Water conditioning systems
#11
  
Our home is in a rural area; well water and septic system.  The water tastes fine and we have never had an issue with smell, brown water, rust, or sediment.  We use a whole-house filter at the entry point into the house, but that's all.  To my wife and I, there's been no difference in taste from the city system at the old house.

Like everyone else in this region, we have hard water and it leaves scale all over the place.  We would like to control or eliminate the scale.

There's a water softener in the basement, but it hasn't been used for many years, dating to way before we bought the place.  In our previous home, we also had a water softener; it, too, sat unused for many years prior to the time we bought that place.  My wife and I have never used a water softener before, and we're not keen to start now.  I don't like the thought of buying and schlepping the salt and certainly don't like the prospect of dumping all that salt in my septic system.  Also not keen on pumping all that water out of the ground and then dumping to recharge the salt-based systems.  We'd also end up installing additional water conditioning to deal with the taste of salt-softened water.

I have been looking at alternative water conditioning systems.  I saw this one on "Ask This Old House":

Nuvo Water Conditioner

I've also been looking at one of these:

Aquasana

Does anybody on the forum have experience with either of these systems or similar non-salt based conditioners?

These things are expensive, particularly the Nuvo system, for what it is.  There may be ways to deal with that and achieve the desired result.

I'm not looking for a debate of salt-based softeners versus these systems; I've been to many pages and read many pros and cons.  I have a basic understanding of the difference between the technologies.  I've read scores of reviews, and they seem to be all over the place.  What's missing from these debates and reviews is the ability to explore the circumstances around particular aspects of the systems and how they're installed.  The sites I've found are usually based in pushing whatever the site operator is selling.

Thanks in advance...
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#12
  Re: Water conditioning systems by WxMan (Our home is in a rur...)
We have a water softener and are on a septic---no problems in 10 years.

You  can use potassium chloride in place of sodium chloride. The potassium costs a bit more, but will be less than the cost of the other systems overall.




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#13
  Re: Water conditioning systems by WxMan (Our home is in a rur...)
I'm in the same position so mostly just here to get more educated.

However, in those saltless systems, it appears they somehow chemically alter the metal ions so they do not cause any problems within the plumbing. But, the ions are still there. So, if you are drinking the water, how does your body deal with this? It might taste better and protect your pipes and reduce shower cleaning, but is it more healthy?

Not a chemist, don't know.

Also, with these systems, if you somehow end up with a silt problem in your well (draw it down to much or whatever) it looks like you will kill a $600 filter before its rated volume is reached. With a salt system, regen should correct it. If not, new media is way cheaper. My well has a lot of silt and we use a filter for that, but if you forget and it gets blocked, it ruptures. The renters did that. clogged up things like the ice maker.
Rocket Science is more fun when you actually have rockets. 

"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government." -- Patrick Henry
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#14
  Re: Water conditioning systems by WxMan (Our home is in a rur...)
(10-27-2018, 01:33 PM)Mr_Mike Wrote: I'm in the same position so mostly just here to get more educated.  

However, in those saltless systems, it appears they somehow chemically alter the metal ions so they do not cause any problems within the plumbing.  But, the ions are still there.  So, if you are drinking the water, how does your body deal with this?  It might taste better and protect your pipes and reduce shower cleaning, but is it more healthy?  

Not a chemist, don't know.  

Also, with these systems, if you somehow end up with a silt problem in your well (draw it down to much or whatever) it looks like you will kill a $600 filter before its rated volume is reached.  With a salt system, regen should correct it.  If not, new media is way cheaper.  My well has a lot of silt and we use a filter for that, but if you forget and it gets blocked, it ruptures.  The renters did that.  clogged up things like the ice maker.

We filter the water when coming in and have never had an issue in the 4 1/2 years we've been here.  Our filter has a clear housing so we can keep an eye on it, and we're diligent about timely filter replacement.  Of course, there's no guarantee a sediment problem won't happen in the future.

The Nuvo system conditioner canister is about $90; the Aquasana filter gets real pricey it seems.
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#15
  Re: Water conditioning systems by WxMan (Our home is in a rur...)
Before you go buy a water softener, are you sure your problem is hard water or limited only to hard water? You could very easily have PH issues also or other issues that a water softener won't help.

If I were in your shoes (and I have been), I'd go to home depot and pick up a water test kit. It will give you all the information you need to choose the right system except flow rate. You can test flow rate with a watch and a 5 gallon bucket.


Once I had all that information, I'd go to Ohio Pure Water

and fill in their blanks. Based on your unique requirements they'll recommend a system, sized for you. They mostly sell Fleck equipment so parts are readily available and will drop ship the equipment including media resin to your doorstep. I've installed two systems from them and never had an issue. They are also very responsive if you have questions, even repair or trouble shooting issues. I price shopped the 1st system at the old house and they were about 1/2 the cost of local plumbing suppliers for the same equipment. I didn't think twice about buying from them for the system at this house.
 
"My mortgage self-identifies as a student loan."
... Kizar Sozay


Neil Summers Home Inspections
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#16
  Re: RE: Water conditioning systems by K. L McReynolds (We have a water soft...)
(10-27-2018, 11:49 AM)K. L McReynolds Wrote: We have a water softener and are on a septic---no problems in 10 years.

You  can use potassium chloride in place of sodium chloride. The potassium costs a bit more, but will be less than the cost of the other systems overall.

Isn't the Potassium Chloride product supposed to reduce iron?

