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Old 02-07-2008, 09:05 PM   #21
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Our well water hardness was 34 grains/gal. The amount of salt that goes into the water when you soften it is directly proportional to the hardness of the original water, so our water is definitely is loaded with NaCl. Probably not good for the appliances, but I also saw what the scale did to the old water heater, which wasn't pretty.

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samclem, my situation is close to yours. No coliform (that I know of, at least not when they tested when we bought the place, no reason to think that has changed). We have the softener, and RO unit, but no filters after that.

What pressure do you take your RO up to? I wonder if the extra efficiency is worth the cost/complexity?

-ERD50
The bladder in the empty tank is filled to 7psi. When it is full of water it is at 38 PSI. Our pressure from the well pump varies from 50-70 PSI (which is not very high), and RO systems with low input pressure can waste a lot of water, particularly if the pressure in the output tank is kept reasonably high. That's the main reason I bought the permeate pump--it works like a charm, is very simple and robust, and drastically reduces the amount of waste water.

ERD50, your way sounds just fine, its just a little more bother than I wanted. Plus, I wanted to be able to feed the fridge (cold water and ice maker), so I needed a pressurized source of drinking water.

BTW, if you filter/RO, etc your water going to the icemaker, be sure that the end-product flow rate (pressure) remains fairly high. A solenoid in the icemaker has to keep the water valve open until the tray fills, and if this takes too long the valve will die an early death. Then, it's back to the ice cube trays . . .

If Lindsay Lohan tasted our drinking water she'd give up that fast-lane existence and stay with us forever. And I think she'd be expensive to keep.
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:21 PM   #22
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It looks like this thread contains several topics related to water treatment. I would look separately at water filtration (removal of insoluble particles), softening (removal of "hardness ions") and purification (including reverse osmosis) because these are different tasks being used for treating different water conditions with different final outcomes.

I agree that only a comprehensive water test can give an idea about what kind of water treatment is required.

P.S. Reverse osmosis and distillation of drinking water remove calcium, fluoride and all micro-elements required for normal organism functioning. Of course there are situations when reverse osmosis (or distillation) is the best option, but I would not consider it the top choice for all households.
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:26 PM   #23
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Then, it's back to the ice cube trays . . .
Have always had ice cube trays. I never wanted to pay extra for the ice maker, run some plumbing to it and then fix it when it broke.

Ice makers always struck me as a solution looking for a problem. But that's just me, I guess.

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Old 02-07-2008, 09:28 PM   #24
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Fun water pressure story...

I tested our water pressure when we moved in, a steady 65 or so. Most household plumbing systems are rated for 60 and many homes are in the 40-60 range. A fair amount of stuff fails when faced with 80+psi.

So I went to test it again a few weeks ago. My pressure meter has a current and high pressure mark needle. When I went back out to check it, the high pressure mark was at 140.

Cant be. So I put it on an interior faucet and left it for an hour. High pressure mark was 160.

So I know two things now. Something changed in my plumbing and the t&p valve on my water heater is either not working or its sticking and not releasing until somewhere between 140 and 160psi.

Make a long story short, these homes have a backflow preventer that keeps water in the interior plumbing from flowing back into the public water system, so they're closed systems. Cold water being heated by the water heater created thermal expansion in the closed system and increased the pressure.

A lot of plumbers/builders offset this problem by using a thermal expansion tank on the water heater. Turns out this guy used a cheap valve on the toilet in the most remote bathroom to offpressure the system when it needed it. Which I scoffed at as a foolish economy when I replaced the toilet with a new one with a high quality valve in it.

I guess its a good thing that I used a good stainless steel line on my refrigerator instead of the plastic one that came with it.

Turns out this isnt an uncommon practice. Save yourself the $35 for an expansion tank and pick up a $15 toilet valve in exchange for the $5 one, and the problem wont appear for a good 10-15 years until someone replaces the valve. Then you've got a good chance of doing a bunch more plumbing work.

