Plumbing Zone - Professional Plumbers Forum banner

1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,132 Posts
Have a customer that has a grow operation and would like a saltless water softener. He sent me this https://www.lowes.com/pd/Pelican-Water-Alternative-System-Grain-Water-Softener/1000460617

I’ve never installed one of these before, which shouldn’t be a problem, I just have no idea which brand/system is good/junk. Thoughts?
If he's worried about residual salt just set the rinse cycle to be extra long to ensure all of the salt is out. Modern softeners have very little issue with residual salt.

Any other "saltless softener" will be adding a chemical to merely prevent the lime from falling out of solution. Who's to say those chemicals won't be worse than the sodium for his plants?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,026 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If he's worried about residual salt just set the rinse cycle to be extra long to ensure all of the salt is out. Modern softeners have very little issue with residual salt.

Any other "saltless softener" will be adding a chemical to merely prevent the lime from falling out of solution. Who's to say those chemicals won't be worse than the sodium for his plants?
Good point. I did put filters in the grow barn and seems to work good. He’s ok with just that out there. Same friend as the well/filter thread.

One other grow customer has a new kenmore salt softener. Craigslist plumber destroyed an entire crop. Big money in that business!

Just FYI, I’m going to send my bud this link and the other. He won’t register or post. I’d just like him to see our conversations with less explanation on my part in the end.
 

·
philosopher and statesmen
Joined
·
7,671 Posts

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,026 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
those things are overpriced junk...
just an activated carbon filter with no backwashing
capabilities.......
Well water, some big azz filters for the house and barn. Water Boss is what I like. Salt softener for the house is what I’m thinking.
 

·
philosopher and statesmen
Joined
·
7,671 Posts
Well water, some big azz filters for the house and barn. Water Boss is what I like. Salt softener for the house is what I’m thinking.
Big ass filters dont mean shi/ if they do not backwash themselves every few days
eventually the resin to whatever pissy junk they have in them gets too dirty and has to be re-bedded.
They always claim that they are good for maybe three hundred thousand gallons passing through
them but its all lies and horseshi/.

The Water boss is also junk too..... we tear that junk out all the time
get a Clack unit that can be easily serviced
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,132 Posts
We use WaterSoft brand softeners and they seem really good, usually go an easy 5 years sometimes 10 before any of them need to be serviced.
 
  • Like
Reactions: OpenSights

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,026 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I’ve only had one issue with water boss, close to ten years ago, so I don’t remember much about it. I had to remove all the salt and clean the brine tank with bleach....

Any suggestions on the right system for this application? Because of the barn, he does use a lot of water! I did put in a filter system in the barn as well.

My city water is horrible! Lots of people in my town have softeners. I put in a sediment filter that I can hook a hose to and flush, then a 5 micron filter and for drinking/cooking, a 5 stage RO system. The sediment filter is probably not needed anymore because the replaced the water main when they tore everything up last summer. I’m happy with my system, but we only use about 1900 gallons a month.

Like I said, this is not my strong point. I can install anything, but I can’t say what the best equipment is. I know it all depends on the initial water quality. I don’t think he has much of problem with iron, no bad staining in the fixtures.
 

·
philosopher and statesmen
Joined
·
7,671 Posts
I’ve only had one issue with water boss, close to ten years ago, so I don’t remember much about it. I had to remove all the salt and clean the brine tank with bleach....

Any suggestions on the right system for this application? Because of the barn, he does use a lot of water! I did put in a filter system in the barn as well.

My city water is horrible! Lots of people in my town have softeners. I put in a sediment filter that I can hook a hose to and flush, then a 5 micron filter and for drinking/cooking, a 5 stage RO system. The sediment filter is probably not needed anymore because the replaced the water main when they tore everything up last summer. I’m happy with my system, but we only use about 1900 gallons a month.

Like I said, this is not my strong point. I can install anything, but I can’t say what the best equipment is. I know it all depends on the initial water quality. I don’t think he has much of problem with iron, no bad staining in the fixtures.
We have 22 parts hard water here in indy which is basically dog shi/

the larger and more heavy duty the resin filter the better and longer life it will have....

I have been installing the clack ws1 units with a cube and a half filter (48,000 grain mineral bed)
for all applications up to about 4 bathroom homes.... on average it will do about
1700 gallons between regenerations and that is with the crappy 22 parts hard lime
infested water we have in Indy and usint about 12 lbs of salt per regeneration...
your water is probably pristine compared to ours if you are in Michigan..
The 48,000 grain clack will also take out about 4ppm of iron if you have that in your well
The 64,000 grain unit will knock out about 6ppm.
......
If you think the guy needs something larger for a barn throw in a 64,000 grain
unit which will do about 2200 gallons between cycles.... the cost difference
between the smaller and larger unit is maybe 100 bucks

Its also better to have a separate brine tank instead
of both of them together.... no salt jams or bridges....

also , with the larger units they do not regenerate as often and
they dont wake people up at night as often.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,132 Posts
We have 22 parts hard water here in indy which is basically dog shi/
...................
We average between 15 and 30 grains per gallon. Not sure how that compares to ppm but it's pretty bad. Some poor homeowners get stuck with 30grains AND a PH of like 5-6 AND Iron AND sediment AND a low refresh rate.


There's one stretch of road where the wells are 1000'+ and they have all those quality issues. We make BANK selling them water treatment equipment and servicing it. I've had to dump gallons of sand from laundry pump chambers and the pumps fail from being packed with it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: OpenSights

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,026 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The problem with salt softeners is that they’re bad for plants. A different customer lost an entire crop because of a Craigslist plumber that crossed hard and soft. I have a growing customer base in their industry. Trust is the biggest thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,132 Posts
The problem with salt softeners is that they’re bad for plants. ..........
Do you have any non-anecdotal evidence to support this claim?

