Being a universal solvent, water dissolves everything that is soluble, and that includes hard water minerals. Have you visited a friend with “soft” water and noticed how shiny their sinks look and how just a small amount of hand soap lathers richly?
That’s the magic of a water softener at work. Let’s take a closer look at how this machine does the wonderful job of softening your water.
The conventional water softening method that uses the proven effective ion exchange process can be broken down into four major steps.
Step 1. The tank of a water softener is filled with negative charged resin beads (negative charged ions) that act like a magnet, the beads attract hard water minerals such as calcium and magnesium that stick on them like glue (positive charged ions).
Step 2. Over time, the resin beads become saturated with the hard-mineral ions, this is when regeneration happens through the control valve at the head of the tank, this valve serves as the brain of the water softener system where all important information is stored.
Step 3. During a regeneration cycle, a strong salt brine solution from the brine tank is being injected into the resin tank, in this stage of the process, the also positive ion charged salt solution replaces the positive ion charged hard water minerals that are clinging to the the resin beads. They exchange places.
Step 4. The now displaced calcium and magnesium ions are then flushed down the drain and the freshly regenerated resin beads are again refreshed and capable of of attracting the water hardness causing minerals, producing a fresh batch of soft water.
Is a water softener necessary? Are you noticing scale deposits on your coffee pots or coffee maker? If yes, then most likely you have hard water that needs softening. Scaling or formation of a chalky substance on your appliances or pipes is the most obvious sign of hard water.
When the scale begins to build up in the valves of your dishwasher and washing machine, a water leakage may occur which can reduce the service life of your home appliances and sometimes may require frequent and costly repairs.
Not to mention that this mineral deposit can also clog your pipes and make your plumbing system less effective. This problem can also lead to expensive repairs and extra wear on your appliances.
If you see plaster-like films on your faucets or bathtubs, it’s an indication of hard water. These ugly stains are caused mainly by calcium and magnesium deposits left behind when water evaporates.
While you can remove the stain using a detergent or bleach, using a water softener would be the most effective way to keep it gone for good. A water hardness test kit will help you determine how hard your water is, which is very helpful in determining the proper size unit for your household.
Perhaps there’s nothing more irritating than seeing unwanted spots on your beloved glassware and getting rid of those unsightly stains can really be a pain in the butt. Hard water buildup is even said to make your dishware more prone to damage and breaking. Not sure on this one!
Of course, you can remove these stains with a lot of effort, but they will just return unless you do away with your hard water problem altogether. So again, is a water softener necessary?
Discoloration and fading are additional telltale signs of hard water and once again confirms that your water contains an abundance of hard minerals. These minerals hinder detergents from forming good lather and turn your vibrant colors a dingy gray.
While there are specially designed water softening detergents, this option won’t totally solve your hard water issues. The best way to permanently get rid of hard water miseries is invest in a quality water softener. This will put an end to your problems effectively and immediately.
Excess amounts of calcium and magnesium floating around your water can cause itchy, dry skin and hair. Even your shampoo and soap won’t do that much to prevent the drying effects of bathing with hard water.
Those darn hardness minerals leave uncomfortable residue on your skin that makes it feel rough and dry, it can block your pores, and this may lead to skin inflammation, much like the glasses in your dishwasher, your skin becomes tarnished without being rinsed.
Using soft water in your home will make a big difference that you can see, taste and feel. In your kitchen, your dishes will clean up more easily and become spot free. Plus, the fact that your hands will also feel softer even after cleaning.
In the laundry, you will notice that your linens and clothes become brighter, cleaner and more vibrant. Your clothes will also feel softer and increase longevity by as much as 30% compared to clothing washed in hard water.
Not to mention that your washing machine will last longer, too!
You will notice great improvements in the bathroom. Soaps and shampoos lather much better and your skin and hair will feel softer and shinier.
Plus, there will be no more tiring and irritating scrubbing stains off your shower, tub, sink, and toilet.
On top of that, soft water means that your appliances work better and last longer. You save big time on unnecessary and costly repairs.
So finally, is a water softener necessary? I’m thinking that you’re probably going to answer this question with a resounding yes!
Jack Wilson is a water treatment consultant as well as a topic researcher and post editor for all posts on bestpurifiation.com.