Frequently Asked Questions
These are the most common questions asked regarding water softening.
Depending on water usage, a typical family of four will use about 1 bag of salt per month. We recommend using solar salt crystals (typically the BLUE bag). The pellets (typically YELLOW or GREEN bag) will tend to develop a thick substance at the bottom of the salt tank and eventually clog your softener if you do not clean your salt tank once a year. You may also use Potassium Chloride in water softeners however it is very expensive. This will cost $35/bag versus $7/bag for salt.
Yes, you can use Potassium Chloride. Please read the label before using. Some people with certain health issues are advised to not use Potassium. It is also very expensive, $30/bag on average.
Softening water is also called Ion-exchange. It trades calcium (and other cations) for sodium. While calcium sticks and builds up on plumbing, sodium will wash or wipe away. For every Grain Per Gallon of hardness, it will put 7.68 mg/L of Sodium in the finished water. Most softened water has less sodium in a Liter of water than what is in a measuring cup of white milk.
No, your softener will regenerate according to how many gallons of water you use. On average, most softeners will regenerate every 1,000 to 3,000 gallons if sized properly. Most softeners do have day overrides if needed for extreme cases.
There are no documents showing softeners are harmful to septic systems. We put more harmful chemicals into septic systems from doing laundry alone.
Over time any buildup in your plumbing will slowly dissolve away. Hard water stains on fixtures will need to be cleaned off with some form of cleaner, weak acid such as citric acid or vinegar. Pumice stones work great on porcelain. Dishes and silverware should clean up in a wash or 2.
If the plumbing in the home is of age and the water is very hard it will have calcium built up in it. Once the water is softened, it will start cleaning the plumbing immediately. Sometimes instead of dissolving slowly, chunks or flakes will break off and clog aerators. Just remove the aerator or shower head and clean it out. This usually only happens once and does not return.
There are a few reasons this happens:
1. You are still using too much soap. When you had hard water the Calcium in the water was absorbing most of your soap and not allowing it to create suds.
2. Your skin is no longer clogging with Calcium and other minerals. This allows your natural oils to come to the surface of your skin. Anti-perspirants are made with Calcium so your pores clog and do not allow oils and perspiration through. The absence of Calcium will also help with dry skin in the winter months.
3. The lack of Calcium also eliminates friction on the skin. No friction allows a smooth, slick feeling.
Most water softeners should have a bypass installed on it or a 3-valve bypass built into the plumbing. You can bypass the softener and then put it back into service when finished. Just remember that when it is bypassed the entire home will be without treated water.
The short answer is yes, you can drink soft water. For every Grain per Gallon of hardness in the water the softener will add approximately 8 mg/L of sodium to the water. For example, if your water is 12 GPG hard the softener will add about 96 mg/L of Sodium. There are 120 mg/L of Sodium in One measuring cup of white milk. In most cases this Sodium level is low. There are some waters where the hardness is 20 GPG or higher. With these waters the taste will change to a point where it is not very desirable any longer. We recommend a Reverse Osmosis drinking system to remove most of the Sodium along with other contaminants and will leave your drinking and cooking water tasting very crisp and clean. It is always best however, to have a professional take lab samples and you can take the results to a doctor to ask his/her opinion.