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Old 08-06-2013, 08:41 AM
 
1,058 posts, read 2,087,322 times
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We recently bought a home in Leander, it is 15 years old and last week the water softener went belly up. After 2 days of no water pressure, having the city come out as well as a plumber we learned about the softener and the ability to bypass.

We were able to restore pressure by bypassing the system. I then contacted the company that made the unit and they came out this morning. Pretty much said its toast, they can rebuild but cheaper to actually replace. I am waiting on the quote.

So, my question is: Do we actually need a softener? We have never lived anywhere where we had one, we have no idea how to "know" if we should have one or if the local plumber and softener companies are just trying to sell us a pretty spendy device that we really don't need.

I've heard it all "the water will destroy your pipes and appliances" etc. but I really do not know if that is the case.
Who is a good source to contact to find out?
The water is billed through the City of Leander, should I call them and ask?

Thanks much
Mamacat
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:47 AM
 
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No you don't need it at all...
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:03 AM
 
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I know a lot of people will swear that you must have one, but our house never has had one (built in 1996) and I notice no ill effects. In fact, I see no mineral build-up around faucets. When we lived in CA, I was always cleaning away mineral build-up, and never even thought about water softening - no one did. So since I see no indication at all that one is needed, that's an expense I will forego.
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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I believe that CP gets its water from Lake Travis. The water in LT is relatively 'soft' (few dissolved minerals), so there isn't really a desperate need for a water softener. In places where the water is taken from wells, then water softeners are critical - some water heaters will only last two or three years, with decreasing efficiency over those few years as the tank fills up with sediment.
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:25 AM
 
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Shouldn't need one, unless it's a preference thing. Just make sure to flush your water heater every 9 months or so
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Avery Ranch, Austin, TX
8,970 posts, read 16,083,703 times
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Well...(Get it? WELL?)
My Darling could tell an immediate difference in her first bath at the new place...same water supply, only one mile away...with the absence of our whole-house filter and water softener. Her skin is drier after every bath/shower. I don't notice it so much in the shower and the spots on the glass are not so noticeable as they were before we got the softener at the other place.

So far, we're making the coffee and tea from filtered/softened water from the 'old' house. Could be she's feeling the chlorine as much as the 'rocks', so a filter might be more important to her skin than a softener. I do believe the new place is not plumbed for a system, so adding something will be pretty spendy. IF I had the option of replacing an existing softener, I'd go for it...installation costs should be minimal' If you dig a little in the older threads, there's a bit of info about the relatively inexpensive systems vs the expensive killer system we left behind.
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Round Rock, Texas
11,866 posts, read 11,389,434 times
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Our water softener (new in 1995) ceased functioning 9 years ago. Just bypassed it and have had no real problems except for one showerhead "liming up" a bit last year. Had to clean the little fine shower holes with Limeaway.
Never have flushed the water heater which is 10 years old. Probably time for a new one, as the original pooped out after 8 years - when the water softener was working.

About 40 years ago at my late MIL's 1910 home in Taylor, I checked the water tank on one of the old toilets - it actually had a stalagmite "growing" up several inches from the tank bottom under where the fill tube was. lol
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Old 08-06-2013, 01:06 PM
 
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I don't think that's it's necessary, but it's definitely nice. We don't have one now, but we used to and I did noticed a difference in things like how clean clothes and dishes got (not to mention my hair and skin weren't nearly as dry). It may also buy you a few more years on things like hot water heaters.

We need to replace our hot water heaters when it cools down. We considered going tankless, but every place that gave us an estimate told us not to get a tankless system unless we had a water softener. They all told us that we would have noticeably less pressure as time went on and they wouldn't last nearly as long.
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Old 08-06-2013, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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My first house, bought in 1981 has never had a water softener and we have had no unusual plumbing problems. I still own that house and lease it out. The 1989 house we are in now had a water softner on it for about 3 years, installed by the owner we bought the house from. Apparantly she had some kind of rental program for that softner as it was removed when she moved out. We did not replace it and have had no problems with this house either.

I asked a similar question about needing a water softner in a thread a couple of years ago and most people did not think one is necessary here.
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Old 08-06-2013, 01:30 PM
 
163 posts, read 378,674 times
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Personally I hate soft water and am annoyed by it when I stay in hotels that have them. Just a personal preference you can probably get used to one way or the other.

We do have an under-cabinet filter in the kitchen for drinking water and it's plumbed into a hot water dispenser for making tea. Use jet-dry in the dishwasher and you won't have spots on your glasses.

As to the tankless without a softener, we have one, and you are just supposed to flush it with vinegar every year or so. I find it easier than maintaining a conventional water heater, but then most people don't do it at all so it's all relative.
Most tankless vendors provide a chart indicating how often you should flush it depending on the hardness of your water, which is a number your water company should be able to give you. If you have a well you can get it tested to find out.

Good luck and have no fear :-)
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