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Water softgener, hard water and TDS question


An orchid fancier with a CP problem
May 29, 2010
mid-Atlantic coast, USA
Okay..let me start off by stating that I do NOT, repeat do NOT, use the softened water on my plants. Here be my question. The well water at my home is very high in iron..turns sinks, clothers, etc orange high in iron. We use a sodium based water softener with a prefilter for household water.

Okay..for fun just now I tested the water coming out of an inside tap and it was at 64 ppm. I then checked the drinking water that goes through a secondary post filter. That came out at 58 PPM.

So far not bad, but then I ran some water from our outside tap that is not filtered, pure well water and it only read 70 ppm. I was expecting well over a hundred.

Soooo, is it that my well water is not really "hard" so much as iron rich and the softener is just replacing the iron with sodium?

Curious minds need to know. Oh, BTW my collected rainwater reads at 3 ppm.
Feb 18, 2011
At those readings, I wouldn't really call your water 'hard' as much as moderately or slightly hard. My old place was over 200 ppm and we used a water softener as well. Treated water was still well over 200 ppm, but with the hard mineral ions removed, was sufficient to combat the faults of hard water. I was fairly certain a ton of sodium was making its way into the water. The amount of sodium that gets absorbed into the water has a somewhat proportional ratio to how hard your source water is as I understand it. Mainly, the more ions are exchanged between salt and the hard minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron, the more sodium is leeched into the water. I used the softened water in my humidifier once and my room was caked in white powder (that i assumed to be the excessive sodium); did a number on my electronics and computer which ultimately bit the dust (no pun intended ;) ). RO units saved the day. In my new home, iron is a issue even though the total dissolved solids is around 150ppm. I skip the softening cause I hate the sodium and let my RO unit do its thing. Tangent aside, you can probably test the source water and the treated water and compare to see how much iron is truly there and how much is removed as well as how much sodium is added.