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Old 02-07-2009, 07:27 AM   #1
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Humidifier- use soft water?


I installed a furnace mount humidifier made by Desert Springs. The FAQ says

A water softener does not remove calcium, but works to keep the calcium suspended in hard water. As a result, there is an increase in the total load of precipitate that results from evaporation. Therefore, homes with soft water generally require more periodic maintenance than homes with hard water.

Is this true? Using hard water I have huge amounts of scale buildup. They say to install a timer/flushing system for $100 and a filter for $40. Should I be using soft water?

Thanks

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Old 02-07-2009, 07:39 AM   #2
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Humidifier- use soft water?


Use the soft water. I installed one of those units with that timer/flusher and it works great/well worth the $$. Be careful not to twist it too hard. The pre-filter is good but needs replacing. Contact Culligan or some water treatment company as there are special filters for different applications.

Good Luck


Last edited by yuri; 02-07-2009 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:01 AM   #3
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Humidifier- use soft water?


Thanks yuri, Do you use soft water and does it help? I take it that you still have significant build up and need the timer/flusher.

Does anyone else know how other humidifiers deal with this issue?
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:02 AM   #4
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Humidifier- use soft water?


I always thought that's what softeners were for, removing calcium, magnesium, iron, etc. and any other + charged minerals through ion exchange.
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:14 AM   #5
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Humidifier- use soft water?


The softener uses salt/sodium (Na) to "remove" Calcium inside the softener by holding it in suspension and then flushing it when it regenerates. There is a slight amount of sodium in soft water. That is why it is unsuitable to drink. I think they are concerned that it may grab the remaining Calcium (hardness) and eventually precipitate/settle in the humidifier. The flusher will eliminate this. Softeners lose their effectiveness as the salt in the unit gets used up. That is why you have to add more salt to the brine tank.
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:16 AM   #6
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Humidifier- use soft water?


wirenut that's what I thought as well. When I saw the statement in the FAQ about using soft water I was surprised. I had a dishwasher that totally plugged up with hard water. After adding a water softener no problems.
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:23 AM   #7
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Humidifier- use soft water?


The flusher will keep the drum a lot cleaner as the air which passes thru it drops dust particles into the water pan and eventually they turn into scuzz/scum which can be related to Legionnaires Disease.
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:24 AM   #8
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Thanks yuri
Do you have problems with the flusher clogging?
On an Amazon review I found this comment -
I made the mistake of buying the expensive optional autoflush unit which is supposed to reduce scale buildup. Its tiny valve never failed to clog with bits of scale from the discs several times a year and even stuck up in the open position, wasting lots of water. After two years constantly cleaning it and checking it daily to make sure it was not stuck in the open position, I threw it out and replaced it with a manual garden hose valve which is much cheaper and has a larger opening less prone to clogging. The autoflush would probably work okay if you don't have hard water, but if that's the case, you don't need it in the first place. Also, I have purchased an inline scale filter this year which hopefully will significantly slow down the scale buildup. If you choose to buy a scale filter, don't buy one from the Desert Spring folks, Google it for a much better price.
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:29 AM   #9
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Humidifier- use soft water?


I don't have this unit in my house. I am a Service tech and one of my customers has one. It will need to be monitored. It is better than nothing and as long as the water is clean and softened you probably won't get much hard scale to plug the flusher. I would get some larger inline filters from Culligan and that will help also. Water quality varies HUGELY across North America so no 2 homes are the same.Not sure who sells water treatment products in the US.
http://www.culligan.com/en/
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:32 AM   #10
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Thanks for your help
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:25 AM   #11
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Humidifier- use soft water?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joehomeowner View Post
I installed a furnace mount humidifier made by Desert Springs. The FAQ says

“A water softener does not remove calcium, but works to keep the calcium suspended in hard water. As a result, there is an increase in the total load of precipitate that results from evaporation. Therefore, homes with soft water generally require more periodic maintenance than homes with hard water.”

Is this true? nks
I think this is false.

The water softener removes minute amounts of calcium dissolved in the water replacing it with minute amounts of sodium dissolved in the water.

An evaporative humidifier accumulates the minute amounts of whatever that used to be dissolved in the water. Rinsing out sodium accumulations is much easier than rinsing out calcium accumulations. Use soft water if possible.

If the humidifier self flushes, the flush cycles must theoretically occur much more often when hard water is used. As the water is evaporated and replenished, the amount of calcium in hard water quickly approaches the point where it will not remain dissolved and then scale residues appear. Whereas a considerable amount of sodium will stay dissolved and most is removed during a weekly flush cycle.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-08-2009 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 02-09-2009, 01:31 PM   #12
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Humidifier- use soft water?


I do alot of work on evaporative cooling which uses the same principal as a humidifier. A water softener hooked to an evaporative cooler makes an absolute mess out of them, even with a bleed off kit or a drain pump. With my experience, you will have less of a mess not using soft water.

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