How to Install a Whole-House Water Softener | Ask This Old House

How to Install a Whole-House Water Softener | Ask This Old House

good morning guys how are you good morning hi Richard nice to be here thanks for coming to New Jersey is my pleasure now I have figured out what your problem is what's that you have hard water what's our water well hard water is common in many parts of this country and it's really a question of how many minerals are absorbed in the water in your case it's magnesium and calcium what you'll see is all sorts of water stains in different places and sinks or in toilets actually when we moved in there were green rings around the toilets yeah and I tried cleaning it with bleach vinegar and we ended up just changing out the toilet that's one way to get rid of the stains now it can also wreak havoc on water heaters you know the minerals can settle down the bottom but it's important to note that it's not dangerous to drink the water it's only cosmetic I have a solution for you though okay say down the basement all right I'm off to work alright see ya pam patrick smith is a local water quality expert now patrick you actually tested this water right yes we did Richard we test a water were 17 grains hard here what does that mean water 1 to 4 grants are Ismaili hard water this one's 17 grains extremely hard water so we need to soften the water correct we're gonna soften the water install a water softener today water softener has two components one is a salt tank when it's a resin tank with the control on top okay how's it work a system works as a water comes into the softener goes into this tank there's resin beads inside this tank so water runs through this tank the minerals the hardest measures actually stick to this resin look at this pin that hears these resin beads right here oh they look like coffee grounds right knees actually attract the magnesium and the calcium that's right Richard inside this tank are those resin beads and act like a one's like a magnetic sponge so water runs through the tank that hardener actually stick to it they'll come out the other side soft water to the house now sooner or later though you're going to collect so many minerals that you've got to ring unring this you can only hold so much and well had that's what regeneration process comes into play and that's where the salt comes in it's a salt there's a brine solution as a salt as a Brian runs through this resin B's it actually releases the hardness minerals they go out to drain recharges the resin to soften the water back in business and you're back in business but Patrick isn't the salt going to make my water taste salty no so it won't taste salty what a matter of fact when we're done you're gonna be able gather up the dishes will come out cleaner your clothes will come out cleaner and a water will taste great right so where's this gonna go this is gonna go over here tonight I'll give you him okay all right so here is where your cold comes in from the street right here comes through your water meter and it goes to upstairs and we want to be sure that all of your water is softened so we put the softener right here we're going to actually install a series of valves right like this so now the cold water will come right through here go into the softener the softened water will leave through here and return right here and go up to the house but you'll see this valve right here this is a bypass so this will stay closed most of the time the reason for that is if I ever needed to service this unit you could close these two valves and open this your sub water upstairs we're going to do now is shut the water off cut this pipe and sawed up the connections to connect the water softener to the brine tank music 3/8 plastic tubing and we connected with a 3/8 compression fitting we make a connection at the softener and also at the blank back connect the drain line to the drain elbow and we secure that with a hose clamp now the discharge hose on this side is going to connect into the sewer right here where the wash machine discharged currently goes this is called an air gap fitting and I will prevent any of the potable water ever come into contact with any sewage on this side now I'm going to make my hose connection right here tighten up my clamp wash machine discharged goes right there well Pam there is your new water software it's all piped it's all wired now a lot of water sergeants have a timer inside and will regenerate whether it needs to or not this one's pretty cool it actually has a water meter inside so if you don't use any water it won't regenerate unnecessarily that's pretty smart now here's your main unit we normally would put the brine tank or the salt tank right here but you have a water meter a bit of a crooked floor so we ran this blue line right behind the wall – over here near the drug okay so what do I have to do to maintain this once a month you're gonna lift this lid check the soul level in here add salt as needed probably about twice a year Dan salt okay I can do that you are in business Pam you're gonna have cleaner clothes cleaner dishes and normal water sticks that cool great thanks guys and thank you Richard for coming in new jersey we really appreciate it my pleasure


  1. ItzBishop

    17 grains is not extremely hard water lmao I work for culligan and in my area extremely hard water is 40+ but cute scheme

  2. Nashorncare Support

    How about the lawn, Is the plants, flowers, and grass will kill with this salt water when use? Also, can i use it to my aquarium? Im actually using regular water for my aquarium.

  3. Mark Rossbach

    So wait a second here are you telling me that she's gonna water soften her lawn. I thought you're supposed to bypass your outside sprinkler or outside water lines

  4. Mizra Z

    Why the hell do you keep using culligan. Get a damn plumber. This is nothing more than a culligan advertisement. PFFFT

  5. Gene Smay

    Some cities don't allow these. It's going to be more than twice a year adding salt at 17 hardness level also.

  6. Mike F

    I have a Northstar water softner.
    The unit will only fill the brine tank for 2 minutes.
    Ref: 0-100%
    When the unit reachs 20-25% of the regen
    I hear a sucking air noise.
    Like the unit is NOT filling enough water.
    Brine tank is clean.
    Any thoughts/suggestions?
    Thank You

  7. Matt Pierce

    Why are your videos always some old dude showing some young woman how to fix stuff? It's kind of sexist…

  8. bfsgman

    Did anybody else notice that the woman was wearing flats at the beginning of the video and sandals at the end? Seems strange that she would change shoes during the segment.

  9. Anonymous

    Hard water? NJ has among the most toxic water in the US? Magnesium an Calcium being among the most common chemicals in pharmaceuticals? Radiation, hormones, pesticides, cocaine etc. Corrupt water filtration plants?

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