what's up with potassium chloride??

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by maddog, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. maddog

    maddog Engineer

    Messages:
    129
    Location:
    near San Jose, CA.
    just got back from HD to pick up some potassium chloride for the water softener, and the price has almost doubled over night. It's $18.99 for a 40 lb bag!! It was under $10 the last time I bought some, a couple of months ago. I asked about it, and the guy said it was due to their supplier and something about the earthquake in China. The stuff I buy is from Canada .... anyone know what's going on with the sudden price hike? Can't be just from the increased fuel cost... -dog.
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego

    Are you kidding? What do you think it costs to deliver a pallet of 63 bags of salt ( 50 lbs each)? Dow chemical has announced 45 % price increases in chemical products this year AND a $400 fuel surcharge per truckload of product leaving their plant. This affects almost everthing....including the plastic bag that salt is in!

    There is a company here in San Diego which installs secondary fuel tanks in pickups and other trucks. They are working overtime to keep up with demand.....because diesel is $2 per gallon just across the border in TJ. Gasoline is also about 1/2 the going rate in San Diego, which is averaging $4.59 for regular.

    There are several companies selling Vespa and other brands of scooters. They are SOLD OUT ....not a single unit left in inventory anywhere in town as of Friday. There is one brand made in China, and the comment from owners and dealers is.....NO PARTS AVAILABLE.....good luck when it needs service! Where have we heard that one before!
  3. maddog

    maddog Engineer

    Messages:
    129
    Location:
    near San Jose, CA.
    hmmm ... 50 lb bags of diamond crystal salt pellets were still $3.99. is this maybe old inventory? and do you expect a $9 price jump in these bags of salt too?
  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I've heard that the world demand for potassium has increased but I don't remember why.
  5. its all swirling around the bowl........

    I just went to buy some celery.at the local store....
    two weeks ago it was 1.69 for a bundle of it
    now its 3 dollars.... thats double....for food.

    Now, I am trying to fugure out how to put all
    my tools on a scooter .....right now...
    I refuse to drive anywhere for those
    "free estimates" its not in the budget.


    Things are getting very ugly out there and still
    most dont even have a clue how totally screwed
    we truely are....

    the band keeps playing on....
    as our whole life and all that was easy and convienant is
    being flushed right down the bowl,
    example.....GM is about to go bankrupt,

    and the only thing George Bush ll
    is thinking about is how to start a war with Iran
    before the end of his term in office.....






    I am pretty sure we are all in very "deep shit"
    but dont know it yet.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2008
  6. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Soften with NaCl and Skip the Ketchup

    Use standard salt for softening and omit 1 Tbsp of ketchup from your french fries, or skip the fries altogether and avoid 3 times the sodium you will get in your drinking water.

    About 8 milligrams/liter of sodium is added to the water for each grain/gallon of hardness removed by the softener. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sodium/AN00317

    If you have water at 20 grains per gallon of hardness, it will add about 160 mg/liter of sodium to the water. The maximum recommended allowance of sodium is about 2400 mg/day, or 15 times as much as in a liter of water.

    I just checked some stuff in the fridge and pantry and found the following "sodium per serving" off the label:
    ketchup: 190 mg
    salad dressings: 120 to 200 mg
    Campbell's soups: 700 to 800 mg (depends on flavor)
    Microwave popcorn, 1/2 bag: 570 mg

    If you want to cut down sodium in your diet and save money in this economy:
    1. Use standard salt (sodium chloride) in your water softener.
    2. Avoid factory-prepared foods and typical fast-foods which almost always contain a lot of sodium.
    3. Use Lite-Salt (50% NaCl and 50% KCl) or No-Salt which is 100% KCl for seasoning.
    4. Read the labels and avoid stuff that has high sodium content.
    5. Minimize added salt in cooking and at the table; you will get used to it and won't miss it.
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    An RO will remove the residual salt, but if you use softened water for the garden, sodium will kill it so you must use potassium in the softener
  8. maddog

    maddog Engineer

    Messages:
    129
    Location:
    near San Jose, CA.
    I searched around a bit and found that a lot of the potassium chloride (potash) is used in fertilizers and China has slapped a large tarrif on fertilizer exports (how's that for free trade?!?). That combined with the higher transportation costs has caused the price to sky-rocket.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSPEK27931120080417

    I did go with the salt this time. I don't mind paying 2x the price for the potassium, but over 4x the price of salt is too much. The potassium seems to work better. The last time I used salt, I kept getting salt bridges in the brine tank (tank is in the garage which gets fairly hot in the summer). Since then, I only add 1 bag at a time, and try to remember to periodically stir up the brine tank to avoid the salt bringe. Does anyone have any tricks to prevent the salt bridge from forming? I also have it plumbed so that two of the outside lines are still hard water. Thanks, -dog.
  9. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    There may be a few plants in this world that Sodium from Softened water may effect. But I have seen places around here during Hurricanes where entire yards were under Saltwater for days and the Grass and Plants did just fine for the most part. That's a lot more Salt than what's in Softened water.

    bob...
  10. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    In addition to the greater cost of potassium chloride, it requires 27% more to get the same regeneration effect.

    So if you are paying 4 times as much per pound for KCl it will cost more than 5 times as much to soften the water.
  11. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The percentage increase depends on the salt efficiency setting of the softener. I.E. 6 lbs/ft requires 12%. There is no cation resin made in anything but the sodium form, so potassium is not as efficient unless you are using a very high salt efficiency setting like 10lbs/ft or more. So you can't switch from salt to salt substitute without changing the capacity and salt dose settings or you'll end up causing problems.
  12. cabman

    cabman New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Cost of Potassium

    I thought we were the only ones. Living in rural CO. we're kinda used to being ripped off. Potassium has tripled in the 14 months since I installed our softner. Our water is very hard and it takes at least 1 but sometimes 2 bags a week. The guy who installed it doesn't explain the system very well so I am still clueless how it all works. I've got this crud that floats on top of the water then sticks to the side of the tank. What is this? We live on a ranch and have to be careful of how much salt we add to the soil as it will affect our livestock. Any help would be appreciated
  13. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    It sounds as if you have a too small softener or very poor salt efficiency; usually due to the softener being undersized.

    I take it you mean the salt tank has the crud on the water; if for no other reason than you can't see inside the other tank... That is normal for some types of 'salt' and does not get into your water. Any of that sucked into the resin tank is run to drain during regeneration.

    How are you getting salt water on the ground/soil? Or are you softening the water for the livestock?
  14. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,713
    Location:
    Central Florida
    To get an idea of the depth of the shit, check out "Crude Awakening", a movie that is much scarier than "An Inconvenient Truth". An equally cheery website that will make you think W might know what he's doing, in a perverted kind of way, is http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/. It starts off with "Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon."
  15. cabman

    cabman New Member

    Messages:
    2
    We have what I think is a 9500 series with 2 tanks and a very large brine tank, that is where the crud is building up. We're on a septic system and as I'm told the leaching of the potassium into the soil will get picked up in our soil and eventually leach into other sections where the animals graze. We've never used the straight salt, always potassium. I've diverted our water lines for the stock before the house. I also have a huge carbon filter and a fiberglass filter in the lines right before the softner.
  16. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    So disconnect the brine line and clean the salt tank out and then add the same amount of water and salt back into the salt tank and reconnect the brine line. Then do a manual regeneration checking for air leaks in the brine line connections; you don't want to see air bubbles in the brine line.
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