Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

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By an edhat reader

I would be interested in knowing Edhat readers' experiences with water softening devices and also with reverse osmosis systems. These are expensive options. Are they both worth it? Did they make a difference? If so, what company do you recommend?

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pxn Feb 26, 2021 11:04 AM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

I have a softner and three RO systems. Soft water saves alot of soap for clothes and dishes. It also helps prolong the life of RO systems. My first one lasted about 30 years with no problems. Drinking water from the RO system saves a lot of bottled water costs. Soft water systems from Sears lasted about 15 years. My current one from GE via Home Deposit seems to be going strong after maybe 10 years or more.

ConservativeSB Feb 26, 2021 11:05 AM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

I can only speak on Reverse Osmosis systems. I personally use the system sold through the Water Store in Goleta. I have used their system for 5 years now and have been consistently pleased with their products. The water tastes "great" for lack of a better term. The TDS rating stays within my desired range.

ginger1 Feb 26, 2021 11:17 AM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

We utilize both. Soft water is important to avoid mineralization of your pipes and depositing scale on your skin and hair. ;-) Helps soaps and detergent work more efficiently. In the shower, laundry and dishwasher. Not so good for watering houseplants or drinking. Will save you money on plumbing repair, cleaning supplies and prevent those unsightly toilet and bathtub rings. Wastes a small amount of water during recharge cycle. And if you want to drink that water, well that's where RO water filtration system comes in.

A multi-stage purification system removes particulates, "hardness" minerals, even bacteria and parasites. Yup. Them might be in yur water. Wastes even more water in the process of filtering out the crud. Try to buy a system with excellent efficiency=less waste, but some discharge is unavoidable. Drain line has to go down the drain. Some people say the acidified, mineral-stripped water is not so good for you, especially if you drink a ton of it. You know, the people who believe in alkaline water. Whatever, there is a fix and we certainly did it: add a re-mineralizer cartridge at the final stage. Brings the pH back up and makes the water taste almost like spring water. Really good idea if you brew coffee (especially espresso) and tea. RO systems require that you replace the filter/mineral adding cartridges (not too expensive) , sometimes every 6 months and the RO membrane cartridge (more expensive) every couple of years. It is a do-it-yourself project but one that you cannot forget to do.

horsegirl Feb 26, 2021 11:20 AM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

a 2-stage water filter is more than sufficient to create great tasting water in Santa Barbara (and we use one with a whole-home softener) plus it doesn't waste 3 gallons of water for every gallon it creates like an RO system does. Its more affordable and efficient for arguably the same quality results, just my 2¢

ginger1 Feb 26, 2021 01:55 PM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

Yes and no. A 3-stage (not 2) system is pretty decent and you *can* get RO systems that "wastes" 2-2.5 gallons per gallon output. Even 1:1 is possible, for more $$ of course. You *could* direct the discharge water to your garden ;-) We by-passed our RO membrane to compare the water quality with an without and the RO (with minerals added back) and the RO tastes much better and works much longer without changing filters. Standard filtered water isn't bad, though. Heck, anything is better than direct out of the tap around here. Even a Brita.

Additionally, if you choose a 3 stage basic filter system, you have to be extra careful about replacing the filters frequently and hygienically---cleaning and disinfecting the filter housings and seals. (Of course you should do that with RO, too.) People do not get that, and it is very important.

FernaldPoint93108 Feb 26, 2021 02:15 PM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

Hard water doesn't affect pipes unless you have steel water pipes that were phased out in the 70's yet that is still the scare tactic sales pitch on ads from water companies trying to sell softeners. Hard water can leave a powder on dishes and a mineral deposit in the toilet bowl at water level. Your shower heads can get crusty too BUT buying a new shower head every few years is much cheaper than buying bags of salt every few months for your softener. So water softeners are definitely optional. If you have one, salt is a little cheaper per pound at Costco than Home Depot. Avoid the potassium pellets which are 3 times the price of salt. Costco bags are 40 pounds which are much easier to carry than the 50 pound bags at Home Depot.

I don't care for the taste of local water so I would say an RO system is a must. You will also need an RO faucet which your sink needs to have a hole for so consider the faucet issue when running out to buy an RO system. Many kitchen sinks have extra holes hidden behind the plate surrounding the main faucet. Every few years you will need to add air pressure to the RO storage tank or it will appear to run out of water quickly. You can pump them up like a bike tire.

