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Water softener installation - what needs soft water? Sizing?

Keno

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Hi group, the SS wash we took over has relatively hard water. Busy 8 bay wash, and getting busier. Going to eventually add Spot Free, but in the meantime wanted to add the softener to help with our soaps. We are having to run everything strong at this location due to hard water. Where does the soft water need to go? Just to the chemical hydrominders? Everything soft water? Is rinse ok with the straight tap water? Rinse and HP soap/wax share water tanks.

Next question, how to size? As mentioned earlier, it's a busy 8 bay. Don't want to have the softener be a bottle neck, and need to consider added load of RO system in the future. As with probably every Equipment Room, space is tight.
 

TMoliver

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To help you we need to know what you mean by hard water. 15-20 GRAINS/ 21-25 GRAINS/ or harder. then what is the max / peak flow rate if all 8 pumps were running hi pressure 4-5 GPM per pump. 35-40 GPM and you add an RO you would be looking at an additional 5-8 GPM depending on size so you could be looking at peak flow 40-50 GPM.

As to what needs soft water Chemicals reduces amount required. Hot water heater, softener reduces calcium build up in tank and piping. Of course the Spot Free system should be on softner .

Just my thoughts.
 

Keno

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To help you we need to know what you mean by hard water. 15-20 GRAINS/ 21-25 GRAINS/ or harder. then what is the max / peak flow rate if all 8 pumps were running hi pressure 4-5 GPM per pump. 35-40 GPM and you add an RO you would be looking at an additional 5-8 GPM depending on size so you could be looking at peak flow 40-50 GPM.

As to what needs soft water Chemicals reduces amount required. Hot water heater, softener reduces calcium build up in tank and piping. Of course the Spot Free system should be on softner .

Just my thoughts.
Will check the hardness, I have a test kit coming and plan on calling County water department to see what info I can gather.

No water heater, so probably will just put to hydrominders and spot free system when it's added. Was trying to get a general idea where soft water should go on the SS side, none of our other locations have or need soft water on the SS side, just the touch free IBA have soft water.
 

Keno

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Another question, we have some decommissioned (ie broken and in need of repair left from previous owner) softener systems at a couple locations. Are those worth rebuilding/replacing media? Or just buy new?
 

Greg Pack

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Another question, we have some decommissioned (ie broken and in need of repair left from previous owner) softener systems at a couple locations. Are those worth rebuilding/replacing media? Or just buy new?
Depends on the age and size I guess. If it's got old electronics I'd be tempted to scrap it.
 

TMoliver

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Think about it. soft soap solution is only a very small percentage of the water going through a pump 7- 8 ounces with 3 to 4 gallons per minute. That small amount of soft chemical solution is not going to help cleaning if you have truly hard water. If you are only talking low pressure presoak / foam Brush tire clean then it will help foaming and cleaning here.

Have you discussed this with your chemical supplier? he may have different formals designed for hard water applications . I would check with other supplies as well .
 

Keno

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Depends on the age and size I guess. If it's got old electronics I'd be tempted to scrap it.
Will have to take a closer look, both are dual tank systems. 1 is smaller from SS, and other has larger tanks from old IBA.
 

Keno

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Think about it. soft soap solution is only a very small percentage of the water going through a pump 7- 8 ounces with 3 to 4 gallons per minute. That small amount of soft chemical solution is not going to help cleaning if you have truly hard water. If you are only talking low pressure presoak / foam Brush tire clean then it will help foaming and cleaning here.

Have you discussed this with your chemical supplier? he may have different formals designed for hard water applications . I would check with other supplies as well .
We are currently using the blendco stock that the previous owner left, that is made for hard water. Coming to the end of that supply and changing chemicals after its done, so was thinking of installing softener sooner than later since we'll need for RO system later anyway. We are able to get chemicals for hard water also, but the softener route is the way we were planning on going since that would increase water quality across the board and not require specific hard water chemicals for everything.

I see your point on the dilution of HP chemicals. May end up using hard water chemicals for HP functions and only use soft water for LP chemicals and RO. At this point its only HP soap and HP wax, and eventually wax will be going to a LP ceramic - so will only be 1 hard water chemical. 50GPM system would by pretty big from my research - please correct me if wrong.
 

Keno

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Depends on the age and size I guess. If it's got old electronics I'd be tempted to scrap it.
Was considering using the tanks and doing a full refurbishment with new clack head. Don't know if the tanks are worth saving, or just buying a new assembled system and installing.
 

2Biz

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I soften all water to zero grains except for weep water. Makes a huge difference on chemical usage.
 

