View Full Version : water problem

John Piwaron
05-22-2014, 10:12 AM
This is way off topic but I don't know where else to ask. There are a lot of very knowledgeable guys here, surely one of you know the answer.

Due to the water supply in the region, all of the plumbing bits in my house get limed up pretty bad. Lots of minerals in the water. Is there any way to do some kind of central filtering or treatment and get the minerals out of the water before it gets distributed around the house?

John TenEyck
05-22-2014, 10:26 AM
Why yes; a water softener. Call your local Culligan man.


Charles Wiggins
05-22-2014, 10:38 AM
Never used it, just heard about it on the radio, but if I had your problem this is where I'd start my investigation.

George Bokros
05-22-2014, 10:56 AM
I have a Kinetico softener and have no maintenance issues. Have only one service call and it was caused by a whole house pre-filter defect. I have had my Kinetico for ~10 yrs. It only uses 1# of salt per regeneration.

Matt Meiser
05-22-2014, 11:09 AM
Yep, softener. Today the good ones are all flow-metered, older ones are time based. I asked my guy about changing out the controls on mine and the savings isn't worth it but if I bought new I'd definitely get the flow-metered design.

Mike Henderson
05-22-2014, 11:31 AM
Never used it, just heard about it on the radio, but if I had your problem this is where I'd start my investigation.

I found this explanation (http://idahowatersolutions.com/water-softeners/the-truth-salt-vs-salt-free-water-softeners/)of salt based and no-salt based water conditioners. Interesting reading.

Here's (http://www.merleswater.com/blog/bid/215521/Why-I-Wouldn-t-Buy-A-Saltless-Water-Softener)another view.


Ole Anderson
05-22-2014, 11:35 AM
Lots of folks opt for the cheap solution, a whole house filter, until they find out it doesn't work. The minerals are dissolved in the water and cannot be filtered out with anything less than a reverse osmosis filter. So the solution, which everyone has picked up on, is a water softener which works on the molecular level using a resin bed ionic exchange principle. If you have lots of iron, then you need another step in your water treatment process.

John Lanciani
05-22-2014, 12:09 PM
I recently put in a complete solution purchased from these people; http://www.ohiopurewater.com/shop/customer/home.php

They were extremely helpful in putting together the equipment I needed to treat my water (high iron and manganese and low pH). Pricing with delivery was about half of what my local vendors wanted to charge me.

Steve Rozmiarek
05-22-2014, 3:43 PM
Softener by itself will make the tap water taste funny, IMHO. Your culligan man will be really happy to sell you a reverse osmosis system that fixes that too.

Ryan Mooney
05-22-2014, 5:01 PM
Last house had horribly hard water. We had a culligan rental that we had interhited from the previous owners. It was old and ate salt like it was going out of style. We asked them about an upgrade to a newer model and they wanted to charge us full price retail for the unit plus the monthly rental/service charge (which didn't include salt so I'm still not sure what we were paying the monthly fee for..) so I just bought a new unit from the local home depot for half the price. Worked way better (largely due to not being 10 years old and having the membrane starting to clog I'm sure but also newer membrane technology) and used about 1/10 as much salt as the old one. Not saying not to use a provider but they aren't all that hard to put in yourself if you're even 1/4 handy (I'm not quite half handy when it comes to plumbing ;)).

I put in a small RO system under the sink because - yes - the post softener water is salty and how salty is more or less directly proportional to how hard it was (I didn't measure it but I could taste it so that was to salty for me, not that that is very scientific - probably still to high even if most folks can't taste it).

Some folks put in a dedicated kitchen line bypassing the softener which is probably in the long run cheaper than the ro system but your pots and pans (and especially tea kettles) will still get scale buildup as will the line and tap to the kitchen so if you go that route it would probably be good to a) use a dedicated line for drinking/cooking water and b) have it so you can replace it in 10 years or so if it gets clogged up (that is under a slab would be problematic in the long run).

You can remove a lot of the scale on kitchen equipment with a vinegar soak/wash (hotter is better) or oxalic acid (liquid bar keepers friend, not recommended for glassware unless you want it etched) or beer line cleaning solutions if those fail (dilute BLC followed by dilute ALC followed by a mild basic neautralizing solution like baking soda+water: http://www.micromatic.com/draft-keg-beer-edu/importance-beer-line-cleaning-aid-72.html - and read the MSDS/instructions on the bottle, these aren't kids toys).

