well water dilemma

brit1September 30, 2010

Hi, we are on a well that has acidic water and hard water. We had an automatic neutralizer installed that back washes etc but now need a softener too :( I am confused as the neutralizer is adding minerals but the softener has to remove them?? Also, don't want extra sodium in our water to they suggested K-Life, is that safe if we ingest it? We were told that none of this will be in our actual drinking water because the back wash happens around midnight. Is this true? If not what can I use to safely filter all this out of our drinking water? Thanks for any advice. Brit

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An acid neutralizer will alter the PH to an acceptable level. As a side effect it will also increase the hardness of the water. That is why you'll need a softener.

You can use either NaCl (sodium chloride) or KCl (potassium chloride as a regenerant. The amount of sodium or potassium exchanged into the hard water to make it soft depends on the hardness of the raw water. If you have concerns regarding sodium intake then KCl (Nature's Own or K-Life... same stuff) is the potassium alternative. Bananas are high in potassium so don't worry about it.

You can choose to install a Reverse Osmosis unit under the kitchen sink for drinking, cooking, and ice making if you prefer. You'll get pretty much the H and the O from the water and no sodium or potassium. A properly operating RO usually has a rejection rate in the high 90 percentile.

I suggest you have a comprehensive water test done on your well water by a certified lab so you actually know what is in the water and what needs to be treated. Along with making your well water nice you want to make it safe also.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 8:10PM
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"I suggest you have a comprehensive water test done on your well water by a certified lab so you actually know what is in the water and what needs to be treated. Along with making your well water nice you want to make it safe also."

Everything begins here.

There are solutions to every concern you mentioned. But you must start by learning what you're dealing with. Household water is basic. Don't guess.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 8:46PM
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Yes we have had our water tested for safety by a lab, it was a little high in nitrates but within the limit (I think it scored 4 with a limit of 10). Is there some other method than RO which is expensive to filter the water at the kitchen sink to eliminate the softener/neutralizer for our drinking water? We will definitely use the potassium softener vs sodium. Thanks again

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 7:12PM
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With a correctly sized and set up neutralizer and softener installed you will have ZERO hardness water. The taste of that water will be determined by the amount of potassium ions exchanged into it to soften the water and everything else floating around or dissolved into the water.

Without knowing the details of your comprehensive water test there is no way to guess what the water will taste like.

If the taste of the softened water does not suit you then the most cost effective solution is an RO under the kitchen sink. That will give you the same water you buy by the gallon from the water machine... cause that water machine is a bigger RO.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 7:18PM
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Thanks, I am not concerned with the taste, just the safety issue and would like to filter out any traces of potassium (or sodium if I go with that) for water softenening to be safe.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 8:10PM
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Whatever might be in the water that is unsafe is there when you pull the water up from your well. There is nothing introduced into water during the ion exchange process that is unsafe. Neither sodium or potassium in the amounts you would find in even 50gpg hard water is unsafe, but significant amounts of copper, arsenic, chlorine, iron and many other things are not great to ingest regularly and that's why routine, comprehensive water tests are a common sense thing to do when living on a well.

Hundreds of millions of people drink sodium and potassium softened water and live full and productive lives.

If what you are saying is that you want only the H and the O in your water and nothing else (for whatever reason) then reverse osmosis or distillation are the common methods with RO being the simplest, most cost effective, and requires the least maintenance to achieve that end.

Even the best RO has a rejection rate less than 100% with most in the mid to high 90 percentages of rejection.

If you feed a quality RO with PH neutral, zero hardness water then you'll get the water you want. The more junk that's in the water you feed the RO the more frequent maintenance and repairs the RO will require.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 9:08PM
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Thanks justalurker for your patience with my questions. I think I understand you to say that unless I have some other problems with my water, the addition of the water softener will not make my water unsafe to drink. This is what was worrying me because I was fearful that something might accidentally cause the amount of the K-Life (or sodium if used) to be dangerous (back wash not working or something similar)and we could drink it without realizing it was. I even thought of purchasing a waterwise countertop distiller to use for this purpose. I was concerned when RO was mentioned as I presumed people installed it because of the softeners in the water so that worried me. I am afraid putting in RO may be an expense for us, any idea what one would cost just to use for drinking water?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 10:08PM
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You should worry more about getting sick drinking your well water with unknown problems and forget about the your imagined problems drinking soft water.

Like bananas? There's lots of potassium in bananas.

I wouldn't bother with an RO unless your well water is safe, PH balanced by a correctly sized acid neutralizer, and softened by a properly sized and correctly set up softener. Unless all that is correctly done you will have nothing but problems with any RO cause you will only be treating the symptom instead of curing the disease. Then you'll get mad at the RO.

You can find ROs for as little as $150 and you get what you pay for. I favor ROs from known companies assembled from top quality parts with consumables easy to find and reasonably priced.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 11:03PM
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