hard water with iron

originalvermonterJuly 27, 2010

About 20 years ago my husband put in a regular water softener that used salt. The softener broke within a couple of years even though I used salt in green bags that was supposed deal with iron too. We were told that we needed a device to take out iron first before the water reached the regular softener. Since 20 years have gone by, have there been any innovations in softeners so that just one appliance can take care of both iron and calcium? Do they make softeners that use less salt than they used 20 years ago? My back has problems so I'd rather not carry any salt or very much of it.

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Industry standard softeners have gotten more salt and water efficient and have proven themselves in the field over decades and decades and decades, BUT anticipated performance and long service life is dependent on the softener being correctly sized, properly setup, and installed right. You get few of those requirements met with a softener from ANY big box store so you have to make a choice...

Shop locally at water treatment professionals who will provide sales and service after the sale and will charge for those services or buy online where by definition there is no service and install it your self.

An industry standard softener can successfully treat iron UP TO A POINT and will require a monthly maintenance exercise that is EZ to do. Beyond that a separate iron treatment device is required.

The first step toward successful water treatment is a comprehensive water test and then the answers to the following questions...

Are you on a well or a water system?

How many people in the house?

How many bathrooms in the house?

Any appliances that are BIG water users like a Jacuzzi?

Here's my softener 101...

Get a water test from an independent lab. An independent lab has no agenda and won't be trying to sell you water treatment equipment. Go to http://www.epa.gov/safewater/labs/index.html to locate a certified lab near you. This is a MUST DO because without it everything is a guess. A quickie water test from Sears or a water softener company won't be as accurate (and possibly not as competent) as from a certified independent lab.

If you're on a water system the water utility can supply you with the specs of the water AS IT LEAVES their facility but that is not necessarily representative of the water conditions at your water meter.

You need to know hardness, PH, iron, manganese, copper, TDS if on a water system and hardness, PH, iron, manganese, copper, TDS, nitrates, and bacteria if on a well.

Hit the Yellow Pages and call at least three local water treatment pros. Make sure you call at least one of the big dogs like Kinetico or Culligan for comparison and at least a couple independent pros. DON'T TELL THEM YOU HAD YOUR WATER TESTED.

Give each an opportunity to offer suggestions and provide you with a quote to meet your water treatment needs. IGNORE ANY THAT DON'T TEST YOUR WATER THEMSELVES as they can't speak intelligently to water treatment without knowing what needs to be treated.

Ask lots of questions. Softening the entire house or just the water heater (IMO a bad idea)? Warranty, parts & labor or just parts, how long and on exactly what? Install, permits required, licensed plumber? Routine maintenance and costs? Do they stock parts? Response time for emergency (water leak) calls? If they don't explain things to your satisfaction that is a good indicator of how you'll be treated after the sale.

After they've gone use your water test to compare with theirs. Are all your treatment needs being addressed?

Ask your neighbors if they have any water treatment experience. They might tell you who's good or who to avoid.

Come back here and post the specific recommendations and hardware components with the costs and we'll give you our opinions.

If you're a DIYer then you have other options but they must be discussed privately by email. But remember, when you do it yourself there's no one else to blame.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 11:22PM
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good luck

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 7:18PM
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Hijacking other people's posts that are asking for help with sarcastic "good luck" posts will not endear you to others on these forums.

You got the help you wanted but didn't listen and then you talked those who were trying to help you out of continuing to do so.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 7:56PM
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Anyone that wastes their time by putting negative comments on a forum is acting like a little spoiled 2 year old. It's about time they got up off the couch and did something productive.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 8:33PM
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