When water is chalky and murky, seems to have a thin film, and smells like chlorine, it is time to use a water softener.
This happens because there are way too many minerals and chemicals in the water. It produces a sediment-like appearance. And it eventually produces buildup, causes problems in the skin, or could make your hair feel dirty even after showering.
That’s why you need the best up-flow water softener. It cleans the water from minerals and sediments you don’t want while making the water more drinkable and safer to use.
You shouldn’t go just for any water softener, though. Below I’ll go over why an upflow softener could be the best choice for you. Take a look!
What is an Upflow Water Softener?
The name gives it up: the flow moves upward. This is a new technology in the world of water softeners, where the water flows from the bottom to the top of the tank, passing through the filter to remove the contaminants that murk the water.
This process starts with the pump pushing water from the bottom of the tank. It goes through the resin first, then the media layer, and any other filter in the system.
What makes the process so useful is the ability to prevent anti-gravity motion. This increases the amount of hardness it captures while avoiding any type of compression on the resin. Thus, it offers high efficiency, great results, and a durable filtration system.
Apart from that, upflow softeners don’t require backwashing, have low-cost maintenance, and can save tons of salt and brine in the long term.
That’s why upflow softeners are becoming the go-to option for most large houses and businesses where softening water in high quantities is so essential.
Can I Switch A Downflow Water Softener To Upflow?
You can always switch from a downflow to an up-flow softener if needed. You will have to make a few changes in installing the tanks and the plumbing, but nothing out of the extraordinary.
After the change, you will enjoy some of the benefits that upflow offers over downflow softeners. Below, we explain some of them in detail.
Upflow vs. Downflow Water Softeners
Now that you’re more familiar with upflow softeners and how they work, comparing them with downflow softeners will give you a better idea of how good it really is.
We arranged a list of factors that compare downflow vs. up-flow water softeners, so you could learn how they differ and whether you’re truly getting your money’s worth with one.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, we need to explain how these two types of softeners’ operations differ.
Let’s start with downflow models. They work by letting water go into the tank through the upper basket. Then the water starts flowing down until it reaches the resin and media. Finally, it gets into the bottom basket to further soften the water. From there, it goes into the exit tube and goes out.
This operation consumes a lot of salt because the water starts to channel through the tank. Simultaneously, it uses a lot more water, as it needs to flow the system correctly for the water to go down the tank.
An upflow softener doesn’t have this problem. It pushes the water up from the bottom entrance, reaching the media and resin in the process. Here, the water starts a swirling motion where it achieves higher efficiency, reducing the amount of time it takes to go through the tank and the amount of salt it consumes.
A downflow softener starts with water from the top, and an up-flow begins with water from the bottom. But does the efficiency truly change between these two?
Well, there are many reasons to think it does. For example, upflow softeners don’t have the swirling motion that downflow models have. This is said to reduce the amount of salt used in the process. And sure enough, it also consumes less water.
But how much is the difference? According to customers and experts, the difference is about 10% to 15%. This percentage could be explained by an outstanding amount of 900 pounds of salt per year that a downflow softener uses. In contrast, an up-flow softener will use between 500 and 800 pounds.
Is the efficiency and way they operate enough to pick between these two? We don’t think so. You should also know about their filtration capacities.
Here, you can find that both softeners will remove minerals, heavy metals, and even sediment. But does one perform any better than the other?
The answer is yes. Upflow softeners will push the water upward, leaving all the unwanted contaminants and particles behind. This is highly effective and reduces the amount of grain and brine quality necessary for the job.
Downflow filters are not bad, though. They are just slightly less effective because the water flows downward, taking the minerals and metals along. Then, the residues in the bottom chamber may eventually go through the plumbing as well.
All water softeners need to be maintained. This includes flow and downflow models alike. But there’s a slight difference here to consider.
Downflow softeners tend to have a slightly longer regeneration process. This makes them a little less available and could mean higher water consumption. Because they don’t consider water consumption, these softeners can eventually produce a lot of waste.
Upflow models are not exempt from maintenance processes. But you can often modify their regeneration methods depending on your needs. And because they use an up-flow system, the amount of water they use is limited. What’s even better, they produce little to no waste.
Last but not least, let’s consider their price. This is the only factor where you’ll find upflow softeners worse than downflow models.
Because the operation is different and the benefits seem to be better, upflow softeners tend to cost a lot more than downflow ones. Comparing softeners of the same capacities but with a different mechanism, you can see price differences of up to 50%. That can be a huge step-up from downflow to upflow.
