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Re: [Shop-talk] Water softeners - wrong link the first time!

To: Randall <>
Subject: Re: [Shop-talk] Water softeners - wrong link the first time!
From: David Scheidt <>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 13:20:08 -0500
On Thu, Feb 12, 2009 at 12:58 PM, Randall <> wrote:
>> some (most?) soften water without making any detectable
>> changes to the water content,
> Hmm, that's an interesting question.  The site Brad linked to claims that
> their unit removes the calcium carbonate (aka temporary hardness) from
> solution and turns it into "micro crystals" that are left in the water as
> suspended solids.
> It seems reasonable to me that, if that is true, the resulting water would
> act "soft", eg lather easily and leave fewer deposits on fixtures and such.
> You'd probably still get just as much scale when boiling it in a pan,
> though.
> But I wonder if you could tell the difference with a home hardness testing
> kit (or with a laboratory test)?

Calcium carbonate has a number of crystal species.  Best known are
marble, chalk, and lime (the scaly stuff hard water leaves.)  it's
possible to discourage the formation of scale with magnetic fields,
but the effect doesn't last very long.  You'll still have scale
building up in your water heater, your pots,  and any where else water
spends time after going through the descaler.  (That includes pipes of
fixtures that don't get used much.)

Good quality modern water softeners are much nicer to deal with than
old ones.  Tell them what the hardness of your water is, and they use
a flow meter to tell when they should regenerate the matrix.  So
instead of having a timer that regenerates on a fixed schedule, they
regenerate only when they need to.  That saves salt, possibly quite a
lot, depending on how poorly the timer matched your actual use of
water.    If you've got room, you can also get huge brine tanks.  (A
friend recently had a tank that holds 800 lbs of salt put in.)  You
still have to schlep the salt to the basement, of course, but if
you've got a 300 or 400 lb tank, you only have to do once or twice a
year.  (and you can get it delivered, and let the delivery guy do the

David Scheidt
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