What Does a Water Softener Do?
In order to best describe what a water softener does, we must start by describing the problem it addresses: hard water.
What is hard water?
When a plumber refers to water as “hard,” this means it contains more minerals than water. While any number of minerals may be present, the two most common are calcium and magnesium.
One of the ways you may be able to tell you have hard water is if you often have soap scum buildup around your sinks, tubs or shower. Soap scum does not dissolve well in hard water. Basically, because calcium and magnesium are positively charged ions, other positively charged ions, such as those found in soap, dissolve less easily in the water.
In addition to causing soap scum build up, hard water can also lead to clogged pipes and less efficient water heater systems.
A water softener, connected directly to your home’s water supply can help to address these issues.
What does a water softener do?
Water softeners are designed to remove positively charged ions, such as calcium and magnesium, through an ion exchange process. The calcium and magnesium ions are most often replaced with sodium ions, or salt.
What does salt do in a water softener?
Water softeners have resin beds filled with sodium, or salt, that attracts hard minerals when the hard water enters the water softener. As the hard water flows through the resin bed, the sodium is swapped with the hard minerals.
Don’t worry though – your water won’t actually taste salty!
What are the benefits of water softening?
Once the hard minerals are removed from your home’s water supply you’ll recognize several benefits.
You’ll save money. Appliances using soft versus hard water require less energy and fewer repairs.
You’ll look and feel better. Soft water is easier on your hair and skin. It won’t leave them feeling dry and itchy like hard water does. Similarly, your clothes will feel softer after being washed in soft water.
You’ll find cleaning easier. Soft water allows soaps and other cleaners to rinse completely, so you’ll have spot-free glass and scum-free tile.
Interested in talking to a professional about a water softener for your home?
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