Just as promised, my plumber showed up this morning (yes, on a Saturday) at 8:15. He worked straight through till 9:00 tonight and got the entire job done by himself.
Here's the water heater I started the day with. That weird looking hose to the left of it is the flexible gas line. I doubt this is up to code. The vent has a pretty long run to the chimney as well. This water heater is around 16-17 years old, and the water shut-off valve is corroded to the point where it doesn't work.
The water softener is probably a decade older than the heater. I think it still works, but it's hard to tell. Our water isn't hard, but the insides of this unit are completely caked in rust and junk from the well. Like the water heater, the valves are shot and need to go.
Hours later, here's the new layout. I didn't use this end of the basement for anything, so even with the extra equipment I'm not losing any usable space.
It may look like a lot of extra copper, but we only added slightly more than was taken out. There is a little back-tracking of the copper runs because we didn't lay things out in the order that the water flows (from iron filter to softener to heater). We decided it was better to put the heater close to the furnace so the gas supply line was short and so that the heater was close to the chimney.
The water softener (blue tank and black brine tank) were placed next to the sump crock so it would have a short run for the overflow vent should it ever be needed. The iron filter went in the middle 'cause that was the only space left.
All new bypass valves were installed, new hose bibs replaced the rusty & leaky old ones, and the system was leak-tested. Enough room was left between the parts to allow for easy access around 'em all.
After we got everything tested and the water started flowing, the system automatically started flushing as was expected. The iron filter can be set to flush every day, two days, three days, etc. so we're not wasting water. We set it for every three days and will see if that's often enough.
The water softener can also be set to flush every X days or after a certain number of gallons of water are used. We set it to flush every 850 gallons. Again, time will tell if that's a good setting for us. I need to pick up the salt for it tomorrow - I forgot to get it when I picked up the water heater.
I had the plumber do a couple of other changes while he was here, such as connecting the hose bibs to the filtered/softened water instead of running straight well-water through 'em. In front that was so we could wash the cars with the water and not have spots or stains. In back, it was because it was easier than running a separate line for straight well water.
I also had him plumb the gas line for my upcoming kitchen remodel. The stove we're putting in is gas and the line needed to be moved. He added a new shut-off valve for me as well.
Overall cost? $3,000.00 for all parts and labor (I supplied the water heater, he supplied everything else). With the water heater it came to $3,340.00. That's $1,000.00 less than the other plumber I was going to use, although the more expensive plumber's estimate included $400 for chimney lining. I figure I can line the chimney myself for under $100.00.
I would definitely use him again, and plan to to move the bathroom closet flange when I do the bathroom remodel.