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I have hard water in the location I live in and I heard that the hard water is effecting the ph. will water softeners kill my plants? or does the water softeners add un wanted salt to the system?

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I have very hard water at 38-40 grains per gallon (gpg), and I read that water softeners add 7.85 mg/L (ppm) of sodium (Na) for every grain of hardness in NaCl (sodium chloride) is used in the softener. KCl (potassium chloride) can also be used and is good for living thing, but it is much more expensive.

Since I am using NaCl I'd expect to see sodium at 320ppm in my water after softening, but I have not been able to confirm that is the case. I got some pool salinity test strips, but the scale they use does not go low enough for my purposes, and I am not sure if they are measuring NaCl bbut not free sodium ions. Whether than matters to fish or plants, I don't know. The salinity test strips indicate the level of NaCl in my softened water is around 100ppm and the unsoftened source is around 50ppm. (The city water system's annual reports say sodium is 30-40ppm.) 

I have watered many different large and small houseplants with softened water for 1-2 years without problems, even though this is not recommended and might lead to a buildup of salt over time. 

I do have my water softener on the lowest possible setting to minimize the salt use and wastewater. It uses about 6lbs of salt per cycle, which refreshes over day or two when we've gone through 750 gallons. These are settings WAY below the normal recommendations, especially for a family of 6, but it works for us. We use 7-10,000 gallons per month with a softener and reverse osmosis filter for drinking/cooking. Both waste water to clean the water we use, especially the RO filter. It's enormously inefficient, so I'm adding a permeate pump and looking for ways to use the wastewater it generates. it may or may not be usable for fish and plants -- I'm trying to figure that out.

I hope this helps a little and that others can answer our common questions. 

All my water is very hard and I really dislike using more chemicals or RO filters to help lower it. has anyone looking into or tried magnetic water treatment?

It is very unlikely that you will find any real data anywhere that will stand up to scrutiny or examination, as to the effectiveness of magnetic water treatment...nor will you find any scientific peer reviewed data explaining the mechanisms by which such systems purport to remove carbonate hardness from water. Good luck finding anything besides "testimonials" and low grade crackpot marketing "data"...

Stuart Polkinghorne said:

All my water is very hard and I really dislike using more chemicals or RO filters to help lower it. has anyone looking into or tried magnetic water treatment?

Magnetic is bull-caca and snake-oil.

RO works very well, and there are ways you can cut down on it's waste, but it is inherently wasteful.

There is this "ion exchange" filter system that sounds interesting, but their marketing tactics sometimes seem a bit sketchy, and I have not seen an independent review:

http://www.linxwater.com/products/innovation/#ion-exchange


Stuart Polkinghorne said:

All my water is very hard and I really dislike using more chemicals or RO filters to help lower it. has anyone looking into or tried magnetic water treatment?

The more I looked the more I found "interesting" things about water with as Vlad said that would not stand up to scrutiny or examination.

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