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.
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
Good points. But most people who are "watching their salt intake" are doing
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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."
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"
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