11-28-2012, 03:02 PM
#1
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Even though we have lake water here, it is pretty hard. I don't know the "hardness level", but soap scum is an issue as are water spots on glasses, shower doors etc. In the interest of getting excellent lather I am debating a water softener for the house to cut down on water spots / scum as well as less soap needed for laundry and shaving etc.

So who here uses one? Do you notice a difference? Is shave soap lathering really that much easier with soft water?

If yes, do you rent, own or what? I see nice energy star water softeners at Home Depot or Lowes in the 200-350 range (plus installation) but Culligan is wanting an incredible amount of money to install one for purchase or to rent one.

Since my interest here is for ease of lathering (all the other benefits being secondary) I am asking in here.

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 11-28-2012, 03:12 PM
#2
  • beartrap
  • Resident Цирюльник
  • Southern California
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Before investing in this equipment, try building lather using water from other sources and see how it compares. I used to live with hard water for years and never knew it, my aquarium fish liked it and so did I. Now I have soft water and we are still happy Biggrin

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 11-28-2012, 03:25 PM
#3
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I've tried distilled and it does seem to be easier, but that could be in my head, cooler water (I don't heat the distilled) etc.

Our water seems to be in the 8-10 grains of hardness range according to our anual water quality reports.

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 11-28-2012, 03:47 PM
#4
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I used to rent a house with a water softener. It was really really nice to have. Used a TON more water though. Lots of waste.

I don't feel the need for one for those reasons. I do own an RO system though. Drinking water is important.

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 11-28-2012, 04:07 PM
#5
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Attach a brita filter onto your tap in the bathroom.

Something like this...

[Image: brita_filter.jpg]

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 11-28-2012, 04:17 PM
#6
  • vuk
  • Senior Member
  • Virginia
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I just helped my father install one about a year ago. He has well water with tons of iron and rust otherwise, the system had 5 tanks (salt, resin, mixer, brine, accumulator). It does use more water because its on a timer that has to flush the system out.
The water quality is nice, I've shaved there before and never had any lather issuses.

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 11-28-2012, 04:49 PM
#7
  • P Funk
  • I can only carry 50 chickens at a time
  • Bay Area, NorCal
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I had one for years in the house I just sold. It really made a huge difference in what it did to my skin (not drying it out). Didn't think too much about lather until now. The rental we are staying in has hard(er) water and I have noticed that it is a bit more difficult to get the lather luciously yogurt-like.
I plan on installing a water softener when we move into our new house at the beginning of the year.

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 11-28-2012, 04:49 PM
#8
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In Minnesota, most cities drill into the aquifers for their water so it's fairly hard and I think having a water softener is fairly common. Our hardness level is 19 grains.

I replaced our water softener about 2 years ago and I thought it was a pretty easy job, but you have to be comfortable with sweating copper and hooking up gas lines (for gas heaters). If you're not comfortable doing it, find someone who is, or hire it out. Rather than go with Culligan, I'd call a few plumbers and see what they would charge to install one that you bought yourself.

Financially, I can't believe you'd ever save enough on soap to justify a water softener. If we didn't have one here, our faucets would all scale up in short order. As it is, we have one water line to the kitchen sink that bypasses the softener and I have to clean out the faucet internals every so often. BTW, if you do get one, I recommend plumbing it so that the kitchen faucet is not softened, because softened water does not taste as good as hard water.

As far as what it does for lathering, I've not lathered for shaving without softened water, but before I replaced ours, we'd often run out of softener salt and get hard water and the lather from body soap and shampoo was no where near as nice as with softened water. I saw a HUGE difference. Now was there a practical difference? I don't know. Sometime I'll have to try shaving in the kitchen and see just what a difference it makes.

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 11-28-2012, 08:33 PM
#9
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I've lived with both hard and soft water, even had a full filtration system installed in another house, and my lather has been about the same wherever I shave.

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 11-28-2012, 10:20 PM
#10
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(11-28-2012, 04:49 PM)5Savages Wrote: I replaced our water softener about 2 years ago and I thought it was a pretty easy job, but you have to be comfortable with sweating copper and hooking up gas lines (for gas heaters).

I'm surprised no one called me out on this. I was thinking about the water heater I installed a couple years ago, hence the gas line. I also installed our water heater softener though, and it was even easier.

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 11-28-2012, 11:04 PM
#11
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(11-28-2012, 10:20 PM)5Savages Wrote:
(11-28-2012, 04:49 PM)5Savages Wrote: I replaced our water softener about 2 years ago and I thought it was a pretty easy job, but you have to be comfortable with sweating copper and hooking up gas lines (for gas heaters).

I'm surprised no one called me out on this. I was thinking about the water heater I installed a couple years ago, hence the gas line. I also installed our water heater though, and it was even easier.

So to summarize, replacing your water heater was even easier than replacing your water heater? Biggrin

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 11-29-2012, 05:22 AM
#12
  • slantman
  • Expert Shaver
  • Leesburg, Florida
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Doug I have had a water softener for almost two years and it makes a big difference. I make lather much easier and loads of it. And that goes for the dishwasher and washing machine. You use much less product with better results.

