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Pentair Water Softener Review: A Brief Look at the WS48-56sxt10 Model

By Luna Regina | Updated
Our recommendations are made independently through research and testing following our review procedure. We may receive commissions from purchases made via our links at no additional costs to you.

Water in over 85% of American homes contains enough calcium and magnesium for it to be considered hard water. When water percolates through limestone or gypsum, the minerals they contain get carried along, becoming part of the water’s composition. Though hard drinking-water doesn’t pose health hazards to humans, it does have certain negative impacts on our daily lives and our home.

Pentair Water Softener Review
  • Straightforward installation (instructional media provided)

  • Very effective

  • Scaleable (additional mineral tanks)

  • Long service life

  • Short warranty

  • Bulky size

  • Periodic upkeep

  • Ongoing expense (salt)

Soften Your Hard Water Woes

What little benefits hard water brings are overshadowed by the endless headaches it causes. In any household where hard water flows, limescale buildup clogs or stains pipes, kettles, sinks, and water heaters. Clothes washed in hard water lose color vibrancy and softness. Soap doesn’t lather well when you’re taking a shower. Dishes aren’t as sparkly as when they were new.

To make hard water soft again, its calcium and magnesium, and possibly iron, need to be extracted. The Pentair WS48-56sxt10 Fleck Water Softener system is designed to do just that. It consists of a mineral tank and a brine tank.

Municipal water enters the mineral tank through the control valve. Ion-exchange beads inside the mineral tank capture the calcium and magnesium ions and release sodium ions in exchange. Pentair uses the more effective 10% crosslink resins in this particular model, an upgrade from the previous 8%.

The amount of hardness causing ions is measured in grains. In an average household of four, 3,200 grains of this stuff need to be processed per day. The Pentair promises a processing capacity of 48,000 before needing regeneration.

This means is that the sodium ions in the resins have been exhausted and need to be replenished. In other words, the calcium and magnesium need to be eluted from the resin beads and recharged by using a solution of sodium chloride, i.e., salt.

The brine tank contains up to 250 pounds of salt, with a water/salt brine at the bottom. Regeneration involves flushing the mineral tank with this brine solution. The wastewater is then flushed down the drain. This whole procedure can complete itself automatically by programming the Fleck control valve. Periodically check and top up the salt level, that is all the upkeep this system needs.

Pentair Water Softener Review: The Lowdown

The Pentair WS48-56sxt10 Fleck Water Softener is a reliable system that can give you years of soft water supply. For people with DIY skills, installation is quite straightforward. Instructions are provided on a USB thumb drive.

One thing to keep in mind about Fleck (Pentair) is that the brand does not technically make water softeners; it makes control valves. The tanks come from a different manufacturer. The 5-year warranty that comes with the control valve is not quite as generous as other brands. Similarly, the 10-year warranty on the tanks pales in comparison to the lifetime warranty given by other brands.

The Fleck (Pentair) system uses more water and salt during regeneration than some other systems. Depending on the frequency of your regenerations, this may not be a concern. The upgraded 10% crosslink resin helps prolong the life expectancy of the beads, as well.

Depending on your dealer, the flow meter that comes with your softener may be of a turbine design. This kind of flow meter is more prone to sticking due to debris or limescale buildup. If possible, choose a paddlewheel flow meter instead.

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Luna Regina

A writer and entrepreneur, Luna’s day doesn’t start at the computer keyboard, but in the kitchen. Half of her working hours are spent on mixing ingredients for her recipes. The other half involve working with the tech team to research and test the tools and appliances that promise to make kitchen work effortless and mess-free. From a kitchen knife or water filter to the Instant Pot, if it can help save time and effort for the home cook, Luna and her team are on it. Luna’s extracurricular pastimes include camping, travel, and photography.