[NA] Whole house water softeners

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Let'sgoflying!, Nov 26, 2022.

  1. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    -2 people
    -1500sf home
    -well water which is low Fe, very very very high CaCO3, some Fl
    Have not yet tested the water but undoubtedly it will rank as the hardest in the country.

    Researching water softeners. (not water conditioners)

    Prices? I'm seeing somewhere around $1500 for the equipment plus "twice yearly' Na or K salts ($20/treatment) which I think must be on the low range.

    What does softened water taste like?

    Some are saying expect some Na residue, instead of Ca residue on everything. TorF?

    Brands?

    DIY install tips?
     
  2. Randomskylane

    Randomskylane Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Are you installing in your basement? Existing drain? Ours had to be pumped up and out so we had a plumber do it. $2500 all in for tank/system/drain/labor/etc. Two guys 6 hours each

    fwiw
     
  3. Jim K

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    Water softeners are rated in "grains of hardness" they can remove. Fe takes a LOT of capacity to remove. I put this one in my last house, which had VERY high Fe:
    https://www.farmandfleet.com/produc...MbCeN9EdzbO8U-saOKVMXuPVCH8sw4zgaAkQREALw_wcB
    $720
    Addie makes good stuff, but it's all off the shelf parts, so there's probably a manufacturer closer to you. The brands you've heard of like culligan will rip you off. They're dead simple to install. You just splice the valve into your supply line. Does need a drain for when they recharge.

    We have super high iron in this area , so it takes a big softener and a lot of salt to remove it. We go through a couple 50lb bags a month. I like the taste & feel and it cleans better. No salty taste, no residue. People not used to it have complained about feeling "slimy" in the shower. I'm the opposite; if I go somewhere with even slightly hard water it drives me nuts.... feels like I'm showering in sandpaper.
     
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  4. DaleB

    DaleB Final Approach

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    I don't notice a difference between soft and non-soft water, unless there's a LOT of mineral content, in which case the hard water tastes of iron to me. I won't own a house without a water softener. I replaced the one in this house with a new Morton for under $500 (installed it myself) and we spend maybe $20-30 on salt in a year.
     
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  5. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    single floor home, will place on slab, drain is planned
     
  6. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne Final Approach

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    Quit with the negative waves, man.
    We have very hard, very acid well water. Like acid to the point of dissolving copper pipes before the system was installed. Whole house system, 1500 ft2 house, 2 people, system recharges once every 3 days. Brine tank holds 80# of salt, resin tank needs to be topped up with NA quarterly. A years supply pail of NA is about $85, a 40# bag of solar salt is bout $7, figure 8 a year. Not much of change in taste, but you will notice sudsier showers, and it seems like it takes forever to rinse soap off. Clothes and Dishwasher does a much better job. You can tell when either the brine or resin tank need attention by how the shower feels. Staining or mineral residue isn't an issue.

    If you have copper, really recommend changing any plumbing prior to the softener/condioner to pvc. Our system is fairly old, so I changed the head of the resin tank from electro-mechanical timer to electronic. Got it online a heck of a lot more reasonable than a supply house.
     
  7. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    very acid water, wow that must be in the SE?
    Ours is extremely basic. Hoping the change to softened water won't alter the pH adversely.
    No way to change out all the pipes in a slab.
    Thanks for the additional concern!
     
  8. flyingron

    flyingron Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    We have a separate acid filter ahead of the water softener. I have a line plucked off ahead of the softener for the greenhouse and my carbonator. Both units backflush through a pipe that runs out of the house and into our storm drains (ultimately out into the woods behind the house).

    The only big thing is lugging in sacks of salt from time to time.
     
  9. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's a really bad idea to drink softened water due to the salt content. You should either provide an unsoftened bypass at the sink for drinking purposes (small side tap), use an inline RO filter for a side tap at the sink, or use a saltless softener.
     
