My Mom and Dad Just bought a new house. It is on a slab.
What are the options for installing a water softner. The would like it
in the garage. The main shut off is in a hall closet.
Any help would be great.
What you want to do can be complicated, depending on where the hall
closet is in relation to the garage. Here's what needs to be
accomplished...you need to get the main water feed to the garage and
then back to the hall closet to feed the system.
You also must run the cold in such a way that the lawn faucets and
the kitchen sink and the ice maker do NOT get soft water.
Lastly, you must have a drain available in the garage. Do not run
the discharge outside on the lawn, as the soft water will damage the grass.
On top of all this, you must guard against your water pipes freezing
(so, depending on the weather, you can't do the easy thing and run the
pipes in the attic).
I had exactly the same situation at my house and here's what I did...
Found where the main water service entered the house. Dug that up and
intercepted it. Ran the service into the garage up through the floor.
Made the softener loop and ran it back through the floor back out to
the water service entrance to the house. At the same time I had a
drain with p-trap installed and run through the floor into a french
drain on the outside of the wall (away from the house of course).
Plumber also installed a 3 ball valve bypass in the softener loop.
Yea, I know, some softeners come with a bypass but how do you bypass a
softener bypass when that leaks or needs service? Three 1/4 turn ball
valves and solder and cutting costs little while the plumber is
All the digging was done by a "backhoe pro" who only charged me the
$75 minimum. He was VERY FAST and good. The plumber cost about $400
plus materials, which was more than fair. All the pipe runs were
copper and burried at code depth so freezing was not a problem.
While you're at it, check that the main shutoff valve in the hall
closet is NOT a gate valve. If it is it will fail. While the plumber
is there get him/her to replace that gate valve with a 1/4 turn ball
You do want the whole house softened. There is no downside and it
makes for simpler plumbing. If you buy an efficent softener and it is
correctly sized for the SFR, water usage and conditions, and set up
properly softening the whole house won't cost much in water or salt.
Don't run hard water to the icemaker it will kill it.
Depending on the water conditions you might consider installing an RO
under the kitchen sink for drinking, cooking, and icemaker water.
On Mar 30, 8:23 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Three way manual by pass valves are being outlawed by some codes
because they cause dead ends which are not a good thing. They allow
for bacteria growth in the stagnant water that is not/can not be
Also, control valve by-pass valves rarely leak and when the do, they
seep a small amount of water that is easily managed until you repair
the by-pass valve. That usually involves the replacement of an o-ring
or two. All control valve by-pass valves today are ball valves that
are easily repaired... that's been the norm for about ten years now.
There are some Fleck by-pass valves that a have a booty in them but
work as a ball valve. It takes 20 minutes to replace the booty and the
by-pass stays connected to the control and plumbing.
To repair a by-pass you simply shut off the water to the house and
open/close a faucet to relieve pressure and take the by-pass apart,
replace the parts, close it up and turn on your water. It takes all of
15-30 minutes for a novice type DIYer.
All households can go without water for much more time than it takes
to repalce a part in a by-pass valve. Today a three way by-pass costs
from $30 to $50+ just for 3/4" brass/SS ball valves without the tees,
tubing and installation.... Many houses have 1" plumbing today plus...
many/most softeners today have full ported 1" control valves.
That's unless the person takes justalurker's advice on many forums
telling people to buy a Fleck 5600, a 3/4" control good on only up to
and including a 2.0 cuft softener and a 1.5 cuft filter... so people
don't buy from me. He has a 1.0 cuft Clack WS-1 purchased from me in
July 2004. He says it works despite me.... LOL He has had 10+ years of
problems with Braswell dealers and the manufacturer, and like a dumb
ass and against my wif's advice, I sold him a softener after talking
to him for 9 months trying to help him get his Braswell and a used one
BTW, hello Mike, it's been awhile.
Quality Water Associates
Code here says they are just fine and using that narrow minded logic
an unused hose bib is a dead end too.
IF the parts are available locally and IF it isn't a long drive to the
store that doesn't have the parts you need BUT that is still less time
than it will take to call your internet softener huckster and have
them call their regional distributer drop-shipper and have them SEND
you the part(s) you need.
How gracious of Gary to decide how long anyone else's house can be
Why spend a little money and plan for the worst when Gary says not to.
If Gary sold 3 ball valve bypasses then they would be absolutely
necessary and a wise decision.
And again and again and again... YES, I bought a water softener from
Gary Slusser. It's not the last mistake I'll make and I learned a lot
from doing business with Gary, mostly never to spend money with him
again. There are too many other places to spend water treatment money
and get polite and professional treatment at the same or better prices
than Gary without the arrogance and attitude that Gary includes,
although at no extra charge.
My softener worked well DESPITE Gary not because of him. And Gary, my
softener is no longer in service. You can buy it back any time.
While I post trying to help others benefit from my mistakes Gary is
"keyboarding for dollars" and takes every opportunity to launch a
personal attack at anyone who disagrees with him in any way.
Gary Slusser is the one true and all-knowing water softener god, just
ask him and he'll tell you. no one else on the planet knows anything
about water treatment except Gary Slusser and Gary makes friends
whereever he posts... especially in the forums from which he has been
Now, back to the OP's post... you can spend a few bucks and add a 3
ball valve bypass or not. If your softener's bypass never leaks then
you wasted a little money, but if it does leak then the money will
have been well spent.
It's been too long. Let me use this occasion to announce that my
wife and I are moving out of the country in August for one year. We'll
live in Kosovo where my wife will teach, and I will help a church.
The plumbing there is sort of funny, and I'll continue to check in on
this board with many interesting piping stories.
If there is any concern, no matter how remote or unlikely or unfounded
that a three ball valve bypass will "allow for bacteria growth in the
stagnant water that is not/can not be sanitized" as Gary Slusser has
posted then it takes all of 2 seconds to open the bypass and let the
system water flow through. Then the bypass will be every bit as
bacteria free and unstagnant as the rest of the plumbing and the
EVERY valve in a plumbing system that is closed is a "dead end" until
the valve is opened.
First of all, get a complete water analysis from a competent, perhaps
local, water professional. Sometime a home visit is the only way to
resolve plumbing issues as verbal explanations are all too often
unclear or confusing. Garages can be handy (for loading salt and
maintenance) for installation but you need to consider drainage very
carefully as far as convenience, local codes and possible mishaps.
I wouldn't run hard water to the fridge... I have seen way too many
problems with the hoses and fixtures to make that advice. Also, an RO
can be used to supply water to the fridge to give better tasting water
and clearer ice cubes. This can make a big differnene in beverages.
Working on water systems in houses with slabs as their foundation can
be very challenging as the architect and builder might not have
considered water treatment as an after-thought. Sometimes water lines
are branched out and finding a universal line can be hard. Sometimes
you can't have the choice of keeping outside bibs hard, or soem
outlets you would like to be treated may not be reachable.
3-ways by-passes are not out-lawed any place I have worked. I suppose
there may be some truth in their dangers. Check with codes in your
area. Even so, they can be easily disinfected if an owner puts a mind
Do your research and your water a favor,
Andy Christensen, CWS
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