Water Softners

Re: Water Softners

PostBy: BobDavis On: Wed. Mar. 11, 2009 11:40 am

Let me first say that I have no first hand knowledge but have a friend who purchased one from Sears (seems he always has dollars off coupons), He runs potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride in the softener. Says it is better for him and keeps his blood pressure down. He thinks most water softeners can run potassium instead of sodium. It comes in the blue bag at Sears hardware stores.

I do run RO for drinking and cooking water.

Stove/Furnace Make: None Yet

Re: Water Softners

PostBy: billlindley On: Wed. Mar. 11, 2009 12:38 pm

BobDavis wrote:Let me first say that I have no first hand knowledge but have a friend who purchased one from Sears (seems he always has dollars off coupons),


Ebay my friend :D I get Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, etc coupons on there all the time. We recently remodeled our home and every single time I shopped in either Lowes or the Depot I used a 10% off coupon.
Stove/Furnace Make: Reading
Stove/Furnace Model: Lehigh RS-96

Re: Water Softners

PostBy: Yanche On: Wed. Mar. 11, 2009 2:12 pm

billlindley wrote:Go to the Home Depot and at tiems they will have sale people in there who will test your water for free and give you a $20 HD gift card. The only cath is that you can't get them out of your home after they test your water. They wanted to charge me $6,500 for a "Home treatment syste" which consited of a softner and filter at the faucet.

Here's what I did a few years ago. Since my area is prone to acid water, the water treatment guys are here couple times a year. At their insistence I made an appointment after they assured me all they needed was a water sample. At the scheduled time I made sure I was outside. I directed him to my outside water facet and said, "Get your sample there" and with a take it or leave it attitude I got back on my riding lawn mower. Never heard from him again.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Water Softners

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Wed. Mar. 11, 2009 8:44 pm

Yanche wrote:
VigIIPeaBurner wrote:There's the opposite problem to "hard" water, acid water. It eats copper and hot water tanks.

My well water is acidic, ph = 5.7 I've tried all kinds of acid neutralizer systems over the years. All were a pain. I finally just replaced everything with plastic or stainless steel. Other than the ph, my water is great.

Yanche, I agree about the neutralizer systems being a pain. Others can learn from my experiences.

I lived for 20+ years in an alluvial valley where the water was from a high pH glacial aquifer in limestone. The water was great tasting, just really high hardness so I needed and used a softener. No big problems in 20 yrs. with the two units I had. There was a unsoftened line to the kitchen sink. Planning on an unsoftened line to the kitchen sink for most of your drinking water is a good idea IMHO. Even though there's very little sodium in the amount of softened water a person drinks, some people have strict health needs. I moved a few miles up the hill where the water was from a granitic neice aquifer. Water from them tends to be acidic. It was, 6.2 pH. I wish I had the foresight have plastic installed when we built. The builder pushed hard for Cu. I assumed it was a code thing but never checked. Always had copper lines. I noticed they were installing type M in another house. I specified type L Cu.

It wasn't long until I could taste and see the differences; nasty taste and blue stains. The nasty taste was from the acidic water leaching copper from the house lines. I ended up with a piggyback neutralizer and softener. Bad idea because of the required recharge/backwash frequencies caused unnecessary salt usage. Should have gotten two separate units. The only savings one gets from a piggyback system is the cost of a timer head/valve body. Even though the unit is properly sized, the softener can go much longer before recharging is needed but the neutralizer needs to be back flushed to fluff the bed three times a week. Fluffing the limestone gravel keeps channeling down. Also, at high usage periods the water does not stay in contact with the limestone long enough to get the pH up. The low pH water that passes thru at high usage sits in the pipe when the flow stops and the Cu etching resumes. I have to tend the neutralizer part every 4 months to keep it at peak because I lengthened the recharge frequency to save salt. New plan is to add another large neutralizer (CaCO3) before the piggyback. This unit will increase the water’s contact time with the limestone and backwash frequencies can be 3 x per week. The piggyback will stay at once a week. I think that will lengthen neutralizer maintenance periods on both units. The softener part is no problem. I clean the salt jet once every two years but do use the pelletized salt because it's cleaner and I only clean the brine tank every fifth year instead of every year.
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: Water Softners

PostBy: AA130FIREMAN On: Wed. Mar. 11, 2009 9:26 pm

Remember to put in a shower mat, I found out the hard way, black and blue. The water makes the soap like oil, tubs are very slippery, and when you wash off it feels like you can't got the soap off!! I do like the soft water :D
Stove/Furnace Make: axeman anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130 anthratube

Re: Water Softners

PostBy: europachris On: Wed. Mar. 11, 2009 10:44 pm

SMITTY wrote: I was having a problem with hydrogen-sulfide gas forming inside the unit (I think from the warm stove & the sediment inside), which made our water REEK! NASTY!!!

