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 Softener Question
Author: zep (OK)

I have a customer who wants me to replace her existing softener. My advice to her was to first have her water tested since she never has. She may not even need a softener. She will be calling me in the next couple of days with concentrations. What kind of numbers am I looking for in order to determine if she needs one.

If she does need a softener, are there certain numbers that would signal a certain type of softener versus another?

I understand the chemistry behind the situation, but I have little practical experience with the equipment and don't even know where to begin suggestions to her with regards to brands etc...

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 Re: Softener Question
Author: Wheelchair (IL)

I once heard that any fool can perform a hardness test.... But it takes a certified water specialist to determine the residuals in the water that might be harmful, and cause wear and tear on your plumbing over a period of time.
If the water is truly a ground well in an animal farm, or agra farming community, you want to make sure that animal waste and fertilizer is not leeching into the drinking water.

It is important to know the acceptable standards, compared to what is in the drinking water.

I'm hoping Gary, the water expert will chime in on this one.
Best Wishes

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 Re: Softener Question
Author: zep (OK)

Good point Wheelchair. The test is using an EPA kit. I'm having the local university test the TDS. The biological test is being done by the local ag-extension office.

The reason I ask is because she was ready to buy an off the shelf softener at big orange, and my intuition tells me that this is not a great idea :). I know nothing about different brands of softeners, or the bells and whistles she might need.

I suppose I will post the test results in a couple days and that will provide more meat for an answer. I just figured there might be some buzz numbers Gary or whomever use.

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 Re: Softener Question
Author: steve the plumber (FL)

I use a water filter co. . I bring them a water sample and they sell me the right system . You have a system and price for the job. Maybe you should look into your local water filter co. ?

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 Re: Softener Question
Author: zep (OK)

My customer finds the 'local water filter company' to be untrustworthy. She seems to think they might gaff the numbers to sell her stuff :).

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 Re: Softener Question
Author: GSchreiber, CWSVI (MN)

There are no "buzz numbers". A very long time ago those of us in the Water Treatment Industry only tested for hardness, iron and chlorine. Today is a much different story. Today we have to not only, for the Consumer's benefit, look for other things like Nitrates, Arsenic, Perchlorate, Radium, Uranium, Barium and the list goes on. Not only those health related contaminants but also things like Alkalinity, Chlorides, Sulfates, Sodium and that list also goes on.

You need to get as complete an analysis of the water as you can. It sounds like you are on the way to doing that. When you are new to water treatment I like the suggestion made by Steve. Work with a local Water Treamtent Specialist. Not necessary just a "water filter company". Someone who is a Certified Water Specialist, certified by the Water Quality Association (WQA). They will typically advertise that and their business card will have the "CWS" certification indicated on it along with the WQA Logo Seal. You can go to the WQA Web Site at www.wqa.org and do a search there on their "CONSUMER/RESIDENTIAL" page for "Find a Water Professional" in your area. There are about 1,000 certified pro's around the USA. A local Water Treatment Specialist will know of common water problems in their area, what to look for and how to treat the water.

Sometimes just softening the water can aggravate or create other problems that already exist in the local water supplies. The last thing a seller of water treatment systems wants to here from a Customer is "Why didn't you tell me that would happen?". They are not impressed when you say "Well, you just asked for a Water Softener.". Remember "Only Fools Go Where Angels Fear To Tread". That applies to the not so knowledgeable about water treatment Plumber. Don't be afraid to work in concert with a local Water Treatment Specialist. The good ones have good reputations and are Certified.

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 Re: Softener Question
Author: GSchreiber, CWSVI (MN)

Here is a very recent link regarding the WQA:

[www.wqa.org]

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 Re: Softener Question
Author: zep (OK)

That is a good point. I will look into the wqa.org website for someone local that I can get with regarding regional trends. Around here, deep injection processes with oil wells have brought their own unique brand of problems to the local aquifer. My water, frinstance, has been tested and shown to be clean. My neighbors well only 10 acres away, however, is undrinkable from what he says.

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 Re: Softener Question
Author: waukeshaplumbing (WI)

if she had a softener odds are she needs a replacement...

around here everyone on well needs one...so i wouldnt question the need if i got the call...95% of the people here in my area are at 30 grains

I leave it up to them to have it tested...i just make sure the one i install will handle their needs....32 grain is the smallest i install, but since it costs $35 extra to upgrade to the 48 grain- 95% of the people do...so im covered...

you could just look at where the old one was set to....odds are it wont be lower...

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 Re: Softener Question
Author: hj (AZ)

A softener deals with hardness and some filtration. All the rest of it, if there are other problems, requires specialized items to deal with them.

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 Softener Question
Author: Wheelchair (IL)

As an example, our son is looking at property and house on well sourced water. We had a raw sample taken with the following results.

Actual ----------------- EPA Standard


Bacteria 0 cfu ----------------- 0 cfu

E. Coli 0 cfu ----------------- 0 cfu

Turbitdy 0.05 ntu ----------------- 5 ntu

Nitrates
as Nitrogen 12.8 mgl * ----------------- 10.0 mgl

Nitrites BDL mgl ----------------- 1 mgl

PH 7.70 units -------------------- 6.5-8.5 units

Iron BDL mlg ----------------- .3 mgl

Lead BDL ------------------ 15 ppb

Alkalinity 212 ppm * ------------------- 80-180 ppm

Cloride 29.6 mgl ----------------- 250 mgl

Color 5 cu ------------------ 15 cu

Copper 0.005 mgl ----------------- 1.3 mgl

Hardness 296 ppm * ------------------ 50 ppm

The house was equipped with a Sears- Kenmore Series 350 Water Softener
that is less then 2 years old.

We will be working with a CWS to determine what can be done, what should be done to bring the RAW numbers more into the EPA Standards and what it will take. No sample of the treated water was taken, to date.


Best Wishes



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: Softener Question
Author: PBwrencher (WI)

"Sometimes just softening the water can aggravate or create other problems that already exist in local water supplies."

So very true, all installers should be aware.:)

4209,17+2

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 Re: Softener Question
Author: zep (OK)

That is not the case here. There are a lot of people that have softeners that do not necessarily need them.

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