Rain Soft System - Help

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Jaclynne, Dec 2, 2004.

  1. Jaclynne

    Jaclynne Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This summer we bought a repo and have been remodeling. We are putting in a tankless water heater and want to get the current water softener going or replace it. We have a Rain Soft system. I don't know a thing about water softeners except what I read in the archives. This systm has been disconnected for three years. I called the Rain Soft people and they said it was a $6000 system put in in 98. Has acid something and softener. They want $500 to hook it back up, no warranty and any parts and labor would be extra. Or they will exchange it for the newest thing going for a mere $2000, warranty for life (unless we sell), and a maintnance fee of 109. I can get a new system at Lowes for 4 to 500 hundred.

    I have three questions:

    1. Can we regenerate/start/service this Rain Soft system ourselves?

    2. Can someone tell us how to service it?

    3. Would we be better to buy a new system, work on this one, or go with the exchange Rain Soft?

    I can give a description of what I see but don't know enough to call parts by their name. At the well house we have a tall rectangular canister - I think for salts, and two tall cylinders with gauges on them, one a little larger than the other.

    We are not ignorant about plumbing, just no experience with water softeners.

    Thanks
    Halo
     
  2. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Rainsoft has a very poor reputation. Do a Google search.

    One of my friends bought a system. He used it for 4 years, but hated it. Small 10 cent items would break, they charged $40 to come out & fix it - tho the part was free!!! He could not use the toilet while it was regenerating, or it would break this part. Sometimes it broke anyhow.... He saved his money, & threw the thing out after 4 years, got a good system now.

    Another friend was talked into a 'free demo' of a Rainsoft system. The fine print says you own it after 3 days... My friend said he didn't like it, the salesman said there were some adjustments to make, then keep trying it over the weekend....

    My friend said the next week he didn't want it, the changes made no difference. Salesman disconnected the unit, but left it in the basement to be 'picked up later.' Rainsoft took him to court, charged him $4000 for the unit. it was sitting disconnected in the basement, but he had kept it more that the 3 days allowed, and that agreement was with the company, not the salesman. The salesman was no longer with the company, so my friend would need to find that salesman & sue him - if he could. But in the meantime he owed the main co $4000. But the main co wouldn't even reinstall it.....

    What a crock. They operate on decit & questionable marketing.

    I would not do business with that company at all. Two of my friends obviously would advise you the same.

    For what that is worth.

    --->Paul
     

  3. herefordman

    herefordman Well-Known Member

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    Not sure if I can help with that brand, but have worked on other water softeners, you shouldn't have any problem hooking it back up, look closely at the valving and it will likely have flow direction arrows cast in it to show which way the water flows.
    Servicing the unit basically consists of just cleaning it, out mostly the big salt tank, and replacing any filters it also may have.
    The two smaller tanks are likely a brine tank and a carbon seive tank, the latter being filter media.
    The unit probably has a valve that can be shifted or switched, that would be the bypass valve and reverse flow valve, you'll just have to mess with it to figure out which is which.
    And it should have a timer, with adjustable settings in it.
    Basically it operates that water runs through the salt tank and brine tanks and filters, then at set timer points, it switches to reverse and runs for a short period of time backwards flushing backwards through the brine tank and carbon tanks and running off into the drain.
    The timers are usually set to start backflushing during the night when nobody is using the water, as if you use the water while the unit is backflushing sometimes the water tastes salty.
    And it usually is set to backflush only once every couple or three days depending on how much water you use.
    Also remember to not use this water on your houseplants as the trace salt will kill them.
    As a general rule of thumb if you don't think you have a serious problem with hard water, I would ditch the thing, they're almost all overpriced junk and work only on a limited scale.
    But if you geniunely have really hard water you will like it better with it hooked up.
    Thats about all I can think of and I'm sure there are more people here who can help as I haven't worked on one of those things in some time, and my memory may be a bit fuzzy, good luck.
     
  4. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Normally you are right & good advise. Except on a Rainsoft - they are using poor & odd ball parts. You will have a very difficult time finding the parts needed - no one else uses stuff that poor.....

    If you go to www.google.com & enter 'rainsoft problems' you will get several discussion sites (such as http://www.bobvila.com/wwwboard/messages/11360.html ) which just blast this brand left & right. There are no kind words at all.

    For more discussion on Rainsoft, go back to the google search, enter the same words, and search in the 'groups' section.

    It just isn't worth hooking back up. It seems back in the day Rainsoft made good product, but there was an ownership change & a telemarketer/ spammer type group bought it out & is - well, not very honest. If your unit is old enough, it might be ok, but the new Rainsoft will not be much help to you, they will high-pressure a resale of a new pile of junk.....

    --->Paul
     
  5. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    Vancouver, and Moberly Lake, BC, Canada
    A basic water softener, is a great bit of chemistry, if you have hard water like us. We bought a small (20,000 - there are only two of us most of the time - it will "last" a week) reconditioned one for $200 CDN and it works great with our "400" hard water.

    You are better off to have a straightforward, no fooling around new one (or economially rebuilt one like us - your new one at Lowes sounds great). Then follow the instructions for operating and maintenance.

    Cleaning should not be required for a year or so (verify). And the old one could need major componet or "resin" replacement.

    Either way will work, however the best idea IMHO, with the information we have now, replace for $400-500, better than repair a finicky unit. Then you can forget it and carry-on with happy water use for many years.

    Alex
     
  6. Shagbarkmtcatle

    Shagbarkmtcatle Hillybilly cattle slaves

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    Get any type of water softener system if it has a fleck head.
     
  7. Jaclynne

    Jaclynne Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks everyone for the input.

    Closer exam shows some cracked plastic parts and I'm sure resin would need to be replaced. Called the Rain Soft people again and they would/could not tell me, but it sounds as if the previous owners had trouble and had it disconnected. Rain Soft knew the exact day it was disconnected but it wasn't picked up and there was a balance left owing. That leads me to think I better ditch this one, but I am looking for someone local with experience with this system that can look at it.

    Water test indicate hardness, iron and acidity. I know hardness and mild iron problems can be taken care of with a simple system, but what about acidity?

    Halo

    Oh yeah, what is a fleck head?
     
  8. Jaclynne

    Jaclynne Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks Rambler for the links. If I'd Villas site first, I'd never have considered hooking it back up. That was scarey!
     
  9. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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    Acid:

    For our rural water system pH is raised from 4.5 (at wellhead) to about 6.5 by aeration to get rid of the CO2, then a premix slurry of potash is metered into the water to take the pH up to 7.0-7.5