Adjusting a Water Softener

I don't have a water softener, but my GF's house does. Her water tastes mildly salty (and makes awful tea), and it's next to impossible to de-slime my hands after washing. They feel sticky, even after a minute of rinsing in hot water. I'm convinced there's too much chemical being added to the water. Are these two clues enough to believe the system's out of whack and needs tweaking?
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Doug Kanter wrote:

Every time I've asked questions like this, the only answers I've gotten amount to "yep, that's soft water."
The best suggestion I've gotten to the slimy washing problem is to pipe unsoftened cold water to the bathroom (at least the tub and basin) to slightly harden the softened hot water. I haven't gotten around to doing that yet.
I don't know what to suggest about the taste.
Good luck.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

Conventional ( ionic exchange / saline brine) water softeners should never be plumbed in the soft water line, because the sodium ions (the salty taste) can be bad for you.
Most water softeners can't be adjusted in the classic sense. The best solution to this problem is the replumb the softener so that it is in the cold water inlet line to the water heater. You'll still get softened water for clothes washing, showers, etc. and you'll fix the taste and soap problems that you've been experiencing.
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My softener had a kit that came with it to test the water. Test untreated water then the kit would tell you what level to set the softener. My water was pretty hard and I did not like the setting by the kit so I backed it off to about 2/3 of what was recommended.
I should not be drinking soft water according to my doctor. Even changing the system to potassium from rock salt is not recommended by my MD. I do have high blood pressure.
Find the control panel and back off the numbers 2-3 at a time until the taste goes away. Explain to her your trying to save her a buck or two. Less chemical more times between recharge, and less salt needed.
For me I would not forget the ice maker either. My last home I just ran a separate untreated line to the refrigerator.
Try washing some of your clothes some time, WITHOUT any soap in the beginning. You might be shocked at the soap left in your clothes. I was
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SQLit wrote:

Your doctor may be wrong. Salt, in any amount, does not cause hypertension and only 6% of Americans have hypertension anyway. Of those, only half have the type of hypertension aggravated by salt.
Bottom line: For 97% of the people, salt, in virtually any amount, is medically neutral.
Test it yourself. Cut out all the salt you can in your diet for a couple of days. Take your blood pressure often and journalize the numbers. Note those times when your BP is taken during "resting."
For the next couple of days put salt, in huge amounts, on everything (don't forget the coffee). Continue to monitor your blood pressure.
See any difference? I thought so.
Take the results to your doctor and ask him to explain, if he can.
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JerryMouse wrote:

Where did you get the 6% number?
http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier024254
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My previous and current homes have what the water authority calls "moderately hard" water. I have to do a little lightweight faucet maintenance every 2-3 years, but any grownup should be able to do that blindfolded.
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Another thing you might try is using Potassium Chloride instead of salt. They sell it at Home Depot and most places that sell water softener salt. I had a plumber tell me it works the same way in all water softeners. We have an older two tank softener, and I checked with the manufacturer and they confermed that the Potassium was fine. The water doesn't seem to taste as wierd as salt softened water and it's not as slick and also doesn't add all that sodium to the water. Only Caviet is the potassium is a bit more expensive, but as seldom as it needs to be added it won't break you..Be worth a try anyway.. Good luck. John
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Doug,
First get the water tested. Salty taste and slimy feel sound like soft water, but sticky and bad tea sound like really hard water. There is not a lot you can do to tune up an ion exchange water softener. If the unit has not been disassembled and cleaned in a few years it may be time for a service call. If you have the manual and a source for parts this is DIY. I think that the resin lasts about 15 years so if it's old it may be time for replacement.
Dave M.
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