What Is A Water Softener (And Isn’t My Water Already Soft)?

The water softener industry came into being to solve a big problem. Most homeowners throughout America have hard water that, while safe to use and drink, is terribly “hard” on pipes and appliances.

There’s a strong chance that you have hard water and could benefit from a water softener that turns your hard water into more beneficial soft water. Here’s what you need to know.

What is a Water Softener?

A water softener is a whole-house filtering system that uses an ion exchange mechanism to remove hardness-causing calcium and magnesium minerals from your water. This solves one of the most common and dangerous water issues: hard water.

What Does Hard Water Do?

A modern home’s plumbing system and water-using appliances are ruined by hard water. It leaves a sticky buildup called scale on the inside of your pipes, blocking them and lowering water pressure. Another result is that appliances such as dishwashers, coffee makers, and ice machines all have a much shorter lifespan.

Hot water appliances can also be ruined by hard water. Calcium and magnesium will solidify and harden into solid deposits inside your hot water heater as the temperature of the water rises.

If you reside in a hard water area, your water heater may sound like it’s popping popcorn. This is due to the fact that scale has built up on the heating element. The calcified rock deposits on the heating elements start splitting and expanding as the temperature of the heater rises and the tank expands.

can prevent hard water damage to water heater tanks
This cutaway of a water heater damaged from years of hard water use is a great example of the damage that can be caused. A water softener would prevent this from happening.

If you don’t have a water softener, you’ll need to use more detergent to keep your clothes from becoming dingy. Dishes will be smear as they come out of the dishwasher. Your shower curtains have a cover of filmy scum, and your soap and shampoo are unable to lather.

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When you bathe in hard water, your skin becomes irritated and dry, and your hair becomes lifeless and sticky. It’s incredible the amount of time, energy, and money it takes to clean up the harmful impacts of hard water.

hard vs soft
This is an obvious example of the damage left behind by hard water. More problematic is the damage that you never see on the inside of pipes and appliances because they’re hidden from view.

Why Do I Need a Water Softener?

You need a water softener if you have low water pressure due to scale in your pipes, dry hair, stiff clothes, and endless appliance maintenance expenses. Hard water is not an issue that will go away on its own, and the costs Iassociated with it will only increase.

Appliances that don’t benefit from one will inevitably fail before their estimated lifespan. If the scale in your pipes continues to build up, you will have a more restrictive flow, and you will lose water pressure throughout your home. Water heaters are ravaged by hard water, and without a softener, your utility expenses will continue to rise.

If your water supply is hard, you’ll be stuck in a never-ending cycle of repairs and replacements until your home has protection by a water softener.

whole house installed
A whole house water softer (or water filtration system) takes up about the same or less room than a typical tank-style water heater.

How Does a Water Softener Work?

A water softener works by creating an ion exchange. Hard water travels through a bed of round resin beads as it enters the mineral tank. These sodium-ion plastic beads are typically made of polystyrene.

The resin beads carry a negative charge, making them “anions” (negatively charged ions). Calcium and magnesium are “cations” (positive ions). The negative charge of the minerals attract to the positive charge of the resin beads because opposing charges attract.

The beads take hold of the mineral ions and remove them from the water as the hard water travels through the resin. The sodium ion releases when the bead grabs hold of the mineral ion. As the water travels through the mineral tank, the resin column removes all of the hardness, and softened water flows out into your home.

how does a water softener work diagram
How a water softener works is actually quite simple. Hard water enters a water softener before it flows to the rest of the home. The softener contains resin beads that remove the minerals that make water hard. The now-soft water flows out of the tank into the rest of the home.

Final Thoughts

I hope you now have a better understanding of what a water softener does. It can help you save thousands of dollars in maintenance or damage to your pipes and appliances. #Water #Softener #Isnt #Water #Soft

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