Water Softeners, good or bad??

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Hi
I have been researching water softeners and was able to find many benefits but no real negatives other than initial cost, installation,or maintenance.
Any information good/bad would be helpful. Thanks.
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Drinking, showering with salty water. But I don't know the concentration involved.
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Actually water softeners use salt to remove calcium from the water. They do not leave noticable amounts of salt in the treated water.
Mike
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its enough to be of concern to people watching their salt intake. what ive seen done is what they call a 1/2 and 1/2. put the hot water on the softener and make it a little softer than normal. dishes, laundry, showering, etc will get the benefit. OR... put the whole system on the softener EXCEPT the cold tap in the kitchen and the ice maker/water tap if the fridge has one.
there are other softening agents besides salt that you can use, but salt is the cheapest and the others have their drawbacks also. you can also buy a softener that uses no consumables at all, but it uses electricity and they are expensive...
randy
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xrongor wrote:

Good points. But most people who are "watching their salt intake" are doing so unnecessarily.
The only condition adversely affected by salt is hypertension. 94% of the population does not have hypertension and of the six percent that do, only half of those have the type of hypertension that is bothered by salt. Salt does not CAUSE hypertension.
So, for 97% of the population, eat as much salt as you want.
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Water softeners are great! We love ours. We have our entire house on softened water. They do, however, increase salt intake. It is fairly minimal, but it may not be good for those on a low sodium diet. Check with your doctor.
I have heard recently that potassium chloride salt is made for use in water softeners, specifically for people on restricted sodium diets. I've never seen potassium chloride being sold in Home Depots or Lowes, but you apparently can get it from salt suppliers. You just have to call around. I think it's a little more expensive than sodium chloride and I don't know if there are any special requirements or modifications to be made on the softener equipment to use potassium chloride.
Good luck!

maintenance.
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rdkapp wrote:

Sears sells potassium salt for softeners (about $7.50/40 lb. bag)
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wrote:

Depending on the plumbing involved, a possibly simple solution may be to have a hard water faucet for drinking water.

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Alan wrote:

Hi, Whole house on softner. What kind of plumber plumbs house like that? Tony
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All of them, if they didn't plan on a softener when the house was built. Most don't. The solution is to put in an RO after the softener for drinking water.
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Greg wrote:

Hi, Here they build houses ready for softener hook up. Tony
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Other than increased salt intake, which is minimal (I can't taste the salt), what's wrong with the whole house being on softened water?
A hard water faucet for drinking water or a reverse osmosis on drinking water are good alternatives.
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rdkapp wrote:

Hi, I guess outside tap as well, Eh? Tony
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Bram Sorgman wrote:

Sears Hardware in CT sells 40lb potassium chloride for $6.29 a bag. Homedepot also has it but at close to $9 a bag. A couple of side notes to new water softeners users- reduce the amount of soap when washing clothes and dishes. Especially automatic dishwashers. And don't use the temp boost or else you will permanently etch your glasses with spots. If you are installing a new softener, or you have not used yours in a few months be prepared for a crap load of debris to exit the faucets for the first few days. Resist temptation to wipe the crystals from a ceramic glazed sink or tub as you will only end up scratching the heck out of the finish as these crystals are very hard. Get a softener that has a demand feature. It determines the regeneration rate based on actual usage as opposed to presetting the time between regenerations based on average conditions.
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040711 2230 - rdkapp posted:

