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Easy Questions. You must get right! 1. Do you pipe in hot or cold domestic water into steam system?

I actually have 2 questions.

1. I have a tankless water system although not sure if it makes a difference. Do you pipe in hot water into the tankless water system? If so, is there a max temperature you should set the tankless water heater to? Or it really shouldn't matter. By the way, I notice that extra water is piped into my steam system via the cold domestic system which if wrong should really annoy me since I've been doing this a while.

2. Thought about getting a water softener for the hard water. Does this have an effect on the tankless or the steam system? I should pipe the water softener right after the meter, right?

3. So many water softeners out there. Can someone tell me which one is REALLY the best one out there. I'm sick of all the games that sales guys play and just need the best answer. (By the way, I know finding the best installer is the most important task but I just want to know which one is the best.) Also, any suggestions on the best water filter like RO2 system?

Thanks guys. You've alwys helped me when I've been in a jam.

I have one more question but it's about spring cleaning which might actually be a tough question for you guys. I put it in the Pipe Deterioration section. I have an interesting theory.

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,934
    On hot water vs. cold water for the boiler feed -- cold. Actually, you should be feeding so little water anyway that it wouldn't make a noticeable difference.

    Water softening is an interesting problem. From the standpoint of the boiler, you should be using so little water that scaling shouldn't be a problem, even with pretty hard water. On the other hand, corrosion is a problem -- and softened water is a good bit more corrosive than hard water. For hot water heating -- where the water use should be zero -- one could fill with distilled or reverse osmosis water and a corrosion inhibitor and let it be (check the inhibitor from time to time), but for a steam boiler system for residential use, I'd just use what was available and, if it really is weird use something like Steamaster in moderation for pH and some corrosion control.

    From the standpoint of your domestic water, softened water is often desirable, and the corrosion problem isn't as much of an issue. However, what type of water softener is best for a given situation depends on what sort of hard water problem you really have -- and that can only be determined by testing the water. There is no one best answer.

    Water filtration is another story altogether -- and filtration and softening are not to be confused. The type of filtration which is best, though, again depends on what you are trying to filter out -- and on what you are trying to achieve in terms of output. And again, there is no one best answer.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,760
    From what I have seen for water softeners; the outside hydrants and UG lawn sprinklers are fed with hard water ahead of the softener.
    In my case my basement was mostly finished, so soft water only goes to the water heater and also I could connect the cold of the clothes washer to soft also......a lot of cold used for clothes washing on warm setting.
    Many keep a hard cold line to the kitchen sink. You do not want to drink soft water.
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,032
    Jughne- why wouldn't i want to drink soft water? I do it all the time. We purposely filter and soften our water at our shop as the water from the street tastes so bad no one even liked the coffee at the shop.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • the_donut
    the_donut Member Posts: 374
    edited April 2018
    I drink softened water. The dissolved sodium is negligible compared to my large fries from [insert fast food restaurant here].
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,760
    That is the story I hear from others, we are very lucky to have good water from muni wells.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,934
    As @the_donut says, the main hazard from softened water for drinking is the possibly elevated chloride levels. There is another, though, but it's rare: if you should be so unfortunate as to have lead pipe remaining in your building downstream of the softener, the lead levels may be elevated (ion exchange softened water is somewhat corrosive). But as I say, that's a mild problem. I've never had a problem with drinking softened water...

    On the other hand, I hate showering with it -- I can't ever seem to get the slippery feeling off!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • the_donut
    the_donut Member Posts: 374
    Slipperiness happens when the water is over softened. The unit at the house I had growing up had a broken timer and was backwashing too often. The resin bed was so saturated we had to flush the system after 200# of salt had been used for a month and the water tasted like a salt lick.

    I have heard coffee drinkers being particularly sensitive to softened water in their brews though.
  • Shalom
    Shalom Member Posts: 165
    I drink distilled water, when I can get it.

    My house has the (single-pipe steam) boilers fed from the hot water heaters, not the cold, and has since 1963. Blame Mayor Bill Imken for this, he installed them.
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    Hi, Jamie,

    Thanks for the answer. I actually love to know these things.
    But why is cold water better than hot water? I would assume that hot water would be best as it would be closer to the temp of the water that's already in there, water already deoxygenated, etc.

    On hot water vs. cold water for the boiler feed -- cold. Actually, you should be feeding so little water anyway that it wouldn't make a noticeable difference.

