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      06-23-2011, 01:33 PM   #1
///My5UV
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What Water Softeners are out there?

I saw an inline one at Griots:
Griots

and a cartridge-type one at Autogeek for almost half that cost:
Autogeek

And I see a bunch of cheap inline water filters meant for using as the freshwater supply for an RV on the web, but has anyone got some other specific recommendations for dealing with hard water? I'm shooting for under a hundred bucks, so RO and multi-stage filters are not what I had in mind (plus it's not like I'm on well water, the city just doesn't try very hard to remove minerals).
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      06-23-2011, 03:16 PM   #2
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I just ordered this one, will be in next Tuesday, I will let you know how it goes.

http://www.autogeek.net/deluxe-filter-system.html
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      06-23-2011, 05:17 PM   #3
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^^ i just received mine last week.......hadn't used it yet though......raining everyday here
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      06-25-2011, 02:29 PM   #4
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A water softener merely replaces calcium and magnesium particles with equal amounts of sodium.

The amount of minerals in your water is measured in PPM (parts per million). If your tap water's PPM is 180, it's likely comprised of magnesium and calcium, and a water softener replaces that 180 PPM of magnesium/calcium with 180 PPM of sodium. While I would rather have sodium drying on my car than magnesium/calcium, 0 PPM is the ideal water type for washing your car. Water with high concentrations of sodium leave yellow stains on your paint. Two filtration methods give you 0 PPM water:

1. Reverse osmosis systems (water is pushed through membranes that retain mineral ions)
2. Deionization filters (such as CR Spotless) use cation and anion pellets that bond to mineral ions and leave pure H2O.

Deionization filters are much more practical in that they don't waste tremendous amounts of water like RO systems do.

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Originally Posted by ///My5UV View Post
I'm shooting for under a hundred bucks, so RO and multi-stage filters are not what I had in mind.
You're not going to accomplish anything with a system for $100 or under. Save up for a deionizer and don't waste your $100 on something that won't help. Like I mentioned above, a water softener will replace a bad problem with a slightly less severe problem.
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      06-26-2011, 11:41 AM   #5
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I completely agree with what Eclipsis said.

To be clear:
1. You really want a water purifier, not a water softener.
2. You're not going to get anything out of a mere $100 investment.

There are options out there, but they're all quite pricey. The CR spotless units that are popular are nice, but are typically only be used for the "rinse" portion of washing as their pricey resin filter replacements don't last very long. The idea is to to a careful and thorough wash, and then rinse with the 0ppm water. Doing so will give you quite a number of "rinsings" before you need to replace the filtration. If used for the entire wash process, you'll need to replace the resin after only a half dozen washes (or potentially less).


I also agree to his feelings on slightly salty water on the surface of your car: if you have extremely hard water, you'll be better off softening it as you won't run into the same type of water spotting problems as you will with large amounts of calcium build up.
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      06-26-2011, 04:47 PM   #6
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Well, this system has a water softener filter and a sediment filter, so i thought i'd give it a shot...........especially since the cheapest CR spotless is $300!! I haven't got a chance to try it out yet though.......been raining everyday here for almost 2 weeks. Thanks for your inputs though guys!
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      06-27-2011, 10:57 AM   #7
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I'm starting to think the Griots one is worth the price since it actual has deionizer resin.
If you're handy, I found an industrial/laboratory unit that's basically the same sort of device as the CR spotless, but without garden hose fittings and the electronic monitor. Like the Griots filter media it has a color-change to indicate when the filter needs to be changed. The refills are slightly cheaper than the CR spotless, but I don't think that's a big deal.
Decisions... I can probably find all the fittings I need to made the Cole-Parmer unit work at HD... Time is running out, I should have my car back from ED in just a couple weeks
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      06-27-2011, 11:02 AM   #8
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Let us know if you make the industrial one work out.
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      06-27-2011, 04:53 PM   #9
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My faith in finding NPT fittings at home depot is wavering, but I think I found the fittings I'd need online...
Intake and Output... or maybe this is actually the right output fitting, but I'll try the first two since they ship from the same place for a flat rate, and if one is wrong I'll buy the other later.

