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Thread: Water tests soft but doesn't feel soft.

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member ninefall's Avatar
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    Default Water tests soft but doesn't feel soft.

    I have a Kinetico water softener and it regenerates fine and goes through salt like it should, but my water isn't very soft. I've had the Kinetico dealer check the softener and all seems like it working fine. He also did a hard water test and it tested soft.

    I can tell a difference in my laundry when I run out of salt, but showers and combing long hair don't seem to change with the softener working or not.

    My question, I guess, is do I maybe have something else in my water thats causing it to "feel" hard? What can I do about this? I'm considering buying a new softener but if it won't remedy the problem it seems like a waste of money.
    Thank you!

  2. #2

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    The water could be hard for a short period (just before a regen) than by the time it is tested it shows soft. Did they test the hot side? This will show if it has had hard water in the last day or 2. They also have a soap test kit that costs about $1.00. It will show if you have hard water. Ask your dealer for one. This way you can test for hard water just before a regen to insure you are maintaining soft water.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If your incoming water hardness and the programming of the softener don't match, the control valve is not working properly, or you are trying to draw more volume than the softener can handle at any one time, you might get leakage of hard water through the softener. IOW, you could be exhausting the capacity of the resin before it regenerates, or flushing more water than it can soften fully at any one time.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member ninefall's Avatar
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    I just did 3 tests right before a regen cycle.
    Incoming water tested 425ppm (25 gpg)
    Cold soft water tested 0-25ppm (2 gpg)
    Hot soft water tested 0-25ppm (2 gpg)

    Regardless of this, the water spots my shower door and makes it hard to brush long hair. Its been like this for awhile, but i did just notice the control valve seems to be leaking as there is scale all the way down the side of the resin tank.

  5. #5

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    Make sure there are no leaking water spots in your house such as in the toilet tanks where the water is constantly running. What are the settings of your valve and how big are the tanks? Are you using test strips? These are not very accurate but may give a general range as you are showing.

  6. #6
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ninefall View Post
    I just did 3 tests right before a regen cycle.
    Incoming water tested 425ppm (25 gpg)
    Cold soft water tested 0-25ppm (2 gpg)
    Hot soft water tested 0-25ppm (2 gpg)

    Regardless of this, the water spots my shower door and makes it hard to brush long hair. Its been like this for awhile, but i did just notice the control valve seems to be leaking as there is scale all the way down the side of the resin tank.
    Two gpg is not soft water, it should be 0 gpg anytime you test the softened water. You shoud test just after a regeneration and then every day at roughly the same time until the next regeneration. You should always see 0 gpg. Some Kinetico softeners regenerate more than once per day.

    White/gray residue doesn't always mean hard water scale, many times it is from salt water during a regeneration.

    Softened water dissolves hard water scale build up in the plumbing and water heater, adding hardness back into the softened water until all the scale is removed. That causes hard water although the water coming out of the softener is 0 gpg soft. Dissolving the scale can take a few days to weeks because it depends on how much scale there is in the system and how much water is used.

    Going by the feel of the water is not a good test, test for total hardness right after the softener, that's the only way to tell if the softener is working properly. And we see yours isn't removing all the hardness. It may need tweaking for your water use or your hardness may have changed since the softener was purchased/programmed.
    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.

  7. #7

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    What method are you using to test hardnes (0-25ppm)? Are these test strips or liquid drops?
    According to a leading authority, soft water is 0-1 grain, 1-3.5 is considered slightly hard.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post

    Softened water dissolves hard water scale build up in the plumbing and water heater, adding hardness back into the softened water until all the scale is removed. That causes hard water although the water coming out of the softener is 0 gpg soft. Dissolving the scale can take a few days to weeks because it depends on how much scale there is in the system and how much water is used.
    Skip, does he mean to say that softened water will act as a descaling agent in plumbing? I have never heard a water treatment guy make that claim. I would like to understand the chemistry whereby softened water can make insoluble calcium bicarbonate soluble. I have seen many scale-laden faucets on years of soft water not recover.

    Anti-scaling agent agents used both comercially and in residences usually contain acids such as acetic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, phosphoric acid, hydrochloric (notice a pattern here?)acid, sulfamic acid to remove lime scale buildup.

    I avoid telling people that a new softener will remove scale in plumbing any more than some electric wire wrapped around their pipes. One other possibility is if the softener were to cause the pH in the water to drop well below 7.0, then the acidity of the water make react with scale build up but many softened water are well above 7.0pH.

    I would like to learn the chemistry on how softened water would remove scale build up. Of course, if there were a recently deposited chucks of limescale, passing water may break it loose to travel further through the plumbing and get flushed or gather/clogg downstream somehow, but I donít understand how softened water would make it dissolve (become soluble) let alone raise hardness in water to any significant way.

    Thanks, SkipÖ.


  9. #9
    In the Trades Wally Hays's Avatar
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    BD, soft water will not dissolve hard water deposits
    Perception is 3/4 of reality

  10. #10
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    From a Google search;
    The following is the equilibrium reaction when calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is dissolved in water:
    CaCO3(s) + CO2(aq) + H2O ⇋ Ca2+(aq) + 2HCO3-(aq) Upon heating, less CO2 is able to dissolve into the water (see Solubility). Since there is not enough CO2 around, the reaction cannot proceed from left to right, and therefore the CaCO3 will not dissolve as rapidly. Instead, the reaction is forced to the left (i.e., products to reactants) to re-establish equilibrium, and solid CaCO3 is formed. Boiling the water will remove hardness as long as the solid CaCO3 that precipitates out is removed. After cooling, if enough time passes, the water will pick up CO2 from the air and the reaction will again proceed from left to right, allowing the CaCO3 to "re-dissolve" into the water.


    For more information on the solubility of calcium carbonate in water and how it is affected by atmospheric carbon dioxide, see calcium carbonate.
    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.

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