Water Softeners

There are three highly important factors to keep in mind when making an installation of water conditioning equipment:

  • The individual responsible for installing equipment (softeners, chemical feeders, filters) should be fully trained for the job. Further, he should know and appreciate the need for extreme care in making the installation.
  • In making any water conditioning installation he should comply with all state local codes¹ where pertinent. This applies to specialist codes.
  • The installer² should be mindful of the manufacturer’s instructions except where building codes. Obviously, the codes take precedence.


In making any installation, one of the first decisions is whether or not to treat all the water. In general, it is a must to soften the water for both the hot and cold water lines. Such an installation is illustrated as following picture.


Installation for Soft Water Throughout the Home
Installation for soft water throughout the home
Installation for Soft Water Thoughout the Home

Both hot and cold soft water is needed for all personal grooming needs (baths, showers, and shampoos), laundering, dishwashing and general homemaking tasks. When only the hot water supply is softened, the end result will not provide soft water benefits whenever hot and cold water are mixed.


In the installation above, the softener is placed between the water meter (or pressure tank) and the water heater. Further, that 3/4″ pipe or larger is recommended for all connections to the softener. If larger size piping is used in the plumbing, this should be matched. In this way you avoid the possibility of the softener installation causing an excessive pressure drop. In any event, local codes must be observed.


There are many materials that can be used for the piping: brass, copper, galvanized steel, iron and plastic. Most commonly used is copper and galvanized steel. Rigid copper tubing is one of the better materials for installations. On the other hand, the use of soft copper tubing is not recommended.


Flexible plastic pipe is readily available and convenient to use. It is gaining in popularity where permitted under local plumbing codes. A word of caution: where plastic piping is permitted, you should insist on material that has been validated by the National Sanitation Foundation. This organization has carried on extensive plastic pipe tests, both toxicological and physical. Failure to use NSF tested materials could lead to unsatisfactory results as far as the consumer is concerned.

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