Figure 1 - Water softener
Some homeowners may want to have non softened water available, at a separate faucet, in their kitchens and bathrooms.
A basic water piping system in a home has the incoming water supply entering the house, going through a main shut-off valve, then through the water meter, if it is a municipal water service, and then branching off to feed the numerous faucets and the hot water tank, as shown in Figure 2. Where you place the water softener and how you adjust the piping will determine which faucets and spigots receive softened water and which do not.
Figure 2 - Basic house water piping
If the water softener is placed after the water meter, as shown in Figure 3, all of the faucets, indoor and outdoor, hot and cold, will receive softened water.
Figure 3 - Water softener installed after water meter, all faucets receive softened water
The most common water softener installation scenario:
You do not want softened water at your garden faucet and the cold water valve on the kitchen faucet, you will have to modify the house's water piping, as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4 - Water softener installed after water meter, garden and cold water in kitchen are hard water
In Figure 4 you can see how the water pipe exits the water meter and splits into two water pipes. One pipe supplies the water softener with water and the other bypasses the water softener and goes to the garden faucet and the cold water valve on the kitchen faucet.
While Figures 2, 3 and 4 show basic block diagrams of a water pipe installation in a house, it is usually not quite this simple, especially in an older home that has undergone numerous renovations and remodeling exercises.
Before cutting into any water pipes and re-routing piping take a hard look at what is connected before and after the spot where you plan on breaking into the water pipe and inserting the water softener. In many cases, when installing a water softener, creating the optimum water pipe installation is the most complex and time consuming part.
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