Have you ever tasted your drinking water at home? Usually, your tap water is not as clean as you think and leads to bad tasting hard water (hardness minerals and contaminants) from your local water supply. Water hardness is based on the concentration of hard minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and manganese in the water. “Soft water” has a very low concentration of hard minerals, while “very hard water” has a relatively high concentration of hard minerals. Using hard water can cause mineral buildup inside of your water-using appliances which can lead to long-term damage.
As you look around your home lookout for these common signs of hard water: mineral-like crust or sediment built up around the showerhead or faucet, water spots on dishes after washing them, stiff or gray-stained clothing after running it through laundry, and dry irritated skin after showering.
However, the most reliable way to determine whether or not your home has hard water is to bring a water sample to a certified water-testing laboratory.
Acting as a water filter, water softening systems “soften” the hard water by removing mineral ions, such as manganese or calcium, through a process named ion exchange. This process consists of exchanging positively charged mineral ions in the hard water with positively charged ions, leaving the softened water free of mineral ions. There are two tanks in a water softener system that facilitate this ion exchange, the resin tank (aka mineral tank) and the brine softener tank. The resin tank does the bulk of the water softening as the sodium ions from the brine solution exchange places with the mineral ions (water hardness ions). Ion exchange resin beads and water combine resulting in the hardness minerals attaching to the beads. Once all of the resin beads have been covered in hardness minerals, they are flushed out of the tank using either potassium chloride or sodium chloride. The water exiting the resin tank contains a very small number of sodium ions, but no longer contains high levels of hard mineral ions. Through the control valve, the brine tank then recharges the resin tank through a flushing process where the resin tank is rinsed with salt water from the brine tank. The salt water saturates the resin bead, removing any stuck mineral ions and replacing them with a sodium ion. The dissolved minerals are then flushed and the system is ready to soften water again.
There are many benefits of installing a water softener system in your home.
Does the softened water go into my whole home including the water heater? What size water softener do I need? Do I go with a “salt-free” or “salt-based water softener” (aka the commonly known water softener)?
Deciphering the difference between the multitude of water softening options is not easy, from high to low flow rate and single to double tank, we’re here to help. Depending on your level of water usage or hardness level, we may recommend different solutions. You can learn more about water softeners, such as reverse osmosis systems, and their benefits HERE.
Our experts are here to help you with any water softener installation or water softener repair. Contact us and learn more about a free trial today!