A water hardening system

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Jim_H
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A water hardening system

Post by Jim_H » Oct 06 2011 6:02 pm

For some bizarre reason, the people who run the water system where I live use a sodium ash, or sodium bicarbonate additive (which will accumulate as sodium in the soil and kill anything irrigated after a while) to make the water really soft. I despise soft water, it reminds me of when I visited my 90 year old grandparents in Florida and had to shower in their community clubhouse becuase the water was so soft. Best thing about Flagstaff: Hard water. I love it. I don't feel greasy or slimy all the time, and it doesn't take 5 minutes to wash my hands. Now, everything is covered in brine and I feel like greasy, slimy, sailor.

I can't find anything online. Does anyone know if a water hardening system can be found? What about just getting a shower filter, would that take out salts? It won't add calcium, which I desperately want back. I thought if I got a water softening system, but instead of sodium I added a calcium, I might be able to harden my water nicely. Perhaps powdered lime could be added to make my water really hard.

Of course, all of this could be made easy if they just didn't add salt to the water and left it natural, but I doubt they will do that.
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azbackpackr
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Re: A water hardening system

Post by azbackpackr » Oct 06 2011 7:43 pm

I would guess that the water in Kayenta is so hard that it destroys the plumbing quickly. Maybe that is why they soften it.
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Jim_H
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Re: A water hardening system

Post by Jim_H » Oct 06 2011 8:23 pm

I don't know, but doubt it. Flag's water is way harder, and I loved it. I think it's because they have a private company manage it and they set it at a softer level to charge more and make more money.

Either way, if there is a way to get the salt out of the water, I want it. I really want to put some calcium back in, but mostly I just want the sodium gone. I don't want to drink ocean water, and as far as I'm concerned, that is what I am doing.
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writelots
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Re: A water hardening system

Post by writelots » Oct 06 2011 9:28 pm

Well, I suppose you could dig a very large cistern out back - like, say 400 gal. Line it with limestone (or caliche - I can get that to you free). At the bottom, place a sediment filter and pump. Then just fill'er up, let'er sit for a week or two, then switch over your entire water system to the cistern tank. Repeat as necessary. Of course, you'll need a few other things like a poly liner for the hole so you don't lose all of the water, some sort of lid system to keep your dog from falling in, and etc...

All the advice I found in my research was to "unplug the damn water softner". Guess that makes selling a "hardener" unit kinda difficult. It looks like there are chemicals available for folks maintaining delicate fish tanks and the like, but nothing for a house-wide system.

I have to agree with you, though. Every time I've had to use softened water, I always walked away feeling like a salt lick. :yuck:
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big_load
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Re: A water hardening system

Post by big_load » Oct 06 2011 9:33 pm

I dislike softened water, too. Ours remains untreated, even though it's hard enough to bother the plumbing.

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Canyonram
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Re: A water hardening system

Post by Canyonram » Oct 15 2011 7:55 am

There's a price to pay regardless of having either soft or hard water. I disconnected the water softener in my home---I didn't want the excess sodium in the water I was using for drinking and cooking and to limit my sodium intake. The price is hard water that is damaging my plumbing and causing scale build up of mineral deposits on fixtures, etc. When water is really 'hard' it too can cause bathing problems since a residue of minerals gets left on the skin and the body responds by increasing body oil in response to the irritating minerals---you end up feeling 'greasy' instead of 'sticky' or 'slippery' as with soft water.

This article contains a nice summation of why bathing in soft water can lead to that 'slicky-slippery' feel.
http://chemistry.about.com/od/howthings ... rrinse.htm

One suggestion is to switch to a bath soap that does not leave behind the sodium residue---try Zest Liquid Body Wash. It is a 'synthetic soap' and not dependent upon the chemistry explained in the article. It will rinse off in soft water and not leave behind the annoying residue.

