• Last Updated:
  • Nov 16th, 2017 8:25 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
May 10, 2006
881 posts
293 upvotes
Toronto

Water softener

Hi,

I'm looking at getting a water softener for our house and there are a lot of types out there as well as brands.
  • Which brands should I look for and how much do they typically cost?
  • How much does installation cost?
  • We drink tap water (filtered by Brita). Does softened water taste different?
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27 replies
Sr. Member
Mar 19, 2013
593 posts
165 upvotes
Prince Albert, Sask.
The brain of a water softner is the control valve. Fleck & Clack control valves are leaders in the industry. My system uses a Fleck 5600 SXT valve. Purchased it from Aquatell, an Ontario company. 6 years works great. I recommend a properly sized & programmed softner. You want efficiency. Efficiency on the amount of salt and the number of regenerations of the softner. I recommend a metered system, it regenerates based on usage vs. the calendar. Properly sized needs some info. Two biggest numbers is the hardness of your water, number of people. Try Aquatell’s site.
[OP]
Sr. Member
May 10, 2006
881 posts
293 upvotes
Toronto
Magoo61 wrote:
Oct 28th, 2017 11:37 am
The brain of a water softner is the control valve. Fleck & Clack control valves are leaders in the industry. My system uses a Fleck 5600 SXT valve. Purchased it from Aquatell, an Ontario company. 6 years works great. I recommend a properly sized & programmed softner. You want efficiency. Efficiency on the amount of salt and the number of regenerations of the softner. I recommend a metered system, it regenerates based on usage vs. the calendar. Properly sized needs some info. Two biggest numbers is the hardness of your water, number of people. Try Aquatell’s site.
Thanks for the info. What's your take on electronic water conditioners? Are they any good?

How so I know if the water softener is enough for us? We are a household of 7.
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Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
25414 posts
2755 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
Water softeners provide soft water for the whole house. It is installed at the water main in the basement. It replaces all the minerals from municipal water with salt.

If you want clean drinking water, you will also need a reverse osmosis system.

The best system in my opinion is Kinetico. Doesn't use any electricity and carries a 10 year warranty. Costs 3 to 5 times what traditional water softeners cost. But it is worth it.
Sr. Member
Mar 19, 2013
593 posts
165 upvotes
Prince Albert, Sask.
jigsatics wrote:
Oct 28th, 2017 11:26 pm
Thanks for the info. What's your take on electronic water conditioners? Are they any good?

How so I know if the water softener is enough for us? We are a household of 7.
By electronic, I ‘m assuming it is some kind of device you install on your water pipe and all is good. If so “snake oil”. Soft water requires chemistry. It is what is called an ion exchange. The softener creates sodium ions which attract calcium & magnesium ions (these make your water hard). You are looking for a properly sized and programmed softner. Number of people is 7. You need to know the hardness of your water. It is scaled in grains per gallon(gpg) or parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per litre (mg/l). If you are on municipal water, your water utility should be able to give you the hardness of your water. Water hardness values fluctuate over the year. You want the highest value. From this information, one can calculate a properly sized softner. I know people who purchase the “plug & play” softners from the big box stores. Do they work? They do. At what cost? The default settings are full tilt. Provides soft water, chew up excessive salt. Regenerates more, using more water. Salt and water cost$. You want efficiencies.

I installed mine, so what it would cost, can’t help you. I plumbed it so my kitchen tap, refrigerator and outside tap use raw hard water. The rest of my water system, soft water. Again the Aquatell site has good information. Research can only save one money.
Newbie
Sep 10, 2009
26 posts
2 upvotes
IMO, the question you really needs to ask is do you need a water softener? What is the hardness of your current water?

Re: Does softened water taste different? Some will say yes, some will say no. Our kitchen sink cold water is not softened (ie: bypasses softener) for taste.
Temp. Banned
Apr 6, 2016
277 posts
8 upvotes
jigsatics wrote:
Oct 26th, 2017 4:38 pm
Hi,

I'm looking at getting a water softener for our house and there are a lot of types out there as well as brands.
  • Which brands should I look for and how much do they typically cost?
  • How much does installation cost?
  • We drink tap water (filtered by Brita). Does softened water taste different?
I suggest having a high quality lab analysis on tap water before consumming,
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
25414 posts
2755 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
mary19681969 wrote:
Oct 29th, 2017 3:30 pm
IMO, the question you really needs to ask is do you need a water softener? What is the hardness of your current water?

Re: Does softened water taste different? Some will say yes, some will say no. Our kitchen sink cold water is not softened (ie: bypasses softener) for taste.
Most people don’t drink soft water. They use reverse osmosis on hard water for consumption.

