Water Softener Problems
Common problems with water softeners
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There are times when it is not advisable to use a water softener. They can cause many problems, both for the recipients of the water and for the surrounding environment. All pieces of mechanical equipment have their pros and cons and this does not exclude the water softener. Problems should be addressed as quickly as possible or alternatives found.
The most common water softener problems centre on the use of sodium. Although the general thought is that only miniscule quantities of sodium actually enter the water from the softener, those on a sodium-free diet due to hypertension or heart problems need to avoid even this. There are several ways to alleviate this problem. The sodium chloride normally added to the system can be substituted with potassium chloride, although this is still a form of salt and is quite costly. Perhaps the most guaranteed method would be to install a bypass pipe so that the water used for drinking and cooking doesn't pass through the filter.
Research has also found that soft water causes more leaching of heavy metals from pipes, and this can reach dangerous levels. The softening process can also remove traces of minerals from the water which are beneficial to health. The jury's out on the specifics of this but it is generally agreed upon that the risk of cardiovascular disease is less when water is not softened. The sodium can also be a problem if the water is going to be used outside as it will affect the growth of grass and vegetation. It may also kill the bacteria contained in septic tanks.
Aside from the problems caused by the softening process, there are issues for the whole house's plumbing system. Installing a system that is too large for the property will make the system inefficient, but one that's too small can result in a restricted flow of water, or hard water entering the property. This can be a serious safety issue if a house sprinkler system is attached to the plumbing, as a reduced flow will affect its efficiency.