We received a call from a customer, the thought was that his water softener was not working. Another company had been out there previously, diagnosing the system as something that could not be fixed. We’ll concur. The electronics on the system were shot and repair simply wouldn’t make fiscal sense.
The implications of the hard water were pretty common. Like a lot of phone calls we get, one catalyst was from the doctor. The diagnosis will range from eczema to dermatitis to some other skin-related issue, typically impacting the kids. The nature of this is that the hard water is binding with the soap and creating a soap curd that irritates the skin.
WATER TEST RESULTS
The well for this house was running 26 grains of hardness. While this is slightly higher than normal for the area, it’s close enough to normal amounts. For context, water is soft at 0 and 1 grains. Over 3 grains is hard. So we’re running 866% of the amount of hardness that makes water hard.
The term “hard” water was an old laundromat term. It’s “hard” to get sheets and towels clean with that water. The soap residue simply won’t rinse away. As such, it makes sense why the kids are having the skin-related issues.
The iron was 0.75 parts per million (ppm). All of this iron was in its soluble or ferrous state. That type of iron can be removed by a functioning water softener.
The total dissolved solids (TDS) were extremely high at 1,440 ppm. The reverse osmosis system was producing water at 197 ppm. That elimination rate of just over 85% is unacceptable for a reverse osmosis system.
OTHER DETAILS & DECISIONS
There are four children ranging in age from 6 to 12 years old. While that’s a lot of mouths to feed, it’s also a lot of showers to take and clothes to wash. As these kids change from just kids to teenagers over the next couple of years, the water consumption is only going to go up.
Here is the problem. A family of 6 using 75 gallons per person per day on 26 grain water needs to remove 11,700 grains of hardness per day. They have two bad choices on those old single-tank, electric dinosaurs.
Using the standard setting for Brand X’s softener, it has capacity of 28,060 grains and uses 10 pounds to regenerate. That’s 2.39 days’ of capacity.
Option 1: Regenerate before running out of soft water. That would mean getting just 2 days’ worth of soft water for a 10 pound salt investment. So they get basically 23,400 grains of hardness for each 10 pounds.
Option 2: Run out of soft water with 0.6 of a day left before the next regeneration. This will save some money on salt or wear & tear on the well pump. However, then we’re back to where we are now. The hard water will make laundry and dishes a mess, skin will get irritated, etc. There’s also another thing that happens here. Reverse osmosis membranes are great at a lot of things. They’re horrible as water softeners. It leads to a shortened membrane life, increase the cost, and leave periods of questionable drinking water quality before buying a new membrane.
The twin-tank Kinetico is the high-efficiency choice. It’s non-electric operation allows for both tanks to be exhausted in full before regenerating. This eliminates the waste of a single-tank softener and affords a continuous, uninterrupted stream of soft water.
The recommendation is the Kinetico Premier Series S250 softener. For context, the S250 softener removes 4,368 grains of hardness for every pound of salt that it uses. That’s almost half the amount of salt that any Brand X competitor would use.
Their drinking system had failed. Behind the Premier Series S250 softener, the always-exceptional Kinetico K5 Reverse Osmosis system carries not just a 10 year warranty on the parts, but a full 10 year warranty on the membrane as well.
PEEKING INTO THE FUTURE
Sitting here towards the end of 2015, we’re talking about a family of 6. By the time the warranties run out on the systems, one child should be out of college and the youngest of the 4 will be moving out of Driver’s Ed and into SAT/ACT prep work.
Incidentally, this same product recommendation was made on the equivalent models we carried in 1985. It was sold by Jack Hug. Jack used to babysit me at the office when my parents would step out for a quick bite to eat. 1985. That’s a long time ago. I went and tested the equipment for a customer yesterday on her Brookfield well.
The softener was testing at 0 grains of hardness on both the hot and cold. The reverse osmosis was still performing to the original specs from 30 years ago.
If you’d like a quick no-cost of your water quality and options, please give us a call or schedule an appointment using the form on the page.