Hard water can make or break your plumbing, it’s as simple as that. It doesn’t affect everyone, but you’ll know if you have hard water. Here, we’ll explain what hard water is, break down what water softener is, and how it helps improve the quality of your water.
You might think hard water is rare, but it’s actually quite the opposite. About 85% of households in America suffer from hard water, according to a study from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Hard water doesn’t mean that when you turn on the faucet you have rocks falling out. It’s actually just higher than normal concentrations of dissolved minerals, calcium and magnesium in particular. But, this doesn’t mean that the water is unhealthy or unsafe to drink, necessarily.
Some of the most noticeable effects of hard water are cloudy water spots on your dishes and silverware, and even in your shower. Sometimes white, crusty deposits can even form. It can also affect your laundry by dampening the effects of lathering and rinse-ability of detergent, soap, and shampoo. This will make your laundry appear more dulled and gray, and when showering with hard water, your skin will dry out quicker and feel itchier.
Right now, all of those consequences seem pretty arbitrary, if you consider the big picture. They’re more petty annoyances than anything else. Well, let’s take into account how your plumbing systems feel about hard water.
Hard water running through your pipes will slowly but surely leave tiny mineral deposits and, over time, these will build up and grow on one another until they eventually get so big that they clog your pipes. In more extreme cases, this can even restrict your overall water flow and put undue pressure on your entire plumbing system.
So, by now you’re probably looking for a solution. Or you’re also wondering and worrying if you have hard water. The best thing to do if you suspect you have hard water is to get your water tested. Just send a sample of your water to a testing facility, and you’ll receive a full report, breaking down mineral levels, bacterial levels, and the presence of other substances in your water.
If you do in fact have hard water, then you might want to consider a water softener (which is very aptly named). These are typically installed wherever water enters the house, most times in the basement or garage.
The system consists of two tanks, with the softener tank being connected to the water line. This softener tank is filled with resin beads that are permanently sealed inside of it, and the brine tank as a removable lid to easily add salt or potassium chloride pellets.
When water enters the top of the tank, it is sent down through the resin beads. The mineral deposits in the water then cling to the beads, allowing the now-softened water to flow freely through the rest of the tank and exit into the water flow of the house. When the softener tank has collected so many mineral deposits that it can’t attract anymore, the brine tank is then used to flush the deposits out, thanks to an on-board computer that calculates this and beings the automatic regeneration process. For example, a tank in a family of four’s three-bedroom house will be regenerated approximately every 12,000 gallons.
After the regeneration cycle, a rinse cycle will wash away the mineral deposits left on the resin beads, and this will be flushed out via the discharge hose. Then the system can go back to softening new incoming water. You will have to manually refill the salt or potassium chloride pellets you added to the brine tank. Using the same example as above, that would mean approximately one 50-pound bag per month.
No water softener is perfect, though, and trace amounts of salt will be left in your water. This is not unhealthy, but just an added dietary factor those on a strict sodium-free diet should consider. Potassium chloride pellets are a way around that, but they are more costly than the salt pellets.
Check out SupplyHouse.com’s water softener options here and contact our friendly, helpful Customer Support team if you have any questions!