Do you want ” hard water bypass” for your home water filter?

The answer is yes, in almost every case, you do want your home whole house water filter or softener to operate with a “hard water bypass” feature. This is something you don’t have to specify when you buy a filter or softener because it is assumed that you want it. In fact, you have to go to some trouble to buy a product with “no hard water bypass” equipment installed.

“Untreated water bypass,” by the way, would be a more accurate name for the feature, but industry tradition says “hard water” although the concept applies to both filters (which don’t soften water) and water softeners.

What the “hard water bypass” feature does is send water to the home if there is a demand for water while the softener or filter is in its regeneration cycle. So, if the softener is regenerating at 2:00 AM and someone flushes a toilet, the softener bypasses its treatment tank and sends hard water to fill the need. The assumption is that it’s better to have a few gallons of hard water in the home’s water lines than to have un-flushed toilets. And if the softener starts its regeneration while you’re in the shower, you would probably prefer to be able to get the shampoo out of your hair even if it means a few gallons of raw water get into the home’s water lines.

The most obvious reason you don’t want a “no hard water bypass” product on your home system, though, is for fire protection. You don’t want your home to burn down because your water softener refuses to send hard water to sprinklers during its regeneration cycle.

So,why would anyone want a “no hard water bypass” unit?  If you were supplying a machine that would be damaged by receiving untreated water, the no hard water bypass system is invaluable. Or, if  you were topping off a fish pond, you certainly would prefer delaying the operation a bit to sending chlorinated water to your fish.  Here’s another example:

A well owner fills a large storage tank direct from his well, then pumps water from the storage tank to his home. He filters the water for iron before it reaches the storage tank. The storage tank calls for water when the water level drops below a certain point. If the storage tank calls for water while the iron filter is regenerating, the home owner would probably prefer for the filter to wait until the regeneration is finished rather than top off the tank with untreated water.

Except in special cases like these, you want “hard water bypass.”  That’s why you don’t have to ask for it. On residential filters and softeners,  you get it without asking.