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 11-29-2012, 05:59 AM
#13
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(11-28-2012, 11:04 PM)wingdo Wrote: So to summarize, replacing your water heater was even easier than replacing your water heater? Biggrin

ARGGHH!!! That's what I get for staying up so late!

You know, before you do anything, you may want to have your water analyzed to make sure that adding a water softener would even be of much benefit. you'd hate to go through the effort and expense of adding a water softener only to find that it didn't fix the problem.

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 11-29-2012, 06:12 AM
#14
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Sometimes I use the water "generated" by the dehumidifier I have in the bathroom and it's way better than tap water. Air conditioners might be the same, but please don't freeze your family just to try Biggrin

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 11-29-2012, 09:18 AM
#15
  • Grumpy
  • Senior Member
  • DisneyLand
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Water Softener for uses other than shaving.

I have to agree with Slantman that it does make a Big Difference. We had one when I was a kid and hard water will do it all ... water spots on glasses, build up on shower walls & doors, in toilets, in your dishwasher, etc.

Let alone washing your clothes (hard water is hard on the washer and you use more product) or body & hair (you use more product).

You just have to keep in mind that you have to buy Rock Salt and service the unit every now and then.

And it does affect building shaving lather.

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 12-01-2012, 11:56 PM
#16
  • Mynorx
  • Active Member
  • Southern California
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Yes soft water does make HUGE difference. The reason why is because when soap mixes with minerals, it creates Soap Scum. and it gums up everything. With my experience. Whenever my softener fails to regenerate my shaves feel draggy, skips and I get a film on my brush and razor. I hate it.

As far as I know softeners sold at your hardware stores are less expensive just because of the size, valve quality and they only contain Resin. (I could be mistaken about containing only Ion exchange resin) I think culligan is more of a water refiner, which will contain other media such as carbon, garnet, sand, quartz, KDF, etc.... They will last much longer because the carbon will remove chlorine and the resin will last at least 3x longer.

I made a counter top water softener I wanted to market. but its just cumbersome and when installed just takes up space on your counter, you can only use warm water with it, and it needs to be regenerated with salt once a week. If anyone is interested. I can post instructions on how to build it. you guys can probably purchase parts on line to make it.

Other benefits, removes chlorine if the softener has carbon, it will keep your clothes nice because they will not fade as quickly, no more soap scum, your water heater will last for a crazy long time because the insides will not get corroded by the scale build up, same thing with clothes and dish washer, iron, shower heads and anything else that comes in contact with water in your home.

Disclaimer; I own a company that sells and installs "Water Softeners" Water purification equipment.

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 12-02-2012, 07:43 AM
#17
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
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If you decide to go with a softener system,

be sure to understand health concerns, that sodium levels can go higher in some systems, part of their process

there are choices for systems that do not increase sodium levels.

all home systems are expensive at the get-go!

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 12-02-2012, 09:49 AM
#18
  • Mynorx
  • Active Member
  • Southern California
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(12-02-2012, 07:43 AM)gijames Wrote: If you decide to go with a softener system,

be sure to understand health concerns, that sodium levels can go higher in some systems, part of their process

there are choices for systems that do not increase sodium levels.

all home systems are expensive at the get-go!

whenever you have a softener system installed, you must also install a Reverse Osmosis for drinking water. It will take care of the sodium.

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 12-02-2012, 01:26 PM
#19
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(11-29-2012, 09:18 AM)Grumpy Wrote: Water Softener for uses other than shaving.

I have to agree with Slantman that it does make a Big Difference. We had one when I was a kid and hard water will do it all ... water spots on glasses, build up on shower walls & doors, in toilets, in your dishwasher, etc.

Let alone washing your clothes (hard water is hard on the washer and you use more product) or body & hair (you use more product).

You just have to keep in mind that you have to buy Rock Salt and service the unit every now and then.

And it does affect building shaving lather.

I agree 100%. I have a Rainsoft unit and it's fantastic. I can't see us ever going back. Rainsoft is cool because if I move, they'll come and pack out the unit and relocate/reinstall it for me. I've noticed a difference in my appliances, especially the washing machine. There is a lather difference as well. I can even use Williams with no headache.

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 12-02-2012, 05:42 PM
#20
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(12-02-2012, 07:43 AM)gijames Wrote: If you decide to go with a softener system,

be sure to understand health concerns, that sodium levels can go higher in some systems, part of their process

there are choices for systems that do not increase sodium levels.

all home systems are expensive at the get-go!

Any health concerns are easily resolved by bypassing the softener with the line running to the kitchen. The amount of water consumed at other locations is insignificant, at least in our house. You'd also want to bypass the softener with any lines going to outdoor faucets or ice makers. no need to soften the water when you wash your car or water your grass.

My water softener cost me about $400, plus a few bucks for installation supplies. I didn't think that was bad at all.

(12-02-2012, 09:49 AM)Mynorx Wrote: whenever you have a softener system installed, you must also install a Reverse Osmosis for drinking water. It will take care of the sodium.

That's actually not the case. Simply bypassing the water softener for your drinking water will take care of that problem. In this area, that's the normal installation. Some folks here have RO systems for other reasons, but not because of water softeners.

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