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Drinking Softened Water

A Chemspy reader sent me an email asking about the best way to fix their water softener.

Hi, I have a water softener. I met a local repair service, not affiliated with the manufacturer in any way, who can rebuild my broken unit with better quality after-market parts. Sounds like a good plan to me.

So far so good…the reader goes on…

The repair guy proposes to add some good quality resin to the tank to “top it up” if needed, and to add charcoal to the resin tank as well, as a filter enhancement. He claims the charcoal will get cleaned when the resin goes through the water softener’s normal recharge.

Again, sounds reasonable to me, although I suspect that the efficiency of a unit will depend on the quality of the components and presumably the actual fault and how that has been repaired. But, it was the final sentence of the email that made my heart skip a beat.

I only know charcoal filters as something you put inline, and replace before it poisons the drinker with its collected contaminants. Could the charcoal really be recharged and have the same useful lifetime the resin has?

Can you spot the potentially fatal flaw in what this Chemspy reader is doing with his water softener? I can and I’ve emailed him to tell him to cease and desist with immediate effect or suffer the consequences…your thoughts in the comments below would be appreciated.

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