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Dear PoPville – necessity of having a water softener in DC?

by Prince Of Petworth December 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm 54 Comments


Photo by PoPville flickr user yostinator

“Dear PoPville,

Have you ever discussed the necessity of having a water softener in DC? I don’t know whether it’s just a personal preference or if the water is sufficiently hard in DC that you really need one.

My girlfriend and I have put an offer on a house in the Truxton Circle neighborhood. The utility room w/hot water heater is located on the first level. On the second level, above the utility closet, is a large hall closet containing a water softener with a very large tank (we thought it looked like an old atomic bomb at first glance but it luckily turned out to be much more benign). We’re trying to figure out whether we need the water softener, and if not, whether we should ask the seller to remove it.

At the time we saw the house, we thought it was an old water heater (the one downstairs looks quite new and the listing said the water heater had been replaced in the last 5-10 years). So when we put in our offer, we added the condition that the seller remove the “upstairs water heater” because we were concerned that it might not fit down the stairway due to its girth. The seller is having a plumber look at the “upstairs water heater” today to determine the cost of removal. A couple of days ago, I called a plumber friend of mine and described the tank to him, and he thought it sounded more like a water softener than a water heater because I told him I thought it had a fiberglass tank.

So if it’s a water softener and I don’t need it, I will have it removed, but if I need it, I might just wait because I don’t want to have to buy a new one right now even if my end goal is to free up that upstairs closet. And if it turns out to be some type of Cold War explosive, I’m definitely withdrawing the offer.”

I’m embarrassed to say I also don’t even know what a water softener is…

Anyone use one?

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