I bought a new softener to install in my house. There has not been a softener before so this is a new install. After reading the manual and researching online I'm fairly confident in my ability to install the softener. The positioning of the pipes after the pressure regulator is very tough to get to. It is much easier to access the supply line prior to the regulator. Would it be acceptable to install the softener prior to the regulator? Is there much risk to the softener if I do this? I am on Indianapolis municipal water. Also, the area I'm wanting to put the softener is close to the water heater, probably within 5-6 feet. I've read that it should be no closer than 10 feet but I've also read were that doesn't matter and the manual that came with the unit doesn't say anything about it. This area is in my garage and has the water heater and furnace. I'm thinking about building an insulated closet around this area to add additional insulation to my water heater and as an extra insurance policy to keep the softener from freezing. These are all electric components. Would this closet need ventilated?