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The Fleck 9100 SXT is the best water softener system for large families that need soft water round the clock.
With a 96,000-grain capacity, the 9100SXT can comfortably serve a family of six or more. It can also handle any level of water hardness.
The 9100SXT is a dual-tank water softener which means you’ll never run out of soft water even when the system is regenerating - a big plus for large and busy homes.
The 9100SXT is a bit pricey. But the added capacity and guaranteed non-stop supply of soft water are worth spending a bit more.If you are looking for something smaller and cheaper or maybe even a salt-free alternative, read our in-depth water softeners buying guide for other great recommendations.
Like most other salt-based water softeners, the Fleck 9100 SXT does a great job removing hardness minerals from water.
Whether you water is just a bit hard or you live in states like Arizona and New Mexico that are known for their high levels of water hardness, the Fleck 9100 SXT is up to the task.
There are two reasons why the 9100SXT is one of the best water softeners.
The first is the kind of resin they use.
Most water softeners use 8% cross-linked resin. The Fleck water softener uses 10% cross-linked resin.
What’s the difference?
10% resin is more efficient at removing hardness minerals from water. It’s also more resistant to sediment and chlorine and is therefore likely to last longer than the resin used in most water softeners.
The second reason why the Fleck 9100 SXT is the best in class is the extra high grain capacity.
It’s the reason the system can handle very hard water without straining. Having a higher grain capacity means it can soften a larger amount of hard water before it needs to regenerate.
It’s also why we highly recommend it for large families and homes with high water consumption.
If you are six or more at home, you don’t want a 40,000-grain system that regenerates daily or even several times a day.
It’s disruptive and wastes a lot of water and salt.
Installing a high capacity system like the 9100 SXT may be more expensive in the beginning but it saves you money down the road.
The system doesn’t rely only on its generous capacity to increase efficiency.
To help homeowners save even more on salt and water, it includes a flow meter that measures precisely how much water has passed through the water softener.
It then recharges based on how much water you have consumed rather than regenerating at a specific time whether the resin is at capacity or not.
This reduces the amount of salt used for regeneration and by extension, lowers the amount of water that drains out as waste.
Talking of regeneration, the Fleck 9100SXT has one huge advantage over most home water softeners.
Most families will not benefit from a dual tank design.
The main downside of single tank water softeners –disrupting soft water supply when regeneration – is not a problem for them.
They just set the regeneration to occur when everyone is asleep or away from home.
But if there is always someone in your home using water at all hours of the day and night, the disruption can be frustrating.
For 1-2 hours every day or every few days when the system is recharging, you have to use hard water.
The Fleck 9100SXT solves this problem with a dual tank design.
The two tanks alternate to keep soft water flowing to your home. When one is regenerating, the other keeps working.
Most water softeners regenerate using hard water. They fill the brine tank with hard water directly from the main line and then use the resulting brine to recharge the resin.
The problem with this method is that it strains the resin, which reduces its lifespan.
Instead of using hard water, the Fleck 9100SXT fills the salt tank with soft water only. This offers two big advantages:
Being a dual tank water softener, the Fleck 9100SXT takes more time to install compared to other systems.
But it’s actually not that hard. It just takes a lot of time.
You also need to buy your own fittings and connectors as well as salt for the brine tank. The package just includes a bypass valve, the control head with the meter, the tanks and the resin.
Set aside a full afternoon to set it up.
If you are busy or don’t trust your DIY plumbing skills, you can also have a plumber install it for you.
Installation costs will range from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand depending on your location and your plumbing situation.
Maintenance is easy and straightforward.
The main thing you need to do is regularly check the level of salt in the brine tank. Refill it to the indicated level when it gets low.
How often you add salt depends on how much water you consume and how hard your water is.
Maintenance costs are mostly related to buying bags of salt. No other parts need frequent servicing.
The system has very few moving parts and the valve, meter and tank are designed to withstand over a decade of use without any problem.
Even the resin itself has a lifetime warranty.
There is a lot to like about the Fleck water softener.
It has a large capacity that is perfect for larger homes, it can tackle any level of water hardness and the dual tank design is super convenient for families that need soft water 24/7.
Something else that stands out about this system is the build quality.
It is one of those products you buy once and forget. Every component is engineered to provide years of reliable service from the 10% cross-linked resin to the electric flow meter and the hardy plastic bypass.So while the initial cost is high, the Fleck water softener pays for itself over and over with low maintenance costs and reliable performance.
I know the value is great but it’s still hard to get past the $1,000+ price tag. If you are looking for a budget-friendly water softener, this is definitely not it.
You’ll spend even more if you decide to have a plumber install it for you.
Thankfully, the costs are mostly limited to the initial purchase.
Once you install the water softener, you only need to buy the salt, which you can get cheaply in many stores.
Maintenance costs are very low, the system uses very little power (about $3 worth per year)and there are no parts like filters to replace.
Something else we don’t like is the amount of space it takes up. This is to be expected considering the capacity of the softener and the fact that it is a dual tank system.
But it’s still a problem for homes with limited space for installation.You may have to hire a plumber to extend the plumbing to a bigger space like the garage, which means more money.
Though pricey, the Fleck 9100SXT justifies its price tag with a large capacity, a convenient dual tank design and unrivaled durability.This is a great investment for larger families who need its high performance, long lasting and headache-free water softener.
Ed is a water specialist in Tampa, FL. He built CleanerSofterWater.com to help his friends and family learn about DIY solutions to common water quality issues in the home.
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