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join:2010-09-11
Columbus, OH
reply to garys_2k

Re: Plumbing advice wanted - whole house water filter

said by garys_2k:

I'm building a house that will be on a well and I'm sure I'm going to need a whole-house softener and filter system. Aquasana looks interesting, with its no-salt system.

Looking at online reviews I see only one possible red flag, regarding the physical integrity of the hardware. People seem to talk about failing components after a filter change, or leaks.

Now, it may be that these are more related to the smaller, faucet or sink sized units, but how have the mechanicals for the whole house unit you have been holding up? Any concerns? This isn't a budget system and I'd expect a well made system for the price they're asking.

I haven't had any leaks. But I had a professional plumber install mine that did a damn nice job and only charged me $400 in labor to do it all.

»users.wowway.com/~jmanko/water.jpg

The ones you buy today use copper fittings instead of plastic. My plastic fittings don't leak though. The only part I have to worry about is the first filter bowl seal. A little vaseline on the rubber seal and it's good to go.

I haven't had to change out the main filter yet. It's rated for 300,000 gallons and I'm only at 199,000 gallons according to my water bills. It's been over three years though but I'm waiting until I get closer to 300,000 before I do it. I'll buy the 10 year filter when I have to so I don't have to worry about it again for a long time. 1,000,000 gallons for me should be 14-15 years maybe. Not bad for $800 and $16 a year for the pre-filters (so total of $1024 to $1040 for 14-15 years of good water).

I'd spend more than that on bottled water if I didn't have this thing and my shower and sinks would suffer more.. not to mention my muscles from cleaning more often.


leibold
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reply to cableties

said by cableties:

solder (60/40 i think) but roll of it for plumbing.

60/40 solder is (was) used for electronics and refers to 60% tin 40% lead. You most certainly don't want to use lead solder for your drink water supply.
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cableties
Premium
join:2005-01-27

1 recommendation

You are correct. I have Oatey Silver solder for potable/drinking water supplies (its what was at HD...got that, flux (the h20 flux smells bad so I went with standard flux) and the 1/2 and 3/4" cleaning tool akizmo recommended).

I may need new cutter as my little one doesn't seem to fit easily over 3/4"...

I learned something this weekend...one has to take out the valve stem from a 1/2-3/8 fixture shutoff valve BEFORE soldering. The MAPP gas melted the inside valve seal. heh... atleast the pipes didn't leak! Had gone out and bought another of same make and replaced just the valve. (sorry, no pix...was not in the mood.


Question: how do you put in a ball valve that you cannot take apart for soldering? Will that get affected by the heat too? Anyone know what I mean, and best practice with MAPP?
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tschmidt
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1 edit

said by cableties:

Question: how do you put in a ball valve that you cannot take apart for soldering? Will that get affected by the heat too? Anyone know what I mean, and best practice with MAPP?

In my experience MAPP is too hot for 1/2 & 3/4" copper so I use Propane. NoLead solder is a little harder to use then leaded but once you have the technique down works fine. It is also a lot stronger then leaded solder so less likely to leak.

I've never had a problem with ball valves. I solder them open, this keeps uniform pressure on the seal. Then wait for them to cool off before operating. For other stuff if they are heat sensitive the instructions should show how to remove the guts.

/tom


leibold
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said by tschmidt:

In my experience MAPP is too hot for 1/2 & 3/4" copper so I use Propane.

I need to do some 3/4" copper soldering but have been holding off on doing it because I only have a propane torch and was told it would not be hot enough. The one time I did use the propane torch it was for 1/2" copper and that worked fine (not pretty but functional).

Now I'm wondering whether to give that propane torch a try or to buy a MAPP one (it seems my average need for a torch is once a decade and therefore I'd rather not buy it if I don't have to).

