water conditioners...do they work?

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Hello.
We wanted to look at a water softener but our home is fully finished and the plumbing is not accessable. I have to soften all lines in the home, there is no way to isolate the kitchen sink or other drinking water lines. We do not want to drink/cook with softwater. And we don't see the value in plumbing the hot side only.
So, any comments on water conditioners? I came across these guys http://www.freije.com/residential-how-it-works.html and many more for that mater. Are they for real, do they actually work?
Any comments are appreciated. Thanks.
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Freddy wrote:

Because of the added sodium? No facts or figures but I am reasonably sure you'd get more sodium in one slice of pizza or small can of V8 than you would by drinking gallons of softened water. _____________

Ask for customers' names and check with them. Or independant lab/university tests. And ask if they also sell that stuff to put in the gas tank so you can use water instead of gasoline.
--

dadiOH
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Ha...yes because of the sodium, and i assume it would also alter the taste of coffee or anything else for that matter....
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Change "gallons" to "a gallon" and you'll be pretty close, I think.
Hard water may contain 100mg per liter of calcium or more http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_water Thus, it's conceivable that completely softened water may have in the neighborhood of 200+mg of sodium per liter (it takes two sodium ions to replace one calcium ion), or, very roughly, 750mg per gallon.

Coffee made with soft water is horrible, just awful. It makes pretty lousy tea, too. And it's bad for plants.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Doug,
What you seem to be saying is that softened water may contain between 0 and 200 mg. of sodium per liter I'm ok with that. Then say that softened water makes bad coffee but you don't tells us whether it's the sodium and how much sodium concentration makes the coffee bad. That doesn't work for me. I have a softener because my water contains about 35 gpg of hardness, probably calcium. I do make coffee and tea with the softened water. It's fine for this, in my opinion. The unsoftened water makes terrible tea, there's a precipitate. Explain how much sodium is required to produce your bad coffee. My experience argues that some sodium is ok.
Dave M.
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We don't have any problem with it, and if we did we'd just use 50 gallon distilled water (I'd use distilled anyway, like I used to, but I'm not The Boss of me anymore). -----
- gpsman
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wrote:

We don't have any problem with it, and if we did we'd just use 50 gallon distilled water (I'd use distilled anyway, like I used to, but I'm not The Boss of me anymore). -----
Unless you are taking a battery of mineral supplements, you should NOT drink distilled water.
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If you have more than 3-4 gpg of hardness in your water, you'll spend more money to heat water, replace water heaters and/or electric elements and other water using appliances and to wash and replace clothes and fixtures that will wear out prematurely etc. than to buy a softener and maintain it. Of course that means you don't pay gobs more bucks for it than you could have.
All the water used in the house should be treated, not just the water heater cold feed. And there should not be a hard water line run to the kitchen sink, or toilets etc.. The people that think they get a benefit out of drinking hard water need to look up how much water they'd have to drink to get any benefit from the minerals in it. And drinking too much water will kill you.
The added sodium caused by ion exchange softening, if using softener salt instead of potassium chloride (salt substitute) which is not as efficient as 'salt' because all cation softening resins are made in the sodium form, is 7.85 mg/l (roughly a quart) per gpg of exchange. Thirty five gpg = 274.75 mg/liter (or quart).
Most of us are npt drinking the 8 8oz glasses of water we are supposed to so how many are ingesting a quart of softened water a day?
An 8 oz glass of V8 is like 560 mg of sodium. Same size glass of skim milk, about 530. A slice of white bread, from 120-160 mg. On'n on. Some people could eat a few less chips or other snack foods and drink a gallon or more of their softened water and actually REDUCE their daily sodium intake. But they see all that salt they pour in their salt tank disappear and mistakenly think it all went into their water. It doesn't. A softener only uses a small amount of the sodium, all the rest and all the chloride goes out the drain line.
People on sodium restricted diets know how to count their daily uptake and can adjust accordingly. Healthy people get much more sodium than the body requires but drinking softened water doesn't add near as much as some would have us believe.
BTW, all waters contain some sodium to begin with, check your water company's water quality report or have a sodium test done on your well water and see.
The vast majority of people with water softeners say their coffee and tea tastes better or there is no difference. Hardness (calcium and magnesium) is a small part of all the stuff in the TDS (total dissolved solids) content of a water. They cause taste problems much more easily than hardness does.
Gary Slusser Quality Water Associates
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Gary Slusser wrote in part:

My doctor would rather have me find a substitute with less added salt.

