Water Softening: Is it for you?

What is “hard water”?

Think about the water that enters your home through your plumbing. It is a pretty important thing to think about, since we come in close contact with it every day. We drink it, use it to brush our teeth, wash our dishes in it, shower in it, and clean our clothes with it. It had better be safe and clean!

So, you know you that you can test your water to make sure it is safe, but have you ever thought about the hardness of your water? “Hard water” means that the water contains more minerals than it should, especially calcium and magnesium. Hard water tends to clog our pipes, harden and fade our linens, and reduce the life of our appliances more easily because soup and detergent cannot dissolve in the water as well. The build-up in hard water can also affect the effectiveness of boilers and tanks, increasing the cost of your water bill by 15-20 percent.

What is “water softening?”

Luckily, there is a successful method of “softening” our water. Water softening works by removing the minerals that are hardening the water using a device that attaches directly to your water supply. They are designed to remove the ions of these minerals automatically, semi-automatically, or manually.

Water softeners are becoming increasingly popular products to use in our homes. Those who use them find that their hair is softer, their clothes look better, and their sheets and towels feel like they are brand new again. Their appliances also last longer and the pipes in their home seem to remain clear.

A good water softener will last a long time, even decades, if maintained properly. They require very little maintenance – just fill them with salt (rock, solar, or evaporated) every so often, maybe once every month.

Is soft water safe to drink?

It is safe to drink as long as it contains less than 300mg/L of sodium, as some sodium is added in the softening process. It should not be used to prepare baby-milk due to the sodium content. The salt from the softener will not enter your drinking water. Soft water still contains minerals we need, just less of calcium, magnesium,  and sometimes iron.

Who can use a water softener?

Everyone has the option to use a water softener in their home, whether they use city water systems or wells.  Choose one from a reputable company with plenty of positive testimonials, and ask a plumber to install it in your home if you are not comfortable doing it yourself. Here is a brief list of some good companies:

Culligan – www.culliganwateroffers.com

Pelican – www.pelicanwater.com

GE – www.geappliances.com/products/water/water_softeners.htm

Waterboss – www.waterboss.com

 

Posted in: Home Improvement, Water Quality

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