In case it makes a difference, the pipe in question was installed in the late 50s and is very thick-walled! Another concern is that there is a lot of wood in the area where I need to solder the pipe that I would rather not set on fire (a hotter flame may reduce soldering time and perhaps reduce the risk ?).
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tschmidt
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1 edit

1 recommendation

I can only speak from personal experience. I used Lead based plumbing solder for years and back in 2008 replaced our water heater so figured I'd use this "new fangled" lead free solder, required by code. Bought solder and a MAPP torch.

I had a heck of a time, did not seem to wet nearly as well as old 50/50 lead solder so gave up on leadfree and used lead based solder. Wasn't to code but since the entire house was built using lead based solder was not a big deal.

Fast forward to last year. I needed to replace well pressure tank and install a sediment filter. Decided to learn how to use lead free solder, could not be as bad as my previous experience indicated. Since I tended to overheat the pipes using MAPP decided to try Propane and see how it went as I relearned solder technique. Propane worked fine, even did a few 1" copper joints on the well system.

Leadfree takes more heat but it results in a stronger joint. Now that I know how to use leadfree using Propane guess I could go back and learn how to use MAPP.

As far as catching things on fire I always have a couple of wet rags on hand and when I'm soldering near combustibles protect them with more wet rags. It takes a surprising amount of heat to evaporate water. I also try to preassemble as much as possible.

I'd recommend making a few practice joints with Propane and see how it goes.

/tom



cableties
Premium
join:2005-01-27

2 edits

Update: I am done with installation of the whole house filter. I have more pix but not with me to post today. I tried to do a "pictures as you go" documentary but frustration won out.

Problems:
-bleeding out house took 1/2 hour. I mean, the water would not stop! I had kitchen faucet opened but opening up the highest faucet (tub/shower) allowed more. Literally 30 minutes before trickle ended.
-unions leaked. No way to get the leaking to stop. Advice from friend suggested that alignment is critical. I was spot on, but found a flaw in the copper of a fitting end (thanks China!).
-MAPP gas is very hot! I premade (now useless) the fittings from the housing to the unions (to avoid heat at housing). On take apart of the fittings, bucket of water helps squelch parts. Glad for having heat blanket (2x2 patch of fireproof material...hug by hanger behind joints as I sweat them)
-new lead-free solder worked well with newer paste. I admit I was generous with the solder (better more than not) and a dry sock cleaned most off (used wet only to cool piping when done).
-Main shutoff leaks...disturbed it...it is before the meter, so I am calling water co to see what they recommend (I think an outside shutoff is there but I don't want to tamper with that!)
-No leaks from get go on my joints, except the unions (%&#@!!!). So I took them out and straight piped it. If the housing fails (doubtful), let the next owner worry about it.
-I bought fancy 3/4" cutter. Orange-grey donut that swings closed on the section you want to cut. Great for tight spot. Hard on hands (cramped after 8th cut). Does not guarantee consistent straight cut (I made a line, matched cutter wheel, locked it on and turned one direction (as marked). It rides a bit. Don't recommend for sharkbite ends- my little cutter (turn wheel model) did a straighter cut but more effort to cut.

The good:
-no more chlorine smell in the water!

Completed. And leaking union (removed). I did buy new unions from Lowes (first set from HD) and the Lowes one's looked beefier. However on recommendation, I took the unions out of the picture. (Update- I uploaded pictures, but they keep rotating. I compensated the rotation and STILL they rotate. I deleted pix as iphone rotation issue..need to correct here or with photoshop at home)
--
Splat


laserfan

join:2005-01-14
Texas

Dunno cableties which GE you bought, but congrats on getting a transparent one. Seems you got cartridge filters, which you can't see the condition of, but someone in the future might install simple paper ones and then the transparency is really valuable.

I have two clear Whirlpool "big blue" size and two actual "big blue" housings, four total, in a series-parallel arrangement that doubles my flow.

The only problem I have had over the years with these things is that when you go to replace the filters, often times the O-rings get stretched such that they don't fit anymore and then it's a b*tch to get them back on again so they fit & don't leak. So before you change your filter, always have a spare O-ring on hand in case you encounter this.

