Frequently Asked Questions
I am buying my water from a Municipal Utility District or a community water supply. If my water is safe, do I have to buy additional water treatment equipment?
What is a water softener system?
I just spoke with a company that offers stainless steel tanks and solid metal valves on their water softeners. They said they are the only ones that have this feature.
Why is there such a large difference in the cost of water softeners?
I spoke with a company that offers lifetime warranties on their equipment.
How does a water softener work?
Will a water softener make my water safe to drink?
Why does soft water feel slimy or slick in the shower?
When do the resins in the softener tank need to be changed?
I see ads for "No Salt Needed" water conditioners. How do they work without using salt?
How often do I need to add salt to the brine tank?
How much salt should my softener use?
What kind of salt do you recommend using, and do your softeners also use potassium chloride in place of salt?
I have a working water softener, but I am still getting iron staining. Why is that?
- You are out of salt. It is critical that your system never runs empty of salt.
- It is important that the time of day is kept correct and that no one uses water between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. when the system is regenerating. While the system is in regeneration, any water used would be unconditioned (coming straight from the well).
- You may have a resin tank that is too small to handle all the iron. A. What size is the tank? B. What is the level of iron and hardness of the water?
- Your softener may not regenerate often enough or use enough salt per regeneration. A. How often does your softener regenerate? How many people are using water? C. How much salt are you using per month?
- The iron content may exceed the recommended maximum (1 cu. ft. of resin can effectively remove up to 3 parts per million of iron without additional treatment).
- On rare occasions, the iron may come from the hot water tank. If it is more than 12 years old, the hot water tank could be rusting out on the inside, thus, putting the iron back into the water. This is also true in homes 20 or more years old that used galvanized plumbing.
What kinds of iron could be in my water?
- Oxidized iron contains red particles easily visible as the water is drawn from the faucet.
- Soluble or clear water iron is very common and will develop red particles in the water after it's drawn from the faucet and is exposed to air for a period of time. The iron particles actually rust once they are exposed to air.
- Colloidal iron consists of extremely small particles of oxidized iron suspended in water. This type of iron looks more like cloudy-colored water. You can't see the iron particles suspended in the water. This iron will not filter well because of the extremely small particle size. Chlorination may be required.
- Bacterial iron consists of living organisms found in the water and piping of the well and house. You can tell if you have bacterial iron by flushing your toilet and seeing a red-green slime buildup in your tank. To confirm this, you should take a sample of this slime to your local health department for testing. This kind of iron is the hardest to get rid of. To completely eliminate this form of iron, it will require chlorination of the entire water system, starting with the well casing, well pump, pressure tank, and the home plumbing system.
- Hydrogen sulfide causes water to have a pungent "rotten egg" odor and is easily removed using a manganese greensand filter.
I have a water softener, but I still have an odor in my water. Why is that?
- Odors are typically caused by hydrogen sulfide ("rotten egg smell") in wells or "bleach" smell in chlorine-treated water. Both of these causes can be resolved by using an activated carbon filter in conjunction with a water softener.
- The self-sacrificing rod installed in your hot water heater can sometimes cause odor in hot water. Having a qualified plumber replace this rod could solve this problem.
How can I find out what is in my water, or where can I have my water tested?
How can I tell what my flow rate is?
Can a water softener cause pressure loss? If so, what do I look for, and how can I fix it?
- On well water, this is usually due to fine sand coming from the well.
- On softeners installed in the open sunlight (mostly in Florida), a layer of algae can grow, and thick pieces of this growth clog the lower distributor tube screen when they start peeling off the inside of the resin tank.
- On chlorinated water supplies, sand can get into the tank from new construction or work on water lines in the area. All of these situations are rare.
- The most common cause of pressure loss occurs in chlorinated water supplies. The resin can be damaged by high chlorine levels and turn to mush. This has the same effect as having fine sand at the bottom of the resin tank.
- The solution is to replace the resin and add carbon filtration before the softener.