The Big Boss water softener might be one of the best ways to combat the negative affects of hard water. While hard water doesn’t have a specific taste, it can affect your household appliances.
For example, hard water leads to prematurely ruined water heaters, scale build-up in your pipes, and shorter lifespans of dishwashers and coffee makers. To prevent trouble, you can simply get a water softener. Here we have compiled our top picks for the best Big Boss water softeners for your home, complete with comparison tables and a buying guide.
Big Boss Water Softeners
Hard water is water that contains a high concentration of dissolved materials. The hardness is determined by the quantity of calcium carbonate per liter.
It’s measured as ppm (parts per million), and water with less than 60 ppm is considered soft. If water has 60-120 ppm it’s moderately hard, while water with over 120 ppm is considered hard.
Hard water can deposit calcium carbonate and calcium sulfate in pipes and boilers. This causes lower water pressure, which affects the heating efficiency. It can also corrode metal pipes in the whole water system. Additionally, it often causes stains and marks on clothes.
With a Big Boss water softener, you will get rid of all these problems and get softened water. However, not every product does an excellent job. Big Boss models are among the best water softeners. They provide the best ratio of price and quality among all the models in the market.
We Reviewed 3 of Them!
1. Water Boss 74016
Features & Benefits
This Big Boss water softener is an excellent unit to fight extreme water hardness. It comes with simple, user-friendly controls, and allows you to set softness level in a few clicks. Notable features include:
- 36,400 grain capacity, making it perfect for large families
- 90 GPG water softening
- Sturdy construction, weighing in at 60 kilograms
The regeneration process takes less than 30 minutes and uses 15 gallons of water with around 2 kilograms of salt.
Plus, the softener removes iron at 10 ppm (parts per million). This is a big plus, considering that not every softener acts as an iron filter. Keep in mind that for proper water filtration, it’s best to mix a water softener with a high-quality water filter.
Overall, this WaterBoss softener is ideal for large families. It requires a bit of cash, but in the end, it will provide you with fantastic results.
2. Water Boss 74011
Features & Benefits
Also known as the Water Boss 700, this unit is excellent for small families or offices. It weighs around 45 kilograms and includes these notable features:
- Comes with a filter that requires no maintenance and uses less water and salt compared to similar models
- With the capacity of 70 grains per gallon, it’s ideal for water from any source
- Reduces iron, as well as sediments, dirt, and similar particles
- Simple to use with an LCD that shows notifications and possible errors
The regeneration process takes around 20 minutes, and it uses 16 gallons and around 1.2 kilograms of salt. With the 20,000 grains capacity, it’s the best choice for small families. It’s very easy to install and comes with a 10-year warranty.
3. Water Boss 74011 City Boss
Features & Benefits
Although visually the same, the City Boss is slightly different than the casual 74011 model. Like the previous model, City Boss is also excellent for small families. It removes various contaminants up to 35 grains per gallon.
Besides softening the water, this unit also removes bad odor. This is due to its ability to remove chlorine, which is also hazardous in the long term. On top of that, City Boss has a built-in filter with self-cleaning ability, which means that you will never need to replace the cartridge.
This Big Boss water softener requires less than 20 minutes for regeneration and uses 15 gallons of water with 1.2 kilograms of salt. Although it doesn’t filter iron contents, it does successfully remove lead from water. It’s easy to install and use, and is an excellent choice for small families.
Choosing the Right One
Choosing the right water softener depends on a few things.
Size DOES matter, so let’s talk about it first. Multiply the number of people in your family by how much water they use each day. You will also need to calculate the flow rate of your system.
Simply put a one-gallon bucket in the sink and measure how long it takes to fill up. Then, divide the results by 60 seconds, and you will see how many gallons per minute your system dispenses. If the bucket fills in 15 seconds, it means that your flow rate is around 4 gallons per minute (60/15=4).
Removal Rate of Hardness
Next, calculate your family’s water usage. The rule of a thumb is that an average person consumes around 80 gallons of water per day. Therefore, if you live in a 4-people family, you will consume around 320 gallons daily. This allows you to calculate how many grains of hardness per day you will need to remove.
Let’s say that you live in a four-person family. Your water test shows that your water contains 9 grains of hardness per gallon. Therefore, it’s 320 x 9 = 2,880 grains of hardness that your water softener should be able to remove every single day. You shouldn’t buy a softener that is not able to achieve the needed rate, or you’ll end up disappointed.
