Explaining Hard Water
The first time people hear about hard water, they usually raise an eyebrow. It seems silly to call water hard since it is a liquid, but it refers to water high in dissolved minerals, largely calcium and magnesium.
As rain and snow, water is pure and free of anything dissolved in it. Once it hits the ground, it will likely run off into a stream, lake or be filtered through the bedrock and become part of an aquifer. As water makes this journey, it picks up minerals present in the area's geological formations. This is where hardness comes from in water sources.
While water treatment facilities work hard to make the water safe to drink, they don’t remove any minerals. In many homes, homeowners decide to remove the minerals with a water softener to protect their plumbing and get better performance from their water. Here is a quick explanation of how to treat hard water and why water softeners are important in homes.
How Does a Water Softener Work?
When hard water enters a home with a water softener, the minerals are dissolved in the water as ions. A process called “ion exchange” is used inside a water softener to remove these ions. A whole-home water softener is usually a unit with two tanks: one for the ion exchange resin and one for a brine tank.
Hard water deposits its ions into the resin, and the brine water removes the ions at the end of a cycle. One cycle can remove hardness from water for weeks, depending on the water usage of a household.
Signs That Hard Water is Present
The main problem with hard water is that it already has something dissolved. This inhibits its ability to dissolve other substances. While this may not sound like a problem, it can be a huge interference in cleaning and hygiene. Soap residues don’t get completely washed off, resulting in spotted glasses after washing dishes and the feeling of film on hands after washing them.
Other signs of hard water are dry skin and hair, stains and deposits on bathroom fixtures, clothes that wear out faster, and scale buildup in pipes that narrow the opening for water to flow, leading to another sign of hard water, higher utility bills.
Inside plumbing fixtures and piping, hard water can deposit its minerals. This leads to mineral scale that causes inefficiencies and low water pressure. In many cases, a crusty, white buildup is seen on showerheads and faucets due to hard water.
Whole-Home Water Softeners and Their Benefits
The most common solution for hard water is a whole house water softener, which treats all the water that comes into the home in one central location. Since hard water affects the entire plumbing system, treating all the water that enters the house makes sense. The easiest place to install a whole home water softener is at the single point of entry of water into a home. These units typically fit very well into the space near a water heater in the garage or basement.
Water softeners are fairly cheap to operate and easy to use. Other than buying salt for the brine tank, there are no other recurring expenses. The benefits of installing a whole home water softener are:
- Shinier and healthier hair
- Soft and healthy skin
- No buildup of scale on fixtures
- Longer lasting appliances
- Better water pressure
- Fewer plumbing repairs
- Saving money
- Longer lasting clothes
- Cleaner dishes
Even if the effects of hard water have already occurred in appliances or inside piping, a whole home water softener can start reversing those effects immediately, so homeowners can begin experiencing the benefits of soft water.
About Guardian Plumbing and Drain
Guardian Plumbing and Drain provide reliable plumbing solutions to the residents of Cobourg, ON, and the surrounding areas. They offer same-day service, free estimates, financing, and fast response. Call them today for water softener services in Cobourg, ON.