Water softener suggestions needed

dekeoboeMarch 23, 2012

We are in NC and will be moving into our new construction house next week. Our well is 525 ft deep and the flow rate is approximately 2 gallons per minute. Ten days ago we received the microbiology test report stating both total coliform and E. coli are absent. Today we received the Inorganic chemistry report and, of course, we have hard water. I would appreciate suggestions on how we should treat the water. There are only two of us in the house, there are three bathrooms and we have no jacuzzi or hot tub.

Since we haven't moved in yet, we haven't been drinking the water, so we don't know how it tastes. And, even though the water is hard, my husband says it suds up just fine.

Here are the test results:

Arsenic Barium Cadmium Calcium 66 mg/L

Chloride 6.50 mg/L

Chromium Copper Fluoride Iron 0.19 mg/L

Lead Magnesium 8 mg/L

Manganese Mercury Nitrate Nitrite PH 7.9

Selenium Silver Sodium 13.00 mg/L

Sulfate Total Alkalinity 196 mg/L

Total Hardness 200 mg/L

Zinc Thanks for your assistance.

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justalurker

SFR of only 2 gpm is marginal for regeneration of even a small softener.

If you are SURE that the SFR of your well is only 2 gpm see what you can do to improve that. With only 2 gpm you'll probably see a dramatic pressure loss when any two faucets in the house are open.

Was there a TDS (total dissolved solids) result on the test sheet?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 8:35PM
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dekeoboe

No, we aren't 100% sure about the 2 gpm, but that is what the guy who drilled the well estimated. Not sure how to get an exact number. With the depth of the well, we have been told we shouldn't have a problem. We can try having two faucets on at the same time this weekend and see if there is a change in the pressure. I don't really see a way to get a higher flow rate from the well.

No, there was no TDS on either report.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 10:37PM
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justalurker

Consider that even a "low flow" shower nozzle is 2 gpm and 2 gpm from your well can barely keep up with that. Add in the potential for a couple of people bathing, some use in the kitchen/laundry, and you're way over what your well can deliver if it is only 2 gpm.

Perhaps you misunderstood the guy who drilled the well.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 11:15PM
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dekeoboe

No, did not misunderstand him. We have a water storage tank in the basement and, of course, there will be water in the well. So, all of that would have to be drained before we would run out of water.

It was just an estimate though, based on how much water was flowing out of the well.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 11:34PM
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dekeoboe

the 2 gpm is the refresh rate. That is what you were asking about, correct?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 11:37PM
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justalurker

No, that is not what I'm asking.

We need to know the service flow rate. In other words, what is the flow in gpm at a full flow appliance or fixture like a tub (both hot and cold open).

Your "guy who drilled the well" should have provided you with the refresh and flow rates.

Perhaps this will help you... click here

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 12:34AM
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dekeoboe

No, he didn't provide up with a flow rate. Since that is the flow at a full flow appliance or fixture, I don't see how he could have given us this rate. This is new construction and there weren't any fixtures at the time he drilled the well.
Is there another way we can determine the flow rate?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 9:01AM
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dekeoboe

No, he didn't provide up with a flow rate. Since that is the flow at a full flow appliance or fixture, I don't see how he could have given us this rate. This is new construction and there weren't any fixtures at the time he drilled the well.
Is there another way we can determine the flow rate?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 4:50PM
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aliceinwonderland_id

justalurker is trying to determine if you can adequately backwash a softener but is making a fundamental error here. Your well refresh rate of 2 gpm, unless your builder is entirely incompetent, has almost NOTHING to do with the the flow rate of water into your home. A 2 gpm refresh rate is actually quite high for many areas of the country (some folks live with 0.25 gpm)and you should have no problems whatsoever with flow into your home because you will have an accumulation tank. The size of your tank, the pressure settings on your well pump start/stop, and the pipe size and length leaving your tank will determine the flow rate and capacity you have available. So - What size is your water storage tank? What size are your water supply pipes?

Your water's ability to create suds with soap/detergent is probably fine due to its relatively high pH and alkalinity. However, those same things will increase your hard water problems as they will cause hard water deposits to build up more quickly in your water heater and on any surfaces where water is allowed to sit (showers, sinks, etc). A softener will alleviate those problems for you.

Have you contacted local waster treatment folks to see what they recommend? Talked to your neighbors to see if they have treatment company recommendations? Generally, I would start with the local folks and see what they can offer. Then you can compare that to online pricing and see if the cost savings is worth the extra burden of having to be your own water treatment "expert."

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 11:28AM
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justalurker

"justalurker is trying to determine if you can adequately backwash a softener but is making a fundamental error here"

With respect Alice, no I'm not making a fundamental error. I know what REFRESH RATE is and replied "No, that is not what I'm asking" to the OP when he asked "the 2 gpm is the refresh rate. That is what you were asking about, correct?".

The OP mentioned a storage tank in place and I expect he means a pressure tank rather than a cistern or uber storage tank so the guy who drilled the well should be able to provide a flow rate from that tank so we would KNOW if there's sufficient flow to regenerate a softener or backwash a filter rather than guess. I prefer to get the facts before making recommendations.

We are in agreement regarding exploring local water treatment professionals and and asking neighbors what they're doing for water treatment and if they are satisfied.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 12:04PM
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dekeoboe

Thanks for the additional information Alice. I can't answer your questions right now because I am not at the house and we are presently in the process of moving to the house.

justalurker - Could the guy who drilled the well have determined the flow rate solely based on the equipment he installed? There was no electricity to the pump when he installed it. At this point it doesn't really matter whether he could or he couldn't because he didn't, so we will have to determine the flow rate on our own.

Yes, neighbors do have water softeners. More than likely, they just bought something from one of the big boxes.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 1:10PM
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