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Water Softeners - What are the differences in brands?

 
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2004 01:21 am
I currently own a water softener in my home, that is about ready to give up the ghost. It was a Rainsoft, and it worked well for many years. In looking at replacements, I have seen some Sears Kenmore water softeners at between $300-500, and Culligan units for over $2000. THere are just 2 in my household, and I do not wish to overbuy beyond my needs. Does anyone have any guidance on whether I can get by with one of the much less costly Sears water softeners? Thanks.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 233,350 • Replies: 393
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NickFun
 
  0  
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2004 07:14 am
As I know nothing about water softeners as my own water seems plenty soft enough, I did a web search and discovered over 70,000 listings for this item with various descriptions. As far as I can see, the only major difference is the amount of water they soften. Those $2000 models would seem to be for more indutririal applications. The extra money does not make your water any softer. If I'm wrong someone will certainly tell me.
0 Replies
 
Waterguy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2005 02:26 pm
Actually I test water softners for a living and there is a huge difference. One is that a more expensive rainsoft system does more than soften. It gets rid of conttaminates lik chlorine and deadly crap. They condition water. I have tested three month old culligans that test only 3 to 4 grains less than the tap. HORRIBLE. With the sears model i will test them out of the box and they are always at least 3 off
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2005 02:42 pm
so , waterguy, do the more expensive ones have a GAC filter as well as a softener?

My home has a well with pH about 5.3. We have a series of units in series. We have a limestone/dolomite to knock the pH up and then a diatom filter , followed by a GAC which makes the water taste good and we dont waste the carbon on precipitates from the pH reactor.
Everything Culligan makes is expensive , we have Funks units which are made in PA(I think).and distributed by their own route guys.
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markbar
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Nov, 2005 05:26 pm
I recently read the locked nine page RainSoft thread after mine quit working a couple of days ago.
seattlecosmo you should contact a RainSoft rep in your area and have a tech come and check out your system.
Chances are you don't need to buy a new unit you possibly just need some service.
My experience with RainSoft in the beginning wasn't pretty due to the dealer that I bought my unit from but since then another party has purchased his company and I've no complaints. The unit performs flawlessly and I live in a hard water region on a private well.
I've had a computer controlled Apollo unit running continuously for over 13 years and just had my first problem with it which was nothing more than a sticky plunger which sheared the motor shaft pin during recycle, so the shear pin did it's job and saved my motor. Very Happy
I had them do the 10 point service which involves O ring replacement, lube and replacement of other non-electrical componants that need it and it was only 157 bucks including replacing the sheared pin and putting in a new tri-valve that was leaking at the seam.
I thought maybe I'd made a mistake when I first purchased the unit because yes they are expensive but over the years after hearing people talk about purchasing a cheap unit and having to replace them in a couple of years or having to do multiple repairs after a couple of years I realized that maybe there is a good reason they are the only water softener on the market with a limited lifetime warranty.
My boss has a major name expensive unit that is only about 3 years old and recently had to pay 180 bucks to replace a stuck valve that was dumping water into his back yard.
So before you give up the ghost on your RainSoft call a reputable tech and have them give it the once over.
Chances are you will end up with a running unit for less than you would pay for a new one.
0 Replies
 
H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Nov, 2005 07:32 pm
You may be forced to give up on your RainSoft system if it has a brass valve.
These valves are obsolete and parts are either non-existent or in very short supply.
This not a slam on the company - they have upgraded to a FLECK based composite valve (Silver & Gold) that works pretty well.

There is a factory sponsored bounty on the brass valve.
Dealers get a kick-back on every brass valve they return with valid documentation.
Customers have reported a wide range of prices and sales tactics during the pitch to replace the valve.
Some were told they had to replace the entire system.

Luckily consumers can shop around for alternative solutions.
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Andy CWS
 
  2  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2005 08:53 pm
There are many types, brands and qualities of water treatment systems out there, and even more people who will defend or degrade them. It basically depends on how much the homemakers value the importance of their water.

