Why Use Water Softeners?
Most people have heard of soft and hard water, but may not actually know what the difference is. Hard water has a high amount of dissolved minerals (mainly magnesium and calcium) in it, which causes people to feel ‘slimy’ when rinsing off soap.
It can also lead to a hazy build up on kitchen dishes. Soft water, then, is water with a lower concentration of these minerals. Many homeowners choose to use a water softener to soften hard water. While hard water doesn’t pose any health concerns, it can lead to build up in the water heater and pipes over time.
This build-up can make the water heater less efficient, requiring more energy to heat the water. If the scale is left to build up in the pipes, it can lead to a clog. Softening hard water is the best way to avoid this issue and prevent long term damage to the home’s water system. There are currently a few different methods available for softening hard water.
Reverse Osmosis Filtration Systems
A reverse osmosis filtration system filters the water through various stages to produce softer, cleaner water. Different systems may have 3-5 stages of filtration.
The final, and most important stage in a reverse osmosis filtration system, is a semipermeable membrane, which removes up to 98% of the total dissolved solids present in the water.
Additional filters in the system usually include a sediment filter to capture dirt, dust, and rust particles, and a carbon filter, to reduce VOCs, chlorine, and improve the taste of the water.
Once the water has been filtered, it is stored in a storage tank, so that the treated water is available whenever a faucet in the house is turned on. It may go through an additional post-filtration stage at this point, too, to ensure the cleanest water is delivered each time.
How Do Magnetic Water Softeners Work?
An affordable and low maintenance option is a magnetic water softener. These are electromagnetic coils installed on the outside of the pipes.
As water passes through the pipes, the magnets are able to alter the chemical composition of the minerals in the water that lead to hard water and build up. While they do not remove the minerals, altering them is a successful way of softening the water that passes directly by them.
Using Salt-Free Conditioning Systems
Many water filtration systems use salt to soften the water, but this can leave the water tasting, well, salty. Homeowners who choose to install one of these water filtration systems may also want to combine it with the reverse osmosis system mentioned above to improve the taste of the water.
Alternately, there are salt-free water softening systems available for homeowners who want to avoid salt altogether. These systems are actually referred to as water ‘conditioning’ systems because rather than eliminate the minerals in hard water, they neutralize the ions to improve the quality of the water.
These systems are also more environmentally friendly because they do not discharge any leftover saltwater brine into the environment. Of course, if you need help choosing the right system for your home, it’s always best to consult your local plumbing company.
About Affordable Plumbing, Heating & Air
Affordable Plumbing, Heating & Air offers peace of mind to Fairhope, AL residents. They offer a complete range of services from plumbing to HVAC. Their clean and professionally trained technicians offer white-glove service with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.