Growing up in a house full of girls, I unofficially took on the role as my father's only son. So when the time came to fix a leaky sink or change the oil in the family car, it was me that stood by my father's side. Thanks to him and everything he taught me, I am now able to take care of myself and my children in a way that not everyone can. I have tried over the years to engage my own daughter in the same way my father engaged me, but she's currently more interested in playing with dolls than fixing potholes. After my father passed away last year, I vowed to find a way to pass on everything he taught me, this blog is my way of keeping that promise. I truly hope that you learn as much as I have over the years.
As the name suggests, the whole purpose of water softeners is to make hard water soft by removing minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium. These minerals cause scales to build up in your appliances and pipes, resulting in high energy bills and reducing the lifespan of your appliances. They also cause skin irritations, make it difficult to clean clothes and stain utensils. You need to remove them from your water to prevent further damage.
But how effective are water softeners really? How well the product works to remove minerals from the water depends on the type of water softener you choose.
Salt-Based Water Softeners
Salt-based water softeners work through a process known as ion exchange. A mixture of sodium chloride and water is passed through a tank containing resin beads. The calcium and magnesium are attracted to the resin beads in exchange for sodium or potassium, which is passed into your water. Salt-based water softeners that use sodium chloride are very effective when it comes to removing minerals from the water.
If you do not like the idea of having sodium in your water, you have the option of using potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride. Potassium chloride will soften your water; only not as efficiently as sodium chloride. It will also cost you more.
Descalers/Salt-free Water Softeners
Strictly-speaking, descalers are not water softeners. They work to prevent minerals that cause hard water from sticking to surfaces like pipes, fixtures, and appliances.
They don't eliminate them from the water, however. This means that your water still has calcium and magnesium and remains hard.
This is a technology that is used to soften water. Water is passed at high pressure through an osmotic membrane. This membrane only allows water molecules to pass through it, filtering out magnesium, calcium, and other substances.
Water softeners remove calcium and magnesium from your water. Salt-based softeners that use sodium chloride are the best at this. However, not all dissolved minerals are removed from the water; only those responsible for hard water.
If you are concerned about mineral deficiency, note that most of your calcium and magnesium needs will be met by food, and not through water. Also note that the calcium and magnesium in hard water is difficult to digest and may not add any value to your body.
If you are looking to remove calcium and magnesium from your water, salt-based softeners are the most effective.
For more information about maintaining your water systems, contact a company like Golden Gate Well Drilling & Water Conditioning.