Let’s Talk About Hard Water
For an overwhelming 85% of households in the country, hard water is a fact of life. It’s part of their bathing and cleaning routines, food and water consumption, and even at the back of their minds when it comes to home maintenance. That’s because hard water contains high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium, which give water its hardness and also leave a mineral residue that can accumulate and wreak havoc on a number of things in the home.
The good news is that the minerals in hard water are considered safe for domestic use and consumption, but the side effects can range from a minor inconvenience to a major maintenance issue. This is why many homeowners opt to have water softeners installed in their homes. This article will discuss water softeners and the signs that a home has hard water and would benefit from water softener installation.
Understanding How a Water Softener Works
Water softening, as its name implies, is the practice of removing the hardness of water. This involves removing the minerals that give water its hardness, which can be achieved through various methods, allowing homeowners a range of water softener options. The following are different types of water softeners:
- Ion-exchange: This kind of water softener replaces calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions through ion exchange, which is why it is also called a salt-based water softener. Often, this involves using water-softener resin, which contains the sodium released once calcium and magnesium stick to the resin beads. This is one of the most popular kinds of water softeners and can come in various sizes – from whole-home systems to portable ones that can fit in an RV.
- Salt-free: Instead of using salt in an ion-exchange process, this kind of water softener uses template-assisted crystallization and is great for those who don’t want sodium in their water.
- Magnetic: These work to reduce scale deposits by stripping the negative or positive ions with a magnetic field, making the ions neutral and allowing the minerals to remain soluble in the water.
- Dual-tank: This kind of water softener is an ion-exchange softener with two tanks instead of one. This dual tank system allows it to manage a larger volume of heavy minerals and water.
- Shower head: These are located in the shower head itself and remove minerals from the water used for showering. It has filters that need to be replaced about once every three months.
- Reverse Osmosis: This uses semipermeable membranes to filter minerals and nitrates from the water and is great not just for water softening but also for removing contaminants from the water.
How to Tell if You’ve Got Hard Water
When it comes to hard water, the easy part is figuring out its presence in your home. The signs are pretty clear, and usually, they are things homeowners have already grappled with for a while. With hard water, showers, and handwashing are followed by dry hair and skin, dishes and glasses come out of dishwashers spotted with hard water stains, and plumbing fixtures can have scale buildup.
Clothes fade faster and become duller when washed with hard water. But hard water can also affect the plumbing. The mineral scale builds up in pipes, fixtures, and appliances that use water, like the water heater, which causes them to wear out faster and can create a drop in energy efficiency, leading to higher energy bills.
Advantages of Having a Whole House Water Softener
Water softeners combat the negative effects of water hardness on hair, skin, and various household materials and appliances. Not only do they improve the health of skin and hair, but they also make it more comfortable to wash hands and take showers by eliminating the dryness and itchiness that come with hard water.
Water softeners also benefit and retain the quality of household appliances that come in contact most with water. Dishes and clothes come out cleaner, while plumbing is saved from a buildup of minerals and scale deposited within its interiors. Appliances like dishwashers, clothes washers, and water heaters also operate more efficiently, allowing homeowners to save. And they won’t have to be replaced as often since they won’t become damaged due to constant exposure to hard water.
About Maxwell-White Plumbing
Maxwell-White Plumbing is a family-owned company serving West Salem and the surrounding areas. They offer straightforward pricing, the latest technology, and financing. Call them today for water softener installations and repairs in West Salem, WI.