water softener vs septic

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by MaKettle, Aug 20, 2004.

  1. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    Our water heater is beginning to leak. It was recommended that we get a water softener since the water is hard and limed up the heater. Am concerned about what all that salt will do to the septic, as well as to my innards. The brochure re a water softener mentioned use of a salt substitute. Anyone know what that would be? Anyone have any information to share?
  2. devittjl

    devittjl Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2004
    We have a water softener on our septic system. There is not been a probelm.

    And the salt does not really enter the drinking (house) system. Here is how a softener works. Inside the softener is a cylinder that contains a lot of little balls that are ionically charged. As the water that you are drinking filters over these ball they collect the minerals (hard stuff in water). 2-3 times a week the softener will flush the balls with a salt brine to recharge the balls and wash away the mineral deposits. During this recharge time the softener shuts of the flow through the softener and directs hard water into the house. That is why most softeners recharge at night when there is no usage. All of the flush/recharge cycle is discharged down the drain.

    Hope that helps!

  3. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    We have a water softener and wouldn't be without one. We do not and will not drink softened water. We ran a seperate line from the cold water line before it entered the softener. This line supplys the cold faucet on the kitchen sink, and the line going out side to the hydrants.
    We do no run any thing through our septic tank but what goes through the stools. The salty discharge goes down a drain tile. This tile goes under trees and shrubry but the roots never plug it. Our septic tank was put in in 1970 and has never had the lid off so far.
  4. pumpkinlady

    pumpkinlady Well-Known Member

    Sep 3, 2003
    NW PA
    Our softener flushes into it's own drain line that runs out into one of our pastures. Boy, do the cows like that! We were told not to drain it into our septic tank.
  5. the expaination of softners was not quite accurate but close. the minerals in your water are exchanged for sodium so in a properly working softner you don't get much salt but you will get sodium, about the same amount of sodium as the minerals it removed. It is usually not a problem for septic systems unless the water is extremely hard you can dispose of the flush water to a dry well to keep it out of the septic if you want. potassium chloride is and alternative to sodium chloride pellets, which would be better for plants and people. hard water normaly has lots of calcium and is quite healthy to drink in a lot of cases. A seperate line is a good idea. Soft water is sometimes only used for hot water but is best used for both it will reduce buildup in plumbing fixtures and reduce soap needed for washing cloths dishes and showering. The safest option would probably be to drink and cook with distilled water and take mineral pills. RO is hyped a lot but not near as good as distilled since it must have filter changes and will deliver dirtier and dirtier water the distiller will just not work if not serviced as needed but has less ability to deliver unpure water.
  6. ajoys

    ajoys Well-Known Member

    May 12, 2002
    Everything I have read says softners will not hurt your septic system. You can use potasium instead of the sodiom.
  7. BeeFree

    BeeFree Well-Known Member Supporter

    Feb 22, 2004
    Ripley Co. Mo
    We have a Rainsoft filter system. You can use Potassium or salt in it.

    It has not bothered our septic system.

    We also have a filtered faucet we can get our drinking water out of that was installed at the kitchen sink when the water softerner was installed.