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Water Softener

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I am shopping for a tankless water heater. One of recommendations that I found is that you softener the water before it goes to the heater. This will help extend the heater's life. I am concerned that salts or potassium chloride will not be eco-friendly. I did not find water softeners listed as a product category here on green huddler. Anyone know of an eco-friendly alternative to soften water?

Edited by celticsolar - Tue, 13 Jan 2009 02:33:33 GMT
post #2 of 12

I had a Rinnai repair technician at my house all day and asked him. Long story short it depends. If you have water issues in your area, it would not only be beneficial to the Rinnai, but to the entire system (pipes, washing machine, dishwasher, etc).


In terms of alternatives, he did mention another process that he'd recommend over a softner, but can't quite remember it's technical name. The basic premise is that it applies an electric charge to the line which in turn doesn't allow the deposits to adhear to the pipes. Hopeuflly thats enough info for you to search on.


I'd be interested to hear more about what you find out.



post #3 of 12

We have this thread about hard water solutions.  I guess they're electronic water softeners?  I don't know if there's a better name for them...

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

I talked to a plumber today and did some research. Here is what I have found.


First, I am getting my water tested. There is a local lab, if the water is not hard, then I can skip softening all together. I would just install a simple whole house filter and a hot water post-filter. This would be cheaper.


If I do have hard water (from the lines in the tub, I think I do), then the report will tell me what levels and I can shop for a filter & softener that fits my water's profile.


To avoid the ion-exchange (salt) softeners, there are two alternatives. One, electromagnet and two, crystal & nano membrane filters.


Magnets and crystals, sounds new-age. I am skeptical.


The plumber told me that the electromagnet type are "snake-oil". He has never seen one that worked and none of them are on the certified list. I am going to avoid these unless I find a certified one.


The crystal/nano filters, on the other hand, can be very effective and some are certified by NSF. The technology was developed by NASA and it supposedly works. The big drawback to these is the cost. The two that I found are each over $1000.  So even it it doubled the life of the water heater it is not cost effective.


I am still looking/researching while waiting for the water test results. If you know of a certified salt-free water softener, let me know. Thanks.


Maybe this could be added as a product group?

post #5 of 12
hey guys I'm new here and I came across this site online where it showcase water softener crystals. I'm wondering if anyone has tried the product so far..
post #6 of 12

Rather than add salt you just add the potassium chloride - just a lot more costly - on the site you gave it is 35 cents per pound whereas the salt is as low as 7 cents. Softners consume considerable sodium/potassium chloride so this is a considerable expense.


I prefer to use salt and follow up with reverse osmosis treatment of the drinking water only. 

post #7 of 12

I love using Nature's Own Water Softener Crystals, it's made for me. I think you'll love it too..


post #8 of 12

Hi Krishna - how do you tell the difference between that and another product? 

post #9 of 12

Eco-friendly washing tips for three popular fabrics


    * Most linens can be washed in the washing machine, and washing linen actually softens it. The older, more frequently washed the linen, the less it wrinkles. Make sure to wash linen separately from synthetic fibers such as polyester because the linen can pick up the "pills" that surface on synthetic fabric.
    * Eco-friendly detergents are best for linen because detergents with optical brighteners can cause the linen's colors to change. Plain linen can be washed at 103°F, although hand-embroidered linen should be washed separately at a cooler temperature, such as 100°F. Soaking linen in a weak hydrogen peroxide bleach solution can remove mildew. Avoid chlorine bleach on linen because it can weaken and harm the fibers.
    * The sun will lighten linen, and it will be wrinkle free if line-dried when damp. You can also dry linens in the dryer on a tumble dry air cycle with no heat.


    * Silk is an acidic fabric and sensitive to alkaline materials; avoid using baking soda, borax or washing soda. Any harsh lye-based soap with a pH above 10 will destroy silk. Wet-wash silk in a sink by gently swirling the clothes in cool water; never twist or wring silk. A mild liquid castile soap, such as Dr. Bronner's soap, is best for cleaning silk because it won't strip the natural oils.
    * Shampoo — with its ability to remove body oils and its neutral pH — can be a good choice for washing silk that has been stained; just a little dab is needed. Gently press water from the fabric after washing and hang silk to dry.
    * You can spot-clean silk with vinegar or lemon juice, but test for color fastness first.


    * Wool is an acidic material. Wet-wash wool in a sink by gently swirling the clothes in cool water; never twist or wring out wool. Use a mild detergent with a pH below 7 for wool, such as Ecos Delicate Wash. If necessary, spot-clean with vinegar or lemon juice, but test for color fastness first.
    * After washing, gently press water from the fabric. Block and shape wool before drying by laying it flat on a towel and stretching it to the correct size and shape. Wool is resilient and recovers quickly from wrinkling if you hang it. (Hanging sweaters may leave hanger marks around the shoulders, though.)
    * Sunlight helps wool's loft and helps repel pests; the ultraviolet rays deodorize the wool.

edited to remove link in violation of Commercial Use Policy"

Edited by Russ - 6/16/2009 at 04:03 pm GMT
post #10 of 12

Temporary hardness can be softened by boiling the water which decomposes the calcium and magnesium hydrogencarbonates to form insoluble calcium and magnesium carbonates.

Both temporary and permanent hardness can be softened by using an ion exchange column. The column is usually packed with sodium cations. The calcium and magnesium ions replace the sodium ions in the column. This softens the water. Good luck!

post #11 of 12

I'm so happy I found this site. I'm also interested in softening our water here. Can anyone give me a feedback with this water softener I found in some (link removed- inserted potassium chloride crystals).

Edited by Russ - 6/17/2009 at 02:37 pm GMT
post #12 of 12

Hi pinkwedd,


As you can see from posts above I am interested in water conditioning. From what I can learn the potassium chloride functions the same in the softner unit as ordinary salt. Most experts seem to agree there is no difference except that you have no sodium chloride (the normal salt used) carryover in the conditioned water.


The potassium chloride is somewhat more expensive.


I have read that you do not want to use the waste water from either type (sodium chloride or potassium chloride) on plants or gardens.


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