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RE: Water Softeners - Kinetico/Fleck Questions (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: justalurker on 06.09.2009 at 08:29 pm in Plumbing Forum

The basic chemistry for both the Kinetico and Fleck is the same. The physics may differ slightly as, IIRC, the Kinetico is a countercurrent (upflow) design and the Fleck 9xxx series control valve is co-current (downflow). Kinetico designs tend to be very salt or KCL efficient.

A Fleck 9xxx based softener can be ordered to the same capacity per resin tank as the Kinetico so that's a tie. When both the Fleck and Kinetico having the same size resin tanks and the same volume of resin in each tank the SFR should be the same (or close). If that model Kinetico uses a packed resin bed then the SFR will be lower. Kinetico offers OD (overdrive) versions in some models that increases SFR.

Both the Kinetico and Fleck 9xxx regenerate "on demand" as required and that's where having soft water 24/7 comes in.

Big difference... the Kinetico is non-electric. It requires NO ELECTRICITY to run or regenerate. IMO, that's a plus and lends the Kinetico to some interesting installation abilities. Water pressure powers the Kinetico regeneration same as the Hoover Dam. If your water pressure fails then not having soft water is academic and the least of your problems.

The Fleck 9xxx requires electricity to regenerate. Might matter to you and might not. One more thing to fail or it might not.

Kinetico parts and service is only available from Kinetico dealers. Can be a negative if your dealer is a goofball but Kinetico softeners have built up a large and loyal customer base and are the least complained about brand on the net. Kinetico owners post reporting decades of reliable service from their Kineticos and then have them rebuilt and keep on softening.

Fleck based softeners are available from local water treatment professionals and long distance mail order softener sellers, both good and bad. Fleck based units are less expensive and parts are available everywhere. When you need service you can do-it-yourself or screw-it-yourself depending on your capabilities.

As far as installation, I'd have the softener dealer do the install and setup. With respect to your plumber, he can leave a softener loop for the installer but plumbers really don't know and don't care about water treatment unless they can make an easy buck. Best to let the water treatment pro do the install and then there's no question, or blame, if there is a problem later.

If you buy a softener over the net you get no service and you're on your own so you can handle the install how ever you want but the bitterness of no service lingers long after the sweetness of low price is gone.

With real estate it's location, location, location and with water treatment it's dealer, dealer, dealer,


clipped on: 03.18.2010 at 03:44 am    last updated on: 03.18.2010 at 03:44 am

Water Softener: Kinetico vs. Ecowater vs Culligan and other ???

posted by: workingmomx3 on 10.01.2007 at 07:28 pm in Plumbing Forum

Hello all,
I have read through many of the previous responses to questions about water softeners. There is some very knowledgeable people here and I hope they can provide me with some assistance.

After reading this forum, I understand that I've overlooked the first step in my search for a water softener: a water analysis. I'll get one done, if I can convince my husband. Moving on from there, I already have estimates from three companies selling Kinetico, Ecowater and Culligan water softeners. Each local retailer has a long history of service in the area, at least 20+ years. Each of the systems have been installed in various homes in the neighborhood and all the homeowners are pleased with their systems. However, most simply picked a company out of the phone book and went with one. Also, most did not compare systems, or if they did, they simply went with the cheapest. Bottom line, they are all happy with their systems, so they don't worry about them.

What are your thoughts about the following systems (all prices include installation):

Kinetico - $3950 ($2796 w/o R/O unit)
DECHLOR1060 Upflow Dechlorinator, CAH10MB Filter Housing, K2040 Water Softener, KRO+DX Deluxe R/O Drinking Water System w/tank, and 5MS 5 micron sediment filter

Ecowater - $3398 ($2449 w/o R/O unit)
ERR 3500 water refining system, ERO 375 R/O (also quoted the ESD 2500 at $1749, or $700 less than the ERR 3500)

Culligan - $2352 ($2053 w/o R/O unit)
Culligan Gold Series (10"), Good Water Machine

If I were to look at price only, I would go with either the cheaper Ecowater system w/R/O at $2698 or the Culligan system. At almost $4k, the Kinetico system seems greatly over priced. But is it? I don't know if I'm comparing apples vs. oranges. And the vendors don't give you much to go on to compare specs. And then there are the stories that Culligan will more than make up their $$ because they require expensive house calls to change filters (you can't purchase your own and DIY).

Would anyone care to share your thoughts or recommendations?

Some additional background: There are 5 people living here (1 teenager! who showers at least 2x's per day). Our water provider switched to a different well and the hardness has increased to about 18 grains.

I have numerous houseplants which will be a concern if I don't put in the R/O, correct?

I seldom do exterior watering except for occasional deep root watering of a few trees. However, I plan to put some additional beds for privacy at the rear of my lot. There will be large trees/shrubs that will require much watering to be established. None of the vendors mentioned bypassing the exterior hose bibs until I asked. Also, one suggested using potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride to eliminate the need to bypass the exterior hose bibs and for the house plants. Another insisted that potassium choloride would cause a sludge build-up. Who am I to believe?

Thank you in advance for all your help.


clipped on: 03.17.2010 at 03:01 pm    last updated on: 03.17.2010 at 03:01 pm

RE: water softener & whole house filter? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: justalurker on 07.23.2008 at 11:57 am in Plumbing Forum

Hi Ann,

Ok, water softener 101 ...

Since you're on city water you can get a copy of the EPA required water quality report from your water department. Keep in mind that those results will be at the water treatment plant and not necessarily at you kitchen sink.

Hit the Yellow Pages and call at least three local water treatment pros. Make sure you call at least one of the big dogs like Kinetico or Culligan for comparison and at least a couple independent pros.

Give each an opportunity to offer suggestions and provide you with a quote to meet your water treatment needs.

Ask lots of questions. Softening the entire house or just the water heater (bad idea)? Warranty, parts & labor or just parts, how long and on exactly what? Install, permits required, licensed plumber? Routine maintenance and costs? Do they stock parts? Response time for emergency (water leak) calls? If they don't explain things to your satisfaction that is a good indicator of how you'll be treated after the sale.

Are all your treatment needs being addressed?

Ask your neighbors if they have any water treatment experience. They might tell you who's good or who to avoid.

Come back here and post the specific recommendations and hardware components with the costs and we'll give you our opinions.

If you're a DIYer then you have other options but remember, when you do it yourself there's no one else to blame.


clipped on: 03.17.2010 at 02:58 pm    last updated on: 03.17.2010 at 02:58 pm

RE: Bluestar Installation Question/Problem (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: skoo on 03.02.2010 at 01:02 pm in Appliances Forum

We had our gas line installed like this behind our 36" RNB range (recessed like chairthrower indicates):


clipped on: 03.06.2010 at 01:10 pm    last updated on: 03.06.2010 at 01:10 pm