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Fleck Water Softener Downflow vs. Genesis Upflow

Dec 11th 2018

Why Customers are Converting from the Fleck 5600sxt to the Genesis

The majority of homes and businesses receive water in one of two ways…either from a local municipal supply or a private well. Both water supplies may have contaminants that need to be dealt with prior to the water entering the plumbing system. Among the most common are hardness elements like calcium, iron, and manganese. Let's compare the Fleck water softener with the Genesis.

Municipalities provide water quality reports that include hardness elements. For those on a private well, testing is the only way to properly identify these contaminants. A free water hardness test kit is available from Discount Water Softeners or can be purchased at a local hardware store.

When hardness is identified, the most common way people resolve it is by installing a water softener. A water softener is designed to remove hardness. All water softeners function using the same principal called ion exchange.

However, not all water softeners operate at the same efficiency level, which is why customers are switching from the Fleck 5600 SXT to the Genesis Premier and Genesis Revolution. Consumers find the decision is obvious when they discover the superior efficiency, quality, and warranty the Genesis line provides.

Municipal vs Well Water

Local municipalities only treat water for contaminants that are considered an imminent danger for human consumption. Bacteria is the main contaminant that is removed at a municipal water treatment plant. Municipal water is not treated for hard-water causing elements.

Well water is not treated at all and may have several contaminants that require removal. Homeowners are responsible for testing and treating the water they draw from a well. A water softener will remove hardness and iron levels under 3 ppm, but for higher iron levels an iron filtration system is needed.

Hard Water

When water is referenced in terms of hardness, it is due to the levels of calcium, magnesium, iron and other minerals that are found in the water. Water is able to dissolve more substances than any other liquid on the planet. This dissolving ability is how we end up with hardness in our water. Making coffee or tea uses the same dissolving effect, except hardness is not visible. Even though we can’t see it, it is there and makes its presence known.

Dissolved hardness causes a lot of problems when it is present in water. While it is safe to consume, hard water is harsh and damaging. Residue left behind by hard water includes clouding of glasses, scale buildup on fixtures and soap scum since it is more difficult to rinse away. Water heaters, appliances, and pipes become clogged, hastening replacement time.

“Unsightly” is the best way to describe the scale build-up left behind by hard water. The scaling is difficult to remove and requires special chemicals that require rubber gloves and masks for protection.

Water Softeners

A water softener is the only effective way to remove hardness like calcium, magnesium, and iron. Water softener systems function by using an ion exchange process. Hard elements are replaced for soft elements in a resin tank. The resin acts as a host or trade center. A hard element attaches to the resin, switching places with a sodium based, or soft, element. When the two trade places, the water is rendered soft—much like kids trading baseball or Pokemon cards. Each still has a card but it is different.

Sodium elements are introduced into the system through dissolved water and softener salt. Salt and water soak in a brine tank, thereby creating a brine solution. During the regeneration process, the brine (salty water) is transferred into the resin tank, replacing the hardness elements, which are then flushed out. The system regenerates when the capacity of the resin tank is reached and is full of calcium, magnesium, and iron, on average about once per week.

Capacity is determined by two factors, the level of hardness and the amount of water used on a daily basis. Systems are also programmed with a reserve capacity to ensure soft water is available during times of heavy water usage. The reserve is similar to a car’s gas tank reserve that ensures the car doesn’t run out of gas on the way to the station.

How Water Softeners Regenerate

Systems perform regeneration in one of two ways: downflow or upflow. A downflow water softener, which is much older technology, pushes the water from the top-down into the resin tank. Upflow water softeners are the newest technology that pushes the water from the bottom-up, which allows them to provide dramatic, high-efficiency water and salt savings advantages.

When the capacity is reached, a water softener will flush and refill through a series of cycles. The capacity is calculated based on the level of hardness and the number of people in the house. Capacity is measured in gallons of water that can be softened per regeneration.

All of the Genesis water softeners work on a metered system, which counts the gallons and regenerates as needed. Fleck systems run on metered or timed systems for regeneration. Timer systems regenerate based on days, regardless of water usage, and waste salt/water unnecessarily.

Fleck Water Softener by Pentair

Fleck softeners made by Pentair use the downflow process, which has a far less efficient performance. Downflow systems like the Fleck 5600 and 5600SXT, for example, are unable to track the amount of total capacity that is used.

