Water softeners are products removing molecules that can give water a ‘hard’ characteristic. Most people think that one should never install a water softener in a house with a septic system. They say that doing so is detrimental to the overall function of the domestic sewage system. On the contrary, installing the right water softener can aid in maintaining the integrity of the on-site sewage system.
Water softeners for septic systems can be challenging to assess if you are unfamiliar with the factors necessary for picking the top-tier unit. We have three considerations to get you started.
- Salt Requirement: The principal concern about water softeners is their impact on septic systems. Unsurprisingly, the most crucial factor to consider is salt requirements. The most suitable product softens water without requiring too much sodium chloride for regeneration. Hence, a water softener that only needs 30 pounds of salt is better for the septic system than a 40-pound unit.
- Capacity: The ideal water softener for septic systems has top performance and low salt requirements. A water softener’s grain rating reflects how many hard water minerals it can hold before recharging. You might want a 48,000-grain water softener rather than a 36,000-grain unit, given they have identical salt requirements.
- Tank Configuration: Water softeners come in one- or two-tank configurations. Most water softening experts recommend a two-tank setup to avoid regeneration-related disruptions. You can think of the second tank as a backup unit.
The key here is to use only the right product for your needs. We shortlisted and tested 4 of the best water softener for septic systems to help you make a wise decision.
Table of Contents
Top 4 Water Softener for Septic Systems Reviews
1. Whirlpool WHES30E Water Softener
The Whirlpool WHES30E is one of the most trusted water softeners for families and households wary of overloading their septic systems with salt. It is not only for hard water management but also for iron elimination.
As a septic tank-friendly water softener, I am impressed with this product’s salt requirements. It uses 13.1 pounds of salt to treat 28,900 grains of hardness. It also calculates how much sodium is necessary for generation, saving users time during maintenance.
Salt requirements are not the only thing that astonished me about this product. Its water-softening capabilities are also noteworthy. This system can reduce hardness levels by as much as 95 grains per gallon.
Surprisingly, it can also reduce ferrous iron levels by 8.0 ppm or 0.47 grains per gallon. It has an NSF certification to validate these claims, giving consumers peace of mind whenever they use this water softener.
The device only needs about 19 inches by 18 inches of floor space, making it ideal for homes with limited room. Installation is also a breeze because the kit includes everything necessary for setting up the system. The bypass valve is handy during regeneration and maintenance.
2. Aquasure Signature Series Treatment System
The Aquasure Signature Series is one of the top-rated systems among the water softeners and septic tanks we have ever seen. This is not only a water softener but a complete water treatment system. It includes a sediment filter, a water conditioner, and a reverse osmosis system to complement its water softener’s remarkable ability. The top-tier part about this product is the excellent overall value it provides.
We admire the water softening capabilities of the Signature Series. Its resin matrix can remove up to 64,000 grains of water hardness compounds. A household with an average water hardness of 10 grains using an average of 250 gallons per day should be able to make full use of the Aquasure for more than 25 days. You can start regenerating the system on the 25th day if you wish.
There is another good point about Aquasure. The company designed its resin matrix to work with the utmost efficiency. This product only requires about 40 pounds of salt per regeneration. When you compare this to other products that use hundreds of pounds of salt, you will see that the Aquasure is not only economical but also a lot friendlier to the environment.
And since the regeneration cycle is longer than other brands, you will feel a lot more comfortable about not overfilling your septic tank with brine. This is if you decide to pipe the system straight into your septic tank.
As we mentioned, the Aquasure already comes as a complete system. It can filter large particles from your water as well as condition your water. The reverse osmosis system also ensures safer and healthier drinking water. All of these also translate to more profound benefits to your septic system.
Since you are permanently removing large chunks of compounds and potentially hazardous substances, you are likewise safeguarding your septic system’s integrity. You are also ensuring the optimum health of everyone in your house.
3. AFWFilters 56SXT-10% Water Softener
Some people wonder if water softeners and concrete septic tanks can work together. While there is not much you can do about the design of septic systems, you can always choose the right water softener to go with it. And one of the most remarkable water softening systems on the market today is the Fleck 5600SXT from AFWFilters. This is a water softener that comes with a carbon filter to provide you with ample treatment options for your water.
The Fleck 5600SXT is an extensive system measuring about 56 inches long. It has two alternating tanks that house the resin matrix. This is capable of exchanging up to 48,000 grains of hardness molecules, like magnesium, iron, and calcium. A typical household with a water hardness level of 10 grains per gallon should be able to use the system for at least two weeks before regenerating.
AFWFilters also upgraded the design of its resin to make it more efficient. This system can facilitate a 12 gallons-per-minute rate of water flow. It is more than adequate for a small household of up to 5 people. The construction of the tank is also sturdy enough to last about a decade or more. Operating the system is also effortless because of the use of an advanced digital meter valve, the 56SXT.
What surprised us about the Fleck 5600SXT is its Upflow carbon filtration. The company says that this technology eliminates the need for backwashing the system.
