The term “water softener” seems like an oxymoron; doesn’t it? I mean, of course water is soft! If it wasn’t, then it would be ice! This is what I thought until I realized that a lot of people struggle with what is called “hard water.” Almost 90% of Americans have hard water issues in their homes! Are you one of them?
Here are some things you will learn from this article:
- What hard water is and how it affects you
- The benefits of a water softener system
- How a water softener works
What is Hard Water?
Hard water is caused by high mineral contents (like calcium and magnesium). Although there are no confirmed health risks from drinking hard water, it can cause a lot of damage. Here are some examples:
- Hard water can destroy your plumbing and fixtures. Mineral buildups can clog and erode your pipes, resulting in costly repairs.
- Hard water can reduce the effectiveness of some cleaning products and soaps. Hard water reduces effectiveness by up to ½. That means you have to use more product to achieve the same results!
- Hard water can wreak havoc on your appliances. Dishwashers and washing machines run more effectively with soft water. Hard water can cause limescale that reduces effectiveness and shortens the lives of the appliances. According to New Mexico State University’s Water Quality Research Council, water heaters consume almost 30% more energy when operated on hard water.
- Hard water can cause soap scum. The minerals in hard water can negatively react with cleaning products and soaps to cause a gross film.
Who would have thought that water could cause all of these problems? If you have hard water, there is an easy solution: installing a water softener.
What is a Water Softener System?
A water softener does exactly as its names suggests; it softens your water. That means it gets rid of those mineral deposits, resulting in soft water (that’s the kind you want). There are some amazing benefits of soft water:
- It’s better for your plumbing. With no mineral build ups clogging your pipes, soft water extends the life of your plumbing.
- It improves the way your appliances run. Think about your dishwasher or your washing machine. Both need water to work. If hard water runs through them, you’re more likely to get calcium buildups. Plus, it makes your detergent less effective. Who wants to run the same load of laundry twice because it didn’t get clean the first time? Not you!
- It’s healthier for your hair and skin. Hard water tends to leave a film on skin and dulls your hair. Yuck!
- It makes for easier cleaning. Due to less mineral build up, your cleaning products will work more effectively. Do you want to spend more time cleaning than absolutely necessary? No way!
How Does a Water Softener Work?
There are two processes in water softening. With their powers combined, you get soft water flowing through your pipes!
- Ion Exchange– This is when your water is filtered through resin (kind of like sand) that is filled with positively charged sodium ions. Like magic, this dissolves the minerals that cause hard water! Now, this resin is not really magic and, therefore, is not unlimited. It needs to be regenerated after the ion exchange process.
- Regeneration Cycle– This backwashes the resin with a saltwater-like solution. This gets rid of those unwanted mineral deposits and the resin is ready to be used again. Amazing, right?
If you have hard water, look into installing a water softener in your home. It can lessen your cleaning time, improve the life of your plumbing, make your appliances more efficient, and even leave you with healthier look skin and hair! With so many benefits, why would you not want softer water?