Despite what many people think, water softeners don’t remove sediments. Some softeners come with the sediment filter, but it only prevents sediments from going into the resin tank. It doesn’t remove them completely.
If you want to remove sediments from water, we advise you to install a whole-home filter. This removes clay and silt before the water even reaches the water softener. You can find some pretty good and affordable units in the market, which is an excellent investment in the long term.
GPM Rate and PSI Drop
Although these terms might be confusing to some people, you shouldn’t neglect them when buying water treatment equipment. Shorty, the more units you add to your water system, the higher the PSI drop (or pressure loss). However, it also depends on the characteristics of the added unit.
For example, a large diameter, straight pipe will cause a very small amount of friction for the water that flows through it. Therefore, it will cause a lower PSI drop than a media with a small pore size. Another thing that affects PSI drop is the flow rate, measured in gallons per minute (GPM). If the flow rate is high, it will cause more friction, and therefore cause a high PSI drop.
There are two features that affect PSI drop: the control valve and the media bed. Since manufacturers are aware of these problems, they tend to take various actions to prevent the pressure drop. For example, some manufacturers include gravel in the media bed to provide more efficient flow. They also tend to carefully size the equipment to achieve the best flow rate and the lowest PSI drop.
Generally, the pressure drop shouldn’t exceed 15 PSI at the rated service flow. Also, the rated service flow must be at least 4 GPM.
If the water you use has an excessive amount of iron, PowerClean is the best solution for you. When you set the unit to PowerClean mode, it will regenerate every other day, with either 5 or 7 pounds of salt.
All you need to do is to turn the PowerClean mode on for 2-3 weeks every six months. This will get rid of the iron buildup in the resin bed, and ensure a long lifetime and efficiency of the unit. However, depending on the iron content in the water, you might need to use it more frequently.
Step by Step Setup Guide
Setting up a Big Boss water softener is usually very simple and doesn’t require any DIY skills. However, let us give you brief installation guidance as well as a few useful tips.
Prepare the Placement Area
First, make sure that the placement area is clean, and turn off the electricity and water supply to the water heater. Then, check the inlet plumbing. It shouldn’t be clogged with any substance like iron or lime. If it is, you need to either clean or replace the plumbing.
If you look closer, you will notice arrows on the bypass valve. Check them to make sure that the water flows in the right direction. Install the softener AFTER the pressure tank and water filter if you have one. If your installation is outdoors, make sure that it’s properly protected from rain and bad weather.
Test the Water and Turn Off Water Supply
Once the placement area is prepared, remove any packaging from the brine cabinet. You need to test the water with the provided strips, and if everything is fine, turn off the water supply. Then, open both water taps to release the pressure from both lines.
Connect Water Lines
Remove the cabinet cover and install Qest fittings, which are provided with the device. Don’t use Teflon tape or plumber’s putty, since it’s not necessary. Attach the water lines to the softener, but don’t over-tighten the connections on the plastic threads lest they break. Check the arrows on the valve to make sure that it’s properly set. Don’t plumb your appliance backward, or it might cause trouble later.
Connect Gravity Overflow Connection and Drain Line
If the tank fills up too much due to any malfunction, the overflow line will drain away excess water. This is a very important part, so make sure it’s properly installed. First, attach the overflow elbow in the down position. Connect the half-inch tubing between the overflow and a floor drain, or any suitable receptor.
As part of the regeneration cycle, the drain line carries away the backwash water. First, you need to connect the drain line to the drain end. The drain line should go to the laundry tub, floor drain, or any other suitable receptor. It may be elevated up to 2.5 meters from the discharge of the softener, but make sure that the water pressure is above 40 PSI. Also, make sure that the drain line is not restricted in any way.
Put the water softener in the bypass position and turn on the main water supply. Finally, return it to Service Mode.
Quick Tip: Never use water in your home if the appliance is in the bypass mode, or it might cause untreated water to enter the home. Also, when you finish using the untreated water, make sure to return the appliance to Service Mode.
Plug the Transformer and Set Up the Controller
The transformer power cord should be connected at the back of the controller. Plug the transformer into the right outlet. Make sure that the outlet doesn’t work with the on/off switch. When you’re done, you’ll need to do some programming for the appliance controller. The process differs between models, so check your user-manual.
