Question: I am a RainSoft Dealer and a subscriber to your magazine. We recently installed water softening equipment in a high-rise condo’s maintenance room. The local fire marshall is insisting we insulate the equipment so it conforms to a fire spread rating of 25 and smoke spread rating of 50 (if we cannot provide proof that it already does).

RainSoft’s engineers cannot supply such ‘proof’ as this is a rating that addresses HVAC and not softeners. Our equipment is ISO 9001 manufactured along with NSF, UL, WQA Gold Seal and IAMPO but none of these certifications are satisfactory to the fire marshall.
Any suggestions would be helpful!

Larry Collins
Naples, Fla.

Answer: Do hope the worst of the hurricanes passed you by in Naples. Checking back through our files, this is the first time such a question has been posed by any of our readers. We contacted Peter S. Cartwright, P.E., CWS-V1 hoping that his extensive consulting experience would be brought to bear—his own practice includes clients across the country and around the globe. His answer? “I have never heard of a softener requiring a fire rating, and think it’s completely unreasonable,” he informed us, adding that you might try checking with the WQA to see if they’d ever come across the same demand. He encourages you to appeal to a higher authority.

Question: Here is my question: small residen-tial 1/4-inch ice maker filters should be changed out every  six months, correct? Does that also hold true for pre-filters on an RO system?

Raymond Balderas Casiano

Answer: For this question, we went to Leigh DeGrave at Watertec right here in Tucson, where RO systems are a significant part of the residential water market. He advises that the frequency of filter replacement has many variables. Overall feed water quality plays a role, as does the quantity and quality of the carbon within the filter. These types of filters typically should not be used on water that is not microbiologically safe, or of an unknown quality, without adequate disinfection before the filter, according to DeGrave. That said, he noted that, “filters typically will last no longer than six months or up to 750 gallons, and many consumers will determine that replacement is necessary when taste changes or odor appears.”


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