A friend suggested once in a pinch that cutting the o-ring with a razor blade and super-gluing together again can work, and sho nuff it can, but it's really not what one wants to do!



cableties
Premium
join:2005-01-27

Thanks! I was also told to put a bit of plumber's lube/grease (foodgrade silicone) around the O ring to prevent seizing.
--
Splat



shdesigns
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Stone Mountain, GA
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reply to laserfan

Yes, get spare O-rings. After a few uses thy get hard.

One major reason is the box stores changes brands and then you cant get the O-rings.

I had an Omnifilter I picked up cheap. The last time I changed the filter it was real hard to get the canister off. The next time there was no way to get it off even though I had put some silicone grease on it.

I ended up drilling a hole through it and sticking big pipe through it. Had to remove the canister to unscrew the filter.

Installed GE filter. I did like the clear bottle the OnmiFilter had but I can tell by the pressure drop when the filter needs to be changed.

Note: my outside spigot is before the filter. No use wasting filter on the yard.

Yes cutting the O-ring and gluing together works. I used to have a kit that came with long lengths of O-rings and some glue.
--
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Embedded Systems Consultant,
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cableties
Premium
join:2005-01-27

Thanks for that O-ring tip! I am getting some extra filters from HD (~$30 online ea) and their O-Ring kit is $6 ea.
I like the clear housing.

Now my issue is the main valve. Called my water co and they will only replace the meter, not the valve.

Now my washer is dying... Maytag junk...
--
Splat


laserfan

join:2005-01-14
Texas
reply to shdesigns

said by shdesigns:

I had an Omnifilter I picked up cheap. The last time I changed the filter it was real hard to get the canister off. The next time there was no way to get it off even though I had put some silicone grease on it.

I ended up drilling a hole through it and sticking big pipe through it. Had to remove the canister to unscrew the filter.

Yikes, some years ago I actually had to ask a friend of mine to come-out and help me to get my canisters off. I've since bought myself a very nice strap wrench and so far so good.

I've always used the nice silicone lube to try to head-off these problems, but I guess it dries-out if I wait too long to replace the filter. But another thing I"ve learned is to ONLY TIGHTEN AS MUCH AS YOU NEED TO NOT LEAK. I am my Father's son which is to say I tend to over-tighten everything.


garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI

Would it help to also put the silicone lube on the canister threads?



tschmidt
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said by garys_2k:

Would it help to also put the silicone lube on the canister threads?

Yes. Lubricate the threads, both male and female and the O ring. Hand tighten when installing - do not over tighten it distorts the O ring and will make removal later difficult. Use sump wrench to loosen canister.

Useful video about care and feeding of filter canister.

»www.waterfilters.net/Whole-House···deo.html

/tom


shdesigns
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reply to garys_2k

Laserfan, yes only tighten up as much as needed. I do remember I had to get it real tight with the old O-ring as it kept leaking.

Oh, I have a set of Sears strap wrenches. The most useless tool I have ever had, all they do is stretch. . On the larger one, I replaced the strap with a section of an old serpentine belt from a car. Worked better but still would not loosen the canister.

Lots of chlorine in my water; I bet it hardens the O-rings over time. Silicone on the threads may help but the main thing is the O-rings become flat and hard.
--
Scott Henion

Embedded Systems Consultant,
SHDesigns home - DIY Welder


laserfan

join:2005-01-14
Texas

I paid a bunch for my strap wrench cuz yes, particularly if their straps are rubber a lot of them ain't gonna work. Dunno what the strap on mine is made of, but it's grippy and strong and has zero stretch to it.

Oh, and I'm talking about Big Blue-sized canisters. I'd just use a large (oversized) wrench I have for the smaller ones. It looks like an oil filter wrench but has even larger jaws.

All this talk about greasing the threads has me wondering if silicone spray might work. At least, the grease I buy is sorta pricey!



tschmidt
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said by laserfan:

has me wondering if silicone spray might work.

I'd stay with food grade silicon lubricant,after all you end up drinking some of it.

/tom