Completing the Installation
First, add two gallons to the brine cabinet. When the first regeneration completes, the softener will automatically refill the cabinet with the right amount of water. Of course, make sure that it is in Service Mode and that the water supply is turned on.
Then, press the Regenerate button to go to the Brine Refill position. Let the tank fill, and then the controller will switch the valve to the Home position. Note that this is the ONLY time you need to add water to the softener.
Fill the brine cabinet with either clean, white pellet or solar salt, but don’t mix these two. Wait two hours before you start a regeneration. Always keep the salt level above water level, and fill the tank to the maximum when refilling with salt.
To complete the installation, make sure that the unit is in the Service Mode position, and that the water supply is turned on. Then, turn on the electricity and water supply which supplies the water heater. Open a cold water tap and allow the unit to flush for around 20 minutes. Finally, replace the cabinet cover, and that’s it – installation of your Big Boss water softener is complete.
Programming, Settings, and Controls
Most Big Boss water softeners offer a two-button controller and are simple to set up. You just need some basic information about your water to calculate the controller setting unit. That information includes the amount of iron in your water and how hard the water is.
If you are running on municipal water supply, you don’t have to worry about iron. However, if you are connected to a well water system, you need to know the iron content measured in parts per million. Then, you need to multiply that amount by 5 to get the number of controller setting units. For example, if your water’s iron content is 1 ppm, it means 5 controller setting units.
When it comes to water hardness, you don’t have to multiply. If your water hardness is 10, it means 10 controller settings units, which is 15 units in total (including the iron).
Programming Your Water Softener
Programming the unit might differ slightly between models, but it’s all still very similar. After removing the lid, you will notice an LCD with two buttons. Plug the power cable, press the P button, and hold it for 5 seconds. The number on the display will change to 25, which is the default setting.
If the iron content in your water is 1 ppm and water hardness is 10, you need to change the number to 15, using the R button. Then, press the P button again, which will confirm and program the entered amount. If you have made a mistake, simply repeat the whole process, starting with holding the P button.
Accessing other controls is also very simple. Just press and hold both buttons until the number on the display changes. You will notice a small arrow (or line) that shows the setting you are currently editing. To cycle between various settings, press the P button. If you want to change the current setting, repeatedly press the R button until you reach the desired number.
How to Maintain
Big Boss water softeners are not salt-free softeners, but luckily, maintaining them is quite simple.
Prevent Salt Bridges
Over time, a crust may form in the brine tank, called a salt bridge. This leaves an empty space between the salt and the water, and due to that, the salt isn’t able to properly reach the water. This prevents the softener from making brine, which is necessary for resin beads to soften the water.
Salt bridges usually occur due to high humidity, temperature changes near the softener, or using the improper kind of salt. By taking care of each of these, you won’t have to worry about salt bridges.
Using the Proper Salt
There are three types of salt for water softeners: rock, solar, and evaporated. Rock salt is the most affordable, but it contains lots of insoluble minerals and impurities. In the long term, it can result in decreased softening efficiency of the unit.
Solar salt is more soluble, but also more expensive. Evaporated salt, on the other hand, is the best choice. It’s obtained through mining and evaporation and is the purest form of salt, containing around 99% of sodium chloride.
The rule of a thumb is to look for higher purity salts. They are more expensive, but in the long term, these salts are an excellent investment for the life of your softener.
Flush Resin Bed Cleaner
Resin beds are constantly recharged by salt. However, it’s not a bad idea to flush them every few months with a water softener cleaner. Over time, the device might get polluted with heavy metals, which directly affects the efficiency of resin beds.
Regenerate every two-three days, but still, consider the hardness of your water as well as the amount of iron. Aside from that, the resin tank capacity and the age of your unit are important as well. In the end, it mainly depends on the size of your family and how much water you use in a day.
Generally, you should add salt about every 7-8 weeks. Yet, it also depends on how often your system regenerates. If you see water above the salt, it is the right time to add more.
Water softeners are not the best devices to remove odor from water. Most odors are caused by hydrogen sulfide or chlorine and require an activated carbon filter to remove them.
If you want a good water softener, you should opt for the Big Boss water softeners. However, choosing the right device depends mainly on your needs. If you live in a large family, 74016 is a fantastic choice. For small families and portability, 74011 is ideal. Finally, for those who want something in between, 74011 City Boss will do a perfect job.