Monday, May 16, 2011

Fort Necessity

From Treebeard's Fotolog
I really do not want to spend money on a new water treatment system for the Sow's Ear.  It makes my stomach go all twisty and curly inside.

But I'm afraid I have to.  I've experimented with doing without one these past three or four weeks, and it's piling up into more and more trouble.

No amount of soap suffices for hand washing.  The high-concentrate laundry liquid won't suds.  Most disgusting of all, my dishes come through the dishwasher cycle with a coating of gray grease on them, and the glassware that wasn't etched before now is.  I've resigned myself to doing all my dishwashing by hand for the time being, but even a little sinkful takes a lot of detergent.

Then there's what I can't feel or see.  I don't even want to imagine what's going on in my pipes, or how long it'd be before they'd need a cupric angioplasty.

And this makes my stomach feel like I'm about to lose my lunch.

(Only to be expected when your water tests out at 41 grains hardness per gallon, and the sediment level is off the EPA chart.)

So having suppressed my gag reflex and done the comparison shopping, I've just put in an order for a new Fleck 2510 3/4 meter on-demand control valve 40,000 grain capacity water softener, from the Ohio Pure Water Company people, over here in Centerville, Ohio.  They're a wholesale outfit, and offer free shipping, and with the discount the price of this two-piece unit is about the same as a one-piece of lesser quality from Sears or Whirlpool.

By itself, this softener wouldn't put too severe a dent in my resources.  But I've learned these past weeks that much of what frustrated me about my water even before my old Sears softener broke had nothing to do with the softener at all.  It was the Culligan man who pointed out, when he came by a week or so ago, that the cold water line to the kitchen sink bypasses the softener, as does the line to the basement toilet and probably the upstairs toilet as well.  A new water softener, no matter how efficient, won't do a thing about the iron sediment in the toilets or the scale in my cooking water and tea kettle.  If I want to be happy with my water after the new WS is in, I'll need to install a sediment filter to clean out the mineral gunk before the water gets to the softener at all.

Ohio Pure suggested a carbon backwash filter.  Culligan offers an inline filter.  I've compared the initial costs of both, and the cost of replacement filters for the latter (in light of the gunk in my water), and though an inline would be cheaper at the start, the backwash filter would pay for itself within the first year, and the media wouldn't need changed for around three.

But oh, do I really want to spend another three or four hundred bucks for this?  Even if the unit that works for me is On Sale?

Writing it out like this, I frankly wonder if I could have put up with the hard water after all.  But doing that will run me time and expense, and I'd have to get a new system in sometime, after all that and after more damage is done.  And I guess I'd better get it all done at once and get it over with.

So the order is in.  And when the equipment arrives, guess what?  It'll be necessary for me to lay in a supply of tubing and elbows and figure out how to plumb the whole system.  To keep the price down, I've got to do the job myself.

(But that, I'm actually looking forward to.)