However, it is worth mentioning that upflow models tend to be much more efficient and durable in the long term. This could make their savings over time worth their initial price.
Best Upflow Water Softeners Reviews
After going through hundreds of water softeners over the years, most of them had little to nothing worth considering. But we found a small group we couldn’t overlook. After reviewing them from top to bottom, here’s what we found:
SpringWell Water Softener (My Main Pick)
1. ABCwaters Fleck 5600SXT Upflow Water Softener
With a combination of a softener and a digital valve meter, the ABCWaters Fleck 5600SXT can tackle the entire water delivery system on any home.
It boasts an up-flow carbon filtration system. This carbon media is made of coconut shells. Yet, it can remove everything from herbicides to MTBE, THM, chloramines, chlorine, organics, and more. The softener will give your water a whole new appearance.
The carbon filtration system doesn’t need any electricity due to its backwash-free design. You won’t need a drain line either. And it operates without producing any wastewater, ensuring maximum efficiency.
The device softens up the water effectively with a 48,000-grain softening system that uses an ABC10 resin. It also works well with high-pressure plumbing, going up to 12 GPM for households of up to 5 people.
Apart from that, you get the 5600XST Digital valve meter from Fleck. It helps soften the water without consuming much electricity. And what’s better, it has four methods of operation, including immediate, delayed, delayed time clock, and day of week regeneration regenerations.
It is essential to mention that this is an electronic softener. In contrast with mechanical ones, it only has one moving part, making it more reliable and accurate. The memory, display, and overall operation will get your softening experience to a whole new level of convenience.
Lastly, it is decently easy to install. It comes with almost every hardware piece necessary to get it working in an hour or less. This softener leaves little to nothing to be sought after.
- Ideal For: 2-5 people
- Capacity: 48000 Grains
- Item Weight: 95 pounds
- Flow Rate: 12 GPM
- Warranty: 5 year warranty
Keep In Mind
While the softener comes with different hardware types to get it working in an hour, you will find no drain hose system to connect. Sadly, you’ll have to buy it separately. If you do, then you will be ready to enjoy its remarkable softening capacity.
2. Discount Water Softeners Genesis 2 Premier Water Softener
A high-efficiency water softener can capture a lot more sediments while delivering a fast and effective softening process.
This one has a total GPM of 15, which works like a charm for most household plumbing systems. This is only possible with the crosslinked resin, specially designed to save over 9,000 pounds of salt and more than 32,000 gallons of water. In contrast with downflow softeners, this one is a lot more efficient.
The softener delivers this performance thanks to a combination of a Tank Tux neoprene tank jacket that prevents sweating. This Brine tank can handle over 200 pounds of salt, and with the large Resin tank, it will have no problem softening tons of water every day.
Another feature that helps enormously is the Upflow Brining system that calculates how much brine is needed for the job. Obviously, this ends up saving a lot of that brine over time. And with the Reverse Flow Regeneration, it can make the softening bed last a lot longer.
Don’t forget this softener comes with its own digital display and electronic sensors. You can adjust the cycles and change the softening modes depending on your needs. This includes an Automatic System Refresh, a Soft Water Recharge Mode, and more.
You can also program the system as necessary. It has a set-and-forget function. And if that wasn’t enough, you also get all kinds of data, including regeneration dates, volume, non-volatile memory, and storable modes.
The softener is also available in other grain quantities. You can go from the 24,000-grain system to the 96,000-grain model. Either way, you’ll receive a softener that can tackle even the toughest softening jobs to deliver drinkable water.
- Ideal For: Easy Programming & Installation
- Capacity: 40,000 Grains
- Item Weight: 96 pounds
- Flow Rate: 13 GPM
- Warranty: 10 year Control Head
Keep In Mind
The system comes with limited instructions for the installation. If you aren’t well-versed with this type of product, you will have to spend a few more hours than expected, setting it up. But if you go through the hard part, then you’ll enjoy one of the highest-efficiency softeners in the market.
3. SoftPro Elite Plus High Efficiency
Designed to soften up the hardest of city water, the Elite Plus from SoftPro will make thick and difficult-to-consume water a lot more pleasant.
The first thing you’ll notice about this softener system is the large 4-inch LCD screen. It is gigantic, making operation super-easy. On top of that, it doesn’t have any confusing digits or symbols.
You can use this screen to operate and program the system depending on the type of regeneration you want.
