• In this video, This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey and water-quality specialist Doug Oberhamer show how to soften mineral-rich hard water.

    1. Dig a trench from the water main to the garage.
    2. Use a drill to bore two 1-inch-diameter holes through the garage wall.
    3. Clean and de-burr the ends of the copper water-supply pipes.
    4. Buff clean the pipe ends with emery cloth.
    5. Solder together the copper water-supply pipe and fittings. Run two pipes from the water main to water softener inside the garage.
    6. Make the pipe connections at the water main and at the water softener.
    7. Attach a discharge pipe to the water softener and end it at a nearby utility sink or floor drain that's connected to a sewer line.
    8. Fill the storage tank with water-softener salt, and then check the salt level at least once a month.
    • 4 to 6 hours
    • About $1,000 and up
    • Difficulty: Hard
      This is a job for an experienced plumber

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