Water treatment vs. piping

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    • #272976
      MasterPlumbers
      Keymaster

      In 1995, while building a new summer home in a rural area, I had a well drilled for my water supply. All my supply piping in the house is copper, and I installed the electric water tank in 1996. I have a whole-house sediment filter (I change the 20-30 micron cartridges about monthly) and just last weekend installed a water softener to handle the hard water problems (scale in the hot water tank, spotting on fixtures, etc.) This house is for weekend get-a-ways, and an occassional week or two vacation – its probably only been truly “used” for about 180 days since construction was completed in 1997. I have a couple questions to pose to this board: I am confident that the water softener will prevent future hard water problems, but will its addition also eliminate any interior pipe or fixture scaling that already may exist? (In other words, will “softened” water help to eliminate existing scale buildup?) Or should I plan on replacing the hot water tank and/or other fixtures (like shower heads) that show signs of scale buildup?

      Also, am I being too aggresive in filtering my water to 20-30 microns? Would I do just as well filtering to 100 microns? (less fliter changes, etc.) Will the softener “clog up” more quickly if I reduce the amount of filtering?

    • #286654

      There is some effect of the dissolving of scale. Softened water that is void of calcium carbonate and magnesium will naturally pull these elements into it. As far as a total clean up of the plumbing I think is a bit farfetched. Remember if your copper plumbing had no oxidation in it to protect it from the best solvent on earth-water, copper couldn’t posibly last as long as it does. As far as scale build up affecting the flow of water inside copper I don’t think you will have to ever worry about that in your lifetime. The biggest problems with pipe oxidation come from iron pipe. Iron will expand to 70% of its mass when oxidized. Seawater being totally void of calcium carbonate will not reveal any skeleton remains of fish etc. On the other hand fresh water with abundant calcium will. As far as your using 20 to 30 micron filters I would have to see the dirty filters that you are replacing. If they are caking then you should keep up your regiment of replacing them. If no caking after a month you could try a 100 micron but be aware the sediment will be in contact with the resin inside you softener. Maybe try checking them at a 2-month interval and act accordingly.

    • #286655

      I also am concerned about oxidation in copper plumbing. We have a water treatment unit in our home that is five years old and copper plumbing due to Houston Building code. The residue water that evaporates in the master bathroom lavatories leaves a “blue/green” deposit. This must be from copper residue from the plumbing. Water draining in the toilet bowls also leaves a “blue/green” deposit.

      A Kohler toilet upstairs experienced a leak from the water intake line and thus leaked water on expensive wood flooring downstairs.

      I attribute these plumbing problems from possible chemical reactions from the treated water which I believe is mostly void of calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals.

      What do I do – remove the water treatment and deal with calcium, lime deposits or what?

      Help, please.

      Thank you.

    • #286656

      To all parties posting to this message. For corrosion control and descaling you might try using a phosphate feeder. I am using one and it seems to be working. Check out http://www.aquasmartinc.com they have a device for the “do it yourselfer”. You may also want to look at http://www.copperknight.com

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