Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hard Vs. Soft WATER

I recently moved into a house with well water. Well water does not taste good to drink (to me anyway) and it has a funky smell... that is why I got one of those "reverse osmosis" systems put in by Culligan. Basically I am renting it out for a little under $25/month. They installed a little faucet in the kitchen so I can use it for drinking water, cooking, cleaning vegetables, etc. There is a previously installed water softener in the home as well so basically everywhere else in the house has "softened water". This is all very confusing and I was determined to figure out some answers on what is best for drinking, cleaning, and washing.

Basically rain water is naturally soft water, when water comes from the ground it picks up minerals and because of this it is supposed to be good to drink (because of the essential minerals). However like I said, it stinks! It has a rotten-egg like smell to it. Basically the water softener takes all the minerals out except sodium. We put "salt" into the tank to clean out the water softener about once a month.

This is great and all but my main concern was the iron in the water. Will it turn my hair orange? Will the toilets, sinks and bathtub be orange and extremely hard to clean? Will all my precious white clothes turn a dingy shade from soaking in iron filled water?

Apparently you can get additional iron filters that are supposed to help prolong the life of your water softener as well as get rid of any trace amounts of iron. Apparently my water softener is doing a great job of getting most of the iron out but will a hint of iron in the water really matter? That is what I am still unsure of.

Thus far showering in softened water has taken sometime to get used to. It kind of leaves a "slimey" feeling on your skin and to me feels like the soap, shampoo and conditioner are not rinsing out of my hair/body. This was hard to adjust to. I moved out of Milwaukee county and was using city water and didn't really have any complaints. I never really drank the water from the tap (I always filtered it with my Brita pitcher, which I just found out only makes it taste better).

So far it has almost been 2 weeks since I moved into the new place and my hair hasn't turned orange (yet) and I have washed 1 load of white clothes with no noticeable iron-y orange color. My hair is soft and very manageable, my skin is not dry either so really - no complaints. I just need to decide if I want the additional iron filter for close to $2,000. I am not sure if it will be worth the cost if the water softener is doing it's job.

Do any of you have well water or a softener at your home? Any advice that you could give would be well appreciated.

For now I will be sticking with the drinking water coming from the reverse osmosis system.

My take everywhere drinking bottle.


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