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Thread: Water Softener, I'm learning but still a bit confused....

  1. #16
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    I remember bags of non-sodium "salt" next to the stuff use in the big-box store. Does using that a) truly decrease the sodium in the softened water, b) affect the efficiency of the softener, and c) help those concerned about high blood pressure?

  2. #17
    DIY Senior Member Bob999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
    I remember bags of non-sodium "salt" next to the stuff use in the big-box store. Does using that a) truly decrease the sodium in the softened water, b) affect the efficiency of the softener, and c) help those concerned about high blood pressure?
    You are referring to calcium chloride which can be used to regenerate a softener. When KCL is used as a regenerant the hardness ions are replaced with calcium rather than sodium.

    KCL is much more expensive than NaCL--common salt--and up to 30% more by weight is required as compared to NaCL. For individuals who need to reduce sodium intake and want to drink softened water is an alternative.

  3. #18
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Pretty sure you mean potassium (K) chloride, not Calcium (Ca). Getting rid of the sodium will lower blood pressure, but elevated potassium levels are dangerous for people with impaired kidney function; it can lead to complications such as cardiac arrhythmia. Bottom line appears to be: soften your water with a high-efficiency, salt-regenerated softener for general use, but add an RO filter to remove the sodium if you're concerned about its health effects, and can't get suitable un-softened water from your system.

  4. #19
    DIY Senior Member Bob999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
    Pretty sure you mean potassium (K) chloride, not Calcium (Ca).
    Correct--thanks for posting the correct information.

  5. #20
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    The formula is 7.85 mg/l of added sodium per grain per gallon of ion exchange (compensated hardness).
    In the OP's case, then, if his Lowe's test strip reading of 15 is accurate, he'd be adding about 118 mg/L, or 446 mg/gallon. Under ideal conditions, the minimum sodium requirement is about 1,500 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day -- less than 1 teaspoon of table salt. The maximum recommended level of sodium intake is 2,300 mg per day (1500 per day for us geezers, according to NIH). On average, American men consume between 3,100 and 4,700 mg of sodium per day, while women consume between 2,300 and 3,100 mg (due to their lower calorie intake, not because of restricting sodium). (from http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09354.html).

    Everyone has heard the advice, "Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day." That's about 1.9 liters, which isn't that different from the Institute of Medicine recommendations. Although the "8 by 8" rule isn't supported by hard evidence, it remains popular because it's easy to remember. Just keep in mind that the rule should be reframed as: "Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day," because all fluids count toward the daily total. (from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283)

    So if you add a couple liters of softened 15gpg water per day, you're adding 224mg of sodium, which you'd have to cut somewhere else as you try to stay under 1500mg total. One possible alternative: if you drink a couple liters of beer instead, you'll only add about 75mg of salt . (from http://nutrition.about.com/od/hydrat.../p/regbeer.htm)

  6. #21
    DIY Junior Member Tlhfirelion's Avatar
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    Guys, very helpful replies thank you. A little back story, my young son had a kidney transplant and Children's hospital did tell us under no circumstances are we to use Potassium Chloride IF we have a water softener, so that's already been decided for us. I have done some digging and the info about the salt intake being equivalent to a slice of white bread is what we were told by our sons transplant coordinator. It would seem that using a RO at the kitchen sink where all our drinking/cooking water comes from would be a good approach. What model would you suggest?

    I can try and get the water report from our homeowners association president, but that's a last resort. I prefer to keep the neighborhood nazi out of my business at all costs. Lol. He will figure out a way to make me pay extra for increased water usage or some other asinine idea.

    It would seem I am now needing to find out what size I need, and then what size I should increase it too. How do I determine what grain I would need, and where can I research the RO systems for under the kitchen sink?

    Thank you again for everyone's replies, this is very helpful and informative.

  7. #22
    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    Definitely get RO with the quieter ERP-500 permeate pump. The improved taste alone is worth it.
    Lifespeed

  8. #23
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    The permeate pump is one of the best additions to an RO you can do! My system is dual 100 GPD RO's with individual ERP-1000's. The pumps are over 13 years old and still working great!

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