Even though the Fleck 5600 SXT is a metered valve, the technology is limited. Every regeneration wastes up to a third of the capacity. Since the reserve capacity is rarely used, flushing and replacing it is continually wasting salt and water every week.

The Fleck 5600 is a timered system that further reduces efficiency. By regenerating based on time (i.e., every 3 days) rather than based on how much water is used, it regenerates even if the softener can still grab hold of more hardness (calcium, magnesium, and iron). This results in a lot of wasted water and salt. Installing a timered water softener system is equivalent to leaving the lights on at home all day when no one is there.

Genesis Water Softener

The upflow technology of a smart water softener allows it to operate at a much more efficient level. An upflow water softener system regenerates by sending brine water up from the bottom. This is a technological advancement since it saves water and salt by allowing the system to calculate for usage.

All of the Genesis water softeners are high-efficiency systems that use upflow technology. Only the Genesis Revolution 1” internal port (higher flow rate) softener has a 28-day water tracker that ensures capacity is always in line with usage.

Since it learns usage, it can account for days when more water is required.

The Genesis Revolution system operates on a proportional brining system, so it can save water and salt usage by not flushing unused capacity. This smart water softener learns and adjusts to ensure soft water is always available and capacity is never wasted.

For heavy use periods like overnight guests, this water softener system will perform an emergency regeneration. This feature is a 20-minute regeneration designed to bridge to the end of the next cycle.

For times of low water usage, this high-efficiency water softener will perform a system refresh. This feature ensures the resin stays fresh and active, keeping it higher performing and lasting longer.

Genesis vs Fleck

While a Fleck water softener does remove hardness, it does so less efficiently and more expensively. Compared to the Genesis Premier and Revolution, Fleck systems average 75% higher salt and 64% more water usage. Imagine getting 4 times better gas mileage in your car!

When measuring quality, consider that the Genesis Premier and Revolution water softeners have a 10-year control valve warranty and a lifetime warranty on both the resin and brine tanks. Fleck offers only 5 years on the valve and 10 years on the tanks.

Advanced technology and higher quality place the Genesis Premier and Genesis Revolution well above the Fleck 5600 SXT. It is smarter and greener than the Fleck models made by Pentair. With a longer warranty and higher efficiency, Genesis water softeners are the best water softener on the market today—at the lowest price.

High Flow

Most water flow needs are handled by a standard water softener. Standard size is a 3/4” water softener, which refers to the internal port of a softener after the inlet where you add your piping to the bypass on the softener.

In homes and businesses that require a higher flow rate, the Genesis Revolution is your best option since it has a 1” internal port. A 1” water softener is considered higher flow.

The internal port routes the water through the softener’s resin, then changes it form hard water to soft water through the ion exchange process described above using either salt or potassium.

Highflow water softeners are designed for higher flow rate requirements in newer, larger homes and businesses. A 1” softener like the Genesis Revolution high-flow rate softener minimizes the reduction in flow that most standard softeners with ¾” can cause when peak times require higher water usage.

Soft Water Benefits

Water that has been conditioned in a water softener yields many benefits, such as skin, hair, appliances, plumbing, and fixtures will all improve with the use of softened water.

Skin will become softer and suppler with the absence of hard elements in water. Hair will be shinier and less rigid. Much like using conditioner after shampoo, soft water is gentler on hair and skin.

Plumbing, appliances, and fixtures will no longer be subject to scale build-up that clogs and slows the flow of water. Scaling is difficult to clean and requires strong, chemical removing agents that are unhealthy for our lungs and bodies to breathe. Appliances, including dishwashers, laundry machines, water heaters, and ice makers will operate more efficiently. Soft water means there will be no more scale to clog up the internal pipes and coat heating elements, which makes it difficult for them to perform.

Best Choice for Hard Water Removal

Imagine being able to purchase a car that had all the operational requirements of your current vehicle that included all the upgrades, a longer warranty, and four times better gas mileage! That is precisely what the Genesis line of high-efficiency water softeners provides over the Fleck water softeners.

A look at Genesis water softener reviews on Amazon provides a great insight into the high customer satisfaction these systems provide. This is a highly rated, top quality, and efficient water softener that will provide benefits for many years.

Water is a precious commodity, and we all understand the need to preserve it. The design and manufacture of Genesis water softeners is aimed at helping consumers continue to be environmentally conscious. By offering a better operating system that saves money and resources--this product is truly green!