Many areas of the country suffer from hard water, but homeowners don’t often understand exactly what that means. Hard water is high in mineral content, which can lead to mineral deposits on fixtures, clog pipes, make it more difficult to remove soap during cleaning, and negatively impact the health of the home’s inhabitants. Find out more about how to address this problem by checking out this home water softener guide.
Minerals in Hard Water
Calcium and magnesium are both minerals commonly found in hard water. They usually wind up in the water supply as groundwater dissolves limestone, iron, and other rocks and minerals. Water softeners work by removing these minerals, leaving the water safer to drink and use for everyday purposes such as bathing and washing clothes and dishes.
The Ion Exchange Process
Water softeners work via a process known as ion exchange, removing minerals and replacing them with sodium ions. Calcium, magnesium, iron, and sodium are positively charged, while sodium has a much weaker charge, facilitating its exchange.
The water softeners sold at softerh2o.com achieve this ion exchange through the use of negatively charged resin bead or zeolite crystal. As the hard water passes through this tank, the ions with a strong positive charge are pulled toward these media, knocking the sodium ions out of place as they approach. The water softener then cleans and regenerates itself via the addition of softener salt, usually referred to as brine, allowing the hard minerals to be released and the softener tank to be disinfected.
How to Tell if a Home Needs a Water Softener
Many homeowners believe that water softeners are not a necessity, but a luxury, especially if they have municipal water. This attitude isn’t quite right. In fact, municipalities do not remove hard minerals from water, as they are not considered harmful to human health. The only way to ensure all of the home’s appliances and plumbing fixtures continue to run efficiently is to install a water softener.
Some symptoms of hard water include a shortened lifespan of appliances like dishwashers and washing machines, soap scum or mineral buildup around drains, laundry that is stiff when it comes out of the dryer, and difficulty getting soap to suds up adequately in the shower. Hard water also makes it more difficult to remove soap from dishes, clothes, and other items being washed with tap water.
A Practical Solution
While a shower water softener will remove hard water specifically from the shower head, it won’t help maintain pipes and appliances or remove minerals from water being routed to other areas of the house. Only a whole-house water softening system such as those sold by SofterH2O can provide a comprehensive solution. Check out their water softener guide online for more information.