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Do water softeners remove lead and chlorine?

Hi everyone, I am considering investing in a water softener for my house. I've been doing a lot of reading and just wanted to double-check against the real-life experience? How do you normally measure the levels of lead and chlorine in your water? Do water softeners help?


  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,648
    Water softeners typically remove calcium and some iron. Carbon filters remove lead and chlorine. Flow rates in whole house filters should be at least 10gpm or you'll feel the difference.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,100
    Typical ion exchange water softeners remove, as @Paul Pollets said, Calcium and Magnesium. They are not designed to, nor will they, remove either Lead or Chlorine. They may remove some Iron, but are not intended for that (there are other filter/treatment systems which are). Carbon filters, if they are properly maintained, will remove chlorinated compounds and some organics. They must be properly maintained, however, which usually means the element must be changed rather frequently (how frequently depends on the levels of chlorine compounds and other organics, but should never be longer than 4 weeks). They may or may not remove Lead; they cannot be relied on to do so.

    In my opinion, there are no consumer level tests which are reliable for the measurement and characterization of chlorine and chloramines in drinking water. There certainly are no consumer level tests available for other organics, nor for heavy metals such as Lead which are reliable at drinking water levels. However, in most areas of the country there are laboratories which can perform these tests; you should contact them for the required glassware or other containers, sampling procedures, shipping procedures and costs. Generally speaking tests for chlorine and chloramines, while finicky as to collection and shipment, are relatively inexpensive, as are tests for heavy metals. Tests for other organic compounds range from moderately expensive to eye-wateringly expensive.

    If you are on public water, your utility can provide you with the results of their routine testing on request. These may or may not accurately portray what you are getting at your house. If you are on a private well, your local public health department may, in some areas, provide testing for heavy metals.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 20,725
    Hardness test kits are fairly inexpensive, test strips even less $$. Good too check occasionally as water can change from season to season.

    Are you concerned mostly about potable water? Or boiler water.
    I prefer to soften only the hot for showers and washing, I prefer the taste of my well water un-softened.

    For treated public water a basic replaceable carbon block filter cleans up a lot of the taste and oder. Better tasting coffee and tea with filtered water :)

    Your country may offer tests also, cost me 15 bucks to do a yearly test on my well water. Bacteria mainly.

    The more you want to know about your water the more it will cost.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • AndyPo
    AndyPo Member Posts: 1
    A water softener does not remove lead and chlorine. Water Softener removes Calcium, Magnesium And Iron