A water softener is among those household items that most of us likely don’t think about until we are faced with a specific problem that makes us realize it might be time to get one. In the case of identifying when a water softener is necessary for the home, one might find evidence of so-called “hard” water by way of dishes and drinking glasses that you washed in the dishwasher, only to come out covered with spots when dry. You will also notice the water in your shower leaving behind a film on you and the walls or curtain. Hard water can also be the costly culprit behind a clogged plumbing system. The reason water becomes “hard” is because it has been filled with minerals and other contaminants from in the earth. High concentrations of calcium and magnesium are most commonly found in hard water, along with a myriad of other additives and minerals, and they pose the most significant problems to the proper functioning of water within a home.
Hard water can have an adverse effect on a wide range of tasks and purposes that rely on water to accomplish. For starters, these minerals can make the water unsafe to drink, and in highly concentrated cases this can be a growing problem in entire regions of a state. But in most instances hard water causes problems that might be considered far more minor. Soaps and detergents are rendered less effective in hard water because the minerals combine with the soap elements to create a sticky coagulant that can be tough to remove from fabrics and other surfaces. Those white milky spots on your wine glass are a perfect visual example of this reaction taking place.
Softeners are designed to eliminate these reactions by removing the detrimental impurities and giving you cleaner, healthier water that you can use to drink and wash your clothes. The problematic calcium and magnesium deposits that build up in your water can also begin to cake up in the pipes causing clogs in the system that can be difficult (and costly) to remove. You have a choice of solutions to clean up your water, the first of which is chemicals. But some of you might feel uncomfortable pouring chemicals into your water supply, in which case I would suggest a water softener. These appliances are simple to use because you don’t really have to do much beyond hooking it up to your home’s water supply system. Once that’s done, the machine does all the work, removing the minerals in the water by replacing them with other substances through an ion exchange.
The most common replacement is sodium or potassium chloride, but there are other options as well. Every water softener uses a mineral tank that contains resin or zeolite, which are made up of small polystyrene beads that carry a negative charge. Calcium and magnesium are positively charged, so when the water passes through the softener, these impurities are immediately drawn to the beads and taken from the water. This is, of course, a much simpler explanation than the true process but you get the point. There is much more to learn about these devices and you can find all of the information you need at http://www.watersoftenersnow.org. This is the most comprehensive site for product reviews and descriptions of how each device works to soften your water. Not everyone will need a water softener for their home but for those who do, you won’t find a better resource online to help you select the unit that can solve your hard water issues.