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Old 07-05-2012, 01:13 AM
 
Location: Vegas newbie
96 posts, read 224,221 times
Reputation: 181
Default What level do you set your water softener?

I just bought my home in Vegas and installed a Sears hybrid water filter/ softener. The default setting is '25' for the softener, but the water feels a little slippery. I was going to adjust it down a little but it takes a while to see the results. So, I was wondering, for those of you who use a water softener, what setting do you have it on? (the manual doesn't tell you how to calculate the setting so I am just guessing at this point)
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Old 07-05-2012, 02:09 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
11,396 posts, read 19,749,415 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaBeta View Post
I just bought my home in Vegas and installed a Sears hybrid water filter/ softener. The default setting is '25' for the softener, but the water feels a little slippery. I was going to adjust it down a little but it takes a while to see the results. So, I was wondering, for those of you who use a water softener, what setting do you have it on? (the manual doesn't tell you how to calculate the setting so I am just guessing at this point)
I believe I have mine on the default setting unless I set to be even softer. I forget, but I've always thought "slippery" was the goal of a water softener. If it's "slippery" it means the hard water minerals (and soap) are not sticking to you, your clothes, or your pipes. If it starts to feel like it's not slippery, then you probably have a salt bridge, or you let it run out of salt.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
2,507 posts, read 4,143,497 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaBeta View Post
I just bought my home in Vegas and installed a Sears hybrid water filter/ softener. The default setting is '25' for the softener, but the water feels a little slippery. I was going to adjust it down a little but it takes a while to see the results. So, I was wondering, for those of you who use a water softener, what setting do you have it on? (the manual doesn't tell you how to calculate the setting so I am just guessing at this point)
If the manual truly doesn't say anything about the setting, then that value is probably in grains per gallon, and you set it to equal the hardness of the source water. Water here has a hardness of about 16.8 grains per gallon Hard Water. The problem with this is that 25 grains per gallon would be extremely hard water, so I'm thinking that that isn't what the numbers mean.

Ok, I just read a manual for a Kenmore water softener, and the setting is in grains per gallon (if water has iron, add 5 for each ppm of iron). We have around .1 ppm of iron http://www.lvvwd.com/assets/pdf/wq_summary_lvvwd.pdf. So around 17 should be a good setting.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzz123 View Post
I believe I have mine on the default setting unless I set to be even softer. I forget, but I've always thought "slippery" was the goal of a water softener. If it's "slippery" it means the hard water minerals (and soap) are not sticking to you, your clothes, or your pipes. If it starts to feel like it's not slippery, then you probably have a salt bridge, or you let it run out of salt.
That's just completely wrong. First of all, a water softener exchanges calcium ions for sodium (or potassium, if you use potassium chloride in your softener) ions. Exchanging the calcium for sodium is how it removes hardness from the water. Second, the slippery feeling is due to the soft water not washing soap off of you as well as hard water. It is NOT due to hard water stripping body oils off of you - if that were true, you'd feel slippery w/o using soap, which is not what happens. The slippery feeling is just something you have to live with. If you've only softened your hot water, which is how many homes are set up, you can do a quick rinse with cool water and that will help wash off the soap better. I won't do that in the shower (want to avoid shrinkage), but when washing my hands I will switch to cold water at the end to get rid of the slippery feeling.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:53 AM
 
485 posts, read 417,181 times
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So is it the lower the number the more softness or the reverse
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:59 AM
 
Location: Paranoid State
2,929 posts, read 2,367,835 times
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There are two classes of valves. The less expensive type (you probably do not have this) is set to regenerate every X days (say, once/week).

The better valves are metered - they keep track of how much hard water has passed through the water softener and then at the appropriate time they schedule a regeneration cycle for that night in the middle of the night while you're asleep.

You probably have this more intelligent type of valve.

With the more intelligent valves, the end-user parameters you typically can set include:
  • Capacity of the unit - eg 48,000 grains or 60,000 grains. This basically refers to how much resin is in tank. Don't touch this unless you know what you're doing.
  • Something like a "safety factor" or "reserve capacity" - something like 150 gallons. Basically, this gives you a reserve capacity so that if the system decides it needs regeneration at, say, 10:00am, you have 150 gallons of soft water to use that day before the regeneration occurs the next time the clock hits 2am.
  • Hardness of the local water supply
  • others you should probably leave alone such as how long each stage of the regeneratiuon cycle lasts

When you adjust the end-user settings such as hardness of the local water supply, the valve calculates how many gallons can go through the system before it needs to regenerate.

SOooooo.... you won't change the "slipperyness" by anything you can adjust. Water that passes through is either going to be soft (0 or 1 grain of hardness) or hard (around here about 17 grains) -- you cannot, in a typical residential setting, set it up so you choose your hardness level. You cannot adjust the system to give you, say, water that is 5 grains hard.

If you play with the parameters, you will either (a) regenerate too quickly which wastes water & salt, or (b) regenerate not quickly enough in which case you will have soft water for a long while & then the water becomes hard again as the capacity of the resin has been exhausted (no more sodium or potassium ions left for exchange). After a while of hard water, the system regenerates & then you will have soft water again.

The easiest thing to do is to just test the actual water for hardness each day for say 2 weeks. You'll get a sense of what is going on.
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Old 07-05-2012, 01:12 PM
 
Location: North Las Vegas - Aliante
1,392 posts, read 1,917,887 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danknee View Post
My water tested at 171 ppm so on my computerized Fleck valve it Is set to a hardness of 10. Works beautifully. I'm not sure what percentage that would translate to on a manual valve.
__
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Vegas newbie
96 posts, read 224,221 times
Reputation: 181
Is there a kit to test water hardness?
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Old 07-05-2012, 05:35 PM
 
Location: North Las Vegas - Aliante
1,392 posts, read 1,917,887 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaBeta View Post
Is there a kit to test water hardness?
Free kit and test here - Free Water Test Kit
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Paranoid State
2,929 posts, read 2,367,835 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaBeta View Post
Is there a kit to test water hardness?
I use this one: Total Hardness Test Kit, Model 5-B - Overview | Hach
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
2,507 posts, read 4,143,497 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SportyandMisty View Post
SOooooo.... you won't change the "slipperyness" by anything you can adjust. Water that passes through is either going to be soft (0 or 1 grain of hardness) or hard (around here about 17 grains) -- you cannot, in a typical residential setting, set it up so you choose your hardness level. You cannot adjust the system to give you, say, water that is 5 grains hard.
I'd never thought about it, but of course you are correct. Depending on how the bypass valve is set up, it might be possible to obtain a mix of softened and unsoftened water, so you could get water that wasn't completely softened.
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