The typical issues you see in a home with hard water include soap that won't lather, a sticky scum in the tub or sink and clothes that develop a gray tint from the clothes washer. Even worse problems can occur since hard water can create a buildup in pipes and water heaters, reducing their effectiveness. Learn what causes this and how a home water softener system removes those problems from your life.
Hard Water is Full of Minerals
When rainwater soaks into the ground, it dissolves minerals which combine with the water as it ends up in wells and reservoirs. Calcium and magnesium are the primary minerals found in hard water. In parts of the country where these minerals are in abundance in the soil, the water delivered to the home may have high levels of these minerals.
You can easily see these minerals by allowing a glass of water to sit overnight, or boil a pan of water until nearly dry. The sediment you see at the bottom of the glass and pan are these minerals.
You can boil and distill your water before you use it to remove the minerals. Or you can add chemicals, such as borax, before washing with the water. The easiest way to remove the minerals in your water is with a home water softener system
How a Water Softener Works
Calcium and magnesium ions have a slight positive charge to them. Your home water softener is full of tiny plastic beads that have a negative charge. The beads are bathed in a very-low sodium mixture, which has a lower positive charge than the calcium and magnesium ions. As water flows through this container of beads, the sodium ions swap places with the calcium and magnesium ions. This leaves the heavy minerals attached to the plastic beads as the water flows on through to a holding tank.
Eventually, the sodium is depleted in the tank of beads and the water softening unit must be recharged. This is done by soaking the beads in a strong solution of salt water. This strong salt solution forces the calcium and magnesium off of the beads and down the drain. When the beads have been cleared of these heavy minerals and recharged with sodium, the water softener is ready to work for you again.
Water Softener Options for Your Home
A plumbing services company such as Quality Plumbing Inc will have a variety of units from which to choose. You'll want a plumber to install it in your home since it needs to integrate with the rest of your water and drainage system. The systems vary as to how much water you will use and how the unit recharges itself. Some of the differences between units include:
- Electrical timer - These are set to recharge the system on a regular basis. With most, you can't use the water while the system is recharging.
- Computer recharging - These use a computer to determine the need for recharging based on the amount of water used. Some of these allow you to use a small amount of water while recharging.
- Mechanical metering - This turns on the recharging process only when the sodium is depleted sufficiently. These systems usually come with two tanks so one can be recharged while the other holds softened water that can be used while the other tank is recharging.
A water softener saves wear and tear on your clothes and your plumbing. If you are using special soaps and chemicals to clean your hair, the sink and tub because of hard water, look at the water softener options at your local plumbing supply company.Share