Should I Buy A Water Softener
Hard water contains magnesium and calcium ions that make it very difficult to create an effective lather with soap and other cleaning products, which affects the whole cleaning process, whether you are having a shower, washing the car, or doing the laundry and dishes. As soft water is treated to remove these impurities, it is far more effective when used for washing. Often you can achieve the same level of soil removal in soft water by using lower water temperatures and a reduced amount of detergent than washing with hard water. You will require less cleaning agents to perform a good wash.
should i buy a water softener
Additionally, clothing washed in soft water often feels softer, which can lessen the abrasive feel of starchy clothing and therefore keep skin complaints at bay. People living in hard water areas are more likely to develop skin problems than those that do not.
While hard water is sometimes preferred for drinking purposes because of its mineral content, for making drinks, like tea or cocktails, soft water is usually considered superior. Soft water is a more effective solvent, and this can be seen when used with soap, but it also equally applies to cookery and mixed drinks. For instance, adding stock to soft water will greatly enhance the flavors and aromas.
As mentioned, hard water can cause blockages in your plumbing through the deposition of limescale. Soft water by comparison can provide a long-term remedy to these kinds of deposits. If a water softener is added retrospectively to a property, then gradually the softer water will dissolve limescale scale deposits and remove the problem entirely.
Going from a hard water bath or shower to a soft water wash, you will instantly notice the difference in the quality of the clean and the sensation. It is often regarded as a luxurious experience, a perfect way to unwind at the end of the day relieving the stress and fatigue of everyday life.
For car enthusiasts, one of the worst offences of hard water, is the chalky residue it can leave on your car after washing. Damaging the paintwork of the vehicle and generally reducing the visual impact. As soft water does not carry any of the impurities, it is the solution for washing your car.
Home water softeners, also called ion exchange units, are appliances that remove calcium, magnesium, and other minerals from drinking water. Resin beads inside the softener trap the calcium and magnesium and exchange them for sodium or potassium. Once the resin beads become full of calcium and magnesium, a highly-concentrated salt or potassium solution removes the calcium and magnesium from the beads. After passing through the beads, the resulting chloride solution becomes a waste stream that goes down the drain and ultimately into the environment.
The calcium, iron, and magnesium removed by softening are not harmful and may be beneficial sources of essential elements needed by the body. Removing them from your water may mean you will have to get more of them from your diet.
Minnesota has a growing problem with chloride in water. Chloride in water threatens our fresh-water fish and other aquatic life. The chloride used in home water softeners can also affect the water used for drinking. It takes only one teaspoon of sodium chloride salt to permanently pollute five gallons of water. Once salt is in water, there is no easy way to remove it.
If you were to ask, Do I have hard water? And you are on a private well, the answer would be probably yes. But even people living in the city can be plagued (softening on a large scale is too cumbersome and costly for suppliers).
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), most American homes receive at least somewhat hard water with many people suffering from very high hardness levels. So, chances are that the water coming into your home could do with some softening.
By the way, the softest water can be found in Hawaii, whereas the Great Lakes region in Alaska and Tennessee have moderately hard water. Texas, Kansas, southern California and Arizona have the hardest water levels.
Bottom line: One way for you to find out if your water is soft, hard or very hard is to measure its calcium levels. You can do this yourself using one of the many available hardness test kits, or you can send a sample to a testing laboratory in your area.
Although direct testing is the only way to find out how hard your water really is, there are obvious telltale signs that indicate that a softening unit could make a good addition to your home, such as:
If you consider buying a water softener for your home, make sure to contact your local water supplier first to find out if your state or municipality has placed any restrictions on what type you are allowed to use.
A water softener prevents scale deposits and thereby extends the life span of water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines, coffee makers, air humidifiers and many more household appliances plus the entire plumbing system in your house by up to 30 percent.
Improved heat exchange efficiency of your water heater will help you save money on energy bills. How much? Testing has shown that using a gas storage water heater the energy cost savings amount to 24.2% over a life cycle of 15 years.
Any whole house softening system needs to be plumbed in. This costs time and money and is usually not an option for renters. The only exception are some electronic descalers that simply clip on or wrap around the main water supply.
Whether a water supply is labeled "soft" or "hard" is dependent on the presence of two minerals, calcium and magnesium. From a health standpoint, these minerals have no adverse effects and are, in fact, essential daily nutrients. However, when calcium and magnesium enter water, they buildup on contact surfaces, plug pipes and damage water heaters, and decrease the effectiveness of soaps and detergents. Hard water leaves stains in laundry and makes the water smell or taste bad. If your shower or sink has reddish-brown stains, you have hard water. For these reasons, homeowners opt to buy water softeners but can there be disadvantages to owning a water softener? Let's explore further!
As the name implies, water softeners reduce levels of water hardness. Many either directly remove minerals from hard water, or they replace ionic hardness minerals with sodium ions - such as the most commonly used, ion-exchange type of water softener.
How does it work? In the process, calcium and magnesium ions in the water are eliminated and replaced with sodium ions. Once hard water enters a mineral water tank, it flows through a bed of resin beads. The beads are made from polystyrene and are charged with sodium ions. Since the beads are anions, they have a negative charge. The calcium and magnesium ions are cations, having positive charges.
As opposite charges attract, the magnesium and calcium charges will be attracted to the negative charges on the resin beads. The beads continue to grab the mineral ions, displacing the sodium charge that once was on the beads. The end product is water that is free of calcium and magnesium charges. The resin beads continue to strip the hardness out of the water in the mineral tank with soft water entering your home.
The decision "to soften or not to soften" is a matter of personal preference, not a necessity. However, water softening does have advantages, and disadvantages, that make this decision a significant one.
Most homeowners would agree that hard water leaves scales on pans, soap residue on skin, and detergent buildup in the washing machine. More importantly, scales can also buildup on hot water heaters and decrease their useful life. Soap film and scum in bathtubs and appliances mean that you are not getting the maximum cleaning action from these products. Water softening eliminates these nuisances and also protects appliances, and saves cleaning time.
A well-designed water softener system only removes the minerals causing hardness. The least expensive systems are magnetic, removing dissolved metals from the water by passing the source water across a magnet. By removing the metals, the remaining water is acceptable. More expensive systems trade calcium and other minerals for salt ions, leaving a less hard water where the colloidal salts pass through with little impact.
Hard water could actually put the entire plumbing system under pressure due to the build-up of scales, ultimately decreasing its life span and efficiency. It could also hinder the flow of water, decreasing water pressure level from taps. A water softener prevents this.
Maintenance is another consideration. Water softeners could cost at least $2,000 to install. They also require routine maintenance since the resin beads will eventually run out of sodium ions to counter the calcium and magnesium ions. Depending on the water source, you may have to filter the water or disinfect bacteria, all before it even reaches the softening unit. Salt-based water softening systems require a regular maintenance and replenishment schedule, which causes higher expenses.
Cleaning: consider the additional load on your drainage field from backwashing and regeneration. Estimates indicate that about 50 gallons of water are used for each regeneration cycle. This may or may not cause a hydraulic overload of the septic system.
If the problem with the source of water is due to bacteria or chlorine, water softening will not help: Water softeners do not disinfect the water, they do not address most problems with taste and smell of organic sources, and many are ruined by exposure to even trace amounts of oils in the water.
It also causes environmental harm. If the softened water is released to the environment, it flows on plants and this, therefore, increases the acidity of the soil, therefore, making the plants less productive. 041b061a72