In theory, I get it but it only reduces the iron that gets in the brine tank and whatever sticks to the resin media. The problem is that the resin doesn't collect much iron, most of it runs right through with the fresh water. There needs to be something in that tank that collects the iron like greensand. Then it would need a chemical or process that cleans the iron off the greensand during the backwash cycle and disposes it outside the system. Potassium Permanganate does that but it can't mix with salt so you'd need two systems to really make much of a difference cleaning iron out..
 
"My mortgage self-identifies as a student loan."
... Kizar Sozay


Neil Summers Home Inspections
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#17
  Re: Water conditioning systems by WxMan (Our home is in a rur...)
I was born on city water, grew up on well water, was on city water for about 15 years between college and my first two homes, and now I'm back on well water. 

I have a lot of mechanical filtration, especially since the iron is at times very high and the sediment can be rough as well. Silt is a pain and as mentioned will clog up everything - ice makers, water dispensers, you name it. Refrigerators really don't like silty water. A clear housing is nice but not necessary - you can either install pressure gauges before and after to monitor the drop (take note when it's new) or just notice when your home's pressure gets low enough. The thing with silt and sediment, though, is that it comes and goes.

Hard water is generally always there, so you do need to fix it. The scale is bad and will destroy fixtures. What you don't spend on salt you'll either be spending on CLR or replacement fixtures. There is really no good way to deal with it. A salt-based water softener is time-tested. Depending on how bad your water is, you can be refilling your brine tank every month (really, really hard) or every six months (fairly soft already). Is it a pain to buy 300 pounds of salt, lug it into your car or truck, and then down to the tank? Sure. It is. But it's also worth it. I don't know that a salt-free softener will be worth the cost since a salt-based unit is fairly inexpensive.

I have a backwashing unit, and I have it configured as follows:

1) The backwash discharge goes into the sump. I have a Wayne two-pump system with marine battery backup, so I have extra protection against sump failure (since water WILL be in the sump pit).
2) The sump discharge goes through the yard through standard corrugated drain pipe to the edge of my lawn, and then daylights into a rough trench that is in the woods.

It helps if you have 300+ acres of woods, heading downhill, about 20 feet from the edge of your property. Most don't, but then again most are on septic. I should note that discharging a softener into a septic system does not affect it. You are more than free to do this without damaging your septic system.
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#18
  Re: Water conditioning systems by WxMan (Our home is in a rur...)
(10-27-2018, 08:17 AM)WxMan Wrote:   We'd also end up installing additional water conditioning to deal with the taste of salt-softened water.

Salt softened water shouldn't have a taste. The salt doesn't soften the water, the resin beads attract the minerals which softens the water. The salt/brine-wash cycle cleans the minerals off the resin beads. The back-flush cycle cleans the salt off the resin beads and dumps the salt out of the softener so no salt is left in the drinking water. A properly operating system does not add any taste to the water, it removes minerals and any taste from the minerals in the water.

If you are tasting salt in the water, the system isn't functioning properly. The valves should go into by-pass mode when back flushing so you won't have salt in the piping. All the salt should be rinsed completely out of the media tank in the final rinse cycle. But if the piston/valves are leaking, salt will get into the pipes. The salt is only used to clean (back wash) the resin beads (media), it's not supposed to ever mix with the drinking water.

If you taste salt in your drinking water, you have a bad or stuck valve(s) in your valve (piston and seals)head unit. Valves don't last forever and need replacement. Most manufacturers recommend regular replacement every 3 to 5 years. It really depends on your water though. These systems have to be maintained. That's the reason I use Fleck equipment. They use a single piston system with stacked valves and are very easy to replace.

If the valve is good but it's not softening, the venturi jet is clogged or the brine valve is bad. Also very easy to replace. You can just push a 1/16" drill bit through the venturi valve to clean it. There's also a filter screen in that same part of the head. You can either clean it or replace it. Aslo very easy to do. It's a good idea to replace everything so you know you have repaired whatever the problem was. Most people buy and install the entire kit to rebuild the head just to be safe.

This is a video of rebuilding a Fleck head. Some have this mechanical timer and some have a digital timer but the valves are all basically the same. Once the cover is off, they all look the same.



 
"My mortgage self-identifies as a student loan."
... Kizar Sozay


Neil Summers Home Inspections
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#19
  Re: Water conditioning systems by WxMan (Our home is in a rur...)
I have a BS in Chemistry and treated industrial water systems for 15 years.  Unless you know what is in your water, choosing a system is a waste of time.  Get a water analyses.  The cationic resin in in a softener attracts metals and holds them.  Without knowing the concentration of each ion, you cannot compare systems.  50,000 gallons based on what anionic concentration?
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#20
  Re: Water conditioning systems by WxMan (Our home is in a rur...)
Fair enough. Where to get a good water analysis. I'm interested in a breakdown of whatever minerals are in the water as well as pathogens and toxins.

My well is 195 feet of limestone under 5 feet of clay. The "sell you an overpriced filter in your home" guy said my hardness was 24 grains. "Gee that is high!" But couldn't tell me if it was just calcium or had some iron in it. Also could not tell me if I had any bacteria or other pathogens.

When we bought the house, we had a hydrogen sulfide smell. We bleached the well (and all inside plumbing) and that took care of it mostly. Replaced the water heater anodes and that solved the smell. However, we don't know if we still have bacteria that is harmful.

So, I guess I'm asking, "to what level of detail do I need a water analysis and who to do it? I have not been very successful in coming up a comprehensive testing house.
Rocket Science is more fun when you actually have rockets. 

"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government." -- Patrick Henry
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