Is my water softener wrecking my pipes?!

Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 03:40 pm
I recently had some water softener issues, (Love or hate them, I have a Rainsoft Gold softener with no other filters.) and also discovered I probably have high acidity issues, (no official water testing yet but the signs are there.)

Anyway, while checking things out with the softener problem I started noticing some, not all connections on things like my water heater were badly corroded with a blue / green color crumbly powder that appeared to be eating away the solder and the pipe itself. I also noticed small drops of water on top of the heater. After looking closer around the house I noticed this blue/green on other faucets and such.
I have also notice horrible tasting water from my bathroom faucet in the morning and much worse when I'm gone say for the weekend. I found this really odd as I was told my softener would make water taste better if anything.

These all seem to tie back to high acidity causing corrosion and leaching copper / lead causing the bad taste.

Come to find this is caused from high acidity, (low ph). After digging around the net I'm identifying the following:
1) This is usually due to C02 in the water.
2) It can be neutralized by ADDING, calcium and magenesium to water!
3) My water softener is what is removing the calcium and magenesium which is what gives me "soft" water!

So my big concern is of course this; Is having a water softener causing / contributing , (some or all) to my high acidity because of removing these neutralizing compunds and thus the resulting pipe damage and bad taste?!

More inportantly, what do I do now to protect my pipes, water taste/quality and health?!!
I mean I want soft water which means taking these minerals out. BUT, I also would like to NOT have my pipes corrode / burst in the near future and do not want to drink highly acidic water with leached copper and lead in it!

Clearly I must be missing something here and/or hopefully overreacting. So if anyone could educate me as to the proper solution that would be appreciated!

See my excerpt / references below:

Rainsoft site excerpt:
Softens, conditions and filters your water to remove calcium and magnesium " the two primary components of hard water.

High acidity explanation excerpt
Neutralizing Solutions Corrective action for low PH, (High acidity)

If your water is acidic (low pH), you can use a neutralizing filter containing calcite or ground limestone (calcium carbonate) or magnesia (magnesium oxide) to raise the pH. Neutralizing filters must be backwashed periodically since they serve as mechanical filters to remove solid particles from the water. They also require periodic replenishment of the neutralizing material within the filter bed. When acidic water is treated with a neutralizing filter such as ground limestone (calcium carbonate), hardness is added to the water. This happens as a result of adding calcium and magnesium minerals, which the water absorbs when passing through the filter. This is also why the neutralizing materials need periodic replenishment. Installing a cartridge filter prior to the neutralizing filter will remove solid particles from the water and can help to prolong the life of the neutralizing filter.
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Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 03:52 pm
the water men will be along in a short while i guess but in the meantime some further info may be helpfull.
What type of pipework do have? copper, gal or poly. In y own system I can see at least one (i dont have a softener) old gal fittings and assume there may be more pipes that corrode in a similar manner and first thing each morning i need to flush the bathroom pipework. it seems worse at random intervals.

Where is your water source. city/town supply, ground water, other (please state)
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Reply Fri 15 Jan, 2010 10:02 am
Regular copper pipes. City water, (St.Charles Mo)
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Reply Fri 15 Jan, 2010 02:34 pm
Where are the water men today? :-)
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Andy CWS
Reply Fri 15 Jan, 2010 04:57 pm
The corrosion of copper plumbing will be no different whether or not a softener is installed. If the water is acidic, copper will be affected.
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Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 06:23 am
As far as I am cocern the only thing that can wreck your pipes in here is hard water. It is wrecking pipes from the inside by despositing limescale in there. That is why you shouldn't get rid water softener but look for a better one, like in example Scalewatcher.
Good luck.
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Reply Tue 19 Jan, 2010 12:54 am
ok, interesting article. That makes me feel better but then how do I reduce the adicity? The only article I find talk about systems to add back in more calcium / magnesium which would basically undo the softening, right?
What are my options for reducing acidity?
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Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 10:49 am
Does anyone have a solution for reducing acidity in my home water after it has been softened that does not require adding back in calcium / maganesium that I just took out of the water with the softener?
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 07:07 pm
the neutralizer should be placed before the softener
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Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 09:03 pm
You say you have lead based solder on water connections?
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Reply Fri 14 Oct, 2011 08:18 am
water softeners do NOT cause water pipes to burst.. I live in springfield, new jersey, for the past 57 years and have seen my water pipes go from having a 3/8 of an inch thick mineral deposit on the interior of my copper water pipes, which is normal for hard water without any water softener now having my pipes bursting at 20 different locations because of the highly acidic water that our world now has.. The 3/8" thick mineral deposits that were once there, have been completly stripped away from the acidic water supply that new jersey american water gives us, and now all my neighbors copper pipes are becoming paper thin and bursting all year long...
A water softener can only take the minerals out of the water that causes hard water, which makes it hard to create a soap suds, but our highly acidic water supply has destroyed that problem,
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Reply Wed 17 Apr, 2013 05:31 am
I have just had a water leak from a pinhole due to corrosion in new copper pipe in cold water service installed 18 months ago. This is the second occurence of a pinhole leak in my cold water pipes. The latest event had a blue-green deposit around the pinhole on the outside of the pipe with another pinhole with deposits adjacent to it but not quite leaking. The inside of the pipe had the same colour deposit. I am convinced it was due to the water softener installed in 2007 and uses salt blocks. So I have turned off the water softener now in the expectation that the hard water will lay down a limescale coating inside the pipes to prevent further corrosion. My nextdoor neighbour in an identical house does not have a water softener and does not experience leaks. Is my reasoning correct that the corrosion is a direct result chemistry of the softened water?
Reply Wed 17 Apr, 2013 09:25 am
Water softeners do not cause corrosion and they do not lower the pH.
A properly functioning softener adds a trace amount of sodium to the the water.
Not enough to cause pin hole leaks.

A pH lower than 7.0 will cause pin hole leaks as you have described.

Have the pH tested at the tap, if it is below 7.0 you should add an acid neutralizer ahead of the softener.
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