08:44PM | 12/08/07
Member Since: 04/25/07
25 lifetime posts

As amusing as it is to see you disrespect someone for trying to help you maybe I can...

A water softener loop is pipe that is exposed in a service area such as a utility or mechanical room or garage where the main water service entering the house is accessible to interrupt and install an appliance that would treat or service the entire plumbing system in the house.

For example, it is really as simple as the main water service pipe entering the outer garage wall from the water meter outside, going up the inside of the wall, exiting the wall at a 90 degree angle into the garage, going 6" or 12" and then going back into the wall at a 90 degree angle and servicing the plumbing in the house. The 6" to 12" of pipe exposed in the garage is the water softener loop.

To install a softener or a whole house filter a competent plumber would cut that exposed loop and plumb a service and return to the appliance. The appliance would be treating the entire water supply to the entire house where the water service enters the house.

If a home is plumbed with a softener loop there is usually a drain nearby and an AC outlet. If that is there then installing a softener is relatively easy. Softener loops can come out of the wall or in slab construction I've seen them come up from the floor... plumbers can be so creative.

If the house has no softener loop then there's a lot more work to do. You need to interrupt the water service and add the loop, or plumb the softener, before the water service branches out in the house in all the different directions it always does. You'll also need a drain for when the softener regenerates and an AC outlet, although Kinetico softeners do not require electricity.

To add a softener loop or plumb a softener in a ranch style home on a slab one would locate where the water service enters the house and then dig it out, interrupt it, plumb it to an easy entry like a garage, plumb the softener in the garage, add a drain, and return the line to where the service was interrupted.

Lots of work and can cost you but the right way to do it.

In some climates a softener can be installed outside and I've seen a few nifty Kinetico installs with the softener neatly buried in the ground since they don't require electricity.


01:12AM | 12/09/07
Member Since: 11/24/07
7 lifetime posts
Thanks for your reply j*lurker. Your description was what I had been seeking. So as I now understand better what a softener loop is, please correct me if I'm wrong.

1)If a newer home has been preplumbed w/a loop as normally seen coming out ,across 12" then back into the wall next to a water heater. Would that mean that the pipe exiting the wall is from the main water supply?(excluding possible branches to outside spigots?)If plumbed correctly, the pipe returning into the wall would then go to? a)just the hot water heater? b)back into the wall with a T-connection to the water heater and the other path being the cold supply?

If there is a branch after the loop, would that make all water in the house softened? kitchen,bathrooms,showers,icemaker lines etc.?

Space permitting, can a water softener be installed (most likely next to the water heater) in a home that is not pre plumbed with a loop? If so, would that mean that only the hot water side would be softened? What are the pros and cons of that scenario?

So basically, when a plumbing loop is pre installed in a new home, the entire length of pipe needed would be in the 2ft-3ft range and +/-4 elbows?

Assuming a unit is installed w/out a loop, resulting in only hot water softened, wouldn't that be desirable? or not?

What if any are the drawbacks using softened water in the water heater?

If you can answer me these questions, I'll buy you a cold beer!

thanks buddy Tom


05:23AM | 12/09/07
Member Since: 04/25/07
25 lifetime posts
IMO softening only the water heater (or hot side) is a waste of money. While soft water will make the water heater happy along with all the fixtures on the hot side, hard water is still in the system every inch of the cold side and where hot and cold meet at faucets and washer and dishwasher and such the water will be hard and you lose all the benefits of soft water in that plumbing and those fixtures.

Plumbed properly, a softener install, will intersect the main water service where it enters the house. Some people, from the old days will plumb a house so the softener softens everything BUT the kitchen sink and outside hose bibs but that is getting less and less common. Using KCl (potassium chloride) instead of NaCl (sodium chloride) to regenerate the softener softened water no longer kills house plants so it's quicker and cheaper for a plumber to put the softener loop in the main water service during new construction.

Softening only the hot side came along when retro fitting softeners in existing houses so the home owners wouldn't have a heart attack when they saw the price of the install. Competent and professional softener installers will explain the difference in the two methods, quote prices for both, and then the home owner can understand the difference and make an informed choice. Door to door snake oil softener salesman often only mention(ed) softening the hot side so the install is cheaper and they can sell a softener.

With 28gpg hard water you want to do this the right way and not throw good money after bad.

I was in the same situation as you... moved into a ranch style home on a slab and realized I had 26-30g hardness water. I had the softener install done the right way. Brought in a backhoe guy, a really good plumber, and it cost about $800 to do what I described in my previous post.

Added a reverse osmosis (RO) unit under the sink for cooking, drinking, and icemaker water.

In 12 years, haven't replaced a faucet washer and the water heater is going on 11 years when the neighbors replace them every 2 years or so and the icemaker still makes nifty clear ice cubes.

Most plumbers really don't understand water treatment and in all fairness they don't want to. Find a local water treatment professional and have them come out and quote you a price with a proper install. Then you'll have a base line to compare other solutions to.

Lastly, for the most reliable and long term service avoid Sears, Lowes, Home Depot, and the like when shopping for water softeners. Find a local water treatment professional who sell industry standard softeners and who will service what they sell.


05:32AM | 12/09/07
Member Since: 04/25/07
25 lifetime posts
Yes, basically, when a plumbing loop is pre-installed in a new home, the entire length of pipe needed would be in the 2ft-3ft range and +/-4 elbows.

"What if any are the drawbacks using softened water in the water heater?"

No drawback to softened water in the water heater. In fact, softened water will remove hard water deposits in the water heater, pipes, and fixtures over time, but there may be a considerate amount of sediment and hard water deposits built up in the water heater already with 28gpg hard water and that might never go away.

It's best to start a new appliance out on soft water.

"If you can answer me these questions, I'll buy you a cold beer!"

I'd prefer you apologize to those who tried to help you and not blame them for your inability to understand really basic plumbing.

Good luck and let us know how you decide to proceed.


08:12AM | 12/21/07
Member Since: 11/24/07
7 lifetime posts
Simply put, justalurker your explanations as you wrote in the last few threads was all I was asking for. Thank you for taking the time to explain in detail the 'big picture' for a soft h20 loop.

This is your reply: "I'd prefer you apologize to those who tried to help you and not blame them for your inability to understand really basic plumbing".

I'm assuming that your refering to my comment to querty999 after he failed to answer any one of my questions correctly. I've already used the word apology in a reply to him. That's all he's gonna get from me. I'm sure that he meant well in any one of his worthless replies. If you re-read the posted thread from the start, each one of his replies was nothing but fluff. You answered my query in 2 posts, whereas querty999 never once came close to giving a direct answer. Thanks again pal.


09:44PM | 03/19/13
The goal is to get 3 types of water. Soft Hot, Soft Cold, and Hard Cold water. Hard cold is supplied from the source. The Hard Cold will go outside,to your refrigerator for ice and to your cold kitchen sink for drinking water. The rest of the house will go thru the softener. Soft Hot thru the water heater, Soft Cold supplies all other inside cold sources except drinking water.
Hope that helps.


01:47PM | 06/04/13
Hey, troops

Have no idea what a SWL does, or how. However, the current devices I have seen are cream-color-painted cylinders about 8 or 9 inches in both length and diameter that sits on the top of the water tank. Looks like a mini-propane tank with a seam around the middle.

My guess would be it is nothing more than fittings with an expansion chamber for a soft-water system.

Have you asked a soft water company???

Good Luck.


10:25AM | 11/01/13
does a soft water loop also require a connection box like a washer does?


10:26AM | 11/01/13
Does a soft water loop also require a vent pipe?
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