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  10. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I figure mine will be about 50mg Na per 8oz glass.
    I think the taste will put us off drinking and cooking with it, well before we get hypertension from it.

    na.jpg
     
  11. dfw11411

    dfw11411 Pre-Flight

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    I live in San Antonio which has very hard water. About four years ago we rebuilt a garage with laundry/toilet room and had the main water line routed through a water softener. I researched a lot and decided to avoid specialty companies and go for a DYI type unit. They're pretty automated now and tuning isn't a thing anymore. We're two retired people with some family and guests visiting regularly. Because of the existing plumbing, the front yard hose bibs are soft water so that increases the load a lot in summer. Bought the Whirlpool 30k grain unit. I paid about $650 for it and hauled it home. https://a.co/d/4r60FgO

    I had the plumber install the unit as a part of the other plumbing. I'm estimating his labor and parts at $500. A drain was required by the building code.

    It's pretty much set it and forget it for months at a time. I probably spend less than 15 minutes servicing it every 2-3 months. I buy about $50 worth of salt per year plus the 3 yearly flushes (it's a liquid additive to revitalize the beads) that keep the warranty in place for 10 years. So, about $100 per year in supplies total. I also bought ph test strips and check that its working every 6 months or so.

    So far it works great and I saved a ton of $$$. We drink filtered tap water so we don't notice a bad taste. Soft water has really helped reduce costs for repairing/replacing coffee makers, dishwashers, etc). We had a plumber flush our water heater this summer (we were told it should be done yearly and I let it go 5 years) and he said we shouldn't bother again as the water is so soft. So extending the life of a water heater is yet another benefit.
     
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  12. kmacht

    kmacht Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Water softeners do not add salt to your water. They use the salt to charge the resin so the ions in the resin make the hard minerals in the water stick to it. This does cause a very very small amount of sodium to be released into the water but sodium is much different chemically than salt. The concentrations of sodium released are extremely low. For comparison a gallon of water has about as much sodium in it as a cup of milk. 4 galleons of water are equivalent to about 2 slices of bread in sodium content. Your health will not be in any way affected by drinking water that went through a softener.
     
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  13. dtuuri

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  14. 455 Bravo Uniform

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    The water may actually taste better for you.

    You’re not adding any more sodium than the calcium (and other cations) that you’re removing/replacing. It’s ion exchange.

    Flush your new system with multiple recharge cycles before drinking the water (in other words, use it, but don’t drink it for 2-4 weeks).
     
  15. Jim K

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    As others have mentioned, you're replacing calcium ions with sodium ions. The sodium is generally harmless, but can be an issue for people with heart problems on reduced sodium diets. I assumed that wouldn't be the case for a pilot. If you're really concerned about it, potassium chloride salt works as well and is commonly available. The cost is about 2-3x that of NaCl, but if you're not removing iron, the cost is probably nominal.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2022
  16. flyingron

    flyingron Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    The attached conclusion is bullpoop. THe sodium recommendations are based on conjecture based in the days when the "experts" thought bland flood was healthier for you (notably Mr. Kellogg). A healthy person excretes any sodium he doesn't need without issue. In fact, an organization: INTERSALT, which set out with the goal of the ultimate sodium study done cross-ethnicity and well-controlled with the goal of proving salt was bad for you, was unable to find such a conclusion in their data. In fact, the results tended toward the idea that salt was healthy for you.

    Further, how much sodium comes from the softener depends on how hard your water was to begin with.

    Studies show people have different taste sensitive to salt, but the average population gets it around 15mmol/L, which is about 200mg in 8oz, though some area as sensitive as a third of that. Still way more than you can detect from the typical softener.
     
  17. DaleB

    DaleB Final Approach

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    We had a water softener the entire time I was growing up. We've lived in houses with and without them, and consider it to be a necessity. I can sometimes tell the difference between soft and hard water if the water has enough mineral content. I've tasted some pretty nasty hard water, but I've never once in my entire life detected even a hint of salt taste in the water or in food prepared with it.

