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House water for SFG?

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House water for SFG?

Post  JustMe on 7/10/2012, 9:23 pm

Like many areas of the country, we are in need of rain. Our rain barrel is almost empty. Our city has a watering restriction of odd numbered houses can water on odd days and even numbered houses can water on even days. (Not everyone is following this. We figured anything from the rain barrel is fair game, but anything from our hose will follow the restriction policy.)

DH and I started collecting the water from our shower that runs while the water is heating up. It's about 1 gallon collected per shower.

The water source is the city. We have a water softener with salt and an iron filter (not really sure what that entails, except that it removes the excess iron from the water). Is this house water okay to use in the SFG?

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Re: House water for SFG?

Post  camprn on 7/10/2012, 9:28 pm

I don't have any first hand experience but I hear that the salt can have a negative effect on the growing plants. Salt kills plants. There was a previous thread where a member said they had the outside faucet branch off their water main before the house water went to the water softener.

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Re: House water for SFG?

Post  Triciasgarden on 7/10/2012, 9:57 pm

I tend to agree with camprn but I also don't have the experience. I do have to tell you that I am so impressed with you both saving the first of the shower water! I found a site where you have the water evaporate and it drips into another container, leaving behind the salt and probably some of the water. It's not a quick process but you set it up and leave it and come back later. There were other posts that mentioned doing pretty much the same thing. http://www.education.com/activity/article/Take_salt_out_of_salt_water/

I know if you cook say stew and it is too salty you put a peeled potato in the stew and it absorbs excess salt. It may be a good science experiment to just put the potato in the water, let it sit for a few hours and see if it makes a difference.

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Re: House water for SFG?

Post  westx on 7/10/2012, 10:22 pm

Being a water system operator I can tell you that no city water is good for you garden, grass or any of your plants due to the way it is treated but if you let it set in a barrel or bucket for several days the chemicals that are normally used to treat it will evaporate from the water especially in the summer. Normally takes a couple days. Water that goes through a salt system is even worse and will cause a build up on the soil long term. I would look over Tricias link and see if that will work for you.

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Re: House water for SFG?

Post  greatgranny on 7/10/2012, 11:11 pm

Found this in doing research regarding softened water:

I find it a little disturbing that more than one "expert" has mentioned how water softeners use salt to soften the water. Not just here, but in other threads as well as other forums. The truth is that the water is actually "softened" by running it through a resin bead media which causes an ion exchange of some sort.
At a predetermined time (usually late at night), this resin bead media goes through a "wash cycle" the water supply to the home is diverted around the softener while the resin beads are washed with the salt water solution from the holding tank to remove the minerals and other unwanted "hardness" nasties. After the saltwater bath, the beads are rinsed thoroughly to remove any remaining salt residue and this rinse water is discarded. Then, and only then, the softener stops diverting the water and the water is directed back through the resin beads to be softened and then out to the rest of the house.

Any water that is run during this wash cycle is untreated, meaning it is coming straight from the well or from the city water inlet - untreated and unsoftened. This is why the "wash cycle" is typically scheduled to be performed late at night when there is less of a chance of the water being used.

So to those of you "experts" - especially those of you who have supposedly written books on this subject - who claim that water softeners use salt to soften the water or add salt to the lawn and garden - shame on you for spreading such disinformation. The salt is only used to clean the media and is never mixed with or released into the home water feed. Any salt that may still remain in the resin beads after the rinse cycle is infinitesimal at best unless you're using a totally generic softener system. I think that the reason most houses are plumbed in such a way as to keep the treated water in the house and not outdoors, is to conserve on the cost of treating the water.


It's basically what the Culligan people told me when they were installing my system. I water my plants all the time with this water. Yes, if I'm going to water the garden or wash my car I push the "bypass" so I don't waste the softened water.

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Re: House water for SFG?

Post  JustMe on 7/13/2012, 8:05 pm

Thanks for posting this.

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Re: House water for SFG?

Post  happycamper on 7/14/2012, 3:14 pm

Very interesting Greatgranny, thank you. I have to admit I use rain barrels but by August, they are sometimes empty and depending on the weather I must refill them.

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Re: House water for SFG?

Post  Triciasgarden on 7/14/2012, 3:56 pm

Greatgranny, thank you for teaching us all. The idea of having salt in our water is the reason we have never gotten a whole house water purification system. We had a demonstration years ago and the sales person never told us that salt did not get into our household water supply. He could have made a sale otherwise if he explained the purification system the way you did! I will spread the word and thank you!

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Re: House water for SFG?

Post  greatgranny on 7/14/2012, 8:08 pm

You are welcome. I know that to water the garden with the softened water is a waste because it has to recharge more often, thereby using more salt. That's why I made sure that they put a bypass on the softener so that all I have to do is push it while I'm watering and then - unless I forget Embarassed - I push it back the other way when I am finished.

I'm on a well and the water is quite hard - iron was an issue. Clothes turned yellow and so did the sinks, etc.

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