Water Softeners: What’s the Big Deal?

Every day, humans across the world depend on water for survival. Unfortunately, few people really understand the risks of hard water. When water contains high levels of minerals, installing a water softener should be considered.

What’s the Problem With Hard Water?

Magnesium and Calcium for scales, causing damage to your appliances and plumbing system. It will also:

  • reduce the life of your water heater, dishwasher, pipes and faucets.
  • cause your white sheets and delicates to look gray.
  • require that you use more soap to clean your home, your clothes, hair and skin.

DIY Water Hardness Tests:

1. Fill a clean, clear bottle half full with water. Now squirt in 3-4 drops of pure soap (dishwashing liquid contains additives that reduce hardness), and shake the bottle well. If you notice lots of suds, the water is soft. If the water becomes cloudy, or if a scummy film forms, the water is hard.

2. Wash your hands using soap and cold water. Your hands should feel slick and smooth. But if they feel sticky and rough, that means that dirt remains on your hands.

3. Purchase a water-hardness test kit, if you’d prefer a more scientific answer. Simply dip the test strips in water and compare the colors on the strips with that on the container. Some kits require that you add drops of a chemical into water, or send away a sample of water to a testing lab.

How Does a Water Softener Work?

Ion-exchange systems can help remove scale-forming magnesium and calcium, replacing it with potassium and sodium instead. Softened water is water that has been treated through ion-exchange.

The water softener will add a minute amount of sodium in the water. This process switches the magnesium and calcium ions for sodium ions. The switch takes place inside of the resin – a small plastic tank containing negatively charged beads that are bonded to positively charged sodium ions. When water enters your home and flows through the beads, the shift happens.

Once the resin is depleted, the water softener will regenerate, once again exchanging the magnesium and calcium for sodium. At the end of the regeneration process, excess sodium chloride is rinsed out. This usually takes place at night.

Most water softener systems use two tanks, one that holds the resin beads, and the other tank, which has to be refilled with coarse salt or pellets that are sold at hardware stores.

Is Softened Water Drinkable?

Many people fear that drinking softened water, which contains sodium, might be unhealthy. However, twelve glasses of soft water contain less salt than a single slice of bread. Besides, most water supplies naturally contain sodium.

Softened water is also safe for use in the garden, but you will have to buy a larger softener and you will spend more on operating costs. Depending on your budget and your requirements, Anta Plumbing can help you devise the ideal water softener system for your home.
Speak to Anta Plumbing about restricting softened water to the home only, and prevent it from running to your hose bibs and irrigation lines.

Written by Tanya Klien

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