Hard water is one of those common terms that most people instinctively understand, but that can be hard to define.
Water hardness refers to the mineral content, primarily of magnesium and calcium. They can have an effect on the taste, the sudsing quality and the “scale” that household water leaves behind. The opposite of hard water is “soft” water that feels “silky.” Many people prefer it, and it is “friendlier” for home use because it does not leave behind visible stains and mineral buildup.
If your water supply is a well, chances are that your mineral content is higher than you might like. Even some city water systems are known for hard water. The typical solution for homeowners is some sort of water softening system.
While water filters typically are used to improve the taste as well as the quality of drinking water by removing chemical impurities, water softeners affect the way water performs. Hard water is in no way a health hazard, but it can be troublesome in other ways.
You can recognize the effects of hard water by noting how difficult it is to clean sinks and toilets, or by noting scale buildup around faucets and exterior hose bibs. Your skin may feel dry, and you might note a “film” buildup on shower doors. Soaps and detergents may not suds as well, and glass surfaces may dry spotty. Extremely hard water contributes to buildup within supply pipes and pumps as well, sometimes even decreasing the rate of flow.
There are two main types of water softeners: Salt or Non-Salt. In systems that utilize salt, offending minerals are removed from the water through an ion exchange process. The resulting treated water has remaining salt content but is free of the undesirable minerals. A non-salt system operates by causing a chemical reaction that renders those minerals unable to bond to other surfaces. It is a physical process that could more aptly be termed “water conditioning,” because minerals are not actually removed from the water.
The older “salted system” flushes treated water down the drain and the salt supply is constantly replenished. Both systems are very effective in reducing scaling, the major disadvantage of hard water.
Which System Is Best?
True soft water has a “silky” feeling. In the shower, you’ll get a lot of soap bubbles and your skin may feel better because there are no minerals left to cling to your body. In the same way, dishes may sparkle more and clothes may appear brighter.
If you are tired of dealing with hard water issues, contact Service Pros Plumbers today so we can install an effective water softener in your home.