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RO filter install question


McNubbin
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When we first moved into our new home, one of the things the old owners were doing was renting a water softener. It was a service we knew we would drop ande put it on the to-do list. Welp, we finally reached this line item and have bought a full filtration/softener set up. The kit came with a pleated sediment filter, a large GAC/KDF mixed media filter, the water softener and a 4 filter RO kit.

My question is thus, would I be better served supplying the RO system from water before or after the softener. My thought is before. But being just smart enough to be dangerous, I wonder if that is correct. I wonder if maybe the magnesium and calcium in the water might be worse for the system, spoiling the filters faster than the sodium ions.

Anyone smarter than I have a solid answer on this and can share some knowledge?

Edited by McNubbin
Tendency to proof read after posting....
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I've worked on a lot of houses with ro units. I've never seen one installed before the softener.

I'm not sure if the increase use for aquariums changes things but I am inclined to think that it still makes sense to have it after. Cleaner water going into the RO unit would make the membranes last longer. The cost of replacing those would be higher than the difference in salt use. 

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Ok. Yeah. My thought was that softened water tends to leave far less scale build up, and that in turn would mean less deposits building up in the RO unit. Ultimately though I can't help like it would end up being a wash either way though honestly a water softener doesn't filter water, it scrubs calcium and magnesium and replaces it with salt. Im fairly certain it's close enough to a one for one replacement as to ultimately not much matter amd that ease of installation is a bigger factor.

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So I spent a bit more time going down a Google rabbit hole on this. Turns out all manufactures recommend connecting an RO system after the water softener. And so do a few independent lab tests as well. First, a water softener acts as a 5 micron filter. Didnt know that. Also, while I was right, even though TDS drops, that doesn't mean that actual dissolved solids are reduced, however salts tend to wash off filter membranes better than calcium. This means longer filter life in the RO system when connected after a softener.

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