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Podcast Q & A 8: “I’m looking for a no-salt water softener for our very hard well water?”

no-salt water softenerNo-Salt Water Softeners for Well Water?

Hello and welcome again to the Clean Water Made Easy Podcast Q&A, this is Q&A Episode 8. In this episode, I am going to answer a question about No-Salt Water Softeners for well water.  Actually, they should be referred to as no-salt water conditioners, not softeners since they do not soften the water.

I’m Gerry Bulfin and like you might have heard if you’ve listened to my other podcast, I’m A WQA- Certified Master Water Specialist And Water Treatment Contractor here in Northern CA. and I have a main podcast episode each where I talk about various types of well water problems, well water treatment systems and.

I also have these quick Question & Answer episodes so every day we get a lot of phone calls, e-mails, chats through our website and I pick a pertinent or interesting one and then answer it.

This one came in through our chat box on our website from Sheryl and she asked:

“Hello, I’m looking for a no-salt water softener for our very hard well water, I can’t find on your website how much hardness each of your models removes, do you have that information?”

No Salt Water Conditioner with Big Blue Pre-Filter

Hello Sheryl,

I did another podcast episode (Episode 9) and this goes in the depth about no salt water softeners or actually, no-salt water conditioners as what we call them because they soften the water so the no salt water conditioners to be very brief, they-when they work, they transform the hardness in the water into a form that won’t build up as scale, so they prevent scale build-up.

They don’t remove anything from the water especially, they don’t remove any hardness so you can test the water before and after, it’s the same, it’s hard and so they’re pretty popular because people don’t want to deal with the salt even though the new water softeners been out for some years now use a lot less salt than the old style water softeners but still the softeners need brine or salt water to regenerate or clean the softening resin inside the softener.

That’s how they work, so folks thinking well, that no salt water softeners sounds a lot better because it don’t use any backwash water or salt but the thing is, is that, it just depends on what your expectations are. Theoretically, that will work up to 50 grains per gallon of hardness, 50 grains per gallon, that’s very high but it depends on what you mean by working so your, if the water evaporates on the surface, you’re going to see hard water. You’re going to see the minerals there. You’re going to see the…it’s going to feel hard in the shower so you say you have very hard well water.

Generally, we wouldn’t recommend a no-salt water conditioner for very hard well water unless you’re only after protecting your water heater, or say you had an instant water heater or boiler; They will help with that but the other problem is on well water. I mean, if you have just clean hard well water with no iron, no manganese, no sediment then that’s what the no-salt water conditioners like. If you have a little bit of iron in the water or any manganese or hydrogen sulfide or there are sediments in the water, then very quickly, the resin inside these TAC- type template assisted crystallization water conditioners just will become fouled like, quickly.

So it’s very and their expensive so you’d, it’s not, it could lead to an unhappy conclusion so generally you’re better off sticking with the water softener and then really looking at and making sure you dialed it in to use as little salt as possible, you can even bypass partially some of the water so that it’s not, instead of being 30 grains hard it might reduce it to 5 grains, so that it’ll save you instead of having zero salt water are no, you know, no hardness in the water.

Typically we do NOT recommend no-salt water conditioners for very hard well water.

You can blend a little bit of hardness in so you can live with water say up to 10 grains per gallon if you’re looking to reduce the amount of salt that it uses or wastewater and so that’s another way to do it, just dial in and work with your regular softener but to answer your question in short, we generally do not recommend no-salt water conditioners for very hard well water for the reasons that I just said, unless you’re just after preventing scale inside a boiler or instant water heater type system.

Okay, well thanks again to Sheryl for contacting us and I hope this information was useful.  Any questions or comments?  Are you using a no-salt conditioner or water softener on your well water?  Please email me and let me know how that is working for you.


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