7 Frequently Asked Questions About Water Softeners

Learn About Water Softeners

Learn About Water Softeners

If you're considering a water filtration system or water softener for your home, you may feel like you have a million questions. Water well professional can provide you in-depth answers, but here are seven of the most frequently asked questions homeowners have about water filters.

What is the definition of hard water?

Water naturally has minerals like magnesium, manganese, calcium and magnesium carbonate dissolved in it. When water has more than 1 grain per gallon of these minerals, it is considered hard. Your water professional can test your water for hardness and other properties.

What concerns should I have about hard water?

One of the main concerns is scaling in your pipes and fixtures. If water is heated, those dissolved minerals re-crystalized into what is known as scales. These scales get into all the appliances that run water, including your water heater, dishwasher and washing machine, and reduce their lifespan by depositing the scales throughout the works.

Other concerns include soap scum in your shower. Soap combines with the hard water to form the scummy substance, and that gets laid down on your shower stall and even your skin. Even with a good rinse, some of the soap scum stays on your skin and in some cases can lead to skin irritations.

Why should I soften my water?

With hard water that has been softened with a water softener, you will use less detergent because the chemicals don’t have to work so hard to clean your clothes and dishes. Water softeners also reduce spotting on your glasses and dishes. Additionally, hard water increases scaling in faucets, bath fixtures and pipes.

Why would I not want to use water softeners?

Sodium is often used to regenerate the water softener, so if you are on a low sodium diet, you want to consider other options.

Why is salt added to water softeners?

Softeners work by using salt ions to attract the hard minerals in the water, the magnesium, and calcium ions, and then depositing them on the water softener resin. Essentially, the salt ions and the mineral ions trade places, which is why the water coming from the water softener contains a bit more salt.

How much extra sodium ends up in the water?

If the water is very hard, say 20 – 40 grains per gallon, then you will gain an extra 150 to 300 milligrams per quart of water. Another way to look at it is you take in the same amount of salt that is found in 1 slice of regular white bread.

Do I need to use a water softener on outside faucets or even on my icemaker?

You should use a softener for the water going into your icemaker. The amount of additional salt in the water should not be noticeable, and softer water is better for the machinery it passes through in the icemaker.

On the outside spigots, you can choose to either soften that water or not. If you wash your car frequently, softer water will keep water spots from forming on your washed car. Another thing to consider is using potassium chloride to soften the water on outside faucets used for watering your lawn. Potassium chloride is shown to be an excellent fertilizer, so not only will your car be shiny, but your lawn will be lush and green.

Don't wait to ask your Skillings & Sons water professional to test your water and then, if needed, request their advice on the best choice of water softeners. Contact us today.