Written on: 09/06/2012
I purchased two of these units (two different homes) about 12 years ago. Each unit is still in operation and is used daily.
I had a 12 year old Charger water softener that was not worth repairing, so called the company that originally installed it to see about a replacement. This company had also done a couple of repairs on the Charger thoughtout the 12 years. They quoted a new Charger system along with a few others and told me about the Hague 23BAQ.
The Hague 23BAQ has two cabinets, one for the salt, the other contains the resin tank, valve, and controller. This unit is probably equivalent to the 63MAQ of today.
I wanted a system that had at least a 3/4", prefferably 1" input and output, along with internal plumbing equivalent to 3/4" or better. I wanted a flow rate of at least 20 gallons per minute so that multiple showers, toilets, sinks could all be used with minimal impact on water flow through the house caused by the water softener.
Initially, the purchase price of the Hague was what seemed to me to be extremely high, however, when I said there would be two of them and I will do some more research and thinking, the salesman dropped the price by more than half. I did not purchase at that time, but a few days latter had him come back. At that point when I started to press him with technical questions about the Hague unit, he asked me if I was a chemist or something. I said no, but I am an engineer. After a little more discussion, he lowered the price again, at which point I said okay.
I like the Hague units versus others as they can be tailored to eliminate multiple issues with water quality, not just produce soft water as most others do, so it was worth the slight additional cost to me.
The Hague units alos have 1" plumbing designed throughout with water flow in the area of 20 gpm if I remember correctly. I believe the Charger unit could be purchased this way, and I believe the Kenmore top of the line was 1". Most less expensive units limit you to 1/2" or 3/4" with water flow in the 10 to 12 gpm range - No one should settle for that. It will cause a restriction in the water flow should, for example, someone be in the shower, a sink is runnning, and a toilet is flushed. The flow to all fixtures will decrease noticeably.
So, now the units are installed at the two different houses located about five miles apart, but on the same county water system, all is good for about five years.
After about five years, both units stop producing soft water within a few weeks of each other. I call for service only to find the company that installed them has been sold and the new owners do not service nor carry Hague any longer. So, I contact Hague and find a new service company. They arrive only to tell me my units are no longer under the extended warranty because the selling dealer did not register them even though I paid for the extended warranty.
After producing paperwork to prove I paid for extended warranty and the install dates, the new service rep was able to get the extended warranty put in place for both units - THANK YOU HAGUE!
Hague factory support for repairs and parts does not exist - must use an authorized dealer - BOO HAGUE :(
Okay, so now back to fixing the units. Each unit had something different wrong with them which required a couple new parts, installed under the extended warranty - I still had to pay about $120 service call for the two units. Soft water again - yeah!
A couple of years later, more issues - no soft water in either unit within a couple weeks of each other. Another service call, another service charge, plus this time I had to pay prorated for parts - Still, not too bad, about $180 for both units.
A couple months later, one of the units was spewing water all over the garage wall when it went into regeneration - the dran tube was messed with by the service guy and it split. I repaired that myself (big mistake)and cleaned the computer controller of the salty water that had saturated it, and things were good for a few more months. Then, the computer went dead. Another service call and a $400 computer and we are back running again. Even though the service guy caused this mess, the company would not cover it.
After this, the other unit broke. Repair was about $140 for service call and parts. Next, the one with the replaced computer stopped making soft water - service call and the resin and tank need replaced - partial warranty, but $600 out of pocket for labor and parts not covered by warranty.
Now, June, 2012, one of the units is not producing soft water again, so another service call is required. At this point, I am not sure if i will do that or replace it with a unit I can repair myself. The service calls and expensive parts replacements are getting out of hand - at what point does one stop and install new, even though there is suppossed to be a warranty.
My daughter lives about 10 miles away, is on a water system that is really poor compared to ours, and we installed a Kenmore water softener there about six years ago. Her system has broken down twice, each time requiring about two hours of my time to troubleshoot and repair, whith parts totaling about $60. The Kenmore does not do anything but soften water, but cost one-third what my discounted Hague cost, uses about twice as much salt on much poorer quality incoming water, and has cost far less for repairs and overall ownership, producing water that is just as soft. She must use additional filtration to remove other impurites, but it is still less expensive than the cost of the Hague, especially with all the repairs.
The Hague does a very fine job of producing quality water, but at the price, I don't believe it is worth it. Had I known then what I know now, I would not have installed the Hague, but installed one that I could get parts for myself and do repairs myself such as the Kenmore. If I could get parts at a reasonable price for the Hague and do my own repairs, I would recommend the Hague if the purchase price was reasonable.
The Hague unit is overpriced for even what I paid, and outragously over priced at the $3,000 and up prices people are paying (I am assuming quick installation of about three hours at this price). The Hague units also get you as you must use a Hague service rep becasuse parts can only be purchased by authoriezed repair facilities and dealers.
I believe I kept getting the units serviced because of the high initial cost of the units and attempting to recoup my investment. It was typically less expensive to repair the Hague unit than to spend $700 on a top of the line Kenmore to replace it (plus my time to install it).
I am not much a Kenmore/Sears fan, but with two daughters having Kenmore water softeners versus my two Hague units, I beleive the Kenmore units are a much, much better bang for the buck in our situation.
The Hague units do a great job producing quality water when they work, and produce minimal water flow restriction because of the larger water flow channels they use internally. When they need repair, it can get expensive. I have not been overly impressed with the long term reliability of the Hague units, especially for the initial cost, but they do work well when they work.
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