01:28PM | 01/19/06
Member Since: 10/10/98
34 lifetime posts
I would like to install a water softener in my home and I would like to know where it gets installed with respect to the plumbing lines.

My neighbor here in Pennsylvania has his hooked up just after the meter so all water usage runs through the softener. He is on public water and uses a unit he services (with salt) himself. My folks in California, on the other hand, have theirs hooked up just before the hot water tank, so only the hot water usage is treated. They are also public water but use Culligan as a service, and that is the way Culligan hooked it up.

My home is now on public water. I left all the outside lines (for the garden and lawn) on a separate system fed by the original well, so that is not an issue here. What are issues are 1) whether it is better to treat all water used in the home with the softener, or just the hot water side of things; 2) is service better/cheaper than self-service; and 3) what service or self-serve brand is best?

Thank you in advance - TomR


03:46AM | 01/25/06
Member Since: 01/22/04
46 lifetime posts
I live in the land of hard water & underground wells of Houston. Water hardness tests here are generally "off the meter" and many appliances and piping systems, including hot water heaters, are damaged by hard water. We've used one (since replaced once w/another brand) since living in our new home these past 5 years.

We treat the whole house, the unit is installed where water enters our house, and if we do not bypass, it will go out of the faucets too. This wasn't our choice for outside water but we had to make a decision with the installer & this has worked out, especially after we had sprinklers installed 1.5 years back - no hook-in at all to water softener and no need to water a whole lawn with soft water! (Yes, pre-sprinklers, we did that a time or two).

Service, such as Culligan or competitors is expensive and you'll get in from $2500 in year 1 and have annual maintenance. If you can handle the 40 - 60 lb bags yourself, I recommend this path, you'll get a nice unit for less than $700, installed (Kenmore), and monitoring/replacing is not a big deal. Bags of salt run $4-7, and you'll replace 1 every 4-5 weeks.

Hope this helps.

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