Hard Water Can Be Solved With A Water Softener
The realtor or home inspector may have mentioned it when you bought the home. Maybe your neighbor told you it was something everyone in the neighborhood has or one of your guests ask about it after you gave a house tour.
If you’ve heard about hard water and think your home’s water might have it, but you still don’t know what hard water is or how to solve this water quality problem, read this article.
What is Hard Water?
The technical definition of hard water is water that contains dissolved minerals with a positive electrical charge. For most homes in New England, this means you have calcium or magnesium dissolved in your water. In some cases, the minerals could also include iron and manganese.
If you live in New England and draw water from a bedrock well, chances are high that you have hard water. When water flows deep below the ground, it picks up minerals from the bedrock. These dissolved minerals pass through a home’s plumbing system and leave deposits on pipes, appliances, and dishes. Hard water also reacts with soaps, making them less efficient, and creates a soapy residue on bathtubs, clothes, and skin.
In homes with hard water, owners will start to notice mineral deposits building up on their shower heads, or will see spots on their glasses and silverware after running them through the dishwasher. Although this may seem like merely a nuisance, these hard water signs can indicate a more serious and expensive problem. Learn more about hard water treatment.
How do I fix hard water? Water Softeners
Installing a water softener is considered one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to remove minerals from hard water. Water softeners work by using a chemical process called ion exchange. This reduces the hard water problem by switching the positively charged minerals with other less harmful positively charged minerals, such as sodium, though a natural reaction.
When the water comes into the home from your well, it immediately enters the water softener. This type of system is known as “point-of-entry” and treats all of the water used within the home. The water is then flushed over small plastic beads, known as resin. These beads carry a negative charge, which attracts the positively charged minerals, like calcium and magnesium, as the water passes through the tank. The water then passes through a salty brine solution stored in the water softener and the minerals are replaced with sodium. Once the resin is saturated, the water softener flushes and recharges the resin.
There are some things to consider before installing a water softener. Softening adds a slight amount of sodium, or in some cases potassium, to the home’s water. This amount is tiny, however, it may be a consideration for people on a very low-sodium diet due to high blood pressure and other health concerns. As the Mayo Clinic points out, it’s important to remember that most sodium intake comes from food, even for those consuming water treated with a water softener.
Homeowners should also consider disposal of the water softener’s waste brine. If not disposed of properly, it could cause contamination of a well or other water body located downhill from the softener disposal area.
Water softeners are a great way to reduce the minerals in hard water, but there are other ways to treat the problem too, including a method called reverse osmosis. For more information about hard water and what treatment option is right for your home, call Skillings & Sons for a consultation. We have more than 250 years of combined experience in well drilling and water treatment we can use to help you. Contact us today.