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I am installing a water softener in my house. Currently we're getting the water supply from 1" PEX that has a service loop in the garage.

I built my own 1" PVC bypass system for a GE water softener (see attached photo); I had to use SharkBite-style connectors to terminate the PEX. Today the system operates in bypass mode, because I didn't glue the joints square enough where the 1 inch brass valves mate to the water softener's 1 inch NPT input and output stems.

1 inch water softener bypass

One of the household occupants has grown tired of hard water and demanded that the water softener be operational 'soon' (i.e. tonight). AFAICT, this means I essentially have a couple of options...

  1. Remake the PVC bypass with correct the angle; that's more work than I will get done tonight...
  2. Use some stainless steel braided hose to bridge the gap, so I can compensate for the misaligned valves.

Option 2 seems to be the best, except for availability of parts. Nobody in town (including Grainger and specialty plumbing supply stores) carry 1 inch braided hose. My best option is at Lowe's... a 3/4 inch OD stainless braided hose, which measures 1/2 inch ID; I will use reduction fittings to adjust between 1 inch NPT on the water softener and 3/4 inch NPT on the hose.

My concern is that 1/2 inch ID might cause an unacceptable loss of flow when the system is designed for 1 inch PEX. Is the 1/2 inch ID braided hose a viable short-term option until I can get delivery on the appropriate parts?

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Did you not have it connected to the softener while gluing it together, so that it was not possible for it to not be perfect? –  gregmac Mar 6 '12 at 4:43
    
Do I see that PVC creation being fed with 3/4" chrome tubing? If so, 3/4 flex with adapters will work fine. You only have the volume of the smallest tubing in the system. –  shirlock homes Mar 6 '12 at 10:13
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When you redo this setup, I'd put some longer runs on the lines that connect to the softener to give yourself some flexibility. Perhaps go up for the bypass connection and then back down against the wall for the lines to the lines to the softener. The long run down gives yourself side-to-side flexibility and by having it come all the way from the wall back out, you give yourself some up-down flexibility. Those tight connections and elbows put all the stress of connecting and disconnecting on the glued joints. –  BMitch Mar 6 '12 at 13:35
    
Also, make sure that outlet is GFCI. –  BMitch Mar 6 '12 at 13:36
    
@gregmac, I made the mistake of building the PVC assy and measuring the gap between the water softener's stems... the distance where the stems mate is fine... the angle is about 10 degrees off –  Mike Pennington Mar 6 '12 at 15:34

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The lucklihood is that it will reduce the pressure throughout the house significantly, especially if more than one faucet is running at once.

It is also possible that the softener might not work correclty due to the reduced pressure, or that the output pressure will be even less than expected.

I would think that hard water for a couple extra days would outweigh soft water with little pressure - especially in the shower!

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Thanks, that's what I was afraid of... –  Mike Pennington Mar 5 '12 at 23:04
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The softener will work ok, but when it regenerates and backwashes, it likely won't have enough water to be (as) effective. Over time you'll reduce the effectiveness of the softener itself, and probably have to prematurely rebed the softener (change all the media inside -- normally this is done every 10 years). You can use the smaller hose, but definitely fix it properly ASAP. –  gregmac Mar 6 '12 at 4:45
    
@gregmac, good input... –  Mike Pennington Mar 6 '12 at 15:54
    
Water softeners are tremendous water wasters, you need full flow when they flush. –  Fiasco Labs Oct 21 '12 at 17:49

Yes, it will reduce the water flow. For a couple of days, everything will survive, either way. If you do this restriction, then yes, the toilet will fill more slowly for a few days, showers will not be so forceful. Or you can suffer with hard water for a couple more days. I'd offer the alternatives to the tired household occupant who is pushing for this to happen immediately: a temporary water slowdown, or a few more days of hard water.

In the end, I'd bet that all that is required is a firm agreement that the issue will be resolved ASAP, in which case a couple of days of hard water will not be a problem.

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You could try a hot-water flex line. I believe they are 3/4" I.D. and come with two MPT nipples.

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