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Old 04-06-2012, 03:29 AM   #11
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So would adding acid give me the water profile that I want? Or does it just change one mineral compound to another without "softening" the water?

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Old 04-06-2012, 03:39 AM   #12
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All it does is swap the acid anion for HCO3-

M+ + HA + HCO3- --> M+ + A- + H2O + CO2

"M" represents some metal cation.

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Old 04-06-2012, 05:08 AM   #13
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So if I understand correctly, the only way to truly achieve a soft water profile with my tap water is to use RO and adjust from there?

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Old 04-06-2012, 12:38 PM   #14
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Well again we must be careful about what is meant by 'soft'. If it means low ion content then yes, you must use cation/anion ion exchange or reverse osmosis or distillation to separate the water from any ions it contains. If it literally means soften then it is sufficient to remove calcium and magnesium which can be done by precipitating them with sodium carbonate, running the water through an ion exchanger such as the typical home ion exchanger, adding lime, adding trisodium phosphate...

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Old 04-07-2012, 02:48 PM   #15
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That sounds like a whole bunch of work. Am I correct in assuming that starting with RO water and building from there is much easier?

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Old 04-07-2012, 03:00 PM   #16
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Yes, that'd certainly be easier.

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Old 04-07-2012, 03:01 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by JonBoy47 View Post
That sounds like a whole bunch of work. Am I correct in assuming that starting with RO water and building from there is much easier?
In my experience, yes!

I'm pretty new to water chemistry myself but when you start with RO water you have a "clean slate" and don't have to futz with trying to lower the alkalinity or anything like that.

After trying all sorts of things, including preboiling my water to reduce the bicarbonates, pickling lime also, and so on, I found it easier to buy an RO water system.

But before that, we had a "water machine" at our grocery store, and I just bought 4 gallons (in two 2 gallon containers) for $1.58. That, mixed with my tap water, did the trick! They took the water machine out of the store recently, and that is when I ended up buying my own simple RO system. But if you live in a place where RO water is cheap and convenient to get, I'd suggest starting with that.
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:18 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
In my experience, yes!

I'm pretty new to water chemistry myself but when you start with RO water you have a "clean slate" and don't have to futz with trying to lower the alkalinity or anything like that.

After trying all sorts of things, including preboiling my water to reduce the bicarbonates, pickling lime also, and so on, I found it easier to buy an RO water system.

But before that, we had a "water machine" at our grocery store, and I just bought 4 gallons (in two 2 gallon containers) for $1.58. That, mixed with my tap water, did the trick! They took the water machine out of the store recently, and that is when I ended up buying my own simple RO system. But if you live in a place where RO water is cheap and convenient to get, I'd suggest starting with that.
I'm not sure why...perhaps it's because we don't really have any locations with bad water (most places anyways)...but I've never seen an RO machine in Vermont. Fortunately my water is suitable for lime softening (with no need for magnesium treatment)! We may be getting an RO unit for drinking water when we get a whole house softener, though, so perhaps I'll stop using lime treatment.
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Old 04-07-2012, 05:55 PM   #19
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Are basic RO systems very expensive?

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Old 04-07-2012, 08:32 PM   #20
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Are basic RO systems very expensive?
I just paid $129 for a basic system last week. I've seen more expensive, and I've seen cheaper, but this is one that was recommended to me when I started a thread about buying one. I've only used it once, but it was easy to set up and use and I'm happy with it.
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