water softener combo tank or 2 separate?

I notice sears has a combo unit for under $350. http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_SessionID=@@@@1519637036.1077298210@@@@&BV_EngineIDgdadckkdfjjjjcehgcemgdffmdflk.0&vertical=APPL&pid238815000&tabscription#tablink
Other than how much salt I can put in, is there any difference/better than/worse than between the combo unit vs separate tanks? I have a culligan now (2 separate units) but the timer is shot and the resin is over 20 years old so it may be time for a new softener. I'm still not sold on the fact that the electronics determines when to charge, but maybe that's a good thing?
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Functionally speaking, there would be no difference between the way a single tank unit and combo tank unit would work. The only drawback to having a single tank unit would be for maintenance or repairs that might be needed in the future. With a combination type system, the brine tank could be serviced separately from the softener. This could reduce the cost of repairs.
Just out of curiosity, you mention you have a Culligan system, but are looking at a Sears system. Do you mind me asking what your reasons are? You may be able to service your timer, and rebed your resin.
--
Mike Ross
Culligan Rochester
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Michael Ross wrote:

I already spent 175 to fix a leak in the valve body a few years ago. They came out 5 times, yes 5 times to fix the leak. The guys got so upset they took the thing home and there was one little gasket they couldn't figure out why it would get sucked into the unit and not make a seal. At that time they said the resin would cost me 150 so that, plus who knows how much for the timer, I thought I would be better off with a new one today.
However after reading something about sears, I'm not sure I'm going to buy that brand after all. I better at least do more research.
the one thing about electronic controls is that if they work, that's great. But if they don't, that would suck. I've been manually recharging about once every 10 days or so (we only use maybe 2000 gallons of water a month) but recently just decided to plug the timer back in and let it charge every 7 days. So now I don't know what I'm going to do.
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No big problems with the combos, but I'd run away screaming from anything with an electronic controller -- those beasts are nothing but trouble.
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238815000&tabscription#tablink

with
Andy,
Just out of curiosity, why would you say that? Did you have a metered unit that failed? We get excellent results with our metered units, and our customers notice a definite improvement in the salt efficiency of their system.
--
Mike Ross
Culligan Rochester
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Too many friends who had electronic units fail long before the mechanicals failed (most of these were Sears units, which are generally trash). It's also a bias against electronic stuff near water (or worse, brine). IMHO, a high-quality mechanical metered unit is the way to go.
Personally, I've got a Kinetico metered system. Yeah, I paid more than necessary, but the Kinetico operation here in town had a good rep, and I couldn't find an indie with a rep I trusted. I assume Culligan has an equivalent setup.
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That's a cabinet model, resin tank inside the salt tank. They are hard to work on if needed. And that make usually needs it after about 3-6 years. Especially if you have your own well.
Your old model usually used a proprietary Fleck 2500 (brass) control valve. You can usually rebuild them for under a $100 if you buy the parts from the 'right' places. You'll need special seals and spacers tools ($60 delivered) but... you can also be taught how to replace the resin for roughly $80 if yer handy and will follow instructions.
But, since you're looking at a new softener, you'll do much better quality wise with nonproprietary industry standard equipment with Clack, Fleck or Autotrol control valves rather than the $350 make you mention. The Clack WS-1 is probably the best control valve on the market. It uses soft water for brine water make up. If needed, it comes apart in 5 minutes with a common screw driver and channel lock pliers; no special tools needed. Parts prices are lower than most other brands. It has calendar override, can be setup as either a time clock, delay or immediate metered regeneration. And to my knowledge, it has the highest flow rates of any residential control valve on the market; 27 gpm. It's a full 1" ported valve based on the piston, seals and spacers design that makes the Fleck 5600 the most popular control valve. You can buy a 32k two tank softener using the Clack WS-1 for <$600 delivered and with a 5 year factory warranty. It will outlast the $350 model by about 4-1.
Fleck and Clack electronics are very reliable, some makes, like the one you mention, are seriously lacking in the longevity area. Especially in their totally enclosed type of cabinet.
Gary Quality Water Associates www.qualitywaterassociates.com Bulletin Board www.qualitywaterassociates.com/phpBB2/

http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_SessionID=@@@@1519637036.1077298210@@@@&BV_EngineIDgdadckkdfjjjjcehgcemgdffmdflk.0&vertical=APPL&pid2 38815000&tabscription#tablink
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After reading a bit more I definitely wouldn't get a 2 tank. I do like to clean it out every few years and no way with 1 tank unit would that be fun. Maybe I'll just price the resin and do a manual recharge once a week.
newsposter wrote:

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If you had a control valve that used soft water for brine makeup, cleaning the brine tank would be much less frequent. The Clack WS-1 does that without charging a premium for the feature. That's only one of many standard features it has that the vast majority of control valves don't have and only a few more expensive brands offer.
You should get a water test for hardness only, if city water, iron, manganese and pH at least if you have your own well. Then set the softener up for your family's water use and water quality. That's the only way you will know when to regenerate it and get the best salt efficiency.
Gary Quality Water Associates www.qualitywaterassociates.com Bulletin Board www.qualitywaterassociates.com/phpBB2/
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Does what you discussed regarding using soft water for brine makeup prevent bridging? I found that was my problem a few years ago. Nice crust at the bottom of the tank. And just to correct my prev. post, I would get a 2 tank, not a 1 tank, I misspoke.
Gary Slusser wrote:

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cleaning
without
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softener
you
The primary cause of salt bridges is the type of salt used, pellets or block, and then no salt grid in the brine tank but you will still have the crust in the bottom of the tank if you use pelletized type salt.
Soft water brine means the brine tank stays cleaner for longer than when brine makeup water is raw water (99% of softeners); especially well water that is dirty although you may not able to see the dirt, or if it contains iron.
Gary Quality Water Associates www.qualitywaterassociates.com Bulletin Board www.qualitywaterassociates.com/phpBB2/
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I'm in the market for a whole house water softener system and have tried to read as many 'worthwhile' newsgroups on which product to get and which ones to avoid. This has proven quite difficult to say the least!
I seem to be leaning towards the Kinetico 2 tank system and saw that you recently posted that this is what you have * could you please tell me; - why/why not to get such a system? - what does Kinetico not tell you? - Your approx. cost? - anything else that would help someone as dumb as me :} Thanks!
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If you don't have a need for a twin tank, why buy one? Need is usually defined as requiring soft water 24 hrs/day or in other words, between the hours of 2 AM and 3:30 AM when a regular softener is regenerating every few days to once a week.
IMO, they don't warn against using their fine toothed tight tolerance water powered gearing type control valve on heavy iron where it can bog down, or what I said above about need. Also, they tout nonelectric as if regular control valves used a lot of it. Which they don't because the motors are rated 3w maximum which is about what a wall clock uses. Which the only time more power than what is needed to run a clock is used is when the motor runs to drive the control from one cycle to the next during a regeneration which is less than 2 minutes per regen.... but those electric motors, they have the required power to handle heavy iron water when the rust forms in the control valve inlets etc..
For some of my prices, click on my web site URL. I have a number of twin tank softeners there in different capacities. And if they don't fit your need, try my custom softener page. I also have another twin tank model that isn't on the web site; it's an Autotrol.
There's no dumb question except the one you don't ask and I receive many emails per day from total strangers with many questions that I usually answer in the order of receipt. My email address works or you can ask questions on my webs site bulletin board.
Gary Quality Water Associates
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