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At the base level, a water softener removes minerals from the water in your home. When water is traveling to your home it breaks down materials and minerals which all flow with the water, hence the name hard water. Soft water is simply the name for the water that has passed through the water softener removing those minerals. Most of the minerals are a combination of calcium, magnesium, limestone, and iron. These dissolved solids can cause a lot of problems with your plumbing as well as appliances. Hard water can cause buildup on your dishes, a red or orange stain can form inside your toilets or sinks from the iron, and even make showering a nightmare. Hard water can react with soap which can make it more difficult to wash and even leave a soapy residue on your skin. Another tell tale sign that you need a water softener is soap scum constantly appearing in your bathtubs or showers.
Water softeners remove minerals and materials through a process called ion exchange. The water softeners remove calcium, iron, magnesium, etc. and replace them with sodium ions. A more detailed explanation is the softener uses zeolite crystals to pull minerals out of the water like a magnet. As the water flows by sodium ions attach to the water due to the leftover space. This process does not turn your water into salt water because the sodium levels are very low. Now you may be wondering where the minerals end up once they are in the water softener. All softeners come with a storage tank attached, which is where the homeowner would add a specific type of salt. The water softener starts its process known as regeneration. The softener flushes the tank with a salt solution called brine which releases the minerals. The minerals are flushed out through the drain, and the salt solution remains to attach to the next flow of hard water.
Assessing whether or not you need one depends on what type of water your home receives such as well or public. Well water would most likely need a water softener and other filtration systems to improve the water quality. City and townships are required to treat water for impurities that can cause health problems. However, they will not remove hard water materials as they aren’t considered “harmful” to your health. Returning to the original question, do you need a water softener in your home? If you use appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines, they depend on soft water to function properly. We recommend to all of our customers to invest in a water softener. This will save you from having to purchase new appliances and will give you a much better washing experience in your shower/bathtub.
Give us a call at 866-635-0200 or book an appointment online if you would like to have a water softener installed at your home. We are also available to give your more information so you can make a more educated decision on your own.