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  #1  
Old 03-07-2009, 08:39 PM
GameHat GameHat is offline
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Water Softener ran for two years without salt - does this matter?

I just moved into a condo - it has been unoccupied for about two years.

I'm wondering about the water softener. It runs once every 24 hours.

There's been no salt in the brine tank this whole time. I've refilled it, but I wonder if running without salt for two years has overloaded or scaled the resin beads with calcium/magnesium to the point where the standard salt water wash doesn't clean them.

The water does seem to be ok - soap lathers, dishes get clean in the dishwasher, etc.

Opinions?
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  #2  
Old 03-07-2009, 09:32 PM
GaryM GaryM is online now
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I've got a water softener in my house. I'm guessing that if the condo was unoccupied for two years that not much water actually flowed through the unit. Yeah it back washed and all, but if it seems to be working OK you may be in the clear. Take a sample from the line before the unit, and another downstream of the unit and have them tested.

If the unit really cleans itself every 24 hours, you might be better off to replace it with one that recharges based on how much water has actually been softened by the unit. Recharging every 24 hours seems, on the surface anyway, to be a waste of salt and water.
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  #3  
Old 03-07-2009, 09:51 PM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Might check with your water supplyer how hard the tap water still is. Many water companies have centrally started to soften the water in the last years.
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  #4  
Old 03-07-2009, 10:13 PM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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Originally Posted by Maastricht View Post
Might check with your water supplyer how hard the tap water still is. Many water companies have centrally started to soften the water in the last years.
Man, I hope that doesn't come to Chicago. Whenever I've had to take a shower in "soft" water, I have to keep scrubbing and rinsing trying to get rid of the soapy feeling.

My brother, the Master Plumber, hates water softeners, but for a different reason. I'll have to double-check with him, but apparently the sodium (or potassium) ions that replace the calcium or magnesium ions in the "softened" water are more corrosive than non-softened water. He's of the opinion that they eat water heaters.
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  #5  
Old 03-07-2009, 10:17 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
My brother, the Master Plumber, hates water softeners, but for a different reason. I'll have to double-check with him, but apparently the sodium (or potassium) ions that replace the calcium or magnesium ions in the "softened" water are more corrosive than non-softened water. He's of the opinion that they eat water heaters.
I've heard that from other sources as well. I may have even heard the suggestion that you should get the hot water supply from before the softener, or at least change your anode ever two or three years instead of every 5 or 6 years.
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  #6  
Old 03-07-2009, 10:56 PM
GameHat GameHat is offline
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I've heard that from other sources as well. I may have even heard the suggestion that you should get the hot water supply from before the softener, or at least change your anode ever two or three years instead of every 5 or 6 years.
Hm...

From an industrial standpoint I can say with certainty that calcium forms a scale on water pipes, decreasing flow.

Not sure how that would balance against an increased corrosivity of a sodium solution.
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  #7  
Old 03-08-2009, 11:41 AM
Carson O'Genic Carson O'Genic is offline
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It would be a good idea to test the water your softener produces vs. water upstream. Unless paying for and wasting resources suits you! The things that will impede the zeolite are chlorine and iron in excess. If you have municipal water those may be controlled below concern level.
If you are not the original purchaser or tenant, the service flow rate may not be optimal for your use. Backwashing can use LOTS of water.

Water heaters are longer lived served by softened water. Hardness minerals precipitate and act as insulators and corrosion elements and eventually, cloggers. That's if your anode doesn't give out first. I suppose an argument could be made that sodium enhances electrolytic properties.
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  #8  
Old 03-08-2009, 11:43 AM
Goblinboy Goblinboy is offline
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So on one hand you get more corrosive water that eats up your hot water elements faster or you use hard water and fill up your water heater with calcium deposits. It's a lot easier to change elements then to clean out the sludge in the bottom of a full water heater, in my opinion.

This begs the question of how well a water softener can handle 120+ degree water if you put it after the water heater instead. Probably not too well.

