What is a water softener?
A water softener is an appliance that treats hard water by removing calcium and magnesium ions from it. Hard water is a common problem in places where the groundwater contains high levels of these minerals.
What is hard water?
Hard water is a term used to describe water with a high mineral content. When dissolved in water, minerals such as calcium and magnesium make the pH of the water more alkaline. A rough guideline for classifying water hardness can be given by assessing what happens when some soap is added to the water: If the mixture forms soft lather, then the water is classified as soft. If the mixture forms a stiff lather, then it is hard.
How Does Water Become Hard?
Water becomes hard when it encounters substances such as calcium and magnesium which it can dissolve.
How Can Hard Water Cause Problems?
Hard water causes problems by undissolved mineral deposits. It quickly clogs pipes, heating elements and water-using appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines. The undissolved minerals also leave unsightly marks on surfaces where the water has evaporated.
Some of the most typical water-related difficulties include:
- Scale build-up within water supply pipes, which causes them to block
- Film and scale buildup on ceramic tile and fixtures, reducing their life span
- Scale deposits shortening the lifespan of water heaters
Why is Water Softening Necessary?
Water softening is necessary because soap does not function well in hard water. When added to hard water, some of the soap molecules will attach themselves to undissolved minerals, leaving fewer of them available to act as detergents. The cleaning power of the soap is thus weakened. Even worse, some molecules adhere to other surfaces in the water system such as pipes and boilers. The scale formation reduces the flow rates and increases friction losses which reduce heating efficiency.
Testing for Hard Water
Scale build-up on plumbing fixtures is often an indication of hard water. If you believe you have hard water, there is a low-tech approach to detect it: combine a little amount of dish soap and water in a closed container and shake it up. If the solution does not produce many suds, you probably have hard water.
The simplest and most accurate method of determining if your water is hard or not is to buy some pH paper from a pharmacist and perform the following test: Put one drop of distilled water on a clean glass slide. Dip a piece of pH paper into the water for about 5 seconds, then shake off any excess liquid. Wait for 30 seconds or so until the pH paper stabilizes. Compare the color on the drop of water to the color chart on the container using your other eye.
How do you treat hard water?
The most popular way to treat hard water is by using a water softener. Water softeners use ion-exchange resins that exchange sodium ions for magnesium and calcium from the hard water, effectively removing them from the water and replacing them with salt (sodium chloride). The resins used in water softeners come in various sizes: The larger the resin, the more water it can treat.
Call us today for a quote on a water softener, we can help you find the perfect water softener solution for your specifications.