I want to believe in the saltless units.. but .. I can't :D

Mike Chance in Iowa
05-22-2014, 5:18 PM
I found this explanation (http://idahowatersolutions.com/water-softeners/the-truth-salt-vs-salt-free-water-softeners/)of salt based and no-salt based water conditioners. Interesting reading.

Here's (http://www.merleswater.com/blog/bid/215521/Why-I-Wouldn-t-Buy-A-Saltless-Water-Softener)another view.


The first link is a little mis-leading. It implies that salt-based water softeners only run on electronic metered valves. Kinetico systems as well as other brands do not need electricity to run.

This topic has come up before on this list and the consensus is most people are happy with their softener no matter what brand they choose. We have had a Kinetico for about 15 years now and we love it. It has moved with us to the rental and it will move again to our future home. 40 lb bags of salt for the softener is are easy to find at many local hardware & feed stores, as well as HD stores.

Chris Padilla
05-22-2014, 8:16 PM



These all provide some interesting reading and perspective. They might be worth your time. I recently spend some decent dollars having my water independently tested. Interesting results but the bottom line is that my old Rainsoft w/s is still working all right. I might go with Kinetico's K5 RO unit one of these days for drinking water. Most folks who have Kineticos tend to love them but you are more or less married to your local rep as they do not overlap rep boundaries. It is an "interesting" business model that Kinetico uses.

Larry Frank
05-22-2014, 9:38 PM
Like others, I have bad water with iron, manganese, sulfur and it is very hard. We had two units put in to solve the problem. The first was an air induction filter. Basically, it uses air to oxidize the iron, manganese and sulfur out of the water and then it goes through a filter bed to remove the solids. The filter back washes itself every night. It takes out almost all of those bad actors.

After this unit, we have a pretty standard water softener which takes out the hardness. The advantage of the air induction filter is that because it takes out the iron, we do not have to use the expensive salt which has an extra chemical to take the iron oxide off the resin pellets in the softener. The iron will build up around the resin and cause it to not work as well and may cause it to deteriorate.

Both or our units made by a company called Aqua, have removable heads on them. If there is a problem, I can take the head off, take it to our local company and he exchanges it for a rebuilt unit for less than $100. This is pretty good as most service calls these days cost a minimum of $75.

We also have a reverse osmosis unit that we use for drinking water and coffee makers.

Ole Anderson
05-23-2014, 8:10 AM
Our water is fairly hard, but I hate the "slippery water' feel you get with fully softened water, especially when showering. So I plumbed my system to soften only the hot water. That way the dishwasher and hot water heater gets fully softened water and I get a nice blend for showering.

Rich Engelhardt
05-23-2014, 9:17 AM
Lots of folks opt for the cheap solution, a whole house filter, until they find out it doesn't workThen again - they just might work fine.

I stuck a cheap whole house filter in to get rid of the horrible warm weather smell and taste our water has.
A bonus was, it greatly reduced deposits and stains in and on fixtures.

The effectiveness of one of the cheap whole house filters all depends on the water going into them.
I'm sure a softener would work better - but - what we have now is fine, so, better would be purely subjective.

In our case, it would be money wasted because a cheap (under $50.00) whole house filter works fine.

Brian Elfert
05-23-2014, 12:17 PM
I have a Kinetico water softener. What I did was buy a used one on Craigslist for about $100 and then paid $600 or $700 to have the local Kinetico dealer refurbish the unit. The dealer also put the right disk in for the water in my city.

I did have an issue the other day where the unit was stuck in recharge mode and dumping water down the drain. It wasn't stuck for more than a day or two since I had been in there two days before. I didn't try to fix it since I was pulling the softener out as I am moving and taking the softener with me.

Jim Matthews
05-23-2014, 4:28 PM
I'm no expert, but I would be suspicious of anything that doesn't have an anode immersed in the line somewhere.

The idea that "sympathetic vibrations" can effectively keep Calcium carbonate or free Iron in solution sounds a little Deepak Chopra about the process.
I've seen good results with a sacrificial anode keeping hot water tank clears, but a simple descaling bath in CLR for fixtures
is a proven solution for this kind of problem where it most obviously occurs - at the fixtures.

The video presented above makes it appear that there is some kind of "hardening of the arteries" closing down the cold water pipes in the average home.

That might be stretching the truth, more than a little.



FYI - We're on a well, with a softener installed, on bypass since 2008.
No fixture failures, since.