Water Well and Pump Repair/Water softeners


QUESTION: Robert, I do not know if this question is in your area of expertise, but thought I'd give it a shot. I am considering a water softener for our home. Looking on-line I have noticed that in addition to the traditional "brine bath" softeners there appear to be two types of non-salt softeners. On is a "box" that sets on the inflow line and has coils on the pipe before and after the "box". The explanation seems to indicate that the magic box breaks down scale. The other type appears to have two tanks stacked on top of each other that the water is filtered through, again claiming to alter the state of "scale". Being a neophyte with regards to all of this, do these latter two types of softeners work? Is it scale that needs to be altered (our water results in large white stains on glass, somewhat cloudy water, and white "sediment" is settle glasses of water -maybe from ice?) On a technical level, total dis solids are 942ppm,Hardness is 437ppm, Ph is 7.65, Bicarbonite is 197ppm. Thanks for any help you are able to provide.

ANSWER: Hi Thomas,

Your water is 26 grains hard.  PPM divided by 17 gives grains.  That is pretty hard water.  Average here in my area is 15 grains.  A good softener will remove all 26 grains and make the water totally soft.  It will make clothes last longer and you will use less soap, coffee etc.  

The only two units I'm familiar with making claims that you don't need salt are: 1 - the unit just like the one I sell that instead of using Sodium Chloride (salt) it uses Potassium Chloride.  Potassium Chloride costs almost twice as much as salt and isn't nearly as efficient.  But it sure makes for a lot of sales for those guys. All softeners can use either one.  2 - is the magnetic unit that comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes.  It's been around for ever and does absolutely nothing to your water.  Nothing at all.  It still amazes me that people actually buy these things, but they do.

The unit I sell goes for about $700.00.  It's fully automatic and is quality.  There are lots of other units out there.  Culligan, Kinetico etc, which are very proprietary and expensive.  They don't last any longer than the units I sell and don't do anything different.  Then there are the big box stores who sell junk and they are normally way undersized.  Just about all the units out today have sensors that tell the unit when it is time to backwash so it doesn't waste salt.

By the way, the highest level of TDS for drinking water is 500 ppm.  So your water is a bit on the high side.  I once drilled a well that had a tds of 4800.  It was nasty water, but the grass loved it.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: first, my reason for asking these questions is that i was looking for a system that does not require back flushing. what i am hearing from you is that the back flushing type is the only way to go, with either of two mediums (salt or potassium chloride).  what type of unit do you sell? and just fyi, i am on a public system and i took the numbers that i sent right out of their annual report on water quality. the tds (942.8ppm) was reported as being within regulations.

thanks for the quick response

I guess the standards for safe drinking water depends on who's standards they are going by :}.

There is no softener that doesn't need to backwash that works.  It's too bad that there are so many salesmen who don't care what the result is just as long as they make the sale.

The process is called ion exchange.  The exchange of salt for hardness.  Each bead of mineral takes on two parts of salt and exchanges it for 1 part hardness (calcium or magnesium) and when they are all depleted, it's time for a backwash to put everything back in the ready position.

Water Well and Pump Repair

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Robert Tabor


I can answer any question related to Water Wells, Water Pumps and Water Filtration.


From age 13 to age 66

High School

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.