Iron in water is one of the main reasons for stains on clothing and plumbing fixtures and impacts taste of food and drinking water.


It is typically measured in PPM ( parts per million) Iron in water is classified into four categories 1. Ferrous (water soluble and clear) 2. Ferric (typically red in color and insoluble and instantly visible to human eye) 3. Bacterial and organically bound (insoluble) 4. Colloidal and inorganically bound ( typically yellow in color) Most softener's typically remove ferrous iron in water at moderate levels. Some go beyond this to remove other categories via additional filtration process or a whole house filter / carbon filter can be added prior to Softener to address some of these beyond ferrous iron removal.


Softener's would require you to factor in additional hardness for every 1 ppm of ferrous present in water i.e. when configuring the settings. I personally have not experienced lot of iron presence in Pleasanton water myself. If there is, it is mostly ferrous and but not other types of iron. As far as what model, make and type, my personal view is that any NSF / ANSI 44 or WQA ( water quality association) certified softener's should all perform alike given they all have to be compliant with same standards or have passed same standards during certification process.


At the end, if water, after softener is installed, is showing hardness level between 0-2 GPG, (grains per gallon) to me $700, 2k, 5k or 7k systems all mean the same i.e. doing the job of removing hardness ( calcium, magnesium and ferrous iron ) and as long as they are performing in that range. Like anything in life, it is a personal preference based on what one hears through marketing pitch, friends, how they ( softeners) look, what neighbors have etc. 😃


There are several $700-$900 NSF certified systems that come with very advanced control valves with good warranties, similarly brine and resin tank warranties up to 5/10 years. No matter what you choose, as long as it removes hardness ( intended purpose), just enjoy the softened water 😃 Go with person(s) / company who are local, knowledgeable in residential water purification, can assist you choose softener of your liking in a vendor neutral way and doesn't break the bank for install.

There are few benefits of having softener and whether one is needed or not totally depends on how important any of those benefits are to them & their family. 1. To protect pipes, appliances ( water heaters from leaks, dish washer etc.) and faucet from damage ( leaks, reduced water flow) due to scales.


Water hardness is defined as amount (mainly calcium) of calcium & magnesium present in water. Generally up to 3 GPG is considered soft water and after that gets classified into low, medium and high hardness depending on the hardness level. Dublin, San Ramon and Pleasanton all come under zone7 water district and generally hardness tend to fluctuate between 15-25 GPG. Mostly being around 19 GPG. 2. Other reasons being symptoms like spots on glasses, dishes, dry / dull skin & hair due to difficulty in rinsing away soap completely, white clothes turning brownish in wash cycles etc.


That said, world health organization says there does not appear to be any convincing evidence that Water hardness causes adverse heath effects in humans. So does, some other prominent organizations. Bottom-line take away is: If water hardness in your area is more than 3 GPG ( which in most parts of Dublin likely to be around 19 GPG), it is your call on if you want to invest in protecting your water lines, appliances and benefit from other things such having soft skin, hair, nearly spotless wash etc.

I have posted some of these before either as independent posts or as responses to some of the members on NextDoor. Consolidating everything at one place so that it is easy to find information. If you need any help, feel free to reach out to us directly.


You must have noticed water softeners are generally rated / labelled 30k grains, 40k grains capacity etc. Let's try and understand what is a grain? It is a measure! One grain of hardness equals 1/7000 pound of rock (generally calcium). One grain is equivalent to 17.1 milligrams per liter of water or sometimes referred to as PPM ( parts per million). In other words, if your city water hardness is measured 19 GPG (grains per gallon), it means there are 324.9 (19 x 17.1) milligrams of calcium &/ magnesium molecules present per gallon of water.


Now let's try to understand what does it mean when water softener capacity is labeled 40k grains! In simplistic terms it means, the resin tank in that softener can hold maximum of 40k grains of hardness before the regeneration / recharge of softener. Regeneration / recharge is a process via which softener disposes all the unwanted molecules it collected ( hardness) into drain and makes resin tank ready again to collect unwanted molecules.


To size water softener, by age old formula, you need to use the following: No. of people x avg. consumption of water / person / day ( generally around 50 gallons) x hardness of the water. For a house hold of 4, it means, 4 x 50 x 19 ( hardness in Pleasanton) = 3800. It means the softener needs to remove 3800 grains (hardness) / day in that household. I took 50 gals as average (excluding water that goes to yards and based on the water monitoring device that I installed prior to softener). This helps get true average use of softened water required. If you don't have a device like that go with readings from your city water consumption report for your house less average water/day for yards. Traditional softener's typically does not regenerate every day. It is assumed they regenerate once every week. Again this is a topic that goes very deep and wide depending on type of regeneration (auto, smart etc.). Given the fact that regeneration in many modern softeners may not follow good old rule of 7 days wait before regeneration and given water softener controllers have become very efficient in some models, you need to be bit cautious in using old rule as standard when sizing.


Now back to good old days of sizing, if you multiply 3800 grains / day x 7 , it comes to 26,600 grains removal per week. It is generally recommend to not max out capacity of resin tank for holding the grains before regeneration. So, planning for about 60-70% of capacity is considered a good idea. Assuming every manufacturer's model follows this mechanism (which is not), you would go with 35k or 40k grains unit for household of 4 people. That said, each model and make generally have their own way to process ( regeneration, salt consumption, water monitoring etc.) and is rated for how many people it is good for.


If you want to avoid getting too technical but still be able to make a right choice, go with what each manufacturer recommends specific to model under consideration. There are many models that are labeled 40k grains and good for a household up to 6 people. There have been several technical improvements to controllers, type of resin used and so sizing the same way for every manufacturer & model may not be the best idea. Hope this helps someone here looking for an understanding on this topic. Cheers. Feel free to reach out to us if you need any help!