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HoneyDoer 11-22-2005 05:54 PM

Hard water?
We have very hard (calcium mostly) water in our area. I know it caused issues with my recently replaced hot water heater, but besides the buildup I see on faucets am I doing more serious damage by not installing a water softener?

one66stang 11-23-2005 11:10 AM

The build up you see on your faucets is also building up in everything you have water going to.

The Hot water heater, dish washer and refrid.

It will corrode and eventually plug up your stuff.

birch 11-27-2005 01:16 AM

Yep been there done that. Spend the money for the water softner. In fact I just had to clean and replace some components in my fairly new water heater at a rental due to really bad hard water. I hate doing it, takes forever.

hkphooey 03-06-2006 06:32 AM

How much ££ am I look at to put in a water softener system including labour? is there any type of softener system or features I should be looking at?

Installed new taps in my bath tub about a year ago and the hot water tap looks like its pretty much finished... was told that this keep getting leaks...

Joe_T 03-19-2006 07:10 PM

Not sure about UK cost but...
Before you buy anything, you need to do some research. First, surf the next and learn about water hardness Ė what it is and how it is measured. Then you need to know how hard your water is. If you have municipal water the water department should be able to give you this information. If you are on a well, have the water tested for hardness. Finally, start looking for a softener and here it is a trade off. Bigger units with higher grain capacity (Able to soften more water) will recycle/recharge less but will cost more initially. Smaller units are cheaper but you will use more salt and water, as the units will need to recharge more often. Estimate the costs and pick the unit that seems to be the best value for you.

Water softeners in the US will set you back $500-1,000 if you pick them up at a home center or plumbing supply house. If you can do the plumbing yourself (not familiar with UK building codes) hooking up is not much more that the cost of adding the pipe needed to hook the softener between your water source and your hot water heater. You will also need to locate the unit close to a drain so the unit can dump the brine water when recharging. When you do this make sure you have an air brake so you don't allow a vacuum to form between the drain and your softener or you may suck some nasty stuff back into your water line (Anyone knowing the name of the fixture please jump in!). If you have outdoor taps, suggest they be located before the water reaches the softener, as flowers donít mind a little lime buildup. Finally, Iíd suggest adding a particulate water filter ($20-40 US) before the softener as Iíve replaced softeners that looked like they were filled with mud.

glennjanie 03-20-2006 03:42 PM

A top-notch water filter is better than a water softener. Water hardness is detected by using a centrifuge to precipitate the minerals from the water; you can actually see dirt or minerals in the bottom of the test tube. A water softener arrests the minerals and replaces them with sodium (salt); which do you want in your water. A reverse osmosis water filter is the best but it is very wasteful, about 1/3 of the water passing through it is used to rinse away the dirt and minerals. There are several "good" water filtration units out there without spending a fortune; you simply change the cartridges at regular intervals. I would recommend a dual filter which has a particulate filter and an activated charcoal filter to rid the water of excess chlorine and most odors. There are whole house filters and smaller ones for local use such as the kitchen sink or the bathroom. Take your time and shop around, you'll want to keep it and use it for a long time (be sure to price the cartridges too).

pqglen 03-21-2006 10:37 AM

I was in the buissnes of manufacturing comercial RO systems for a number of years. Most large ROs go through a prefilter then a softener to achieve greater product flow. One excelent site is done by a chemistry professor that gives information regarding softener systems vs magneticand or whole house systems. Every softener should go through a prefilter first. I found the info on this site very valuable


jeff12002 03-24-2006 09:09 PM

A filter WILL NOT prevent or slow down hard water deposits. Household reverse osmosis units only produce 12 to 20 US gallons of water a day, and are therefore impractical for a whole house system. You are correct, you want a water softener to reduce the hard water build-up in and on your appliances. If you are one of the 5% or so of the population that is sodium sensitive, a distiller, or reverse osmosis unit are both effective for removing sodium.

cabinetsetc 04-14-2006 07:02 PM

I've found that the money saved on soaps, shampoo's, etc , more than compinsate for the cost of the water softner system as well as maintenance costs for the system. You'll find yourself using much less.

woodworkingmenace 04-28-2006 01:18 PM

If you are on a Municipal or City Water System, I would venture to say that its not Calcium, but Lime that is going through your lines.

Most Water Systems inject lime into the water to "coat" the pipes, because most systems have old "lead pipes" that have been in the system if they are over fifty years or older. So, they need to have these coated, so that there is no leaching off of lead, to create lead poisoning to families. Thus the lime in suspension.

A whole house water filter, either string or carbon filter will take out the lime that is in suspension, and save your pipes and faucets from harm. I know, I have two of them in line. One coming into the main after my water meter,and another one coming up for the main sink and ice maker.

You will find that in one month or less, the main one will be "yellow" with lime and "gunky", or slimy from the film it puts on the string filter. It will take out calcium also, in suspension.
String filters take out .05 microns and carbon takes out .02 microns, and if your Water System loads lime heavily, or you have a line break near your home, you will be replacing filters about every two weeks. (The filters come two to a pack for about 7 bucks in my area). I can get away with one change a month, usually, but, I have changed them as many times as three times a month, when I didnt know they were flushing firehydrants!

But, in the long run, its cheaper with a whole house water filter, than the other one... Filter is probably 40 bucks or less, and you have to remember to take the pressure off, when changing the filters, by opening a faucet after shutting off the entire house, or valve before the filter, so there is no pressure and the wrench is easier to take it off with...

Just my two cents worth...


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