Friday, September 22

Holy Hard Water, Jacksonville

We finally got enough ahead to put on the new roof that didn't really help with insurance rates, and the next improvement probably has to be a water softener, since we have especially hard water. In fact, based on our zip code, we have hard water bordering on mineral water. For 32225, it's 339 ppm of minerals or 20 grains per gallon for figuring out your water softener. Here's a link to the JEA water hardness by zip. No explanation as to why JEA doesn't soften the water for us just a little bit. Probably too expensive, but it costs all of us, either in buying a water softener or in appliance and plumbing destruction that needs repair or replacement. Our shower heads go bad quickly, our dishwasher keeps getting broken parts, and our hot water heater had inches of crusty stuff in the bottom of the tank last year, so I know the hard water is, in fact, hard on our house.

When I ran the numbers for a water softener we would need (you take the grains per gallon x gallons per person x number of people, I got 6000. That translates to a 48,000 grain capacity water softener (5,751 – 6,850). I am assuming the average of 75 gallons per person per day.

The problem is that if we add one more person, which many houses our size could accommodate, that would put us in the 64,000 grain water softener range. I'm thinking we might want to opt for the larger unit for resale, since a 4-bed and 3-bath house should be able to house five or more people. But it also looks like I'll have fewer options if I go for the larger capacity, so maybe 48,000 is good. Or maybe there's a 56,000 unit out there. Anyhow, it'll be somewhere just under $1,000 for the water softener. Hoping the installation doesn't double the price.

I'm not sure if realtors or neighbors tell those of us who are new to Jax that it might have some of the hardest water they've ever used. Our zip code's 20 gpg ranks among the highest I saw in any of the cities with supposedly the worst hard water in our country. The caveat for a lot of the other cities was that city water might be significantly softer than surrounding areas based on water source. Obviously, JEA uses the hardest water source available, so lucky us. Even though my former hometown of Milwaukee is in the "Extremely Hard" area of the map, the Lake Michigan water distributed to homes was 8gpg/137 or moderately hard, so fine for home use. If salt does a number on hard water, couldn't we just mix in a little salt water to our system? We have a lot of salt water all around. I realize it's a different process, but it just seems frustrating.

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