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Old 03-05-2013, 10:58 PM   #1
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water softener install/manifold question


I recently installed a Fleck 7000SXT water softener in my home. From the very beginning the water did not soften, and the gallons did not count down on the display. It was as though no water was going through the softener.

I did all of the usual troubleshooting - making sure the unit wasn't in bypass, ensured that the metering cable was plugged correctly, etc... and none of those things were out of order.

Then I made a discovery with the plumbing that I think might be the problem and I was hoping that the community could help me out with my theory. I'll try to explain it as briefly as I can.

Basically, if I detach the softener and the bypass valve, cap the pipe going into the softener, but leave the pipe that water enters upon leaving the softener open and turn on the water to the house, water comes out the second pipe. So somehow water is able to get to the home's plumbing via some other path than through the softener. My home has a manifold plumbing system with a third line coming up to the bottom of the manifold that goes to the kitchen sink and the outside hose bibs. I routed the water through the softener after this branch so the sink and outside water wouldn't be softened, assuming that the manifold was sectioned off internally and water couldn't pass between sections. I must have been wrong in that assumption because that is the only other path that water could be coming from in the above scenario. I have attached a pic of the manifold and a schematic of the piping that will hopefully illustrate what I am describing.

Am I correct in my diagnosis? If I am, how can I re-plumb the softener without softening the kitchen sink water and the outside water?

Thanks in advance for your help!




Last edited by climbhigh1119; 03-05-2013 at 11:34 PM.
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:33 PM   #2
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water softener install/manifold question


So in the pic you provided the bottom 3 are the sink & hose bib connections? If so, then that's your bypass right there. In order to correct you need to eliminate that portion of the run to the manifold, and tee off before you get to the softener.

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Old 03-05-2013, 11:45 PM   #3
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water softener install/manifold question


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Originally Posted by VIPlumber View Post
So in the pic you provided the bottom 3 are the sink & hose bib connections? If so, then that's your bypass right there. In order to correct you need to eliminate that portion of the run to the manifold, and tee off before you get to the softener.
That is correct - the 1" copper line going up to the bottom of the manifold is supplying the sing and hose bibs. Are you saying that that water is also able to flow up to the rest of the home's water supply through the manifold rather than being sectioned off within the manifold? If I eliminate that portion of the manifold, how do I then get water to the sink and hose bibs, especially if I don't want that water to be softened?
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:53 PM   #4
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water softener install/manifold question


There are going to be the need for 2 manifolds, one for the items that will need untreated water and the second for the items to get treated water.
The softener will need to be in between the 2 manifolds.
If I am understanding the photo correctly the water is going to go through the manifold then the softener or what is the softener to treat? water is flowing to the softener last like a faucet.
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:03 AM   #5
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water softener install/manifold question


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Originally Posted by Akpsdvan View Post
There are going to be the need for 2 manifolds, one for the items that will need untreated water and the second for the items to get treated water.
The softener will need to be in between the 2 manifolds.
If I am understanding the photo correctly the water is going to go through the manifold then the softener or what is the softener to treat? water is flowing to the softener last like a faucet.
My goal was for part of the water to go directly from the street to the bottom of the manifold, then onto the hose bibs and kitchen sink unsoftened. The rest of the water teed off to run through the softener, then through the top of the manifold and onto the rest of the house in its softened state. This would work as long as the manifold was sectioned off and water couldn't flow through the different internal sections (as though they were two separate, but connected manifolds), but it appears that this is not the case.

If water can flow through the manifold and reach the house from the top or the bottom pipe, what is the purpose of having two pipes? The third one coming up from the bottom seems superfluous to me in this situation.

Last edited by climbhigh1119; 03-06-2013 at 12:05 AM.
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:26 AM   #6
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water softener install/manifold question


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Originally Posted by climbhigh1119 View Post
If I eliminate that portion of the manifold, how do I then get water to the sink and hose bibs, especially if I don't want that water to be softened?
As I suggested before, eliminate the portion of the run that goes into the manifold for the sink & HBs. Now run that directly to the softener, and tee off before it goes into the softener for the sink & HBs. Though why you want unsoftened water at sink I fail to understand. At the least it'll mess up the faucet depending on the type of water you have.
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:46 AM   #7
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water softener install/manifold question


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Originally Posted by climbhigh1119 View Post
My goal was for part of the water to go directly from the street to the bottom of the manifold, then onto the hose bibs and kitchen sink unsoftened. The rest of the water teed off to run through the softener, then through the top of the manifold and onto the rest of the house in its softened state. This would work as long as the manifold was sectioned off and water couldn't flow through the different internal sections (as though they were two separate, but connected manifolds), but it appears that this is not the case.

If water can flow through the manifold and reach the house from the top or the bottom pipe, what is the purpose of having two pipes? The third one coming up from the bottom seems superfluous to me in this situation.
You came and asked, we have given in what I would say is the best way, but you have your mind made up to remake the wheel, have fun.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:17 AM   #8
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water softener install/manifold question


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You came and asked, we have given in what I would say is the best way, but you have your mind made up to remake the wheel, have fun.
No need for the snarkiness in your comment. I don't have my mind made up - I'm just trying to understand manifolds better as this is my first time ever plumbing around one. Anyway, thanks for your advice. I don't doubt that you are right and was just hoping for a little more explanation because I want to understand how things work, not just implement a solution when I don't understand why I am doing what I am doing.
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:34 AM   #9
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water softener install/manifold question


I'm also trying to figure out why you would want untreated water to the kitchen faucet.
It's going to leave more water spots, cause less suds when using soap, if you also have a dish washer it's going to stain the inside of the washer.

From the main line just have a simple tee to run to the outside faucets, then the softner, conditioning the water before it goes into the manifold.
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:24 AM   #10
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water softener install/manifold question


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I'm also trying to figure out why you would want untreated water to the kitchen faucet.
It's going to leave more water spots, cause less suds when using soap, if you also have a dish washer it's going to stain the inside of the washer.

From the main line just have a simple tee to run to the outside faucets, then the softner, conditioning the water before it goes into the manifold.
I have read that it is not good to drink softened water as the salt causes increase sodium intake, which most of us don't need. Maybe that was bad information. Also, only the cold water to the sink would be unsoftened so the dishwasher would still be getting soft water as long as I was running it on hot, which it typically is. Either way I still need to get the hose bibs running hard water and it sounds like everybody here has given me good advice In that regard.

Edit: One last question just to clarify - As part of the change I should cut and cap off the like going up through the bottom of the manifold that was supplying the hose bibs and kitchen sink, correct? Then, route another line to those fixtures branching off the main before it goes to the softener. I think I understand.

Last edited by climbhigh1119; 03-06-2013 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:36 PM   #11
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water softener install/manifold question


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Originally Posted by climbhigh1119 View Post
Edit: One last question just to clarify - As part of the change I should cut and cap off the like going up through the bottom of the manifold that was supplying the hose bibs and kitchen sink, correct? Then, route another line to those fixtures branching off the main before it goes to the softener. I think I understand.
You're on the right track.

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