TDS is Higher with Water Softener - Why?

A couple months ago we received a letter from the company that put in our water system with some specials they were running on their new, more efficient systems.
I called them up and the guy said he come out and take a look at what we had and decide if it would be worth our money to upgrade.
At first he looked at the system and said it's probably not worth the upgrade. Then he did a TDS test on the water and it was over 600. He said your tank is shot and needs to be replaced (or needed new resin or whatever).
Considering the cost of replacement and the cost of the new system we went with the new system ($3K).
After having the system for a while I decided to get a TDS tester and test myself. Well, I get readings anywhere from 550-900 (never below 550). Our RO water shows around 20 so at least we know that is working.
I measure around 550 on the water that doesn't go through the softener.
Does it sound like the new softener is not doing it job? Are there other reasons why the TDS might be high on the "softened" water?
The guy is coming back out tonight to test the water himself. I just want to be prepared for any "excuses" he may have.
Thanks in advance
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homerlex wrote:

Hmmm, Where is your logic?
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On Thu, 9 Jul 2009 06:06:06 -0700 (PDT), homerlex

Water softeners do not eliminate TDS, they just replace a calcium compound with a sodium compound. That is good for soap but not particularly good for you. That is why they say not to drink softened water until you run it through the RO.
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Thanks for the reply. So it sounds like the guy either did not know what he was talking about or he was just trying to make a sale when he pulled out the TDS meter to see how my old system was working to show me the 600 and telling me I needed the new system :-(

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On Thu, 9 Jul 2009 06:06:06 -0700 (PDT), homerlex

(Wasted days and wasted nights)
$3K for a softener *IS* a ripoff.
Goggle Gary Slusser. Call the guy and it will not be that BS.
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FYI - The guy came last night and tested the hardness. He started mixing the the solution and said "if this turns blue then your water is soft." Well, it didn't turn blue so he confirmed that there is indeed a problem. He is sending a tech out next week to take a look at the system.
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The tech came out on Monday and looks like he cranked some of the settings. They told me to force a regeneration each night for the next couple of nights and then they will test the water again.
I can tell it used more potassium that it has been using prior to the changes. TDS levels are showing in the 900s This doesn't seem right to me - if there is an exchange going on shouldn't the TDS level be closer to the TDS level before the water hits the softener?
I've also ordered some test strips to test the hardness on my own.
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The hardeness strips show the water is now in the "soft range".
I'm still concerned about the TDS being so high (900s every morning). The water is 550 pre-softened and I understand that the softner can cause TDS to go up some but doesn't this sound excessive?
Thanks.
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homerlex,
What is the hardness (in grains per gallon) of your UNTREATED (before the softener) water? Any iron in the water?
homerlex wrote:

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The untreated water is about 15gpg (according to the strips). Its about 3gpg after the softener.
There must be a little iron because the softener (Hague WaterMax) is set to deal with 1ppm of Iron.
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Where do you get the water to test? My guess is that sitting overnight in the piping or the tank, it is picking up something from them. Softeners take out minerals, but not everything. The can be accumulated rust or sediment inside that you are reading. Once the water runs, it flushes out the sitting water with more pure water.
Is it excessive? With nothing to compare to, it is difficult to say.
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The water I test is from the kitchen sink. I just tested now (after a day of the facet being used) and TDS is still over 900.
Should I even be concerned about the TDS in the softened water as long as the RO is doing its job?
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The water I test is from the kitchen sink. I just tested now (after a day of the facet being used) and TDS is still over 900.
Should I even be concerned about the TDS in the softened water as long as the RO is doing its job?
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
With RO, I'd not be concerned. Without RO, I'd have the water tested for purity and if it meets quality standards, not worry about it.
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homerlex,
You should be more concerned that hardness is leaking through and your water is not soft.
A correctly sized, properly set up, and correctly operating softener should provide "0" hardness water all the way till regeneration.
Your Hague service person should have caught that and corrected the problem.
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I think the softener is making the TDS read higher but this may be normal as it is replacing Calcium ions in the hard water with Sodium ions which of course would mean you didnt need a new water softener to start with. This is the wisdom of my one time encounter with the Culligan man when he came out to service my in-laws filter. Take with several grains of salt.
Jimmie
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