Channelfog Feb 27, 2021 08:43 AM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

Potassium pellets cost more but are better for people on low sodium diets and far better for use as recycled water. Potassium is fine in irrigation water, salt is not. Another one of those civic vs pocketbook decisions.

TheKid5 Feb 26, 2021 03:04 PM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

Santa Barbara drinking water, tastes terrible, is hard as a rock and has poisons in it. It is treated with chlorine and has trihalomethanes and other toxic chemicals that are shown to cause cancer. A four stage RO filter makes great tasting water. The hard water is tough on the pipes of older homes and makes washed clothes hard as well. Salt is the cheapest product in a softener and pellets can gum them up. We use The Water Store and have been pleased with them for years.

SBTownie Feb 27, 2021 09:03 AM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

Do you have any further information on this? I have had long-standing concerns about drinking chlorinated water, tried to ignore it due to hassle and cost of bottled water (not to mention concerns about plastic), but reading this has me spooked. Does RO really get rid of everything you mentioned - chlorine, trihalomethanes, etc.? I sometimes notice a weird sweet smell coming from my tap water. I have googled endlessly about what it could be and no results. Our water feels fine and tastes great without any systems (lived in other parts of town where it's unusable and makes skin burn), but I'm concerned about effects of ingesting it longterm.

RHS Feb 26, 2021 06:21 PM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

Just replaced my water softener after 13 years. The improvement is remarkable. Clean and shining dishes and silverware, easy soaping in the shower, great laundry. While I am somewhat concerned about the brine we have to remember that our wise leaders decided to go to desalination to give us water security. If they can desalinate ocean water by the acre feet they can handle my humble discharge.

Michele Feb 27, 2021 09:36 AM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

I've used RO and water softener for many decades, and can't imagine living without them. I've seen only two downsides. I feel like I waste too much water when trying to rinse soap or detergent off of things. Also, you can't use those detergent balls for the dishwasher, and last time I went to the store, there was only one powdered product. Go with very small amounts of detergent in washers, dishwashers, etc. Far under what the product recommends.

Channelfog Feb 27, 2021 09:59 AM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

Actually the waste of water "downside" is not so much in your rinsing, it is in the rinsing of the resin crystals after the brine soak in the regeneration cycle. Lots of water lost, but we still prefer soft water to mineral fluid.
There are a few units that regenerate based on gallons used rather than a clock which is far superior. We paid crazy money for it and decided not to repeat when it finally died. Iliked having no power hook up or clock though.
BTW: RO units waste much water too, but it is not salty just a bit harder, and so this water is best routed to the garden or other use (toilet flush etc?) rather than the sewer.

Channelfog Feb 27, 2021 10:07 AM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

Michele, I meant to mention that I agree about soap/detergent use. We too use a fraction of the package directions with fabulous results (and $ savings). They are in the biz of selling detergent not protecting the environment.

Michele Feb 27, 2021 09:38 AM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

I meant to add, I use Augie's and am happy with them. And if you can't lift bags for the softener, they even have a delivery service.

MasterChief Feb 27, 2021 10:07 AM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

Rino Whole House system,Works GREAT! NO water wasted,Filters& Softens water naturally.Also comes with a u.v.light to kill all the little nasty things in local water. Rhino Whole House System by Pelican.

a-1614449932 Feb 27, 2021 10:18 AM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

Does anyone have experience with this company- combines RO and Water Softener systems and has been around a long time:

a-1614472806 Feb 27, 2021 04:40 PM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

Yes, I've used a LifeSourceWater system for about 15 years. They carry a whole house water filter (as opposed to a water softner) that doesn't use salt only filters. Every couple of weeks it back flushes the system that I run to a sprinkler to my yard. The plants tolerate that water but don't like it regardless of what the company says. The water it supplies is much better for showers, dish washing, appliances, etc and doesn't leave watermarks making cleaning much easier. Likewise with other responders the amount of soap and detergent used is much less. My water heater lasted much longer also. I use a separate RO system for drinking water and because the water going into it is much cleaner I don't need to replace the filters as often.
I feel that it's a good system and will replace it with the same when it needs it (they are estimated to last 20 years).

Bene Feb 27, 2021 06:52 PM
Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis?

What a sales job some companies do on reverse osmosis! Scientific fact: RO water, water devoid of minerals, is aggressive water. Will damage pipes and will leach minerals out of your body if you drink it solely. If you must drink R.O., add the capability to add some minerals back. Don't take my word for it. Do your research. Even the desalinated water the city produces takes this into account. Since the desal is soft water they must add some "lime" into it (calcium) so as not to cause pipe damage.

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