Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E Water Softener

The Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E is an equally very durable water softener from the tanks to its various components including the control valve, bypass valve, yoke, upper distributor basket, connectors, and control head. They are all robust and can hold up for many years.

Key Features:
  • Relatively simple to operate and maintain
  • Can eliminate most minerals causing high hardness
  • The maximum flow water pressure is up to 12 GPM

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Things we like

  • Relatively simple to operate and maintain
  • Can eliminate most minerals causing high hardness
  • The maximum flow water pressure is up to 12 GPM
  • Equipped with a programmable digital meter valve
  • Capable of minimizing water and salt waste during regeneration
  • Suitable for medium-sized families with large capacity of 80,000 grains
  • Backed by a 5-year parts warranty and a 10-year tank warranty

Things we don't like

  • Requires some plumbing skills to install properly
  • Does not filter heavy metals, chlorine and other contaminants

From damaging your plumbing system, appliances, and utensils to affecting your health by causing skin irritation and hair dryness, hard water causes a lot of problems and domestic inconveniences.

However, treating it is not such a hard challenge as there are many different types of water softening systems that can effectively get rid of the minerals that lead to water hardness, which are mainly calcium and magnesium.

The Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E is one of them. This salt-based water softener is a product of Pro+Aqua Water which is a US company (based in California) that focuses on manufacturing water treatment systems, mainly whole house systems like water softeners and well water filtration systems, as well as portable systems like portable water softeners.

The Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E is one of their top whole house water softening systems and perhaps one of the best salt-based softeners in the market, competing with the likes of Pentair WS48-56sxt10, AFWFilters 5600SXT, and DuraWater 80K-56sxt-10AL water softeners.

It’s a dual-tank salt-based water softener and uses a very powerful ion exchange resin that’s capable of treating medium to high water hardness levels. Besides its great softening performance, the Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E offers a high resin capacity and water flow rate.

It’s also equipped with a digital meter head that’s easy to program and offers several convenient features such as different programmable regeneration modes, automatic backwash, and system configuration backup during a power failure – it’s basically as advanced as Fleck’s SXT digital meter control head found on most water softeners.

The Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E is an equally very durable water softener from the tanks to its various components including the control valve, bypass valve, yoke, upper distributor basket, connectors, and control head. They are all robust and can hold up for many years.

In this review, we’ll take a closer look at this Pro+Aqua softener to see exactly how it performs, what it offers and some of the drawbacks you are likely to encounter when you have it as your main water softener. So, let’s get down right to it.

Softening Capability

As mentioned above, the Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E is a salt-based system that utilizes an effective ion exchange resin to get rid of the minerals that cause water hardness.

It uses a 10% ion-exchange resin which is not only more powerful than the industry standard 8% cross-linked resin, but it also offers a large capacity of 80, 000 grains. This powerful, high-capacity resin is very effective at treating water hardness – it removes all the calcium and magnesium ions from every gallon of water that passes through the tank, so you are only left with soft water, deprived of all hardness minerals.

Due to its large capacity (80,000 grains), it’s able to efficiently treat hardness levels of up to 40 GPG (with 5 to 6 users), which includes medium to very hard water from either a well or city water supply. It can also handle extremely hard water (of up to 100 GPG) but only if the maximum number of users is 4 people or less.

Most users reported noticing a tremendous change in the quality of their water immediately after installing the system. They mentioned that the water quality was dramatically improved – the water feels so much cleaner and doesn’t cause skin irritation at all or leave stains on appliances.

Despite being a dedicated water softener, this system also does perform relatively well at removing iron which is a really tough element to filter out. It’s able to remove up to 2 ppm of iron content which is a small amount but pretty decent for a dedicated water softener.

If the iron level in your water is above 2 ppm, then you may need to partner it with a PRO-WELL-1E iron filter which is capable of filtering out up to 100 ppm of iron content as well as other contaminants.

You may as well need additional filtration systems before or after the Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E, especially if your water is microbiologically unsafe or contains heavy metals, chlorine, chloramine, and other harmful chemicals. It’s only highly effective at removing hardness minerals (calcium and magnesium), and small amounts of iron but not any other contaminant.

Capacity and Flow Rate 

Having an 80,000-grain capacity, this Pro+Aqua system will comfortably meet the soft water demands of medium to large homes with moderate to extremely hard water. It’s ideal for high-demand applications as it can deliver sufficient soft water for at least 8 to 10 people.

However, the number of users will depend on the hardness level of the water. It can serve 8 to 10 people when the hardness level is 21 to 30 GPG, 5 to 6 people if the hardness level is 30 to 40 GPG, and less than 4 people if the water is extremely hard (hardness level ranging from 40 to 100 GPG).

The Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E softener also has a fast water flow rate and again this is due to its large capacity and its 1-inch high-flow threaded ports. It can put out roughly more than 12 gallons of soft water per minute which is adequate for large homes with multiple bathrooms. Many users reported that they had no problems with the water pressure at all after installing the system, even when running multiple taps simultaneously.

The brine tank of the PRO-S-80E is equally quite large. It can hold around 120 pounds of salt or roughly 2 bags of crystal or extra course grade water softener salt, so you won’t be replenishing it frequently compared to other smaller-sized units – a family of 4 can use approximately 1 bag of salt a month, hence it can go for 2 months before requiring a refill or a month if you are a family of 6 to 8 people.

Regeneration Modes and Other Settings

With its high capacity resin, the PRO-S-80E doesn’t require frequent regeneration like it’s the case with low capacity resins, which saves you both salt and water usage. The unit utilizes a programmable digital meter valve which automates the whole regeneration process.

The valve features a metered water counter that keeps track of the gallons of water treated through the system and once the set gallons (programmed in the unit) get exhausted, the system automatically regenerates the resin. It only regenerates when needed hence saving salt and hundreds of gallons of water.

The unit offers 3 modes of regeneration which include:

Timed Regeneration Mode

In this case, you set the system to regenerate on a particular time or predetermined schedule like after every few days. It performs really well but you have to always stay on schedule, otherwise, if you are out of town say for a week or month, it will still regenerate after every few days hence wasting water and salt.

Meter Immediate Regeneration Mode

In this mode, you set the number of gallons of treatable water that the system should produce (say 2,900 gallons) which once it’s exhausted, the regeneration process is initiated. The number of gallons to input is determined through a simple calculation based on the total capacity of the system (80,000 grains), the feed water hardness level, and the family size.

The system will regenerate only when required, so if you go away for a week when the set capacity is not exhausted and the softener is not in use, there won’t be any regeneration hence saving you water and salt, unlike the timed regeneration mode which would still initiate the regeneration process.

Meter Delay Regeneration Mode

Although it has a confusing name, this is the most useful regeneration mode of the three. In this mode, you set the number of gallons of treated water that the system should produce as well as the regeneration time.

When the set gallons of water are exhausted (counts down to zero), the system doesn’t immediately start regenerating but instead, it changes to the regeneration time that you set and only regenerates at that particular time. This way you never really run out of soft water.

Apart from the three modes, the Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E offers three additional regeneration settings. The first one is the “Manual Queued Regeneration” which includes the Queued Regeneration in Timer Mode and the Queued Regeneration in Meter Delay Mode.

In the former, the system initiates the regeneration process at the time set and if missed, it then initiates the process on the next day.  In the latter, the system initiates the regeneration process when either the set gallons of treated water is exhausted or when the remaining regeneration time counts down to zero – whichever comes first.

The second additional setting is the “Manual Immediate Regeneration” which allows you to initiate regeneration instantly (whenever you want) when the control valve is in the service position. There’s a regeneration button that you just press and hold for 5 seconds to initiate the process. The final setting is “Stop Regenerating” which is yet another useful feature that allows you to instantly stop the regeneration process mid-way and return to the service position.

Generally, the Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E gives you both timed and metered regeneration choices, plus other more options compared to similar water softeners, hence you have great control over the system – you can customize/set it to fit your exact needs.

The regeneration process itself is usually fast once initiated hence you don’t have to wait long to start getting soft water again, and there’s minimal water and salt wasted except when you use the timed regeneration mode.

Other Controls

The LCD control screen of the PRO-S-80E offers a lot of other settings that you can customize to your preference. From the display, you get to view all the necessary information about the system including its current status, time of day, flow meter indicator, gallons of water remaining, and the regeneration mode.

Some of the basic programming you can perform includes setting time of day, the regeneration mode, and the unit capacity (if you’ve not selected the Timer mode). The advanced settings include regeneration time and hours override, the backwash time, brine time, rapid rinse time, and the water filling time.

All the program settings are saved in permanent memory which is quite convenient in case of a power outage. The time of day, current valve position, and the cycle step elapsed are all stored in memory during a power failure, so the system is able to reset itself to its previous configuration when it powers up. 

Moreover, when the valve stops at a regeneration stage in case of a power failure, it will return to its prior position when the system powers up again and it doesn’t take long to do so – just around 4 to 5 minutes.

The interface of the LCD display is pretty easy to understand and use, plus it’s a backlit screen which means you can be able to use it even in the dark. The back-light itself doesn’t stay on throughout, it automatically goes off after a minute if no button is pressed on the touchpad which helps save on electricity – to light it up again you just press any of the buttons on the touchpad.  

