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Thread: Wife wants a Water Softener. Bad idea?

  1. #16
    DIY Senior Member TedL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
    Good water has no taste. It's things in water that give it a good or bad taste.

    ....it's next to impossible for most folks to get any taste from only 10 gpg of hardness.
    I have my daily taste test, comparing the water in the bathrooms to the water I drink at the table with meals. I prefer my unmodified tap water to the softened, Brita'd, or any bottled water, including those that add back minerals to get away from the "flat" taste of distilled or RO water (e.g. Dasani or BJ's H2O).

    I realize that the "definition" of water is colorless, tasteless, etc. But that's pure water, which is not what come from our taps. You make it sound like the "things" are rare occurrences, when, in fact, they are the norm. Some of us even like them! Taste is ... a matter of taste! Blond or brunette.....pepperoni or sausage pizza...etc.

  2. #17

    Default High blood pressure problems.

    Water softeners: How much sodium do they add?

    Provided by: Last Updated: 05/25/2005
    Q:
    I have high blood pressure, and I'm trying to reduce sodium in my diet. How much sodium does a water softener add to drinking water?
    A:

    The amount of sodium a water softener adds to tap water depends on the "hardness" of the water. The best way to decrease your sodium intake is by cutting back on table salt and processed foods. But the water from your tap also may add a significant amount of sodium to your diet. Reducing dietary sodium can lower systolic blood pressure by 2 to 8 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
    Hard water contains large amounts of calcium and magnesium dissolved from the soil by rainwater. A typical water-softening system removes calcium and magnesium ions from hard water and replaces them with sodium ions. The higher the concentration of these minerals, the more sodium needed to soften the water.
    Contact your local health department for the sodium and other mineral content of your community's water supply. Water naturally contains some sodium. This information can help you determine the total amount of sodium your tap water may have before being softened.
    It can also help you estimate the amount of sodium (milligrams per liter) a softener adds to your water. Use the following formula:
    • <LI class=doublespace>Multiply the hardness of the water in grains per gallon by 8 (or 7.866 to be more precise).
    • Add this figure to the amount of naturally occurring sodium in your water (the figure you get from the local health department) to determine total sodium.
    Water softeners: Sodium added depends on initial water hardnessInitial water hardness
    (grains per gallon)Sodium added by softening
    (milligrams per liter)1.085.04010802016040320
    If you find that your tap water is high in sodium, you may consider:
    • Switching to another type of water-purification system
    • Buying demineralized water for drinking and cooking
    • Softening only the hot water and using unsoftened cold water for drinking and cooking

  3. #18
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Haven't drank the water in my area for 14 years, and never will.

    In my apprenticeship I along with others were taken on the tour of the water treatment plants in my area and watched how the raw water is processed.

    Basically one huge RO system with periodic backwashing over sand gravel charcoal ?

    Thing is, they HAVE to really crank the chlorine levels up to get the base water safe, then accommodate for the # of miles of lines they have to travel and THEN test the water quality at those points.

    2-11% loss over the miles of lines that can have a reversal of flow and draw water into the mains, causing a backflow/contamination issue.

    I've mentioned on one of these forums that I can't even fill my jacuzzi without the overwhelming smell of chlorine.......makes me sick!

    I drink Polar water and I'm not dead yet.....they consistently have the same good quality of water. Who knows though.....probably comes out of a contaminated water supply in jacksonville.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  4. #19
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Check the labels on the food and beverages you use for the sodium content and compare that to the amount of added sodium from your softened water.

    Here's a link that will help.
    http://www.awqinc.com/sodium_softening.html
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  5. #20
    DIY Member mariner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LawyerRon
    We have hard water that leaves calcium on the shower door, dishwasher, etc. My wife would like a water softener to help with this problem. However, the bit of research I've done reveals that water softeners have a few disadvantages like salt in the water, etc. Also, I do not have a drain in my garage for the regeneration cycle required by salt type water softeners.

    Therefore, is there some sort of newer, alternative technology to soften the water, ie, get rid of those annoying minerals, etc, that someone would recommend?
    Ron,

    I would go and make the wife happy and install the water softener - you won't regret it at all. On the plus side, if you sell the house having the water softener installed will be a plus.

    I bought my place with an older softener already installed. It did work and slowly over the last two years the performance dropped off until it finally quit. Boy what a difference - the new toilet showed rust stains within a few days of being cleaned, water tasted metallic, white deposits on everything etc. and the water filters delevoped sludge type coating on the outside of the cartridge.

    I contacted Gary Slusser and asked a few question which he was happy to answer. I finally fixed the old unit for $100 and it is working like a new one now - had the water tested again and the hardess was less than 0.5 gpg and the iron didn't even register in the test. Initially it was 20gpg hardness, 2.0 iron, 7.8 pH and 270 ppm TDS. The difference is amazing and I am still getting used to the new soft water. The big plus is clean showers and baths, no extra soap required for washing and glassware drying with any white stains or smears and I don't use a dishwasher. As far as taste goes you can always add to the water for meals if you want.

