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Thread: Anybody with a water softener - need your opinion

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    Anybody with a water softener - need your opinion

    Ok - I'm really obsessing over my CH. We replastered the pool this January partly because our CH was through the roof and we had to drain it anyway (I'm sure previous owner never drained for CH). We have hard water and after almost 6 months after replaster are already up to 450 CH. My fill water is 100 so my CH is just going to keep rising as we top off the pool twice a week due to evaporation. Does anyone have any experience with a water softener? Can you get them just for the pool fill and are they hard to install? What are the drawbacks of using a water softener for pool filling?

    I'm trying to decide it it's worth it to me to get a water softener and not obsess about CH or obsess about CH every week when I do the testing. Honestly, how high is too high of CH before it's unmanageable and you must drain?
    17,000 gallon inground pool; Plaster redone January 2015; Pentair Cartridge Filter; SWG; Age of pool unknown (house built in 1973); Taylor K-2006 Test Kit.; Doheny Discovery robot cleaner.

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody with a water softener - need your opinion

    I can only tell you my personal experience. Last year, my CH was much higher than I liked. So I plumbed a new water spigot from the rear of my garage (where the water softener is) to the back yard so I could run soft water to my pool. Over several days, I drained a little then re-filled with soft water. Eventually it did lower my CH.

    But here's the kicker ..... We all know the water softener only has so much softening capacity before it needs to recharge. So I'm sure at times I exceeded that limit. I would do a manual recharge to refresh the softener after filling the pool for a while, but it was a lot of cycles. Maybe it was just coincidence (8 yrs old), but my water softener failed on me a couple months later.

    So yes, I got my soft water, but then had to replace my home water softener. Was it directly related? I can't prove it, but it made me think. Now that I have a new water softener, I'm not so sure I would do it again.... at least not with a conventional home water softener.
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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody with a water softener - need your opinion

    I'm managing North of 700 CH as I have little choice. I make up with soft water some and sure, you can do it. I'll say that 100 CH makeup is hardly a worry your first season, but start researching it. You should be able to manage a season, and have no trouble at all. If you're handy you can put one in. I know some of CA has tight restrictions on Salt effluent so you might want to look into that first. Softeners discharge a good amount of Salt, but it's perfectly fine to have soft water makeup for the pool.

    I do have to ask, what Chlorine source have you been using besides SWG? It seems a bit odd that you are over 450 CH in 6 months with 100 CH in your makeup water. Even with new Plaster, but maybe some new finishes add more than I think.

    Splash, your situation was coincidence. Your softener was about to go anyway. Using a home unit is fine. You don't even want to know what the first level of commercial or industrial units would set you back.
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    Re: Anybody with a water softener - need your opinion

    Patrick - I only use the SWG for chlorine. It seems strange to me too that the CH has risen so much in such a short time. I had someone start up the pool for the first 30 days and I think they added some calcium to get me going but that was five months ago. Since then I haven't added anything but acid and some salt.

    I'm wondering if I'm doing the CH test correctly? I use a Taylor K-2006 and no matter if I do the 25ml or 10ml sample the CH comes out high.

    Is there a drawback to a water softener adding TOO much salt to a pool? Any other drawbacks? I think I'm going to get some estimates from some plumbers. I don't need it for the whole house just my pool water pipe.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh, I have added conditioner to bring my CYA up too. Is there anything else besides hard water that could be making my CH steadily rise?
    17,000 gallon inground pool; Plaster redone January 2015; Pentair Cartridge Filter; SWG; Age of pool unknown (house built in 1973); Taylor K-2006 Test Kit.; Doheny Discovery robot cleaner.

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    Mark R's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody with a water softener - need your opinion

    My pool water is close to 700 Ch after a full refill March 2014. I'm wondering if just having a dedicated water softener for the pool top off would be practical. My evaporation rate during mid May thru the end of September is crazy due to the constant 100 degree weather. All I use is 10% bleach.

    It wouldn't be problem to add another softener just for the pool, but, would it be wise. The house system now regenerates after I use 1000 gallons to a nice soft 20. That's probably 4 times a month.
    12k gal Gunite/Hayward filter C5520BH with quad 33 inch filters. 2.5 hp motor. Pool is on south side, so full sun light. Spill over spa.
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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody with a water softener - need your opinion

    Lisa, I have an outdoor spigot that ties into my softening system for makeup water, in my case to reduce/avoid heavy iron from my well. I've just upgraded to a dual tank system to get more capacity.

    If you plumb a spigot to the soft water, just don't use that spigot for plants/garden if possible. While a bit of salt won't hurt in the beginning, built-up salt in the soil etc. will not make them very happy, especially if the softened water is not offset by ample rain. (Too much salt in plant tissue can be toxic.)

    Landscaping plants are also fond of the calcium and magnesium in well water Epsom salts can compensate if you have to use softened water now and then in periods of drought. But if your a Gardner, just a heads up to consider that in the equation. Rain barrels and drop irrigation would be a good companion approach for a number of reasons if your grading works for that.
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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody with a water softener - need your opinion

    Lisa, I bet they did, and/or they used Cal-hypo for Chlorine. In any case, it will honestly be as cost effective to manage this with partial drains as you are not that high now. If you add a softener, it will take quite a while for the salt to build up and be too high I think, so it too could be managed the same way periodically. Nothing else is adding to the CH level but Calcium sources. Beware that many plumbers will not understand capacity of softeners for pool use, if at all. Some will, but not most. Do look into the restriction possibilities I mentioned. I think some areas of Cali are outlawing SWG pools, so those areas may have very tight restrictions on softeners. I just don't know.

    As for being practical for makeup water, a dedicated softener can be practical, it's more of a budgetary, and for some a more ethical dilemma. Very doable, it's really up to the individual.
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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody with a water softener - need your opinion

    Patrick, I believe your water-industry experience far exceeds my own.

    I wonder if you happen to know the average ppm salt in softened water? I say average, because I understand (I think) that if you have 20s grain of hardness, you would "repace" that 20 grains with salt...but i don't know what a grainpm might be, or how that compares with the salinity of, say, an swg.

    Lisa -- I am asking the above so you can get a sense of comparative salinity -- for consideration if there are restrictions in your area and if your environment is arid.
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