Soft water is ideal for everything else. Laundry, showers etc.

FYI, no one can taste the difference when water is cold. Drink water at room temperature and you can tell the difference immediately.
[OP]
Sr. Member
May 10, 2006
881 posts
293 upvotes
Toronto
mary19681969 wrote:
Oct 29th, 2017 3:30 pm
IMO, the question you really needs to ask is do you need a water softener? What is the hardness of your current water?

Re: Does softened water taste different? Some will say yes, some will say no. Our kitchen sink cold water is not softened (ie: bypasses softener) for taste.
I would think so. Our humidifiers and showerheads have a lot of mineral build up and my kids suffer from mild eczema during the cold months.
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Deal Addict
User avatar
Sep 11, 2007
1068 posts
176 upvotes
Waterloo
jigsatics wrote:
Oct 30th, 2017 9:53 am
I would think so. Our humidifiers and showerheads have a lot of mineral build up and my kids suffer from mild eczema during the cold months.
What city do you live in? It might be wise to get a separate whole house carbon filter or a combination softener with both resin and carbon media to remove chlorine if your family suffers from eczema.
Last edited by Blitzo on Nov 3rd, 2017 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Sep 11, 2007
1068 posts
176 upvotes
Waterloo
Gee wrote:
Oct 29th, 2017 7:46 pm
Most people don’t drink soft water. They use reverse osmosis on hard water for consumption.

Soft water is ideal for everything else. Laundry, showers etc.

FYI, no one can taste the difference when water is cold. Drink water at room temperature and you can tell the difference immediately.
It’s better for the ro system to run soft water to it. Filters (especially the membrane) on soft water will last twice as long.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Jun 12, 2007
12070 posts
1887 upvotes
London
Magoo61 wrote:
Oct 29th, 2017 7:14 am
.. I know people who purchase the “plug & play” softners from the big box stores. Do they work? They do. At what cost? ..
..
+1
Avoid the big box stores (HD, Lowe's, Rona) for water softeners. They are much cheaper for a reason. All the wear parts in the main control valves are soft plastic. They work for a while, then become maintenance nightmares after a few years with expensive proprietary replacement parts that don't last.

Buy a more robust unit that uses a more standard and reliable control valve (Fleck as posted by others)
Magoo61 wrote:
Oct 28th, 2017 11:37 am
The brain of a water softner is the control valve. Fleck & Clack control valves are leaders in the industry. My system uses a Fleck 5600 SXT valve. ..
Sr. Member
Mar 19, 2013
593 posts
165 upvotes
Prince Albert, Sask.
l69norm wrote:
Nov 3rd, 2017 9:37 am
+1
Avoid the big box stores (HD, Lowe's, Rona) for water softeners. They are much cheaper for a reason. All the wear parts in the main control valves are soft plastic. They work for a while, then become maintenance nightmares after a few years with expensive proprietary replacement parts that don't last.

Buy a more robust unit that uses a more standard and reliable control valve (Fleck as posted by others)
You are so right. Fleck or Clack.
Newbie
Nov 8, 2014
47 posts
3 upvotes
Maple, ON
Gee wrote:
Oct 29th, 2017 12:39 am
Water softeners provide soft water for the whole house. It is installed at the water main in the basement. It replaces all the minerals from municipal water with salt.

If you want clean drinking water, you will also need a reverse osmosis system.

The best system in my opinion is Kinetico. Doesn't use any electricity and carries a 10 year warranty. Costs 3 to 5 times what traditional water softeners cost. But it is worth it.
What kind of system do you have from Kinetico? The whole house and drinking water at the kitchen sink? How long have you been using it? How much did it cost you? Any annual fees for replacing filters and so on? Thanks for any and all input you can provide.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
25414 posts
2755 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
pvesa16 wrote:
Nov 3rd, 2017 10:22 pm
What kind of system do you have from Kinetico? The whole house and drinking water at the kitchen sink? How long have you been using it? How much did it cost you? Any annual fees for replacing filters and so on? Thanks for any and all input you can provide.
I have the 4040s Over Drive system. I paid $5000 for it back in 2012 at Costco. The Reverse Osmosis unit was an extra $2500. It is the top of the line system. 10 year warranty.

It is a whole house system and the Reverse Osomsis system supplies water to the refrigerator and a tap in the kitchen sink.

I go through 4 bags of salt a year and the filters for the reverse osmosis cost me $150 a year.

I’ve had it for 5 years, I’ve moved and I think I need a different unit. My new home has a lot of iron in the water. Time to upgrade.

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