    Water softening is an interesting problem. From the standpoint of the boiler, you should be using so little water that scaling shouldn't be a problem, even with pretty hard water. On the other hand, corrosion is a problem -- and softened water is a good bit more corrosive than hard water. For hot water heating -- where the water use should be zero -- one could fill with distilled or reverse osmosis water and a corrosion inhibitor and let it be (check the inhibitor from time to time), but for a steam boiler system for residential use, I'd just use what was available and, if it really is weird use something like Steamaster in moderation for pH and some corrosion control.

    From the standpoint of your domestic water, softened water is often desirable, and the corrosion problem isn't as much of an issue. However, what type of water softener is best for a given situation depends on what sort of hard water problem you really have -- and that can only be determined by testing the water. There is no one best answer.

    Water filtration is another story altogether -- and filtration and softening are not to be confused. The type of filtration which is best, though, again depends on what you are trying to filter out -- and on what you are trying to achieve in terms of output. And again, there is no one best answer.

  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    For everyone else, of course, the water softener isn't for me to drink! It's for the hard water that screws up everything else from the terrible laundry, the lime all over bathroom fixtures, the lime line in the toilet bowl that now never comes off, to the less effective dishwasher machines. (Trust me I waited too long and that lime line in the toilet bowl is PERMANENT. I've tried EVERYTHING. I should have kept up with getting rid of it every few months or so but I waited like 2 years. I must have tried 10 different methods, products, etc.) I HATE hard water. Btw, it's above 15 ppm where I live.

    With respect to the filter, it's for drinking of course! It's going to be for the kitchen!

    Wanted to know if anyone could recommend any brands for the softener and the filter. So many on the market and EVERYONE SAYS THEIRS IS THE BEST. Is that possible? :wink:
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,304
    when you soften water you increase the TDS through the ion exchange process, the brine from the backwash. When you increase TDS you increase the potential for electrolysis also. The elevated TDS becomes the electrolyte. This is why you often see the bluish green staining around brand drains, etc with softened water.

    Any dis-similar metal will also be more reactive towards one another with softened water.

    Ideally boilers should be filled wit DI or RO water, get all the minerals out, +and - ions (cations and anions). adjust ph if needed.

    I don't lie drinking straight RO water. When you buy bottled water it is often run-through RO's. But they also add mineral packages back in to give the water some "taste" And occasionally they add sugar or sweeteners to get the addiction going :)
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    Thanks for the helpful advice. So, you're saying that it's worth it for me to hook back a pipe back from the kitchen to the boiler for fillups?

    Does anyone really do this?
    hot rod said:

    when you soften water you increase the TDS through the ion exchange process, the brine from the backwash. When you increase TDS you increase the potential for electrolysis also. The elevated TDS becomes the electrolyte. This is why you often see the bluish green staining around brand drains, etc with softened water.

    Any dis-similar metal will also be more reactive towards one another with softened water.

    Ideally boilers should be filled wit DI or RO water, get all the minerals out, +and - ions (cations and anions). adjust ph if needed.

    I don't lie drinking straight RO water. When you buy bottled water it is often run-through RO's. But they also add mineral packages back in to give the water some "taste" And occasionally they add sugar or sweeteners to get the addiction going :)

  • Henry
    Henry Member Posts: 995
    Hot rod, I have built and installed bottled water and even beer and distilling plants here. First we have regulations relating to anything added (fruit juice, sweets etc) as it becomes another category and gets taxed as soda. There are a number of bottle water that are city water just charcoal filtered and ultraviolet treated. The spring water (less than 500 ppm of minerals) and mineral water are sand and charcoal treated. Some bottlers will also use UV.
  • RomanP
    RomanP Member Posts: 102
    edited May 2018
    Feed your boiler with cold water. Minerals in hot water are more aggressive. They can cause your automatic feeder to lockup in open position and flood the house.

    As far as water treatment goes, it’s a head scratcher. I was doing tons of research and sadly, for the most part, most of it is scam on major scale. There are certain DEP requirements your water needs to meet and I’m pretty sure that most of municipalities provide that.

    There’s one brand that I would recommend looking into, it’s Aqua Thin. My friends installed their softener and RO for kitchen system and are super satisfied.

    Here in NJ, we have hard water all over the state. I knew it was a good market to make sales and profits, but I’m not the kind of the guy that would install something that doesn’t work as promised. Aquathin, made more sense to me, but I know the regional guy and didn’t want to step on his toes. Plus, I’d have to go to Florida to get educated and I have zero time for that. So I decided to stick to what I know and refer this gentleman when needed.