I still have to take the unit outside & hose all the sand & sediment out of the bottom. Salt isn't the cleanest of minerals -- comes with all kinds of crap in it, which builds up over time. I was supposed to run some resin bed cleaner through it -- haven't done that yet either.

There are bacteria that eat the iron in the water and that causes the sulfur stench and causes a slimy red rust deposit. We have them a little bit in our water, but not too bad. We have a softener for our well, but I'd like to put in an iron filter (the kind that uses a little air compressor to oxidize the clear iron into red iron so it can be filtered out). I've heard that the well chlorinators that drop the little pellets down the well also can solve/minimize the iron bacteria issue/smell - I've seen a few people with them around our subdivision. I think I measured our water over 30 grains per gallon - it's basically liquid cement, and raw out of the well it tastes like you're drinking an iron frying pan.

For the junk in the softener - I used to use solar salt and it was a mess. I switched long ago to Zeo Tabs "Rust Stop" pellets and that was the end of the buildup. I went from cleaning out the brine tank twice a year to once every 5 years maybe. More expensive for the salt, but I'll take a few bucks extra a month rather than swamping out some nasty sludge from the bottom of my brine tank.....

Stove/Furnace Make: EFM 350/Iron Fireman
Stove/Furnace Model: Custom bituminous burner

Re: Water Softners

PostBy: billlindley On: Thu. Mar. 12, 2009 12:50 pm

AA130FIREMAN wrote:Remember to put in a shower mat, I found out the hard way, black and blue. The water makes the soap like oil, tubs are very slippery, and when you wash off it feels like you can't got the soap off!! I do like the soft water :D

And also remember to ensure that said shower mat is securly affixed to the shower. My girlfriend just cleaned out tub and needless to say she didn't head this advice. :mad:

One foot in and I qucikly learned I can do a split :shock:
Stove/Furnace Make: Reading
Stove/Furnace Model: Lehigh RS-96

Re: Water Softners

PostBy: gambler On: Thu. Mar. 12, 2009 1:43 pm

AA130FIREMAN wrote:Remember to put in a shower mat :D

ShamWow :lol:
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Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer

Re: Water Softners

PostBy: mozz On: Thu. Mar. 12, 2009 2:26 pm

You call? :bag:
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 1982 AA-130 Steam

Re: Water Softners

PostBy: freestyle On: Thu. Mar. 12, 2009 3:30 pm

We did the same research last summer,my wife was complaining her hair did not feel like it did where we used to live.We contacted pelican and the guy on the phone was great. The first ques. was have you had your water tested....? We told him we had not and he said before you spend the money you should get it done. Then he asked where we lived and started laughing and said he grew up two towns over. I tested him a little on the area to make sure it wasn't a line of bull. He then said you have slightly hard water here in Belchertown Ma. but not that bad. He then said you might want to just try our pelican 1000 whole house filter, for about 1/3 the cost with no maint. except new filter every 200,000 gals. I believe...? Anyway it was the best thing I ever did! The water tastes great ( no need for under the sink contraptions) my wife is very happy too.... That's my two cents worth.... P.S. The shampoo and soap never really lathered now it lathers great and tastes great (less filling)
Stove/Furnace Make: keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: k6

Re: Water Softners

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Thu. Mar. 12, 2009 5:17 pm

Good God man! Do you realize that filter is basically anthracite coal?
"carbon made from Sri Lankan coconut shell and produced to achieve a carbon tetrachloride activity (CTC) range of 45% to 95%. The ability to produce such a high micro porous surface area is very limited, not a lot of manufacturers can do this on a regular basis. It also has a high hardness and low water soluble ash. The carbon is NSF 42 certified."
I wonder how that stuff burns?

