"We do have [soft water] but I don't think it is in our cold water."
Sorry, I'm not sure I understand your statement. Your primary water source is cold. The source of your hot water is almost always the same as your cold water. If you have a water softener system, it is always connected to the cold water source prior to the water heater. So, unless you are using two completely different water sources for your cold and hot waters (e.g. well water and city tap water), the hardness of your cold and hot water are usually the same. One possible exception: You have a water softener and are drawing cold water for your TG from the water softener pre-system spigot.
"My tower grows everything really well on RO..."
That is not surprising as an RO filter removes most of the impurities and hardness minerals that cause issues with hydroponic systems like the TG.
"...but I'm tired of filling gallon jugs [of RO water]."
You may want to consider investing in a high volume RO filter like this (no more filling jugs):
- Hydrologic Stealth RO 100
"Which would be best?"
- Camco 40043 TastePURE RV Filter (the "JoeD Recommended" filter):
- Camco 40691 GardenPURE Carbon Water Filter
Believe it or not (believe it), except for the packaging, these are the same filter. I managed to extract this information from a 3rd level technical support person during a call to Camco a while back. So... The RV filter package is cheaper and comes with a very handy pigtail hose that allows you to easily connect it on the spigot end of a garden hose. That is why the RV filter is "JoeD Recommended" and the Garden filter is not. ;-)
"Will I get the great results with this filter like I do with RO?"
No. The Sediment / Carbon / KDF filter elements of the RV filter offer only basic filtration. High quality RO filters include the same filter elements as the RV filter but then pass this pre-filtered water through a special membrane for an additional level of filtration.
- Hydrologic Stealth RO 100
You are a wealth of great information. The Hydrologic Stealth RO 100 sounds good. I suppose it would have to be the upgraded filter? I don't know how my soft water is rigged. I thought I requested hot water only. Would you be able to tell if I took a photo? My husband of 47 yrs is a disabled Vietnam Veteran in a nursing home as of one year ago. He was a fleet Marine Corpsman for two years 67-69. He returned with severe PTSD and agent orange injury. Is in power chair and can't even sit on his own. I couldn't do 24/7 care any longer. Well, you didn't need that explanation but that's the deal. So I try to repair things and figure out things myself.
Hi aztowergarden, If you made a special request to your water softener installation company to only soften the home hot water (and they complied with that request), then your water softener output line would only go to the input of your hot water heater and nowhere else. It might be easy enough to verify this by visually tracing the pipe from the water softener to the hot water heater. If you don't see any "T" connections along the way, then there is a fair chance that your softener is servicing only the cold water input of your hot water system.
Photos: Yes, photos of all this would help me, help you.