[Greenbuilding] Water Softener Filters

John Salmen terrain at shaw.ca
Sun Feb 1 13:34:34 MST 2015

Would agree and did the same thing, i.e. nothing (25 or so years ago). Water softeners do require additional water (5-10%?) as well as the sodium (which is now good for you again - though not for the septic as it can reduce bacteria as well as reduce soil permeability). Basic thing is the minerals in hard water are good for you and its just dumb to mess with water too much. The one downside is inevitable clogging of supplies and piping which I am now trying to figure out how best to deal with.

-----Original Message-----
From: Greenbuilding [mailto:greenbuilding-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] On Behalf Of RT
Sent: February-01-15 9:50 AM
To: Green Building
Subject: Re: [Greenbuilding] Water Softener Filters

On Thu, 29 Jan 2015 18:38:36 -0500, Antonioli Dan <solardan26 at gmail.com>

> Has anyone ever heard of water softeners using potassium chloride or 
> sodium chloride having negative health effects?
> I have an application where I installed one on a well and everyone but 
> one person thinks it’s great.

I'm afraid I don't recall whether it was mentioned if the house is connected to municipal infrastructure or is on a well/private septic system so I don't know if my comments will have any relevance to the query.

My home is in a rural area and all of the wells are drilled in rock which is at or very near the surface, depths of the wells ranging from about 6 metres to 360 metres or more (~20 to 1200+ ft).

If one looks at the blast rock or rock cuts where roads have been built here, iron oxide staining is usually evident.

That is to say, the water in this area is obviously very hard and has a high iron content to boot.

I made a decision to NOT install a water softener nor an iron filter when I built (about 30 years ago) simply because:

	(i) I didn't want my household to be subjected to drinking water with
	elevated salt content, potentially exposing them to heart & kidney health
           issues and

	(ii) I didn't think that it made sense to be polluting perfectly potable
    		well water with salt and then dumping that brine into the groundwater system,
            contributing to compromised water quality and

	(iii) I didn't think that it made sense to unnecessarily consume extra
		energy and water to remove minerals that are essential/beneficial to health
              	-- the very same minerals that many people try to put back into their bodies by eating high iron/calcium foods or taking supplement tablets .

Shortly after I built, there was a housing "boom" in this area-- a result of the hi-tech sector in its prime, Kanata being "Silicon Valley North"
back then, and there was a proliferation of "rural estate" subdivisions built from cash-ins of lucrative stock options or cash-outs of small nascent companies being sold to bigger fish etc.

Most of the "new" households were people who moved out here from the city, and it seems they had the same expectations for their well water that they experienced in the city so water softeners and iron filters were de rigueur.

So there was a large number of homes in the same area all built within a few years of each other.

Starting at about the 8 year mark, I started noticing that many households were experiencing failures of their well equipment, usually starting with the pressure tank and then followed by the well pump shortly thereafter. I found it curious because I had lived in rural locales pretty much all of my adult life and failures of well equipment that "new" was rare.

Then at about the 18- 20 year mark, many households were having to replace their septic fields. Back when those septic fields were constructed it was before the advent of peat filter systems so all the septic fields were of the raised filter media type, necessary because of the shallow-to-non-existent soil overburden in this area. Such systems were more expensive to build initially and 20 years later, the replacement cost had almost doubled.

Even if the cost of replacing well equipment and repairing plumbing flood damage every 8-10 years and replacing septic fields every 20 years isn't problematic, not having running water for a day or more while well equipment is replaced is a pretty big PITA. (I refuse to use bottled water. I think that it's ridiculous

All of the households that experienced premature failures of well equipment and septic fields were homes where water softeners were installed. In the rural communities where I had lived previously, the households were family farms and water softeners were pretty much unheard of, as were short-lived well equipment and septic systems.

My *guess* is that the extra demands placed on well equipment and septic systems (ie higher volumes of water pumped and dumped due to backwashing
requirements) played a significant role in their premature demise.

But specifically in relation to KCl vs NaCl salt, we know that potassium is highly desirable as a fertiliser. It's the third number on all store-bought fertiliser packaging.

So while dumping potassium into the groundwater system may not be as obviously harmful to water quality as is dumping sodium, it does contribute to nutrient pollution of water systems which ultimately has a deleterious effect on all living things, not just we up-right bipeds.

=== * ===
Rob Tom            ADT1
Kanata, Ontario, Canada

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