I live in Phoenix and my dishwasher stopped working. I found out all
of the washer heads were plugged with white flakey stuff. I pulled it
apart and the thing was just filled with deposits. I assume this is
due to our very hard water. I am now considering a water softener.
But then I hear that you don't want soft water for your plants, and I
have a automatic irrigation system around my house. I also have a
swimming pool with auto-filling system -- is soft water good or bad for
a swimming pool (just for topping it off with water due to
evaporation)? In reality hard water is bad as eventually the pool
water gets so hard that you have to drain it. Would soft water fix
this and indeed be a good thing? I have a salt system for my pool
which means I believe it has dissolved sodium in it anyways, so maybe
it doesn't matter.
In any case, on to my real question. I am considering soft water
primarily to protect my appliances, showers, bathtub, etc. Would it
make any sense to just install the soft water system before my hot
water heater? This would protect my hot water heater, dishwasher,
washing machine, and we'd have mostly soft water for showers/baths.
Also, is it possible that my hot water heater is filled with this stuff
as well, making my problem worse? My house is 7 years old, never had
drain the hot water tank of dirty water until it runs clear into a
white bucket for dirt. examine it by pouring it into a black bucket for
contrasting the white stuff. maybe your old dip tube failed.
My dad lives in phoenix and the water is extremely hard. he uses a
whole house softener, and used to soften the pool water too. didnt
soften water for irrigation.
he has a reverse osmosis filter on cold supplies used for drinking.
regular softeners add a little salt and he has high blood pressure.
reverse o removes the salt.
being from hard water country showering wiith soft water leaves me
feeling slimey, but I guess you get used to it
I lived in Chandler for 17 yrs. Also sold water softeners for Sears.
Technically, soft water is bad for pools as softened water is somewhat
aggressive and would tend to leach calcium out of the plaster walls of the
pool. I don't know if using it to keep the pool full would add that much
over time because of the evaporation but it would sure cause you to use much
more salt in the softener as it would have to cycle more often. I didn't
have a salt water pool but correct me if I'm wrong. I thought, that used
salt and electricity somehow to create a chemical reaction similar to
chlorine to kill bacteria rather than making your pool salty like the ocean.
Installing the w/s just before the water heater would certainly protect that
and the dishwasher, but as for the rest of the appliances. I remember that
not much actual hot water was used to wash clothes (also sold washers) or
even in the shower as the cold water sometimes was near 100 degrees, at
least in the summer months. I barely had to add hot water to take a
comfortable shower, certainly not like here in N. Ill. where I now live
again. A water softener on both hot and cold water would certainly help the
kitchen and bath fixtures from being limed up also. And finally, as I
remember, 7 years was the average life of a water heater around Phoenix due
to the natural corrosion of the valley's water and build up of calcium in
the heater. It should be possible to install a softener so that the outside
bibs and the pool are not softened. By the way, adding a water softener to
your drinking water would only add the amount of salt found in an extra
slice of bread a day to your intake and then only if you drink 8 glasses of
water a day.
I once lived in a house with an add on water softener that was installed
only on the hot water. I think they did that that way because it was much
easier to install.
The house I live in now was built with a water softener in mind. The
outside hose connections are before the softener and the rest of the house
has all soft water. I am thinking of adding a soft water hose bib in the
garage so I can use that to wash the cars. The hard water leaves the cars
almost looking worse than before washing.
The minerals in hard water are good for living things and bad for mechanical
equipment. No matter how difficult it is to do the piping, you should have
soft water going to everything except water used for drinking, cooking,
plants, lawn, etc. When washing, it takes a lot more soap, because the soap
doesn't know the difference between minerals and dirt. Your water heater
probably has a large deposit build up on the bottom. The majority of the
hardness will not come out the drain valve. If it's 7 years old, just
replace it after you get the softener.
Salt in a water softener is only used to clean the filter, but a tiny amount
is left after the fresh water back-flush. Get a softener that has an
electronic sensor that detects when it needs to regenerate. I have an
Autotrol 460i like this picture http://www.pure-earth.com/255460i.html I've
found it to be the most care-free brand. It's not necessary to have a water
softener company do the installation. Most plumbers can do it, but have your
water tested first. If they also find acid in the water, then you'll need a
combination acid neutralizer/softener, because when you soften water it
increases the acid in it.
You would normally install the softener for the whole house other than
the irrigation and outside lines.
I doubt if you are going to find a softener that will handle the volume
needed to fill a pool and if you did, I suspect you would not be happy with
the cost of materials when you filled the pool, but you might ask the
supplier of the system.
If you apply it only to the hot water, then you don't get softening on
the cold side and when you mix you get less softness. I would do it on both
sides. Many people prefer non-softened water for drinking so they run a
non-softened line to the kitchen. I suspect that really depends on your
local water conditions.
Softened water (with salt) is deadly for babies and not good for
people with high blood pressure. When my eldest was born, I moved our
softener and redid some of the plumbing. I ran a 2nd line to the
kitchen, added a good filter and installed a drinking fawcet at the
kitchen sink. We use this un-softened water for any water we drink. I
also moved the pipe connections for the outside taps to draw water
before the softener. The water for most inside taps and fixtures gets
This has worked well for us and reduced the amount of salt the
Brad in Aurora, Ontario, Canada.
The salt is only used to clean the filter. After that, the salt is washed
away with fresh water. A properly operating water softener has only a minute
amount of salt. Babies get more salt in an average diet. If you have so much
salt that it's a danger to a baby, then your softener isn't working right.
As for heart conditions, most doctors only recommend no soft water for the
most extreme heart conditions.
The "filter" is actually a ion exchange medium that exchanges Sodium
Chloride (table salt) ions for Magnesium based ions (the natural
minerals that make the water hard). We were told by our local health
department nurse to never make baby formula with water from a salt type
Just looking at the subject line, No, not just the hot ater. The dishwasher
is the only appliance that uses hot water only. All other fixtures and
appliances have either all colt or a mix of the two. Softening only the hot
will give much less benefit and noe for a cold rinse or wash where soft
water is needed the most.
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