually, so instead of a 'clunk' you get a 'hiss'. Both are good products, quite suitable for residential POE water treatment.
-AquamanNH
H2O MAN
 
  3  
Reply Tue 16 Dec, 2008 03:01 pm
@AquamanNH,
Actually, the new Fleck SXT controllers make them the more versatile control valves for residential use.
0 Replies
 
Gary Slusser
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 12:42 pm
@AquamanNH,
AquamanNH wrote:

Dazed, Gary Slusser's points on the Clack WS-1 are technically correct. It is a more versatile control valve. Two points: the versatility is not a significant advantage to most homeowners who only want a reliable, family-sized unit, and don't need 5-7 cubic foot capacity (commercial size).

The Clack WS-1 can be used on tanks from 6" to 21" (max 7.5 cuft), the 5600 in any version, 6" to 12" (max 2.0 cuft softener). My largest residential softener, a 5.5 cuft. A 2.5 or larger bathroom house with body spray showers and large soaking tubs require much larger softeners than most dealers realize or sell.

The features of the Clack WS-1 are; simple and very easy to repair and program, lower priced and many fewer parts, variable reserve, soft water brine refill, the meter turbine comes out the side rather than having to disconnect the control valve from the meter if there is a problem, all the seals and spacers come out of the Clack as one piece. Fleck's seals and spacers are separate parts (9-12 separate parts) and most Fleck valves will require special Fleck tools to get the used seals and spacers out and the new ones in. The Clack WS-1 has both delayed (to like 2:00 AM etc.) and an immediate regeneration if the gallons meter zeros out at any time of day or night, after no water use for 10 minutes. The Clack has much more history and diagnostic info in the computer than in the new Fleck SXT timers, there is no separate cam operated brine valve on a Clack as there is on all Fleck valves. The version of the circuit board I use in the Clack WS-1 allows for wide flexibility in changing the length of time the various cycle positions run for (backwashes, brine draw, and final rinse). The 5600 without the new STX timer doesn't allow that.

The Clack WS-1 is head and shoulders above all Fleck valves except the 6x00 or Proflo. Otherwise only Fleck's new SXT timer allows for some of the features of the Clack WS-1. The other Fleck timers/powerheads have none of those features.

AquamanNH wrote:
... The second point is that.... the Fleck will be much quieter in its operation. Clack uses a camshaft and spring-loaded gates that open and close under pressure to direct its water flow, and they tend to slam shut with a resounding, pipe rattling thump as the valve progresses through its stations. The Fleck uses a piston that moves vertically between stations, closing off flow gradually, so instead of a 'clunk' you get a 'hiss'. Both are good products, quite suitable for residential POE water treatment.
-AquamanNH

Wrong, you are confusing the Clack WS-1 with GE/Autotrol valves.

All GE/Autotrol control valves have a camshaft and spring loaded flapper valves. No Clack control has a camshaft or any springs; only a piston running in seals and spacers that all come out as one piece by pulling it out with a curled finger in the hole the piston came out of.

Clack has improved the Fleck seal, spacer and piston design. The piston in all Clack valves goes in/out with a screw drive, not the drive wheel and connecting rod/bar Fleck design that causes side force wear and then leakage of the piston stem oring and Teflon coating on Fleck pistons and their stems; on their brine valve also. There is no Teflon in any Clack valves. The 5600, 6600, 6700 Fleck valves have the piston going up/down but all others are in/out but all Fleck valves have a drive wheel and drive connecting rod/bar design; except for the SXT version. Clack does not, all of them have a trouble free screw drive for piston movement and it uses only three small gears in addition to the motor gear.
0 Replies
 
H2O MAN
 
  2  
Reply Sun 28 Dec, 2008 08:02 pm


Even though the Clack valve is available to me I supply my customers with the more robust and reliable Fleck 2510SE.
I have hundreds and hundreds of these fine Fleck control valves in service and my clients are extra happy with the service.
0 Replies
 
rustytiger
 
  0  
Reply Sun 23 Feb, 2014 12:41 pm
@Gary Slusser,
On another post mialynette2003 said if interested in purchasing a Clack unit contact him. MY e-mail address is [email protected]. Can you help relay or give me his e-mail address? Thanks in advance for any help
0 Replies
 
FrancisKroeger
 
  0  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2014 07:44 am
@dazednconfused,
The first and foremost thing that you need to do is to test kit to determine how much hardness and iron you have in your water, then after do the further process.
0 Replies
 
RayEGarcia
 
  0  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2015 11:45 pm
@AquamanNH,
Yes, exactly. I agree with you.
0 Replies
 
RayEGarcia
 
  0  
Reply Sat 11 Apr, 2015 03:17 am
@dazednconfused,
You can buy water softner of Culligan, Kinetico, Kenmore. these all will cost under $1500.
0 Replies
 
Ira Smith
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2015 10:05 am
@dazednconfused,
It is just the two of us in our 1900 sq foot home with 2 full baths. Hve been looking at Fleck and clark. Would appreciate your recommendation which unit and model to purchase. Also, want to make the one purchase that would include all the parts needed to install and make unit workable.......Thank you.....IS
0 Replies
 
CynthiaGaines
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2015 11:20 pm
Depending on the level of service and materials the company offers softener. Please be sure to pay attention to the monthly fee for maintaining softener.
0 Replies
 
theashleys
 
  0  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2016 10:16 pm
@dazednconfused,
To determine the appropriate water softener size for your home, multiply the number of people in your home by the gallons of water they use each day. (80 gallons per person is the average.) Multiply that number by the grains of hardness in your water to figure out how many grains need to be removed each day.
0 Replies
 
 

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