And since there is no need for backwashing the water softener, it also eliminates the need for the construction or addition of a drain pipe from the water softener to a drain field. The absence of backwashing is not only good for the environment but also friendly to your pocket since you will not have to use electricity to run the system anymore.
4. DuraWater 40K USA On-Demand System
If you want to enjoy the many benefits of a system that combines water softeners and sewage treatment plants without spending a fortune, you should consider the DuraWater Fleck 9100 SXT On-Demand System. This product can help you soften your water and improve the integrity of your septic system.
This DuraWater product features a digital meter valve that makes it super easy to control the system’s different settings. The touchpad controls also work like a charm and all the buttons are very responsive, too. Moreover, the 9100 SXT control valve makes it effortless to control the flow rate of the system.
It works in conjunction with a paddlewheel meter that DuraWater upgraded to make it more efficient and accurate. Also, DuraWater integrated it with its digital controller to help improve the accuracy and efficiency of the meter.
Each tank of the system can exchange up to 40,000 grains of iron, calcium, magnesium, and other elements to make water hard. And since the system comes with two tanks, you can remove up to 80,000 grains of hardness molecules. Of course, the idea of having a dual tank setup is to avoid downtimes. Regenerating the system does not require shutting it down, which gives you unrestricted access to soft water.
The 3-digit price tag of the DuraWater is also appealing to budget-conscious families. And since the system’s regeneration cycle is pretty long, you can be sure of even more significant savings in the long run. Unfortunately, we could not get any information about how much salt is needed to regenerate the tanks. We can only assume that it is within the range of 50 to 200 pounds.
What Is A Water Softener For Septic Systems/ Who Is This For
Some people may ask, “Is water softener system safe for a septic system?” To answer this question, let us look at what each system entails.
A water softener intended for septic systems has the same fundamental design as any other water softener. This is a technology that exchanges sodium or potassium molecules for compounds that can make water ‘hard.’
A septic system typically comes with three necessary parts. This includes the septic tank that receives waste from the house. There is also a distribution box that receives wastewater overflow from the septic tank. It ‘distributes’ wastewater into the particular leach field or the drain field. Pipes connect these three components.
Household wastes, including human waste matter, get emptied into the septic tank. Bacteria present in human fecal matter help decompose the different organic compounds in wastewater.
Using a water softener with a septic system allows you to minimize your use of cleaning materials, such as soaps, chemicals, and detergents. This reduces your wastewater levels and leads to more efficient use of the septic system.
Some people worry that introducing sodium into the wastewater can undermine bacteria’s biological activity in the septic tank. However, there are university studies that show that the addition of a small amount of sodium in wastewater can enhance the biological activity of bacteria, which leads to a more efficient process of septic treatment.
There are also some concerns that water softener discharge can overflow the septic tank. Yet, it has been proven that the amount of wastewater dumped by a water softener after every regeneration is not more significant than the amount of sewage coming from an ordinary water-using household appliance.
If you are wondering where to discharge water softener backwash, you have three choices. One is to course it through your sewage pipe and empty it into the septic tank. You can also empty the backwash into a drywell, turning the system into a water softener dry well type. The last one is to pipe the backwash out of your house and onto the ground. The safest way to go is to dump it into your septic system.
It is for this very reason that a water softener with a septic system is the best. Anyone who has a septic system in their home should have a water softener installed. That the water softener is piped into the septic system for a more environmentally-friendly approach to the management of waste is also a great benefit.
We also have a list of outdoor water softeners for your reference. Furthermore, take a look at our top-quality water softener cleaner if you need.
How Does It Work
Water softeners for septic systems work like any other water softener. They replace the minerals that can ‘harden’ water with other minerals. The two most common elements used in water softeners are sodium and potassium, which can replace magnesium and calcium. Water softeners also remove manganese and iron that are often found in drinking water.
Water passes through a matrix that contains a resinous material embedded with either potassium or sodium. This traps the hard minerals by replacing them with potassium or sodium. Unfortunately, the continuous ion exchange can also deplete the resin matrix of potassium or sodium. That is why the water softener has to undergo regeneration by backwashing it with a concentrated solution of either potassium or sodium. Backwashing produces brine, which households must learn to dispose of properly.
There are a few water softener discharge options. The safest way you can dispose of brine water discharge from the regeneration of your water softener is by connecting it to your sewage pipe and going to the septic tank. The amount of backwash discharge is typically less than the amount discharged by your washing machine or dishwasher.
If you do not like connecting your water softener drain to the septic system, then you can course the backwash to a dry well. Another option will be to drain it directly on the ground. Unfortunately, this last method is not recommended as the high chloride content of water softener brine backwash can be detrimental to the environment. That is why water softener discharge on a lawn is often frowned upon.
Water softeners can provide you with a host of benefits. You no longer have to use a large amount of cleaning agents to wash objects, which helps reduce the number of chemicals in wastewater, minimizing their impact on the septic system.
The sodium or potassium molecules in wastewater do not impair bacteria’s ability to decompose organic matter in human wastes, either. In fact, these molecules can help improve the biological activity of bacteria.
The right water softener does not also risk overflowing your septic tank. You will get to keep the septic system’s integrity for many years.
