Advice on whole home water filters

Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.
drH

#1: Post by drH »

I'm moving to a new house with well water: the water has high iron, sulphur, and is (according to the water company) moderately hard. We will be installing a complete whole-house water filtration, iron/sulphur reduction, and sodium ion softening system with a large carbon block stage. The result should be good drinking water that lacks bad flavors and is soft enough to avoid scale.

Of course, once the system is installed I can test the output to be certain that the hardness and pH are in the right range. The question is: will the sodium salt based softener pose any problems? Is there a case to be made for or against adding an additional filter (like a BWT filter) on faucet to further condition the water for espresso? Would a magnesium ion exchange filter like BTW potentially shift the pH in a bad way?

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homeburrero
Team HB

#2: Post by homeburrero »

drH wrote:I can test the output to be certain that the hardness and pH are in the right range.
Yes. And instead of pH (which will vary a lot depending on the dissolved CO2 in the water) you should test the alkalinity (KH) with a drop titration kit.
drH wrote:The question is: will the sodium salt based softener pose any problems? Is there a case to be made for or against adding an additional filter (like a BWT filter) on faucet to further condition the water for espresso? Would a magnesium ion exchange filter like BTW potentially shift the pH in a bad way?
If your softener is working as expected you have nothing to gain by further filtration with any of the BWT filters, including the Bestmax Premium with magnesium. That filter would replace some of the calcium and magnesium with hydrogen ions, and also would replace some of the calcium with magnesium ions, but after your conventional softening you will already have low concentrations of both calcium and magnesium, so the filter would not do much ion exchanging.

Hard water after conventional softening may contain higher bicarbonate (alkalinity) levels than you see in typical recommendations. This might tend to give you a duller, flatter taste to your filter brewed coffee. Espresso tolerates a much higher alkalinity so it probably would not noticeably detract from taste there.
Pat
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drH (original poster)

#3: Post by drH (original poster) »

Ok great. So after testing hardness and alkalinity if I need further improvement there probably isn't much more I can do other than go all the way with a Zero Water pitcher and a custom mineral blend.

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homeburrero
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#4: Post by homeburrero »

drH wrote:if I need further improvement there probably isn't much more I can do other than go all the way with a Zero Water pitcher and a custom mineral blend.
That might be an option, but Zerowater may be uneconomical -- softened hard water can have a high TDS that would exhaust the zerowater filters quickly.

One possible next step if you needed further improvement after softening might be a point-of-use RO system for your coffee machine's water line. Especially if wells in your area have high chloride you would want to test for that, and if your chloride ion is high the only practical way to reduce risk of chloride corrosion would be RO, which you would remineralize with a cartridge or in some cases by a blending valve on the RO system.
Pat
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drH (original poster)

#5: Post by drH (original poster) »

I think I might go mad if I have to install an RO system and buy expensive filters after spending so much on the whole house filter.

Has anyone had any luck with home water distillers?
https://www.h2olabs.com/p-55-stainless- ... arafe.aspx

I'm the only coffee drinker so distilling a few gallons a month would do the trick (+ third wave water).

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Jeff
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#6: Post by Jeff »

I know people that use small distillers.

For me, at $0.30/kWh, its cheaper to buy bulk RO/DI at a local chain market, and nearly a push compared to $1.00 in gallon bottles (plastic, alas). My preference is reusing glass gallon jugs.

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homeburrero
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#7: Post by homeburrero »

Jeff wrote:For me, at $0.30/kWh, its cheaper to buy bulk RO/DI at a local chain market
I agree. I refill with de-ionized from the machine at my local grocery for 39 cents per gallon and add minerals. Even if plumbed in that can be feasible if you use carboys with a flojet-like system.
Pat
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drH (original poster)

#8: Post by drH (original poster) »

Great ideas. I'm reluctant to fully plumb so maybe 5 gallon tanks with flojet and an accumulator could work eventually.