If you plan to buy from a big-box store, then consider that you are buying from a sales person who knows nothing of the product, from a store that (normally) doesn't install or service it, and from a manufacturer that doesn't trust its product past one year. Very easy. Go to aisle 42, load the shopping cart and stand in line at the cashier. There are many that are happy with this direction.

Your selection of this household device can, arguably, greatly affect more aspects of your daily life than any other appliance. Virtually, everything that comes into contact with water, will, in way or another, be effected by the condition of that water including plumbing fixtures, water heaters, dish washers, icemakers, food, skin/hair, faucets, beverages, clothes, etc. It makes sense to spend the time to make the right choice...and sometimes, that does cost more than you originally wanted to pay.

Be good to yourself and choose a product with high quality and a service program that you can rely on. These are machines and eventually will have problems.

Do your research, get referrals, ask around and a trust a professional with experience.

Take care of your water, so that your water can take of you.
Andy
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lillyblue
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2006 03:06 pm
yeah i read the 9-page locked rainsoft thread also. their product is okay ( i've seen the demo) but, from the sound of all the people not being able to get repair techs out to their homes, there really are problems. but that is not my issue with the company. it's the way that they set people up for these appointments. i don't know if this is the only way, but i know one of the ways is that they send out gift cards for restuarants, and when you call to activate the gift card, they ask you all these questions to find out if you're a homeowner and how much you make and such (because you have to make a certain amount before they'll even consider selling to you) and then they simply ask if you'd like a free water test that would give you an opportunity to get $500 worth of free coupons. they do not tell you that, for every $10 of coupons, you have to send in $2 (i don't know what for). so effectively, you think that you're just having someone come and test your water, and then you get this person that the company has taught to sell you on this product at all costs; they have to push the product on you. this is not a noble way to get into a person's house. they say that they go this route because they feel that a person-to-person sales pitch is better than advertising on tv and such, but the truth is, they do this so that they can take advatange of people that can't say no very strongly, and they teach their sellers that if a person hesitates when they say no, that they just aren't sure and that they really want the product and to keep pushing it. i have a very good friend that was a seller for Rainsoft, and i heard him do the demo and it's very manipulative. he also told me horrible stories about how his boss would go to old peoples' houses and sell to them, even if they seemed senile. the whole thing seems extremely wrong to me and it pisses me off that this is the way the company works.

and for the record, i am NOT one of those paid people trying to put everyone off to the product. i'm sure it could work great, and it does seem like a great product to have, if their customer service works well and if they hold up their lifetime warranty. and i don't know if anyone cares about this particular post, but i wish more people would speak up on their selling techniques.
H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2006 03:34 pm
lillyblue wrote:


and for the record, i am NOT one of those paid people trying to put everyone off to the product. i'm sure it could work great, and it does seem like a great product to have, if their customer service works well and if they hold up their lifetime warranty. and i don't know if anyone cares about this particular post, but i wish more people would speak up on their selling techniques.


Rent this movie for a look into the selling techniques RainSoft uses.

Edit (Moderator): Image converted to link:
http://www.impawards.com/1987/posters/tin_men.jpg
0 Replies
 
Andy CWS
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2006 05:06 pm
0 Replies
 
H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2006 08:43 pm
Modern metered demand regeneration softeners are easily tuned for your needs.
Some actually learn and adjust to your individual daily usage.

In my 18+ years I have not yet seen a twin-tank system that is cost effective for any residential application.
They do have a place in some commercial applications though...

Also, IMHO - the Bob Villa web site is a nightmare compared to this site.
0 Replies
 
Andy CWS
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2006 04:58 am
My point with twin tank systems is that they are more effecient, provide endless soft water use, don't need to be adjusted once set, never produce hardwater. Nobody uses water 24 hours a day, but there is also no chance of running out of soft water as a single can and does as I explained previously.