I have plenty of customers who grow starters of all kinds with their well water run through a softener so I know that broad claim can't be 100% true.
 

·
4th year apprentice
Joined
·
609 Posts
Do you have any non-anecdotal evidence to support this claim?

I have plenty of customers who grow starters of all kinds with their well water run through a softener so I know that broad claim can't be 100% true.
Right on. Admittedly, I know very little about water softeners other than having one in my home, and the chemical processes under which they operate are lost on me, but as a master gardener I have used my well water on plants for over 20 years, including foliar feeding, and never have had a problem. I've also used it to keep fish and amphibians, and nothing is more sensitive to salt than them. It also stands to common sense that the many people who have heart problems with softeners in their house would all be having some major problems if salt was actually introduced into their water. I'm guessing that either the guy who installed the unit in the pot farm was either sampling the product and really screwed up by piping the discharge from the backwash back into the water line, or else someone at the farm screwed up and was looking for a scapegoat to blame.
 

·
philosopher and statesmen
Joined
·
7,671 Posts
Right on. Admittedly, I know very little about water softeners other than having one in my home, and the chemical processes under which they operate are lost on me, but as a master gardener I have used my well water on plants for over 20 years, including foliar feeding, and never have had a problem. I've also used it to keep fish and amphibians, and nothing is more sensitive to salt than them. It also stands to common sense that the many people who have heart problems with softeners in their house would all be having some major problems if salt was actually introduced into their water. I'm guessing that either the guy who installed the unit in the pot farm was either sampling the product and really screwed up by piping the discharge from the backwash back into the water line, or else someone at the farm screwed up and was looking for a scapegoat to blame.

That is the reason and rule of thumb, when you plumb a home that you keep the outside faucets on hard water and you also
keep your kitchen sink drinking water on hard too....... it is the common way you plumb a home at least in our state...

#1 If you have to be on a salt free diet due to high blood pressure the soft water will be putting some salt in the water you
drink and cook with... and is not good for your high blood pressure issues
#2and of course I have been told forever that it is not really good for the plants health in the yard..
#3a third reason is if you water your lawn, you would have to be a moron to run the water through the softener and waste
the reserve on the lawn....
. you normally hit the bypass on the unit when watering the lawn for both reasons 2 +3...

NOW, If you want to throw a salt free unit into the home I have been using an activated carbon filter that does almost everything
that a water softener does except soften the water....

I have installed both units in my home and due to the fact I have been lazy
I have not put salt in the softener in over a year now and I am very impressed with
just the activated back flushing carbon filter doing a great job taking out chlorine and
other nasty stuff..... I have not told my wife about this so I know I am good or she would
have already complained about mineral buildups and our glasses coming out looking like crap
from the dishwasher...... The black unit is the activated carbon filter with a 2 cubic foot carbon
bed and its supposed to be good for about a million gallons of water passing through it
before it needs to be re-bedded... I should be dead before I need to re-bed it...



129085
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,132 Posts
............ I'm guessing that either the guy who installed the unit in the pot farm was either sampling the product and really screwed up by piping the discharge from the backwash back into the water line, or else someone at the farm screwed up and was looking for a scapegoat to blame.

Or the time was set wrong on the softener so it was going through a brine cycle when someone used some water.


Softeners are factory set to regenerate at 2am, the time people are least likely to be using water. If the time is wrong you could end up drinking salt water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
434 Posts
Or the time was set wrong on the softener so it was going through a brine cycle when someone used some water.

Softeners are factory set to regenerate at 2am, the time people are least likely to be using water. If the time is wrong you could end up drinking salt water.

That's not true. The reason it regens at a time least likely for people to use water is because it won't produce soft water when in regeneration. The brine cannot get into the water supply during a regen unless something is drastically wrong with the valve (highly unlikely) or the water supply is lost after brine draw and it doesn't rinse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,132 Posts
That's not true. The reason it regens at a time least likely for people to use water is because it won't produce soft water when in regeneration. The brine cannot get into the water supply during a regen unless something is drastically wrong with the valve (highly unlikely) or the water supply is lost after brine draw and it doesn't rinse.
I don't know what brand of softener you're used to but there are certainly some that could allow you to draw salt water. I don't know about modern ones but I've heard from more than a handful of customers where they got salt water because the softener was going through a cycle at the time, usually from an improperly set clock after a power outage. At least one was an old culligan and another was a master.

Coincidentally I just had a call this morning and the woman was getting salt water. We put the softener in 15 months ago and just serviced it 7 weeks ago. I have to assume our guy mixed up the wheels because she didn't have an issue prior to the service and the time was correct. I was there for a clogged waste line so I just put the softener in bypass and told her our guy would come back on normal time to fix it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: OpenSights

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,026 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you all for the info! I’m hoping to get his filter/pressure tank squared away next week at the very least. The softener issue will have to wait until we decide on what to do. I’ve learned a lot in this thread!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,132 Posts
Thank you all for the info! I’m hoping to get his filter/pressure tank squared away next week at the very least. The softener issue will have to wait until we decide on what to do. I’ve learned a lot in this thread!
Did he have issues with the water being hard affecting plant growth? How does he know it was the hard water? Can he really afford to soften all of his growing water? I would think ph would affect plant growth more so than the calcium or magnesium compounds in the water. Can he collect rain water?

Does he send out soil and water samples for analysis?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,132 Posts
There are people who spend years studying agriculture and determining the ideal growing conditions. He'd probably be best to get some samples analyzed and then contact someone with a degree to get their opinion on what to do.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JimmyMac
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Top