Buckeye Hydro

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As far as sizing - as mentioned above get a handle on your typical maximum gpm demand, and your water hardness (either in ppm or grains per gallon). The fact that you are on municipal water typically takes other potential complicating contaminants off the table (e.g., iron, manganese). Also determine the diameter of the pipe feeding the softener(s). Your softener vendor can take it from there as far as the sizing goes. Your water utility can provide you a copy of their annual Consumer Confidence Report (typically also available online as well). Additionally, if you get through to their water quality lab, they can also provide you a mountain of data regarding the results of the many many other tests they routinely conduct.

The purpose of a twin alternating softener is to provide uninterrupted soft water 24/7/365. A typical single tank softener will bypass hard water for the ~1.5 hours it's in a regeneration. In most cases we recommend a twin alternating softener when the softener will be supplying an RO system.

For most softeners (there are exceptions - culligan comes to mind) the threads at the top of the tank are standard (2.5" or 4.5" - 8 tpi ) so you can typically unscrew an old softener valve and screw on a new one. Or you may have a clamp on style. Changes to the plumbing configuration will likely be required. As long as your tanks don't have physical damage, I'd probably just empty the old tanks, sanitize them, and put in a new riser/laterals and media. New tanks come often come with a 10 year warranty. They are tough as nails in terms of withstanding internal water pressure, but they can't handle any sort of side impact or vacuum. If there is any potential for a vacuum anywhere in the system make sure you also have a vacuum breaker.

Don't forget to give your brine tank some love. The tank itself is likely in reasonable shape, but check the internals, especially the brine valve and air check valve. Of course you'll want to empty out the brine tank and clean it out.

Russ
 

Buckeye Hydro

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50GPM system would by pretty big from my research - please correct me if wrong.
You'd probably be looking at at least 21" or 24" diameter softener (mineral tank(s)) and 24" or 30" diameter brine tanks for that sort of flow. Consider how much floorspace you have available. Also you'd be looking at 1.5" or 2" valves.
Russ
 
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Keno

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County report says they consistently see hardness of 1.5gpg at their point of testing, will have to test what is actually delivered to us and out to the bay. So nothing super hard from a surface level view, but leaving water spots on cars. Positioning to be a premium wash, so looking to add soft water and RO still.
 

Keno

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As far as sizing - as mentioned above get a handle on your typical maximum gpm demand, and your water hardness (either in ppm or grains per gallon). The fact that you are on municipal water typically takes other potential complicating contaminants off the table (e.g., iron, manganese). Also determine the diameter of the pipe feeding the softener(s). Your softener vendor can take it from there as far as the sizing goes. Your water utility can provide you a copy of their annual Consumer Confidence Report (typically also available online as well). Additionally, if you get through to their water quality lab, they can also provide you a mountain of data regarding the results of the many many other tests they routinely conduct.

The purpose of a twin alternating softener is to provide uninterrupted soft water 24/7/365. A typical single tank softener will bypass hard water for the ~1.5 hours it's in a regeneration. In most cases we recommend a twin alternating softener when the softener will be supplying an RO system.

For most softeners (there are exceptions - culligan comes to mind) the threads at the top of the tank are standard (2.5" or 4.5" - 8 tpi ) so you can typically unscrew an old softener valve and screw on a new one. Or you may have a clamp on style. Changes to the plumbing configuration will likely be required. As long as your tanks don't have physical damage, I'd probably just empty the old tanks, sanitize them, and put in a new riser/laterals and media. New tanks come often come with a 10 year warranty. They are tough as nails in terms of withstanding internal water pressure, but they can't handle any sort of side impact or vacuum. If there is any potential for a vacuum anywhere in the system make sure you also have a vacuum breaker.

Don't forget to give your brine tank some love. The tank itself is likely in reasonable shape, but check the internals, especially the brine valve and air check valve. Of course you'll want to empty out the brine tank and clean it out.

Russ
Thank you for the detailed response, will get back with you once I digest this wealth of information.
 

cbchevy4x4

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County report says they consistently see hardness of 1.5gpg at their point of testing, will have to test what is actually delivered to us and out to the bay. So nothing super hard from a surface level view, but leaving water spots on cars. Positioning to be a premium wash, so looking to add soft water and RO still.
At 1.5gpg i wouldnt fool with the softener at all. I have 1 site that is 3 gpg and dont run a softener there at all, i go to carbon tank and then my ro for sfr. Everything else gets the tap. Its a whole lot easier without the softener IMO. My other site we run twin softeners due to 18-19gpg i wish the water was better there but no getting around that.
 

2Biz

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I agree, at 1.5 grains you don't need a softener!
 
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