I lived in a subdivision of 52 homes that were fed with a water system that had two water pumps and wells, both were extremely hard water. When we move into the house, I found that the water system in the house had a pressure that was so low that when taking a shower, if someone flushed the toilet, you were all done taking a shower until the toilet tank filled up. I had bought a couple of RainBird water sprinklers for watering the lawn and there wasn't enough water pressure to work those. I checked with a neighbor and he clued me in. The 3" mains in the street get this orangy pulpy sediment, and it plugs up the 3/4" taps that go to the houses, and also gets into the plumbing in the houses. I didn't know this when I bought the house. He told me that some of the neighbors had their lawns dug up and new lines put in, costing a few thousand bux. He also told me that he had fixed his own situation by turning off the main valve in his basement and taking the plumbing apart and then opening the valve -- which was a gate valve -- and then pushing a metal electricians fish tape down the length of the line to the street and cleaning out the line in that way. He said he would help me do the same. When I opened up the main valve in my basement to shove the fish tape into it, the water only bubbled up about an inch above the top of the valve. As we shoved the tape through the pipe, we hit about three clumps that we had to force the tape through, and with each clump the water shot up about a foot higher. The last clump was at the street connection when the water shot up and hit the ceiling joists. We quickly removed the tape from the pipe and shut off the gate valve. The excess water ran down into the sump just a little ways away. This was certainly a lot cheaper than digging up the yard for a new line, and it only took about an hour. I thanked him for the help, and put the plumbing back together. I had to run the water in the sink for a few hours after that to get the red pulpy crap out of the pipes that had settled there, but the water pressure was great. I'm relating all this as a prelude to what I did following this episode.
I decided to redo the plumbing, installing new copper lines in the house, which had galvanized pipe. In doing so, I installed, after the main gate valve, a Cuno water filter with a 20 micron filter cartridge. After that I had the Culligan water softener. I ran unfiltered water to the two outside water faucets for watering the lawn. I ran filtered water pipes to the toilet, and a drinking water tap at the kitchen sink, which was a separate small faucet beside the main Delta faucet. All the other water in the house was softened water. It really made a world of difference in washing clothes, washing hair in the shower, sudsing for bath or shower. And for drinking water in the kitchen there was no salt added. It tasted like hard water, but it wasn't distasteful, and it made good coffee water, depending on individual taste. We got used to it. The Culligan man came once a month to take out the old and bring in the new. It worked out real well.
An offshoot from that...
I made up a system of brass valves and had a 5000 PSI portable tank with some flexible fittings and a garden hose. The subdivision suffered greatly from this water pressure problem, and for a few bux I would relieve their anxieties by blowing, under extreme pressure, their service water lines back into the large main, and, therefore, restoring their water pressures in their homes. I connected the garden hose to the system of valves and would give the main a jolt with the pressure tank, and then quickly switch the valves and allow the water to come back and out the garden hose into their yard, therefore washing out the red pulpy crap from their main water line under their yard. Sometimes it only took a half hour to clear the water. One took several hours. The homeowner held the hose and watered his lawn in the process. When the water became clear, he would shut off the valve. They were all thankful that this process was available for them and that they didn't have to spend BigBux and have their lawns tore up. It worked well all 'round.
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"Martin Hirsch" wrote

maintenance.
I installed a softener even though we have city water, simply because I love having soft water.
Benefits are, you get a smoother shave if you shave with a straight razor. You use less soap for laundry etc. You use less toothpaste, believe it or not because of the foaming you get from soft water. My coffee tastes better from my drip coffee maker. You get more lather from your bar of soap of for a bubble bath, or washing your car, or shampoo lather. I actually feel cleaner when taking a shower with soft water than without.
I don't believe it puts salt into your water, if so it must be minimum because you can't taste it. And I still get ice cubes from the freezer.
One thing about having a softener, it spoils you. On those travel days staying away from home, you sure notice how hard the water is, makes getting back home that more enjoyable.
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Another thing....if you're adding a softener to a home water system that has existed for many years and you live in a hard water area, your pipes will have hard water buildup inside them. As the soft water travels through the pipes, it will pick up hard water minerals and make the water "less soft" than if you had new pipes. Our home (and pipes) are 34 years old. I added the softener when the pipes were approximately 26 years old. I've noticed that newer homes with softeners have softer water than I have in my home, but it's still an improvement and I wouldn't do without it in any home that I reside.

maintenance.
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rdkapp wrote:

If you have your water tested at the tap, then set your softener accordingly, it should make up for any hardness at the tap, shouldn't it?
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If you have your softener at the tap, then yes, you are correct. However, if your softener is at the main valve (like mine) or any location where you are trying to soften water throughout your home, then as the softened water travels through the existing pipe containing mineral buildup, it will be picking up minerals (which makes water "hard") along the way and thus, will become "less soft."

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If yoo're an environmentalist, you might be concerned about flushing all that salt into the water whenever the unit recharges.
the sodium in softened drinking water can be harmful to your health.
If you do decide on a softener, just soften the cold water that feeds your water heater.
On Sun, 11 Jul 2004 14:08:47 -0700, "Martin Hirsch"

<rj>
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