What Is Water Softening?

If you are from the southern United States, or you live in an area with a lot of shale and limestone, then you are probably one of the millions of people that suffer from hard water on a daily basis. Hard water takes a toll on appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines, pipes, showeheads, shower doors, toilets, clothing, and it even dries out skin and hair.

Over the past twenty plus years, water softening and filtration has become a staple in many households. The process of water softening involves the removal of various elements including Magnesium and Calcium. Once these cations (positively charged ions) are removed, the resulting water is more congruous with agents such as soap and plumbing fixtures.

Effects

Since soft water removes or replaces unwanted positive ions, there is no longer the buildup of lime and scale in pipes and appliances. If hard water is left without treatment, pipes may become so clogged, due to the large amount of lime scale buildup, that pressure decreases tremendously.

Sometimes, the water line is cut off completely by extremely harsh cases of buildup. In these cases, not only is a water softening system added to the household or residential area, new piping is installed. Even in brand new homes and businesses, if a water softening system is not installed, pipes will soon obtain buildup.

The dark lines and stains that are seen on bathtubs, toilets, and sinks are caused by iron deposits. The iron, magnesium, and calcium in hard water may cause drinking water to taste differently. However, it does not have an affect on health.

Ion Exchange

Many types of water softening uses "Ion Exchange". However, one of the most common uses involves the use of sodium in the form of salt. Calcium and Magnesium are exchanged with Sodium ions, which is more desirable and does not take near the toll on pipes as Magnesium and Calcium do.

Reverse Osmosis Filtration

Reverse Osmosis water filtration removes all contaminants and unwanted minerals. Not only does a reverse osmosis system remove unwanted Magnesium, Calcium, and Iron, it also removes any odor, color, or additional pollutants. Water Softeners only condition by exchanging unwanted minerals. It does not filter the water.

Determining Factors

Location, hardness of water, and size of your residence are all determining factors for the type of water softener or filtration system you may need. There are many water softener companies , offering different types of machinery and systems. The number one thing is to investigate different companies to compare prices. Also, do your research so you are prepared for exactly what you are needing in your home, so you aren't overwhelmed by various prices that are presented.