I am replacing an ancient water softener which was removed from the pipes 15
The house has two water heaters. Apparently there are also some soft water
zones (showers) and hard water zones (kitchen and bar faucets). There are
hot/cold and hard/soft water pipes going in all directions. The pipes are in
After I have installed a new softener, how can I determine which faucets
have soft and which ones have hard water?
have your plumber check unused pipes for damage. using helpers, try
the various basement shutoffs, label everything which is there using
magic marker, or a brite-mark paint marker, label all pipes and
shutoffs, and arrows of direction of water flow from street toward
each device. if this is a fancy installation, get a labelmaker. if no
shutoffs are available or if you have water flow problems or useless
shutoffs, you should add or replace them, consider compression
fittings or whatever you use locally to speed this job along quickly.
use large opening ball valves for flow. consider a chart posted where
the main shutoff is if you insist on using abbreviations. at fixtures
color code or label all pipes and shutoffs. -b
There's a simple chemical test which will show the difference clearly. Fill a
quart jar about half-way with distilled water, and dissolve about 1/4 cup of
Epsom salts in it. Then add a cup of the water you want to test. Soft water
will have no noticeable effect, but hard water will instantly turn the
I'd bet that all of your hot water is softened but if you drain the water
softener and then fill it you should be sure. For the other fixtures get
some clean bottles, let the water run for a minute or so and collect about
1/2 a pint. Take these bottles to Sears and go to the dept. where they sell
water softeners. They'll test your water for free for hardness and iron.
Many other dealers of water softeners will do this too. There are labs that
do this but that's probably overkill here.
One way is to add a very small amount of soap, in equal amounts, to a
given volume of sample. The soft water will suds up, the hard much
less. Also, the softer water will feel more slippery than the hard
water. Take samples to a lab and get quantitative results.
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