As for the op, water tests kits are pretty cheap and can be done at home. Example If your water is still hard after regenerating a few times you'll probably need to replace the resin. That plus changing the softener to regenerate based on flow and not time will probably be expensive enough to make it cheaper to just replace the whole softener. But you might make your money back in time and savings because you use far less salt.
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  #9  
Old 03-08-2009, 12:49 PM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
Man, I hope that doesn't come to Chicago. Whenever I've had to take a shower in "soft" water, I have to keep scrubbing and rinsing trying to get rid of the soapy feeling.

My brother, the Master Plumber, hates water softeners, but for a different reason. I'll have to double-check with him, but apparently the sodium (or potassium) ions that replace the calcium or magnesium ions in the "softened" water are more corrosive than non-softened water. He's of the opinion that they eat water heaters.

That soapy feeling is clean skin. Hard water and soap leave a soap scum on surfaces. Soften water and soap can be rinsed off leaving clean skin. Which is smooth
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  #10  
Old 03-08-2009, 03:39 PM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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If the softener is regenerating every 24 hours, that sounds wrong. That is unless it is extreamly small.

Here is what I would do. either get a test kit see post above. Or a simpletest kit is a small baby food bottle, and dish water soap. The soap needs to be soap and detergent.

Fill the jar 1/4 with water put 2 drops of soap in the water, put the lid on and shake. You should get some suds bubbles. A lot means soft water a few means a hard.

Regenerate the unit. After regeneration, Test before the unit and after. Before gives you a standard and an indication is the raw water hard. If the unit test out as soft good, if not you may need to get a test kit or different soap. Change the regeneration time setting on the unit so it will not regenerate.

If the unit test out soft. Test the unit daily until it no longer tests soft. Note how many days it produced soft water. Then set the softener to regenerate accordingly.
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  #11  
Old 03-08-2009, 06:16 PM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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Originally Posted by Snnipe 70E View Post
That soapy feeling is clean skin.
No, that soapy feeling is a soapy feeling. If I wished to feel soapy, I'd not rinse the soap off and leave the soap on my skin. I prefer not feeling soapy, therefore I rinse the soap off my skin. I know I have all the soap off my skin when my skin no longer feels soapy.

Quote:
Hard water and soap leave a soap scum on surfaces. Soften water and soap can be rinsed off leaving clean skin. Which is smooth
You can believe whatever you wish. Eventually, with enough scrubbing, I'm able to get the soapy feeling off - it just takes twice to three times as long as rinsing with non-"softened" water.
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  #12  
Old 03-09-2009, 12:58 AM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Originally Posted by Goblinboy View Post
As for the op, water tests kits are pretty cheap and can be done at home. Example
Yes, but it is even simpler to ask your water co. They should have a website with a gizmo where you fill in your zipcode and they tell you your water hardness.
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  #13  
Old 03-09-2009, 02:24 AM
Mudshark Mudshark is offline
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Originally Posted by Snnipe 70E View Post
That soapy feeling is clean skin. Hard water and soap leave a soap scum on surfaces. Soften water and soap can be rinsed off leaving clean skin. Which is smooth
I hate soft water. I've grown used to knowing how my skin/hair react to hard water, and soft water just confuses me.

I had a friend who moved into a house that sat for almost a year and had no problems with the water softener. If it doesn't seem to be broken, I wouldnt worry.
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  #14  
Old 03-09-2009, 07:59 PM
Goblinboy Goblinboy is offline
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Originally Posted by Maastricht View Post
Yes, but it is even simpler to ask your water co. They should have a website with a gizmo where you fill in your zipcode and they tell you your water hardness.
I meant to test if the softener is working. Blah. I didn't think of the simple solution of washing in it and seeing how it feels. I test water hardness at work regularly and am used to getting out the whole test kit, beakers and chemicals. That's a little bit overkill for the op.
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  #15  
Old 03-10-2009, 01:18 AM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
No, that soapy feeling is a soapy feeling. If I wished to feel soapy, I'd not rinse the soap off and leave the soap on my skin. I prefer not feeling soapy, therefore I rinse the soap off my skin. I know I have all the soap off my skin when my skin no longer feels soapy.


You can believe whatever you wish. Eventually, with enough scrubbing, I'm able to get the soapy feeling off - it just takes twice to three times as long as rinsing with non-"softened" water.