All of this and the Cole-Parmer unit with a resin refill shipped for $170, so more than the Griots one, but cheaper to refill and definitely cheaper than the CR spotless but I'll see how long the resin actually lasts. Stay tuned...
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      06-27-2011, 05:06 PM   #10
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And while I wait... do you guys usually just plumb the filter into your supply that you use the whole time you're washing, or only use it for the final rinse?
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      06-27-2011, 05:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///My5UV View Post
I'm starting to think the Griots one is worth the price since it actual has deionizer resin.
If you're handy, I found an industrial/laboratory unit that's basically the same sort of device as the CR spotless, but without garden hose fittings and the electronic monitor. Like the Griots filter media it has a color-change to indicate when the filter needs to be changed. The refills are slightly cheaper than the CR spotless, but I don't think that's a big deal.
Decisions... I can probably find all the fittings I need to made the Cole-Parmer unit work at HD... Time is running out, I should have my car back from ED in just a couple weeks
What confuses me about the Griots unit is it claims to be a softener and a deionizer in one tube. Softeners run water through static plastic beads, while deionizers use resin beds. I can't imagine how the two formats would work in a single unit.

The Cole-Palmer refills are definitely not cheaper than CR Spotless, as all deionizers use practically the same mixed bed resins (usually 60/40 anion/cation). Resins are interchangeable between units. The only differences between the different units on the market are size and whether or not they include TDS meters. The issue I see with the 'industrial' unit you linked to is that it's rather small compared to CR Spotless, and the resins in there will be exhausted fairly quickly. Texas has tremendously hard water IIRC, which will expedite the small unit's exhaustion.

When buying resins, quantity should be your primary purchasing criteria (not color changing or any other marketing hype). With that in mind:

Cole-Parmer resins (3 pounds): $48
CR Spotless resins (10 pounds): $ 90

With the CR Spotless resins, you get more than three times the amount of resins for less than double the price. Trust me when I tell you that buying a larger capacity unit will save you money and effort over the long run. Keep in mind I'm referencing the larger CR Spotless unit, the DIC-20. I think it's a better value than its little sibling, the DIC-10, but both are great units.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ///My5UV View Post
All of this and the Cole-Parmer unit with a resin refill shipped for $170, so more than the Griots one, but cheaper to refill and definitely cheaper than the CR spotless but I'll see how long the resin actually lasts. Stay tuned...
Considering the small size of the Cole-Parmer unit and there being no difference in resins between it and CR Spotless, you're not only not saving money, you're limiting your capacity to produce a decent amount of deionized water.
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      06-27-2011, 07:30 PM   #12
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when I had my house built, I had them put a utlity sink in the garage with hot & cold running water ,that links to the rest of the house thatuse's a water conditioner, along with threaded faucet, I think Autogeek has kit that I was going to buy, that has water condtioning kits that are reasonable!
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      06-27-2011, 09:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipsis View Post
With the CR Spotless resins, you get more than three times the amount of resins for less than double the price.
Doh! Good point, thanks! I guess once I figure out how many washes I get out of a fill I can buy the cheaper resin fills.
I don't like the idea of the electronic monitor so I consider the color-changing media more than a gimmick... and I noticed I can get a 5 lb bag of it for $30 elsewhere... but all that is worthless if it doesn't work well so hopefully I can report back soon on that point.
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      07-31-2011, 02:52 PM   #14
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FYI, Finally got my new car home and hooked everything up. I hooked up a cheap inline water meter to see how much I get out of a fill. I used 52 gallons of water in one wash and all of it ran off into the yard so I didn't waste any during this drought :-)
And the results are simply spectacular. The sun caught me out while I was finishing the wheels and the areas that dried were spotless. If you've got hard water, you want one of these!

One slight annoyance is that the media was damp when I got it so it didn't pour cleanly or pack down easily so I had to spoon it in and ended up with a little extra at first but after running some water through there's now some extra room.

Also, the fittings I used leaked a little so I probably need to put a few turns of teflon tape on the NPT threads. (You don't do this on garden hose fittings since they depend on rubber washers to make the seal.)
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      08-03-2011, 03:58 PM   #15
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Also either Sams Club or Costco had the mini version of the CR spotless for around $180 at one time. If you have hard water or mineral issues almost the only way to solve effectively.
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