Do Water Softeners Do What They Are Meant to Do?
Hard water is the most common issue that homeowners face. It is responsible for a number of household problems including endless appliance repair bills, clogged pipes, and stains on sinks and bathtubs that are impossible to clean away.
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The good news is that a water softener does a lot of the work for you, leaving you with much cleaner and softer water. However, there are a few things that you need to know before you make the investment.
First, the process of removing the hard minerals involves a process called ion exchange. In this process, the minerals that make your water hard are exchanged for sodium ions. This is done in a specialized tank filled with plastic beads or resin beads that are negatively charged and attract calcium (Ca+2) and magnesium (Mg+2).
Once the salt solution leaves the softener, the beads collect the remaining mineral ions from your water. Over several regeneration cycles, the beads become saturated with these minerals, and the sodium ion is released into your water.
In addition to transforming the hardness minerals, water softeners also remove small amounts of ferrous iron. This is dissolved iron that can darken the color of your water and leave stains on your toilet, bathtubs, and sinks.
This is why it is important to select a water softener that has an efficient and powerful regeneration cycle. A good water softener will use a timer or computer that determines when it needs to regenerate based on the amount of hard water that has passed through the system and how long you have been using it.
Second, consider the cost of running your water softener. This will be dependent on your water source and the type of system you have installed.
Finally, you should keep in mind that water softeners will require a regular maintenance schedule. They will require periodic flushes and recharging of the resin beads with a salt solution. This will increase your costs significantly.
The good news is that there are water softeners on the market that are both efficient and affordable to run. Some of these systems are as effective as the most expensive models but at a fraction of the price.
A water softener will also save you money in the long run because it can prevent clogged and scale-ridden plumbing from occurring. This can lead to costly repairs and replacements, whereas a water softener can be used over and over again, saving you money on those expenses as well as preserving your pipes.
Another thing to remember is that while most people think of a water softener as being only necessary for homes with private wells, there are a large number of city and municipally-supplied households that can benefit from a softener as well. This is because many municipalities do not treat their water for the hard minerals that can cause damage to your home and appliances.