    Idon't thnk you will regret installing a water softener at all and they really aren't too expensive. I guess the average good quality one would be around $500 - $600 range for average family of 4. Gary Slusser could tell you exactly what the needs are and solutions with cost.

    HTH

    mariner

  6. #21

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    I recently had a water softener (everyone is Wisconsin/Madison, does. It is seemingly a requirement and houses are plumbed for their installation) installed in the home that I purchased. The home is about 14 years old and never had a softener. As a result, the hwh was caked in lime and recently died (only at 25% of capacity). I have read the owner's manual which doesn't tell me: a) how much salt to put in, other than to use their brand of solar salt and b) how often to do regeneration. Regeneration can be set for a specific number of days 0-28 or automatically when it is sensed it is needed. The model is a Hellenbrand H100. Can anyone help? Only the hot water is softened and there are two of us in the household, so we are looking at hot water usage of about 60 gallons per day.

  7. #22
    Rancher
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    Quote Originally Posted by kfreder
    a) how much salt to put in, other than to use their brand of solar salt
    Normally there is a salt bin, and it uses the brine in the bottom of the bin to backwash the resin beads, so the answer is keep the salt bin full, or re-fill when 3/4 empty.

    Quote Originally Posted by kfreder
    b) how often to do regeneration. Regeneration can be set for a specific number of days 0-28 or automatically when it is sensed it is needed.
    If the automatic feature works, use it, you will save salt that way, other wise it's trial and error on determining the number of days.

    Rancher

  8. #23
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Keeping the brine tank full or mostly full is a good way to forget to check the salt level and run it out of salt. Then you do two regenerations one after the other with as little water use betrween them if any, at the maxium salt dose for the volume (cuft) of resin in the softener. Or it will never work right again. It's also a good way to cause bridging of the salt and then regeneration without salt; which shortens the life of resin.

    Programming of the control valve is a bit complicated and you don't want a softener to go more than 7-9 days between regenerations. And you don't want to use the number of days if you can meter the use of water but... it is also very much harder if you aren't softening all the water in the house, which is the best choice. Now with th ecold water going into the water heater being softened, as soon as you mix any cold water into the hot water, you have HARD water. Softening just the cold to the water heater is a bad idea.

    The guys that sold you the softener should be telling you how to program the control valve. What control valve is on the softener; a Fleck or a Clack?
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  9. #24
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Keeping the brine tank full or mostly full is a good way to forget to check the salt level and run it out of salt. Then you do two regenerations one after the other with as little water use betrween them if any, at the maxium salt dose for the volume (cuft) of resin in the softener. Or it will never work right again. It's also a good way to cause bridging of the salt and then regeneration without salt; which shortens the life of resin.

    Programming of the control valve is a bit complicated and you don't want a softener to go more than 7-9 days between regenerations. And you don't want to use the number of days if you can meter the use of water but... it is also very much harder if you aren't softening all the water in the house, which is the best choice. Now with the cold water going into the water heater being softened, as soon as you mix any cold water into the hot water, you have HARD water. Softening just the cold to the water heater is a bad idea.

    The guys that sold you the softener should be telling you how to program the control valve. What control valve is on the softener; a Fleck or a Clack?
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  10. #25
    Rancher
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
    Keeping the brine tank full or mostly full is a good way to forget to check the salt level and run it out of salt.
    Sorry my cheap Sears Water Softner which has lasted 12 years with only one repair kit, has a light on it to tell you when to replace the salt, it doesn't measure the level of the salt but counts the number of cycles and determines when you might need more salt.

    Rancher

  11. #26

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    We are thinking of getting water softener for our new home (mineral build up on fixtures). When we spoke to our plumber he said that there have been a lot of problems with softeners in our area. Apparently the water turns blue or blue green. What's that all about? How do we address that and still soften the water? Any thoughts?

    Jim

  12. #27
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    That's your copper plumbing corroding. There are many causes of that.

    Are you on city water or your own well? If city water look up the water company's web site and their water quality report. If your own well, get a water analysis for hardness, iron and pH at least.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  13. #28

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    We're on city water and these are all brand new houses. I don't think it's the copper pipe. Any other thoughts?

  14. #29
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Yeah I know, you don't want it to be your copper pipes so... what do you think it is?

    pssst copper in water turns the water blue/green and it leaves blue/green stains on surfaces where the water is allowed to evaporate (flux corrodes copper tubing, if not blue/green, what color stains does that cause?)

    The EPA says it takes up to 5 years for new copper to corrode enough to protect it from the water in it. So they allow the water companies to NOT test the water at those houses under five years old for their Lead and Copper Rules compliance; mandated by the Federal government since 1990-91.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  15. #30

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    It only happens when the water softener is connected. As soon as it's disconnected, the water is fine. What's that mean?

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