http://www.pelicanwatertechnologies.com ... series.php
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Water Softners

PostBy: dtzackus On: Fri. Mar. 13, 2009 7:51 am

I have a complete Culligan set up, luckily the people who built the house had the system installed, since I priced it and it is very expensive. We have iron in our water and this is our system:

Water comes into a 24" filter
Water comes into a 100 gallon tank where it mixes with a chlorine mix (1 cup chlorine and 1 gallon mix).
Water goes into a "corel" system where it takes the chorline out of the water.
Then it goes into our salt system.

Once a month, I have to drain the 100 gallon tank since the iron sinks to the bottom and do I get some nasty red/rust color coming out of it sometimes. Also, I two holding tanks, one is for the salt and the other is for the chlorine mix. They are both on timers and I believe they go off every 3rd day, but not totally sure.

I used to have to add a 40 bag of salt and add a bucket of chlorine/water every other month, but since we went with a front loading LG washing machine and a BOSH dishwasher (uses less water and actually doesn't have an electric element, it actually heats the water and the heat actually dries the dishes). I am adding a bag of salt and chlorine mix water every four months.

Hard to believe that a regular washing machine uses 40 gallons of water per load, where as the front loaders only uses about 9 gallons per load, also they save on electric as well.

Hope this helps. I also have my water tested every year just to be on the save side.
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Gibraltar LCC
Stove/Furnace Make: Gibraltar
Stove/Furnace Model: LCC

Re: Water Softners

PostBy: gaw On: Sun. Mar. 15, 2009 8:36 am

The water testing lab I use makes regular pickups at a local municipal water authority office. I call the lab and get the price for the tests I want, get a sterile bottle from the water authority, which is needed if you want a bacteria test, then drop a sample and check off at the water authority office and get the results in a few days in the mail.

You need a test before you spend any money on equipment or you could just be wasting money.

My water tested at 7 grains hardness, mostly calcium. Virtually no iron, a trace was found but such a small amount as to be insignificant, no bacteria and nitrates were good. I installed a sediment filter, this I would recommend to anyone. Being a cheap ass I decided to get a softener from Home Depot, a Water Boss for about $400 I think, maybe more or less. My rational was to see if I could see the difference with the soft water and if not I was only out the $400 and not $1500 or more for the “professional” softeners. I am very happy with the results. I have been using it for a little over a year and use only 5 bags of salt pellets a year. No soap curds on the shower floor. No soap scum on the side of the tub. No white salt like coating inside the tea kettle. You should continue to have your water tested yearly; this will confirm that any softeners, filters, or purifiers are working properly.

I spoke with a guy who sells and services the expensive softeners and he agreed that the cheap softeners sold buy the big box stores will soften the water just like any expensive unit will but the life expectancy of the cheap softeners is not as long and repairing them when they breakdown my not be cost effective. I will use my Water Boss until it stops working and then decide if I buy another or step up to a “good” unit. Kinetico makes some real nice softeners but at prices that make your checkbook scream. If I get a reasonable life out of my cheap one I think I’ll just put another cheap one in.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice from Schuylkill County

Re: Water Softners

PostBy: CoaLen On: Sun. Mar. 15, 2009 8:08 pm

When we lived in Houston we had city water but it was pretty hard. I installed a Water Boss softener from Home Depot or Lowes. It did a good job of softening the water but it created a noticeable flow restriction.
Now living in Ohio, we have a well. When we moved in we decided to have a softener installed right away. We went with the Ecowater softener from Ecowater Systems http://www.ecowater.com/index.php
They claimed to have minimal flow reduction and we've been very pleased with the water and flow we're getting.
Our unsoftened water measured 18 grains of hardness with a PH of 7.2
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Coal Size/Type: rice

Re: Water Softners

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Sun. Mar. 15, 2009 8:26 pm

CoaLen wrote:...8<...Our unsoftened water measured 18 grains of hardness with a PH of 7.2

Wow - some hard water feeding your lines!

Here's a tid-bit for those techies out there in Hard Waterville; to convert grains of calcium carbonate to parts per million, multiply by 17.1
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace