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water softener

bobbob Member Posts: 70
I was told by the previous owner that she was advised to get a water softener installed mainly for the sake of the boiler. I have searched all over HH but have not seen anything about using softener as a way of extending the system's life. ( I have not used it in the 21 years we have been here.)


  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,327
    A hot water boiler, or steamer?
    Your boiler really should not be using water on an ongoing basis. One fill up if it is a sealed system. Unless you have a leak in the system? rteally no need to flush boilers either, you just add mo O2 into the system and corrosion potential.

    True it is wise to fill with good quality water. If you have water over 7-10 GPG or so then demineralized water is the best to fill with. If you have extremely hard water over 15 gpg or so, softened water is the lesser of two evils :)

    Softening can extend the life of water heaters, indirect tanks, HW coils, tankless WHs and fixtures.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,524
    I think we've been around on this one... do NOT use ion exchange softened water (the usual household sort) in a boiler, whether it's hot water or steam. It contains chlorides, which will cause a boiler to have a short and miserable existence.

    Instead, use distilled or deionized water if the water is extremely hard, as @hot_rod says, or softened water if you have to -- otherwise, just use what comes out of the tap.

    Of course, you should be using very little water anyway -- a gallon or so a month on a steamer, perhaps, and ideally none at all for hot water, beyond the initial fill.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,352
    Hi, For tank type water heaters, softening will reduce scale build up, but it will greatly speed up anode consumption. So there are trade-offs. I can't imagine that adding any salt to your boiler water could be good for it. Also it's tough on stainless. Hopefully, your boiler does not use much make-up water.

    Yours, Larry
  • bobbob
    bobbob Member Posts: 70
    Thanks again for the help. No, my boiler gets very little make-up water.