As for the filtering, you’ll be impressed by its performance. It can soften up any type of sediment and contaminant, going from chlorine with a 55 Chlorine Filter, sulfur and heavy metals with the 10% Crosslink Resin Media, and much more.
The softener has a 32,000-grain filter. It will remove most of the contaminants in the water that makes it so hard to consume. You’ll have drinkable and easily usable water to enjoy for years. The buildup on objects and spots on clothes will be a thing of the past with this softener.
You can install this system as a whole-house system, and it will work wonders. And despite its large fiberglass mineral tank, it is still easy to set up. The 1-inch bypass valve helps take water from one place to another, ensuring maximum filtration effectiveness.
Lastly, you can enjoy the black neoprene tank jacket. It will prevent insulation and prevent freezing temperatures from causing damage.
- Ideal For: Chlorine Removal
- Capacity: 40,000 Grains
- Mineral Tank: Fiberglass
- Flow Rate: 12 GPM
- Water Consumption: 44 Gallons per Flush
Keep In Mind
This is one of the most expensive softeners you can get. The initial price, the maintenance, and operational costs all add up to a super-pricey product all around. But this price is for a reason: the softener will rejuvenate your water, making it drinkable, consumable, and usable for any need.
4. DuraWater Fleck 5600SXT UpFlow Metered Softener
When it comes to quality products, few brands deliver like DuraWater. This Fleck 5600SXT up-flow water softener review will show you why.
Let’s start with the softener itself. It is a 48,000-grain low-salt softener. The piece comes with its own digital meter, allows you to program as needed, and regenerates within a schedule so you can make it work exactly as you want.
The softener is exceptionally effective at cleaning up the water. It is possible thanks to a fantastic 1.5 cubic feet INDION resin. It can handle even the toughest of hard waters, removing most minerals and sediments that make it murky.
But the softener is not only resin. It also boasts 1.5-cubic feet of activated carbon filter with gravel bedding. This combination removes even the thickest of films from the water so that you can drink super-clean water every time.
Thought that was enough? Well, this softener also delivers with a 5-stage Reverse Osmosis system with a 75 GPD membrane. This would be the perfect combination to clean the water from even the smallest particles it can find.
And if all that wasn’t enough, you can also enjoy a scanning system with the digital valve. It allows you to download a Scan and Service App to receive all the critical softener info directly on your phone.
- Ideal For: Simple to Operate
- Capacity: 48,000 Grains
- Osmosis System: 5 Stage
- Flow Rate: 15 GPM
- Warranty: 10 year on tank
Keep In Mind
Considering all the features, this softener comes with, you’ll realize the installation can be a bit overwhelming. Luckily, it comes with all the parts and hardware necessary for the job. If you put some effort into the process, you can start enjoying the cleanest water within a few hours.
Upflow Water Softener Comparison
|Name||Ideal For||Capacity||Flow Rate||Warranty|
|ABCwaters Fleck 5600SXT Softener||2-5 people||48000 Grains||12 GPM||5 year warranty|
|Discount Water Softeners Genesis 2 Premier||Easy Programming & Installation||40,000 Grains||13 GPM||10 year Control Head|
|SoftPro Elite Plus High Efficiency||Chlorine Removal||40,000 Grains||12 GPM||-|
|DuraWater Fleck 5600SXT UpFlow Softener||Simple to Operate||48,000 Grains||15 GPM||10 year on tank|
Upflow Water Softener Advantages
After reading our comparison, let’s take a more in-depth look into what makes upflow softener such an excellent choice. Here are some advantages you can get from the best up-flow water softener:
They use less water in the regeneration process and use less salt in the softening process, but they also produce a lot less waste than other types of softeners. This means an overall higher efficiency from upflow models.
Fast Softening Process
Even though the water is pushed through the tank from the bottom, the process tends to be super-fast. This saves a lot of time over time.
More Durable Resin
Because the water doesn’t swirl inside the tank in upflow models, the resin tends to last a lot longer and produce better results.
When the water enters the resin bed from the top in downflow softeners, only the filter’s top layer works. This eliminates the contaminants but only part of them. With upflow models, the water enters the resin bed from the bottom, utilizing the entire filter to remove higher amounts of contaminants.
You will find upflow softeners to be a lot newer than downflow models. This often means that you will get flow meters and LCD screens you can use to configure the softening and get all kinds of data in the process.
