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water softener-septic system

Should I Use a Water Softener When I Have a Septic System?

When you are considering a septic system, you may be confused whether it is good to use a water softener or not.

Hard water is an issue, but one, that is easily treated using a water softening system.

The Hard Water Problem

hard water problem

As water flows through layers of rock underground, it accumulates loose particles of minerals from its surroundings.

As a result of the type of stone common in aquifers, magnesium and calcium minerals are often found in hard water. Water with high amounts of magnesium and calcium is known as "hard water."

Hard water minerals decrease water's capacity to work efficiently in our houses.

For example, bathroom soap combines with these minerals to form a pasty scum that collects on sinks and bathtubs.

Homeowners need to use more detergent and soap in washing when they have hard water, so expenditures for these products increases.

Hard water minerals also combine with soap in the laundry room, and the residue does not rinse thoroughly from cloth leaving fabrics dull.

Hard water stains can appear on everything that's washed in and around the house – especially dishes, silverware, and family car.

Hard water not only influences household cleaning, but the minerals can become attached to the interior of pipes in your home pipeline. And in water heaters, minerals get deposited in the heating elements, the walls of the tank, at the hot water pipes, also in taps. These deposits are called “scale” and they lower the life and efficiency of your hot water system.

Local Laws and Regulations

WQA & NSF Certified Water Filters

Assumptions in previous decades caused a variety of states and counties to become worried about the consequences of water softeners on septic systems.

A lack of definitive study made it possible for several regions to enact laws prohibiting water softeners to be used with a septic system.

To help clear up things, Water Quality Association (WQA) sponsored research into the matter in the 1970s at the University of Wisconsin - Madison and the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). These researches are broadly cited until today, and their outcomes are borne out by a later review.

However, before moving to the possibilities with a water softener, it is helpful to understand how both systems operate.

If you are not acquainted with septic system functionality, this guide can help you understand the things clearly.

How a Septic System Operates?

septic system working

Knowing the elements of a septic system is beneficial to understand possible effects a water softener could have on it.

A standard septic system consists of a distribution box, a septic tank, and a drain area all linked by pipes.

Wastewater goes through pipes from the house to the septic tank where the solids (sludge) head into the bottom of the tank and also lighter substance float to the surface (scum coating).

Throughout the septic treatment procedure, both layers are partly decomposed with the support of bacteria which naturally occurs in human waste.

 The septic tank releases water into a drain area as more wastewater is discharged from the house.

How does a water softener work?

Water softener working

Now you know the fundamentals of a septic system, Let us briefly explain water softener basics to help you understand the association between a septic system and a water softener.

Water softeners remove hard minerals in water which might be causing build up in your pipes and appliances, dry skin and hair, stained laundry, jagged glassware, generally using lots of domestic headaches.

Most water softeners include a media tank, along with the brine tank.

The media tank retains a resin which eliminates trouble minerals so that soft water could be distributed throughout the house.

The water purifier's brine tank stores salt and water as required to dissolve the salt to the brine solution. The brine (salt ) is used to wash the resin, removing the hardness minerals accumulated on the resin and sending them into the drain, so the device can eliminate more metals. This rinsing process is called “regeneration”, and you need to do it approximately once a month to keep your water softener in tip-top condition.

How a water purifier can help a septic system operate better?

water purifier

One myth related to a water purifier and a septic system that the excess sodium in water-softener waste lessens the potency of bacteria in your septic system.

Recent research conducted by the University of Wisconsin discovered this to be untrue. The University found that soft water may in fact raise the biological performance in a septic tank.

An ideal quantity of sodium in water actually helps bacterial growth, optimizing the septic therapy procedure.

Another advantage to getting softer water is you will use less detergent, soaps, and chemicals when cleaning, so you have less concern about the impact these chemicals will have in your septic system.

Why an efficient water softener won’t damage your septic system?

best salt water softener

The tiny quantity of waste water created by a water softener’s regeneration procedure - which is discharged into a septic tank - is occasionally misconceived as problematic.

One issue with water softeners and septic systems is the quantity and flow speed of the brine discharge may float a septic tank and rear up the drain area.

Research conducted in 2012 by the Water Quality Research Foundation stated that brine discharge from well-operated water softeners (50 gals per regeneration) revealed no overflow at all. The release wasn't more or less than any other household water-using appliance.

Why it’s it essential to have a high-performance water softener?

water softener

It's essential to realize how the quality of a water softener can affect a septic system.

Inadequately operating a water softener can create an excessive amount of brine waste when regenerating, and in some instances this can cause difficulties to arise with older septic systems.

In the event your water softener releases an excessive amount of water and salt, it could have a negative impact on your septic system's operation.

That is the reason it's essential to have a correctly operating and effective water treatment system in almost any home.

How to find an effective water softener for your septic systems?

water softener-septic system

Water softeners equipped with W.E.T. (Water Efficient Technology) guarantee that a water purifier is compatible with your septic system.

Systems using W.E.T. use just the right quantity of water and salt and nothing more, making sure that your household waste is not excessive.

Many homeowners are becoming aware of their impact on the environment. People are choosing more energy-saving products, reducing their carbon footprint, and going green.

W.E.T., which stands for Water Efficient Technology, is an innovation that's advancing water softeners and making them more efficient than ever. Unlike other water softeners, systems equipped with W.E.T. help you decrease water use -- not only salt.

So make sure you look for the WET designation on your next water softener, if you use a septic waste system for your home.

Ed Carmichael

About the Author Ed Carmichael

Ed is a water specialist in Tampa, FL. He built to help his friends and family learn about DIY solutions to common water quality issues in the home.

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