The label on the gallon skim milk bottle in my refrigerator says 125 per 8 oz serving.

- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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On Jan 7, 1:33 pm, snipped-for-privacy@manx.misty.com (Don Klipstein) wrote:

Your doctor may need to improve his knowledge of ion exchange water softening. BTW, too much potassium in your diet can cause serious health problems too. In much less time than sodium takes.
Water from one source to another source is usually very different, and so is skim milk. Skim milk is produced from whole milk by any number of mostly local or regional producers while the sodium content of milk will vary from one source to another.
The vast majority of people with water softeners never notice a difference in the taste of their water, coffee, tea or other beverages made with the softened water.
If water has more than 3-4 gpg of hardness, it costs more to deal with the hardness caused problems like increased cost to heat water, premature wear of fixtures, clothing and all other fabrics washed in hard water and all water using appliances, the need for skin creams and cleansers, increased volume of soaps and detergents etc.etc., than to purchase and maintain a water softener. Of course that implies you pay attention to the purchase price of the softener.
Gary Slusser Quality Water Associates
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Gary Slusser wrote:

I would not ask my doctor what I need for my plumbing system - I would ask a plumber. I merely mentioned that my doctor would say that you are citing some especially salty beverages that my doctor recommends against for me.

I would think that sodium content in milk is determined more by blood sodium level of the cow, and blood sodium level varies less than proportionately with dietary sodium intake.
For that matter, I try Google on:
"sodium content" milk
and look at plenty of charts that agree on 50 mg/100g (about 120 mg per 8 ounces) or 127-130 mg per 8 ounces.
http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/ says that:
Whole milk has 127 mg per 8 oz Nonfat fluid milk has 127 mg Nonfat fluid milk with Vitamin A added has 103 mg
http://www.biochemj.org/bj/029/0978/0290978.pdf
is a study promoting existence of a wider range of variation, with the high side 139.2 mg per 100 ml, which translates to 333 mg per 8 oz.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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If you're on a sodium-restricted diet, you might not be ok with that.

I don't know, and I really don't care, whether it's the presence of sodium, or the absence of calcium, or the phase of the moon or whatever that makes soft-water coffee taste like crap. Soft water makes awful coffee. In my opinion. Don't believe me? Try it yourself. Don't agree with me? Enjoy it. Just don't invite me over for coffee, ok? <g>

I have no idea. If you like it, fine. But I won't be having coffee at your house.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Doug,

But I'm not and if I were I'd consult with a physician. Perhaps he'd recommend using KCl instead of NaCl. Don't know if KCl makes bad coffee or tea though.

You need to read the whole post before you begin firing off your retort. As my post makes clear I do make both coffee and tea with softened water and I've received no complaints.
Don't agree with me? Enjoy it.
I do. So do my guests.
Dave M.
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Or maybe they're just too polite to tell you. :-)
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Freddy wrote:

It's sodium, not salt. I can taste no difference but our water wasn't crushingly hard to begin with. One thing sure, the softened water has a more neutral taste than the unsiftened because the iron/sulfur taste is gone too.
--

dadiOH
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my dad uses a softener in phoenix, drinking water is run thru a osmosis water purifier to remove salt like substances and off tastes. my dad has high blood pressure and cant have added salt.........
its supposed to be very effective, and their fixtures dont get scungy deposits.
although showering in soft water feels slimy, they say you get used to it
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Freddy wrote:

I would be very skeptical that this unit would work - even consider it a fraud. To soften water you have to preform some chemistry which is replacing calcium with sodium. Those on low salt diets would be better off drinking hard water.
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There's some interesting reading on this and similar scams at http://www.chem1.com/CQ/gallery.html

--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Doug Miller wrote:

Nice site. I am, myself, a retired chemist and am constantly amazed at the fraud put over on the technically ignorant.
Also recently let my plumber test my water and he wanted to put in a water softener based on the results. I read them too and decided I did not need it.
Frank
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on 1/3/2008 10:21 AM Freddy said the following:

A softener can be installed between the water source and the cold water inlet of the water heater. That way, only the hot water is softened. Softened water also helps to reduce scale buildup in the WH.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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