Softened water on plants

Page 1 of 2  
When our house was built, it was plumbed in such a way that we can't add a water softener w/o also putting softened water through the outside faucets. I am getting conflicting information on whether or not this is a good idea from the standpoint of watering flowers, etc. The main sprinklers for the grass are in-ground and between the meter and the house, so they aren't impacted. It would mainly be watering the flowers in the planters around the house and one small grassy area that the in-ground sprinklers don't get to. So, comments? Also, we would use the outside faucets (spigots, whatever) to put water in the pool when opening and occassionally during the rest of the season.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Soften the water going into the water heater. Don't soften the cold water.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

With respect, that is the single biggest mistake made when installing a softener. If you soften only the cold water going to the water heater then only the water heater sees soft water. you may improve the length of the service life of the water heater but the rest of the home sees HARD water and you've lost any benefit of soft water.
Installing a softener on only the cold service to a water heater is done whne a proper installation would be more difficult and more expensive but IT IS THE WRONG THING TO DO.
Every appliance, every pipe, every faucet, and every fixture that sees cold water sees HARD water. Anywhere in the home that hot and cold are mixed you have HARD water. If that's how you choose to install a softener then save your money or just run it through a paper shredder... same difference.
If you don't believe me, then get a hardness testing kit and test the water coming out of any faucet when cold and hot are running, but be prepared to be very unhappy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Not true. You've lost some of the benefit, but not all -- the combination of the softened hot water and hard cold water isn't as soft as the soft water alone, but it also isn't as hard as the hard water alone.

Well, duh.

Nonsense. You have water that's partially softened.

Nonsense. Mixing them reduces the benefit, sure, but it doesn't eliminate it.

What, you think that it will show the same hardness as the hard (cold) water alone? Think again.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sep 9, 2:42 pm, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

We have a water softener that uses the salt pellets. We've been having a lot of dry weather here this year and we have saved water from the laundry to water outside plants. It doesn't appear to have caused any problems. Our sprinkler system doesn't use softened water but we put it on flowers and newly planted vegetable seeds....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Doug,
I agree with him. Calcium can make a real mess of plumbing and fixtures. If you want hard water for drinking and cooking then put a line to the kitchen from before the softener but soften everything else. I have very hard water. If I only softened the hot water then all of my faucets, et c. would still be exposed to fairly hard water. Less hard maybe but still quite hard. There would be no real benefit.
Dave M.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

How hard the mixture will be obviously is dependent on how hard the water is to begin with -- but the idea that mixing hard and soft water produces water just as hard as it was to begin with is absolute nonsense. Whether you perceive a benefit or not is subjective, but there *is* a difference. Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon; regardless of what hardness level 'x' you might have in your water, if you mix a gallon of it with a gallon of water of hardness zero, you *obviously* have a hardless level of one-half 'x'.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Some people can't stand the taste of soft water.
Some people are on sodium-restricted diets, and shouldn't drink it.
Plants should not be watered with sodium-softened water.
And there are two schools of thought regarding soft water in toilets: one says it's a waste of money, the other says it makes it easier to clean the toilets.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Doug,

Yeah, I said less hard but still hard in my post. Not sure what you thought I meant.
Whether you

My water is hard, about 35 gpg. So using your plan of softening only the water heater will accomplish what? Let's run the shower. Mostly hot water, sure but I do like to run a bit of cold. So what's the hardness of the water running through the cold pipes and faucet (35 gpg), and what's the hardness of the water running through the shower head (I'm guessing 3 gpg)? Still pretty hard so the cold pipes, cold faucet and shower head will all begin to clog due to deposits. And the soap won't suds. So what advantage is gained by only softening the hot water? Every sink in my house has an aerator screen. With your plan I'd be replacing them often. The washing machine cold water valve would clog and the soap would not suds. Your plan would fail to do anything for more than half the plumbing and fixtures in a house. The plan is to reduce the hardness of the water to the point where the soap suds well, and there are't clogging deposits.
Dave M.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Kurt,
If you use NaCl (sodium chloride) as brine to regenerate your softener then NO, you can't use softened water to water your plants.
If you use KCl (potassium chloride) as brine to regenerate your softener then YES you can.
More info here... http://softeningsalt.com/page8.html from the largest supplier of softener salt (both NaCl and KCl) in the western hemisphere.
My home is plumbed so soft water is supplied EVERYWHERE, at every faucet and fixture. My wife has been watering plants and flowers with KCl softened water for 11 years and she hasn't lost a plant or a flower yet.
Get a properly sized and setup industry standard softener from a water treatment professional and your water and your life will be softer ;-)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