Single tank systems have either higher hardness leakage or higher salt usage. Single tanks regenerate with hard water which leads to a higher chance for brine tank problems, mechanical problems and it backwashes with hardwater thus producing hardwater leakage when service begins.

Most single tank units use co-current regeneration which requires more salt. Many twins use counter current regenerations which is more effecient than single tanks using co-current regeneration.

In my honest opinion, providing a seamless supply of soft water is better than wondering if the next shower or laungry load is going to be done with hard water or not. Not everyone is willing to go the extra step to provide their family with those benefits. I don't want to buy a product as important as water treatment that 'usually' works.

I have seen homes a few years old with single tank softeners placed when built and faucets and shower doors show clear signs of damage from hard water. Well, I suppose they didn't read the manual and make necessary adjustments. Sometimes 'costs' are more than what's taken out of your pocket on the day of purchase.
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H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jan, 2006 08:46 am
North Star
For you DIY types and those of you on a tight budged I suggest you look at the North Star line of softeners.
North Star is the EcoWater Systems brand that is sold through plumbing wholesale distribution centers.

This is just my recommendation - I have no affiliation with Nort Star.
Culligan Man
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jan, 2006 09:48 pm
Reply to Waterguy
Hey Waterguy it is obvious you sell Rain Soft. I will make no negative statements about any other brand of softener. I will say this though, you do not know what you are talking about and I truly doubt you test water softeners for a living. In the 20 years I have worked for Culligan I have sold or rented over 6000 units. If I was to say that all of them have worked perfect I would be as full of it as you are. I can truthfully say that less then 1/10 of 1 percent have had any such problem you report and those that have were replaced or fixed.
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LionTamerX
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jan, 2006 10:35 pm
I've been told that I have a problem with dihydrogen-oxide levels in my water supply, can any of these machines help me ?
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H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jan, 2006 11:05 pm
LionTamerX wrote:
I've been told that I have a problem with dihydrogen-oxide levels in my water supply, can any of these machines help me ?


Laughing Exclamation
0 Replies
 
LionTamerX
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jan, 2006 11:11 pm
Good catch. :wink:

I'm told that dihydrogen-oxide can be deadly.
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H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 02:46 pm
LionTamerX wrote:
Good catch. :wink:

I'm told that dihydrogen-oxide can be deadly.


As you have undoubtedly read, DIHYDROGEN OXIDE
has been found to be a major threat to all life on earth.

Here are the facts:

In 2005 - 6,100 Americans, many of them under the age of 10, died from
excessive dosages of dihydrogen oxide commonly found in many
homes and recreation areas.

Our polluted lakes, rivers, and oceans are known to contain vast
quantities of dihydrogen oxide. On this, there is no controversy!
Contaminated ground water? Same tragic situation.

In Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, families have lost their
homes due to dihydrogen oxide contamination.

In some applications, dihydrogen oxide is a major contributor to
injuries from slips & falls.
In other applications, dihydrogen oxide is a major cause of burns.

Why does America endure this wasteful destruction of our planet,
our children and ourselves? Greed. Simple greed and stupidity.

********

For those of you that have not figured it out, DIHYDROGEN OXIDE is H2O.
0 Replies
 
Region Philbis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 01:59 pm
hoh hoh hoh!




ohh...
0 Replies
 
sick n tired
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Feb, 2006 04:58 pm
waterguy
I used this site when I was going to buy a rain soft water unit. Unfortunate for me I found the posting that raved about Carpenter Water Company. I have to laugh because I remember the warning that some one from the company could put a posting as a customer. Well GUESS WHAT FRIENDS!!! After 4 months of bungling one time they came out and forgot there tools and the parts they needed!!! They said they installed the unit. What a JOKE!!!! This company could find there BIG BUTTS(From sitting on them because they sure don't no what the word work means) WITH BOTH HANDS.Then tried to intimidate me to pay them! To make matter worst there part of the BBB. But these days any company can pay there way in there!!! Crying or Very sad
0 Replies
 
 

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