One guy that spent a few months trying to figure out what was going on lost his whole house water filter casing (the tenuous link to this thread, in case anyone was wondering), flooding his garage, then his fridge water line which made a mess out of the rest of his house.
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:30 PM   #25
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Ice makers always struck me as a solution looking for a problem. But that's just me, I guess.
Clearly someone who doesnt have enough parties.

Or who has never been caught putting back a half full ice tray by their pregnant wife who is in NO MOOD FOR THAT RIGHT NOW!
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:44 PM   #26
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Have always had ice cube trays. I never wanted to pay extra for the ice maker, run some plumbing to it and then fix it when it broke.

Ice makers always struck me as a solution looking for a problem. But that's just me, I guess.

-ERD50
What CFB said. Hey, I agree with you about the folly of icemakers. They are among the most repair-prone items in any home.

My wife has heard this and cares not.

Face it--if men REALLY ran the world there would be no market for draperies, dust ruffles, or deodorant. The interior walls of our homes would be covered in ceramic tile and or floors would be concrete with a floor drain in the middle. "Clean up" = hose the place down.

It's no wonder that there are more men than women in prison. The decor suits us.
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:51 PM   #27
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Face it--if men REALLY ran the world there would be no market for draperies, dust ruffles, or deodorant. The interior walls of our homes would be covered in ceramic tile and or floors would be concrete with a floor drain in the middle. "Clean up" = hose the place down.
The Holy Grail: the self-cleaning (or at least hose-downable) dwelling.
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:54 PM   #28
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Clearly someone who doesnt have enough parties.
How does that play into it? Ice maker has a reserve of ice, and I have a reserve of ice. What's the difference?

-ERD50
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:15 PM   #29
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Ice maker keeps making more when you're unconscious on the floor.

When I was in my early 20's and had a bunch of roommates we actually rented a house from a guy who owned a tile company and it was all ceramic tile on the floors and up to about the waistline on the walls.

Turned out to be a pretty good house for us.

He should have put the tile about 2' higher up though. I didnt expect or receive any refund on my security deposit.
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:48 PM   #30
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Or who has never been caught putting back a half full ice tray by their pregnant wife who is in NO MOOD FOR THAT RIGHT NOW!


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Old 02-07-2008, 11:35 PM   #31
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And replaces it with salt.
I guess you could use one of the potassium models.
Only thing I could think was the cause of my early appliance demise (which were all corrosion related) was salt water.
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Our well water hardness was 34 grains/gal. The amount of salt that goes into the water when you soften it is directly proportional to the hardness of the original water, so our water is definitely is loaded with NaCl. Probably not good for the appliances, but I also saw what the scale did to the old water heater, which wasn't pretty.
Don't know, but the evil sodium chloride ions would have to be pretty hyperactive for that corrosion. I've always thought potassium chloride was a fear gimmick to boost profit margins. I've even seen bottled-water companies claim that ingesting "all that sodium" would cause blood-pressure problems.

Salt water (ocean) is 35,000 ppm NaCl. "Normal saline" solution is 0.9% or 9000 ppm. 34 grains (pretty hard water) equates to about 500 ppm. Our homes have been running 50-80 ppm, which admittedly is minor-league hardness but still puts out an impressive amount of scale if not controlled.

I'm not sure where a solution no longer tastes salty, but I bet it's not far below 9000 ppm. And I'm not sure that saline solution is all that corrosive, but I guess we don't see it splashed around hospitals & clinics that often.

I don't know if the appliances would have rusted with or without the salt in the water, and even if there'd be a difference in the corrosion rates...
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Old 02-08-2008, 09:45 AM   #32
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Well see, theres where I had comparison and control groups. I had the only water softener in the court, the same WH and the same appliances (except for the washing machine). My WH rusted out around the nipples (uh oh) and started leaking. Never was able to get the rods out to see what was left.

Perhaps the salt caused corrosion of the anodes faster than the minerals it replaced?

The washing machine was pretty obvious. Turn it on and the first quarter cup of water it dumped into the tub was rusty.