How do the osmosis or Kinetico-type softeners fit into this scenario?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Kurt,
Reverse Osmosis (RO) is an "uber filter" that pretty much removes everything but the "H" and the "O" from the water but wastes about 2-3 gallons for every gallon of water it makes. Not a good choice for cost effective "plant water".
Kineticos are great softeners and have a large and loyal customer base. They are "ion exchange" softeners and follow the same rules of chemistry and physica as ALL other ion exchange softeners.
So, as I said in an earlier reply...
If you use NaCl (sodium chloride) as brine to regenerate your softener then NO, you can't use softened water to water your plants.
If you use KCl (potassium chloride) as brine to regenerate your softener then YES you can.
More info here... http://softeningsalt.com/page8.html from the largest supplier of softener salt (both NaCl and KCl) in the western hemisphere.
KCl (potassium chloride) costs more per bag than NaCl but if you value your plants it's a small price to pay.
The simple, and cost effective answer to your question is... get a properly sized and setup industry standard softener from a water treatment professional, soften the ENTIRE house, and set the softener to use KCl (potassium chloride) as a regenerant.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sep 9, 1:03 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

A French company recently bought Kinetico and when compared to the number of dealers of other national and international companies, they are a small company.
They use a water powered control valve that usually requires a sediment pre-filter and contacting the local dealer to do a simple thing like changing the amount of hardness setting. They allow full line water pressure on the brine line at all times except during the refill and brine draw cycle positions of a regeneration; that means at all times except during a regeneration.
On average they are very high priced for what you get. They are difficult to work on and you can only buy parts from the local dealer.
If I'm wrong on any of that, someone please correct me.
Gary Slusser Quality Water Associates
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What if you're on a sodium, or worse, potassium reduced diet? ;-)
Why on earth would you deliberately soften water to the exterior hose bibs if you can avoid it?
--
Chris Lewis,

Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sep 10, 8:32 am, snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

In new construction the plumbing options are only limited by available money and the plumber's skills. Any configuration can be done and often is.
For the millions and millions who have homes built on a slab or the plumbing is not accessible (for a variety of reasons) changing the plumbing configuration is (at least) not cost effective. If one lives where there is considerable hardness in the water and a softener is desired (for whatever reasons) then the choice is...
a) soften the entire house
b) soften the cold water supply to the water heater
c) do nothing and live with the water you have
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
on 9/9/2007 11:37 AM Kurt Ullman said the following:

My house also had a water softener that supplied the whole house. What I did was to find the pipes that ran to the sill cocks. A single pipe connected the front sill cock to the rear sill cock. It had a tee fitting that supplied the softened water to the single sill cock pipe. I followed that supply pipe back to the softener, then cut it and soldered a new fitting and pipe from the input pipe of the softener to the cut sill cock pipe. I blocked off the old softened water supply to the sill cocks. Now, the whole house is supplied with softened water, except the sill cocks which get unsoftened water. I also put a 1/4 turn valve in the new sill cock line at the softener to be able to shut them off when working on or replacing them
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It depends on how hard your water is and how frequently you water with the softened water. Once in awhile watering with softened water to below the root level won't harm plants but it can cause the softener problems if you run too much water water or run it too fast.
You can by-pass the softener when watering or use potassium chloride. Using it will cost more than salt and you'll probably have to increase the salt dose of your softener by up to 30%; that depends on the salt efficiency the softener is set up for.
You don't want to use softened water in a pool. It can mess up the chemistry of the pool and the softener will probably run out of capacity and then not be regenerated fully with the salt dose setting it is set for.
Gary Slusser Quality Water Associates
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I hate buying salt. So anything that would use the salt up faster is bad by my thinking....On the other hand, washing the car with soft water is soooooo nice.
Can't speak for outside plants but all my house plants get watered with softwater (NaCl) and I have no problems. HAving said that, all my plants have drain holes in their pots so I can flush out any accumulated salts/
Water softners also reduce rust stains which may also be a reason to run soft water outside. My side walk has plenty of rust spots where the hose dripped over night.
My vote: I wouldnt run soft water to the outside spigots

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Don't know if it is harmful, but it is certainly wasteful.
In general (can't see your plumbing) it shouldn't be a big deal to replumb the outside faucets to be before the softener. I did that when I put a pressure reducer on; I wanted the old 90 psi on the outside faucets.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Kurt Ullman wrote:

Hi, Little off topic, we noticed BIG difference when we water the plants with rain water(we collect it from down spouts, we have 3 barrels storing rain water) and using softened or regular tap water. Rain water is best.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.