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Old 05-12-2010, 09:51 PM
 
Location: New Braunfels, TX
3,970 posts, read 4,305,230 times
Reputation: 3140
Quote:
Originally Posted by wellguy View Post
TexasRedneck- I sometimes see a Carbon or Poly Spun Filter before the water softener. From what I know and please correct me if I'm wrong the Chlorine, although low here in San Antonio, average 0.60 to 1.00 ppm (System wide) reduces the life of the ION Exhange Resin.
Okay...let's keep the answer simple so we don't put folks to sleep....essentially softener resin is a plastic bead. Plastic is oxydized by chlorine. One of the ways to slow down the effect is "crosslinking". Essentially, resin is available in 6, 8, or 10% crosslink. The higher the percentage, the more resistant it is to chlorine breakdown. To save money (and because the average consumer doesn't know any better) most water companies use 6, maybe 8% resin. I use the 10%. Some folks tell me I'm dumb, because most folks don't know the difference. I tell 'em MY customers do - because I tell 'em! It costs maybe $20 more to go with the "good stuff".

Now...here's the kicker. Chloramines (made by adding ammonia to the chlorine) are used because they're more stable in a water distribution network. You would therefore think that since the chlorine isn't degrading, that the higher residual would cause more damage to the resin, right? Not so....I've got Austin accounts where the resin lasts 40-80% longer! Having said that, I *hate* chloramines with a passion, because in instances where you DO need to remove the chlorine, it's a real PITA to do so - essentially, it requires twice the EBCT (sorry - the filter needs to be twice as big) to remove as it would similar levels of standard chlorine - and it's even worse for the folks raising fish. And if you've EVER been around an ammonia leak......

Anyway - a 10% crosslinked resin will give you (on average) a 10-year lifespan. I've had customers go 12-15 years (a VERY rare few 15+), but by and large 10 years is my rule of thumb. If I'm out on a major repair and the resin is 8+ years old, I generally suggest they consider replacing it while I'm there. These box-store units - I've seen go bad in 1-2 years, but generally 3-5 years on resin.

I can hear the next question - "how do I know?". It's pretty straightforward. If you notice the flow of water in the house to be dropping off, and the pressure seems low, put the softener in bypass. If the flow/pressure jumps back up, it's time to "rebed" the softener, because the resin has essentially been shattered by the chlorine and instead of being the size of large sand particles, it's more like fine clay - and it's blocking the flow of the water.
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:31 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX, USA
5,126 posts, read 6,960,330 times
Reputation: 2433
TexasRedNeck: You know your stuff!
How do I know if my home is pre plumbed for a softener?
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:39 AM
 
420 posts, read 658,188 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huckster View Post
That is the worst water, smells like rotten eggs
Thats because the water that leaves our wastewater treatment plant feeds their water supply.


Also, removing some of the chlorine at the tap does not make unsafe water. Chlorine is used to maintain water quality in the lines. From the city to you. filtering it prior to use does not suddenly make it contaminated. Also drinking chlorine does not help with anything in your body. Chlorinated water will not cure any diseases inside of you and really does not do much for the stuff on your skin (the concentration is not high enough). The little household filters are primarily removing some to much of the dissolved limestone that makes our water so strongly flavored. Boil a pot of unfiltered water and compare it to a pot of water you filtered. That scum is what you filtered out. And even then not all of it.

San Antonio does have good water quality by government standards. But it does seriously taste foul. I have lived in areas though that had sulfur in the water (west Texas). Smelled like someone took a crap anytime you ran the faucet.

Last edited by RoamingWolves; 05-13-2010 at 07:50 AM..
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:43 AM
 
Location: New Braunfels, TX
3,970 posts, read 4,305,230 times
Reputation: 3140
Quote:
Originally Posted by skeet09 View Post
How do I know if my home is pre plumbed for a softener?
Look in your garage (typically) for a copper pipe coming out of the wall, then going back into it. It'll usually be 3/4" or 1" in size, and there should be a PVC pipe sticking out of the wall below it (for the drain), and a 110 vac outlet by it as well.

If you're not sure, take a picture of what you think is the plumbing and DM it to me....
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Old 05-13-2010, 08:17 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX, USA
5,126 posts, read 6,960,330 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasRedneck View Post
Look in your garage (typically) for a copper pipe coming out of the wall, then going back into it. It'll usually be 3/4" or 1" in size, and there should be a PVC pipe sticking out of the wall below it (for the drain), and a 110 vac outlet by it as well.

