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Watershield SoftenerClack WS-1 and Fleck 5600

  • Softens the water by removing minerals
  • Eliminates the scale buildup that can damage appliances and clog plumbing
  • Prevents soap scum that can foul up showers and bathtubs
  • Makes soaps and detergents more effective so that less is needed
  • Increases the efficiency and life span of tank water heaters
  • Removes low levels of iron, manganese, and sediment
  • Can be used in conjunction with a specialized resin to remove tannins
  • Can be used with the addition of a carbon cap to remove chlorine and chlorination byproducts

System Details:

Click to access the WS-1 Softener Specifications and Clack WS-1 Softener Manual.

We also stock, service, and carry parts for Fleck and Autotrol valves.  The Fleck 5600 is used for both water softeners and carbon filters.  Click the following links to access details about the Fleck 5600 valve: Fleck 5600 Spec Sheet, Fleck 5600 Owner’s Manual, and Fleck 5600 Service Manual.  Some of the other Fleck models that we install are the Fleck 2850 (1 1/2″), Fleck 2900 (2″), and Fleck 9100 (dual tank 1″).  If you are interested in installing a softener on a pipe diameter larger than 1 inch, please contact us so we can help you choose the perfect system to fit your specific application.


Water softeners use salt to form a brine solutions that cleans the media inside during the backwash cycle and recharges the media so that it can keep doing its job.  The amount of salt that the system uses is determined by how much water you use, so it is difficult to provide an accurate estimate.  In general, a family of 4 with typical water usage will go through two 40 pound bags of salt per month.  The brine tank holds six 40lb bags.  Most grocery stores carry the 40lb bags of salt, and it can be purchased most economically at Sam’s Club or Costco.

How an Ion Exchange Water Softener Works (featuring the Fleck 5600 valve)

How an Ion Exchange Water Softener Works
(featuring the Fleck 5600 valve)

Most home owners choose to take care of the salt themselves, but some prefer to be included on our salt route.  If the bags are difficult for you to lift or if you’d just prefer not to deal with it, our technician can come by on a set basis and top off the brine tank for you.  We only charge for the number of bags it takes to top off the brine tank, but our price per bag includes the delivery.  In addition to providing salt, our technician can check the system over and make sure that everything is working properly.  If any repairs are necessary, you would be notified before it is done.  Please contact us to discuss the details or to get on the salt route.

Backwash Cycle:

The WS-1 valve has 3 modes of operation that can be used to tailor it to your water use: meter immediate, meter delayed, and time clock delayed.  For most households, the meter delayed option is the most effective and economical.  On this setting, the valve is set with a water use capacity in gallons.  Once the water usage limit has been reached, the system is triggered to backwash at midnight.  While the system is backwashing, you cannot use the water.  If you use the water while the system is backwashing, untreated water will be drawn into the house and less water pressure will be available to the system, which could lead to a less thorough cleaning cycle.  The time can be set so that the system will backwash at any time that is convenient for you.  If you are interested in how the other settings work, we would be happy to discuss the pros and cons with you.

Electricity is necessary for the valve to function, so power outages will affect the system.  Fortunately, the WS-1 has a coin cell Lithium battery backup that can store the time during short periods without power.  If the power is out for too long, then the time will flash to show that it needs to be reset.  Our technician can do this for you or you can do it yourself with the instructions in the manual: Clack WS-1 Softener Manual (page 25).  It is very important that the system is set for the right time, so that it will backwash correctly.

Softeners and Iron:

As mentioned in the list above, softeners can remove a small amount of iron and sediment, but there are limitations to what they can handle long term.  Softeners are not designed for iron removal.  The media is much lighter than the media used inside of an iron filter, so the backwash (cleaning cycle) has to be restricted or it could potentially blow the media out of the tank.  What this means is that if you use a softener to treat water with high levels of iron, the softener will filter out the iron, but then it will not be able to remove the iron from the media.  Eventually, the iron will build up inside the tank and coat the media to the point that the softener will not be able to soften or remove iron anymore.  At that point, the media will need to be replaced in order for the system to function again.  Including a cleaning additive with the salt in the brine tank can help and will prolong the life of the softener.  If your water has a high level of iron, then we recommend using a backwashing iron filter to treat the water before it goes into a softener.  This is one of the reasons why it is so important to test the water before trying to choose a treatment system.  Once we have the tests results, we can discuss all of your options.

 Salt Free Alternative:

If you are tired of dealing with hard water, but don’t want to deal with the salt or slick feeling associated with soft water, then the Vulcan electronic descaler may be a perfect fit for you.  It uses electronic impulses to alter the structure of the minerals in the water, so that they don’t stick to things.  It is completely maintenance free and is less expensive that a softener.  It provides many of the same benefits of a water softener, but the effects are a little different.  Click to learn more about Vulcan water treatment.

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