Why on Earth would you need a Water Softener?

The earth is rich in minerals; in particular calcium and magnesium affect our water, making it hard. Calcium carbonate is actually a soft limestone and is made up of the skeletal remains of sea creatures, magnesium hydroxide (found in water) is a metal, it is also commonly known as milk of magnesia.  That is what is in our water!

The harder the water is, the more you can see the effects.

homeimageDo you get a trickle of water coming through your;

  1. Shower hose
  2. Taps
  3. Garden hose
  4. Cistern
  5. Are your smalls standing up on their own?
  6. Are your taps a bit encrusted?
  7. Is your shower caked in white stuff?
  8. Is your hair suffering?
  9. Is your loo in need of a good descaling?
  10. How about your dish washer?
  11. And the kettle, do you sift out the plaque from your coffee?
  12. Even the coffee pot will not come clean!
  13. Are you thinking of purchasing a new washing machine?
  14. Do you fear drinking what comes out of your kitchen tap?
  15. Are you a bit fed up with trying different cleaning products from vinegar to harsh chemical cleaners?

I can hear your answer, “Well yes, actually”

“Yes me too, all of the above”

ibc_home_productsIf you answered yes to all 15 questions, congratulations you have a very high score!

The hard mineral content is scaling up in the plumbing, leaving deposits on everything that water comes in contact with including you!

Fortunately there are no real health hazards associated with hard water, apart from the possibility of allergic reactions caused by the combination of minerals and soap.  So for example the soap powder or liquid you use will remain in your clothes as it combines with the minerals; calcium and magnesium. That is why your smalls are becoming more than a little stiff; you probably have to replace them often.  Also you will be using far more soap or shower gel than you need as it is also affecting your bathing and will remain on your skin.  The skin does a good job of protecting us but if you are sensitive to some detergents you may suffer skin problems and the same goes for your hair.

For this reason if you have not yet installed a water softener it is always better to use liquid soaps as they will cause less residue, they are easier to rinse.

The Solution

waterfiltersA water softener operates on the principal of ion exchange; sodium is used to flush out the harsher minerals.

Small resinous polystyrene beads are placed into the tank and they will attract the hard minerals when the sodium or saline solution is flushed through. This process will also clean your water tank.

So put simply all three minerals, calcium, magnesium and sodium end up in the resin and then get flushed away.

We need calcium and magnesium; I hear you cry!

And what about sodium?  Yes, in fact some people do need to restrict their sodium uptake, potassium chloride can be used in the place of sodium, and however it is up to four times more expensive.

And new technology is advancing so much now that a separate water dispenser for drinking can be installed, this will bypass the softener system.

So if you still want to drink the hard water without the taste of saline you can.

Three Types of Water Softening Systemswaterheaters

  • Automatic
    Commonly used and most popular are the automatically regenerated, automatically recharging on a regular schedule, during recharging soft water will not be available.
  • Computer controlled
    The computer will know when enough is enough, you will still have reserve soft water and hey presto it will recharge.
  • Mechanically Metered
    The advantage of this method is no electricity is required, if two tanks are installed you will always have soft water and it will only recharge when necessary.

To Summarize

water-softener-boxStart at the beginning, with the fundamental question, how hard is my water? Look up “water analysis” to find out.  Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon (GPG). Water up to 1 GPG is considered to be soft, water measuring 60 to 120 GPG is considered to be hard.

If hard water is starting to weigh you down, cost you money in plumbing costs and replacement of appliances it is well worth looking at water softening options.

If you are fortunate enough to be designing your own home (in a hard water area) no doubt your water softener can be built in.

Whatever the problem is, there is a solution with so many suppliers vying for your cash.