Buying a water softener for your septic system can be confusing for first-time buyers. There are certain things that you have to consider when purchasing such a device. This will allow you to pick a water softener that is perfect not only for your septic system but also for your house.
Capacity or Size
When one talks about the size of the best water softener for septic systems, it does not refer to the device’s physical dimensions. The size of the product is a reflection of its ability to remove hard minerals from your water. The device should remove as much magnesium and calcium molecules from the water as possible in the shortest possible time. This translates to how much water ‘softening’ you want to achieve every day.
The first step to determining the size of your water softener is knowing the hardness level of your water. If you source your water from a municipal or city water utility, you can check your water’s hardness level.
Water hardness is often expressed in milligrams per liter or mg/L. In the US, you may be more familiar with grains per gallon or GPG. If you have a device that measures water hardness in mg/L, you can determine the GPG by dividing the mg/L value by 17.1. For example, if the measurement reads 50 mg/L, you know that your water hardness is 2.92 grains per gallon.
The next step in determining an appropriate size of sodium or potassium water softener septic system is the determination of your average water consumption. This is easy because you can look at your monthly water bill to get an idea of how much water you are using every month. Divide this by 30 to get the average daily water consumption.
Once you have these two pieces of information, you can start computing your daily water-softening requirement. Multiply your GPG by the average daily consumption. Let us say you have a water hardness of 15 GPG and average daily water consumption of 250 gallons per day. Your average regular water softening requirement is 3,750 grains per day.
Use this information to determine the right size of water softener for your household and septic system. These devices require at least one weekly regeneration. So, multiply your ADWSR by 7 to get your weekly water softening requirement. In our example, this is 3,750 x 7 days to give you 26,250 grains per week. The size of the water softener that you need to purchase should remove at least 26,250 grains per week before you regenerate the resin matrix.
Salt Needed for Regeneration
Determining the softening capacity of a water softener is only one part of the equation. You will also need to check the amount of salt required to regenerate the resin matrix. For example, a 26,000-grain water softener may require 26 pounds of salt. You will need 1,352 pounds of salt per year. That is why it is essential to check a product that requires less salt for regeneration while maintaining its ability to soften water. It is also worth remembering that the lesser the salt needed for regeneration, the better it is, regardless of water softener drain options.
Dual Tank or Single Tank
Regenerating your water softener requires its disconnection from your water line. It will not be able to perform its principal function. That is why it is essential to pick a water softener with at least two alternating tanks. One tank delivers the water softening function while the other gets regenerated. You can always choose a single-tank system and schedule the regeneration at night.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does salt harm a septic system?
This question is a hotly-contested debate, with some claiming salt can damage septic systems because sodium chloride kills the microorganisms necessary for breaking down organic matter in the effluent.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency, Water Quality Association, and university researchers have a different answer to the question, “is salt bad for septic tanks?”
The two organizations say salt has negligible effects on septic systems, particularly biological activities related to effluent management.
As far as water softeners are concerned, you can always use a salt-free water conditioning system if you are wary of salt’s effects on septic systems.
Are water softeners bad for septic systems?
The Environmental Protection Agency says that salt in septic tank systems is not harmful. The agency released a document supporting the Water Quality Association’s stand on salt-based water softener systems. It highlighted the following evidence-based findings.
- Water softener discharge does not produce aerobic or anaerobic effects on microorganisms in the effluent.
- High calcium and manganese concentrations in the water softener backwash do not disrupt the septic system’s biological functions.
- There’s no concern about hydraulic overload due to the discharge of softener wastewater.
You may also wonder “is water softener salt bad for concrete? Water softener salt is an excellent de-icing alternative. Salt crystals or pellets are ideal for melting the ice on roads, driveways, and other concrete structures.
You can opt for a salt-free water softener for septic systems if you think salt is harmful to the septic tank.
You might also want to hear the professional opinion of water experts in your locality by searching on Google. That’s what I do before looking for water softener service near me.
How many gallons of water does it take to regenerate?
The average water softener consumes 20 gallons of water to flush out the hard water minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and iron, from the ion-exchange resin.
The water volume can be higher or lower, depending on the water’s hardness levels. As a rule, the more minerals the water softener “captures,” the more water the system needs to regenerate.
Choosing the right water softener to use in your septic system should be related to a proper water softening capacity. It is essential to compute the average daily water softening requirements to determine the size of the system that you need to buy. It is also ideal for getting a system that has two tanks, which helps ensure the round-the-clock operation of the system. It guarantees soft water all the time. The right water softener should never get in the way of microorganisms’ biological activity in the sewage tank.
This is important in the partial treatment of human waste. The correct installation of the system is also necessary to improve the overall efficiency of both the water softener and the on-site sewage or septic system. This review of the top-quality water softeners you can use with the septic system in your home should already enable you to make a well-informed decision. Buy the best water softener for septic systems today!
Hi, I am Ronald, founder of Saveourh2o. With this website, we aim to solve all the problems related to your water filters, softeners, and heaters. I have five years working in water equipment sales & service. I hope to bring the knowledge gathered from my daily work to help you to achieve comfort and safety in your home!