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How to Install a Water Conditioner

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Ask This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey installs a water conditioner to combat hard water

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Time: 2-3 hours

Cost: $1000 and Up

Skill Level: Moderate

Tools List for Installing a Water Conditioner:
Pipe cutter
Drill driver
Tape measure

Shopping List:
Citrus conditioner system
Scrap plywood
Pipe fittings

1. Before doing any work on the plumbing system, ensure that water is turned off at the main shutoff.
2. Locate an area on the wall near the water main where the citrus conditioner can be installed.  Ensure the location has enough clearance for the filters to be easily changed.
3. Locate studs in the wall and mount a piece of scrap wood to the structure to serve as a backer for the conditioner using a drill driver and screws.
4. Assemble the citrus conditioner using the instructions with the kit. Screw the mounting brackets to the heads of the filter, then attach the unit into the plywood backer board on the wall.
5. Measure, cut, and dry fit the pipes to connect the main water line to the conditioner. Cut the pipes with the pipe cutter and clean the ends with sandpaper before dry fitting.
6. Disassemble the pieces, apply flux to the pipe and fittings, and then solder the connections.
7. Install the cartridges to the filter. The carbon filter should be installed immediately downstream from the main water shutoff, and the citrus conditioner should be installed downstream from that. The kit comes with a wrench that can tighten the cartridge to the filter.
8. Turn the water back on and check for leaks.

Richard installed a citrus conditioner manufactured by Nuvo ( )

Other supplies and materials for this project, including solder, flux, copper pipe and couplings, and the plywood backing are sold at home centers and plumbing supply houses.

Expert assistance with this project was provided by Grand Canyon National Park (), Just Plumbing Services, Inc. ( ), and Morris Merchants ()

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