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Country Discussion Topics
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Water softeners
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George in TX    Posted 08-14-2004 at 14:57:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
We have a water well, about 130 feet deep with a submersible pump. Have plenty of water for our needs and the water tastes good IMO. There's little if any rust in it but the water is loaded with calcium. The calcium buildup clogs the plumbing, stains the coffee pot, etc. You know the drill. And no, I haven't had it tested to determine how hard it it.

I'm considering a water softener and I've heard lots of things about them. Things like you can't drink the water because of all the chlorides in it. Also heard that the higher priced units will meter the water usage and only regen the salt beds when needed based on usage and hardness of water. This results in water without too many chlorides, making the water drinkable.

The plumbing is situated such that the unit would be installed in the well house and feed the whole house. There's just my wife and I now and while I don't know how much water we use it would be much less than with a larger household.

I thought rather than listen to, "He said ... She said" I would ask here for advice. Anyone care to share personal experience or knowledge?


Bkeepr    Posted 08-15-2004 at 06:12:28       [Reply]  [No Email]
When we bought this old place, the previous owners had a water softener installed and running. Had all the paperwork, including the old test. Water was deemed "moderately hard" I forget the calcium content.

Anyway, we used it for not quite a year. None of us could get used to the "feel" of the water, which we all hated. I know the instruction book says that "feel" is clean, but it just didn't seem that way. When we showered, it seemed like the soap never, ever washed all the way off of us. Didn't care for the taste, and it seemed like our water smelled bad, too, even though I'd shock the entire system with chlorine every few months.

Anyway, as an experiment I turned the softener off--bypassed it. Everyone is happier, water feels "normal" again and the water tastes wonderful. Haven't turned the darn thing on in about 5 years now, probably should just scrap it because we'll never go back.

Yes, there is some calcium buildup in places but like everything, we judge it to be a worthwhile tradeoff.

Tom A


George in TX    Posted 08-15-2004 at 08:56:44       [Reply]  [No Email]
I've experienced the "can't rinse off" syndrome when visiting relatives who had very soft water. It's not a good feeling at all. And I like the taste of the hard water we have here.

Thanks to everyone for the tips and advice. I think I'll go back to the 'considering it' phase.


Jet 9N    Posted 08-14-2004 at 17:49:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
When I installed mine I ran a direct line from before the softener to the kitchen "cold" faucet and the toilet. Since little cold water is used at the kitchen faucet this works fine, ie; soft hot water and unsoftened cold water.

HTH

Jet


Dave Munson    Posted 08-14-2004 at 18:45:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
Just about the same here.

Since the water tastes sooooo gooooood, the kitchen cold water is hard. Everything else is softened. Clear, sharp cold water.


Darryl - MO    Posted 08-14-2004 at 16:50:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hi George,

We use a softener with good results. It regenerates on the basis of volume of water used and is set to run it's regenerating cycle at 2-3 AM. If water is used during the regeneration cycle on ours the softener is bypassed and the water you get is 'hard' water. It's recommended not to use hot water during the cycle as this 'contaminates' the water heater with hard water and will result in more sediment/scale buildup inside the heater. With the kids gone my wife and I use around 2000 to 2500 gal. per month. Last month was 1900. She does a little light watering of some flowers but we take 'navy' showers so that helps cut useage. Ours is an older Culligan model ( I think it says 'Estate II' on it) and it has been trouble-free. In the past we had a Sears model and had very poor reliability with it. We were told their softeners have valve problems. That's been a few years ago. They may be fine now.


ErnieD    Posted 08-14-2004 at 15:40:37       [Reply]  [No Email]
We got a softener and a RO unit for drinking. Ours regen's on volume and then at night. If yu flush the toilet when it is in a regen cycle you will get salt (NaCl) in the house plumbing, otherwise it is like the other poster said, you only see the Na sodium. You can regen with potassium chloride but it is not worth the expense. No we cant taste salty water. We have the yard water bypass the water softener. 14 bags of salt a year for a family of 5. You want direct drive valving, no gears or chains.


Gerrit PR    Posted 08-14-2004 at 15:28:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
As far as I remember - it's been a long time - water softeners don't add chloride to your water. They only exchange the Calcium ions by Sodium ions. In my opinion the water from a softener is drinkable, providing the water from your well is not contaminated of course.


Pitch    Posted 08-14-2004 at 18:18:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
I had a water softener at the old house, it was an older model but it worked well. You could not taste any salt in the water, but apparently it does leave some trace elements of salt in the water. When my wife was pregnant she retained water real bad and we were advised to disconnect the softener. We did and she got much better. Whether this was a malfunction of our particular unit or a common trait I don't know.


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