Water Softeners: Treating Hard Water

Updated: September 28, 2016.

Our water supply is far from being pure. Water is loaded with many different chemicals and contaminants, many of which naturally make their way into our wells, rivers, and lakes. Additionally, municipalities treat water by removing some chemicals and contaminants, while adding new chemicals. By the time water is delivered into our homes, it is still loaded with many different substances. Our household water is safe to drink and use, but it is still loaded with chemicals that are harmful, unpleasant and inconvenient. That’s the reality.

Water Softeners: Removing Minerals From Hard Water...

A common problem with household water is hardness. Hard water is simply water with high concentrations of dissolved chemicals, typically calcium and magnesium. These minerals pose no real threat to your health, but they create other problems. Hard water creates a problem when it comes to washing yourself, clothes, and anything else. When it comes to cleaning, hard water is your worst enemy.

When washing clothes in the washing machine, hard water will damage and fade them, significantly reducing their lifetime. Hard water will basically ruin your clothes, forcing you to shop again and spend money on new clothes. Hard water leaves solid coatings on your dishes, which might lead to damage. When showering or bathing, hard water will harden your hair, making it brittle. Hard water creates problems when washing anything, because it does not allow for soap and detergents to properly rinse and clean.

Residential Water Softeners

Hard water prevents soap from lathering dirt, oil and other impurities that soap usually works on. This situation with hard water will make you consume more than twice as much soap and detergent when washing something. Additionally problems that hard water causes including scum build up in and around plumbing fixtures such as faucets, sinks, handles, drains, and pipes. Clearly, hard water also creates problems that hit your hard when it comes to money.

Water Softener Tanks

If you suspect that you have hard water, it’s important to find out. Invest some money and time to fix this important problem. The best way to find out if you have hard water is to have it tested by a local certified laboratory. You should also inquire about water with your local municipal departments. You can also examine your water for hardness with affordable test kits. Water with more than one grain of hardness per gallon is considered slightly hard. Anything above this value is on the higher spectrum of water hardness. Either way, all hard water requires treatment which may vary according to the degree of the hardness.

Water Softeners Salt

The solution to hard water is a water softener. A water softener is simply a device which reduces the hardness of water by filtering out the chemicals. A typical water softener uses a chemical process known as ion exchange to filter out the hard minerals in the water. Usually sodium (salt) is used in water softeners to filter out the hard minerals like calcium and magnesium. The bottom line is that water softeners significantly improve the quality of water when it comes to hardness.

A water softener is connected directly to the household water supply entry point . A typical water softener consists of two tanks, the mineral tank and brine tank. Some water softeners come as one large tank, which still contain the mineral and brine compartments inside. The mineral tank is where the ion exchange process occurs. The brine tank is the reservoir tank which holds the sodium (salt.) This tank must be periodically replaced with new salt at specific intervals. From the mineral tank of the water softener, the filtered and soft water flows to the rest of the house. Another common feature of water softeners is control valves, usually with digital (electronic) controls.

Water Softeners Against Hard Water

If you have hard water, it’s recommended to install a whole house water softener, or one that connects directly to the house water supply. This way, the entire house receives softened water. There are alternatives such as under sink or under counter water softeners, which only provide filtering for the specific fixture such as kitchen sink for example. It makes sense to install a whole house water softener, rather than just providing softening for one specific place.

House Water Softeners

It should be noted that water softeners treat only hard water. Water softeners do not filter out many contaminants from your water. Therefore, you cannot expect water softeners to filter for chemicals like chlorine, fluoride, Hydrogen Sulfide, and other toxic and harmful contaminants such as Arsenic, volatile organic compounds (VOC), Nitrates. You must install separate water filtering systems if you want to filter out these contaminants.

House Water Softeners

When it comes to pricing, water softeners are within an affordable range. Quality water softeners can be bought for less than $500. More expensive water softeners basically have the same features, except they are larger in size and volume. A water softener with a capacity of over 100,000 grains will obviously cost more than one with 25,000 grain capacity. Also, don’t forget to buy a constant supply of salt for the brine tanks of water softeners.

House Water Softeners