    In our kitchen we have the regular sink and a prep sink. One gets water tapped off before the softener, the other gets soft water. No one can taste the difference. One of them just has no mineral buildup on the faucet.
     
  18. Sac Arrow

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    50 mg NA per 8 ounces is 84 mg/L of sodium. That is a LOT to have in your drinking water. Yes I get it, a glass of milk and a slice of bread has more sodium in it, but you're probably drinking an 8 oz glass of milk and 2-4 gallons of water per day vs the other way around.

    Yes, I get that there is no specific federal or state drinking water MCL on sodium, but the FDA recommended daily limit is 2,300 mg. In your case 5.75 gallons will get you there, and that is without sodium contribution from any other source. No, you probably aren't drinking six gallons of water a day. But some people do. I come pretty close to it.

    There is an ongoing debate about how bad sodium actually is for you. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. In either case, I don't want a significant level in my drinking water.
     
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  19. Let'sgoflying!

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    Oh you must mean the Mayo comment at the bottom? I should have cut that off. Didn't hardly even see it. I posted the chart, to show that the sodium in the water is miniscule. I hardly drink tap water anyway, but do get some in cooking.
     
  20. kyleb

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    You aren't kidding. I was in New Braunfels over Thanksgiving and felt dirtier coming out of the shower than going in. There was almost no way to get rid of the slimy feeling as I rinsed off. I think the outlaws have a water softener, but somehow it wasn't up to the task.
     
  21. DaleB

    DaleB Final Approach

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    I can’t even imagine drinking that much water. Hell, even my dog didn’t drink that much and we had him tested for diabetes, he drank so much water. I probably get more than 8 ounces of milk a day in my coffee alone.
     
  22. Brad W

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    taste is fine
    there really isn't detectable salt in it....I think that's pretty much a myth about salt ingestion. The salt ions recharge the resin but is then rinsed away during the regen cycle.

    I installed one from online, about 12 years ago. No issues, only trying to remember to add salt.
    https://affordablewater.us/
    I checked a couple years ago and it was still softening the water although seems like not quite as much as initially.... I have not yet noticed any significant drop in the softness since then though. I do wonder though if I should look into refreshing with new resin one of these days. Not sure how long that stuff is expected to last

    I'm not sure but I think within reason I think that I would err towards and oversize the unit based on whatever your demand calculator says you need....just round up on the size.
     
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  23. PaulS

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    The other aspect is that this is not your total sodium intake, rather it is routine additional sodium you are adding to your diet. Everyday. That excess sodium takes it's toll, especially if you have any issues with your kidneys, heart, afflictions such as menier's disease. So many things. Healthy people shouldn't have an issue, but this stuff takes it's toll over a long period of time.

    I have hypertension, I rarely use table salt and choose low/no salt foods when I can which is more often than not. I don't miss it. I had a water softener in my house from the previous owner. I tested the water without the softener and found out I didn't need it. When I was using it I used potassium instead of salt, but that can have issues for people too.
     
  24. TCABM

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    We have a whole home water softener with the sprinkler system looped out. Does it’s job, highly recommend drain and flush your hit water heater annually; there’s always some suspended sodium globs and other crap that drains out.

    We put a drain w/ball valve on our heater…makes the job easy peasy.
     
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  25. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Clogged water heaters are one of the main problems I hope to avoid with the softener.
    Every year, I have to flush out 12” of Ca-sludge.
     
  26. kmacht

    kmacht Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That slimy feeling is because the water is too soft, not too hard. They probably had the water softener turned up a little too high. Too soft of water feels like you aren’t able to rinse the soap or shampoo off.
     
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  27. Dan Thomas

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    I grew up in BC where the water, in most places, is among the cleanest in the world. Now we're on the prairies, in a small town that has three fairly deep wells, and the water is hard. TDS around 1400 ppm. Mostly calcium and magnesium salts, no iron. I got tired of hauling 18-litre jugs of RO water home, so installed an RO system to feed the small side tap at the kitchen sink. Works great, TDS typically around 100 ppm, sometimes less.

