About a month ago, a new water softener was installed in our home. We
were told that we would need a new bag of salt about once every three
to six months. As it turns out, we've gone through about one bag per
week. Also, the water feels really oily. Yes, soft water does that -
but this water feels much oilier than the water at our friends' homes
or local businesses, many of which use water softeners. It actually
feels dirty, and the dirty feeling remains on our hands until we rinse
in nonsoftened water.
Is there a quick adjustment I can do? Or is this a job for the
Not sure if this is your problem but that is a common complaint of water
softeners. But I'd have the installer come back out and check the o-rings
and adjustments. I wouldn't DIY.
Does the water taste salty?
Sounds like your water is waaaaaaay softer than you want it -- and softer than
it needs to be. Every water softener I've ever seen has some mechanism for
adjusting the amount of salt used per cycle (and hence the softness of the
Undoubtedly there is an adjustment. The owner's manual will tell you how to do
this. If you didn't get an owner's manual, complain to the installer, or
On Apr 30, 2:39 pm, email@example.com (Doug Miller) wrote:
It is a common misconception that the salt actually "softens" the
water, it doesnt. Salt is merely used as a brine to clean the
filter. The number of "plastic beads" in the filter is the only
determiner of how soft the water comes out. The installer should have
sized the filter tank based on the chemistry of the water as measured
with hardness test, He probably oversized to filter too much so the
water is coming out "extra" soft.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Doug Miller) wrote in
"Hardness" is the amount of calcium (mostly, magnesium also contributes)
in the water. The gadget is a cation exchanger, which takes away the
calcium in exchange for sodium. The salt solution (brine) is used to
regenerate the cation exchanger once it has yielded all the sodium in
exchange for the calcium taken out of the water.
I have a derelict softener in my basement that came with the house when
we bought it. Same problem as OP - the water was feeling slimy. We cut
out the softener from the water circuit, and almost all is fine. Our
Jersey water is potable, but to me it stinks and tastes foul. Brita
filters are used for drinking water.
I need more "soap" to wash myself here than in places with softer water
than our Jersey water. Because the calcium in the water "occupies" some
of the "soap" and renders it unusable. This is more noticeable with real
soap (sodium palmitate or stearate) than with synthetic detergents.
It could be backwashing too often using up salt so fast. But even if
you set it to backwash less frequently the water will still be just as
"oily", as the salt has nothing to do with the actual softening
process. The salt is used to break the ionic bond the filter has on
the extracted minerals, making the filter "clean" again for the next
cycle. If anything it could be that your filter is a little oversized
for your hardness and it is filtering it more than you would like it
to and making it more "oily".
You will probably have to just get used to the level of softness, but
you may be able to use less salt by slowing down the backwash
Incorrect. The softer the water, the more slippery it feels. If you want it
less slippery, make it less soft.
The frequency with which the softener refreshes is supposed to depend on the
amount of water used. The degree of softness is adjusted by changing the
amount of salt used each time it refreshes -- not the frequency of refreshing.
Also incorrect. Water softeners work by replacing calcium and magnesium ions
in the hard water with sodium ions; the source of the sodium is -- you guessed
it -- the salt you put in the brine tank. The purpose of the backwash is to
refresh the resin bed with sodium.
Most likely, it's just set to make the water too soft, and can easily be
adjusted to make it the way he wants it.
What he really needs to do is reduce the salt consumption setting. His owners
manual will describe how to do this.
1. One bag of salt every 3-6 months is silly...if that is all that was
actually used your water wouldn't need softening to begin with. Salesman
2. One bag a week is silly too...if you actually needed that much I doubt
the water would flow (be in a liquid form) let alone be potable. <<
3. Your regeneration is set too high (that's what uses salt). Call the
vendor and tell him to fix it. You could do it yourself by reading the
manual but he's the one that messed up.
4. The water isn't oily, it is basic. All basic substances feel slick.
Softeners exchange ions between the CaCO3 (calcium carbonate) in the water
and sodium on the "beads"...so that you get Na2Co3 (sodium carbonate) in the
water which makes the water feel slick. The calcium remains on the beads
and dimishes there effectiveness which is why...
...when all the sodium is gone, you have to replenish it by regnerating via
salt (NaCl). That produces sodium and CaCl2(calcium chloride). The calcium
chloride is flushed out with the regeneration water, the sodium remains so
the beads can once again soften.
So far no one has got it right...
Water is either hard or soft. In residential that means 0 gpg is soft
or 1 or more gpg is hard. The goal is consistent 0 gpg soft water
after the softener. A softener allowing more than 1 gpg through it is
not working right.
Sodium form resin, negative charged sites on the resin beads, is used
to remove calcium and magnesium which makes up hardness, ferrous iron,
manganese, lead, radium, copper etc. etc.. They are positive charged
For each of them, two sodium ions are released into the water stream.
All chlorides in sodium chloride (salt) is flushed to drain. All
excess sodium is also. You get 30K of regenerated capacity per ft3 of
regular mesh resin and that requires 15 lbs of salt per ft3.
You never run a softener out of capacity before regenerating it so
there is always some capacity remaining when it regenerates, like your
gas tank when you refuel the car. The optimal schedule is once every
Every softener in the world has an adjustable K of capacity. It
depends on how much and what type of resin, and THEN the lbs of salt
used per regeneration. Regular and fine mesh and SST-60 are the three
types of resin. Usually no one actually needs anything but regular
mesh unless they have high iron (say 4-5 ppm or more )and then SST-60
is the better choice. Fine mesh resin has a much higher pressure loss
than the other two. At 15 lbs per ft3 you get 30K of capacity, at 9
lbs/cuft you get 24K, at 6 lbs you get 20K and so forth. Divide the K
by the lbs and you get the salt efficiency; just like figuring fuel
mileage, gallons into miles = mpg, grains into capacity = grains/lb of
I sell many softeners across the US and many use as little as 3-10 lbs
on average every 8 days. So a 40-50 lb bag every month or two is not
unusual; it's my norm. In other cases, 15lb every 4 days for a family
of 4 with 40 gpg hardness and 4 ppm of iron in OH the other day. My
record hardness is 136 gpg in PA.
The amount of sodium added is, 7.85 mg/l per grain/gallon. I.E. 20 gpg
* 7.85=157 mg per roughly a quart of softened water. Slightly more
than the sodium found in a slice of white bread or an 8 oz glass of 2%
All softeners can us potassium chloride but, if you are using a salt
setting of 6 lb/regeneration or lower, you need to increase the salt
dose lbs from 12% to 27 percent higher. And potassium chloride costs
3-4 times more for the same size bag.
There is another part of correctly sizing a softener and it is the
constant SFR (service flow rate) gpm. It is dictated by the volume of
resin in the tank. Every time the SFR gpm is exceeded, the softener
can not remove all the hardness because the water is going through the
resin too fast for the ion exchange to occur. Anyone can learn all
about at the link below.
Quality Water Associates
Is "gpg" grains per gallon? If it is how do I convert gpg into
parts per million?
I don't understand why they make gourmet cat foods. I have
known many cats in my life and none of them were gourmets.
They were all gourmands!
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.