Water Softener and Loop

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by sgm50, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. sgm50

    sgm50 New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Arizona
    Hello,

    I am moving from a house with a Softener to one without. I am a believer in their value. Both houses (old & new) are similiar in age (mid-80's) and construction. The one w/o the softener shows all the signs of hard water deposits/damage. The one with the Softener shows pristine fixtures and appliances. I will definately be installing a softener in my "new" house

    So, onto my questions;

    Is it absolutely necessary to have a "loop" before installing a softener?
    How can I tell if a house has a loop or not? I suspect it does have one.
    Out of interest, will a softener help to "un-do" the years of scale/calcium etc... that exists?

    I'm thinking of installing a softener myself, but will rethink it if a loop needs to go in.

    THanks in advance
    -Scot
  2. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    A softener loop is preplumbed as the house is built. It provides a place where the plumbing is exposed so you can cut into it and run your inlet and outlet lines from/to it. In some cases, it should always be done but isn't, there is also a drain connection preplumbed.

    If there is no loop, and the water service line plumbing is exposed, you install a softener the same way as with a loop and run the drain line to a drain line, sump pump or floor drain etc..

    If the plumbing is not exposed, then you have to find where the service line comes into the building and that usually requires opening walls where the line most likely comes in.

    Usually the only houses that have a loop are those on a slab and the loop is in the garage; sometimes by the water heater where the inside water shutoff valve is. Outside faucets and any irrigation is usually plumbed ahead of the loop so they don't get softened water. If a house isn't preplumbed, the outside faucets probably will be plumbed after the location the softener is installed in.

    You need a water test to know how much hardness etc. is in the water, or look at the water company's web site if you don't have your own well.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
  3. florida_wen

    florida_wen New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    Plant City, Florida
    We were lucky....

    .... in our house in Valrico, Florida (slab foundation, block walls, built in 1999) because as the house was being constructed the plumber was smart enough to install a "loop" along with a drain line inside the garage. It probably took him an additional 20 minutes and maybe $10 worth of CPVC pipe, but his thoughtfulness made it so simple to have the water softener installed. The "drain" line, which in our case went directly into the DWV, is very important as the salt from the backwash will kill the grass if just drained outside.
    When we moved into another house (also in Florida) that we purchased after that, there was no loop, and we had to "cut" into the main water inlet, run two pipes (inlet & return) each about 10 feet long under ground, along side garage, then drill through garage wall for entry/exit for these pipes, which connected to the water softener inside garage. What was most unfortunate in THIS installation is the "backwash drain" went directly outside and emptied onto a small area of stones.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,264
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    loop

    IF the loop was installed properly it took him a lot more time and material than you indicate. A proper soft water system not only has a loop, but all the outside faucets are connected to the raw water so that the yard does not get watered with soft water. Good installers can almost always find a drain for the softener discharge and seldom just run it outside onto the ground.
  5. sgm50

    sgm50 New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Arizona
    Thanks

    I appreciate the comments. Good point about doing the loop "right" (bypassing outside spigots etc...). I guess I'll be able to tell if I follow the water line(s) into the house.

    I'll get back when I figure more out.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,264
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    loop

    You should be able to tell if there are two pipes coming out of the wall which are tied together with a bridge piece of pipe. And there may be a small pipe for the drain oro a large drain opening in that same area, along with an electrical outlet.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2005
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