We DID have reallllly hideously hard water though. Plus the arsenic and nitrates.
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:01 AM   #33
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We DID have reallllly hideously hard water though. Plus the arsenic and nitrates.
How many grains hardness? I'm with Nords, it's hard to imagine the added ppM of the sodium that replaces the minerals being enough to be corrosive. If your water was *that* salty, that means that your neighbors water was so hard that they would have had mineral deposits building up big time. It's hard to believe that they wouldn't have water softeners in that case.

Maybe your softener was malfunctioning? Maybe it wasn't doing a proper rinse, and you were getting salt residue in the water? Or the one-way valve to the brine tank was leaking, and it was sucking up brine when it shouldn't? Most of the salt get rinsed away in the 'purge' cycle.

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Old 02-08-2008, 12:44 PM   #34
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Could be any number of things.

The water was hard, the people were poor, and most of them just washed in/drank what came out of the tap. The hardness was 370-380ppm per the water supplier.

The water tasted great after you knocked the chlorine out of it though.

Only thing I can say without going off and reading about something that isnt my problem anymore, is that people with hypertension and salt sensitivities are cautioned against drinking softened water. Sounds like theres some salt in there of at least minor consequence.
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Old 02-08-2008, 01:00 PM   #35
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Well see, theres where I had comparison and control groups. I had the only water softener in the court, the same WH and the same appliances (except for the washing machine). My WH rusted out around the nipples (uh oh) and started leaking. Never was able to get the rods out to see what was left.
Plus the arsenic and nitrates.
Yummy. No wonder you moved!

I'd just never heard of a water conditioner blamed for that before, and if it was an issue then you'd figure that it'd be huge fear marketing exploited by the potassium (or RO or carbon filter or magic magnets) guys.

I wonder if the rusty water was in the street pipe before it got to you, or if it was rusting after it left the water conditioner. No problems here with two water conditioners, one running for over a decade and the other for nearly five years. But we can only handle the city's dissolved iron (rusty water) by adding Iron Out.

Maybe your water just didn't have enough sugarcane/pineapple pesticides or golf-course fertilizers in it to prevent the corrosion...
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Old 02-08-2008, 01:06 PM   #36
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Oh pshaw. We had up to 19ppm of arsenic and up to 23ppm of nitrates in there.

Hmm, I see the water also naturally had 60-70ppm of salt by default.
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Old 02-08-2008, 01:25 PM   #37
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Could be any number of things.

The water was hard, the people were poor, and most of them just washed in/drank what came out of the tap. The hardness was 370-380ppm per the water supplier.

The water tasted great after you knocked the chlorine out of it though.

Only thing I can say without going off and reading about something that isnt my problem anymore, is that people with hypertension and salt sensitivities are cautioned against drinking softened water. Sounds like theres some salt in there of at least minor consequence.
My water softener system has an additional filter and spigot on the kitchen sink for desalted, dechlorinated water for drinking/cooking.
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Old 02-08-2008, 08:14 PM   #38
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My water softener system has an additional filter and spigot on the kitchen sink for desalted, dechlorinated water for drinking/cooking.
Hmmm. A filter (charcoal, etc) can get rid of the chlorine, but no filter can get rid of the salt. There are three possibilities:

1) The drinking water comes from the water softener, goes through the filter, and still has the salt in it when it comes out of the little spigot.

2) The drinking water goes through the softener and then through a reverse osmosis system to get rid of the salt. If so, you'd probably know it (the RO membrane needs to be replaced every few years at the cost of 30-60 bucks, and there would be a separate drain line going into your pipes to take away the permeate. there would also be a approx 3 gallon pressurized tank somewhere. This stuff is unlikely to escape your notice, so I'm guessing this isn't what you've got).

3) The drinking water doesn't go through the water softener. If so, it would still be "hard", but a charcoal filter would be taking out the chlorine and potentially other nasty stuff. Water like this can taste very good, and would probably be the healthiest alternative of the three.
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