How Do You Know If You Need a Water Softener?
We do our best to maintain a state of equilibrium in our home. However, there’s an unlikely culprit that threatens the balance. The state of your water can impact everything from the health of your appliances to the feel of your skin after a shower. A water softener is a device for those living in areas with hard water.
But what does it mean to have hard water? And how do you know if you need one?
K2 Heating, Plumbing, and Air Conditioning’s guide will help you understand the signs of hard water and why you might need a water softener.
What’s the deal with Hard/Soft Water?
Is ‘hard’ water really so bad? What are some of the concerns that we should be aware of, and what are the benefits of softening it?
Concerns About Hard Water
Hard water essentially means that there is excess calcium and magnesium in it. This is tough or hard on appliances like water heaters, kettles, and dishwashers. The minerals build inside and gradually decrease the efficiency of these devices and shorten their lifespans. This can lead to a range of problems like plumbing Issues, skin and hair health problems, and laundry not cleaning as well. Additionally, hard water tends to affect the taste and appearance of your water.
Benefits of Softening Hard Water
Softening the water can help extend the life of your appliances and improve the functionality of your plumbing system. Softer water also means your soap and shampoos will be more effective, which can lead to healthier hair and cleaner clothes. However, the significant benefit is that you’ll be able to save money. Softening the water means your appliances do have to contend with as much buildup. Therefore, they will work longer and require less attention.
What’s a Water Softener?
A water softener is a device that removes certain minerals like calcium and magnesium, which cause water to be “hard.” It does this through an ion exchange process. Within the water softener tank are thousands of tiny resin beads that are charged with a sodium or potassium ion. As hard water flows through these beads, they attract and hold onto the calcium and magnesium ions in the water. The resin beads essentially exchange their sodium or potassium for calcium and magnesium.
However, after some time, you need to regenerate the resin beads. This means using a brine solution (made from the salt in a separate tank) and flushing it through the system. The high concentration of sodium or potassium in the brine causes the beads to release the calcium and magnesium ions and recharge with sodium or potassium. Once the resin beads are free of the magnesium and calcium buildup, it’s time to soften some more!
Signs You Might Need a Water Softener
Knowing whether or not your water needs softening is a question of being observant. For instance, if you notice your shower doors, faucets, or dishes have a chalky white residue, it could be a sign of hard water. Additionally, hard water can strip the natural oils from your skin and hair, leaving them feeling dry and itchy. There’s also the matter of your appliance efficiency. In other words, the appliances that use water such as your dishwasher or washing machine, may not be performing as they once did.
If you suspect that your home needs a water softener, the team at K2 Heating, Plumbing, and Air Conditioning offers professional inspections. Moreover, we provide professional water softener installation and maintenance services to ensure your water isn’t hindering your appliances.