How To Install An Upflow Water Softener
Why learn about upflow water softeners if you won’t know how to install one? Below, you’ll find a comprehensive step-by-step guide to do precisely that. Check it out!
1. Find An Ideal Location
First and foremost, start by finding the perfect location for the job softener. Remember that it is composed of two large tanks – a tall cylindrical tank and a bulky square tank. Both typically need between 3 to 5 square feet of space to install.
Then, consider the amount of space around, on top, and below the tanks. You will eventually need to do some upkeep, refill the resin, and so on. When it’s time, you’ll want to be as comfortable as possible.
2. Organize & Connect The Tanks
After finding the right place, it is time to locate them. Here, you can start setting them up accordingly.
Remember to find an outlet for the water to come from (without a switch). And then, you will also need a drain, preferably located in the floor at no more than 3 feet.
Locate the tanks properly, connect them as necessary, and move them before pouring the resin inside. Once they’re connected and with the resin, moving the tank around can be pretty tricky. Be sure it is the right area and configuration, so you won’t have to waste any effort or time later.
3. Pour The Resin Inside
With the tanks in place and already semi-connected, you should proceed to fill the tank with resin. But first, be sure to cover the distributor tube. You can use plastic or tape. The focus is to prevent any resin from falling into this tube.
Once you do that, then you can place a funnel at the top and start pouring the resin. Be aware that any resin that falls out will probably get dirty and unusable, so be careful when pouring. Some softeners come with gravel. Pour this gravel before the resin if yours has it.
While filling, keep the distributor tube in the middle of the whole. This will help you install the meter later on without having to make much of an effort. But try not to pull the tube, or else you may break or disconnect it.
4. Screw The Control Valve In
With the resin inside the tank and the distributor tube in place, you can install the control valve. It typically screws in without much fuss. Be aware that you may need an O-ring to securely. This piece should be lubricated.
To secure the valve, just tighten it up with your hand. It should fit as snugly as possible to prevent any leak.
5. Install The Bypass Valve
Ready with the control valve? Now proceed with the bypass valve. It is a similar experience, but this one goes into the control valve itself.
Be aware that the connections that go from and to the softener have their own IN and OUT arrows. Follow these arrows as necessary to prevent any problem later on.
6. Set Up The Drain Tube
All softeners need a drain tube for the waste. It typically goes close to the softener itself, at about 3 to 5 feet of distance. In case the drainpipe is far, you will need to install new plumbing for the job.
You can use any type of drain tube for this. Some softeners come with their own draining pipes, but most of the time, they don’t.
Remember to install it securely, tightly, and without any unwanted movement. This pipe should also point down to ensure proper waste ditching.
It is essential to know that the drain line should have a small separate from the tubing to the drain area. Otherwise, the drain may overflow or produce back-siphoning and make a mess.
7. Connect The Brine Line
It is not time to connect the brine tank line to the water softener. This is an essential part and typically not too hard.
Start by attaching the tubing from the brine tank to the brass fitting on the softener. You will usually find a brass nut to attach. Then proceed to screw the tubing into the valve of the softener. If the drain line is not connected yet, then do it now.
8. Power Up & Test
With everything connected securely, you can power up the system. You will need to start by pouring some water into the salt tank. Then proceed by activating the bypass mode on the valve. And open it slowly. This should prevent any leaks in the process at first.
When this happens, the water should start filling the resin tank. Let it fill completely. But don’t open the valve too fast either; stay patient. Check for any leaks. If there’s one, shut down the product and see whether it can be fixed. Most of the time, leaks happen on connections or piping.
With the tank filled and with no leaks, you can now plug the power supply and start the softener. The control valve should start so you can configure it as needed.
9. Program The Softener
It is important to do the configuration right. Otherwise, you may end up with an inefficient softener performance, and you don’t want that.
For this, we recommend referring to the user manual so you can set it up to the right capacity depending on your needs. Set the time for the regenerations as well. Find the time where no one at home will use water so the softener can work freely.
Put the tank into the regeneration process at least twice for the salt to dissolve and make the brine work perfectly. Once all this is done, then you’ve successfully installed an up-flow softener and made it work.
Softening the water at home will be an enormous improvement you can’t overlook, especially if you live in an area where water tends to be mineral-rich to the point of making it hard to drink.
With the best up-flow water softener reviews plus the info section on this article, you should have no problem picking a model that meets all your standards.
Remember to consider things like size, overall capacity, mechanism, and any extra feature you could enjoy. This will give you a better chance of getting the most out of the softener.