RO water in line Before or After Softener?
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Old 05-16-2009, 04:55 AM   #1
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RO water in line Before or After Softener?


Should my RO system be run by water that has already gone through a home water softener, or should I bypass the softener and run it through RO?
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Old 05-16-2009, 04:56 AM   #2
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Softener -> RO -> DI.
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Old 05-16-2009, 05:03 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by epicfish View Post
Softener -> RO -> DI.
Hmmmmmm. What is the benefit of softener first? I connected mine to hard water, only because it was easy to plumb to an existing hose valve in my garage. I get TDS of ~4 with a tired membrane. Would it improve, or run faster post softener? Sorry, not trying to hijack the thread. It never even occured to me to think about before or after the softener and it's been installed for 3 years or more.
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Old 05-16-2009, 05:05 AM   #4
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Hmmmmmm. What is the benefit of softener first? I connected mine to hard water, only because it was easy to plumb to an existing hose valve in my garage. I get TDS of ~4 with a tired membrane. Would it improve, or run faster post softener? Sorry, not trying to hijack the thread. It never even occured to me to think about before or after the softener and it's been installed for 3 years or more.
You softener membranes can 'purify' more gallons of water per unit price than the RO membranes and DI resin. It's more cost effective.

For example, your RO membranes may last 5,000 gallons with a TDS of 100 after your water softener versus 1,000 gallons at a TDS of 500 without a water softener.

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Old 05-16-2009, 05:09 AM   #5
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You softener membranes can 'purify' more gallons of water per unit price than the RO membranes and DI resin. It's more cost effective.

For example, your RO membranes may last 5,000 gallons with a TDS of 100 after your water softener versus 1,000 gallons at a TDS of 500 without a water softener.

Makes a lot of sense. Mr Obvious here just missed it. Thanks for the info.
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:59 PM   #6
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Makes a lot of sense. Mr Obvious here just missed it. Thanks for the info.
You wouldn't believe how many times that question gets asked! You are not alone my friend.

And yes, I have asked it before as well.
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:11 AM   #7
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Softener then R O but different reasoning explained to me.
My Kinetico whole house conditioner uses salt regeneration and is primarily Iron removing. The ion exchange resin canisters strip / exchange sodium ions and in the process filter to 5 microns.
The resulting contaminants at my R O filter are more easily flushed off making the membrane last longer. What ever the scientific explanation behind it my 50gpd system produces over 100gpd product water. Also its produced over 1200 gallons and still registers .01 TDS to the holding tank.
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Last edited by wkndracer; 05-18-2009 at 01:34 AM..
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:50 AM   #8
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correct me if i wrong

but doesn't a water softener just exchange Ca ions for Mg ions which results in the allusion of softer water and makes soap function better. This does not seem to actioly reduce TDS to me it just removes the heavier ions. i believe this was the explanation i got when i was considering building a water softener for my tank. this leads me to believe that whether you place the RO before or after the softener would make little to no difference
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Old 05-17-2009, 01:06 AM   #9
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correct me if i wrong

but doesn't a water softener just exchange Ca ions for Mg ions which results in the allusion of softer water and makes soap function better. This does not seem to actioly reduce TDS to me it just removes the heavier ions. i believe this was the explanation i got when i was considering building a water softener for my tank. this leads me to believe that whether you place the RO before or after the softener would make little to no difference
I'm not sure I can say if it's wrong but I can and have measured TDS pre and post softener. ALmost 500 before the softener and 150 after. Does that mean they are really removed, or just harder to measure? I don't know much more than what the little TDS meter tells me, but I've read similar to what you stated here. It may be dependent on what type of softener is involved. Mine is mostly aimed at iron also, and uses salt regeneration. I'm actually in process of ordering a new membrane from Air water and ice. They sell an inline "softener" to remove some of the solids prior to reaching the RO filter. Would that thing actually help? Plumbing into my soft water means cutting hard copper, sweating in a valve, etc, and I just suck at plumbing.
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Old 05-17-2009, 03:20 AM   #10
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Well water readings
Ph 7.2
kh 196.9 ppm
gh 179 ppm
phosphate 1.0
iron >1.0 (off the scale deep purple nearly black) Hagen Nurtafin test kit.
Nitrate, Nitrite, Ammonia 0.0
After the Kinetico system
Ph 7.0
kh 196.9
gh 35.8
phosphate .75
iron 0 < .1 ppm
Nitrate, Nitrite, Ammonia 0.0


Whether or not the house water 'softener' is a true reading of TDS or an allusion of softer water due to ion exchange I really am not qualified to say. The above posted results were obtained with the same test kits and reading are different. That said using this water I could not grow plants and fish had ongoing issues.
Since adding the R O post treatment I no longer am known at the LFS as 'The fish killer'
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:11 AM   #11
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TDS is tricky, it only measures molecules with an ionic charge. Not everything has a charge. Without a home water softening system I don't have the experience to comment, it would just be guessing. But... I would try the way wkndracer does it. Seems most logical to me.
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:19 AM   #12
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thanks for the info didn't mean to hijack the tread i will see if i can run this by our water lab and get a definitive answer.

i do plan to plum a high flow RO system beneath my tank and into the filter to do my water top offs and changes
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metageologist View Post
thanks for the info didn't mean to hijack the tread i will see if i can run this by our water lab and get a definitive answer.

i do plan to plum a high flow RO system beneath my tank and into the filter to do my water top offs and changes
You have a good plan of action. I did the same thing including taking them samples of both pre and post filtered. The plant water lab is geared to Boiler Chemistry and most of their treatments are resin exchange.
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Old 05-19-2009, 01:23 AM   #14
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ya im hoping them can give me a difinitive answer on the practicality of a water softner. before the RO system.
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Old 05-19-2009, 03:06 AM   #15
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ya im hoping them can give me a definitive answer on the practicality of a water softener. before the R O system.
Not to hijack the OP's thread here but all would like to know I'm sure.
Please do post their recommendations. I've subscribed to this thread.
Thanx in advance.
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