water softeners and septic systems

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Kris in MI, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. Kris in MI

    Kris in MI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Dh is trying to convince me to let him buy a water softener for our new house. We had one, once (about 9 years ago) in a house we rented, but have lived off of unsoftened well water ever since. The water at our new house is very hard, and the appliances (not to mention the tub and toilets!) are already showing signs of it even though the house was just completed in Sept.

    My concern is that growing up my parents had softened water, and it always felt 'slimy' to me, and I couldn't stand to drink it. I would much rather drink water that feels normal and tastes strong than water that has no taste but feels repulsive in my mouth! However, the rental we had that had softened water didn't have 'slimy' water.

    I am also concerned about the salty water from the softener going into the septic system and the effect all that extra salt may have on the natural function of the septic tank (ie health of the digestive enzymes in the septic) and the salts getting into the soil of the drainfield. Dh thinks that the effect of the salt will be minimal, but then again, he doesn't care about that stuff as much as I do.

    Can anyone tell me if there has been research done about the salt from softeners and the effect it has in the septic and soil?

    Or any knowledgeable people about soil or water softening systems?

    Also, is it possible to have soft water without having 'slimy' feeling water? (I am one of those who think it is insane to buy bottled water when I have drinkable water in my own well).

    Is there a way to soften water without salt?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Unk

    Unk Guest

    We have a softener, but the cold water faucet in the kitchen is hooked to the system ahead of the softener and so are the outside lines to the hydrants and barn. The gray water should bypass the septic tank. How the salt would affect a leach bed, I can't say..
    Our gray water goes into a grease trap before it goes into the system. Our septic tank was installed in 1970, and has never been opened since.
     

  3. hercsmama

    hercsmama Well-Known Member

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    Hi! Hubby is a plumber and we also have a water softener at HIS insistance. We are on septic and he assures me that it will not harm your septic. The new softeners are called "Demand" softeners. Which means that you test your water for hardness and then set the softener to that hardness. It really is nice I have to admit. The water does not taste salty,I use about half as much shampoo and other detergents for laundry etc. You do have to use salt for softning but it doesn't seem to hurt anything. Ours drains right pasted my Crepe Myrtle tree and the thing blooms like crazy every spring and summer still. If you do have overly soft water it will feel "slimy" that means you have set your softener wrong. Soft water does need to be gotten used to, it will feel "soft" and seems like the soap isn't entirely washed off your hands etc. Give it a try though. It saves me so much money in soaps and detergents now that we are used to it!!
     
  4. Kris in MI

    Kris in MI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    hercsmama, thanks, that explains alot. My parents' softener is now close to 20 years old, and back then they sure didn't have varying degrees of softening. You put the salt in, set how many days between cycles, and away it went. The 'demand' softener sounds more like what we must have had at the place we rented. I like the idea of 'custom' softening to our water/our taste and feel.
     
  5. hercsmama

    hercsmama Well-Known Member

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    Kris, You are so welcome, glad I could help! We got our at Sears and DH says to tell you that if you get one there they should be able to tell you what to set it at for your area.
    PS It really does make cleaning sooo much easier!