A real bummer is to have a high iron content in your water. When I moved to a rural location in Missouri, the first time I tried to wash my whites and added chlorine bleach, all the clothing came out pink-to-rusty brown. The chlorine actually set the iron into the fabric. Even worse, I couldn't get it out even after going through a series of chemical experiments.

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Jim_H
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Re: A water hardening system

Post by Jim_H » Dec 06 2012 10:42 am

I thought I would post this as some of you might find it amusing.

Oh, the irony. A year later, and I left the soft water and moved to extremely hard water. I actually liked the soft water after a while and I got used to it. Never 100%, as washing my hands and showering I sometimes found the slick feeling annoying, but I just figured if I held what ever was slick under the water long enough, the soap was gone. I used virtually no laundry soap, and a bar of bath soap lasted well longer than before. Also, my dishes got clean very nicely. As did my laundry with a bare minimum of detergent or soap.

Then I moved to Alamogordo, and rediscovered hard water. And how! There is hard water, and then there is water running with mineral chunks in it. The Tularosa Basin and I assume my tap water, has 3 grams of dissolved solids in it for every liter. I use a lot of laundry soap, and now my dishes actually come out of the dish washer dirtier than when they went in. If you can believe it. All the glasses have a chalk haze on them, the utensils, too, and the plates never get clean. Places where water settle have crystals of minerals on top. Flagstaff had pleasantly hard water, not too hard, but not soft. I found it just right. This is ridiculously hard. So hard, in fact, that I find myself longing for the soft water I had just a few months ago.

Oh, the irony.


Any thoughts on how I can get the minerals and grime out or off my dishes?
Last edited by Jim_H on Dec 07 2012 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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joebartels
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Re: A water hardening system

Post by joebartels » Dec 06 2012 11:00 am

We have the white residue issue too. Don't do this if you plan on owning the dishwasher for a long time. I've been told it's hard on the pump but haven't noticed any ill effects yet. Buy vinegar in bulk. One a month as needed put two coffee cups filled with vinegar in with the full cycle.

Prior to the vinegar trick we tried expensive additives that never really worked, some of which you need to run separate cycles before the dishes. Vinegar is cheap in bulk. The first time I used it I was amazed. If you don't have the same results then I'd guess the mineral compound is different?

Another thing I found that really worked well was to open the door mid cycle and spray about a 1/16th to 1/8th cup of jet dry. Even the store brand of that stuff is way more expensive than vinegar so have only done that a couple times. Also that was after vinegar trick so I don't know how well that works on it's own.

What's interesting is my mother always did the dishes by hand so I did too. The dishwasher was just a drying rack. When I met Jessica I had to adapt, but I swear it's more trouble...

I should clarify. Not two cups of vinegar. Two coffee cups not inverted so it naturally disperses throughout the cycle.
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BobP
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Re: A water hardening system

Post by BobP » Dec 06 2012 11:20 am

@joe bartels
Was just wondering...Do recomend Palmolive also? :)
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joebartels
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Re: A water hardening system

Post by joebartels » Dec 06 2012 11:25 am

Madge and I quarreled this for years
only when looking for leaks in a carburetor :M2C:
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Jim_H
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Re: A water hardening system

Post by Jim_H » Dec 07 2012 11:11 am

I don't know how this area's water compares to the Valley or Tucson, or CAP water, but I get the feeling it is almost like using fossil springs water.
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Paintninaz
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Re: A water hardening system

Post by Paintninaz » Dec 07 2012 9:46 pm

joe bartels wrote:Prior to the vinegar trick we tried expensive additives that never really worked, some of which you need to run separate cycles before the dishes. Vinegar is cheap in bulk. The first time I used it I was amazed. If you don't have the same results then I'd guess the mineral compound is different?
If you don't have same results, chances are you waited too long to try the vinegar! My old dishwasher (came with the house, and was at least a decade old when I got it) would get things marginally clean with the vinegar trick after a time or two, or three, or four...eventually it finally corroded over and was useless, I replaced with a new dishwasher and was amazed at how clean things were...I toss a vinegar trick in there every couple of loads and so far so good! :D
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