If you're not sure, take a picture of what you think is the plumbing and DM it to me....
sweet! We will be buying a home in the next few weeks and I can't remember if I saw one but once we're a bit settled in, I can send it to you. Thanks!
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Old 05-13-2010, 08:19 AM
 
Location: New Braunfels, TX
3,970 posts, read 4,305,230 times
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No problem - is this new construction? If so, ask the builder...

One other thing...folks, DEMAND that any new home be preplumbed for a softener. I understand that (especially when it's your first home) it's more $$$ to have it preplumbed, but I can PROMISE you that it's not only MORE expensive to install after construction - it'll never be as convenient and "neat" as when it's done during construction. I'll put it this way - when we had our place built here in NB 6 years ago, I paid for the "loop". The salesman acted surprised, saying that he thought I'd do it myself and save the $$$. I pointed out to him that preplumbed, all my external spigots would be "hard" - doing it post construction, those same spigots would be "soft", requiring me to run additional piping. There's no pipes running up and down the outside of my garage wall to be hit with a mower, etc....or freeze!
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Old 05-13-2010, 08:45 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX, USA
5,126 posts, read 6,960,330 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasRedneck View Post
No problem - is this new construction? If so, ask the builder...!
Its a pre owned home built in 1987.
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:43 AM
 
Location: New Braunfels, TX
3,970 posts, read 4,305,230 times
Reputation: 3140
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoamingWolves View Post
Also, removing some of the chlorine at the tap does not make unsafe water. Chlorine is used to maintain water quality in the lines. From the city to you. filtering it prior to use does not suddenly make it contaminated.
You're correct....until you introduce a contaminant at the point of use. Case in point: Customer with a fishing/hunting camp had a chlorinated well to meet public drinking water standards. They decided to put a "taste and odor" filter on the sink in the kitchen. That filter included carbon (for taste/odor) block. Chlorine removed....cook preps chicken, cleans up then makes salad. 6 hunters hospitalized, thankfully all recovered. Culprit? The removal of the chlorine allowed salmonella from the chicken to transfer to the spigot head (touched inadvertantly by the cook as he moved it). With no chlorine, it remained in place, then transferred to the salad items. Thanks to the (relatively) low levels, the resulting illness wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Now, that's technically a cross-contamination issue...one that exists in several places in the home. The chlorine WOULD have helped - in fact, in subsequent tests, it was shown that it would have killed the salmonella and stopped the problem. So filtering it doesn't necessarily create the problem, but it WILL allow it to occur. Further, ongoing studies have shown that carbon beds are ideal "breeding grounds" for bacterial colonization. And before someone mentions "silver impregnated" carbon...yes, silver IS bacterialstatic - meaning it impedes the GROWTH of bacteria within the carbon bed - but it doesn't provide protection downstream, nor necessarily even kill it all within the media.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RoamingWolves View Post
Also drinking chlorine does not help with anything in your body. Chlorinated water will not cure any diseases inside of you and really does not do much for the stuff on your skin (the concentration is not high enough).
Really? What level of chlorine do you think is required to kill bacteria? Levels as low as .02 mg/l will do it....of course, it's depleted as it does its' job - it's called "demand".


Quote:
Originally Posted by RoamingWolves View Post
The little household filters are primarily removing some to much of the dissolved limestone that makes our water so strongly flavored. Boil a pot of unfiltered water and compare it to a pot of water you filtered. That scum is what you filtered out. And even then not all of it.
I'm sorry - but you're completely wrong there. Particulate filters and adsorbing filters will not remove any of the dissolved limestone - period. If it's present in a particulate state, then it will as long as the particulates are larger than the rated filter pore size. The "scum" you refer to is not limestone (actually, CaCO3 is the "formal" name - Calcium Carbonate), but more likely some type of organic, usually seen in water running through newer pipes in the SA area, which is historically pretty low in organic levels.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RoamingWolves View Post
San Antonio does have good water quality by government standards. But it does seriously taste foul. I have lived in areas though that had sulfur in the water (west Texas). Smelled like someone took a crap anytime you ran the faucet.
Perceived taste is just that - an individual perception. Some folks find SA's water to be quite palatable, others find it less so. That's kinda like condemning green beans because you don't like their taste, though - plenty of other folks enjoy 'em. It doesn't make you wrong, it simply means that you need to be cognizant of the fact that because you don't care for something doesn't necessarily make it "bad" across the board.
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:44 AM
 
Location: New Braunfels, TX
3,970 posts, read 4,305,230 times
Reputation: 3140
Quote:
Originally Posted by skeet09 View Post
Its a pre owned home built in 1987.
Then you have a 50-50 chance....I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:51 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX, USA
5,126 posts, read 6,960,330 times
Reputation: 2433
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasRedneck View Post
Then you have a 50-50 chance....I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!
ok.
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