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Old 01-02-2013, 05:53 PM
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Default Need an Alternative to Water Softeners



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I have well water that currently runs through a water softener, and I want to build a gray water system to pump used kitchen and bath water to the garden. Problem is, with the soft water, I will eventually overburden my garden with salt. Is there another alternative for water softening besides being "on the salt"? I've looked into Reverse Osmosis, but I'm not seeing many other options out there. Here's to hoping there's something more efficient available.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:34 PM
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No worry. Salt is flushed in the regeneration.. not in the water
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:43 PM
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http://www.pelicanwater.com/whole_ho...FYN_Qgod-yMAGw

I have no experience with this product.
Old 01-04-2013, 03:26 PM
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No worry. Salt is flushed in the regeneration.. not in the water
I always wondered what was flushed every couple of days.
Old 01-04-2013, 10:46 PM
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My city has very hard water because it treats surface water that has to be seriously nuked with various chlorines and other chemicals. The result is actually very safe water, but with a very high mineral content.

I looked at salt softeners but you end up with poisoned water too salty to be safe for long term drinking. Adding reverse osmosis ends up creating water that doesn't have enough minerals, and like distilled water will lead to bone calcium deficiency if you don't add supplements to your diet.

After looking at all that I decided just to put up with our hard water for a while until I just decided to add several GE filter housings in parallel to my main line.



The filters were these: http://products.geappliances.com/ApplProducts/Dispatcher?REQUEST=SpecPage&Sku=GXWH35F

With the gate valves I could isolate one filter and swap it out without cutting my house supply. With them in parallel like that I had enough surface area that I didn't reduce my water pressure when both were online. The units ran about $35 a pop and the related extra hardware another $50, plus my labor time. They come with a cheap paper filter that's not especially useful though. I tossed those on a shelf for emergency use.

The filter options do get better. There are 3 different types. First the minimal paper one that very inexpensive. The one I use costs about $20 each and is a polymer floss fiber filled job. They even make an activated charcoal filter that would really remove a lot of nastiness from your water supply, but those run over $30 a pop for each.

I need to replace them both about every 5-6 months but it is really all about the gallons processed, not the time. I don't have a bunch of kids or women running around my home needing mass amounts of water for bathing and laundry. A full house could see you needing to swap every 3-4 months. But even there at 3 months times two charcoal filters you are still only talking $120 a year for high quality filtered water running through everything. Water like that will extend the life of your faucets, toilets, water heaters, dish washer, and laundry machine. Those are never cheap to replace. Then you have cleaner water to drink, bathe in, and give to your animals and house plants. Though I would make sure you create this rig further down the line than your exterior spigots. It could get real pricey if you are burning through those filters because you are watering your lawn.

But, before you do anything you should ALWAYS do something first. Take some of your water to a lab. Costs about $100 and worth every penny. Know exactly what is coming into your home. Then you can safely choose a system that works for you. My filter idea works great but it won't take out certain hydrocarbons or heavy metals. But if you jump immediately to those more complex systems you will drop a huge pile of money. Once you know exactly what is coming in your line you can put in the exact system, no more and no less.
Old 01-04-2013, 11:04 PM
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check out easy water i use a cheep Chinese knock off that cost about 100$.
in front of my on demand hot water heater it is doing a good job so far. it dont remove any minerals just scrubs the sticky edges off the minerals so they wont build up.
Old 01-04-2013, 11:07 PM
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small wonder is the name on the one i bought.
Old 01-06-2013, 07:16 PM
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Thanks for all the replies.
Old 01-07-2013, 02:53 AM
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All though pricey you could look at something like Haug water filters. They are full system filters and only use the salt brine to clean the filter once a day and then flush the filter before returning water flow to you. Runs on 12V controller so alternate power would be easy for it.
Old 01-07-2013, 07:11 AM
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Use potassium chloride pellets instead. They're more expensive (much more) but if you don't have to reload your softener very often it's better all around. Your body needs potassium and plants love it. I've looked into getting this for our house, just haven't pulled the trigger on the purchase yet. When I do, I will be using potassium chloride.
Old 01-07-2013, 01:10 PM
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Potassium pellets are a better choice than salt, but in the end you are still dealing with too much of the chemical in your drinking water, unless you go the reverse osmosis route after, which brings in yet another health issue. Also, while potassium is a nutrient, it is only a trace nutrient. Too much can be more hazardous than salt. It can even be deadly.

Having used, sold, installed, and repaired consumer grade water softeners for several years, I'm pretty much convinced they are not a good thing. Filtration is the way to go.
Old 01-07-2013, 01:35 PM
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what is your hardness in ppm? There are a lot of people with water softners that really dont need them. If you have a hardness of less that 150 that would be concidered soft. I was wondering who told you that you needed a water softener to start with? I would not trust any numbers that came direct from someone selling me a water system. You can check for local labratories in your area and for a small fee they will check the hardness for you, that number I would trust.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:20 PM
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what is your hardness in ppm? There are a lot of people with water softners that really dont need them. If you have a hardness of less that 150 that would be concidered soft. I was wondering who told you that you needed a water softener to start with? I would not trust any numbers that came direct from someone selling me a water system. You can check for local labratories in your area and for a small fee they will check the hardness for you, that number I would trust.
That's what I was saying. Take a sample to a lab. Since he's using well water even moreso. You just can never tell what comes out of the ground unless you test it. Radioactivity, arsenic, heavy metals, frakking fluids, VOC's, you just never know until you test. Once you test you know exactly what you need to deal with and gives you reference points to search products online. It also lets you deal with equipment providers on an informed level. You have lots of guys out there selling water treatment gear for homes working on commission. They just want to sell you an expensive system, without actually getting you what you need. I've see people with just a light iron problem sold massive systems with expensive replacement filters to clean out all kinds of stuff that really wasn't there and still did little to reduce the excess iron. I know for a fact that some Culligan salesmen are little more than up-sell artists trying to "fix" relatively clean city water like it was taken from the Ganges river in India.

Most counties even have a municipal lab for testing that the general public can have do their testing for low or no cost. If there is a water treatment plant somewhere in the county then there will likely be a county water lab as well.
Old 01-07-2013, 04:15 PM
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Even with the filters ,running hard water throught your waste lines could very possibly result in those lines being completely clogged with minerals
Old 01-07-2013, 05:20 PM
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our house has a water softener just on the hot water line. Drinking water is right from the well but everything upstream from the hot water heater is soft. Seems to work out pretty well.
Old 01-07-2013, 05:53 PM
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Even with the filters ,running hard water throught your waste lines could very possibly result in those lines being completely clogged with minerals
Depends a lot on the filters. Most paper and floss don't do a lot. The right weave of metal cloth and activated charcoal can take out more than you might ever think. I've seen 316 stainless weaves get down to a few microns and the carbon will grab most of the rest.

Hard water is a relative term too. Standards can change quite a bit from one county to the next. Of course this is also why I say get it tested. Only a mass spectrometer can tell you your actual mineral density. You actually do want some minerals in your water.
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