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-   -   Domestic water softener installation problems. (https://www.pprune.org/jet-blast/639627-domestic-water-softener-installation-problems.html)

Ant 1st Apr 2021 22:17

Domestic water softener installation problems.
 
As an entirely predictable and inevitable result of not carrying out suitable checks and planning before I went ahead and bought an ion exchange water softener, I'm now appealing to the PPRuNe community to offer any suggestions and advice to overcome two tricky installation problems that have been encountered. Yes I know its my own silly fault!!
Even so, I would imagine these problems are probably typical of many such installations, and quite possibly other PPRuNers out there may have advice to offer based on their own personal experiences.

Problem 1.
The installation instructions require provision for two 15mm hoses to discharge to the exterior of the building. One is for the overflow of water in the event of the float valve failing, and the second is for discharge of brine during the periodic backwash of the resin ion exchange tank. The overflow is not a problem as it could safely be directed onto the path and lawn in front of the house, but pouring brine onto the lawn will quickly have dire consequences for the grass and nearby plants and so is not an option. It occurred to be to have the brine hose discharge into the waste pipe that the sink and dishwasher are connected to, but since the sink U-bend trap will be higher than the brine outflow spout (not allowed as the flow would be uphill) the alternative is to put the brine hose through a drilled hole in the pipe near to floor level with the result that the hose will have nothing to separate it from the foul gasses of the public waste water system. Would it be too optimistic to hope the brine would kill airborne bacteria settling and moving upwards in the hose? Another idea is to run the brine through a hose running along the side of the house to a back garden gully, a distance of 8 meters along which the speed of water might unfortunately be slow enough to form a plug when the pump stops at the end of the backwash cycle and the risk of that freezing inside the hose in wintertime.

Problem 2.
I had anticipated positioning the machine on the bottom shelf of the cupboard directly below our kitchen sink. However, the machine is too tall by 2 centimetres and the cupboard is not wide enough to put the machine to one side or other of the sink. The dishwasher occupies the space to the right and an expensive rotating basket storage contraption to the left, which in order to maintain marital domestic harmony can not be removed. The shelf I mentioned sits on legs 12 cm high and the side walls of the cupboard screw onto its sides. Would it be realistic to try somehow to remove just enough of that shelf in situ to keep the structural strength of the cupboard and at the same time allow the softener to slide in at floor level to fit neatly under the sink?

Should I just return the unit in disgrace, or is there hope yet?

M.Mouse 1st Apr 2021 23:08

Problem 1: Not unusual to have this sort of drainage problem.

My sister's softener is under sink in a utility room with the waste outlet from the softener discharging into a vertical pipe with a trap lower down the pipe. the problem was that if a sink full of water was emptied it would sometimes back up the softener stand pipe drain and overflow into the cupboard. I solved the problem by an arrangement similar to this crappy drawing:
https://cimg9.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune....df48d5d4a.jpegTo explain the drawing: I put a 40mm tee in the outlet from the sink and connected a P-trap to that tee piece. On the upright pipe connected to the trap I put another tee with a hose adapter to which I securely fastened the softener outlet with a jubilee clip. I extended the upright pipe and fitted an Air Admittance valve This allowed air in when the softener was discharging but prevented water from the sink backing up through the softener trap and, previously, overflowing from the softener fixed pipework. It works well. You will need to hunt around to find suitable fittings but they are all available.

Bear in mind a source of unsoftened water for drinking should be available. I dislike water softeners in cupboards under sinks purely due to the awkwardness of filling with salt. Unless you have purchased a block salt machine in which case you will pay an arm and a leg for the convenience of block salt. My softener is in my garage.

Problem 2: Providing the cupboard is well made and fitted I can see no problem in cutting out a suitable opening in the shelf to accommodate the softener. Care and planning would be needed to avoid making the cupboard look like it had been butchered!

Where in the UK are you based?

Andrewgr2 2nd Apr 2021 06:14

The brine outlet from my under sink water softener rises and connects above the trap under the sink - as does the dishwasher. Both eject waste water under pressure so ‘going uphill’ is not a problem. Both have worked fine for 9 years.

double_barrel 2nd Apr 2021 06:18


Originally Posted by Ant (Post 11020765)
As an entirely predictable and inevitable result of not carrying out suitable checks and planning before I went ahead and bought an ion exchange water softener, I'm now appealing to the PPRuNe community to offer any suggestions and advice to overcome two tricky installation problems that have been encountered. Yes I know its my own silly fault!!

Preparation and planning take all the fun out of tasks like this!

Ant 3rd Apr 2021 20:53

A fine Cuban cigar for M.Mouse and his superior plumbing skills!!
Seeing that drawing makes total and complete sense, it seems so simple and logical doesn't it when someone has worked it all out for you!

I do take on board the comment from Andrewgr2 about an uphill flow under pressure from the pump being OK, as both our washing machine and dishwasher have worked for years with the wastewater going quite a ways uphill, but given that the water softeners installation manual said to ensure the hose exit is below the spout I thought it best to plan for that.

As for double_barrel saying that preparation and planning take all the fun out of tasks like this!
Well folks, I'll just say that mirth and merryment were in painfully short supply when the Camp Commandant (aka wife) was informed that her lovely kitchen which was renovated at considerable cost a few years back would have to undergo "some minor modifications" to accommodate the water softener which incidentally I had neglected to inform her had already been purchased.

And finally, I have a neighbour to thank for suggesting I borrow a jig saw to make the cupboard modifications, rather than the electric chain saw I have that I had at one point considered!
Chain saws and renovated kitchens do not sit easily together, and would test the strongest marriage.

k3k3 3rd Apr 2021 23:13

I thought about a water softener, had similar thoughts about making it work, then took the easy option,

I moved to Devon!

In the four years since we moved here I haven't had to descale the kettle once.

Pontius Navigator 4th Apr 2021 12:02

MMs solution is what we had. Slightly simpler, the outlet hose was simply hooked over the outlet pipe, same as unplumbed washing machines.

M.Mouse 4th Apr 2021 14:06


Slightly simpler, the outlet hose was simply hooked over the outlet pipe, same as unplumbed washing machines.
That will often work. In my sister's case when the washing machine emptied the long path the drain took to outside was too slow and on occassions the water softener drain standpipe would back up and overflow into the cupboard, hence the solution illustrated.

Cornish Jack 5th Apr 2021 13:50

Your neighbour's suggestion of jigsaw for the 'operation' may well be ideal, if you own one already. If not, it is a good reason (excuse) for buying an even more useful 'multi tool' - the vibrating device with interchangeable heads. Not only easier to use, but no 'starter hole' needed and the finish is superior. No 'Boy's Toys' cupboard ahould be without one !

jimtherev 5th Apr 2021 21:56


Originally Posted by Cornish Jack (Post 11022769)
Your neighbour's suggestion of jigsaw for the 'operation' may well be ideal, if you own one already. If not, it is a good reason (excuse) for buying an even more useful 'multi tool' - the vibrating device with interchangeable heads. Not only easier to use, but no 'starter hole' needed and the finish is superior. No 'Boy's Toys' cupboard ahould be without one !

Just what I would have said last night, but just doing a quick read-in; no time.
The multi-tool is a fantastic little bit of kit. And last year's Christmas present of a 10mm belt sander is the other toy I've found endless uses for already.

ex82watcher 5th Apr 2021 22:09

Why do you sand your belts - are they not smooth leather ?...............................Ah,the penny's dropped ! :)

ex82watcher 5th Apr 2021 22:20


Originally Posted by k3k3 (Post 11021873)
I thought about a water softener, had similar thoughts about making it work, then took the easy option,

I moved to Devon!

In the four years since we moved here I haven't had to descale the kettle once.

When I moved into this house 30+ years ago,I fitted a 'Lif Limefighter' directly above the rising main.This is just a plastic tube containing a ceramic magnet,with a compression fitting at each end.It cost less than £20, and took about 10 minutes to fit.Despite having hard water here,I don't have to descale the kettle,and my washing machine is now 26 years old,and I've never added anything such as Calgon to prevent scale.


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