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Question DetailsAsked on 5/2/2011

Water softener

Is using potassium chloride as a water softener a good idea?  Is it harder on the pipes and plumbing hardware than salt?

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Great question Sheri! Here's what we found by talking to a few plumbers in the area. It can be a good idea if you're trying to eliminate sodium from your diet, says Scott Cooper, co-owner of highly rated Cooper's Water Conditioning in Zionsville. 'Even though you can't taste it, water-softening salt does leave some residual amounts when you consume it,' he says. 'Potassium chloride is a substitute for salt and it's no harder on the plumbing system whatsoever.' However, potassium chloride's extra expense may be a drawback, says Tom Line, assistant manager at highly rated Aqua Systems in Greenwood. 'A 40-pound bag of regular salt usually runs about $6. A 40-pound bag of potassium chloride can cost $16 to $20,' he says. A 40-pound bag of either softener generally sustains a two-person household for about a month, according to Cooper. Switching to potassium chloride is as simple as refilling your water softener with the new material, but Cooper cautions that homeowners should make sure they don't fill their water softener past about 70-percent capacity to prevent formations that can block either softening material from reaching the filter at the bottom of the machine. Another way to eliminate sodium from softened water is installing a reverse-osmosis purification system. 'It will remove 95 to 97 percent of the salt from your drinking water,' Line says, adding that a standard reverse-osmosis purifier costs about $300 and an additional $150 to install.

Answered 9 years ago by Angie's List

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