Installation

Installing this unit is a bit challenging as it needs to be connected to your main water line as well as the drain, which means you’ll have to alter your plumbing system. In other words, if you don’t have any plumbing experience/knowledge or any DIY skills, then you may need to hire a plumber to install it.

The resin tank needs to be positioned close to a drain point to prevent backflow and air breaks while the brine tank shouldn’t be more than 15 inches from it. The system should also be set up with a vacuum breaker to prevent damage to the resin tank.

It should as well be connected only to the cold water line, no hot water should pass through it because the maximum temperature it can handle is 100ºF (37.8º C) while the maximum recommended feed water pressure is 125 psi (8.78 kg/cm2).

You may also have to install a pressure-reducing valve (PRV) in order to reduce the water pressure if needed because if the daytime pressure is above 80 psi, then the nighttime pressure can go past the maximum recommended feed water pressure (125 psi).

The transformer of the system plugs only to a 120 volt, grounded electric outlet which needs to be within 6 feet of the unit – the transformer comes with an 8-foot power cable attached to it.

Note that this system isn’t designed to be installed outside where it’s exposed to direct sunlight, extreme heat, or where it can freeze – the electric controls are not weatherproof. If you resort to installing it outside, then you must take necessary steps to ensure that the tanks, transformer, installation plumbing, etc., are all protected from the elements as well as contamination sources.

The whole unit doesn’t take up a lot of space because it’s a two-piece system featuring just a resin tank and a brine tank. It has a small footprint but the resin tank with the control head attached is a little tall (measures 64-inches high).

One particular thing we liked about the design of this Pro+Aqua softener’s resin tank though is that it comes with a “floating base” that allows you to easily level the tank on any surface. It’s a convenient feature especially when the area you are installing the resin tank doesn’t have a leveled surface to place it – the floating base allows you to adjust the level of the tank within the base to keep it stable and ensure proper operation.

Maintenance

Maintaining this system is super easy because it’s only the brine tank that you’ll need to replenish occasionally by adding bags of salt. You may have to do this maybe once after every month or two depending on how many people are using the system – once in a month if you are 6 to 8 people or once in two months or longer if you are less than 5 people.

The resin media can last many years (10 to 20 years) before requiring replacement, so you won’t be worrying about it much. Both tanks (resin and brine) are robust and long-lasting.

The resin tank has a fiberglass shell with a seamless one-piece liner to ensure a leak-proof design. It also has an extra outer layer consisting of a strong epoxy resin which enables it to withstand harsh environments. The brine tank is made of thick food-grade plastic material, so it’s equally durable.

The package comes with all the required system components that include: brine tank, resin tank, resin media, Aquatrol valve electronic meter, riser tube, control valve, upper distributor basket, top & bottom distributors, 14 ft. ½ in. drain line, 5 ft. 3/8 in. brine line, drain line fitting, power transformer with 8ft. cable, small parts kit, and the installation manual which clearly takes you through all the steps for setting up the system.

A bypass valve is equally included with the system. It’s an important component to have because it allows the water from your main supply line to bypass the actual softener which can be quite useful on numerous occasions like when filling a pool with water or watering grass or plants – activities for which you don’t really need softened water.

You’ll need additional tools such as channel locks, a screwdriver, two adjustable wrenches, Teflon tape, and a razor knife. The salt to fill the brine tank is not also included, so you’ll have to get several bags of it. You can only use clean water softening salt that’s at least 99.5% pure.

Crystal salt or extra course grade salt are recommended but not granulated, block, rock, or ice cream making salts because they contain contaminants that are likely to cause problems during maintenance.

Final Remarks

The Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E is highly effective at removing hardness minerals from the water. It’s an ideal option if you are looking for a water softener for treating moderate to high levels of water hardness. It has a large capacity and fast water flow rate which means it’s capable of meeting the water demands of medium to large households with multiple bedrooms.

All the components of the system are sturdy and of great quality. It’s a system that can provide years of service, plus the control head with the LCD display offers several regeneration modes and other useful settings that make operating and using the system easy and convenient. The system is as well backed by a generous 5-year warranty for the valve, electronics, and resin while the tanks are covered by a 10-year warranty.  

The only major downside is that it’s not able to remove iron content above 2 ppm and you can’t use it with water that’s microbiologically unsafe and/or has heavy metals, chlorine, and other chemical contaminants – you have to install a filtration system before it to ensure that you get safe, soft water for use.

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Historical Price Chart

This is one-year-history price chart of the Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E Water Softener.

Note: This price chart is provided for reference purpose only.

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ProAqua PRO-S-80E Whole House Water Softener
ProAqua PRO-S-80E Whole House Water Softener
ProAqua PRO-S-80E Whole House Water Softener
ProAqua PRO-S-80E Whole House Water Softener

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