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The Hard Water Corner

Common sense information about a common problem.

How to buy a water softener in Jacksonville: Flow Rates

The holidays are upon us and that means it's time shop, travel and gain some extra weight (I started early on the weight gaining this year). Because some of us will be hosting visitors in our homes that will likely want to take showers, wash laundry and the like, I wanted to talk about how different water softeners allow for more or less flow of water into your home. The critical question we will answer is "under a peak demand situation (multiple uses simultaneously) will the water softener allow for that additional use or restrict it?"

Is there really that big a difference of flow rates from brand to brand? YES 

Let's look at some progressions in society and how some water softeners have adjusted and others have not. My running faucetgrandmother-in-law lives in the Arlington area of Jacksonville in an older home. Back then and all throughout her area homes were constructed with one bathroom per home and one kitchen per home. Contrast that to today where it's common to have three, four, or five bathrooms per home along with a powder room, extra utility sink in the laundry room and more. A water softener that was originally designed to handle the flow rate demands of my grandmother-in-law's house would not be able to provide the needs of a four bathroom home say in Durbin Crossing North. If you were unaware and purchased a water softener that did not meet the flow specs needed for your home you would notice a restriction of flow during peak demand moments. For example, some units still being sold in our area today have a maximum flow rate of 5.9 gallons per minute while others (including most to all of our units) will allow close to 20 gallons per minute.

How do I know what my peak demand in gallons per minute is?

Our residential water softeners are equipped with a precise, digital meter that automatically records peak demand in gallons per minute. Depending on the size of the family and the number of bathrooms we will see anywhere from 6 to 15+ gallons per minute recorded on our water softeners.

How do I know what the water softener is rated and tested to handle?

You have to find the "capacity specifications" page from the actual manufacture. This information may not be immediately available as most sales persons either won't have access to it or don't know where to look to find this information. Just to be clear, sales literature is not the same as a capacity specification sheet. A peak flow rate on a spec sheet has a corresponding psi pressure drop listed along with it. For example, water softener X with a such and such sized tank, will have a peak flow rate of 8 GPM@12psi drop. Sales literature is usually very generic and won't offer technically specific data. They will typically say high flow system or something like that. Which doesn't really tell you anything.

Do higher rated systems cost more than a lower flow system? Not really

The truth is the price of a lower rated system and a higher flow system could be very similar. So why not get the most bang for your buck?

Thanks for taking the time to read our post. I hope this helps with your water softener research. If you have any questions feel free to email or post a question.



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How to buy a water softener in Jacksonville: Warranties

Ever had that feeling that you were being nickeled and dimed for service calls on a product that you thought was “covered under warranty”? Only to find out that the part that needed fixing was excluded from the oversold warranty?  Water softener warranties differ greatly from brand to brand and in the next few paragraphs I will inform you on which parts of the water softener break the most and how some companies pass the responsibility for these parts to you. 

All water softeners work on the same premise of automatic regeneration to keep soft water flowing into your home. Inside the control valve are a series of moving parts known as the piston, seals and spacers that facilitate the regeneration process. These internal moving parts represent 80% of service calls because they are the only wear and tear parts inside the valve.

 This is where the fine print comes into play you see most manufacturers, contrary to what the sales person told you, don’t cover these parts. They would rather have you pay to replace them. For example one manufacturer covers the internal parts for 5 years but as you read the fine print the internal parts will be excluded from that warranty if chlorine is present (isn’t chlorine a normal water condition today?). Another expensive franchise (that rhymes with Mulligan) gives you a 5 or 10 year warranty on the valve “body” then in small print they inform you the 5 or 10 year warranty excludes the internal parts. The valve body is a stationary blown molded piece that typically never requires replacement.  Excluding the internal parts allows the selling dealer to charge full price for parts and labor as often as needed on the only part of the system that routinely wear out.  Gotcha! 

Companies that sell these kind of water softeners with incomplete coverage do so because service revenue is more profitable to a water dealer than any other revenue source. They do it to benefit themselves but you can avoid playing their game by buying a water softener that benefits you.  

So don’t be afraid to ask your water softener company what the warranty is on the internal moving parts and under what circumstances are these parts excluded. Also, it would be good to know how much they charge to replace these internal parts when necessary so that you are not caught by surprise. If you don’t like what you find, get a second opinion. 

The best water softeners in North East Florida offer full coverage of all the parts including the internal parts for at least 5 years with no exclusions and regardless if chlorine is present. This assures you that your new water softener will give you hassle free performance that won’t nickel and dime you with service calls. 

Bottom line: Avoid “gotcha” service calls and know what to expect with your water softener by reading the warranty document from the actual manufacturer as well as the exclusions language before you decide to purchase. If the selling company does not explain what is excluded from the warranty it’s usually because if they told you the truth you probably would not want to purchase their product.undefined

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