    The stuff eats water heaters. Some folks get as little as two years out of a tank. Ours is 11 years old and must be ready to pop. Must be the oldest tank in town.

    But the tap water kills plants. The grass and weeds get by OK, but ornamentals like flowers and shrubs just keel over with it. Some serious gardeners around here use whatever rainwater they can collect, and there's little rain.

    So, now, would one of the salt-type softeners make the plants happier? That would be one bonus, over the saving of water heaters.
     
  28. Jim K

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    Short answer is no. Actually the minerals in your water should be slightly beneficial to plants. I'm betting it's acidic, which would also explain the water heater issue.

    The salt isn't enough to bother most plants, but some are sensitive to it. My wife likes houseplants, and has some that get watered with DI from the store as the softened water was making them sick. It builds up in the soil over time. Outdoor plants may not be so sensitive as the sodium could leach away, but it's not going to do them any good either.

    Our outside taps are plumbed in before the softener, but that's mainly because flowing that much more water through it would mean handling many more bags of salt.
     
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  29. TCABM

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    Not really and you’d trade one problem (RO, lack of any nutrients/minerals) for another (too much sodium).

    RO is a filtering process that just happens to sometimes help with hardness. Softening isn’t a filtration process and leaves the water generally too salty for the plants.

    Adding nutrients like a liquid fertilizer to RO water is your best course of action.

    We had ROWPUs that generated 500 gallons at a time we used to fill potable drinking water tanks with. We had to add electrolytes to the RO water to avoid hyponatremia in humans.
     
  30. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    One of best things I’ve ever spent money on. It tastes like water, but man showers feel better! And toilets stay white linger, dishes come out cleaner. I love mine. Size it right and error on too big than too small would be my opinion.
     
  31. Dan Thomas

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    It's highly alkaline, which is also corrosive. I don't think I've ever heard of calcium or magnesium acids.

    We use a bit of cleaning vinegar in the dishwasher to reduce the alkilinity and mineral staining. Cleaning vinegar is double strength, 10% acetic acid.
     
  32. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne Final Approach

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    Quit with the negative waves, man.
    You'll want to be careful with that too, if you have copper waste lines. My wife liked to do that in our clothes washer, just on principle. Ate right through the 3" copper elbow beneath it leading to the main stack.
     
  33. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    TRIVIA QUESTION....


    You are about to drink a glass of ultrapure water (1 pass RO followed by 2 passes of DI stacks).

    What is its pH?
     
  34. GaryM

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    About midway between 6 and 7, if memory serves. It's not 7.00.
     
  35. Dan Thomas

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    All ABS plastic drains. Houses in Canada haven't used copper for a long time. Only found in houses over 50 years old, pretty much.
     
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  36. Rgbeard

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    As a hands-on HOA President, I managed, at our highrise condo, our water softener plant. 250 condos, appx 500 residents.

    We used about 100 bags of salt per month. (5,000 pounds)

    Personally - I hate it. The water feels "slimy", while others describe it as "silky". I had to stand in the shower trying to "wash off the soap" for a long time. Never got used to it.
     
  37. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's right - at least it could be. It depends on how long the water has been sitting exposed to the air. Once the dissolved carbon dioxide from the air reaches equilibrium, it's actually about 5.5.

    The pH of pure water is 7, but once it starts uptaking atmospheric gasses, it's no longer pure. Even RO'd water still has buffering agents in it preventing large downward pH swings.
     
  38. DaleB

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    The trick is to finally realize that the soap IS washed off, and quickly, it just feels different than hard water.
     
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  39. Rgbeard

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    I get that 110%. It's just not an easy thing for my brain to understand when I swear my body feels slimy.

    In my personal battle of conflicting information, washing off the slime wins every time.
     
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  40. SkyChaser

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    It is so much nicer to wash your hair with softened water. The hard water leaves your hair "sticky", for lack of better terminology. Of course, you men probably don't notice it as much if you keep your hair shorter than your shoulder blades! ;)