In soft water soap disolves and goes in solution easy to rinse off. If you scrub enough you leave the surface rough and abrated, therefore it does not fill smooth. If you do not like the smooth feeling try waswhing with tri sodioum phosphate you will not feel soapy. It is simple chemistry,
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  #16  
Old 03-10-2009, 01:26 AM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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Originally Posted by Mudshark View Post
I hate soft water. I've grown used to knowing how my skin/hair react to hard water, and soft water just confuses me.

.
That is a logic that I can understand.

Me I am the other way. Grew up on a ranch with pure spring water with less than one grain hardness. Went to college where we used water from the evaporators. then I lived the next 5 years with hard water. Spent a weekend back at the ranch
after showering there came home and got a water softner. I can tell when I am away if the place where I am staying has hard water, or if I have gotten behind in adding salt to the softener. I get out of the shower felling like I need to get back in and rinse off, problem is it is hard to get the soap scuzz off.
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  #17  
Old 03-10-2009, 01:27 AM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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Originally Posted by Goblinboy View Post
I meant to test if the softener is working. Blah. I didn't think of the simple solution of washing in it and seeing how it feels. I test water hardness at work regularly and am used to getting out the whole test kit, beakers and chemicals. That's a little bit overkill for the op.
Ya I do that to, but sometime ya have to just KISS it.
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  #18  
Old 03-10-2009, 08:22 AM
DogMom DogMom is offline
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Originally Posted by Snnipe 70E View Post
In soft water soap disolves and goes in solution easy to rinse off. If you scrub enough you leave the surface rough and abrated, therefore it does not fill smooth. If you do not like the smooth feeling try waswhing with tri sodioum phosphate you will not feel soapy. It is simple chemistry,
There's "smooth" and then there's slimy. I don't like feeling slimy, so I continue to rinse off with the water until my skin no longer feels like I've been the track for a snail race.

And you're kidding, right? WASH with TSP?
Here's the MSDS for Trisodium Phosphate.
I'll continue to "abrate" [sic] my skin getting that nasty soap residue off, rather than cause permanent damage to it with Phosphoric Acid. No way would I let that stuff near my skin. I used to do custodial / janitorial work for a high school, and TSP is the stuff we added to the floor cleaner and wax stripper solutions when we couldn't get the old layers of wax to come up with normal procedures. Absolutely NOT going to use that to wash with.

Although, I suppose you're correct in that washing with TSP will remove the "soapy" feeling. Along with my skin.
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  #19  
Old 03-10-2009, 09:19 AM
Cardinal Cardinal is offline
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You may have seen joke warnings about the dangers of water. You can dilute or concentrate any soluble chemical. Does anyone have a line on what concentration one would shower with? I'm betting it's not the one DogMom used to strip wax.
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  #20  
Old 03-10-2009, 12:01 PM
Solfy Solfy is offline
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Originally Posted by DogMom View Post
There's "smooth" and then there's slimy. I don't like feeling slimy, so I continue to rinse off with the water until my skin no longer feels like I've been the track for a snail race.

And you're kidding, right? WASH with TSP?
Here's the MSDS for Trisodium Phosphate.
I'll continue to "abrate" [sic] my skin getting that nasty soap residue off, rather than cause permanent damage to it with Phosphoric Acid. No way would I let that stuff near my skin. I used to do custodial / janitorial work for a high school, and TSP is the stuff we added to the floor cleaner and wax stripper solutions when we couldn't get the old layers of wax to come up with normal procedures. Absolutely NOT going to use that to wash with.

Although, I suppose you're correct in that washing with TSP will remove the "soapy" feeling. Along with my skin.
I think the "wash with TSP" was not a serious suggestion. TSP != phosphoric acid any more than table salt equals chlorine gas. Further, if you're that scared of phosphoric acid, do not consume soda. TSP solutions will not dissolve your flesh off your bones, but it will handily strip all the oils out of the surface and leave your hands begging for moisturizer.
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  #21  
Old 03-10-2009, 11:38 PM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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Originally Posted by Solfy View Post
I. TSP solutions will not dissolve your flesh off your bones, but it will handily strip all the oils out of the surface and leave your hands begging for moisturizer.

Good some one got my pun.



I apoligise I know I should not have done that, but I could not help myself
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